Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wednesday 930am eastern on ESPNNews: Calipari introduction

ESPN News will be carrying the John Calipari introduction to the Big Blue Nation tomorrow, Wednesday at 9:30am eastern time! Warm up your VCRs and DVRs if you are not going to be near a TV!

What we want to see happen at the Final Four

Our Wish List for the Final Four is simple, and it coincides with our Predictions for the Four:

+ Michigan State to beat the UConn Cheaters, Woman Batterers, and Laptop Thieves
+ The winner of Villanova and North Carolina to win the National Championship!

Both Nova and UNC would make for great championship stories, and they both play a fun style of play that moves basketball forward, instead of backwards (Izzo). So, whoever wins that game will be our favorite to win the national championship.

This and that from the NCAA tournament

Here's a few things we forgot to mention during this year's NCAA tournament!

Something very rare happened in the first round game between Temple and Arizona State. A TV time-out was skipped because no one was fouling and no one threw the ball out of bounds. So when it was time for the next TV timeout, they took them back to back to make up for it. If you are not the type that watches the clock for 16, 12, 8, and 4, you will probably not have noticed!

And speaking of ASU, the candidate for player of the year that had the biggest tumble was Arizona State's James Harden. He was simply invisible when the games mattered, he disappeared in the Pac-10 conference tournament final, a victory that would mean a lot for the ASU program, and he disappeared in both NCAA tournament games. This was the biggest slide among the player of the year candidates for sure!

I find this Dookie irony very ...ironic. For someone so religious like Coach K, who even prays and crosses himself publicly before every game, he seems to have no trouble coaching a team named the Devils. Yet another example of Coach K double-speak and bigotry :-)

And more Dookies. I always wondered why while I found Mike Gminski at times boring, I did not dislike him even though he is a Dookie. It turns out, the G-Man played at Duke before Coach Ratzilla arrived, so he wasn't infused with the crapola that Ratzilla infuses everything he touches. So that explains why I do not dislike the G-Man!

Don't forget the five-year rule! UConn won in 1999 and 2004, and both started out West. One thing that throws off this pattern? This year they played at a different arena, an arena that didn't exist in 2004 :) So there is hope!

I'm sure I am not the only one who got tired of everyone talking about Ty Lawson's v*g*n*! Oops, I mean, toe :-)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Seth Curry, you are an idiot!

We praised Seth Curry for leaving the university of no-evolution, but sadly, his new destination is about as sad as his original school. He has decided to transfer to ...Duke! Yikes!

Welcome to being glued on the bench for the rest of your life Seth Curry, because you are never going to play floor-slapping defense like some of the other stiffs and zombies that Coach Ratzilla has on his bench.

Seth Curry, you are an idiot!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Teams with the most Final Four trips

Today's victory by North Carolina was record breaking. Not only did this gave them 100 NCAA wins, tying Kentucky (with the taken-out wins factored in), but also gave them their 18th trip to the Final Four. Here is the leader board:

1. North Carolina 18
2. UCLA 17
3. Duke 14
4. Kansas and Kentucky 13

Carolina had the lead, but Ben Howland's three back-to-back Final Fours boosted UCLA, but now UNC is back on top. Similarly, Bill Self's 2008 "lucky" national championship run caught them up with Kentucky at #4.

North Carolina wins a game with defense (?!?!?!) but almost has a Georgetown moment again

It was the 2007 Elite 8 when North Carolina was supposed to be going to the Final Four, and they were up 10 on Georgetown in the Elite 8, with just minutes left. But UNC had one of their patented meltdowns and Georgetown managed to get to the Final Four.

A similar thing happened today, later in the second half when UNC had their patented meltdown, but this type they were able to stem the tide and cautiously coast to Detroit.

But biggest shocker however was how UNC won the game. In the first half, it was defense and more defense. Defense from UNC even with Hansbro in early foul trouble? Oh my!

In the second half, UNC seemed to be happy with Griffin scoring on the inside so that Lawson would run it back on offense and cancel out the just-scored bucket with a two, or an outside three. A more "traditional" UNC approach to defense :)

Izzo State steals an NCAA bid with slugfest!

Izzo State managed to make their dream come true by slugfesting their way to the Final Four in Detroit. Izzo was able to plot and scheme and destroy Louisville by:
+ limiting the possibility of the Louisville press
+ effectively surviving the press
+ beating Louisville in terms of depth
+ taking away the Louisville three-pointers
+ slowing the game down to a grind

Strange comments by Billy Gillispie

This is really a strange cat, no wonder he doesn't like to talk to people about anything other than basketball. I watched some of the clips of the interview and it was rather bizarre. "I am the luckiest guy that has ever lived". While I understand this is a figure of speech, it was a very bizarre choice considering the current situation.

Not that we are experts on body language, but his hands were going crazy while he was saying "I'm the toughest guy on earth".

There must be a dark secret somewhere in his closet! Perhaps he is a member of a strange cult? ;-)

And who doesn't sign a contract in this day and age for a multi-million dollar transaction? It's not like he was baking cakes for the neighborhood. He was going into an 8-figure contract for crying out loud.

Anyways, he was a bad fit, glad he is gone, Kentucky must hire a coach who plays basketball the right way, not another slugfest control-freak. It's bad enough there's Ben Howland at UCLA, and because of his three back-to-back Final Fours it's not going to be easy to get rid of.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Villanova rewarded with a trip to the Final Four!

Despite the zebras and the NCAA trying to "punish" Nova with phantom fouls for humiliating their precious Dookies, the Wildcats were able to persevere and manage to take the "W" out of the hands of the Pitt Panthers and make it the Final Four! Go Nova Go! Thank you Nova for beating the Dookies!

Pitt, Pitt, Pitt! This was the year, with space-eater DJ Blair and versatile Sam Young and seasoned fattie LaVache Fields to make a run to the Final Four. The versatility of Nova across the board and the coaching skills of Jay Wright and his ability to make adjustments at critical junctions of the game, showed once again how the Ben Howland and Jamie Dixon success story is inflated based on their ability to foul teams and get away with it.

We love DJ Blair and Sam Young but the rest of the Pitt team just sucks. It's not enough for your four-year point guard to just wake up at the end of the game and hit miracles threes. Because those don't always drop in, and that's certainly not how you win championships.

Most NCAA wins without a trip to the Final Four

CBS has shown a very interesting statistic: The teams with the most wins in the NCAA tournament that have yet to make it to the Final Four. We would like to footnote this by saying that the Thad Matta Xavier was ROBBED of its rightful Final Four spot when the zebras did everything within their power to help Duke beat Xavier back in 2004 or so.

1. Boston College 22
2. Missouri 21
3. Alabama 20
4. Xavier 15
5. GoneZaga 14

Grouchy old men and Old Timers unite

Grouchy old men, the two hosts, of the new show that breaks a record in the number of sponsors it has, Survive and Advance, coming to you from Vegas, featuring Billy "I got kicked out of CBS" Packer and Bob Knight.

That is why when you watch ESPN, Bob Knight is not in the studio, but instead, he is on satellite :) He is with his buddy-in-grounchiness Billy Packer ;-)

Best Elite 8 records since expansion

SportsCenter had an interesting statistic, the best winning percentages in the Elite 8 since the field expanded to 64 (now 65) teams. Here they are:

1) Filthy Dirty Sleazy Dookies 10-1
2) Izzo State 4-1 (Michigan State)
3) Kansas (Ol'Roy and Bill "used car salesman" Self) 7-3

Findlay wins Division II title on buzzer-beater three in overtime

CBS couldn't have a better ending for the Division II championship game between Findlay and Cal Poly Pomona! The game ended with a wild buzzer-beating three-point shot in overtime. What else can you ask from a game, an overtime and a winning buzzer-beater.

Even more dramatic, this was the first shot made in the game by the player who hit the buzzer-beater!

We are all idiots says Boeheim

Boeheim made a great comment. Why are people asking college basketball players moments after they lose their last game whether they are leaving for the NBA? That's the worse time to ask this type of a question!

Boeheim can afford to call the media "idiots", Syracuse has a big chunk of ESPN and a number of sports writers, so he doesn't "need" the outsiders to get enough PR. He is already appearing on just about every ESPN show anyway :)

But he did make a great comment on idiots :) We couldn't agree with him more!

Payback: Pitino avenges 1997 title loss to Arizona by blowing them out

Payback time for Pitino! As you may recall, he just barely lost the 1997 national championship to the streaking Arizona Wildcats and last night he got some payback by blowing out Arizona by 40 points, and putting them in the record books as the worst points loss in the history of the NC2A.


Payback: North Carolina avenges pre-season NIT loss

Say what you will about Digger Phelps, but his method works in explaining away what happened in every game ;-) In this case, UNC got some payback for their pre-season NIT loss to Gonezaga a couple of years ago. More so, because a lot of the same players, not just coaches, were involved in the game.


Payback: Free throws beat Kansas

We are using the Digger Phelps method of analyzing games, where every game can be explained in four different ways. So, using the Phelps methodology, the Kansas loss was payback.

Payback? Yes, the ghost of the 2007-2008 Memphis Tigers team got some payback. Kansas lost their Sweet 16 to Michigan State on free-throws, with Sharon Collins (losing means you lose the right to get your name spelled correctly) missing a very critical one-and-one free throw when the game was on the line.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Villanova, you deserve a trip to the Final Four!

