Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Does Calipari need his own Larry Shyatt? (a seasoned and grizzled deputy?)

It is no secret that Calipari is not exactly at his best at making in-game adjustments. And this has cost him some high-profile games in the NCAA tournament, including the NCAA Championship itself. So perhaps it may be time for Calipari to seriously consider getting a seasoned and grizzled former head-coach or career-assistant as his deputy, to fill-in the gaps and take some game pressure off.

This is by no means an admission of defeat - a number of Hall of Famers have done this. Calhoun with Blaney, Boeheim with Bernie Fine, and such. And if it wasn't for Larry Schyatt could "Billy the Kid" win back-to-back national championships? Probably not!

And there's more! Roy Williams has both Steve Robinson and Larry Bird look-a-like as assistants. And Dean Smith in an informal advisory role.

Needless to say, Coach K has the most high profile veteran assistant of all. I'm sure you all know who. If you are not sure who, just look at the team's logo/mascot ;-)

Wow, Steve Lavin goes to St John's

Holy cow! Steve Lavin is leaving TV and not for a quiet "safe" job. He is going all out at Saint John's. He was just interviewed on ESPN2 during the NIT semifinal and there he revealed that Gene Keady may come-in as well in advisory role. One of the interviewees was former St. John's head coach Franny Franchilla.

Lavin said that he wants to have a staff of seasoned assistants, including current/former head-coaches. Essentially they do the coaching, he does the public relations :-)

Lavin was gearing up to become Dick Vitale 2.0, but this disruption may set back his TV analyst career. But then again, how long is he going to last at St. John's? Many have tried, but none has succeeded there in the post-Lou era.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Zebras hand Duke Final Four berth (once again)

Why risk letting the players decide the games when it comes to the almighty Dookies? The zebras have to be the sixth-player. A very key and very wrong call towards the end of the game took a two-and-a-free-throw from Acy and an earlier fifth foul from Lumberjack-Zoubek, and instead gave the ball to the Dookies and broke Baylor's momentum. No wonder Duke has such a lovely record! It's six against one!

This of course is still not as bad as the highway robbery that was the Duke vs Xavier Elite 8 game in the early 00s, but still, this blown key call turned the momentum in Duke's favor.

Time for the 300+ NCAA colleges to DEMAND that the NCAA and referees be held accountable in a court of Law for twisting things in favor of Duke!

Congratulations to Izzo State for another Final Four trip

Tom Izzo may not be the next John Wooden, but he is certainly not the type who loses NCAA tournament games that he is not supposed to lose. He is barely winning this year, just barely, but a win is all that is required to advance to the next round. So if you string four wins together, voila, you get a trip to the Final Four. Needless to say though, the nation will be behind Butler winning and having a chance at the national title.

Let's just hope Baylor eliminates the Dookies because the way things have opened up, the Ratzilla may end up with a ring! Oh my!

Speaking of oh my, farewell Dick Enberg, this was his last NCAA tournament as a play-by-play announcer. He kinda overstayed his welcome in college basketball, but it appears now he will be busy with the San Diego Padres (see Wikipedia).

Bill Self working on Career Plan B

Bill Self understands that two or three more first-weekend exits from the NCAA tournament while being a #1 seed is going to cause job security troubles as a basketball coach, so he did some risk management and decided to try his hand as a basketball in-studio analyst at CBS this week :)

As if Kansas fans wanted a high-profile reminder of their epic fail this year, with Bill Self rubbing it in their face on TV! FireBillSelf.com?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Should Zone Defense be illegal in men's college basketball?

One of the things that is killing the game of college basketball in terms of popularity among the general sports fans and the general population is some of those 45-44 slugfests where the baskets are made accidentally. One of the reasons for slugfesting is zone defenses. That's one of the reasons why the NBA banned the zone defense.

