Sunday, December 28, 2008

A game of troubled teams: UAB at Louisville

UAB was supposed to be having its big year. Mike Davis had backloaded the roster with "BCS" transfers. Yet when the Blazers took the co(ur)t (Pitino-speak) yesterday, they had exactly six scholarship players left. Two were just recently lost to academic ineligibility (AI). The coaches's own son just came back from AI. His own frakking son! Lenny Elmore tried to defend Mike Davis, but it looks like perhaps the Knights were right after all. Yikes!

And the remaining UAB players played as hard as they could, considering their numbers, the numbers of the opponent and the PitinoVille-friendly crowd. They should still be able to out-gun most of the C-USA teams, but it looks like their big chance to dethrone a struggling Memphis team has gone bye-bye.

Louisville on the other hand made a good step in the right direction. On a very related note Edgar Sosa made only a brief guest appearance. Pitino over-reacted to getting burned by Sebastian Telfair (as if he would ever go to college), and decided to stick with Sosa, who is turning out to be a net-negative, and would probably do better running and gunning for a NEC/MEAC team.

Samardo Samuels on the other hand has been EXPOSED. He can't jump over a wet towel when stand-still. This means that the eight-figure NBA salaries are not coming any time soon, but he could make a good back-to-the-basket traditional Euroleague center. Of course he's only a freshman, and it's only late December, so let's not rush to conclusions just yet ;-) Still that does not mean he can't be a very effective college player assuming he learns, adjusts, adapts and develops his game physically and mentally. He is still a space-eater after all!

Nevertheless, without consistent guard play and without reliable shooters that can play defense (eg crack the rotation), this team certainly does not look like a top 20 team, even though it has top 10 to top 15 talent. But if Pitino works his magic as usual, this could be a very dangerous team by February. Or not?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Week #4 of the BlogPoll Top 25 is out!

Week #4 of the Blog Poll Top 25 is out! Check it out! There are tears, tears of Ammo as GoneZaga loses two back-to-back games! The Big East has four and the ACC have three teams in the Top 10. The season is starting to look like a giant Big East vs ACC challenge, which is THE challenge that should have been on TV. But of course ACC prefers the Big 10 patsies, that way they can have a 100-0 conference challenge series record, instead of a 50-50 :-)

For more details, and to see how everyone voted, be sure to check the detailed Google spreadsheet, which you can read with your web-browser, no need to pull out that Excel monster! (although we prefer Open Office - especially its price!)

Merry XMas, Happy Holidays!

To all out there, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and all the best :-)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

1999, 2004, 2009 - Numbers say UConn wins it all!

UConn won it all in 1999, then five years later, they won it all again in 2004, breaking the heart of a favorite ACC team. So this year, the 2009 NCAA tournament, the numbers say that UConn wins and breaks the hearts of another ACC team - yes, the North Carolina Tar Heels.

But of course the numbers are not the ones playing or deciding the games - it's the players, the zebras, the coaches and the NCAA :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Battle of Seattle Recap: UConn beats GoneZaga!

I finally got around to watching the Battle of Seattle, a great overtime game, where UConn managed to comeback and out-onion the Zags and get a great road victory and "re-discover" themselves at the same time.

This is not your Ammo's Zags though. They can play defense. Really. They do! Look at the numbers! Their defensive field goal percentage is under 40%. Yes, we are talking about the Zags! The type of raw athletic talent and potential of the Zags roster is really equivalent to what you can find in most of the upper-echelon "BCS" teams. Infact a number of them would LOVE to have as good of a raw talent level as the Zags.

And that poses an interesting question, because with this type of talent and style of play, Mark Few has shown that he can both recruit and coach at just about any college program in the country. Is he perhaps, perhaps, auditioning for the Arizona job? Because his team looks like some of the best Arizona teams of the past!