Great Job Villanova and Jay Wright! Great job Rollie for picking him as an assistant! Great job NCAA for putting Nova in Philly! In what promises to be a very dramatic in-state rivarly beat-down in the Elite 8, Villanova is just one win away from the Final Four. And having known and played Pitt in the past, they won't get surprised or shocked in the second half like most non-Big-East teams are.

villanova t-shirt

But this post is to CELEBRATE the HUMILIATION of the clueless DIRTY RAT! He was clearly outsmarted by Jay Wright, as if Casparov was playing chess against the average McDonalds employee.

Who in their right mind tries a three-forward line-up against Nova, including a lumbering seven-footer that doesn't even play against most teams? Three lumbering bigs against the mobile and agile and versatile Nova crew? How stupid was that? It was Coach-K-stupid!

Hey, floor-slappers, where was your defense last night?

Hey, Henderson, where was your NBA game last night?

Hey, three-point shooters, you couldn't even slap the floor last night!

Hey, McDonalds all-american team on the Duke bench, time to start filling in the transfer request forms!

Thank you Villanova!
Thank you Villanova and Jay Wright for such a wonderful gift to the world of college basketball last night! Thank you for exposing the Dookies for the fake spoiled brats that depend on favorite calls and NCAA and ACC favoritism in order to have "success"!

If you missed the game, you can watch it again and again at NCAA.com and also on your TV set with CSTV (CBS College Sports).

You can also enjoy Villanova's best moment so far, the official DVD of the 1985 National Championship between Nova and Georgetown.

nova tshirt

The Stubborn Witch is gone?

Check A Sea of Blue! A variety of sources are pointing that Billy "Stubborn" Gillespie (lost right for correct spelling of his last name) is DONE at Kentucky and there is talk that there was a meeting between the (former) coach and the university leadership.

It has been widely reported in both the mainstream media and the blogs and forums that Gillespie rubbed a lot of people the wrong way at Lexington, from his strange game-day full-practices to disrespect for certain local traditions and such.

But ultimately, we think he failed on the court. A control freak style of play and sub-par recruiting and his inability to "scale" upwards to the level of the job were his downfall.

He was able to scale up from UTEP to Texas A&M, but the jump from A&M to Kentucky was just too big for him.

Next stop? Probably the next Texas job that opens up :)

Predictions for Saturday's Elite 8 games

So which two teams are going to punch their tickets to the Final Four? Here are our predictions, which guarantees that the opposite will happen ;-)

First up, the Missouri Tigers will drive the UConn Cheaters crazy, and make their first ever Final Four appearance under the run-and-gun regime of Mike Anderson. They are going to make Thabeet look like a lumbering giant as the Tigers will be running all over the place at full speed. If you are at that game, lock your laptops and your wives: UConn is coming to town!

Next up, Villanova will dismantle the Pitt Panthers, because unlike non-Big-East teams, they know what's coming when Pitt toughens things up in the second half. But Nova itself is tough, tough the right way, not tough as in fouling and beating up people, but tough as in playing tough and staying mentally tough when the going gets tough.

So, our predictions, Missouri and Villanova will punch their tickets to the Final Four on Saturday!

Analyze games like Digger Phelps

Impress your friends with your basketball knowledge by breaking down games like Digger Phelps. All you have to do is boil down each game to one of the four factors below:
* points in the paint
* this team is on a mission
* they went to a zone
* payback!

And voila, you are now a certified college basketball expert!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Will Kentucky start a major spin of the Coaching Carousel?

Just as I am posting this, Billy Gillespie's call-in show is on live! Look for updates if there are any news coming out of that, and a recap of the latest current situation at A Sea of Blue.

Already, Pat Forde was throwing names left and right during "Cold Pizza" (First Take) on ESPN2 earlier today. Among the names thrown were Billy Donovan (who may be much more likely to listen after his next group failed to rise to the Noah/Horford/etc level), Izzo, Travis Ford and even Phelelhlelpephrey who is currently coaching at Arkansas.

Coaches everywhere can perhaps blame Rick Pitino for "ruining" the Kentucky job for everyone. With essentially three national championships in a row, Pitino created unrealistic and unattainable expectations for anyone else trying to follow him. Even Pitino himself has not been able to get anywhere near his former plateau.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Game of Change to air tomorrow on ESPN Classic

If you like to learn or revisit the socio-political history of the game, tune-in or record tomorrow's "Game of Change" on ESPN Classic on Thursday at 11am pacific (2pm eastern). This is a one-hour documentary taking a look at the 1963 NCAA regional semi-final between Loyola of Chicago and Mississippi State, which played the game despite pressure from within their own state not to play a game against an integrated team.

Time does fly, that was almost *gasp* fifty years ago!

Upset special: Syracuse beats Oklahoma

We have an upset special for you! The Syrcause 2-3 zone is going to confuse the Oklahoma offense and manage to limit the effectiveness of their offense just enough for the Syracuse three-point shooters to win the game for the Orange! The sly fox is going to out-smart the young pup ex-Dookie coach and take the Orange to the Elite 8!

But of course things would be more interesting if we have an Oklahoma vs North Carolina Elite 8 game, Blake Griffin versus the UNC frontline. Blake Griffin tossing Hansbrough aside as if he was a 6'4" guard! Plus, there would a Duke vs North Carolina underlying storyline, as the Oklahoma head-coach, Jeff Capel, is a former Dookie player.

Anthony Grant, don't take the Alabama job!

We offer unsolicited advice, and we think that Anthony Grant is better off staying at VCU than taking a risk at football-heavy Alabama. There will be other, better, basketball jobs opening that would be a better match for Anthony Grant. We don't think Alabama would be a good career move for him. We want him to go somewhere where he can play and beat Duke on an annual basis :)

Dykes during Kentucky game: More likely he is not returning!

During the Notre Dame game, at around the 4:30 minute mark in the first half, Jimmy Dykes said that Billy "Clyde" Gillespie (has lost right to correct spelling of name) is more likely not to return next year. And we think that's the right thing to do.

He is a coach with a ceiling and his ceiling is Texas A&M. Just like Bo Ryan has a ceiling in the NCAA tourney and it looks like Pitt and Jamie Dixon have a ceiling too. The only chance for Pitt to break out of their range is DJ Blair. He is a space-eating game-changer. If Pitt can't make it to the Final Four with DJ Blair, they'll never make it with Jamie Dixon as a coach.

Just like Ben Howland's ceiling is the Final Four, but his teams will never be good enough to win the RING as long as he plays scorched-earth basketball. Also known as "Big Ten" basketball :)

Seth Curry to transfer to a real university that teaches science

After spending a season at the university of scientific neanderthals, Seth Curry, Stephen's Curry younger but still hot-shooting brother, will start learning about evolution and dinosaurs again :-)

He plans to escape the small-minded world of "liberty university", both words loosely-bound together, as he escapes an institution of religious extremism for a "real university".

We applaud his move, and we wonder why he went there in the first place.

It is time we started teaching people science, not religious-science. There is another course for that, it's called religion!

It will be interesting to see whether all 300+ division one head coaches go after him. Is there any team who can't use a shooter like him? The answer of course is a big no! Will the state of North Carolina have the upper hand? Will he go to Davidson? BCS? Non-BCS power-conferences?

Will he wait to see who bolts for the NBA for scholarship openings, or does his dad's past NBA career fund (verb) a non-scholarship year as long as he picks the right team for him?

Yahoo Sports tries to derail UConn with recruiting expose

Yahoo Sports waited and waited until the Sweet 16 was about to begin before bringing out a Nate Miles recruiting scandal expose on their website. One has to wonder about the motivations of such long-term "investigations" that happen to be completed and revealed just before one of the biggest days in the world of college basketball.

Yahoo Sports, you are attention-grabbing leeches!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Coaches with the most NCAA wins

As of right now, the leaderboard among college basketball coaches with the most NCAA wins is as follows:
+ Coach Ratzilla K-devil 71
+ Dean Smith 65
+ Roy Williams 51

Of course it is worth noting that coaches in the earlier years had fewer games to play in the NCAA tournament, so they couldn't pile wins as fast as they can nowadays with a field of 65.

Best of College Basketball 2009

Don't forget to tune your DVRs, VCRs, and TVs to CBS on April 5, 2009 at 9am pacific for the one-hour special, "Best of College Basketball 2009". We assume this will be a show that will summarize and recap the 2008-2009 college basketball season, so if you are a historian or die-hard fan of the game, this might be something to watch or record! Check your local listings for exact airtime and channel number.

It is possible that it may get repeated later on CSTV (CBS College Sports), but as far as we can tell right now, the schedule is not showing it on CSTV yet. Usually TV schedules go about 10 to 15 weeks deep, so we'll know more next week.

The Devil resurfaces on TV: Billy Packer's Survive and Advance

Yikes! Billy Packer is resurfacing on TV as the host of the March Madness weekly show "Survive and Advance". The one and only Bob Knight joins him in the studio! Yikes! Two head-cases together, will they start punching each other? :)

You can catch their show on Fox College Sports and presumably on some of your local TV stations and FSN affiliates.

