NCAA Tournament 2012: 15 Biggest Atrocities of This Year's March Madness

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2012

NCAA Tournament 2012: 15 Biggest Atrocities of This Year's March Madness

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    The 2012 NCAA tournament has lived up to the billing of "March Madness."

    There has been no shortage of exciting moments and thrilling finishes.

    But for all of the positives that we have seen since last Thursday, there have been a handful of things that make even the most devoted college basketball junkie cringe.

    Here is a list of the biggest atrocities of this year's March Madness.

    There may be more still ahead, but these are some moments that some will want to forget.

UConn's Inclusion in the 2012 NCAA Tournament

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    The first half of the season, the Huskies were 14-3 and were ranked No. 11 on January 16.

    The second half of the season, they went 6-11 and finished the season in 10th place in the Big East with a 8-10 conference record.

    Between January 18 and February 28, last year's NCAA champions went 3-9.

    I know that UConn had a 33 RPI—strength of schedule carries a lot of weight there.

    Still, I simply don't think that UConn earned their place in this year's field of 68.

There Should Be No "Home Games" in the NCAA Tournament

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    Both Duke and North Carolina played tournament games this year at Greensboro Coliseum.

    Durham is 54 miles away from Greensboro, North Carolina, and Chapel Hill is a few miles closer. 

    If you ask me, no team should be able to play an NCAA tournament game less than two hours from their campus.

    March Madness is no place for "home games."

    This actually makes Lehigh's victory over the Blue Devils that much more impressive.

Notre Dame's Lane Violation Catastrophe

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    As the Notre Dame vs. Xavier game was coming to a close, Dezmine Wells hit a free throw that put the Musketeers up by two. Following the made free throw, Notre Dame's Eric Atkins drove the lane and drew a foul to go to the line with 2.8 seconds left.

    He knocked down the first free throw, but official Michael Stuart ruled that Atkins' teammate, Jerian Grant, came in from behind the three-point arc too early as he ran in for a rebound. The points were taken, and TV replays showed it was the correct call.

    It's hard to imagine that the refs chose to go "by the book" in that situation.

Digger Phelps' Matching Tie and Highlighters

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    Does a grown man really need matching neckwear and markers?

    If you are Digger Phelps, evidently the answer is "yes."

    The former Notre Dame head coach has decided it is necessary to have the same color tie and highlighter pen any time he comes on ESPN to give college hoops commentary.

Texas Shoots 16 (Yes, I Said 16) Percent from the Field for the First Half

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    If the Longhorns were trying to show that they belonged in the tournament  in their opening game, I'm not sure they succeeded.

    No. 11 seed Texas started its game against Cincinnati by shooting 1-of-14.

    That's seven percent, if you are scoring at home.

    Julien Lewis (pictured) made a jumper with 17:50 to go in the first half.

    Clint Chapman made the next field goal for Texas at the 5:54 mark of the half.

    All told, the Longhorns shot 16 percent for the first half. Sixteen percent.

    That's a hideous number for 20 minutes of basketball.

Reffing at Crunch Time in Syracuse vs. UNC Asheville Game

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    The refs are a part of the game. And sometimes, they make mistakes—big mistakes.

    In the UNC Asheville vs. Syracuse game, the men in stripes missed a call that effectively ended the chance of a monumental upset. 

    With the game on the line and 34 seconds left on the clock, Syracuse was up by three points. Orange guard Brandon Triche mishandled an in-bounds pass near the UNC Asheville bench, but the referee closest to the play ruled that the ball went off of a UNC-A player.

    Television replays confirmed the call was blown and the ball should have belonged to the Bulldogs.

Craig Sager's Crazy Outfits

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    C'mon, Craig.

    Do you really think that the multi-colored sideline ensembles are a good idea?

    The NBA broadcasts have allowed for us to see Sager's rainbow-like wardrobe for years.

    Now, we get to see it during March Madness, too.

    Oh, goody!

The Biggest Upset in Tournament History

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    I believe Duke losing to Lehigh was the biggest upset in tournament history. Yes, five other No. 2s have went gone down in defeat to No. 15 seeds. But, the other five aren't programs with the pedigree of the fine university in Durham, N.C.

    Mason Plumlee was Duke's best frontcourt player this year. And in their game against Lehigh, Plumlee was a perfect 9-of-9 from the field.

    Since he was pretty much having his way with the Mountain Hawks, you would think that the Blue Devils would keep feeding him until Lehigh made an adjustment and started to shut him down.

    But they didn't.

