Saturday, March 29, 2008

Half the FInal Four is Set

UCLA finally blew someone out. I hope that makes everyone happy. But it doesn't change anything for me. I still think they have so many good players who can kill you on both ends of the floor.

Kevin Love keeps getting better everytime I see him. He knows exactly when to shoot, when to drive, when to dish. He's still a little slow on defense but no one is perfect.

Josh Shipp needs to start playing better.

For the last time this season that we get to hear Raftery he was in rare form.

Verne set him up beautifully by saying "Kevin Love is being guarded by Jason Love. The floor is yours." But Raf played it coy saying "I'll save that until later." Then like a little kid who couldn't wait he said "love is in the air."

On the other hand, we can now see why Dick Enberg only did half the games last week. He was utterly confused at several points about the time and score (saying the scoreboard was hard to read). But he also had trouble reading his stat sheet because he said not once, but twice, than Hansbrough had 9 assists, before later amending that by saying he had accidentally read Lawson's stat line. I like Dick Enberg but if you screw up the little things it doesn't matter how smooth you are.

Louisville gave North Carolina the best game so far, but it is quite possible this team is unbeatable. Although, once again I did see a glimmer of hope in there, just failure to execute. Louisville made their run cut it to 1, then UNC got a couple baskets. Louisville tried too hard to get those points back, rushing a 3, and rushing a pass. And when you rush against UNC not only do you fail to score, you make it easier for them score. So every mistake against them is a 4 point swing.

I'm sick of the Tyler Hansbrough hype already, every announcer has to say something more than the previous guy. So this time it wasn't just that Hansbrough never takes a play off, it's that he never takes a day off. On his off day he shot 500 (or was it 5000?) jump shots. But I must say, it did pay off. This was as good as I've ever seen him play. He was actually making plays (flying around for dunks, hitting 15 footers) instead of just running into people and getting fouled like he normally does.

I'm assuming Kansas will beat Davidson, and when they do they will play an epic game against North Carolina.

NCAA Tournament: Friday Facts

Stephen Curry is pretty good. Not just pretty good, freakin awesome. No matter what they do they can't seem to keep him from getting 30 points. I think he's hit 90% of his open looks from 3 in this tournament. I am so impressed with this guy and if he keeps growing I think he could be a NBA player, sort of in the Dell Curry mold.

I should have stuck with my initial read on Wisconsin. Too big and slow to hang with a team with superior athleticism.

And I changed my mind on Stanford too even though I was right all along. With the Lopez brothers they were good enough to be inferior teams but once they got up against a team with fast guards who can shoot and push the ball, they really have no answer. I also think they should have just left both Lopezes in the whole game and every time thrown the ball into one of them, have him shoot it and have the other one try to rebound the miss. That's the best strategy for them.

Was LeBron James wearing canary yellow diamond earrings?

LeBron was in town to play the Pistons so he decided to watch "the kid" play. Davidson fans were already outfitted in "Witness" t-shirts.

Hey Memphis haters, does free throw shooting matter when you have a 30-point halftime lead? Memphis showed why they are so good. They had more talent at every position than Michigan State. I still think they might lose to Texas, but they are a damn good team.

Kansas looked really awesome too. Davidson's run ends against them. Curry may get his points, but there is no way they can keep up with Kansas's speed, and Kansas has a huge size and strength advantage.

Unfortunately Davidson won by so much that we didn't get vintage Gus Johnson, though he did give us one "ha HA!"

I think Nantz and Packer are their worst team, yet somehow they're the lead team.

North Carolina and Louisville play in the men's and women's tournaments today. Do you think the CBS announcers will even know, and mention this?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Styles Make Fights

This clip looks to be about 20 years old and when I first started watching it I thought to myself (as I do with everything I see and hear) is this Poopworthy? At first I thought no, then as it went on, I was laughing hysterically and decided I had to share it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Killer Willard, the boxing kangaroo.