Without the CBS make-up department with gallons of paste, glue and paint, Billy Packer looks like a devil!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Get your Sweet 16 and Elite 8 tickets!

The Sweet 16 is all set now, and StubHub.com is offering Sweet 16 Tickets and Elite 8 Tickets.

The Sweet 16 promises to have some fireworks, with some really hot match-ups, like the Dirty Dookies squaring off against the guard-heavy Villanova. This week we are big Villanova guards. Go Jay Wright! Go Scottie Reynolds! Go Corey Fisher, smash the smugness out of the Dookie Pukie faces!

Another interesting match-up, is the run-and-gun fests of Gonzaga vs North Carolina, Arizona vs Louisville, Missouri vs Memphis. The first one to 100 wins each one of these games :)

The biggest style conflict is likely to be the Jim Boeheim zone going up against the space-eater monster-jammer Blake Griffin.

And the most likely game to be a grinder, well, what else, Michigan State vs Kansas :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

How about Travis Ford as the new head coach at Kentucky?

We have been criticizing Ben Howland despite his three consecutive Final Fours, because, when you coach at one of the most historic college basketball programs, you are not just responsible for a college basketball program, you are also responsible to play the game at its highest level.

Ben Howland is not playing basketball the way it should be played. Instead, he is using an ugly scorched-earth approach, by beating up and continually fouling the opponents, so they get tired of it all and give up trying.

So when we were watching the Oklahoma State vs Pittsburgh game, with the Cowboys running up and down the court and having a very exciting game against Pitt, the light bulb lit up.

Why not have Travis Ford be the new head coach at Kentucky? He is a former Kentucky great, and at the same time, he has coached across the country, which should be a big plus in recruiting from a larger and more diverse pool. His up and down style of play should be more than enough to bring in lots of talented recruits.

Because let's face it, Billy "The Clyde" Gillispie is really more of a Ben Howland type of a coach. You are not going to see run-and-gun-and-fun. And he hasn't been to even one Final Four.

And as one of the biggest programs in college basketball history, Kentucky should really be playing the game the way it should be played, instead of defensive slugfests and control-freakishness.

Because what works at UTEP and Texas A&M with jucos and under-the-radar players, does not work with NBA-caliber talent and Final Four caliber teams. When you have players who aspire to be NBA millionaires, they are not going to want to play under that much control or be subjected to boot-camp-style practices even on game-days.

Complain all you want about Tubby, but did Tubby ever "cause" Kentucky to play a post-season NIT road game?

A post-season NIT road game at Creighton? Time to bring in Travis Ford or someone else!

Watch all the games so far starting Monday at noon eastern

You can watch all the games played so far on your TV set starting Monday March 23 at noon eastern (9am pacific) on CSTV (CBS College Sports). Each game will be in a two-hour slot and presumably edited to fit in that time slot. So, whether you want to scout your team's next opponent, or watch the games in full without interruptions, be sure to set your VCRs and DVRs!

You can also watch the games at any time online for free at ncaa.com/mmod.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

UCLA gets what it deserves

UCLA finally got what it deserved. A team that relies on a myriad of fouls and slugfesting games, gets out-manned and out-toughed by a scrappy Villanova team. They say justice is blind, but apparently, justice knows something about college hoops :-)

Of course the Pac-10 commissioner is not particularly thrilled, this is the second time in recent years that Villanova is hosting an NCAA tournament game on its home court against a Pac-10 team. You may recall, they also squared off with the Shakur led Arizona team looking for NCAA redemption in yet another one of their dramatic seasons.

And while Mike Bibby, Jason Terry et al gave Arizona the name "Point Guard U", Mustafa Shakur gave them the name "Point Guard un-U" ;-)

Was it match-ups or was the middle of the ACC inflated like the BigTen?

We bashed the crappy middle teams of the BigTen for weeks now, but the first round of the NCAA tournament raises another question. Was the middle of the ACC inflated or did the teams simply lose because of unfavorable matchups and teams playing better than usual?

The Florida State vs Wisconsin promised to be a slugfest from the beginning, but USC came out of left field to surprise everyone with their crisp performance and versatile size.

So either one of those ACC losses are a matter of opinion.

But what about Wake Forest? Was it the "first year jitters"? New coach, inexperienced NCAA-wise players going up against a grizzled coach and team? Or was Wake Forest in free-fall after their rise to the top earlier in the ACC season?

And what does this say about coaches coaching at the bottom of the Big East or ACC or other BCS conferences? Do they not have a better chance at regular NCAA appearances by moving to one of the power mid-major conferences and taking one of the good jobs there instead of hoping and praying that they can rebuild toasted programs like Rutgers, StJohn's, et al?

Friday, March 20, 2009

If only Bo Ryan's teams played like he dances ;-)

Bo Ryan seems to be wanting to compete with Digger Phelps on a dance-off competition. Sadly though, his teams play with less excitement than his "dancing" ;-)

So much for Todd Bozeman being "reformed"

Sure, Todd Bozeman is reformed. Which is why his thug-player tossed the college player of the year Blake Griffin in the air WWF-style, risking a major injury. So, Todd Bozeman is teaching "thug defense". So much for Bozeman being "reformed". F-U Morgan State, you are the worse team in the NCAA tourney!

It is time for the NCAA to say "ENOUGH!" to all the thuggish plays, from elbows, wrestling moves, face-steps, "goons", scrambled eggs and things like that.

And there is a simple way to clean things up: Give out hard penalties until people stop doing it. It won't take much for the "goons" and the "goon coaches" to "get it".

And by hard penalties I don't mean just a couple of game suspensions, but ten games or more depending on the severity. Heck, even if it such an unsportsmanship conduct, take away their scholarship, and take away NCAA money from the university.

Because ultimately that's what the universities will pay attention to. If you take away, or threaten to take away NCAA money, they will listen very carefully!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Recap of the last block of games

The NCAA must be worried. They sent a secret memo to the zebras instructing them to call six fouls against Binghampton in the first three minutes of the game. Yes, you read right! Six fouls in the first three minutes, that's like two fouls per minute. Just to make sure that their starters get in foul trouble and their game plan is derailed, giving the Dookies a must better chance at winning and giving CBS some good ratings in the next rounds :)

But that's okay, AJ Abrams and space-eater Pittman will be waiting the Dookies on Saturday and hopefully Texas will beat Duke!

The most exciting games were probably the two games that many had circled on their calendars, and it is no coincidence CBS scheduled them at the end of the day, in order to bring in a bigger audience.

VCU looked toast after the first half, but slowly and steadily they chipped away at UCLA, and they came very close, oh-so-close, one jump shot close to pulling yet another NCAA tourney upset. We tip our hats to the VCU Rams! Their 2007 victory over the Dookies will remain priceless through the centuries. And that Larry Sanders dude is gonna make some big bucks when he goes professional!

The other dramatic game was Western Kentucky's "how to guide" on falling apart and losing a game you had already won. A bad out-of-bounds call by the zebras did not help the Hilltoppers but ultimately they managed to hold on to dear life and make it to the second round where they'll face SoftZaga but not GoneZaga.

Pettigrew was the one who solidified the victory for W.Ky from the free throw line. He was 1 of 4 from the line, but at a very critical juncture at the end of the game he went 2 from 2, giving his team a breathable margin.

We keep pounding the selection committee for picking all these ugly and undeserving Big Ten teams, and once again, Illinois without Chester Frasier was clearly not a #5 seed. In-fact, they were probably not a #5 seed with him. But without him, were they really a better team than St Mary's with Patty Mills?

And since we are back to St Mary's, we would like to politely tell the NCAA selection committee with its clueless chairman who doesn't even know college hoops has an exhibition season: F-U NCAA SELECTION COMMITTEE OF 2009. YOU SCREWED UP THE MID-MAJORS for the sake of crappy Big-Ten teams (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois).

The fourth game of the nightcap was Oklahoma playing the "reformed" Todd Bozeman club. The most dramatic part of that game was a wild wrestling move on Blake Griffin. Just like the NFL protects quarterbacks and the NBA protects star players, the NCAA should come in and hand out big punishments to "thuggish" moves like that, so as to discourage future recurrence. By "big" we mean long suspensions, not just a slap on the wrist with an ejection. We mean blocks of games, like 10 or more games! This is not the NHL or WWF/WWE!

High seeds Villanova and Gonzaga sweat it out in the third block of games

We had a pretty good prediction on the American vs Villanova game. As we predicted, American would come out strong and grab the lead, but Villanova would come back in the second half and win the game. That's what we call home court pressure. But eventually Villanova survived the scare and advanced.

The other high seed of the third block of games managed to survive as well. As usual in March, SoftZaga showed up on the court, but the good news for Gonzaga fans around the world, GoneZaga did not show up. After struggling for three quarters of the game to keep up with the feisty LeBrons, the Zags finally woke up, played a little bit of a defense, and put a few balls in the baskets to give themselves a comfortable lead. It was certainly not the type of start Mark Few was planning or dreaming about, but it was certainly a pleasant ending.

And the selection committee has a sense of humor, they set up a match of the Zips vs the Zags. Zips vs Zags. Zips vs Zags!

