Sunday, April 27, 2008

NBATV free preview for 19 days!

This is the best time of the year to have a free preview of the NBA-TV, right at the start of the long and winding NBA playoff season! Check with your local cable provider to see if it's available. The note we saw was for Comcast.

This usually requires a digital cable box to have access to NBA-TV, regardless of subscription status. You can usually find it in optional sports packages.

The promotion starts on April 16, 2008 and ends on May 4, 2008, that's a total of 19 days! On top of that, all NBA-TV On-Demand content is also available for free!

Please note that NBA-TV is a single channel that covers the NBA and professional baskebtall 24x7. This is different from the NBA League Pass package that shows you games from all around the country.

But usually NBA-TV is included in the NBA League Pass package, so if you sign up for that, you get NBA-TV too!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Early entries in the 2008 NBA Draft (updated)

It is unfortunately this time of the season for college basketball fans where some of the best underclassmen are leaving college basketball for greener pastures (for the most part). How many of this year's superfreshmen will we say goodbye to? We'll find out by the end of June :)

Here are some of the players who have announced so far, this will be updated in the next few days!

Brook LopezStanfordSophomore?
Robin LopezStanfordSophomore?
Not Cedric Simmons (JJ Hickson)NC Statefreshman?
Derrick CaracterLouisvilleSophomoricGone regardless?
Not Jimi Hendrix (Richard)AlabamaJuniorNo Agent (as of 3/31)
JaVale McGeeNevadaSophomoreHired Agent
Lester HudsonTennessee-MartinijuniorNo agent (4/1, Fox Sports)
Ryan AndersonCal BerkeleysophomoreNo agent (4/3)
Eric GordonIndiana SampsonsfreshmanDeclaring (1070 the fan)
Jerryd "Not Skip" BaylessArizonafreshmanDeclares (AOL Sports)
Ron SteeleAlabama4th year juniorNo Agent (BamaHoops)
Earl ClarkPitinoVilleSophomoreDeclaring? Not so fast? Staying in school?
Anthony RandolphLSUfreshmanDeclares
Mo SpreightsFloridaSophomoreTest Waters
DeAndre JordanTexas A&MFreshmanDeclaring
Donte GreeneSyracusefreshmanDeclaring
Kevin LoveUCLA SlugfestFreshmanConfusion! Is he declaring? Maybe YES for sure?
OJ MayoUSCFreshmanDeclaring
Trent PlaidstedBYUsophomore?Testing waters
Michael BeasleyKansas StatefreshmanGoing, going, gone, with agent (4/14)
Derrick RoseMemphisfreshmanGone! (Tax Day)
Jeremy PargoGoneZagajuniorDeclaring, no agent
Brandon RushKansasjuniorDeclaring
Darrell Arthur (Shady)KansasSophomoreDeclaring
Russell WestbrookUCLAsophomoreDeclaring?
Keith BrumbaughJuCo (former BCS commit)Sophomore?Declaring?
CDR (Chris Douglas Roberts)MemphisjuniorDeclaring?
Luc Richard Mbah MuteUCLAjuniorNot a Joke! Declaring

They said they are returning (but wait for the Draft Deadline before you start a parade in their name)
  • Devon Jefferson (USC) (March)
  • Stephen Curry (Davidson) (March 31st)
  • Blake Griffin (Oklahoma) (early April)
  • more coming up

    Draft Stories
    Writers discuss the NBA draft in the Bleacher Repor(t).

    The New York Times looks at the draft pool, and specifically the freshmen.

    HOT NEWS! AOL News reports that the NBA and NCAA reached a secret agreement that will be revealed in a press conference on Monday that extends the NBA draft minimum age to 20, in order to keep college players in school for two years instead of one. FALSE ALARM! But perhaps better news in that all the stakeholders are getting together to work on putting some structure and some common sense to the summer leagues and the development of the youngsters. Of course there is the old saying of "too many cooks" and that is certainly the case here, but I bet almost anything is better than the insanity of the current summer circuit.

    Meanwhile, Bruins Nation has done a great job in their write-up on Russell Westbrook and the NBA Draft.

    A story posted over and over the net, as if to irritate North Carolina fans says that none of the three UNC players are in the lottery. The trio of course being Tyler "looked like a child against Kansas frontline" Hansbrough, Tywon "I was fast" Lawson, and Wayne "I played with that dirty Dookie in high school" Ellington.

    The Sports Flow has a Should I stay or should I go analysis of the high-profile underclassmen from the four Final Four teams. Theme songs: The Clash with the aforementioned title, or for the younger audience, "Stay or Leave" by the DMB.

    A complete listing of all the 2008 NBA Draft prospects at CBS Sportsline.

  • Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    Travis Ford moves to Oklahoma State!

    NIT Champion, and working under Pitino and Donovan, UMass head coach Travis Ford moves on to the Big 12, according to ESPN-News according to Doug Gottleib. Douggie is now live on the phone on ESPN News reporting on this breaking news!

    What happened to the Henry Iba slugfest defensive style of play? Move over Pac-10, Big 12 is the new run and gun conference?

    Turn on to ESPN News now for the live update from Doug Gottlieb! The deal is not yet signed, and Travis Ford was recently given a 10-year/$10-million deal by UMass!

    The final BlogPoll Top 25 poll of the 2007-2008 season!

    The inaugural season of the BlogPoll Top 25 ends with the final end of season poll that was just published today. The poll is available for all to see, including complete details on how each blogger voter. It is available as a Google Doc which you can read online or offline, with your browser or your favorite office productivity tool.

    Which teams made the Final Top 25? You have to read to find out. Here are the teams that did not make the Final Top 25, but were knocking on the door: Villanova, Pitt, Oklahoma, Vandy, USC, Texas A&M, USC and GoneZaga. Of those, we did vote Nova and Vandy in the top 25.

    If you are a college hoops or sports blogger and want to join the BlogPoll for the 2008-2009 season, just let any participating blogger know! You can find the list of all participating blogs at the top of the Google Doc. Each blog's name is a link to their site!

    And before we conclude, big thanks to the BlogPoll Commissioner at March To Madness who has been running the poll throughout the season and herding blogging cats!

    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Trent Johnson at LSU press conference live on ESPN News!

