Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Draft Madness!

As always on the heels of March Madness, it's..... Draft Madness!

Already a bunch of college players, a lot of whom are marginal 2nd rounders, have entered the draft but not hired agents yet. Testing the NBA waters is almost a must for Juniors with NBA dreams these days as they get loads of feedback from multiple NBA sources. Only one HS player so far - another moral victory for Stansbury at Miss. State, but no player!

Perhaps this is something the NCAA and NBA can work out and make it easier for the Juniors-to-Seniors. This is very similar to the Career Fairs and on-campus interviews and Career Centers all college students can take advantage of on campus. Why not do something similar for the NBA? :-)

NIT Final Four!

Four teams made it to the Garden! And the two "biggest names" lost in the semifinals. Nevertheless this was a great experience for Maryland, getting Ledbetter and other players extra PT with Gilchrist and Strawberry injured. Memphis has once again shown that [by his absence] Jeremy Hunt is the silent MVP of the team - despite all the other NBA prospects on their roster.

St Joe's is playing great as a team maximing their skills and picking up a lot of experience and momentum. Phil Martelli looks like a genius now!

I admit I have only seen South Carolina play just once - in the NIT semifinals game - but I was very impressed with Odom's team. With all but two of the 8-man rotation returning next year, and some intriguing recruits/redshirts, South Carolina may have a Top 25 team next year.

Right now I predict South Carolina winning the NIT! - unless they lose ;-)

Monday, March 28, 2005

Weekend games get great TV ratings

As expected the dramatic games of the weekend has brought in more TV fans!

Why so many comebacks?

Because teams change their style. What gave them the big lead was their aggressive play! Once they pull back on the reigns and go slow and conservative, they lose the edge that gave them the big lead in the first place. This has been the case in the three overtime games in Elite 8. Michigan State was the only one who managed to escape with a victory, while Arizona and West Virginia tasted bitter defeat.

Elite 8 - Part II

In the only non-overtime game whose outcome was never seriously in doubt NC kept marginal distance over Wisconsin throughout the game and got their Final Four ticket punched. Obviously a great situation for the NC seniors who had to live through the 8-20 season under Matt D. And it only took "Old Roy" two years to get back to the Final Four, after back-to-back Final Fours at Kansas. Meanwhile, back in Kansas, Bill Self has an Elite 8 and a 1st round ejection with Roy's players. Maybe "Old Roy" is that good after all :-)

Why didn't Wisconsin use their big guys to wear down on the three NC forwards? Their four bigs off the bench only played a few minutes. They could have been used to wear down May & the two Williams and try to explore matchup issues defensively or offensively. Steinsma seemed to do well at the end of the 1st half in the few milliseconds he played.. I guess Bo Ryan more secure with his upperclassmen. Well, why collect all those bigs if you are not going to play them when they give you a size and matchup advantage?

OTOH Wisconsin has shown that they can actually play and be competitive at a faster pace game. This may have surprised more than a few people. That's food for thought for Bo Ryan during the summer! And Alando Tucker is that good!

On the second game and third OT game of the Elite 8, MSU's seniors also had something to cheer about! A Final Four trip! This class was also underachieving compared to the Flintstones, so beating Duke first and now getting to the Final Four is huge. It also solidifies Izzo as one of the top coaches showing that his three Final Fours were not a flash in the pan. That, along with his crazy number of recent Elite 8 appearances, two more than the closest coaches. It also perhaps shows that the brutal schedule of the 2003-04 season has finally paid off [the hard way]...

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Elite 8 - Part I

What a great set of games in the Elite 8 on Saturday. Full of drama, suspense, comebacks and meltdowns... Both West Virginia and Arizona players thought they had the Final 4 ticket in their back pocket at one point, but they didn't! Arizona's case is more dramatic as they held a 15 point lead with 4 minutes to go, and had chances to win the game both at the end of regulation and overtime. The Illinois comeback was unreal! It only goes to show that a game is not over until it's over. This is a comeback that players may be dreaming of but knowing that's almost too impossible to even dream about. But yet it happened! Now they look like a "team of destiny"!

On the other hand, it may be not as dreamy after all: the Illini played a home game in front of an all orange AllState arena and more importantly the refs swallowed their whistles during the last four minutes which obviously helped the aggressive pressure defense of the Illini and fueled their run.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Pitino is back!

A 30+ win season, regular season and conference tourney championships, and then onto the Sweet 16 after two previous disappointing exits. And now onto to the Elite 8. Their season looks more and more impressive. And he says "almost as rewarding as Providence" [on this season].

Watch out Pretenders and Contenders! Rick Pitino is offically back! It took him four years but now he is back and here to stay!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Sweet 16 predictions!