So, is it time to ban (or at least restrict) the use of zone defense in college basketball? This will speed up the games and will let basketball skills shine - as opposed to packing it in and muscling people out of the way and getting them bored and frustrated with the game.

Congratulations (I guess) to the West Virginia Slugfesteers

Congratulations for Huggie-Bear and the West Virgina Defendeers for making it to the Final Four. Coincidence perhaps, but the last time West Virginia made the Final Four in the 50s, they also had a West in their line-up!

Statistically this was an impossible game for Kentucky to win, it's one thing to have a bad free throw day, it's another to have both a bad free-throw and a bad three-point day.

Needless to say, we hope Baylor beats Duke tomorrow, but if Duke makes it to the Final Four, we will be heavily supporting anyone-but-Duke.

Congratulations to the Butler Bulldogs

Congratulations to the Butler Bulldogs for a great basketball performance and for keeping the dream alive and making it to the Final Four! Unfortunately for Kansas State, one of the two teams had to lose. If only Kansas State was on the MichiganState/Tennessee or the Dookie Pukie bracket, then they would have also made it to the Final Four.

Butler has shown that you can play basketball the right way, with skilled players and without making the game a complete Big10-vs-MissouriValleyConference challenge ;-)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Petition CBS: Gus Johnson to do the Final Four!

Gus Johnson really represents the spirit of March Madness, the excitement, the energy, the rollercoaster ride. Please petition CBS to have Gus Johnson be the play-by-play guy at the Final Four!

Jim Nantz just doesn't scream college basketball. He's a boring old guy ideally suited for golf or other boring stuff. Jim Nantz does NOT belong at the Final Four!

Everyone email and call CBS and DEMAND that Gus Johnson become the play-by-play guy for the Final Four!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

eBay specials: Bracketologist t-shirt ($10), empty brackets poster ($6)

eBay is celebrating March Madness 2010 by featuring a couple of related March Madness special items with FREE SHIPPING and handling! First up, an Official Bracketologist t-shirt, yours for $10, sold by Cafe Press. Four sizes and three colors are currently available.

Next up, for $6 with free shipping, 13x19" empty bracket poster. The brackets are completely empty so you can use them for other purposes as well, but it does say "2010 College Basketball Championship" at the very top. Created by PosterRevolution it says.

Please keep in mind, supplies are limited for the featured eBay specials, so these could be gone in a few hours (or a few days), depending on how many they have and how many people buy these.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

If you are an underdog and you see Gus Johnson, celebrate!

If you are an underdog taking a higher ranked opponent and you see Gus Johnson sitting at the broadcaster's table, then you know you are in for an exciting game, which means you are going to have a chance to win the game!

On the other hand, if you are the favorite or the higher-seed, then you know you are going to be in for a thrill ride, not a 30-point cakewalk!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Bill Self Fakery is exposed once again! Thank you Northern Iowa!

I hate to say I told you so, but I did! The Bill Self March Madness Fakery has been exposed once again, with yet another early round defeat at the hands of a team with significantly less talent and physical skills, but of course with a real basketball coach, not a polished used car salesman and professional BS'er from the School of Coach Ratzilla!

As pointed out before, the 2008 Kansas championship was a series of unfortunate events - the epic North Carolina meltdown and the Memphis Tigers meltdown. Kansas didn't actually win, both UNC and Memphis GAVE them the championship via meltdown.

And who can forget those lovely first round losses in 2005 and 2006 to the brave Bucknell and Bradley teams. Add 2010 to Bill Self's excellent resume of BSology!

Saint Mary's owns the East Coast Hype Duo

Move over Gonzaga, here comes the new Gonzaga! The Saint Mary's Irish Warriors (Gaels) put two of the most overhyped east coast teams in their place this week, as they managed to defeat both Richmond and Villanova, and they did this in Big East Country, in Providence, Rhode Island!