    ESPN News and ESPNews-HD are carrying a live press conference at LSU, where former Nevada and Stanford head coach Trent Johnson is introduced as the new head basketball coach.

    One of the things Trent Johnson mentioned was the opportunity to recruit players without the academic restrictions one has at a place like Stanford. Which perhaps explains why the ex-Dookie athletic director bolted out of Duke, and convinced the coach to bolt out of Duke-West (Stanford). Or perhaps another AD driven to madness and tears by Coach K and fleeing the Cameron Dungeon where Coach K practices his dark-side crafts with Dark Vader.

    Another thing mentioned by Johnson was the pressure and expectations to win big, following on the heels of the success of LSU football program. But be patient LSU fans, the Lopez twins are not walking through that do(o)r :)

    Wednesday, April 09, 2008

    Dick Vitale's Top 5 for 2008-2009!

    As seen on ESPN Sportscenter, assuming key players return, which you cannot assume until the April 27 NBA Draft deadline:

    1. North Carolina
    2. UCLA
    3. Lousville
    4. Texas
    5. Georgetown

    Meanwhile Andy Katz at has picked the Texas as their #1 for 2008-2009. Katz has picked a complete top 25, and it is dramatically different from Vitale's homer-appeaser-sycophant top 5 :)

    Of course these preseason picks are beauty contests since we still don't know who will declare for the NBA draft and who will stay in the draft. We can usually get our first "solid" 2008-2009 predictions just before the 4th of July, since the NBA draft takes place in the last week of June.

    Traitor Mike's Dilemma?
    Trent Johnson of Stanford has spoken with LSU about their job opening. The LSU opening has great potential for post-season success, and unlike Stanford, you are not limited by academics on who you can recruit.

    This would be the ultimate irony for Traitor-Mike, as he just took the Cal job. I imagine that if the Stanford job opens, he would bolt California for the Stanford job ASAP. He's not the first coach to pull a switch-a-roo, although he would be the first to do it in such a scenario.

    I hope it happens, so we have more drama to talk about :)

    Tuesday, April 08, 2008

    The NCAA Final: The Post-Game Blog Post!

    And so it ends. Another season in the books, and this time, we got an NCAA championship worthy of championship drama, with an overtime, lead changes, a buzzer beater, and a meltdown even! It had everything CBS wanted it to have to get the viewers captivated and watching their little boxes (well some of them are more than fifty inches wide).

    Kansas: We are the Champions
    Twenty years after Danny & The Miracles, we had Bill Self and the Comeback Kidz, powered by Danny Manning karma on the bench. Kansas was winning the first half, was losing the second half, but managed to stage an almost perfect comeback, send the game into overtime, and grab overtime by the throat and never look back!

    This is good news for KU fans who have been waiting for twenty years for this moment, and can now perhaps bury the Roy Williams hatchet as they got their championship. Of course there will still be bitterness of "15 years of Roy, no championship" and "5 years of Self and a ring". But let's not forget that before March 2008, Bill Self had a sub-par March Madness performance, with two first-round exits and two Elite 8s, when he could have easily had a couple of Final Fours, and a minimum of Sweet 16 each year. But championship cures all.

    Now the battle is keeping Self in place. Oklahoma State is perhaps willing to throw other people's money at Self, and if the ridiculous amounts mentioned are true, it pays to go home again! He would be getting six Lee Majors as a signing bonus! Who can say no to that? I know I wouldn't :)

    And then there's the NBA Draft. Winning it all increases the perceived NBA stock value of potential draftees, and encourages them to either test the waters or jump all the way in, even though they have been on the bubble before the RING.

    But regardless of all that, Kansas was about as deserving of a championship as any team this year, they had solid and consistent games throughout the year, and showed versatility and the ability to play fast and slow on offense, and handle fast and slow teams on defense. What else can you ask a team to do?

    Memphis Half-empty: A Series of Unfortunate Events
    Yes, the free throws were perhaps the most visible and the easiest to pin-point given the past free-throw woes of Memphis, but perhaps Karma was to blame for that. In 2003 the Roy Williams Jayhawks could have easily beaten the Syracuse Carmellos if it wasn't for horrible free throw shooting. So perhaps it was fate that an almost perfect free throw shooting night for the Self Jayhawks (shooting in the 60s), and a 60s performance by Memphis would have a major impact in the game.

    But it wasn't just the free throws you see. A number of other factors could have easily given the game to the Memphis Tigers and prevent it from going into the overtime-meltdown. Here are some:

  • two stupid fouls by Joey "I am no Ben Wallace" Dorsey
  • CDR going to the hoop for a dunk with seconds left instead of dancing around the court and eating up enough seconds to prevent the Mario Chalmers shot
  • Calipari not calling a time-out after the Derrick Rose made free throw, and after the Chalmers miracle three

    But the free throws could have reversed all that, as Memphis had four chances in a single possession and only needed to make two. CDR missed both, but Dozier (who Calipari called out before the game, and indeed had a very good game) stole the rebound and that allowed Derrick Rose to shoot free throws. He made one of two and the rest is history.

    Memphis Half-full: Two plays away from a 40-0 season
    If we step back from the dramatic and epic final game of Monday night, we can easily see that the Calipari Memphis Tigers were essentially two plays away from a 40-0 season. I don't think people realize how good of a season the Tigers had. Sure it was the mid-majorish Conference USA (now with Ben Braun cooking Rice), but being two possessions away from a 40-0 season is no small feat.

    While not as dramatic as the Tark the Shark UNLV teams of 1990 and 1991, the Memphis Tigers will probably be remember a step below those teams. And speaking of the 1990 UNLV Running Rebels, they beat the Dookies by 30 points in the NCAA Final. And now you can buy that DVD from NCAA On Demand via Amazon.

    Relive the Game!
    You can relive the game online at, or you can tune in to ESPN Classic tonight (Tuesday) at 11pm eastern (8pm pacific). You can also watch the game on CBS College Sports (CSTV) at 3am eastern (midnight pacific).

  • Monday, April 07, 2008

    OTL today: Jay Bilas, Cardiac Pack, NCAA Title game!

    Today's Outside the Lines (3pm eastern, ESPN; repeats at 5pm eastern on ESPN2), there are two NCAA Championship specials. The 2008 final (Memphis vs Kansas) and the 1983 Cardiac Pack of Jimmy V and NC State fame are featured! Jay Bilas will be a guest on the show to discuss the title game!