    Actually, Plumlee was 7-7 in the first half, which means he only attempted two shots from the field in the second half.

    That's just not smart basketball.

    One of the reasons why Mason Plumlee only took nine shots was that the Duke perimeter players were too busy shooting threes to feed him.

    If they were "lights out," no problems. But, as a team, Duke shot 6-of-26 from beyond the arc. That's a frosty 23.1 percent. Brrrrr!

    Austin Rivers, Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins shot a combined 3-of-19. Somebody should have told these players that they weren't on.

Fab Melo's Fantastic Academic Career

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    Fab Melo was declared ineligible for the 2012 NCAA tournament.

    NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said Syracuse, not the NCAA, declared Melo ineligible.

    Further confirmed details have not surfaced at this time. A number of media outlets have reported that it’s academically related. 

    Regardless, the timing of this news is horrible for Syracuse.

    It's hard to imagine that losing the Big East Defensive Player of the Year isn't going to have an eventual impact on the Orange's chances to win it all in this year's tournament. 

Jamar Samuels and His Spending Money

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    Jamar Samuels' role in Kansas State's success this season was unmistakable. He was the Wildcats' leading rebounder and second leading scorer this year.

    After K-State beat Southern Mississippi in their opening game, Frank Martin was gearing up to play No. 1 seed Syracuse. However, Samuels was declared ineligible just moments before the round of 32 game because of $200 that was wired to him.

    The money came from Curtis Malone, founder of the DC Assault AAU organization. Malone claimed that he had a long-standing relationship with Samuels and his family, but the 6'7", 230-pound forward was forced to miss the matchup with the Orange. 

    Syracuse pulled away from KSU in the second half, winning 75-59.

Temple 19, South Florida 15 at the Half

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    When Temple squared off against South Florida, most fans knew that this could be an interesting game.

    The Owls were a talented, offensive-oriented team that averaged 76 points per game this season.

    The Bulls play tough-as-nails defense, holding teams to less than 40 percent shooting on most nights.

    What most people didn't anticipate was a two-sided scoring drought. When the halftime buzzer sounded, the two teams had only scored a combined 34 points (19-15 Temple).

    Yeeeech! This was almost unwatchable.

    South Florida went 3-of-27 for the first 20 minutes of the game.

    Victor Rudd Jr. made a three-point jumper for the Bulls 51 seconds into the game, and Anthony Collins made another jumper 53 seconds later.

    But USF only made one more field goal during the first half, as Shaun Noriega hit a three-point jumper with 2:19 on the clock.

    And that was it for them.

    Wow!

Missouri's Embarrassing First-Round Exit

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    It all depends on your perspective.

    For most college basketball fans, the Norfolk State win in the second round against Missouri was March Madness at its best.

    Mizzou came into the 2012 tournament with big Final Four dreams.

    If you are the Tigers, this was a cruel nightmare.

    Only four times in tournament history had a No. 15 seed beaten a No. 2 seed.

    Missouri, because of an inability to stop the Spartans, added their name to that list.

Stop-and-Go Play Because of Number of Game Stoppages

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    The number of game stoppages during the NCAA tournament has been driving me insane.

    In order to pay bills there has been breaks inserted into the action after each four minutes of play.

    Each of those media timeouts last two minutes and 30 seconds, said the NCAA's David Worlock.

    Each team gets five timeouts—four fulls (60 seconds) and one 30-second timeout that can only be used in the first half.

    For March Madness, the first team-called timeout of each half expands to two minutes and 30 seconds.

    There's no doubt that coaches and personnel need to rethink clock management and substitution patterns with all of these interruptions.

Jim Boeheim's Classless Postgame Comments

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    There are a lot of ways to handle postgame press conferences when your team dodges a bullet.

    Usually, being humble and acknowledging the other team's effort is a decent way to respond to the inevitable questions.

    Following Syracuse's narrow escape with being the first No. 1 seed to lose an opening round game to a No. 16 seed, Jim Boeheim was asked to comment about UNC Asheville's coach's comment.

    Eddie Biedenbach said, "Syracuse is better than Asheville, but tonight, we were better than Syracuse."

    Afterwards, Boeheim was told of Biedenbach's comment and responded, "That's why they make scoreboards."

    Classy.

Baylor's New Uniforms

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    I generally like teams that switch things up in terms of their uniforms' designs and colors.

    Baylor's change to neon yellow unis was not good.

    ESPN's Andy Katz tweeted over the weekend: "I will write Baylor in the story, but for twitter purposes the Bears are the Highlighters tonight."

    Hilarious.