The 7-vs-10 games were supposed to be the dramatic and competitive ones, but things got inverted. As we speculated, while Tubby is a better coach and makes the most out of his players, Texas had two players the TimberGophers didn't have, and when you have better players, sometimes the better players decide the game. And it was certainly the case in this one, as AJ Abrams had a shooting spree in just a matter of seconds that sealed the victory for the Austin Torreros. Okay, Longhorns.

After all, the TimberGophers were not supposed to make it in the tourney given their talent level and just year #2 of the rebuilding process under Tubby. And in our opinion, they really didn't deserve to get in, over mid-majors extra-ordinaire like Saint Mary's, Davidson and Creighton.

And then we go to Clemson. Oh poor Tigers. Poor little Tigers. Just like Bo Ryan's Wisconsin Badgers, it looks like Clemson has a built-in ceiling. And just like Bo Ryan's teams, they can beat up and dominate NIT teams, but when they are faced with 2nd round and beyond NCAA teams then they usually lose.

And that brings us to Beilein. He is Mr March! A combination of the 1-3-1 and his "two-guard offense", with some karma and luck, means that no matter which team Beilein is coaching, he is going to do better than expected in the tournament. And what a relief for the Michigan fans who had to suffer for years and years of Tommy Amaker mediocrity. And in just two years, Beilein was able to install his system and turn it around. And with lesser talent than Amaker to boot! Congratulations John Beilein and Ann Arbor Elitists!

And we close with a recap of the in-between game, the 2nd west-coast game, between Washington and Mississippi State. Everyone outside the west-coast was picking Mississippi State, as if the Washington Huskies were chopped meat and they hadn't just won the round-robin Pac-10. Yes, a round-robin conference champion, not like the tweaked and made-up Big East, ACC and such conferences.

And the Romar Huskies delivered a smackdown on the Slick-Rick BullDogs, with a very balanced defense and offense. Poor Brockman, if he was playing at Duke, he would have been praised and awarded like Tyler Hansbrough, but because he is "hiding" in the hippy Northwest, he is not getting a lot of love from the east-coast biased media.

Watch out UConn, Washington may be finally able to avenge their previous NCAA tourney losses to y'all!

Respect the game - please move to six or more fouls

It is really sad to see some of the best players miss significant portions of a game because of silly fouls or bad calls or zebras guessing a call, instead of calling what actually happened.

But that's not the only problem with the five fouls. A big part of the problem is the coaches themselves. Being ultra-conservative and chicken-sh*t of taking a risk, most coaches yank out a player in the first half if he gets two fouls, and in the second half if he gets three fouls.

So, the five fouls are an issue, not just because of the number, but also because of the paranoid overreaction by most coaches.

Our suggestion is to increase to six fouls or more. Let the best players decide the game on the court, not the zebras decide who plays and who do(es)n't!

And if you are concerned about some stiff coming in and fouling like crazy, perhaps you can increase the penalty after let's say 7 or more fouls by the same person. That way, coaches will let their good players on the court, and take out the stiffs and thugs.

Reviewing the second block of Thursday's games

No Lawson, no Calhoun, no problem! After a few minutes of getting "acquainted" with the opponents, both UNC and UConn managed to run by them and put them in their "place" as 16th seeds. Not much to say here, expect of course, waiting to find out what's the latest update on Lawson and whether he plays against LSU and if so, will that mean that he won't be able to play next week?

There were two exciting games however, Purdue was supposed to be having a comfortable slugfest win over Northern Iowa, but the purple uniforms managed to make the game interesting in the second half and give Matt Painter and crew an ulcer or two. But Purdue managed to hold on to the "W" and advance to the second round.

The other interesting game, a classic #7 vs #10 was the vindication of "The Gary". We are big fans of "The Gary", and apparently so is President O'bama. Maryland had a slight lead through the game, but in the last quarter the Terrapins were able to pull away, after Gary's defense was able to contain the #1 three-point shooting team in the country. You better watch it Roburt Sallie, you won't put 10 three-pointers on the Turtle!

Bay Area fans are no strangers to early exits by Mike Montgomerry, although this year's team over-achieved just by being in the conversation for the NCAA tourney, let alone actually being in it. So I'm sure Cal420 fans will forgive him this year.

This also sets up an interesting Memphis vs Maryland matchup. We hope it won't turn into the slugfest it was 2-3 years ago when the two teams met during the regular season.

Now in progress, Mississippi State vs Washington on CSTV (CBS College Sports)... Our next update will come after the third block of games finishes later today!

First round of games delivers the Cal State Northridge surprising performance

The first three games of the NCAA tournament delivered some March Madness excitement! The Cal-State Northridge team, despite all its troubles, following the leadership of their veteran head coach managed to give Memphis all it could handle for the first 32 minutes. Infact, the Matadors won the first 32 minutes of the game.

But ultimately, the size, length, depth and athleticism of Memphis rose to the surface, and the jumpers were not falling as the Matadors started running out of juice.

But our hats are off to the Matadors for an impressive performance that put the fear of elimination deep inside the hearts of the Tigers.

And one player that has earned every single penny of his scholarship in just one game is the one and only Roburt Sallie, managing to sink a total of ten (10) three-pointers for a 35-point performance. Yes, a 35-pointer that saved Calipari's 2009 NCAA tournament.

The game that was expected to be a close game was a close game, but LSU punched the Butler in the mouth at the start of the game, and that punch was enough for LSU to carry through the game, and despite an inch-by-inch comeback by the Butler bulldogs and their 19-year-old coach, the LSU Tigers kept them at bay, making them the second group of Tigers to march to the second round.

The last game of this block was not competitive, as the Texas A&M Mark Turgeons took an early lead and never looked bad. Tavernari et al were not able to hit the wild threes they needed to make this game interesting, and the Ole Roy disciple is going to make Aggies fans forget all about the great escape of "Clyde".

Stay tuned to this blog for another recap after the end of each block of games!

And one more thing, to sort through the March Madness games available on TV and online, be sure to check out our March Madness 2009 TV Guide. This include pointers to not just the NCAA, but also NIT, CBI and CIT! (Yes, CIT is a new post-season tourney for mid-majors).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Predicting Thursday evening's NCAA tourney games

If you missed our Thursday morning games predictions, be sure to check them out. Now we check the eight afternoon/evening games, starting with a game that promises fireworks...

Minnessoooota vs Texas
The two coaches are close friends, and Kentucky fans will be looking for bridges as just about every one of their "ex'es" is in the NCAA tourney and exceeding expectations, while the Wildcats are slaving over Kruger's Slugfesting Rebels and they can't even play the game at Rupp.

While Tubby is a much better coach than Rick Barnes, Barnes has the player advantage with the big space-eater inside and the wild-shooting AJ Abrams. Not to be confused with the television/movie JJ Abrams. So, we give the edge to Texas, as either one of the aforementioned players can be a key and a game changer that can tilt the outcome of the game in Texas's direction.

However, don't count out the Tubby Gophers, if they manage to contain the risks of the space-eater and Abrams, then they will have a very good chance of winning.

We think that Tubby would have a better chance at beating the Dookies as his defense can derail their three-point shooting, but ultimately, the players will decide this game, and Texas will get a hard-fought victory over the TimberGophers.

Clemson vs Michigan
This is a game we are having a hard time predicting. If each team plays their "typical" or "average" game, we think Clemson would win. However, considering the past, we think that Clemson may under-perform their "typical" selves while Beilein's Ann Arbor Elitists will perform above their "typical" selves.

Ultimately though, we think Clemson will manage to withstand the shooting barrage of the Beileineers and move into the second round.

American at Villanova
We predict the pressure and home-court situation will lead to a very close first half, but in the first part of the second half we predict that Villanova will pull away and eventually deliver a 30+ beat down on the Patriot league trash-talkers.

Akron vs Gonzaga
We are tempted to say that this will be GoneZaga again, but the Akron Zippers do not have LeBron playing for them. Despite the Zags softness and wine-and-cheese approach to most games, we think they have enough talent and more toughness than usual to survive the possibility of a first round upset.

In-fact we think this will be a rather comfortable and easy-breezy beautiful victory for the Zags.

Morgan State vs Oklahoma
I think I smell a potential upset here. The grizzled and redemption-starved coach versus the wine-and-cheese Dookie-bred newbie. Sure, there is Blake Griffin, but upsets usually happen when a series of events derail a high seed, and once the "upset pressure" starts hitting the high seed, they get trapped by fate.

Having said that though, we only see a 40% possibility of Morgan State pulling this huge upset, so we are still predicting an Oklahoma victory sooner than later :)

We badly want VCU to win and expose Ben Howland for his crimes against the game of basketball. His crimes being that he makes the game ugly, and being the head coach of one of the most historically prestigious college basketball schools, he is responsible for playing the game at a high-level. Playing it as basketball, not as football!

But we think Howland's ugly defense and scorched earth style will take down the VCU Rams. Unlike the Dookies, Howland's "defense" (read: foul multiple times in every possession) will frustrate and annoy VCU and get the Bruins their first and only victory in the 2009 NCAA tournament.

Western Kentucky vs Illinois
The day ends (theoretically) with the Illinois vs Western Kentucky game. The first one to 33 wins this game. And while Bruce Weber was high-flying when he had the talented Bill Self recruits on his roster, his current roster maybe loaded with players, but there is no premium talent there.

