A look back at the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.
• We've come completely around on this Billy Packer thing; we now can't imagine college basketball without him. Sure, he's loathsome, stubborn and almost always wrong. We find these qualities to be what make up his charm. He's that crazy old man, squawking — "BWAH! BWAAAAHHHHH!" — about the way things ought to be, never giving an inch, too damned old to apologize, throwing elbows everywhere, out of my way, BWAAHHHHH! We want everything he says to continue to be wrong, and we want him to do it forever.
• People are being awfully quiet about West Virginia being in the Sweet 16. Come on! Don't you remember Pittsnogle Mania? How could you have ever forgotten?
• Nice to see Duke doing well. They deserve it.
• Villanova's Allan Ray is almost certainly our favorite player in this tournament. We love the swagger, we love the sleeve and (of course) we love the fact that he still has his eyeball. Ray's injury is one of those instances that announcers can't talk about enough; remember, we have the video. We think Ray is like Bruce Willis in Unbreakable, frankly.
• If Albany had won Friday night, we'd still be writing about it. We think we would have devoted every post today to it. Viva los Danes de Grande!
• Congratulations to "W. Cheuk," whoever you are, for your current standing in first place of the Deadspin pool. Out of 1,535 competitors, Cheuk stands alone. And he/she has Connecticut over Duke in the final — which is the most popular pick — so he/she could be in first place for a while.
• As for our Illini ... well, we're still not ready to talk about it. (All right, we'll try.) Illini fans are complaining about the foul disparity in the loss to Washington — the Huskies shot 39 free throws, the Illini just 11 — but we actually thought the game was called fairly; the difference is that Washington had Brandon Roy, who could beat any Illini guard off the dribble and therefore pick up fouls. As the Illini prepared for a final 3-pointer to tie the game, we called our dad back in Illinois.
"Who takes this shot?" he asked.
"Has to be Dee Brown, even if it's a bad one," we said. "He's earned it."
Dee took the bad shot, he missed it, and we still think he had earned it. We're glad he took it, even if he missed. Which, by the way, he did. He missed.