Thursday Night Thoughts

North Carolina is fuckin awesome. But I think Washington State demonstrated the blueprint to beat them (if its possible), they just couldn't execute it for 40 minutes. You need to slow them down to the point where they can't get out on the break, and instead they are rushing shots and passes in an effort to speed the tempo. In order to play that style and beat them though, you need to make a high percentage of your shots and never turn it over.

This Washington State team was a good group that played heady basketball, they were just overmatched by North Carolina.

West Virginia is such a fun team to watch. Larry Brown would love them, they play the right way. This game was one of the most fun of the tournament because both teams were shooting well, passing the ball (all those backcuts by West Virginia), playing a team game. The second half was excellent.

Raftery gave us not one but two "Onions!" in this one.

Did anyone hear Verne Lundquist say "two musketeers have fouled out, one more and you have a novel?" That was one of the worst jokes ever.

Louisville was very impressive. Tennessee's defense and pace forced them into a ton of turnovers but they shot well and played good defense and never really let Tennessee get going. Tennessee doesn't really have any good halfcourt offensive players other than Lofton (who needs help getting his shot), and he did nothing until the second half, when it might have been too late.

I don't think Louisville can stick with Carolina though, unless they hit a ton of 3s. They need Edgar Sosa to play a lot better.

I still refuse to worry about UCLA even though they are in closer games than they should be. I continue to be impressed by Love who can always find a way to score.

Dick Enberg said Tennessee forward Wayne Chism is nicknamed "Weezy" because of his asthma. While he does have asthma, I tend to think the nickname is derived from Lil Wayne, who is called Weezy. Either way, if I were friends with him I'd call him Shirley (I know the spelling is different), to honor a great American, and so he could reply "don't call me Shirley."

Enjoy the best of Bill Raftery from Thursday's action:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Oh My!

Dick Enberg enjoys the view as the UCLA cheerleaders perform.

So Mike, What Do You Think of Brandon Inge

I was actually listening to Mike and the Mad Dog this day when they concocted this idea that the Mets needed to trade for a rightfielder to platoon with Ryan Church. It was completely absurd and never going to happen but they spent hours driving Mets fans crazy with this talk. Somehow it turned into the Mets not being able to win unless they got Xavier Nady. When someone suggested the Mets get Brandon Inge, well, just listen to what Mike thought:

I counted 11

Sweet Sixteen Predictions

West Virginia over Xavier:
Xavier plays incredible defense but I think West Virginia has enough good shooters and enough good ball handlers and enough experienced players to not get rattled when Xavier turns up the heat, as Georgia and Purde did.

North Carolina over Washington State:
North Carolina could score half as many points as they did against Arkansas and still win this game. Tony Bennett has only one chance in this game, slow it down to a painful pace and hope the Tar Heels try too hard to get up and down, causing turnovers.

UCLA over Western Kentucky:
I think this might be another close game but UCLA has proven they have the horses (and perhaps the referees) to keep winning close games.

Louisville over Tennessee:
I'm actually changing my mind on this one because I think Chris Lofton has disappeared. They need him to have a huge game and hit his outside shots, but he's shooting only 4 of 16 so far in the tournament.

Wisconsin over Davidson:
I think Bo Ryan has schemed to shut down Stephen Curry. And I think Wisconsin has too much size up front.

Stanford over Texas:
I'm changing my mind on this one too. After I saw how Brook Lopez dominated Marquette down the stretch, and how totally clutch he was, I have to change my mind about Stanford. I still think they lack the athletic wing players to run with teams like Memphis and North Carolina, but when you have two good big guys like this who are both capable of scoring on anyone, you can be very dangerous.

Kansas over Villanova:
I expect Kansas to overwhelm them in the biggest blowout of this round.

Memphis over Michigan State:
This is the game that could be the upset special. I think Tom Izzo is going to turn this one into an ugly affair and just try to stay close. If Memphis doesn't shoot free throws better I could see Izzo employing a hack-a-Dorsey plan late in the game. He is not above such indelicate tactics. But I still think Memphis will win because they have better players.

The Many Faces of Jim Boeheim

Here are the best pictures of Jim Boeheim going nuts on the sidelines during the disappointing 2007-2008 season, the fourth straight that ended without a win in the NCAA Tournament.