We predict quite confidently that Western Kentucky, with their rookie coach, will indeed out-slugfest the Illinois team and pull the expected upset.

Yes, we are predicting Western Kentucky over Illinois!

Predicting Thursday's NCAA tournament games

Now that we know where to find the TV schedule for the tournament, it is time for some predictions, starting for Thursday's early (morning round) NCAA tournament games!

LSU vs Butler
Not an easy game to predict, as the outcome will depend on how the game will be played. By that of course we mean the style of play and tempo. Ultimately, we think that LSU will out-toughen Butler, the same way Trent Johnson's Nevada team dismantled the wine-and-cheese Zags a few years ago.

Cal State Northridge vs Memphis
Calipari accidentally used the word "steal" during the press conference when talking about the game, but with all the troubles surrounding the Northridge team, we expect an old fashioned NCAA tourney woodshed beating like the old days of 84-44. And behind the woodshed is where you will find the $6000 of stolen electronics the coach's son and players hid ;-)

Texas A&M vs BYU
This rematch of the 2008 tourney promises to be a close game on paper. And it might as well be a close game. Ultimately we think Mark Turgeon's NCAA experience will push the Aggies over the hill. Over the hill is where they will find the dwindling star of their former slugfest coach, Billy "the Clyde" Gillespie. Yep, he even lost the privilege of having his name spelled properly :)

Northern Iowa vs Purdue
Yeah! A classic MVC vs Big10 slugfest! Hooray! The first one to 40 wins the game. 40 after forty minutes of play that is. Ultimately, Purdue will get a comfortably ugly win.

Radford vs North Carolina
North Carolina won't stub their toe (oh dear) with Radford, but Lawson's toe will be the main story of this game. We expect Zeller to play a part in defending the Radford space-eater and UNC to deliver a woodshed beating.

Maryland vs California
We want "The Gary" to win this game. Even the President likes Maryland. Despite all the votes he got from Berkeley :) But Mike Montgomerry is no stranger to early exits and under-perfoming in the NCAA tourney, and their team of guards will probably be a good match-up for the Terrapins. In-fact, we think Maryland will win this game!

Chattanooga vs UConn
The only question is this game is whether Hasheem "shot-blocking" Thabeet will get a triple double because, no doubt the Chattanooga players, will, like lambs to the slaughter, try to penetrate the lane and score on UConn. Our crystal ball sees 90+ points scored by UConn in a walk in the park and then later to Geno's and Pat's.

Mississippi State vs Washington
This is a popular upset special, but what the pundits are missing is the space-eater-ness of Brockman and the basketball-onions of the not-so-skinny Isiah Thomas 2.0. We think this will be a relatively comfortable "W" for Romar's Husker-Dos.

President Obama gives Gary Williams a vote of confidence!

During this Baracketology segment that is airing today in the ESPN family of networks, President Barack Obama gave the Maryland Terrapins and Gary Williams a vote of confidence!

When filling up his brackets, the President said:

"I like Maryland personally"

And we couldn't agree with him more! It is absurd that some people at Maryland are making noise and wanting to replace "The Gary". If it wasn't for "The Gary" there would be no national championship, and no nice shiny Comcast arena!

We hope "The Gary" wins at least the California game in the NCAA tournament and silences all the "Chicken Littles"!

Change the format: Put bubble (at-large teams) in the Opening Round

It seems that every single rule change made is made for the benefit of the BCS schools. Just because the Mountain West decided to spin off, it shouldn't mean that two automatic qualifiers should be forced to risk not playing in the actual tournament, and instead sit at the kiddies table in Dayton, Ohio.

So here are some suggestions on how to deal with this situation:

* Instead of two Automatic Qualifiers, have the last two "at-large" teams meet in the opening round game in Dayton on Tuesday

* Expand the opening round by having four or eight teams square off for the last two or four spots. Again, put at-large contenders, not automatic qualifiers here.

* For more a intellectual solution, a modification of the option above, square off the last four at-large teams with the top four regular-season conference champions which did not get an automatic or at-large bid. This would give the opportunity for a team like Davidson to play its way in. For example, a South Carolina vs Davidson game like it was in the NIT last night would have put Davidson in a field of 64 teams playing in the "real tournament".

Baracketology on Sportscenter right now!

Turn on ESPN right now! President Barack Obama is picking his brackets with Andy Katz and explaining his picks! It is so wonderful to have a former college basketball player as the elected (not selected) President of the Free World! Maybe he can grab the NCAA selection committee by the ear and force them to reform the way they are picking teams!

Andy Katz was funny in this piece, he even asked him why he didn't pick Arizona to beat Utah. "Was it because of McCain?"

Rant: Mid-majors screwed by fugly Big10 teams

As we talked about over and over, the stupid idiots on the Selection committee were picking resumes based on numbers, which is why seven (7!) Big Ten teams made the field of 65, even though only four of them were really deserving consideration to be there.

And who paid the price for this selection? Who else, the mid-majors!

It looks like Patty Mills is back after all. FU NCAA selection committee! You are a bunch of retards! You are supposed to be the "experts" and have all the "inside information" in making your decisions. You are clearly clueless! You should all be fired and replaced by basketball people, not idiotic athletic directors and commissioners who don't even know that college hoops has an exhibition season.

Davidson looked good too, they beat an SEC bubble team on its own home court. Davidson should have been in over one of those three ugly Big Ten teams!

So, to summarize, and to put it mildly and politely,

F-U NCAA Selection Committee.
You are a bunch of idiotic BCS homers!

2009 March Madness TV schedule

Hey, it's March Madness time again! Time to use your sick days, "work from home", take a vacation day, or come up with any kind of excuse to stay home or go to your local sports bar and watch the games!

Here is the TV schedule of the post-season play, directly from the broadcasters themselves:

NCAA Tournament
+ National CBS schedule with announcers included
+ Compact national CBS schedule
+ for games available in your region, check your local CBS affiliate
+ online coverage: ncaa.com/mmod

NIT Tournament
+ games on the ESPN family of networks
+ daily ESPN games schedule
+ NIT website
+ online at espn360.com

College Basketball Invitational (CBI)
+ some of the games are available on Mark Cuban's HDNet
+ CBI page

CollegeInsider Tournament (New!)
+ official schedule
+ Yes, there is a new post-season tourney, the CollegeInsider.com post season tournament (CIT). The field is picked by four CollegeInsider.com staffers and 11 well-known coaches, including Lefty of Maryland, Nolan Richardson, Hugh Durham and Jim Phelan.
+ 16 mid-major teams are participating in this, no "BCS" giants!
+ the final will be televised on Fox College Sports on Tuesday March 31st

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wilborn: Big Ten doesn't even deserve five teams

Big Ten alumni, Mike Wilborn of ESPN's critically-acclaimed PTI (Pardon the Interruption), declared that the Big Ten does not even deserve five teams in the NCAA tournament!

I'll glad some of the talking heads on ESPN have the spaldings to call it like it is and not sugar-coat things and play politics.

The Big Ten is a failed basketball conference, and the only reason they are winning games against other conferences is when the zebras allow them to foul in every possession and slugfest the beautiful game of basketball.

Thank you Mike Wilborn for keeping it real!

Nerdapolooza! Two professors predict March Madness

Tired of throwing darts at the wall? There is a better way! Two professors at Georgia Tech have put on all those confusing equations to work and they came up with a system to predict the NCAA tourney.

We are pea-brains, so we won't even try to attempt to understand the formula or what those numbers mean :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mark your calendars: Texas vs North Carolina at new Cowboys stadium next season

Mark your calendars for December 2009! The new Dallas Cowboys stadium will feature yet another "everything is bigger in Texas" basketball game, where the Texas Longhorns will square off with North Carolina. And unlike the Michigan State slugfests (both Kentucky and UNC), this is going to be an up and down run-and-gun affair, as both Roy Williams and Rick Barnes are defense-optional coaches :-)

20-page special in USA Today (Monday edition)

We forgot to mention this earlier today, the Monday edition of the "multi-color fishwrap" - the "USA Today" newspaper as Jim Rome loves to call it - has a 20-page special edition on March Madness and the Brackets. This is addition to the usual "Sports Section" of the multi-color.

Of course all the stuff there can be found online, but for those who like to flip through newspapers or collect these, be sure to check it out or dig into your closest hotel's recycle bin :-)

Manufacturered #1 controversy

The divas at ESPN managed to create a controversy that no one really cares about. I'm talking of course about the fourth #1 seed. Even an idiot can understand that UConn and Memphis are on spots #4 and #5 of the S-curve, so any which way you slice and dice it (no pun intended), they will face each other in the Elite 8, if they are both lucky enough to win the previous three games.

Compared to other issues, like putting seven crappy Big Ten teams in, or leaving Saint Mary's out, the UConn vs Memphis "issue" is really a non-issue.

What's the next best thing to a 0-0 soccer game?

We have a quick joke for you :)

Question: What's the next best thing to a 0-0 soccer game?

Answer: A Big Ten college basketball game :-)

Strange gender-biased comment by Bob Knight

ESPN has been able to keep Bob Knight under control, or at least Bob Knight has been able to keep himself under control, presumably because he is interviewing for the next big BCS opening that will become available in the next couple of years and would be interested in taking a look at him.