As you may recall, Saint Mary's had been left out of the NCAA tourney a couple of times in favor of some of the mediocre "Power 6", but this time, payback's a b*tch! :)

Speaking of the WCC, Gonzaga almost became GoneZaga, with "Tears of Ammo: Episode II" almost happening, but unlike UCLA, Florida State simply can't score, so the Zags held on and moved to the second round.

It is of interest to note that both these two WCC teams have solid centers, Omar Samhan for Saint Mary's and Sucre for the Zags...

Friday, March 19, 2010

100% certain prediction on Missouri vs Clemson

I rarely predict games, but right now I have a prediction that is 100% guaranteed to come true! I can tell you that the winner of the Missouri vs Clemson NCAA first round game(currently at half-time) will be the TIGERS! Take it to the bank, it will come TRUE :-)

The Atlantic 10 hype bubble bursts

Another conference that is cyclically overhyped (and underhyped at other times) is the Altantic 10 (actually has 14 teams). Two of the overhyped teams are out, Richmond fell at the hands of the perpetually ignored Saint Mary's, while the booksmart spoiled brats of millionaires managed to DESTROY the overhyped Temple team.

The East Coast Hype is of course a regular thing. The Big East and ACC get most of the "hype juice", but during years where the some of the big ACC/BigEast names are troubled (UConn, North Carolina), they have unused hype at ESPN, which eventually "flows" to the Atlantic 14 :-)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The overhyped Big Yeast collapses like a House of Cards

Every year, the constant hype of the Big East and the ACC by the ESPN family of networks is probably responsible for at least two non-deserving bids for teams from those two conferences. This year, the Big East is turning out to be the Big Hype! Georgetown got humiliated by the tough Ohio of Ohio from start to finish. Villanova stumbled thanks to a few lucky breaks and avoided a very embarrassing loss the #15. And Marquette, despite its Top 24 seed, could not beat the automatic-bid from the Pac-10.

And this brings us to Duke. It looks like the CBS and NCAA elites were feeling too uncomfortable with Duke not reaching the Final Four in quite a while, so they OLE'd the Duke region, creating an almost rose-pedaled path for the sleazy Dookies to make it to Indianapolis. Assuming of course they can escape the winner of PitinoVille vs California.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Goodbye Gonzo, the TV awaits you?

Gonzo was probably not given a fair shake at Seton Hall, but in the busy and crowded Big East, patience is not a virtue. The good news for Gonzo is that he has the personality for TV. He is certainly more interesting than Tim Welsh or Mark Gottfried that for whatever reason ESPN decided to feature.

Speaking of which, is it time to start a Re-Hire Tom Brennan campaign? He brought a unique perspective and a breath of fresh air in the tired line-up of ESPN more-of-the-same analysts!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Please don't expand to 96 (but perhaps expand the opening round)

There is talk of expanding the NCAA tournament to 96 teams (64+32=96), however, I think that such an expansion would be too big at the moment, considering the NCAA tournament is great as it currently is.

However, there are arguments made for giving more teams a chance, and selection committee screw-ups ruining student athletes dreams. So how about a compromise instead?

Expand the opening round instead! That's right. Instead of having Virginia Tech, Illinois, Mississippi State, UAB, etc whine and complain, have them play an opening-round game against the lowest ranked at-large teams on the S-curve?

So perhaps expand the opening round to four games (eight teams), but in the interest of fairness, ONLY include at-large/bubble teams in the opening round. ALL the automatic teams DESERVE to be in the field of 64!

And seating/seeding the teams is fairly simply - they already have an S-curve they use during the selection process - use their S-curve position as a placeholders in the brackets, that way all teams get a fair ranking (as fair as that could be).

With ESPN having so many channels (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN360 (renamed to ESPN3), U, Classic), they can easily televise every single one of those opening round games.

So in this year, for example, we could have these opening round games:
* UTEP vs Mississippi State
* Minnessooota vs UAB
* Utah State vs Illinois
* Florida vs Virginia Tech

That would be a good and low-risk first step. If that proves successful, then they could perhaps slowly increase it to five or six in future years...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Purdue gets defeated by the game clock 20-11!

