Saturday, March 19, 2011

NCAA Tournament: Saturday Thoughts

I enjoyed the Kentucky - West Virginia game. It was an interesting contrast in point guards. Joe Mazzoula vs. Brandon Knight. Raw talent vs. experience and savvy. Talent won out in the end. Amazing Kentucky can be good again after losing 5 players to the NBA. I guess Calipari is either a great recruiter or he's giving kids bags of cash.

UCLA says center Josh Smith is 6-10 305 pounds. Not quite sure I believe that. But he is a pretty good player. Quicker feet than you would think. He did well to avoid a 5th foul but was a little too aggressive on defense and got into a few spots where a call could have gone against him. I also liked him on offense, posted well, turned baseline, sealed with his body and used the glass. He could have an NBA future someday but would probably need to get down to 275, for real.

Every year UCLA has a handsome white player we suspect gets a lot of pussy around campus. There was Jason Kapono, Michael Roll and Lorenzo Mata (jklol) and now it must be Reeves Nelson.

Ok, Florida won, I was wrong this year. But I still think a #2 will go down in this round (which I will still call the 2nd round). North Carolina, Notre Dame or San Diego St. I guess at this point I would say SDSU is most likely, if only because I picked them to go to the Final Four.

It's fun to root for the underdogs but when they win they often play a rocky game like the one between Morehead State and Richmond. Sometimes it's good for the favorites to win because the best teams often provide the best games.

Cool of them to show Derrick Coleman highlights as Faried passed him and Tim Duncan in all-time rebounding this year.

Sand Diego State held on. It was an exciting game, all double OT games are, but it wasn't a great game. San Diego State totally tightened up to let Temple tie the game at the end of regulation, and then Temple blew it in OT. Fran Dunphy played not to lose telling his team to eat the ball on their final two possessions in which they got nothing. SDSU turned it over 3 times in the backcourt in the 2 overtimes and got lazy and gave Temple a layup on a runout, you can't do that in overtime. But they survived and advance, which is all that matters.

Wow, that Pitt-Butler game was one of the worst endings I have even seen.

First, Jamie Dixon tells his team to kill the entire clock with a 1 point lead. How do you not get a shot off there. Why do teams continue to do this. The 5 or 10 extra seconds are not nearly as important as the basket.

Second, Shelvin Mack had a great game, one of the best of his life and he almost cost his team the game by just blatantly running into a guy, for no reason. He would have had a half court heave on the run.

Gilbert Brown, make a free throw, please!

Nassir Robinson bailed out Mack. What a stupid foul. You're standing on the free throw line thinking about how you might win the game because of the other team's idiotic foul then you go commit one yourself. Stupidest thing ever. Even if he cleanly chopped the ball out of Howard's hand he still wouldn't have had time to grab it and shoot it. Dixon probably should have pulled his guys off the line. What fuckin morons.

I'm starting to believe Jamie Dixon is a big reason why Pitt chokes in the tournament every single year. What a horrible job by Pitt.

But Butler deserves credit. They are not a fluke. Upsetting a #1 seed two years in a row, they are a good team and a good program, probably the new Gonzaga.

BYU got a really bad break when Brandon Davies fucked his girlfriend but they may have gotten a favorable draw to get to the Final Four. They can beat Florida and they won't have to face a physical Pittsburgh team in the Elite 8 if they do. I would love to see Jimmer in the Final Four.

I think being on TV probably hurts recruiting for Kansas State. Why would anyone want to play for Frank Martin when he looks like that all the time?

A really exciting finish in KState Wisconsin too. I agree with Frank Martin's decision not to call timeout there down 1. And I agree with Pullen pushing it and trying to get fouled. he just lost it and Wisconsin got and that was pretty much that. Pullen was great though. Wisconsin which I was sure would lose in the first round now has a great chance to go to the Elite 8.

Another great game by Kemba Walker. Not much else to say about that. The dumb shit about 5 games in 5 days should be worn off. I don't think we can use that excuse if they lost to San Diego State or Duke next week. By then there will have been enough time.

Disappointing showing for the Big East. If Notre Dame wins it will send only 3 of 11 teams to the Sweet 16. And 3 of the top 5 suffered major upsets (Pitt, UL and SJU).

But the big story of this game and perhaps the entire tournament is that Butler-Pittsburgh game. And again, I agree both were fouls, maybe the one on Howard could have been let go, but it was the mental mistakes (including the wasted possession by Pitt) that decided this game, not the referees.