So it came to us as a surprise on Sunday night, during ESPN's analysis of the brackets, when Knight made a strange gender-divide comment. He suggested that the selection committees should be having men for the men's tourney and women for the women's tourney, because (of some strange backwards good-ole-boy thinking that) women are mostly interested in women hoops and men are mostly interested in men's hoops.

How sad! What is this? A locker room where you have to divide people by gender? It's bad enough that men have been making the rules for many years and restricted the growth of women sports. Not to mention that a huge percentage of women sports coaches are men, while 0% of men's coaches are women.

I hope when Bob Knight returns home his wife grabs him by the ear and yells at him for a whole week!

I would rather have a basketball-savvy person like Doris Burke on the men's selection committee, than some random male AD or commissioner who has a limited knowledge of basketball! Or that idiot from the SEC who doesn't even know that men's college basketball has an exhibition season. He repeated the same comment last night, so it was clearly not a slip of the tongue.

For the above comment, Bob Knight, you are the worst person in the wooooooooooooooooooooooooorld!

Binghampton featured on Monday's Outside the Lines

It pays to have Tony Kornheiser as an alum working for ESPN. Monday's edition of "Outside the Lines" will have a feature on Binghampton march to the NCAA tournament as their centerpiece story. You can catch it on ESPN at 3pm eastern, and also check the OTL website at ESPN.

Binghampton is of course the team that plays our "favorite" Dookies in the first round, so we are Binghampton fans from this day onwards :-)

Go Binghampton, geaux!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Stephen A Smith fires Norm Roberts

In a rather surprising turn of events during the 10am eastern SportsCenter, Stephen A Smith, decided to fire Norm Roberts as the head coach of St John's, because of "mediocrity". He said that he wants a big name coach to compete in recruiting and bring in the talented players to boost the Red Storm outside the bottom of the Big East.

He even volunteered some names, like John Calipari and Rick Majerus.

On a totally unrelated note, the New York City Restaurant association wants to start a "hirethefatman" campaign to bring in Majerus ;-)

What we want to see in the Field of 65 (bust these brackets!)

As we take a quick look at the latest Joe Lunardi brackets, we notice a number of ugly teams in the field of 65, including Wisconsin, Creighton, and Minnesota.

But at least the chief bracketologist at ESPN has some deserving basketball teams in as at-large as well:
+ Maryland (Fear "The Gary!")
+ Saint Mary's
+ Michigan

And how the "f" can you put Illinois at a #6 seed or the crappy and overrated Michigan State a #2 seed? Seriously? Is ESPN paying the big bucks to all those analysts to "parrot" everything? :)

We think that these teams should be in because of the "eye test", the "basketball factor" if you must, instead of a sea of Big Ten mediocrity:
+ Arizona
+ Virginia Tech
+ Davidson (because everyone wants to watch Stephen Curry)

As we mentioned earlier, the way teams are selected needs to be revised, and revised quickly. I know the NCAA is frozen in evolution and it takes forever to make even the most common sense changes, but it's time to say "ENOUGH" and stop putting in crappy basketball teams just because their math department is good enough to get them a schedule with a good RPI/SOS. Give the math departments an award, but don't put the teams in the NCAA tourney!

Tip of the hat to Syracuse

Our tip of the hat goes to Syracuse, after yet another epicly dramatic (or dramatically epic) Big East conference tournament championship at the Ga'den in Nu Yok. Seven overtimes in addition to four back-to-back games.

This is a very draining experience, because, let's face it, while basketball players play all day at the playgrounds and at AAU, there are two key differences between those games and these games:
+ there is much less defense at AAU/playground
+ there is much less game pressure (you lose a game, you play another, no one keeps records or hands out awards and banners)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Selection Cmte Chair is clueless? There is no exhibition season?

If you needed further evidence why the current selection process is DISFUNCTIONAL, take a listen to the interview the current NCAA selection committee chairman gave to CBS during their Saturday TV coverage.

He said there is no exhibition season. Well, that was fine, except there is an exhibition season in college basketball.

Do we really need all these clueless athletic directors and other bureaucrats determining the fate of teams? No wonder some crappy decisions are made in the selection!

Fire all the bureaucrats, and instead create a poll pool of hardcore college basketball minds, and let them pick the best teams every year.

Whether you have the same people every year, or you have a pool of "basketball minds" that you pick from each year to create the selection cmte, it will be much much better than the current situation.

Hopefully this is something they are test-driving with the way the NIT selection process is handled!

Frenzied USC comeback shrinks the bubble by one!

This was a very breezy and offensive game as the USC Trojans mounted an epic second half counter-offensive chipping away forcefully at the Arizona State lead. The Sun Devils were trying to hold on to their first conference championship, in a fight against both the determined Trojans and time, and the latter won!

This means a bubble spot disappears as it is handed off to the USC Trojans with their AQ (automatic qualifier). And this USC team could do some damage in the tourney. There is no OJ "Diva" Mayo, this is a more team-oriented team, and with more players being available than during most of the season, the Trojans can give many teams a headache. Especially considering their height and length.

Herb Sendek has exceeded expectations in his first two years at ASU, and perhaps made NC State fans wander. The conference championship would have been icing on the cake for this season, but you can't have it all.

And the sad nature of the current selection process is that a basketball team like USC would have been left out, while a handful of ugly Big10 teams would be in. At least in this case, USC took matters in their own hands :)

Thank you Ohio State for exposing the fake Big10 teams!

Thank you Ohio State! To the RPI/SOS technocrat, the Big10 looks like a conference with eight teams worthy of NCAA consideration. To the basketball watcher, they look like crappy mediocre teams who for lack of skill and talent, they prefer to grind a game as if it was football and finish games with a 39-36 final score.

So thank you Ohio State for exposing the ugly Big Ten to the innocent bystanders and those in denial :)

Blake Griffin could keep some freshmen around

The trend for high-end freshmen is usually to be one and done, bounce at the possibility of a first round draft pick. However, the super-success of Blake Griffin as a dominating player of the year may encourage other talented freshmen to stick around for an extra year and build up their skills, experience and confidence and at the same time get closer to a degree and increase their chances of post-season success and conference titles.

So if this year we see fewer freshmen bolt out, their college coaches and the NCAA should send a big thank you letter to Blake Griffin!

Florida State gets its dues!

No Lawson, lots of cry today for UNC, as Leonard Hamilton's defense and Toney Douglas managed to derail the UNC train from a 4th consecutive conference tournament title. The good news for UNC fans? The last time they got booted out in the semifinals of the conference tourney they won the national championship with the May, Felton and McCants team!

Florida State has lots of versatility, and they had had some good teams in the past under Leonard Hamilton, but they were just not lucky or able enough to put it all together. Perhaps a fully matured Toney Douglas is what his teams needed!

Hansbrough got very close to breaking JJ Reddick's record, but after today's loss, he will have to wait for the NCAA tournament. So whichever cupcake low-major they end up playing next week, they will be in the record books.

And it would be really a stretch for UNC to win. No Lawson, and Green going 1 from a baker's dozen is not exactly a recipe for victory.

One parting shot, Mike Patrick seems to be obsessed with "classy people". In the real-world, "classy" really means "pretentious" ;-)

And a bonus parting shot, ESPN flew Len Elmore out of the Big East tourney to the ACC tourney, so he would do one game, because Dookie Vitale is too big of a Diva to work two back to back games. Of course Vitale had first dibs, he had to do his lovely Dookies ;-)

Is really UConn a #1 without Slice-n-Dice?

The answer is of course no, and we hope the "basketball brains" at the NCAA selection cmte don't forget this very important detail. To put it bluntly, UConn is just not the same team without Dyson. They are simply not the same team. They do not have a player like him on the roster. Neither AJ "Laptop" Price, nor Craig Austrie have the slicing and dicing mad skillz of Jerome Dyson.

And as we have seen from UConn's performance since he was (unfortunately) injured and lost for the season, they are just not the same team, they don't have the same killer instinct and "spurtability".

Please don't reward those ugly Big10 teams with an NCAA bid

This is a desperate plea to the NCAA Selection Committee! Please pick the best 34 college basketball teams, not the best 34 technocrat resumes. There is a quartet of Big Ten teams that are just ugly and they are an embarrassment to the game (to a certain extend) because of their slugfest style of play. Do not reward them for a mediocre resume and put them in the NCAA. Their RPI/SOS numbers are inflated because they beat up on each other in-conference. Do not reward them for making the game of basketball an ugly football-like slugfest. Do not reward them! Send the following four teams to the NIT/CBI instead:

1) Northwestern
2) Penn State (because 39-33 should never be a final score!)
3) Wisconsin (too much hype, too many wins in Madison, a team with a built-in ceiling)
4) Minnesota

Big Ten teams that do deserve serious consideration and likely a bid are Ohio State and Michigan. Michigan has scalps none of the other Big Ten "football teams" have: Duke and UCLA. Ohio State plays good basketball when they are allowed to play it (eg when not facing most of the other Big Ten teams).

Friday, March 13, 2009

Thank you Boston College for almost beating the Dookies!

