Saturday, March 19, 2016
#7 Wisconsin vs. #10 Pittsburgh Great start by Pitt. Wisconsin couldn't buy a bucket. Cute little Wisconsin fan screaming her head off. Every time the announcers said "Vitto Brown" I heard "Nino Brown." Probably the worst-played game of the first round so far. Should have been able to predict a game like this. Both teams traditionally have plodding, physical teams. Pitt just doesn't have the shooters are scorers to go to late in games when they absolutely need a basket. Robinson ran into his own man! He missed his last ten shots of the game. Brutal way to go out for Pitt. #3 West Virginia vs. #14 Stephen F. Austin I always love to see Devin Williams. His hair and his goggles are old school to me, remind me of a simpler era in corrective eyewear.
Friday, March 18, 2016
#2 Villanova vs. #15 UNC-Asheville Villanova playing like the top seed the purport to be. Asheville actually made some 3s and kept it close but then Nova buried them. #7 Oregon State vs. #10 VCU I've been waiting for this game. Because Oregon State has Gary Payton II and Stevie Thompson Jr. And Stephen Thompson Sr., the former Syracuse star, is an assistant coach for the Beavers. fired this week for allegedly sexually harassing a reporter. She claims he wanted her to fuck him in exchange for access to the program and accurate information. She says he even gave her false stories as retribution once she rebuffed his advances. He basically admits he wanted to sleep with her but thought she was into him to and didn't harass her or retaliate. California also has the son of a former NBA player.
First two shots are missed 3s by Cooney and Gbinije. Syracuse has no inside scoring, but they can't just settle for 3s. They need to drive and dish. DaJuan Coleman can't catch a pass or make a layup. And he's often out of position defensively. The team might be better off without him next year. The nets were too long? Who even makes extra long nets? For what purpose? And I see why that is less than optimal, but why would they have a major impact? A major distraction for shooters? Billy wanted you all to see this: Syracuse must make shots to win this game, or any game. They started off 1 for 9 and the 1 was a putback by Roberson. It took nearly 10 minutes to make a shot from beyond 2 feet. Syracuse should not make this game a 3-point shooting contest because it's much easier to get open shots against this zone than Dayton's man defense. Franklin Howard is now 1 for 16 on 3-point attempts this season. Malachi Richardson was the best player in the first half. He kept the team in it when no one could make a shot. Huge shot by Gbinije to give SU a 10-point lead with 15 minutes left. Huge run of 3s to give SU a 26-5 start to the second half. Interesting decision to leave Richardson in with 3 fouls and 16 minutes. The other option is Frank Howard who can't shoot, do I don't necessarily disagree with the decision. He ended up playing 8 more minutes before picking up his 4th, another dumb one, but he played a pick part of that huge SU run. We entered the part of the game where Syracuse implements what I call the Jim Boeheim Memorial No Points Offense. Lots of teams do it, they try to bleed the clock, which is strategically sound, but they do it too well and end up getting bad shots. There has to be a balance between using time and still getting good shots. Great game for Richardson, 21 points when he fouled out. Tyler Lydon was second with 14 points.
#3 Miami vs. #14 Buffalo Miami vs. Buffalo, reminds me of the AFC East. Miami point guard Angel Rodriguez played for Kansas State in 2012 as a freshman in the tournament against Syracuse. his wife, Amanda Marcum Enfield, the former Maxim model.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
#4 Duke vs. #13 UNC-Wilmington: Duke's Brandon Ingram is 6-foot-9 and only 190 el bees. That is not a lot of el bees for someone that tall.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Before March Madness gets going I thought I would share some thoughts about the bracket, unfortunately all my thoughts seem to be taken by everyone else too. Kansas, UNC and Michigan State: Almost everyone is picking them for the Final Four and so am I. Villanova and Virgina: Have recently been high seeds and always disappoint. Oregon and Xavier: Good teams that are being overlooked because of their pedigree, or lack thereof, don't be surprised to see one in the Final Four. Oklahoma: I really like this team but I am scared off by how much they rely on the 3-point shot. One bad game and you can lose to anyone. Fourth Final Four team: If I choose Texas A&M I am going with the same four teams as Pres. Obama, which isn't bad politically, but it is bad strategically. So that leaves me with Duke, Baylor and Texas. I like Texas, but their best interior player, Cameron Ridley, is limited in how many minutes he can play. Believe it or not I'm going with Duke. 12 over 5 upsets: I do like Indiana and they suffered an upset on an unlucky shot in the Big Ten tournament. Baylor is playing Yale, and though Ivy teams do have a history of upsets and near-upsets, I don't think Yale has what it takes. That leaves South Dakota State over Maryland, and Arkansas-Little Rock over Purdue, so I am going to pick them both. UALR because they play a slow style that could breed an upset and SDSU because Maryland has a lot of talent but has terribly underachieved. 11 over 6 upsets: I like Texas and Notre Dame to advance, but I am picking against Seton Hall and Arizona. Seton Hall won a difficult conference and faces a Gonzaga team with a couple of good big men in Sabonis and Wiltjer. Arizona just got a tough draw vs. Wichita State. The Shockers got the 11 seed they deserved, maybe underseeded by a little, but they struggled with injuries so they're actually better than they appear. They play great defense (#1 in kenpom's AdjD) and have two great experienced player in Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker. And I actually have both those teams winning two games. Because... 14 over 3 upset: I am picking Fresno State to beat Utah. Utah is a 3-seed but ranked 28th by kenpom. But they were 13th in what the site classifies as luck. Their luck runs out. 13 over upset: Not picking any because they only one I kind of like is Iona vs Iowa State, but talented big men usually help stave off upsets. 10 or 7 over 2 upset: I am picking Iowa to knock off Villanova, setting up a matchup vs Wichita State in the Sweet 16 for the opportunity to play Kansas for a chance to go to the Final Four. You may remember the battle of Kansas from last year, when a big deal was made of the Jayhawks not playing the Shockers. Wichita State got them last year, the result could be different this time but I have Iowa disrupting it. As for my pick to win it all. I am going with Tom Izzo and Denzel Valentine.