On the other side of the aisle, after two years of troubles and headaches, the talented collection of UConn Huskies are starting to gel together and grow and mature. No more "laptops" and coaches-gone-wild. They certainly have the Hall of Famer coach who is still sharp as a tack, and they have a game-changer inside in Hasheem "shot-blocking" Thabeet - when the zebras are not picking on him - (see my post on what rules must change) - they have Slice-n-Dice Dyson, and a whole lot more!

Barring any surprises or injuries, it would be a major shocker if both of these teams did not make the second weekend in March. How far can they go from there is the big question. They both certainly have a high ceiling!

Monday, December 22, 2008

These Rules Must Change NOW!

The game of basketball is for the players to play. This is what allows the game to exist. So with that in mind, there are a series of rules that need to be modernized, and stop being afraid to change anything just because some people are frozen in evolution and do not want anything to change.

These have to change:

  • Fouling out: This is stupid. Why take a player out? Maybe this made sense when they player with peach baskets and had 40 possessions per game, and fouling out would get rid of the "bad apples" so to speak. But now the game is much faster, the players are taller, longer and more athletic, but the court has not change. They are bound to bump and grind a lot more than they used to. Add to that some diva zebras who want to make their presence felt, and you have players not playing for stupid reasons.
    "ENOUGH!" as BHO said. Perhaps as a start, increase the number of fouls to six, and gradually phase them out or increase them. This is the most important rule change that has to happen

  • Get rid of the alternating possession silliness. Reward the defense with the ball when there is a tie-up

  • Allow the best players to shine by adding the semi-circle under the basket and don't let a player take away a basket simply by standing under the basket and taking a charge. This is not defense, this is pinball! Standing under the basket and waiting to be hit is not a basketball skill, it's "Jackass"!

  • Add a third referee! Too many calls are wrong or missed because two old fat man cannot keep up with the players. Some of the misses are so obvious you can even see them on a 15" TV, like Earl Clark stumbling on his foot and the referees giving the Minnesota player a foul!

Former Kentucky Coaches Support Group (aka Louisville vs Minnesota)

The previous two Kentucky basketball coaches squared off at the University of Phoenix Stadium event that took place in Phoenix, Arizona. Former co-workers and presumably friends and members of the same support group, Tubby Smith and Rick Pitino squared off. As expected, Tubby had the better team, and Pitino had the better raw talent. And as it is often the case in single-games in college hoops, the best team won!

Tubby has probably found the ideal place for him. He is still in a Big Conference, he is the biggest program in the state by far, but at the same time, he is not the type of person that mothflies to the spotlight like Pitino or Calipari or CryZoonski. Plus this allows him to build up solid teams of three and four year players, instead of McBurger one-and-done, which is what he likes to do. He is not going to become the next Duke/Carolina type of a program, but he will have solid 20+ wins every year, and when the cycle is right, he will be making second weekend runs in the NCAA.

Pitino on the other hand is running out of excuses. No longer the "but the high-schooler went to the NBA" excuses work. Gone is Derrick Caracter. He should have had the team he was expected to. But the only one of his six guards that is meeting or exceeding expectations is Preston Knowles. The rest of them are just out of it. We already talked about Sosa in the Ole Miss game recap. And Samardo Samuels is starting to look like a 3rd tier center that comes off the bench for Top Ten teams when the game is already decided. OUCH!

But the good news is that this is still mid-December, and the big games are in February and March! However, considering that this team did not lose that many players, and it has some solid raw talent, they are clearly under-performing even by under-performance standards ;-)

Ole Miss vs Louisville game recap

The awkward Big East - SEC Challenge continued with a double-header and one of the games was of the rather intriguingly unpredictable PitinoVille Cardinals. Ole Miss of course was hot on the heels of the Andy Kennedy "taxicab confessions" incident.

One thing that was evident from that game is that Samardo Samuels cannot jump over a wet kitchen towel while stand-still. This is major ouch for a player that was considered one of the top five incoming freshmen. Ouch! Not to mention not making any adjustments. Perhaps the aura of Derrick Caracter still lingers? :)

But the biggest problem for Louisville is Pitino's stubborness not to "encourage" Edgar Sosa to transfer to an NEC school where he would play 35 minutes per game and take 30 shots per game and be happy. Instead he is trying to transform Sosa into something he is not and cannot be. The side-effects of getting burned by Sebastian Telfair?