Thank you Al Skinner for almost beating the Dookies! It was close, oh so close! Now you have soften them Dookies up, and prepared them for a nice beating by their nemesis, the Fighting Garys! This will make it an ever better win for Maryland, and mark the "Return of the Gary" to the NCAA tournament!

Go Maryland, go! Beat those nasty dirty Dookies! The game will tip off around 340pm eastern tomorrow on ESPN. It is semifinal #2, so the exact tipoff time will depend on when the first game ends (Florida State vs North Carolina)

Draft Doris Burke as a CBS March Madness analyst

It is time CBS diversified their March Madness analysts. Enough of the "Billy Parker" clones and approved drones, and time to refresh their line-up of college basketball analysts.

One great addition would be Doris Burke, a great basketball analyst, who quite frequently was able to provide more basketball analysis in 30-second sound-bites as a sideline reporter than Dick Vitale during a whole game.

So, CBS, time to diversify, and draft Doris Burke as one of the March Madness analysts!

Other analysts that should be added to the rotation:
1. Marques Johnson of FSN for the West-coast region amd/or teams
2. Bob Knight
3. Rick Majerus

Analysts that should be dropped immediately:
1. Bob Wenzel (an idiot, W-style)
2. Jay Spinarkel and Ion Eagle - they should be doing division 2 - they make the most exciting games sound boring
3. Dan Bonner - boring

Play by play guy that needs to be dropped:
1. Tim Brando - a total idiot

Holy cow, that was the game of the year

You know it when you watch it. Just like the Maui invitational of a couple of years ago with the Ammo heroics, the six overtime marathon of UConn and Syracuse is etched in history. Already, ESPN has shown the game on ESPN Classic and it is currently airing on ESPNU as we speak.

This was an amazing game, how did all the players managed to keep going after six overtimes with very little rest? Unlike a regular 40-minute game with 2-minute time-outs every four-minutes, there were fewer and shorter time-outs in-between the overtimes.

Ultimately the Flynnstones managed to win the sixth overtime on ...points and go home with a big win for the ages.

Once again, Syracuse and the Big East tournament means drama, excitement and heroics!

Syracuse of course almost won the game at regulation when Devendork made a clutch three pointers that was milliseconds away from actually counting.

Devendork also showed why he has such a bad reputation, from thug-fouls to jumping on tables like Conan the Barbarian!

Poor Virginia Tech, history repeating

Ouch for the Hokies fans. We hope the Selection Committee takes into account the fact that they unfairly snubbed VaTech last year when they evaluate the bubble teams and put some other "designer" slugfest team from the Big10 instead of the deserving Virginia Tech.

They played like an NCAA tourney team, they fought UNC to the last 5 seconds, and once again, they were defeated by Psycho-T, this time both on defense with a stop and on the free throw line.

Despite the absence of Ty Lawson, UNC managed to squeak a tough win against the desperate for a "W" Hokies. Even with Lawson, the Hokies match up real well with UNC and give them headaches, so when factoring that in, it makes the UNC victory better than one might think just by looking at the records and the polls.

This game was more evidence why UNC needs Marcus Ginyard, because neither Green nor Ellington were able to limit (let alone shutdown) scoring machine AD Vassalo. And a series of events led to Justin Watts seeing a few minutes of play, a player that was buried in the rotation behind Ellington, Green, Ginyard, and Graves!

We close by saying that Virginia Tech deserves to be one of the at-large teams and it should certainly be picked ahead of those ugly Big-10 teams whose only claim to fame is beating up on each other on 39-38 final scores.

If you are to pick the best 34 teams, Virginia Tech depends to be in the field of 65.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bob Thuggins outpunks the Pitt Slugfestors

"Take that", Bob Huggins fans would say to his critics. He took over a "wine and cheese" team in the Big East and he has managed to make the most out of their talent level. And not only that, he managed to stone and dethrone the Pitt Panthers, the team that terrorized everyone in the Big East.

Granted, his team lost to them twice during the regular season, but this was a single-elimination game, and the Pitt Panthers were simply not competitive. And it just goes to show, that when they are not allowed to out-muscle the other team, and they have to beat them purely with basketball plays, well, Pitt is just not that good.

Another group of fans celebrating the result of this game, for a different reason, are PitinoVille fans. Pitt bounced the Cardinals out of the Big East tournament that last few years, so without Pitt in the way, the sky is the limit for Louisville ;-)

Championship Week turning into Rivarly Week

Granted, the possibilities of match-ups are finite, but we have seen a large number of "Rivalry Week" rematches in the early rounds so far! From "Arizona vs Arizona State" in the Pac-10, to "Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State" in the Big 12, "West Virginia vs Pitt" and Calhoun vs Boeheim in the Big East, even the old rivalry of St Johns vs Georgetown.

Ernie Kent rehearsing his next career move?

Just hours after his team got bounced from the Pac-10 tournament (which was expected), Oregon head-coached perched himself at the Fox Sports Net booth covering the Pac-10 conference tournament, being the expert coach-analyst, alongside the annoying Donnie Mac (UCLA defense-optional scorer Don MacLane), and Michael Eaves. Thankfully we were spared of Billy Mac this time. Thank you FSN :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ivy League Player of the Year: Jay Bilas

In a surprise announcement, the Ivy League has announced their college basketball player of the year, and they took everyone by surprise, by naming Jay Bilas as the conference player of the year.

As a former ACC and Dookie starter, Jay Bilas argued, he would be by definition the Ivy League Player of the Year. Because a lumbering ACC stiff would somehow transform into the next Tim Duncan if he played in the Ivy League :-)

This of course is a jab at Jay Bilas's very humble comment during the Notre Dame vs West Virginia game claiming that had he played in the Ivy League instead of the ACC, he would have been the player of the year.

*cough* *cough* *cough*

Pac-10 teams on the bubble

With Championship Week under way, it is time to take a conference-by-conference look at the bubble and beyond! We start with the Pac-10 who is tipping off their opening round later tonight!

Washington: In
The surprise champion of the regular season is in of course, but their schedule won't get them a high seed. Their best OOC win is over Oklahoma State at home. In-conference however, they picked up some nice Ws, including UCLA, and a sweep of Arizona State, and USC.

The Bruins are guaranteed to be in, although they do not really have any impressive wins out of conference. As usual with Ben Howlin' Wolf there are no bad losses, something very few teams can say.

Their biggest in-conference wins are at home over Washington, and a sweep over California and in-town rival USC. Their best out of conference win is probably Notre Dame.

California: In
No stranger to piling up Pac-10 wins and then flaming out in March, The Full Monty surprised everyone with a very successful debut at bitter in-town-rival at Bezerkeley. They scored two nice MWC road wins at UNLV and at Utah, while in-conference they swept both Washington schools, Stanford and Arizona, and they split games with ASU and USC. They did get swept by UCLA however.

Arizona State: In
The mad scientist is appreciated at ASU, a place longing for any victories, as opposed to NC State longing for catching up with Duke and UNC, an unrealistic expectation in our times. ASU's out of conference schedule has some mildly nice wins, such as a road win at SDSU, a controversial Phoenix victory over BYU, and a beating of UTEP at neutral. In-conference, they managed to sweep UCLA, and that alone is probably enough to get them in the at-large field. They also swept in-state rival Arizona, something that rarely happened in the Lute Olson era. They split games with California, Stanford and USC, but they got swept by the Washington schools.

Arizona: On the bubble (Our opinion: IN)
The definition of the bubble. Coaching drama, injuries, controversies, the team had just about everything happen to them this year. On the negative side, there is no Lute Olson any more to tilt the scales when the committee is confused and undecided.

Arizona has managed to pile up a dozen losses, but none of them are really bad. A thrashing of Kansas at McKale will certainly get them a long way, along with a W over the Zags. In-conference, they have another big scalp, UCLA, with wins over the Washington schools, Stanford and USC as well. They were swept by California and Arizona State however. Losing four out of the last five is something else that will loom over them as well, so there is pressure to pick up a couple of wins at the conference tourney.

However, considering the talent level, and their post-Budinger-foot-face incident performance, they are playing like an at-large team.

USC: Bubble (Our opinion: NIT)
USC's biggest problem is a six-pack of losses in their last eight games and the lack of a signature OOC win, and only two road wins overall. They did pick up some nice conference wins (Arizona, Arizona St, Cal, Stanford) and a sweep of Washington State, but went 0-4 against Washington and USC.

So it's really hard to make a case for USC, especially since the pool of available at-large bids is going to continue shrinking this week.

Washington State: Bubble (Our opinion: CBI/NIT)
Gone were the big names of the "Tony Bennett Glory Days", but the young team managed to beat UCLA on the road, and sweep Arizona State, both guaranteed at-large teams. Wins over Arizona and Stanford should probably be enough to get them to the CBI, but maybe not the NIT because their OOC has a neutral "W" over Mississippi State as their own notable OOC win.

Stanford: NIT/CBI bubble (our opinion: CBI)
Stanford's in-conference record is a not so pleasant 6-12, but the "Dookie magic" will likely get them a CBI invite. They have a couple of CBI-decent home wins and some good in-conference wins as well, over California, Arizona State, Arizona, USC and Washington State.