"My House" - Flo Rida This song has been the theme for college basketball all season. It's the fourth major rap/hip-hop song to sample William Bell's "I Forgot to Be Your Lover". We made the previous 3 a combined Song of the Week back in 2007. And I recently learned Billy Idol did a version that is similar lyrically but not musically, called "To Be a Lover".
Monday, March 14, 2016
When it comes to birthdays, especially in sports, December 30th is the undefeated, undisputed King of Birthdays with LeBron James, Tiger Woods and Sandy Koufax. February 17th with Jim Brown and Michael Jordan is a close second. But in the Poop house, it's all about March 14th. Not only is it Pi Day, 3.14. It is my all-time favorite player's birthday:
The tugboat crewmember who died after the ship struck a barge and sank in the Hudson River early Saturday was identified as a Bayville man. Emergency crews recovered the body of Paul Amon, 52, after the crash, near the Tappan Zee Bridge, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said at a news conference. Two others on the 90-foot tugboat, named The Specialist, were missing. At a previous briefing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the missing crewmembers were believed to be dead and state police were using sonar to pinpoint the location of the tug. "You have three people who left for work, who aren't going to come home and that's what today is all about," Cuomo said. "Again, our thoughts and prayers are with the families."
Two big things are always debated right after the brackets are released: The best teams to get in -- the #1 seeds -- and the worst teams to get in -- those final at-large berths. I really have no problem with what they did at the top line, though I can quibble with Virginia over Michigan State, there really isn't much difference between 4 and 5 overall. They'll be able to settle their differences on the court. Michigan State beat UVa in the second round two straight years. Some people have problems with Oregon, but it goes back to a misunderstanding about the strength of the Pac-12. They have 9 top 50 wins, 10 if you include a victory over #51 USC. Now we get to the bubble teams. As usual the committee completely effed small conference teams that didn't win their conference tournaments. I like St. Bonaventure. They're in the 7th strongest league and finished 30th in RPI, making them the highest ranked team to get left out. And they have 3 Top 50 wins (St. Joseph's twice & Dayton). But surely they were hurt by losing to Davidson in the conference tournament and losing head-to-head to Syracuse earlier in the year. A lot of people are also talking about Monmouth. They went 1-1 against the Top 50, beat Notre Dame, lost to Dayton and split against USC #51. And if you are hating on Syracuse for losing to #245 St. John's, how can you advocate for Monmouth, which lost to #222 Canisius, #214 Army & #228 Manhattan. But it would have been nice to see what their bench would have done deep in a close game.
Sunday, March 13, 2016
Syracuse made the tournament by the skin of their collective teeth (though not one of the last four at-large team) despite being the lowest rated team in the RPI (#72) to ever receive an at-large berth. I don't agree with the decision and thought a bunch of horrible losses (St. John's & Georgetown especially and Clemson too) would have kept the Orange out. Especially because they lost 5 of their last 6 games including what I thought were play-in games against Florida State and Pittsburgh. But as usual the committee chose to punish mid-major teams that didn't win their conference tournaments. I'll assess that in another post and I'll conclude here with two things that worked in Syracuse's favor. Possibly legitimate: Viewing the 4-5 stretch without Boeheim as if they'd lost a player to injury. With him they were 14-8, and were maybe given a little leeway on that regard.The committee chairman says this was not a factor. Very legitimate: Syracuse was 5-6 against the RPI top-50. That includes wins over Texas A&M, UConn, St. Bonaventure, Notre Dame & Duke. Obviously that had a serious weighting with the committee. I feel happy that Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije get a chance to play in the tournament in their senior seasons.