    More details at the OTL Page. Also, the poll of the day at ESPN Sports Nation is who do you think will win the National championship, Memphis or Kansas? Or both? :)

    Basketball Hall of Fame News on ESPN News!

    Watch it live! Who's in, who's out??? Let's get started!

    The Bob Cousy award for the best point guard goes to ... *drumroll* DJ Augustin of Texas-Austin. The award was announced and presented by the man himself, Bob Cousy! DJ Augustin was there of course to receive the award, wearing an (ooops!) this is not the Oscars :) They also announced that the Sports Museum of America in New York City will be the new home of the Cousy Award.

    Next one in, announced by the one and only Jim Nantz, the scoring machine of the NBA, Adrian Dantley! Those of you young enough not to know of him, watch some games on ESPN Classic, NBA-TV, and YouTube!

    Next up, Bill Davidson, of the Detroit Pistons and such, not as a player obviously!

    Followed that, jumping in was Patrick Ewing, the New York Knicks and Georgetown Hoyas supercenter! And it was fitting perhaps that one of Ewing's rivals also enters the HoF at the same time: Hakeem Olajuwon!

    Next, going in as a head coach, the sleek Armani-wearing, Pat Reilly of the Lakers, Knicks and Miami Shacks! Not a surprise to anyone!

    Another coach, the head coach of Immaculata, an all-women's college, Cathy Rush!

    And oh the irony! After causing drama about Vitale/Packer, Jim Nantz would actually announce the induction of Dick Vitale. It's awesome baby with Capital A! It's unbelievable!!!

    And when Jim Nantz interviewed Dick Vitale, Vitale CRIED within 20 seconds of his interview! It's cry-awesome baby with capital tears! Vitale also thanked Bob Knight for his letter-writing campaign to get Vitale in the Hall of Fame.

    And perhaps this is why Vitale got in, the big push from the one and only the General Robert Montgomery Knight!

    It's Awesome Baby! This was a huge class in 2008, the enshrinement ceremony will take place on September 5, 2008!

    Can someone please nominate this blog for the College Hoops Blogging Hall of Fame???

    The NCAA Final tips off tonight!

    Woohoo! The NCAA Final is tonight! And there's plenty of pre-game coverage on TV at ESPN and CSTV (CBS College Sports)!

    Meanwhile Sports Illustrated has opened the floodgates to the past, their vault of past issues is open to the public, and more importantly FREE!

    Congratulations are in order for the UConn Women's Basketball blog, which was recently selected by Blogger/Blogspot as a Blog of Note.

    Also if you want to get wired up, be sure to catch a four-game marathon on ESPN Classic featuring four past NCAA Finals, and a replay of the Wacky Final Four games on CSTV (CBS College Sports).

    More coming up later today!

    Sunday, April 06, 2008

    Dick Vitale gets in the Basketball Hall of Fame!

    ESPN News is reporting that Dick Vitale will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008! That's right, Dookie Vitale is in baby! It's awesome with capital A! It's super-scintillating-sensational!

    The formal announcements will be made on Monday April 7, 2008 at 12pm eastern (9am eastern) on ESPN-News and ESPN-News-HD. You can also check NBA-TV, they may also have the announcement made live.

    Speaking of Vitale, you can watch his Dick Vitale's All American Special on ESPN-2 tomorrow (Monday) at 11am pacific (2pm eastern). With Dan Shulman of course. This is a repeat that originally aired on Saturday on ABC and ABC-HD.

    Final Four: The Day After The Games!

    Vitale bullies Bob Knight
    During one of the Sportscenter at The Final Four segments, Dick Vitale was sort of bullying Bob Knight. And just like any bully, when they are bullied, they hide in a corner. In this case, Bob Knight moved his chair close to Digger Phelps and starting cuddling! Bullies = Cowards!

    Media Watch
    Ja(y)son Williams needs to stop eating his own words while speaking on TV. Literally! He tries to speak faster than his body can process the words and it doesn't sound good for someone who is speaking on TV on a regular basis. Will someone from the TV production crew tell him that???

    Meanwhile CBS/CSTV had a huge get in Greg Anthony. No doubt a Billy Packer favorite as Greg Anthony is a Billy Packer style analyst, with on-topic comments spoken in clear and concise manner. This of course regardless of whether you like or agree with Packer or Anthony. But Greg Anthony could become the next Billy Packer at CBS.

    And speaking of CBS/CSTV, the youngester play-by-play guy, who looks like a snotty brat (or a boyband member), has actually done a very good job at the Final Four as the anchor of the marathon CSTV broadcasts. We are talking about Carter Blackburn. Or in the words of Pete Gillen: Cauter Blackburn ;-) And in his own words at this NY Times sports blog.

    Final Four Afterthoughts
    Calipari turned around the LA Times stories that said the game between UCLA and Memphis would be a major coaching mismatch. Calipari said after the game: "Don't say that about Ben. I have great respect Ben!".

    Ben Howland's horrible job on the bench was only masked by Roy Williams's stubborness to call a momentum timeout, because apparently Williams is of the philosophy that if you call a timeout like that, it is like admitting defeat. One has to wonder how a coach that refuses to look at the scoreboard and refuses to call timeouts is in the Hall of Fame! (hint: 80% winning percentage).

    But back to Howland. For one thing, he has had a shooter on the bench that he chose not to play because of defense. His name is Chace Stanback and he could easily fill the role of Afflalo on offense, especially considering he is a few inches taller. However, because he wasn't ready defensively, he rarely got a look, despite the desperate need for shooting. If I was Chace Stanback, I would transfer out to a program that would actually play me!

    Howland also had some strange matchups. Rose was having a field day with Collison's defense, yet Howland kept him on Rose for the longest time ever. Perhaps that's why Collison intentionally fouled Rose so he would foul out? (the equivalent of the Samurai falling on his sword?).

    Memphis's spread court offense took away UCLA's multiple-fouls-per-possession double-teams by their wrestling forwards, and Ben Howland was unable to compensate.

    This perhaps exposes Ben Howland for what he is, a coach that wins ugly and cannot win big games if he actually plays basketball the right way. And they tried to play basketball the right way with Memphis, and they got manhandled.