As the Big Ten needed more help in boosting its reputation as a conference where exciting and watchable basketball is played, Purdue, an alleged candidate for a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament could not score more than 11 points in the first half of the conference tournament semifinal against the TubbyGophers!

Eleven points in 20 minutes! Yes, they even lost to the game clock by 20-11 :-)

CBS please have Marques Johnson be the analyst for the Pac10 Championship

Part of the March Madness Championship Week silliness created by TV contracts is that sometimes you have analysts that have never watched the teams be the analysts for the conference championship games. This is ridiculous. Why fly some clueless idiot like Bob Wenzel to call the Pac-10 conference championship game, when you have the premiere Pac-10 basketball analyst right here in Los Angeles, already covering the conference games for FSN!

In addition to that, Marques Johnson is very qualified and a great analyst to be added to the NCAA Tournament team. Sadly Billy Packer heavily influenced the selection of March Madness analysts over the years, and a number of "even keeled" (read: BORING) analysts are part of the eight-analyst rotation.

So CBS, please ADD Marques Johnson to your March Madness analyst rotation!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Watch ten years of NCAA action (Sweet 16 to Final) for free

If you are a hardcore college hoops fans, you may get hooked on the NCAA Vault (website requires Flash), it lets you watch Sweet 16 NCAA basketball games from the last ten years completely free. The video size is relatively small, but it is FREE :) This includes the games from the Sweet 16, Elite 8, Semifinal and Final of the last ten years.

Better yet, the video is commercial-free and you can JUMP to any point in the video just by moving the slider. It loads up really fast if you are on a broadband connection. They do show the final score and summary of each game so if you want to watch without seeing the final score ahead of time, cover those parts of the screen :-)

The collection starts with the 2000 Wisconsin vs LSU game, and ends with the 2009 North Carolina vs Michigan State NCAA championship game.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

I agree with the coaches proposal on the Big East Tournament

I think the Coaches Proposal for the Big East Conference Tournament is a great idea. This would create a normal 16-team tournament, and in a way it would be like a mini-NCAA tourney. The top four seeds would play the bottom four on day #1. On day #2, the middle eight teams will play each other, and it the tourney will continue as expected on days #3 (1 vs 8, 2 vs 7, etc), day #4 (1 vs 4, 2 vs 3) and day #5 (1 vs 2).

This will give the top four Big East teams an early rehearsal of the NCAA tournament, where they play on one day, rest one day, and then play again.

That way no one has to win five games to get the automatic bid, instead, it is a more common sense four-games for the winner regardless of their conference ranking.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Can Saint Mary's beat GoneZaga in the second half?

The final of the WCC conference tournament is at half time right now. Saint Mary's as usual is doing well at the half time mark. The big question is, can they do it in the second half? The Zags have had their number the last few years. Saint Mary's has more to gain with a win since they get a guaranteed NCAA invite, while the Zags only have to wonder whether their invite will come with a mocha or a latte ;-)

And whichever team loses is going to be yelling at the TV when "Dougie" does the postmortem analysis the game from the game :)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Katie Couric dethrones Syracuse

It's goodbye storied Freedom Hall, and part of the Freedom Hall story was just written today, as PitinoVille managed to dethrone Syracuse from the #1 spot in the country and destroy their undefeated road record. And Louisville perhaps owns this victory to the crazy second half Katie Couric had with a barrage of threes and dunks!

And if you want to get a piece of the Freedom Hall history, the Hardwood Heavens DVD series on Amazon has a "Freedom Hall" DVD, available for around $15. This is part of an original sportsumentary (sports + documentary) series commissioned by the (now named) Mojo channel. This was produced beforehand, so it obviously won't have the closing of Freedom Hall. Narrated by Brent Musburger.

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