Sunday, March 27, 2011

VCU, V for Victory!

This was a great NCAA tournament so far with lots of drama and excitement! And not one but TWO mid-major teams in the Final Four! And one of the two is guaranteed to play in the Championship Game! That's right!

Meanwhile, Bill Self is once again exposed for his inability to defeat theoretically inferior opponents in the NCAA tournament. If it wasn't for the two epic Carolina and Memphis meltdowns in 2008, he would have been on the hot seat. But a championship can cure a lot of complaints!

Speaking of complaints, Calipari got his karma back at Kentucky as he managed to get to the Final Four the year after he was supposed to. And who knows, he may actually win his first title this time!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Derrick Williams, Arizona DESTROY the Duke Hype Devils

Derrick Williams and the Arizona Wildcats just DISMANTED the overhyped, over rated and spoiled brats of the Duke Pukedevils! Take that Ratzilla! :) This EPIC dismantling of the Dookies serves as revenge for Xavier's Elite 8 unfair zebra-induced loss to the Dookies. And "revenge" for Arizona's 2001 NCAA championship loss.

This was one of the best games EVER! Epic Duke Loss! :)

As far as the player of the year, how can you give it to Nolan Smith or Jimmer, when you get epic performances like this from Derrick Williams??? Maybe Kemba Walker, but no one is more epic than Derrick Williams! #1 NBA draft pick 2011!

And big props to CBS/TBS for finally having someone in the studio that like the one and only like the Charles Barkley who doesn't parrot the never-ending ACC/BigEast worship service that we get on ESPN, CBS, and traditional print media.

PS. According to a statistic shown during the Friday games on CBS, Duke's margin of loss (16 points) was the LARGEST in the Sweet 16 for a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament history. Oh my!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Big East epic collapse in the NCAA tournament

The hype machine at ESPN propelled the Big East as THE college basketball conference of 2011, but the reality of the NCAA tournament did not agree with them. Eleven Big East teams were selected in the Field of 68. Of the 11, only two have made it to the Sweet 16, but there is a big asterisk there. BOTH Big East teams that made the Sweet 16 did so because they beat ANOTHER Big East team! There were that many of them!

So if we take out those two "guaranteed" spots, none of the remaining seven Big East teams made it past the first weekend of the tourney. That's just crazy considering all the Big East hype. As The Chuckster said, the Big Least.

Granted, the NCAA tournament is about matchups and there is always randomness, but still, only two out of eleven teams, and two had a GUARANTEED spot in the Sweet 16 because they were playing another Big East team.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Zebras take-over Butler vs Pitt, try to undo whistle-damage

The zebras almost screwed up the Pitt vs Butler game, but they ended the game with a second crazy whistle in the last few (nearly) milliseconds of the game. It came down to free throws, and Butler won! Right now, the co-ordinator of NCAA officials is discussing this on CBS with Ernie Johnson.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

NCAA tries to "sell" opening round by using their "Elite" broadcasts

The NCAA and CBS/Turner are trying to "sell" the opening round games are "significant" and as a first round, not just an afterthought round sent to Dayton, Ohio. To stress this point, CBS/Turner have sent their top team of broadcasters, Clark Kellogg, Jim "Golf" Nantz, Steve Kerr and Traci Woofson.

Will it convince more people to tune in and "consider" it part of the "real" March Madness, and not "the game that used to be on ESPN" as a warm-up?

Needless to say, the media wants more expansion, so you bet they are taking special care of the opening round, now officially called the "1st round".

Shortcut for watching March Madness games online

If you are planning to watch March Madness online, live or replays of games you may have missed, be sure to bookmark this url that takes you directly to the March Madness On-Demand Console. From there you can begin watching games right away!

Already available for replay are the CBS Selection Show from Sunday, and the National Bracket Day from Monday with the one and only Marques Johnson. CBS, please add Marques Johnson to your West Coast/P10 coverage. Having that complete and total idiot (Bob Wenzel) doing Pac-10 games is completely ridiculous.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

National Bracket Day on Monday at noon EST (free online!)

Turner Sports will be working with the NCAA to produce a live show broadcast online for free at starting "Bracket Monday" March 14, 2011 at 12pm EASTERN (9am PACIFIC) that will talk about ...brackets and filling brackets and the whole madness about the madness.

Meanwhile, if you missed some of the ESPN action or you are away from your cable/satellite box, the ESPN YouTube channel has clips from the never-ending ESPN bracketology with Bilas, Digger, Dookie Dookitale, and friends.

There's also an interview with selection cmte chair Gene Smith at the ESPN College Basketball Nation blog.

I think we need more OPENNESS in the selection process. Just like the Courts write long-winded explanations on how they reached their decisions, the Selection Cmte should also justify in an open manner how they pick and seed the teams! Someone needs to file a FOIA? :)

Selection Cmte puts many slugfest teams in Pitt region

The NCAA Selection Cmte is getting a lot of yelling for the way they picked and seeded the last few at-large entries, but one thing they did right is they put a lot of the slugfest teams in the same sub-region, guaranteeing that seven of the eight brackets will have watchable games :) The slugfest sub-region includes Pitt, Wisonsin, Kansas State, Utah State and ODU :-)

The selection cmte, perhaps also "optimizing" for television ratings, has set up (intentionally or not) some interesting and potential "matchups with baggage" such as:

Actual Matchups
* Arizona vs Memphis (Josh Pastnor was a former Arizona player and assistant)
* UNLV vs Illinois (Lon Kruger used to coach Illinois)

Potential 2nd round (now 3rd round) matchups
* UCLA vs Florida (rematch of previous Final Fours)
* Duke vs Michigan
* West Virginia vs Kentucky
* Arizona vs Texas (they used to play every year during the Olson era)
* and ...two Big East matches (East, West regions)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Can Harrison Barnes Carmelo Carolina to the Title?