    On top of that Ben Howland got dominated three times in a row in the Final Four as none of his losses were even remotely close. And if you can't even win one Final Four game with Kevin Love, when can you actually win? :)

    Imagine if North Carolina had a starting backcourt of Collison and Westbrook. Can you say 120-85 scores? :)

    Body Language Segment
    It was interesting to note the two sets of Final Four interviews by Seth Davis. In both interviews two of the coaches were aggressive and even touched the other coach. Of those two aggressive coaches, one won (Calipari) and one lost (Roy Williams).

    Coaches Gone Wild
    "Peas or Corn?" That was Calipari's greatest accomplishment as a volunteer at Kansas under Larry Brown :)

    Calipari went on an hour-long monologue during today's press conferences setting up the table for Monday's NCAA National Final.

    And a back-handed compliment from Calipari on Howland, describing on how he managed to get away with ugly slugfests under the bright lights of Los Angeles.

    Coaching Carousel
    Spin spin, spin the coaching carousel! Oregon State is now flirting with Ron Hunter of IUPUI. Apparently the Oregon State AD has not met a mid-major-conference coach he didn't like :)

    Traitor-Mike has done it! He's gone from Stanford, to the Golden Gate (State) Warriors, to the California Bears. This puts him in elite company of "traitors", jumping to the most hated rival of their previous team.

    Meanwhile not a rumor, but Western Kentucky has gone to the Rick Barnes well, and came out with one of his assistants as their next head basketball coach!

    NBA Draft updates
    A number of players have jumped into the NBA Draft pool, including Jerryd Bayless, perhaps tired of the coaching drama at Arizona, Ron Steele, Earl Clark, and such.

    Taking Comments Out of Context
    Jim Nantz doing a Golf promo during the broadcasts: "... those are magnificent holes ...". Nantz by the way ha a new memoirs book coming out in May.

    Bob Knight talking about UCLA: "... they made love ...".

    Tape-delayd April Fool's Day
    You've heard the story of Tyler Hansbro renewing the lease on his house at UNC. Well, our insider sources have told us that Hansbro bought a $10 reloadable gift card at a local coffee shop in January 2008. According to our projections, this is a guarantee that he will return next year, because no one would buy $10 worth of coffee unless he was planning to be around for an extra year to spend it!

    Saturday, April 05, 2008

    Phil Knight, Boosters, Oregon Ducks, and money on OTL

    Sunday's edition of Outside the Lines will spotlight Phil Knight, Oregon and boosters, and their money-influence to collegiate athletics. The episode airs on Sunday April 6, at 930am eastern (630am pacific).

    Guests include Temple AD Bill Bradshaw, and Brad Wolverton, senior editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education. As usual, Bob Ley is the host.

    And a video preview of the story courtesy of ESPN.

    Final Four Preview: Kansas vs North Carolina

    Oh this couldn't be scripted any better! OleRoy vs his old team! The drama is lessened a bit because it's five years now, and the Kansas players are Self's guys, not Roy's. Roy had a sneak preview of this type of thing when his team squared off against David Padgett and Louisville in the Elite 8. Roy had a short conversation with Padgett after the game - caught by TV the cameras. Just the images, not the conversation mind you :)

    The Roy vs Kansas factor
    The Alamo Dome is a big place, and I'm sure there will lots of fans from both sides. Will the Kansas fans boo Roy every chance they get? And if they do, will that cause a reaction from the UNC fans? Will we have a circus show in the stands? And even if we do, will that affect the game in any way? Fans are supposed to be loud and going crazy at a Final Four setting to begin with :)

    Game-wise, we don't think this will really be much of an impact. Once the ball is tipped, it's a game, the competitive juices are flowing, and it's about beating the other team. Remember, this is different from Roy Williams going up against Dean Smith - that Coach vs Coach, this one is Coach vs Other Team.

    We don't think it will be a factor in the game, but it will definitely be a factor in the discussions of pundits, analysts, experts, bloggers, barber shop goers, and basketball fans in general.

    Depth vs Depth
    Both teams are loaded, although perhaps not as loaded as you may think, considering the injuries of Lodrick Stewart and Bobby Frasor. But they both have quality game-changing performance depth, players that would start on just about any other team in the country even!

    Sharron Collins could be what wins the game for Kansas and Danny Green what wins the game for UNC. They obviously play different positions but their impact is similar! Both teams should devise defensive schemes to limit their impact on the game, because if they don't, either one can start an offensive (or defensive) avalanche.

    Since there are so many factors in the game, the winner of this battle does not necessarily mean their team wins the game, but it's definitely a very helpful thing to have in your plus column.

    Also of impact, especially if there are foul troubles are Chaka Khan (Sasha Kahn), and Alex Stepheson (who most play-by-play guys confuse with Deon Neon Thompson for some strange reason). Not necessarily because they have a 20/10 performance, but for defense, rebounding, screens, and doing all the little but important things a team needs from its big guys to win.

    It may be the that Jeremy Case finds himself on the court a little bit more, while Q (Quinton Thomas) will get his minutes backing Lawson and also trying to defend the Kansas perimeter starters.

    Burger vs Burger
    These teams are loaded with talent! They have Mcdonalds, Roudnball, and Jordan Classic stars all over the place! They are bluebloods with capital A baby! (Okay, capital B).

    The perimeter will be an interesting Burger battle, where the versatile trio of Russell Robinson, Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush take on beep-beeper Tywon Lawson, Wayne Ellington (now with defense) and Marcus Ginyard (winner of the Jackie Manuel award of defense).

    The players are versatile enough that just about anyone could guard anyone and perhaps the coaches will adjust the matchups based on how the game flows and which players are having good offensive and defensive days. We'll probably not see Brandon Rush on Lawson, but perhaps we may see that too if Self wants to have a "blanket Lawson" strategy where he throws every player at him, hoping he can get the best defensive effort out of each player, while at the same time not wearing down an individual with a 24x7 Lawson task.

    The Front Co(ur)t
    Oops, there's no Pitino, so no need for Pitino-speak. It would be a master of the obvious point to point out the significant of defending and containing Psycho-T. Will Bill Self try to contain him or shut him down? Will be gamble on Hansbro and make the perimeter guys beat him? Or will he go for a more balanced defensive approach? We don't know!