More Trivia

Which 5 teams that made this year's men's NCAA Tournament field are nicknamed Wildcats?

Which 2 1st round matchups featured schools that have won the NCAA basketball title before?

Duke Pussies

When I traced the demise of the Duke program to their recruitment of exclusively white pussies, the one guy I exempted from that was Gerald Henderson. I was wrong. There is nothing more pussyish than cheap-shotting someone in the back in an effort to get him to retaliate and pick up a technical foul. I'm glad the refs didn't T up, I think it was Thoroughman, for thumping this little bitch.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Fitting End to the Season

It was a very appropriate end to a disappointing season for Syracuse.
SU stormed out to a huge early lead against UMass, leading 54-32 with 14 minutes to go.
UMass scored 49 points in the next 14 minutes as another team torched the supposedly impenetrable Syracuse 2-3 zone.
Other than his flawed strategy of playing one defense against every opponent, in every situation, I don't blame Boeheim for this loss.
He didn't shut it down in the no points offense.
His players just did what they have done all season.
They try too hard to win the game with individual plays, they turn the ball over in key spots and the do not cover 3-point shooters.
UMass hit 9 of 13 3-pointers down the stretch.
But reflecting on this loss, and this season, I think the biggest reason this year didn't turn out the way we hoped, is because in close games, when they needed a basket, no one on the team emerged as the guy to give it to them.

A Brit Part

It was another "How I Met Your Mother" episode that seemed thrown together too quickly because of CBS's ambitious return date after the writers' strike.

Britney wasn't bad, her character was just useless. I liked Sarah Chalke and thought she looked way hotter than she ever looked on Scrubs, but there just weren't that many funny parts.

It just seemed as if Britney's character was thrown in. And I know her final scene with NPH was thrown in, and you could tell.

The scene where Ted and Stella discussed Abby, or Alan and when Britney returned Ted's book, were both incredibly stupid.

I also didn't really like the 2 minute date (although it produced a good line “The last two minute date I had gave me a daughter”), but it was shot in real time with no edits, so that makes it cool.

Sarah Chalke apparently brought her own lab coat from Scrubs because it's tailored to her.

The interlude where Barney convinces Ted to grow a mustache to win a bet, was hysterical. And capped with "I woulda done it for free," really saved the episode for me.

Hopefully they'll get back in the groove once the pre-strike ideas are finished.

Btw, I hope you all noticed Stella's reference to a St. Patrick's Day party. I think that's another red herring, she is not my mother.

Women's Tournament Thoughts

If you enjoy the men's tournament as much as I do, you should also follow the women's game, because many of the same elements we love about March Madness are still prevalent with the ladies.

The difference between the top teams and the bottom teams is wider in the women's game which is why it was surprising when #16 Coppin State gave Maryland such a good game in the first round. But ten years ago #16 Harvard knocked off Stanford in the first round.

Georgia Tech played Iowa State and Georgia played Iowa in the first round. I think the Committee was trying to start some unique interstate rivalry. They split the games.

Georgia almost had the sweep but Iowa State started bombing 3s, making 5 out of 6 during one 6 minute stretch of the second half.

Speaking of 3, the Marist Redd Foxxes trailed DePaul 55-44. They won 76-57, thanks to 5 out of 7 threes down the stretch and DePaul did not score for the last 8:30 of the game.

I am very surprised they named their teams after Redd Foxx. I had no idea he went there. Ya big dummy!

There are a lot of familiar names in this tournament. Meg Bulger on West Virginia is the younger sister of Rams quarterback Marc Bulger. Brittany Ray on Rutgers is the younger sister of Allan Ray who used to play for Villanova. Rashanda McCants on North Carolina is the younger sister of Rashad McCants of the Timberwolves. Their parents were very creative with names. Candice Wiggins who stars for Stanford is the daughter of former San Diego Padre Alan Wiggins. Candice scored 44 points in Stanford's win over Texas-El Paso. Wiggins is one of the best players in the country and could be the second pick in the WNBA Draft after Candace Parker.