Friday, March 18, 2011

What Kind of Asshole Gets Married During March Madness?

My friend Mike D that's who. And on a Friday night no less.
I will not be watching any games tonight, so no recap. If you have any funny comments or game observations post them in the comments section.
I will not be watching Syracuse until I get home. At 10pm I am giving Mrs. Poop my blackberry and instructing her not to give it to me until I finish watching the game. Bombard me with all the bbms, comments and e-mails you like. I will read them about 3am, if all goes well.

NCAA Tournament Thoughts: Early Friday

Texas is one of those teams that can go either way. They can lose in the first round or go to the Final Four. They have a lot of talent, but they're young and they're streaky. They looked pretty good against Oakland. An exciting game because Oakland is the rare underdog who wants to push the pace against a favored team.

Five teams got at-large bids with 14 losses, Tennessee, Penn State, Michigan State, Marquette and USC because of their high strength of schedule ratings. Four of those teams lost and I expect Marquette to make it all 5.

I wonder if the combined 27 losses between Tennessee and Michigan is the most ever for a first round game.

Marv Albert is doing the Texas-Oakland game, what a pleasure to listen to.

At least until Gus Johnson starts.

Whatever Bruce Pearl said to his team at halftime didn't work. Michigan outscored them 37-11 to start the second half, turn a 33-29 game into 70-40. And it will probably be his last halftime speech at Tennessee. The poor performance and the violations will lead to a likely firing.

Memphis - Arizona is a perfect matchup if the committee wanted to give us a fun fast-paced game. Got a little chippy for a minute with two intentional fouls for contact to the head.

Kyrie Irving made a brief appearance for Duke. That would be a huge lift for them if he is healthy.

Gus Johnson is starting to heat up. He just lost his shit over a finger roll. "GEORGE GERVIN WOULD BE PROUD!!!!!"

You just know the games Gus Johnson is calling are going to be close. Villanova had a 6 point lead and a chance to put it away, then George Mason hit a 3, Nova missed two free throws and fouled GMU for a 3-point play.

A great early performance from Gus Johnson.

Arizona-Memphis wow. The only thing worse than missing free throws is throwing away an inbounds pass. And an unbelievable shot block to end the game. You almost never see them miss a free throw on purpose, get the rebound and put it back up in time, but wow. And that was a good no-call. I find the officials have been making too many calls at the ends of these games, glad they let Arizona decide this one.


You ever go to a nice buffet and see something you really like, peeled shrimp perhaps. And you're eating them and you're loving it and you're so happy and just when you're pretty much full your friend says "this steak is so good."
And you love steak, but now it's too late, you can't possibly stuff another bite into your mouth.

That's how I felt watching the first games under the new TV coverage policy of having four games on four networks, simultaneously. If you watched one game too long, you might miss another game that is close and exciting, very hard to decide.

But I much prefer this to previous years when I was at the mercy of CBS to switch between exciting finishes. On my own, I was able to catch all the heart-stopping action of the early session.

But here's the problem, I like to DVR games and scan through timeouts. You can't really do that, because if you DVR one game, you're missing three others. And that's what happened last night. The games were blowouts, I was exhausted, I didn't set the DVR for any particular game (and if I had it certainly wouldn't have been UCLA-Michigan State) and I fell asleep and missed a near miracle and another good game in Kansas State.

I guess I shouldn't have filled up on the shrimp.

I'll know better today.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

NCAA Tournament Thoughts: Late Thursday

We knew we had to get some blowouts. Florida over UCSB by 28. UConn over Bucknell by 29.

Not sure what to think of Florida. There is always a 2 seed going out in round 2. I still think it could be them but most times (to my recollection) the first round is a harbinger. Remember Villanova squeaking by Robert Morris last year then losing to St. Mary's?

And I'm really starting to think this whole 5 games in 5 days for UConn is overrated. I certainly don't think fatigue will be a factor. They've had 5 days rest already. And by the time they get to next week it'll be 2 games in 12 days. If there's anything at all working against them it's that their human and it's just hard to put up peak performance 11 times in a row (9 needed to get to the Final Four).

But I can't prove Kemba Walker is human. 18 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds.

Bucknell's token jew Bryan Cohen scored 6 points and had 4 rebounds.

It is so much fun to watch Jimmer Freddette play. He did a little bit of volume shooting in this one (32 points on 24 shots) and got a lot of free throws because Wofford's coach thought his team could outscore BYU by 10 points in the final 54 seconds.