    Carolina's best defense is their offense, even though they are a better defensive team now than they were in December. This team has indeed shown some game-pressure onions during the ACC season and the post-season. At least so far. They didn't crumble when the Pitino Birds made a strong comeback in the second half.

    Shady may present a matchup problem for the TarHeels, as none of their three bigs are slim and shady enough to chase Arthur on the perimeter all game long. But OleRoY is lucky, he can try Danny Green and Marcus Ginyard on him too. Don't be surprised if we see those two guys at the 3/4 spots, and Roy goes for a smaller and faster line-up, just like he did in the Louisville game.

    Meanwhile Neon Deon Thompson's trademark bank shot may be what decides the game. If Kansas does the best they can to take out Hansbro and the perimeter guys, Thompson could have a field day hitting those makeable (for him) shots. Bookmark this prediction!

    Other Previews
    There are plenty of final four previews online, here is a sample of them: Storming the Floor, Slam Online, SI's Luke Winn, and Jocks vs Geeks. No, we did not make up the last website name, it's for real :)

    Final Four Preview: UCLA vs Memphis

    Oh my as Dick Enberg would say. These four teams are hot and these four matchups promise (on paper) to be very exciting and dramatic! We start with the first game, tipping off at 3pm pacific (6pm eastern) on CBS. More on the TV stuff, check our TV schedule.

    The History
    While the most memorable game is perhaps that NCAA Final between John Wooden's and Bill Walton's Bruins and Memphis State back in the day, the most recent matchup was the 2006 Elite 8 slugfest that took the game back 500 years. In that game, UCLA beat up and short-circuited the game, taking out the Tigers, and winning with the first to 50 wins mentality.

    During the press conferences, Ben Howland promised that this would not be another slugfest. This promise coming from the man that brought us the Texas A&M vs UCLA slugfest just two weeks ago, and that game was played in Anaheim even, which was a near-home-court for the Bruins!

    Defending Kevin Love
    One of the big keys for UCLA is Kevin Love, which we like to call "Beached Whale" because of his size. Perhaps hitting another full-court shot in yesterday's practice was an omen for the Bruins, but if Calipari wants to reduce Love's impact on the game, he'll have to do a lot of things.

    For one thing, he can't afford to use up Joey Dorsey's five fouls on Love. For another, if Joey Dorsey is on the perimeter chasing Kevin Love, it opens up the offensive glass for LR Mbah Mute, Westbrook, Keefe, et al and if that happens, Howland has already setup shop in Victory.

    Another player that Calipari could try on Love for a few minutes and a few fouls is the "Dancing Bear", Pierre Niles. Niles hasn't been playing much before of the Memphis style and depth, but you saw in the Elite 8, the moment Dexter Pitman came in, Pierre Niles jumped in too. So we would expect perhaps some Niles tries to wash away the Love ;-)

    The Battle of the Point Guards
    It's no secret Ben Howland is scared of Derrick Rose. During yesterday's press conference, he accidentally called him Jason Kidd. Howland said "when they got Jason Kidd" meaning Rose. This was a stream of consciousness type of thing, not premeditated. And he has good reason to be scared of Derrick Rose. He is a bona fide Pontiac Game Changing Performer.

    But Darren Collison can be one too. While not as powerful as Rose, Collison is the definition of a beep-beeper (Lavinism) with a perimeter shot. We doubt Darren is gonna spend too much time guarding Derrick Rose, unless of course Howland notices something he can exploit. We'll probably see Westbrook or Ship, or even LR Mbah a Mute on Rose, at least partially. Now if Howland could put Arron Afflalo in, or Jrue Holiday, he'd probably take that option right away :)

    Defending Collison on the other hand will probably be done by cmte, as Calipari has many options, such as Rose, Kemp, CDR, and shutdown defender Antonio Anderson. Memphis's athleticism and versatility allows them to switch defenders on just about any player, other than Kevin Love of course. Andre Allen would have been a nice alternative, as he has something the others don't, he is a fire hydrant type guard with speed. And limited minutes would have allowed him to play with wreckless abandon. Good thing for the Memphis Tigers? Darius Washington is not walking through that do(or) (Pitino-speak) :)

    The Other Forwards
    Another critical aspect of the game is the performance of the Other Forwards. On one side we have James Keefe, LR Mbah a Mute, and the Wrestlers, Alfred Aboya and Lorenzo Mata-Real-Madrid. On the other side, we have the wiry Robert Dozier, the versatile Iowa State transfer Shawn Taggart and the powerful but undersized and inexperienced Jeff Robinson.

    Points-wise Memphis looks to have the advantage, but we think that the most critical aspect will be rebounding. And perhaps the group that wins the rebounding game, could potentially be the one winning the game and heading to the "One Shining Moment" game on Monday!

    They put baskets to score!
    As the one and only Pete Gillen says. So apart from the aforementioned players, who else can be a factor in the game?

    For UCLA, the struggling Josh Shipp would need to score. He doesn't have to make threes, he could discover his old ways by being a crafty player around the bucket, especially when Dorsey is out of the game or out of the paint. Westbrook is another scoring factor, whether it's fast-break points or jump shots. Points could be at a premium, so any scoring is good scoring.

    For Memphis, CDR has to justify his name, as no doubt Howland will plot and scheme to surround Rose with ...thorns. CDR will also receive defensive attention, but that's where he has to showcase his craftiness and old man game and put points on the board. We think that if CDR scores 20 or more, Memphis has a good chance of winning the game - other things equal of course.

    The bench has to provide some offense too, be it Taggart, or sharp-shooters Willie Kemp or D-Mack. Don't be surprised if Jeff Robinson plays some minutes in this game, especially if Howland goes to a smaller line-up with LR Mbah-a-MuTe as the power forward. Decision making has been an issue for Robinson, but he has the muscle to grind with the UCLA wrestling forwards.

    Other Previews
    There are plenty of other Final 4 previews on the net, here is a small sampling; Dallas Morning News, Seth Davis (video), and March Madness All Season.