Oregon State and Oregon: Stay at home
Oregon State certainly exceeded expectations however, their overall losing record of 13-16 will likely preclude them from consideration, unless of course the CBI gets smart and wants to arrange a DC-area game for them to bring out the curious politicos out of their sport-shells to watch some presidential-in-law hoops.

Oregon's record looks like the record of a team getting ready to fire its coach despite his 10+ year tenure there. Ernie Kent will likely follow on the footsteps of Cal's Ben Braun who got fired by the arugula collective, and "downgrade" his next coaching stop.

PS: Please note that a .500 record is no longer required for NIT consideration, freeing the NIT selection committee to pick up teams that had a strong finished or played a very tough out of conference record. We applaud them for this, as long as they don't fill up the whole bracket with "BCS" teams. We strongly believe that teams should be penalized for filling up a 12-0 out of conference record by playing a dozen of 150+ RPI teams at home and coasting to a cozy 20-win season.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Watch Day #1 of the Big East Tourney live right now!

You can watch Day #1 of the Big East conference tournament live and for FREE at BigEast.com. Just click on the "Watch it live" button on their front page! There are two options, a small window inside your browser or full-screen. It is FREE!

Right now, Saint John's is beating Georgetown at the Garden, with 35 seconds remaining! Super-frosh Greg Monroe has already fouled out, and it looks like St Johns will piggy-back on DePaul's surprise win over Cincy and keep hope alive for a "G-Mac" five-day run to the NCAA tourney!

With fouls and time-outs, this game is likely to go on for a few minutes, until they ran out of fouls and timeouts :)

Update: St John's pulls the upset as they survive the free-throw line and the three-point attack of the Hoyas!

You can watch a replay of this and all the other games played, along with the women's game at BigEast.com!

Hello NIT and CBI
Two Big East teams have just said hello to the NIT and CBI selection committees and removed themselves from any serious consideration for the NCAA tournament. Both Georgetown and Cincinnati lost to lower seeded "patsies" St Johns and DePaul. And while at least Hoya fans can say "hey, it was the Red Storm's home court", Cincannati has no excuses, DePaul had lost 18 million games in a row! And perhaps kept their coach Jerry W. "un-fired" for an extra 24 hours :-)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

North Carolina sweeps Duke this season!

This was quite an interesting game. It felt like Duke's game plan was not to lose the game by more than single-digits. That certainly explains how they played, by taking very few chances and instead choosing to hold the ball and take time off the clock, and take their chances with their three-point percentages.

This strategy worked in the first half where they outplayed UNC, just like their first game at Cameron Oven Stadium. However, UNC started pulling away in the second half, but the Dookies simply refused to take chances and instead played the game so as not to lose, instead of playing to win.

That resulted in a close game that saved face for the Ratzilla, but the result was a stressful but relatively straight-forward North Carolina victory.

While the Duke defense made adjustments (read athletic and more talented Elliot Williams over pasty and fatty Greg Paulass) to Lawson, Lawson once again showed a killer instinct by making critical plays towards the end of the game to seal the victory for the TarHeels. And he certainly has a lot of decoys to use, from Hansbro to Ellington to Danny Green.

Tidbits and Factoids from the game
The "classy" Coach K was caught by the CBS cameras locking horns (literally) with one of the zebras. So classy, so ...Olympian!

Ol'Roy iced his own player by taking a time-out while Ty Lawson was in the middle of shooting two free throws.

Hansbrough managed to get his standing ovation by ...fouling out of the game in the last few seconds and exiting the game with just seconds left, thus sparing Ol'Roy the decision of whether to call a time-out and take him out and cause the anger of Ratzilla.

Top 4 most hated Dookies poll
1. Greg Paulass
2. Gerald Henderson
3. Kyle Singler
4. passive aggressive Scheyer

Transfer out of Duke now!
1. Elliot Williams
2. Nolan Smith

Duke vs North Carolina DVD sets
If you are really into this rivalry, there are two sets of college basketball DVDs you may find interesting. Each DVD set features three prominent victories of one team over the other. Each DVD is $19 and it includes three games, and has a total runtime of 540 minutes. Here are the details:

UNC beats Duke (Amazon, $19)
1. March 3, 1984 Chapel Hill, NC
2. February 5, 1992 Chapel Hill, NC
3. February 2, 1995 Durham, NC (double overtime)

Duke beats UNC (Amazon, $19)
1. February 3, 2000 Chapel Hill, NC (overtime)
2. February 5, 2004 Chapel Hill, NC (overtime)
3. February 9, 2005 Durham, NC

unc beats duke dvd setduke beats unc dvd set

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Louisville at West Virginia

The "ESPN All Stars" were there for the last regular season "Gameday". Jerry West was there. Senior Night was there. The Big East regular season championship was there. Disappointment was there too though, as Louisville managed to hold on and hold off and keep the Mountaineers just far enough away for them to win the game.

Sadly for senior Alex Ruoff this was the worse type of a senior night, one that you would only wish upon a Dookie and no one else :(

T-Will willed Louisville into the game in the first half, with critical three-pointers and dunks. However, the Cardinals showed why they will likely not make it to the Final Four. Inside game is suspect on offense, the perimeter is too three-point-heavy, point-guard play is just not Final-Four caliber, and things like that. But when you have a super-versatile player like T-Will, and a pure-talent that randomly turns on and off in Earl Clark.

West Virginia, which we are for ever in debt to for beating Duke in the 2008 NCAA tournament, has a good chance of making it in the second round of the NCAAs assuming they can get a favorable matchup. Likewise, they could sneak into the Sweet-16 if the opponent is right.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Fran Fraschilla fires Billy Gillispie?

An expert on getting fired, ESPN "analyst" Fran Fraschilla "fired" Billy Clyde Gillispie on ESPN "College Basketball Final", after Kentucky lost at home to Georgia. Well, he didn't fire him on the spot, but he predicted that if he had another early November/December home loss in 2009-2010, then the wolves would come out. Fraschilla predicted that Gillispie would make it into the next season.

While it's only year #2 in the Clyde era, Kentucky fans cannot help but see that their former coach, Tubby Smith is doing quite well at Minnesoooota, and certainly without the same caliber of players as Kentucky.

Obviously, just about any coach, given infinite amount of time, he is eventually going to be successful, but in the world of high-stakes college hoops, "time" is measured in one-hand and in NCAA tourney success (or at least bids).

Our crystal ball is hazy on this. On one hand Gillispie is a hardcore hoopster, but on the other hand, he has not had the impact UK fans would have wanted to see in Year #2, especially with Jodie Meeks shooting like crazy and Patrick Patterson inside.

So what do you do? Do you give the new coach another year or two, or cut your losses and grab a more experienced NCAA-tourney-seasoned coach? Of course those are not easy to find and they certainly cost a lot, especially in this economy and after having to potentially buy-out "Clyde".

Of course things are nowhere near as bad for UK as they are at the other big college hoops school in the region - look at Indiana!

Lots of reactions and opinions to the Kentucky loss and season at A Sea of Blue and other UK websites, blogs and forums.

North Carolina at Virginia Tech

This was a lose-lose game for Duke haters. On one hand, you wanted Virginia Tech to get a high-profile win after it was robbed of a fair chance of beating Duke last week. On the other hand, you don't want Duke to win the ACC regular season, so UNC had to win to ensure a tie in the worse case scenario.

Ultimately, the game was decided by the players, not the zebras, and UNC's talent and numbers out-lasted the Hokies and got a tough road win. Tough because Virginia Tech was always a three-pointer away from making it a 50-50 game. But UNC managed to survive the pressure and not melt down this time and get a solid road win.

There are two things that we noticed during the ACC conference season that should encourage UNC fans:

1) Wayne Ellington grew some "onions". He's always been a gifted shooter and scorer, but beyond shooting, he has been a net-negative, especially when not having someone like Marcus Ginyard to save the day on defense. However, in the last few games, Ellington has been (relatively) tough both on the boards and on defense, playing like he wants to have a career in the NBA

2) Ty Lawson has developed a killer instinct. The most obvious display of this is how he dismantled the Dookies in the second half, and that alone, is enough for us to give him the ACC player of the year award :-) Thank you Ty!!!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Marquette at Louisville

Life is not fair! A coaching change and the NBA sirens could not break the band, but unfortunately an injury broke the band, and the James Matthews McNeal Band will not be able to finish their careers together, as Dominic James is out for the season.

And bravely they fought and they were oh-so-close to stealing this game. Stealing the game they could, partially because Louisville was unable to capitalize on their size and depth.

Pitino is still paying for his Sebastian Telfair gamble, because as an over-reaction to Telfair, he picked Edgar Sosa and decided to stick with him for four years, instead of bringing in a new point guard.

Both Earl Clark and T-Will are very gifted basketball players, however Earl Clark needs to reign in his wild three-point shooting. Wild because they rarely go in and they bounce all over the place.

The Zebras hand the Dookies yet another win

I'm sure you all heard by now the buzz of yet another game "given" to the Dookies by the Zebras. Call after call during the crucial part of the game went in the Dookies favor, while the Pope of College Hoops was about to crack his players melons open with a chair. Classy guy! But it's okay, because he prays before every game ;-)

If you think I'm imaging things because I don't like the Pukies, think again! March-to-Madness has assembled evidence that shows a Dookie travel three times in a single possession and get no call!

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