The 8 teams that move are on:
Washington (OT)
West Virginia
Michigan State
North Carolina

The Mercurial Memphis Tigers - Part II

Part 1

And now to Part 2!

What a transformation! Sean Banks and his NBA hype are gone! High-flying Carney is coming off the bench. Hunt has temporarily recovered from injuries and legal issues and is very effective on the court. D-Wash is improving every minute he plays. The Tigers have a glorious run in the last competitive C-USA tourney. They almost win it all (on their home court). The player who made this great run possible misses two free throws [with time frozen] and costs them the NCAA invite. So much drama! But the team keeps on ticking. NIT Final 4 yet again! Will they win the NIT and lose D-Wagner (oops! D-Wash) again? History repeating? And back to square one? Perhaps...

But this was impressive turnaround. Partial credit goes to Calipari. This team was loaded with talent and promise but not playing like a team in the fall. Not having enough ball-handling guards probably hurt them earlier on. But despite all the mess, Calipari managed to pull it through. And almost made it to the NCAA along the way! The NIT run should be huge for this team [yet again].

Next year another highly-touted recruiting class is kinda-sorta coming in. Some of them may not qualify. Some may bolt for the NBA. Some of this year's team may bolt for the NBA [Banks, Carney? D-Wash?]. 2005-06 could be a feast or famine season for the Tigers yet again. But at least Calipari showed some risk management skills by picking up Waki Williams late from the JC ranks to offset all the non-qualifiers/NBAers last season. If it wasn't for the injuries, Waki W. would have probably pushed this team to the NCAAs...

There's so much drama involved with this team, Part 3 is guaranteed by Summer 2005!

And oh by the way, how about a Pitino -vs- Calipari comparison? Since that famous Final 4, they've been sort of shadowing each other. High profile NBA jobs that didn't work out. High profile rebuilding jobs in college. But as of right now, it looks like Pitino is BACK! First Sweet 16 since he left KY, a solid 30-win season yet still undermanned, with some new wrinkles in his game [zone defense? w0w!], and a boatload (literally) of talented players who will actually arrive on campus next year.

The Bill Self bubble is officially BURSTing!

Just two years ago Bill Self was the hottest name in coaching. Kansas fans were ecstatic to get such a great coach and some even thought that "Ole Roy" was underachieving there and Bill Self would bring them championships.

Fast forward to today and here's what's happening:
* Kansas has a post-season meltdown and falls to perhaps the greatest upset in modern-era NCAAs to Bucknell. This after being everyone's favorite and top RPI team. And Self "forgets" to shake hands...
* Illinois without Self has a glorious season with just 1 loss and in the Sweet 16.
* "Ole Roy" has a glorious season at NC and in the Sweet 16.

So now if you look back at Self's years at Illinois, was he underachieving there? If Illinois is this good with Weber, and if Self was -that- good as a coach? Hmmmmm....

So Kansas fans, "Ole Roy" doesn't look so bad now, does he? :-)

Pat Summit coaching men's team?

This has been getting a lot of attention recently, fueled by Pat breaking Dean Smith's record and the men's team not having a coach. A popular topic on ESPN's PTI as well.

First of all this is totally up to Pat Summit. She has established a glorious legacy as a Coach. So she may be happy where she is doing what she does. Just like Coach K said "no" to the NBA because his true calling was where he was. Then there's the rivarly with UConn and Geno Au...

But this is may also be perceived as an intriguing challenge by Pat Summit. Would she be interested in it? It's a chance to make history, and break down one of men's sports biggest "taboos": A woman coaching power conference men basketball. This is a unique situation/opportunity because she wouldn't even have to move to another University. And a great victory for gender equality and such...

If it happens, this will also bring a lot of attention to Tennessee and college basketball. People who do not normally watch college bball may be tuning in to witness history.

But the decision is totally up to Pat...

March Madness!

UW-Milwaukee Still in it! But they already got two big wins against BC and Bama!

Bucknell Perhaphs the greatest upset in modern-era NCAA considering the RPI and talent level of Kansas.

Vermont A dream season and glorious ending for the Ben&Jerry team! And it looks like ESPN has found its Vitale-TNG (for non Star Trek fans: The Next Generation) in Tom Brennan.

West Virginia It's all about the team and it's all about hitting 3s and it's all about 1-3-1!

NC State Right Place Right Time works to their benefit for a change. Julius Hype is finally delivering.

Texas Tech Another team-oriented team. Classic Knight with modern-era influences from his son Pat Knight. Just like the Sutton & Son hybrid approach, it has resulted in success in March!

March Sadness!

Kansas A heavy pre-season favorite, they have a post-season meltdown and end up on the losing side of perhaps the biggest upset in modern-era NCAA tourney!