    Friday, April 04, 2008

    Nuggets from the Final Four Press Conferences

    This is an on-going post where we post nuggests as we go through the Final Four press conferences by the four participating Final Four teams. Here we go:

    UCLA tidbits
    Freudian slip by the horrified Ben Howland on the Memphis Tigers: "...They added Jason Kidd", obviously when referring to the addition of Derrick Rose to this year's squad.

    Ben Howland is listening to an extended edition of a live Stevie Wonder song while watching film. Meanwhile Len Robbins, the reporter from Cold Pizza and a fish-wrap, with the annoying voice, annoyed Ben Howland by asking about his obsession with defense. Thank you Len Robbins for exposing the Ben Howland slugfest to a nationwide audience :)

    Memphis tidbits
    The Rev Jessie Jackson was invited by John Calipari to speak to the team... CDR says Calipari yells at him all the time... The Memphis players deflected the questions about Andre Allen, and avoided getting involved in the situation...

    ESPN coverage tidbits
    Seth Greenberg on John Calipari: "He is the Bill O'Reilly of basketball coaches. He is always in the spin zone".

    Kansas Tidbits
    Bill Self on Stewart: He is out after open-practice goofing around injury :(

    Myles Brand and David Stern talk NBA Draft and raising the age minimum on Saturday!

    Be sure to watch or record the 30-minute Outside the Games documentary that airs on CBS on Saturday at 330pm eastern (1230pm pacific). This will feature a discussion with Myles Brand, the NCAA Emperor, and David Stern, the NBA czar on the NBA draft and the possibility of raising the minimum age for entry into the NBA draft. Myles Brand mentioned already in his state of the Monopoly press conference that he favors at least two years, and encouraged people who are interested in this topic to check out that CBS documentary.

    Of course this should probably be done in a way that allows talented and ready players to go to the NBA right away, because a player like LeBron does not really need to play in college, unless of course he wants to. Granted the LeBrons are rare, and LeBron could have learned and benefited a lot from a year in college. After all, he was sitting courtside watching the Steph Curry extravaganza and perhaps wondering deep inside "What if it was me".

    Prediction: Mark Few will be the next Oregon head coach!

    We are big fans of the Gonzaga phenomenon, even though we call them GoneZaga every time they lose. And we are ready to make a bold prediction: Mark Few will be the next Oregon head basketball coach!

    Where do we basis this bold prediction?
    1) The new Oregon AD has Spokane connections

    2) Bill Grier, long time Gonzaga assistant, and first-year San Diego miracle worker-coach, has bolted out of his Oregon State deal. Perhaps because the Gonzaga job will open up soon? :)

    3) Mark Few has very strong ties to the state of Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest. Just like Mike Montgomery won't leave the Bay Area no matter what, we think that Mark Few won't leave the Pacific Northwest. And the Oregon job is the natural progression in his career if he wants to have a chance at the NCAA championship. The new super-sensational arena and the Nike goldmine should help a whole lot. A short bio of Mark Few at Wikipedia.

    4) We are not the only ones thinking in this fashion. See what John Canzano of Oregon Live says.

    We think that the failure to land Kevin Love or Kyle Singler would be ultimately what causes the end of the Ernie Kent era at Oregon. How often does the state of Oregon have two top five caliber players and yet the home team fails to get even close to one of them. That was the harbinger of doom for the Kent era at Quackville.

    The only question perhaps is whether this is a bold prediction or a master of the obvious prediction :)

    Jim Nantz causes Vitale controversy (and sells new book)

    Coincidence? We think not! The smarty pants "serious" golf-like Jim Nantz has managed to kill three birds with one stone in his latest controversy. (No actual birds were harmed by this phrase, so please don't chase me PETA).

    Three birds? Yes, for one thing, he generated buzz for CBS and the NCAA tournament. For another, he promoted and defended his long-time buddy Billy Packer when he said that "If Vitale gets in the Basketball Hall of Fame, Billy Packer should get in too". It is of course no secret that Packer is not fond of the way Vitale handles himself as a basketball analyst. We agree in that Vitale should not go in as a basketball analyst, but rather as a Cheerleader of the Game, or a promoter of the game. Because despite the entourage following, pre-chewing and spoon-feeding Vitale, he still doesn't come up with any real on-the-spot insight worthy of a Hall of Fame analyst.

    So is there an ulterior motive by Jim Nantz here? Well, well, well, Jim Nantz is also publishing a new memoirs book, Always By My Side: A Father's Grace and a Sports Journey Unlike Any Other, which goes on sale May 6, 2008! This new hardcover is currently priced at $17.16 at Amazon, and you can save an extra 5% off if you pre-order it, while receiving a pre-order and 30-day post-shipment low price guarantee.

    So what is the book about? Here is a summary, courtesy of the editorial review at Amazon:

    Always by My Side gives readers an insider’s look into an unprecedented sixty-three-day stretch from February to April of 2007 when Jim Nantz became the first broadcaster to call the Super Bowl, the Final Four, and the Masters

    And to help our readers get a better handle on the book, here are some important book metrics: The book is 320 pages, making it a reasonable 5 cents per page. It weighs 1.2 pounds, which is $14 per pound, which is an okay price for a hardcover :-)

    Move over Traitor-Rick, here comes Traitor-Mike!

    That's right! First Rick Pitino did the unthinkable, and went from Kentucky to hated in-state rivar Louisville after a not-so-successful stint in the NBA, and was affectionately named Traitor-Rick by the Kentucky fans.

    Now Mike Montgomery does exactly the same thing, following Pitino's footsteps, going from Stanford to California-Berkeley after a failed stint in the NBA (Golden State Warriors). It looks like Mikie does not want to leave NoCal, and will take any job in NoCal. So as of this moment, Mike Montgomery is officially known as Traitor-Mike - at least to Stanford fans.

    More on the news at the Daily Cal, the student newspaper of the Telegraph university.

    Quick Hitters: Eric Gordon declares for the NBA Draft (and new LMU coach)

    We have a few quick updates! A number of sources are reporting that Eric Gordon is declaring for the NBA Draft! His name has been added to our list of 2008 NBA Draft early entries.

    New news! The Associated Press (AP) has named their player of the year and coach of the year winners. The coach of the year is daddy's son, Keno Davis of Drake, son of Dr Tom Davis of Iowa, Drake and Stanford fame. Player of the game??? *** suspense *** suspense *** The AP did the right thing and gave the best college basketball player the award, Tyler Hansbrough! While Michael Beasley is the best RAW talent and best NBA prospect among college basketball player, he is not the overall best college basketball player. That is Tyler Crazysbro.