This is turning into quite a wild conference championship week! One question that arose today, after the Carolina vs Clemson game is this: Can Harrison Barnes lift North Carolina to the title the same way Carmelo Anthony did in 2003 for Syracuse? Just like Syracuse in 2003, Carolina has a limited rotation and has not been considered to be at the same level as the Kansas and Ohio States of this season. With his Jordanesque performance against Clemson, can Barnes take Carolina to the promise land?

But that's a big IF, considering how they fell behind to Miami/Clemson. Their chances of recovering from such a bad start are significantly lower when playing Final Four or Elite 8 caliber teams. Remember Kansas in 2008?

Championship week has probably spawned another dark horse favorite for the title, the UConn Huskies. Driven by a driven-to-prove-everyone-wrong-again Calhoun, the Huskies did the impossible, won five out of five and got the Big East title. If they have anything left in the tank (and they should since they are 20 year old kids, not middle-aged accountants)...

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Villanova does not belong to the NCAA tournament

Nothing against the team or the coach or the program, but when you lose your last five games, and lose them the way they lost to #15 seed South Florida at MSG, you are simply NOT one of the best 37 or so at-large teams in the country. It's one thing to lose one or two games, but losing the last five is not the sign of a winning team! Sorry Wildcats, but it's NIT time!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

2011 NCAA Tournament TV schedule: a mix of CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV

Once upon a time (such as last year), almost all the NCAA tournament coverage (except for the opening round game and a couple of Pacific-time lunch time games) was through CBS. The plus was you didn't have to remember which channel to watch. The minus was that you only got one game at a time. The internets however saved the day in recent years, as the NCAA made those games available online for free!

Things change in 2011
But starting with the 2011 NCAA Tournament things are changing! On the plus side, every single game is going to be on TV, live and in its entirety. No more screaming at the CBS monkey for showing the wrong game. The negative with this is that the games are going to be on four different channels, CBS, and three cable channels, TBS, TNT and TruTV, which is the artist formerly known as CourtTV. Make sure you find those on your cable or satellite system and check to see if they have HD (high-definition) versions available.

The schedule of the games is also slightly getting adjusted so as to prevent multiple games ending at the same time. This of course is not easy to do, because some games take longer than others, and that's before we consider overtimes.

Changes in announcer teams and studio coverage
Another interesting development is that the announcement and studio teams are merging into a giant "dream team" of basketball broadcasters. On the plus side, we are getting the one and only Charles Barkley in the studio, so we finally have someone who speaks his mind :)

TBS/TNT will also contribute one of the eight announcement teams, with Steve Kerr and Marv "I was wearing ex-girlfriend clothes before it was trendy" Albert. This means one of the eight traditional CBS duos is going to be left out. With Dick Enberg retiring, and Jay Bilas already having a gig at ESPN, Jay Bilas is indeed the odd man out.

Reggie Miller will also be joining in the Kevin Harlan and Dan Bonner duo, which is a big plus. The Ferengi ambassador to Earth was very pleased!

Sadly, still no Marques Johnson, so we have to suffer through games with idiots like Bob Wenzel and the more boring than watching-paint-dry boring duo of Ion Eagle and Jim Spanarkel.

Internet still free
The other good news is that the games will continue to be available for free online, and with computers and broadband getting cheaper infrastructure-wise, we should expect/hope that each year things will be better than previous online years.

TV schedule information around the net
* with nice graphics showing the blocks of time with games
* Wikipedia

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Carolina walk-ons beat Duke 3-0, and so do the scholarship players!

CBS has just showed its first prime-time regular season game on the television and that game was Duke visiting North Carolina. The game was very watchable, and it started the way it ended, with Carolina on top!

And what a way to win the game and the regular season championship. The Carolina walk-ons beat the Duke starting line-up 3-0! That was more than two minutes of game-time, not some random three-pointer fluke! The house of cards of Coach Rat has been exposed to a prime-time audience!

Other than Nolan Smith and Seth Curry, the rest of the Duke line-up is basically over-hyped over-rated spoiled brats. And it showed tonight. Big-time! Sure, Kylie or Katie or K-whatever his name is Irving is gone, but Duke is not the only team that lost important players during the season.

The importance of a true point-guard
If you needed any further evidence that a solid point-guard is of uttermost importance to a team, just look at the Carolina Tar-Heels the last two years - check the games with Larry Drew and check the games with Kendall Marshall. Conventional wisdom, and perhaps because of Dad's NBA career, had Larry Drew as the next big thing at Carolina point-guard. Instead, he won't even be a Q-Thomas, since he left mid-season. Marshall is indeed an interesting case. Unlike the last two championship point-guards (Everybody-Loves-Raymond and Ty Lawson), Marshall is not a beep-beeper, but more of a think-first, pass-first type of a point guard. This is a rather rare thing to see from a true freshman that didn't even run the team at the start of the season. Having top-caliber talent around can certainly make a point-guard even better.

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