Hype Forest Yet another earlier dismount from Wake Forest. The soft label will no doubt continue to linger. Not having any mid-size guards perhaps hurt more than people thought it would.

Syracuse A veteran team with talent and experience from the 2003 title is upset in the 1st round by an underrated Vermont team.

Boston College The balloon deflated towards the end of the season. But it was a disappointing exit for the Big East regular season co-champs.

Pittsburgh Oh look! Another Big East meltdown! The "tough" Big East eh? Well Pitt has been going on fumes and cupcakes the last few years. Did not surprise me!

GoneZaga This is the fourth year in a row the Zags have been unable to get past the 2nd round. Two of their last four outs were reasonable (OT-thriller vs Arizona and close game against Knight's Texas Tech). However, they were physically and mentally dismantled by Nevada and Wyoming one and three years ago. It looks like NCAA success is easier if you are a cinderella [at least in this case]!

Alabama The core returned from an Elite 8 success story last year only to fall to a cinderella in the 1st round.

LSU A great record and regular season, this team fell to UAB, a team they beat just a few months ago. A little bit of a strange line-up at LSU with two big bigs and two small smalls...

Mississippi State They tried hard to lose to Duke. Missed layups, free-throws and on and on. A game they should and could have won! But this only shows why Coach K/Duke is Duke, and why Miss State under Stansbury has been unable to get past the 2nd round the last few years despite having great regular season records (but lots of wins against OOC cupcakes).

UConn Lots of talent and potential but not a lot of "team intangibles". Just one ball handler also hurts. Two shooting guards who didn't shoot also hurt. Super talented forwards who'd rather look pretty for the NBA than play team D also not good.

Oklahoma They thought they had this team turned around and had high hopes. Perhaps they over-achieved this season and raised the expectations for the NCAAs.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Coach K now holds the record

Coach K now holds the record of most NCAA tournament wins surpassing Dean Smith after beating Mississipi State over the weekend. But there is an asterisk on this record, since Coach K coached during the expanded tourney (6 games vs 4 games).

Nevertheless, it's an amazing number of wins! Some fans can argue that there should be an asterisk here as well because "Duke gets all the calls". ACC-homer Billy Packer was the latest to utter the "Duke gets all the calls" line.

Monday, March 21, 2005

March Madness on eBay!

March Madness is on eBay as well! Some wacky stuff there:

  • Someone is asking for $800,000+ for a march madness domain name.
  • A more "affordable" url for just $500
  • 1985 Big East Championship ring (currently at $220)
  • Final Four tickets
And then there's the more predictable stuff, like copies of SI, video games, autographed gear, jerseys, shoes, etc...

College basketball is all over the airwaves!

This is a huge year for college basketball over the airwaves.

The men's tournament is on CBS, with some CBS affiliates showing a 2nd set of games on their HDTV channel. Access to out of market games via broadband was just $15 at The only thing missing is the availability of that package on cable systems. (Already available on satellite).

The women's tournament is also getting more airtime with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN-U and Full Court!

Division 2, 3 and NAIA are also getting additional airtime with live games on CSTV!

College sports are picking up momentum after yet another "work stoppage" in Pro sports (NHL this time, MLB and NBA not long ago). The average fan is probably not thrilled about billionaires fightining with millionaires over money.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Coaching Carousel!

It didn't take long! It started a few days ago on some west coast schools. Now it's gone big time! Happy Trails Pete Gillen, Steve Lappas, and Buzz Peterson!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Packer does not want to "touch" mid-majors

Jim Nance kept asking Billy Packer for an opinion on the mid-majors on the bubble [Buffalo, Miami-Ohio, Northern Iowa], but BP did not want to comment because he has not watched them play and probably he is not even aware in which conference play! Isn't he paid the big bucks to be a basketball analyst? Maybe he should cut down on golf and watch a few hours of tape on mid-majors!

On a different note, he was very happy to point out that Saint Joseph's is OUT this year! The feud with Martelli continues!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Pacific rolled over for the greater good?

Is Pacific rolling over for the greater good of the Big West conference? Remember Utah State was [unfairly] left out of the NCAAs last year! I swear i saw a white flag... or maybe it was their shirts ;-)

Memphis - are they back on the bubble?

A heroic and at the same time dramatic performance by D-Wash may have put the Memphis Tigers back on the bubble. He kept the team in the game in the 2nd half only to lose the game at the free throw line! Memphis's 3 wins in C-USA combined with a handful of bubble teams losing games they were supposed to win in their conference tourneys, may have put Memphis back in the bubble!!

Friday, March 11, 2005

ESPNU is up and running!

ESPNU is up and running! Currently showing live and repeats of Championship Week games! More details at Currently only available on DirectTV and Adelphia cable.