    Meanwhile the ticker at the bottom of ESPN2 is quoting Andy Katz reporting that LMU (Loyola Marymount) of the WCC (West Coast Conference) will be hiring Bill Bayno as its next head basketball coach. Bayno, not to be confused with Bill Beano, is currently an assistant in the NBA for the Portland JailBlazers.

    In case you missed it, TCU has picked up a new head coach in Kent State's Jim Christian. Win a NCAA tournament game as a mid-major? You are in good luck! You get a new job, bigger salary, more benefits, and more goodies! Also discussed at the TCU Daily Skiff.

    So who replaced Jim Christian at Kent State? Me! Okay, not me, but Geno Ford. Geno was an assistant under Jim Christian at Kent State, so the dominos stop falling with the Golden Flashes.

    Poll-less poll of the day: Who is better? Maya Moore or Candance Parker? We blog, you decide! And a philosophical question posed by the crew of Cold Pizza (First Take) of ESPN2 today: "Would you prefer your team to go one-and-done in the NCAA tourney, or win the NIT?".

    If you are looking for "Hawk Attacks Girl" discussions here, look elsewhere. This is not an Animal Planet blog, or a Softball blog :)

    Be sure to check our March Madness TV listings, now expanding into April! At the rate we are going, the NCAA tourney will end in May by 2020 :)

    And if you are a big fan of college sports, and offiical NCAA DVDs, hide your credit card! Amazon has 1400 NCAA-produced game DVDs, covering a variety of sports. A good chunk of those DVDs are college basketball, and they cover NCAA basketball tournaments, past, present and future. Well, you can't buy the future ones now, and you can buy the present ones later in the summer, but you can buy the past ones, including the 2007 NCAA tourney, right now!

    Today on Outside the Lines: Memphis and Geno vs Pat!

    Today's Outside the Lines (3pm eastern, ESPN) is a college basketball extravaganza, with the first segment, the Memphis Rub, talking how the Memphis Tigers are the Outsiders in this year's final four, filled with Elite names like UNC, Kansas, and UCLA. A preview of this in the ESPN grey box. No, I did not make up that name, ESPN did ;-)

    Meanwhile the centerpiece takes another look at the Pat vs Geno saga, in the segment IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES. Here is a video preview of this segment. And can somebody please tell us the real reason why UConn and Tennessee won't play anymore? If they won't, I'll start coming up with wild and shocking reasons as to why :) But play against each other they cannot avoid, if they both the Final Four game, they win! (Does it sound like a bad attempt at Yoda?)

    Remember, today's, Friday April 4, 2008, OTL edition is at 3pm eastern (12pm pacific) on ESPN.

    Thursday, April 03, 2008

    The ultimate Duke Hater gift: the 1990 NCAA Final DVD!

    Yes, Duke Hater fans, we have what is possibly the ultimate Duke Hater Gift ever! The official DVD of the 1990 NCAA Final where the UNLV Running Rebels steamroll and blow out the Dirty Dookies by 30 (thirfty) points. Watch the smugfest melt from the plastic face of Coach Ratface K! Enjoy the blowout and the run and gun style of play of the Rebs! Go Shark the Tark! Okay, Tark the Shark :)

    The price is $24.99 and eligible for free super saver shipping if your order is $25 or more. To jump over $25, you can just buy an mp3 song for 89c cents, or find another low price trinket to put you over the hump. The DVD is produced by Thought Equity and NCAA OnDemand.

    NCAA On Demand has started releasing lots and lots of basketball games on DVD, so you can relive your favorite basketball moments in the best quality possible. Sure you can watch the old grainy VHS tapes, but if you are going to be watching on your new big screen TV, it's not gonna be pretty :) There are currently over 1400 DVD titles produced by NCAA On Demand, covering various NCAA sports from different eras.

    A nice site that keeps track of the Final Four teams in summary format is Be sure to check the team stats of the 1990 UNLV Rebels team, the one in the aforementioned DVD. You can also get other DVDs from the 1990 NCAA tourney. Check the link on the previous paragraph!

    Wikipedia has assembled a summary page of the 1990 NCAA tournament! Dookie tears not included, but they may be available on eBay ;-)

    Andre Allen singing the Memphis Blues

    Memphis was one of the teams without Final Four distractions. The keyword was. Andre Allen, backup point guard and potential defender of Darren Collison was left behind in Memphis and was suspended for the Final Four for violation of team rules. Details at the Sports Network, and the AOL Fanhouse.

    While the exact reasons is not yet known (links above say "drug related"), we would like to point out that Andre Allen will be graduating from Memphis this year, so under the new NCAA rule he would become a "free agent" for his fifth year of eligibility. The Final Four suspension could mean that Andre Allen could bolt out of Memphis regardless and be a starting (and star) point guard at a mid-major school. And there are plenty of coaches that would trade baggage for talent :)

    As you probably know, Roy Williams has the Kansas "thorn" in his side, and Bill Self has the Oklahoma State "thorn". Now UCLA is the only team without a distracting circus show ;-)

    Roy Williams, Kansas and UNC on Outside the Lines

    You bet Outside the Lines would have a feature on OleRoy playing against his former team in the Final Four. You bet! Here is a grey box preview at ESPN. Today's show will air at 330pm eastern on ESPN and ESPN-HD. Check it out!

    But also of interest is that now Bill Self has his own past to face, so he no longer has the distractions advantage. Bill Self is now faced with the Oklahoma State job opening, so that will take away his advantage of Roy having to deal with playing his old favorite Rock Chalk JayHawk Kay Yoo.

    Expect a lot more Final Four coverage on TV on Friday as CSTV will cover the practices, and ESPN will move its cast of characters (literally) to San Antonio. For more TV stuff, be sure to check our March Madness TV schedule.

    Wednesday, April 02, 2008

    OTL: Bob McKillop guest and the new Indiana Hoosiers coach

    Today's Outside the Lines, at 330pm Eastern (1230pm pacific) on ESPN, will feature the new head coaching situation at Indiana, which seems to be annual spring rite these days. Tom Crean is of course the new hire. Also a guest in the segment is Davidson's Elite 8 head coach Bob McKillop. Details here.