And I spent way too long researching this but it seems that Jodi Bolerjack of Wyoming is not related to CBS announcer Craig Bolerjack. Jodi's father is named Paul, Craig is named Craig and his brother is named Steve.

I'm not going to get into which players I thought were pretty because its trite and sexist and really has nothing to do with why I watch women's basketball. Plus, the players never look as good in their pictures on the internet as they do in their ponytails and uniforms. But I will say the best looking player I saw all weekend originally went to Syracuse but transferred because the program was in disarray. Too bad she didn't stick around for the Quentin Hillsman era.

Also, there will never be a women's basketball player as hot as Brittany Jackson, who looks much better in other pictures.

Unfortunately Syracuse disappointed in its first round game against Hartford. SU was trailing most of the game but came back to take a 49-48 lead but then Hillsman lost his mind and got a technical with 3 minutes to go. I don't think what he did was so bad, the refs should have let it go, but they didn't and instead of leading by 1, SU was trailing by 1. But SU battled back again to take a 53-51 lead when the Jim Boeheim offense took over. SU killed 30 seconds off the clock then drove the lane and lost the ball leading to a Hartford fast break. And to make it worse Chandrea Jones fouled the shooter giving Hartford a 3-point play. But once again SU came back as Tasha Harris's corner jumper gave SU a 1-point lead with 22 seconds to go. But then Marylynne Schaefer hit a difficult 3 to give Hartford the win.

Crazy ending to the Florida State - Oklahoma State game. Florida State was leading the whole time, lost their lead but scored at the end of regulation to force OT. Then in OT they got down 5 (the biggest deficit of the game for either team) but bombed 2 3s to tie it. Oklahoma State had the ball and one last chance, and Florida State committed a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad foul with less than a second left. There was so little time left that had OSU made the pass, they never would have had time to get a shot off. And the referees spent several minutes reviewing the tape to make sure the foul occurred before the red light went off. It did and the foul had to be called, it was obvious. Tough way to end the game though.

Perhaps the most exciting game of the first weekend was Old Dominion over Virginia. ODU had a sizeable lead for most of the game Virginia started a comeback but with 23 seconds left they were still down 1 so they had to start fouling. Down 3, Virginia decided to go for the quick 2. And this is the play-by-play of what happened next:

0:13 Lyndra Littles missed Two Point Jumper.
0:13 Lyndra Littles Offensive Rebound.
0:10 Lyndra Littles missed Two Point Layup.
0:10 Lyndra Littles Offensive Rebound.
0:06 Lyndra Littles missed Two Point Jumper.
0:06 Sharnee Zoll Offensive Rebound.
0:05 Lyndra Littles missed Two Point Layup.
0:05 Aisha Mohammed Offensive Rebound.
0:02 Aisha Mohammed made Two Point Layup.
0:02 Foul on Shahida Williams 78-77
0:01 Aisha Mohammed made Free Throw.

Four missed shots, four offensive rebounds, a put back...and a foul. The funny thing is, the strategy to go for the quick 2 failed because by the time they got it, they didn't have any time left, but they got fouled.

ODU rebounded to win the game in overtime on a 25 footer 3-pointer by Jazz Walters with 6 seconds left.

The game was played on Old Dominion's home court even though Virginia was a 4 seed, and ODU was a 5. It was one of several games played on the home court of the lower seed. #12 New Mexico hosted #5 West Virginia and almost pulled off the upset. In the men's tournament people go nuts when a team has to play in the home state of another team, imagine if it were the home court. But the women's game needs to do this to ensure good attendance.

There are 5 Big East teams in the Sweet 16, of 8 that made it. UConn, Rutgers, Notre Dame, Louisville and Pittsburgh.

All 5 of those teams beat Big 12 teams in the second round.

Louisville will play North Carolina on Saturday, the same day Louisville will play North Carolina in the men's bracket if both teams win on Thursday.

I orginally wrote off Rutgers but I think they have improved on offense this year with the emergence of Epiphany Prince. Piff scored 10 or Rutgers's first 12 points of the second half. She hit 3 of 5 three pointers including 2 in a row in 30 seconds.