Speaking of championship week, Comcast SportsNet is also showing some MWC/WAC tourney games [some of them are ESPN Regional/Full Court games].

Selection Sunday TV specials!

The brackets are releaved on a 1-hour show on CBS at 3pm pacific.
ESPN follows-up with a 2-hour ESPNU Bracketology show at 4pm. This will repeat at 6pm on ESPN2, as well as ESPNU [for those who get it]
CSTV will also have a "1 College Sports Show" special on the brackets!

Who wants to be in the NCAA?

Bubble "BCS" teams keep on falling!
This should widen the door for the "mid-majors" at large

Latest bubble bursts: Indiana (Goodbye Davis?), and Virginia Tech!

ESPN is ....Tilting!

Championship week, important games left and right and what does ESPN choose to showcase on Thursday night? TILT!

Is Poker a Sport? NO!
Is a TV series about Poker a Sport? NO WAY!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Gene Keady's final game!

Gene Keady's 25 year career at Purdue is officially over! The ESPN reporter tried to get some emotion out of Keady, but he only gave us some eye moisture and a hints of a quivering (sp?) voice.

Great games today!

A lot of great games were played today! Some teams played there way in, others played their way out! Quite a few bubble teams lacked "desire" to win! One bubble spot is gone now that Nevada lost! And Memphis looks -very- serious about winning C-USA on their home court! Facing South Florida instead of Huggy Bear should help!

Politicians and ACC tourney promos!

ESPN decided to get "creative" and use politicians to promo the ACC tournament. Yes, you know, politicians and DC, the host of this year's ACC tournament. They should have used the politicians for the Selection Sunday show instead!

Bubbles are bursting left and right!

Looks like Doug Gottlieb was right on the money when he kept repeating today on ESPN: "Do any of the bubble teams really want to go to the NCAA?". Lots of teams are playing their way out! Now the M-word is becoming popular. M for Mediocre bubble teams!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Thad Matta is a record spoiler!

If you plan on having an undefeated season make sure you don't play against a Thad Matta team!
His teams dethroned Illinois this year (Ohio State) and St. Joseph last year (Xavier).

Notre Bubble has burst!

And the Notre Dame bubble officially bursts! Yes, Quinn did not play but Rutgers was the #11 seat.
ND could not stop the 3s! As Raft says, "Douby-Douby-Doo"!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Tim McCormick has a VERY annoying voice!

I'm sorry but Tim McCormick has a VERY annoying voice! There I said it :-)
This may explain why instead of doing ESPN/ESPN2 games, he is doing ESPN FullCourt and Mid-Major games.

Not a Golden child after all

Chris Paul almost declared a saint by ESPN is now officially just like any other player:
Chris Paul gets one (1) game suspection for punching Julius Hodge's Onions!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Seven days to Selection Sunday!

It feels like the 04-05 basketball season just started yesterday. Yet we are just seven days away from Selection Sunday! Seven days for teams to make or break the NCAA and the NIT! If today's games were a preview, we're in for an exciting championship week and Tournament!

Yet another Duke-CarolAna classic!

Yet another Duke-CarolAna classic game! McCants absence was felt when NC had an offensive dry-spell. The game was a great ...block party! There may be a repeat of this in the ACC tournament final! Now "Ole Roy" is 2-6 -vs- Coach Kryzoonski.


Last play of the game, last shot, timed perfectly by Salim, helps Lute Olson break Wooten's record on the home court of their bitter in-state rival. Onions!

Destiny: Last game, last minute, last shot !

That's how long the Illinois winning streak lasted! It took a career game and onions from Sylvester to take down the undefeated Illinois. It was oooh-sooo-close for Bruce Webber & Team! Just one shot managed to undo an undefeated dream season!

On the other hand this was a great gift for the Ohio State team and especially its seniors who were UNFAIRLY PUNISHED by their University/AD and the NCAA for a Jim O'Brien violation years ago. Now on Senior Night, they go out by making history by preventing Illinois to make history!

Digger Phelps is a Homer!

Despite loss after loss, Digger has been adamant that Notre Dome is an NCAA lock? Why? Because he's a homer! Notre Dame is a bubble team at this moment after losing AT HOME to two other bubble teams (UCLA, Pitt). And if it wasn't considered a "designer name" by some people, it would be considered sliding (Georgetown is considered sliding and out, but ND is in?)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

This blog has been silent for a while...

This blog has been silent for a while...
But the conference championships and the NCAA tournament is just around the corner.
And now if you have broadband, you can watch all out of market NCAA games with Broadband Video on Demand for $20 or less from a CSTV/CBS collaboration.

Latest posts

Latest from Recruiting Wars