The good news is that Earl Clark is awesome with capital A. Even Bob Knight, the grinch who stole the happiness from all of his former players (ouch!), couldn't stop praising Earl Clark's combination of mad skillz and mad understanding of the game.

Ole Miss is promising, perhaps not for this year, but if Andy Kennedy can "survive" the cab-driver "scandal", he could build a solid program at Ole Miss as a Huggins Lite. Although the cab driver "incident" may hint that he is not that much ...lighter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Week #3 of the BlogPoll is out!

The new edition of the Blogger's BlogPoll is out and Kansas is crying? Check it out at March to Madness.

Some quick opinions:
* I love seeing Pitt at #2. Wake me up when they beat an Elite 8 caliber team :-)

* I've only seen PitinoVille play only once so far, and it was the disasterous game against Western Kentucky. If they are that bad, they won't even make the NIT!

* GoneZaga looks like a team with onions for a change. Gone are the DiVas (Ammo) and the little kiddies (Raivio). Did Mark Few honestly think he could go to the Final Four with a 15-year-old as his point guard? (Nothing against Raivio, this is on Mark Few).

* Clemson is doing well again. January paging Clemson :)

* Forgot about Dre Ohio State? They are loaded with talent, and Thad Matta has not forgotten how to coach! Can they make up for inexperience and lack of Oden/etc and have a final four run? Let's not forget it was Thad Matta's non-superstar Xavier team that should have gone to the Final Four in 2004, but unfortunately the zebras and the NCAA had to make sure the Pukies advanced ;-)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

CBS debuts, no Billy Packer and a great game!

CBS made its 2008-2009 season debut with a great game between the Memphis Tigers and the Georgetown Hoyas, and even better, NO MORE BILLY PACKER! Yeeehaaaaa!

The very abrasive Billy Packer, who was caught by the CBS microphones during the NCAA tournament "MILFing" on Stephen Curry's mom, is GONE! Go back to the ACC blackout games where you belong Billy Packer :-)

Clark Kellogg is certainly an upgrade, although Billy Packer has managed to fill up the CBS line-up with "stiffs" (serious guys), while some of the most famous basketball analysts and announcers were ignored because they were too "loud" (Dookie Vitale, Marques Johnson of FSN, Gus Johnson, etc).

Now can you please get rid of Tim Brando? :-)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Memphis at Georgetown recap

This was a great start of the season for CBS, with enough defensive and offensive stretches to keep fans of both happy, an overtime and tons of lead changes to keep fans of drama happy, lots of skill-moves, inside-play and such. Only ones disappointed are shooting-fans as the threes were definitely in a ...recession.

Both teams showed that if they develop according to their talent, and the stars align, they could squeak their way to the Final Four! Both teams could easily make it to the second weekend for sure!

But they both have lots of challenges first. Memphis may have again a super-frosh, but this is a different type of freshman. As Derrick Rose improved, so did the Tigers team. On the other hand, with Tyreke Evans, it may be the other way round, the Tigers team has to improve and lift Tyreke Evans. As we saw in this game, he hasn't met a shot he didn't like, and he hasn't met a bad decision he didn't like either.

Don't cry for the Tigers though, they are just now integrating Simpkins, and they could have a "traditional" guard if CJ Henry recovers and is able to catch up with the rest of the team.

Georgetown of course has the super-frosh, Greg Monroe (thank you Greg for not going to Duke!) But it's not just the Greg Monroe show. For a college team, Georgetown's backcourt trio is quite solid, with the short quick guard in Chris Wright and the two versatile power-guards in Freeman and Sapp. Considering their style of play, this may be the best backcourt trio for the team they play for!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Week #2 of the BlogPoll is out!

The Dookies are crying as the results of Week #2 of the BlogPoll are published!