    Bob Ley presents! More details on Outside the Lines at the OTL page on which is not exactly the world wide leader on the net.

    And if you want to enjoy the Davidson March Madness world via blogging, be sure to check the Davidson Basketball blog.

    Tuesday, April 01, 2008

    Move over Bold and Beautiful, it's Lute and Kevin!

    As the world turns in Arizona! Who is the coach? They probably flipped flopped at least a dozen times at the University of Cactus during the 2007-2008 season. Now the latest newsflash states that Kevin O'Neill is indeed out as an assistant, as the softer side of the hard-headed "enforcer" was apparently not soft enough to make things work? :)

    And don't look now, but the Marquette job is open again ;-)

    The latest Kevin O'Neill and Lute Olson saga update at Sports Illustrated, an AP Story. This is a really juicy story as it includes a recap of the 45-minute televised press conference headlines by The Silver Fox.

    One of the biggest issues of course was the style of play, Kevin O'Neill changed the Arizona run and gun style of play that players signed up to play into a Ben Howland Lite slugfest, and perhaps if Lute did not return this year, there may have been a caravan of players leaving town?

    Man, has coaching men's basketball turned into a soap-opera or what???

    Update! Great line by Tom Brennan on ESPN2' Gameday: "This was Lute's second messy divorce this year". Oh my!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ESPN not quite the world wide leader on the net!

    An interesting story at traffic monitoring site points to data that ESPN is not exactly the undisputed world wide leader in sports. It is facing competition from many other sites, including Yahoo Sports, Sports Illustrated, and Deadspin!

    In our opinion, what has killed the ESPN website is that the multimedia crapola took over and completely overpowered the content. It made the website almost unusable for people who are doing more than one thing at a time on the net. Plus, they came up with the convoluted Insider scheme, which managed to hide some of their best content from the vast majority of their readers.

    We believe that the combination of the multimedia crapola and the "subscriber only" crapola is what is killing the ESPN site.

    This just in ESPN: The subscriber model doesn't work on the net :) Of course we knew that ten years ago, but you are still swimming in a river in Egypt.

    In fact the subscriber model is not even working for magazines, a lot of them are giving their issues away :)

    Wow, Sean Sutton fired at Oklahoma State after two years?

    The Coaching Carousel is indeed going crazy! Apparently the Oki State folks have had enough of the Suttons? Perhaps the way Eddie Sutton disgraced himself and the coaching profession by getting the USF head coach fired so he can get his 800th win backfired on Sean?

    Certainly what Eddie Sutton did at USF is despicable, but why is Sean getting punished for it? Sins of the father?

    Ron Franklin and crew of ESPN doing the NIT broadcast said they were also not happy with the firing of Sean Sutton.

    Sean, of course, not to be confused with Scott Sutton, the head coach of Oral Roberts. Oral Roberts is the university whose president found himself in a scandal and then made things worse for himself by using G-d as his personal defense attorney. Class act, eh?

    More on this at Sports by Brooks, and the Star Telegram.

    Are Oklahoma State administrators that delusional that they think they can get Bill Self out of Kansas???

    Tom Crean taking over Indiana? What about Marquette?

    A number of places are saying that Tom Crean is close to taking over the Hoosiers! Also at AOL Fanhouse. Is this for real or an April fool's day joke?

    A joke was for sure the lame duck Dan Dakich "firing" two of his players on his way out, booting Jamarcus Ellis and Armon Bassett off the team. What are they smoking/eating/drinking in Bloomington?

    For upcoming reactions from the Marquette world, be sure to check the Cracked Sidewalks blog.

    This would be an interesting development as another Jud Heathcote tree guy would be replacing Kelvin Sampson, also a Heathcote guy. Meet the new Godfather of college hoops! Also under his wing are Gonzaga, and of course Michigan State, and by association, Tulsa, and such :)

    If that is indeed the case, the Marquette opening would be an intriguing situation, as a Big East job. Who would Marquette go after? Would they stay in the Heathcote tree and go after CBI Play-off coach Doug Wojick of Tulsa?

    The story is all over the net, including the Herald Times, ESPN, and TSN.

    Oh my! Crazy coaching carousel, where are you taking us next???

    Andy Katz is reporting on the ESPN2 Gameday that the Wright State coach was the next option after Tom Crean at Indiana. Katz also points out that there is no natural successor to Tom Crean, as former pupil Darren Horn has just taken over South Carolina, to replace the retiring Dave Odom and hoping to become the next Andy Kennedy success story.

    Update II
    CSTV's Insider Brian Curtis was quoted as reporting to CSTV's College Sports Tonight that Tom Crean will be getting a 10-year deal with an average of $2.5 million per year.

    Can I get the Indiana job and get fired the next day? The buyout alone would make me an instant millionaire :) And then a multi-million dollar book deal to write about "My glorious day at IU" ;-)

    Sad News, Mr Wildcat Bill Keightley passed away last night

    Those who have been watching college basketball for the last forty years or so may have been familiar with Mr Wildcat, Kentucky's ironman equipment manager. Unfortunately last night, at the age of 81, Mr Wildcat passed away :-( He was one of the most recognizable names and faces in the world of college hoops, a living history of Wildcat basketball.

    A Sea of Blue has assemebled a long list of tributes and stories on Mr Wildcat.

    Bruce Pearl puts name in the 2008 NBA Draft!

    In a rather surprising development, the feisty Bruce Pearl has put his name into the 2008 NBA Draft! "It's always been a dream of mine since I was a little boy" said Bruce Pearl in an exclusive interview with local media. Bruce Pearl of course is much older than the average draft entrant but has used a little known exception that allows older men to enter the NBA Draft. This is NBA rule 43.25.6 paragraph IXX, section A-45i, subsection 94i.

    Pearl thinks that his high energy, and space-eating body will make him a good candidate for an energy guy coming off the bench to wake up the fans and his teammates. He is expecting to be taken late in the second round, and thinks that teams with poor attendance or low-energy or not-so-good team energy will benefit from having him on their team.

    Meanwhile the UT AD was in shock, as they are now losing their head coach to the NBA Draft!

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