I do think we are headed for a UConn-Tennessee epic final game.

I know there's a lot here but I've been working on this post four 5 days.

Roy-al Rumble

Patrick Roy encourages his son Jonathan to kick the other goalie's ass.
This is the best video because it is uncut, but you only need to watch the first minute, unless you speak French.

Song of the Week

"Roni" - Bobby Brown
Whitney Houston is most definitely not a Roni.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Fool and Her Money Are Soon Parted

Authorities in Los Angeles County, California are looking for two suspects who allegedly scammed a woman out of thousands of dollars for a fake gold bar.
Authorities say two suspects approached the victim in a Mancaster mall.
The surveillance tape shows the woman withdrawing $9,000 from the bank to pay for the bar of gold.
The woman had been saving the money to make a down payment on a house.
"She dropped them off. And when she went to cash in the gold bar, they told her it was fake," said Det. Miguel Torres, L.A. County Sheriff's Dept.

I feel no sympathy for this woman. If you're going to be this stupid, you almost deserved to get robbed. Now I wish this never happened, but someone who is so dumb, really isn't deserving of our sympathy. In fact, the money is probably in better hands now.

True Love

When it comes to tales of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet have nothing on Cedrick Wilson and Lindsey Paulat.
You may remember that they had a little misunderstanding back in January. Paulat held Wilson hostage in his home during a 12-hour armed standoff.
Maybe they hadn't seen each other since then, because when Wilson saw her again, he could hardly contain himself.
Wilson went into Patron Mexican Grill in Pine Township, PA and he saw Paulat sitting at the bar.
He pushed her on the shoulder and, when she turned around, punched her in the left side of her face and then quickly walked out.
Police caught up to Wilson at his house and charged him with simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct.
Wilson and Paulat have 1-year-old daughter, Anya.

The Ups and Downs of Coaching

Some of the best pictures of coaches during the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

John Calipari yells "make a free throw, pleeeeeeeeeese."

Ben Howland wants to know why his team never gets any calls.

Matt Painter should really focus on the game and stop trying to brag to the cheerleaders.

Bruce Pearl getting limber in case he has to join the dance team at a women's tournament game.

This is what Tom Izzo looks like when he's happy. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

Trent Johnson thinks, "oh shit, what did I just do?"

Doug Oliver thinks, "oh shit, what did Trent Johnson just do?"

Fran McCaffrey explaining for the 1000th time that Siena is a small school in Albany. An excellent school really, I'm surprised you've never heard of us.

John Pelphrey wishes Steven Hill would have gotten a haircut. Not that it would have helped against North Carolina, but it just looks really bad.

Sorry, I can't hear you, I've got this championship ring clogging my ears.

Bo Ryan wishes they would play Soulja Boy during timeouts.

We're Duke goddammit!

Kobe's Sick Move

I've seen so many great moves and great dunks in my life that I seldom get awed, but this one by Kobe Bryant against the Golden State Warriors really made my jaw drop. The degree of difficulty on this was so high (even though he may not have planned it this way) because of it's component parts. There was the behind the back dribble, the spin and the wrap-around pass, giving Kobe bonus points for good team play.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter

bunny ears

Tournament Challenge Update

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Tournament Challenge group.

We had 26 entries though some people entered several sheets. I have no problem with that, I did it myself, but you can't brag if your wife or dog or baby wins.

That said Beers is winning using the picks he entered in his own name. After nailing Western Kentucky and Siena, he also had the onions to pick WKU over what he thought would be UConn. That paid off. Let's see how his next gamble (Louisville over Tennessee and North Carolina) works out.

Michael who normally dominates this event, and led after the first round, had trouble with the Big East. He picked 6 Big East teams to make the Sweet 16, but Pitt, Marquette, UConn, Notre Dame and Georgetown all lost. And he left out 2 of the 3 teams (Villanova and West Virginia) that actually did.

Mrs. Poop is very upset with her poor performance thus far and vows not to fill out a bracket next year if I keep making fun of her.

As for all of the 3 million or so entries on, 4,621 have Davidson, Villanova and Western Kentucky in the Sweet 16, but only 2 of those people have all 13 of the other 16 teams also.