My favorite house of cards is ranked at #2 and without me voting them down, the Pitt Panthers are raging wild ;-) Although, DeJuan Blair is the real deal and he could be the game-changer that Pitt lacked during the previous Howling-Defender and Dixon years.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

We are all Michigan fans this week

Thank you John Beilein! Thank you! I knew you could do it! Thank you Michigan! Thank you Ann Arbor! Thank you for giving the sleazy Dookies their first defeat of the 2008-2009 season! The first of many to come we can hope :-)

That's what happens when you have a real basketball coach coaching versus a phoney :-)

Go Michigan Go! :-)

Can Gus Johnson make the Big Ten Network not boring?

Is Gus Johnson enough to make the Big Ten Network less boring (not boring)? It's bad enough to have teams that engage in slugfests, to make it worse, you have "watching paint dry" analysts and play-by-play guys.

So can Gus Johnson and the ESPN/ESPNU "escapees" breathe some "non-boringness" to the Big Slugfest Network?

PS: It's easier if the teams stop playing slugfest, and start playing basketball the way it is meant to be played :)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Dirty play has no place: Suspend Leonard Washington for a whole month

A game is not enough to discourage players from dirty play. I say suspend Leonard Washington of USC for a whole month for unsportsmanship-like conduct, and you'll see how quickly all the dirty below the belt punches will stop for years to come!

Leonard Washington, you are the WORSE COLLEGE BASKETBALL PLAYER IN THE WooooooooooooooooooooooooRLD!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Week #1 of the BlogPoll is out!

The first week of voting for the 2008-2009 BlogPoll is over and the results are in! Check them out at this Google Spreadsheet, and also at March to Madness. How many Big Easts are in the top ten? Who is #2? How did the teams that lost last week fare?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Jimmy V week starts on ESPN!

Jimmy V week has tipped off on the ESPN family of networks and will continue until the Jimmy V classic which airs on ESPN next week, Tuesday December 9, 2008!

For more on the Jimmy V Foundation, be sure to visit and donate perhaps at

Monday, December 01, 2008

Louisville vs Western Kentucky: It's awesome with capital A!

The game wasn't awesome, but it was very dramatic in that the outcome was uncertain, and it wasn't Western Kentucky who was trying to steal the victory but Louisville. Perhaps this game would make a good argument why polls shouldn't start until January, but unlike college football, polls are something fun for the fans and experts alike to debate and discuss.

Fox College Sports scored big with this game, as it was their "exclusive", piggy-backing on their satellite network thingy they have with Western Kentucky. Some may have needed a translator to understand what the analyst was saying, but who's complaining? :)

Louisville looked like a miserable experience. They looked like Gonzaga does when they get 0wned in the NCAA tournament by tougher teams who want it more. Only thing missing was the Louisville equivalent of Ammo crying before the final whistle blew :)

But of course Rick Pitino is a veteran of all these, and you betcha he is goin to get mavericky and make the most out of this loss in getting his players focused and motivated. Not to mention scaring all the NBA hopefuls about their future if they deliver performances like that.

But Pitino shares a lot of the blame. For one thing, he is the head coach. For another, his team was having major problems shooting, yet he was very reticent in bringing Will Scott or Katie Curic off the bench. Granted, Will Scott got owned big time in an ISO, so that perhaps may be the reason he didn't want to play him longer, but hey, if you can trade-off three for two, why not? Especially when during most of the game they were trading off zero for two!

But don't cry for the Cardinals. They have plenty of talent, although they are a bit thin on the inside, with just Samardo Samuels and a couple of freshmen. But also, Earl Clark and also T-Will can also play the five and four if needed - especially if playing a smaller team. Also.

AJ Slaughter made it big during this game as he managed to single-handedly carve the Pitino defense like an after-Thanksgiving clearance-sale pumpkin. Considering they just lost to Murray State, what does that say about W-KY? And what does it say about UL?

Well, no one really knows, because these are not best of seven series, they are unpredictable single-instance games of youngsters who can barely decide what they want for lunch.

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