In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Miguel Gonzalez, asks our panel of experts three questions: Can a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1 seed during March Madness? Which NBA rookie will win Rookie of the Year and should the International (IOC) postpone or relocate the Summer Games in Brazil?
1. Given the numerous upsets that have occurred during this year’s college basketball season, is it possible that a No. 16 seed will defeat a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA March Madness Tournament?
Connor: It’s a common cliché in sports that anything is possible. However, a No. 16 seed has never won an NCAA tournament game in the competition’s 76-year history. The fact that Coastal Carolina managed to come within 14 points last season is considered over-performing. Although the rise of one-and-done players has made the competition less predictable, a No. 1 seed has all the coaching, scouting, recruitment and facilities to plow through a lowly No. 16 seed. Upsets happen every year, but a No. 1 seed would have battled through tremendous obstacles that a No. 16 seed has no chance of matching.
George: A No. 16 seed has never, in the history of the NCAA tournament, beaten a No. 1 seed and that statistic alone makes me skeptical that March Madness 2016 will see an underdog rise to the top. However, this year has the best chances for that to happen. Anything can happen. Two teams that had a good chance of making it were banned from the playoffs — 19-2 Southern Methodist University and 19-4 University of Louisville — giving other teams a shot. In addition, the usually dominant teams in the Southeastern Conference — the University of Florida Gators and the University of Kentucky Wildcats — are faltering this year, along with the rest of last year’s top four. Without standout teams, no single team comes out on top.
Otto: There’s no chance. It’s never happened so far and it won’t happen this year, as the top teams are so much better than any possible team squad the NCAA could throw out there as the 16th seed. These teams are going to be tired from the play-in game and they are going to be facing one of the top four teams in the country. There’s just no chance and there’s a reason no 16th seed has ever won. Upsets during the regular season happen every year, but the top teams will figure it out as they always do. The only difference this year is that there is no clear-cut top dog team, but there’s still a third of a season left to figure it out.
George gets 3 points for stating the absence of powerhouse teams. Connor gets 2 points for mentioning Carolina’s loss and Otto gets 1 point for arguing there isn’t a dominant No. 1 team.
2. Which current NBA rookie is making the strongest case to win the Rookie of the Year award?
Connor: Karl-Anthony Towns has proven a vital asset to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Kristaps Porzingis has given Knicks fans a glimmer of hope, but Towns has eclipsed the young Latvian in nearly every major offensive category. Towns’s defensive prowess also sets him apart from the foul-prone Porzingis and the offensively-slanted Jahlil Okafor. All three players have the potential to carry their teams to new heights down the line, but Towns has established himself as the front-runner for Rookie of the Year by playing both sides of the ball at a more experienced level than his rookie counterparts.
George: Towns will win rookie of the year. He’s averaging 16.6 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Even other rookies have given up hope. D’Angelo Russell recently told the press that Towns deserved the Rookie of the Year. Towns is already averaging about the same points per game as teammate Andrew Wiggins was averaging last year when he won Rookie of the Year. He’s in a position to get an entire town named after him, just like 1986 Rookie of the Year Patrick Ewing. I don’t know about anybody else, but I’d totally live in Towns Town. (Edit: My sources have informed me that Ewing, N.J., is NOT named after Patrick Ewing. I still stand by Towns Town, though.)
Otto: Towns has been the best rookie this year and it’s not close by a mile. While I love my hometown guy Kristaps Porzingis, Towns (KAT) is the future of the NBA. He’s a rim-protecting seven footer who can switch onto guards on defense and shoot the three on offense. That prototype doesn’t exist yet and Towns is the model. I think a fair comparison for his potential is a prime Arvydas Sabonis because of his incredible passing, and that’s really saying something of KAT. No other rookies have come close to these guys because they are the future for a league that’s quickly changing. Fortunately for Towns, being surrounded by young guys like Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and a top five pick from this upcoming draft means that they’re going to be on the right side of the ever-changing league.
George gets 3 points for comparing Towns to Ewing. Otto gets 2 points for creating an innovative nickname and Connor gets 1 point for comparing multiple players.
3. With ongoing reports of contaminated waterways and the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil, should the IOC consider relocating this year’s Summer Olympics?
Connor: International political turmoil has been the only precedent for canceling a planned Olympic event, but the IOC has a responsibility to its athletes to ensure a safe and healthy competitive environment. The potential for disease in Brazil could be compared reasonably to the dangers of war. Athletes have considered boycotting the games, creating a financial motivator for the IOC to postpone or relocate. If there are reasonable measures the IOC can take to keep athletes shielded from the virus, then it’s a different story. Considering the current dangers facing the games, the IOC should carry out arrangements for rescheduling the games to a more suitable host country.
George: This sounds like a recipe for disaster, or a disaster movie. There’s a virus in Brazil that poses a threat to the global community and we’re sending the world’s best athletes over there for an extended stay. Adding to the problem, Olympic villages are notorious sexual playgrounds for athletes, and one of the ways the virus is believed to be transmitted is through sexual activity. I’ve read so many behind-the-scenes stories about lascivious romps and would-be scandals that I am positive something bad is going to happen after the Olympics. It’ll be “Contagion,” except sexier and more athletic. I’m already writing the screenplay in my head. I think the IOC should let this happen, if only because the resulting movie would be pretty phenomenal.
Otto: While these reports show the terrible things that are happening in Brazil, I still believe that the Olympics should be held in Rio this year. The country has spent a lot of time and resources creating a great environment for both fans and the participants. The concerns are real, but so far there haven’t been a lot of reports stating that the athletes don’t want to be in Rio. Once the athletes or countries start protesting, then it is time to change the location. However, it might be too late. We are already in February, so the Games are only a couple months away. We might not be able to see a change, anyway.
George gets 3 points for his great movie idea. Connor gets 2 points for mentioning the war-like conditions and Otto gets 1 point for arguing that it is too late to relocate.
George wins Around the Dorm 9-5-4.