I was wrong about Belmont. I was wrong about their press. It slowed Wisconsin at first but after about 10 minutes in the first half Wisconsin had no problems. Belmont wasn't aggressive on defense, they couldn't score on offense and Wisconsin got hot.

Both teams shot 22 3-points, Belmont made 6, Wisconsin made 12. That was the difference.

I love Michigan State Coach Tom "H to the" Izzo, but his team was not ready to play. They got their doors blown off from the opening tip. By a UCLA team that isn't very good. Izzo's tournament resume is undeniable, but he's had a couple stinkers.

But they almost pulled off one of the most amazing comebacks in tournament history. With 8 minutes and 36 seconds left UCLA led 64-41. From that point on UCLA made 8 turnovers and missed 10 free throws. At the same time Michigan State made 7 3-pointers to cut the lead to 77-76. After a free throw the Spartans had one more chance but Kalin Lucas traveled.

At this point I'm still convinced UCLA will beat Florida.

Tough loss for St. John's. They didn't play any defense and got blown out. I don't think DJ Kennedy would have made a difference. It was a nice season and good to see that program rebound but they are have so many senionrs (9 I believe) that they will take a step back. And if you go backwards in the Big East you could go 4 and 14 in conference.

Cincinnati was a popular 6 seed upset pick but they withstood Missouri's pace and managed to get a big lead in the first half which they never relinquished.

Kansas State got a tough draw with a pretty good Utah State team and they almost blew it (Frank Martin's head almost exploded) but I still like this team to beat Wisconsin and maybe even upset Pitt.

NCAA Tournament: Early Thursday Thoughts

This new scenario of four games on four channels is a real challenge. It's easier to blame CBS for fucking it up than it is to manage it all on your own.

I just can't take Bob Huggins seriously after last year's DaSean Butler incident.

And I can't take Rick Pitino seriously either. Morehead was giving him trouble. Not the first time he got more head and later wished he hadn't. Seems like Morehead caught him with his pants down. Again, not the firt time.

I'm really enjoying watching Kenneth Faried of Morehead. The guy is a rebounding monster.

First great finish of the tournament. Butler's Matt Howard gets a tip-in basket, and the backboard turns red less than a tenth of a second after it leaves his fingertips. Jim Nantz must have been kicking himself because he wasn't around for a perfect "Butler did it moment" but don't worry, Tim Brando had you covered.

I wanted to use the Morehead blew it joke, but it was actually Louisville that blew it. Up 4 with 50 seconds to go, you gotta make your free throws, Faried did, even though he's a 59% shooter. Then they fouled and Justice missed the front end of a one and one. Morehead played for a final shot, and for no reason at all DeMonte Harper shot a 3 -- and made it! First "onions!" from Raf so far.

And that block by Faried on Louisville's desperate have was not a foul.

First major upset of the tournament. Makes me a little worried about my Belmont pick tonight. I can't remember if there ever were 2 4s losing in the first round. I know it happened once with 3s.

Another amazing finish -- third great one of the afternoon. Deep onions by Taylor Battle, then an incredible twisting shot by Juan Fernandez.

There is no Juan Fernandez, it's just a stolen identity to give Pepe Sanchez four more years of eligibilty.

And now Princeton has a guy named Hummer?

Kentucky over Princeton makes the fourth last-second finish of the day. And what's great about these games, the teams are making shots and going back and forth, for the most part its not ineptitude making these games close.

Not much to say about Pittsburgh vs. UNC-Ashville. Your typical 1 vs 16 matchup. It actually started close but Pitt is too big and too good.

This is what I kind of like about the play-in game. At least those kids got a chance to win an NCAA Tournament game. I also like the UNC-Ash coach calling timeout with 33 seconds left, down by 23, to get his 5 backups into an NCAA Tournament game.

Richmond and Vanderbilt a great way to end the early session. This was a pretty exciting game with both teams making shots. Not a lot of turnovers in this one, just some crazy shot-making. The ending was really slowed down by all those timeouts though. They need to do something about it. I think there were about 5 in the last two minutes. Takes all the drama out of it.

Every year I pick a 12 over a 5, and this year I finally got it. Hopefully the other 5s (Arizona and Kansas State) hold serve. I have both winning two games.

Check back here later for another similar post on the late games.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Regulators, Mount Up

I felt the passing of Nate Dogg deserved a little more space on this blog than just a Song of the Week.