What Do You Give Me For? Easter Worshipper & Dumb Donald

An easter worshipper ("a penitent") and Dumb Donald from "Fat Albert."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tournament Talk: Sweet Sixteen is Set

Poor Siena, their Cinderella run ended and they were never really in the game. Siena shot only 36% against Vanderbilt compared to 57% against Vanderbilt. At least I found out Siena has a guy, Ryan Rossiter, from Staten Island. But he went to Farrell so he's probably gay.

And his brother, Stephen Rossiter, plays for Davidson. The parents went to Tampa with Ryan because they saw Davidson's conference tournament.

[Correction: Apparently the Rossiters drove to Raleigh after the first game and were there to see Davidson knock off Georgetown.]

The brothers combined for zero points on Sunday, but at least Stephen is playing on.

I listened to this game on the radio and the announcer called Edwin Ubilies, Kevin at least twice (because it's pronounced similarly to Youkilis).

Tennessee committed way too many fouls down the stretch. Mike Green and AJ Graves were dribbling right into them but for 6 minutes and 20 seconds until the last tip-in, they got 8 points, all from the line. Normally if you hold your opponent without a field goal for 6 minutes down the stretch you're going to win. Instead Butler tied the game and forced overtime.

If you don't believe anything I say about the NCAA Tournament, believe this, the team that wins the close games is the team that has the guy they can go when they need a basket, and he will deliver. You saw it with Brook Lopez for Stanford, you saw it with Love and Collison for UCLA and you saw it with Ramar and Chism for Tennessee.

And you saw it with Stephen Curry for Davidson. This guy is incredible. He has 100 points in 3 NCAA Tournament games. I made fun of him in the first half saying he was averaging 21 points per game in the tournament (he had 2 at the time), but he went off in the second half. He scored 25 of the last 41 points for Davidson.

This game and the Tennessee game were ending at the same time so we couldn't see both and CBS kept bouncing us back and forth. I've always wondered why they don't stagger the starts more so that all the games could end at different times. Are they worried if a game is a blowout people will turn away so they want three games to end at once to increase the likelihood of one good finish?

And while those two games were going San Diego was making a run at Western Kentucky. It was the 7th time (Villanova-Siena was the 6th) that a 12 and 13 seed played in the second round. The 12 seed was won 6 of those matchups. But 12 seeds are 0-13 against 1 seeds.

Poor San Diego, their athletic department chose to send their band with the women's team because they were playing in California. They hired Western Kentucky's band to play for them when they played against UConn. But they needed to find some new friends when they ended up facing Western Kentucky, so Siena's band stuck around to do the honors. The dance team told them to play what they knew and they'd improvise.

This is the first year that 3 double digit seeds are in the Sweet 16 since 2002.

UNC is absolutely killing people. They are so fast and so good and so scary right now that I'm regretting picking UCLA. But I think playing UCLA may frustrate them even more because UCLA will bump, hound and slow them out of their game.

And I can't say I'm discouraged by UCLA's bad game against Texas A&M. Any win is a good win, and a win in which your best players show their stones by hitting several key late baskets has to be viewed as a positive.

There has been a major problem with the logos on the courts being too slippery. I've seen a lot of players slip and fall on them. They need to fix that for next week. After Tyler Hansbrough fell Roy Williams freaked out and exhorted Jim Nantz to mention it on the telecast.

Billy Packer spouted the trite line about not wanting to see someone get hurt, but I think a greater concern is that someone could slip at a key part of the game. Say a guy is dribbling up court down by 1, and he slips and loses the ball and his team loses the game. That would call into question the entire tournament.

I am willing to recant one thing I said so far. It is quite possible that Memphis's free throw shooting will cost them a game. Even I didn't expect them to shoot 46%. And that was actually bolstered by a couple 1 for 2s by CDR and Rose.

Another thing I was wrong about, Ian Eagle called him Chris Douglas-Roberts the whole weekend.

It's starting to look a lot like UNC, UCLA, Kansas and Memphis or Texas in the Final 4.