First of all, did anyone know his name was Nathaniel Hale? Was his only regret that he had but one life to give for Warren G?

Nate Dogg had suffered from ill health for several years after a couple of strokes. But the cause of death was not immediately known.

His biggest hit was of course "Regulate" which was immortalized in this hilarious literal interpretation of the song's meaning.

"Soon, both friends are driving with automobiles full of women to the East Side Motel, presumably to consummate their flirtation in an orgy."

Other Nate Dogg hits:
The Next Episode - Dr. Dre

21 Questions - 50 Cent

Area Codes - Ludacris

And my favorite
Oh No - Mos Def

Song of the Week

"Regulate" - Warren G and Nate Dogg
I guess heaven needed a backup singer.
Nate Dogg died this morning at the age of 41.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Electronic Road Signs Should Not Be Taken Too Seriously

Normally on this blog I encourage you all to obey any road sign you see, merge left, stop and slippery when wet are especially important to obey.
But here is one road sign you might want to ignore, at least until you get home.

Apparently these electronic road signs are notoriously easy to hack. Actually, I wouldn't even call it hacking if all you have to do is open the panel and type what you want the sign to say, in this case the "hacker" cleverly chose "poop."

Story Suggested by Golzilla

Monday, March 14, 2011

Initial Bracket Breakdown

Let’s start with Syracuse. I think the 3 seed was about what we deserved but I thought we might lose it to one of the Kentucky teams which had good late season runs, but both Kentucky and Louisville got 4 seeds. I do however think we got a tough facing the best #1 and perhaps the second best #2. It’s completely debatable of course because all those teams are so close, but we know Ohio State was the overall #1. Then if the committee went with a serpentine formula they had UNC as the 4th #2 (8 overall) and Syracuse as the 9th best team. But I don’t think they actually adhere all that closely to that.

As for the matchups, I don’t think SU should have a big problem Indiana State. They are a guard-oriented team which could press us into some turnovers, but it’s not like they dominated a smaller conference, they were third place in the MVC, which is a good not great conference.

Then SU has to play the winner of Xavier-Marquette. I think it’ll be Xavier which could give SU problems. But either way I don’t see SU beating North Carolina unless the Heels’ inexperience catches up with them and they make a bunch of mistakes. North Carolina to me is the typical team with a lot of talented freshman, took a while to get their footing but now they’ve really hit their stride. They have won 13 games in a row against teams not named Duke.

Speaking of Duke, on closer inspection, they were deserving of the 4th number one seed over Notre Dame. But I think they got off a little easy in their draw. San Diego State is a vulnerable #2 seed and I’m sure the committee thinks UConn is the toughest 3 seed because of their late run but I believe they drastically overrate conference tournaments.

I think Pitt losing in the first round of the Big East will clear the way for them to finally break through and make the final 4. Pitt has made the tournament 9 straight years, including 5 years getting a top 3 seed (a 1, a 2 and 3 3s) but they never made the final 4, and only once to the Elite 8 (in 2009, when they suffered a heart-breaking loss to Villanova.

Belmont will beat Wisconsin. Upsets happen, that's the way it goes. If you picked every game in a vacuum you would pick all favorites. But you know upsets happen so you have to look where they are most likely to be. I was going to pick Belmont regardless of their opponent because this is the type of small conference team that normally pulls off a shocker. They are 30-4 with 25 of their wins by double digits. 3 of their 4 losses were to tournament teams, Tennessee twice and Vanderbilt. Plus Belmont is an active, pressing team that uses a lot of players and could give a plodding Wisconsin team fits.

Why does the selection committee ever schedule first round games between two teams from smaller conferences? This year it is Butler vs. Old Dominion. Why not switch one of those teams with Michigan or Tennessee and give the smaller guys a better chance to advance?

The committee also stacked the deck against the Big East. Facing the possibility of 11 teams in the Sweet 16, more likely 7 or 8, the committee set up two possible conference showdowns in Round 2, yes I still call it round 2. Marquette could face Syracuse and Cincinnati could face UConn.

No one is going to call the rounds by their new names. The four extra games are now officially round 1, and the old rounds 1 and 2 are now 2 and 3. On this blog and forevermore until the tournament expands to 96 or 128, I will call opening games, the play-in round. I urge you to do the same, except when ordering tickets.

And remember to join my tournament challenge group. I had to change it, the name is The Poop. The other name wasn't showing up in searches, so look for The Poop.