Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Little Toads

It has been quite a while since I have done this blog and now I have something new and stimulating discuss while I am blabbing about sports. Running.

Mrs. DDSF and I have decided to start training for a marathon. We want to do this for an old coworker of hers who passed away from cancer at too young of an age. We have yet to decide on a marathon, but are shooting for the spring. March or April.

Now for a little history about me for those that don't know (even though I'm sure that 99% of the people who will read this know everything I am about to say). When I was in high school I was a runner. Started with Track and moved on to cross country by my junior year. While basketball is my true love, I am 5 foot nothing and a shade under 160. I was smaller then.

So I took up running. And loved it.

One of my favorite memories from high school was going to a running camp in Arkansas put on by the University of Arkansas and their athletes. There was a group of 7 or 8 of us guys that went down their spent a few days together running, playing and causing mischief. Lots of it. I was even the slowest of the group by far, but it was a ton of fun.

Riiiiiighhttttt. STriiiiiighhhhhhhhtttt.......

Anyway, I have started running again and realized how much I miss it. When you are able to find that zone, where you feel like you can just keep running and running and running, it is one of the most rewarding feelings in the world.

Tonight, I went for a run in Wisconsin because I am here for business and it brought about something else that I have missed.


I know its gross. There is something about sweating that is just cleansing. The feeling that you have worked so hard you are giving up a part of yourself. Gratifying.

When I was playing little league (I was on one of the worst teams in the league for years) I was always intrigued by pitching. I wanted to be a pitcher, thought I was pretty good, and never really got a chance for a multitude of reasons. We got to play in an awesome park with lights, and pretty good playing surface. For whatever reason, I will never forget one night when I got to go in the game and pitch.

I couldn't tell you the score. I think it was a close game.

I couldn't tell you how many batters I faced. I couldn't tell you how long the inning lasted. I couldn't even tell you what inning it was.

But there were a couple of beads of sweat that formed on my brow that I had to wipe away. It was like I was in the big leagues, the pressure was on, the lights were on and all I could do was give it everything I had.


I haven't really experienced that too much since I moved. It wasn't until I was bag in the muggy midwest that I really felt a good sweat. I guess I kind of missed it. Who knew?

But while I was running (and walking around the night before) I noticed lots and lots of tiny little toads on the sidewalk. Just hangin' out, being toads. It just made me wonder what that meant. Like a black cat means bad luck, a penny is good luck. What do a bunch of little toads mean?


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sweet 16 (part 2) and the elite 8

Sweet 16
Mich St. vs. Maryland:
Maryland is rated highly in many nerdy stats categoires.
The pick: Maryland (rematch of 2002 Final 4)

OSU vs. OSU:
Oklahoma and Ohio State. What the heck....
The Pick: Oklahoma State

West Regoin:
Syracuse vs. Gonzaga:
No one is high on the 'Cuse. Including yours truely. But they only lost 4 games all year.
The Pick: Syracuse

Xavier vs. Pitt:
Ick. This is going to be a close, slow, ugly game.
The Pick: Pitt

East Regional:
Temple vs. Wisconsin:
Jacksonville is where this game is played. No advantage there. Ummmm....
The Pick: Wisconsin

Mizzou vs. West Virginia:
I told you Huggy Bear was peeved about not getting a one seed. Mizzou just doesn't have any inside game.
The Pick: WVU

South Regional:
Duke vs. Cal:
Kyle Singler is a matchup nightmare, but Cal has big kids that can match up. In Jacksonville, it has to be Duke.
The Pick: Duke

Texas A&M vs. Purdue:
The Pick: A&M, too good to be true.

The Elite 8:
Kansas vs. Maryland:
ACC = not as good as Big XII
The Pick: Kansas

Okie State vs. Georgetown:
I might as well get really crazy. In St. Louis, Okie State will have a large contingency.
The Pick: Okie State

Butler vs. Syracuse:
Butler hasn't gone this far before. Syracuse has.
The Pick: Syracuse

KState vs. Pitt:
Too many quick good guards.
The Pick: KState

Kentucky vs. Wisconsin:
Nothing exciting from Wisconsin. Plenty on the other side of the ball.
The Pick: Kentucky

WVU vs. New Mexico:
I said earlier that the difference maker was Darrington Hobson for UNM. I think he destroys Huggy Bear's Zone and carries the Lobos on.
The Pick: New Mexico

Duke vs. A&M:
I think that the effieciency of A&M will ruin Coach K's trip to Houston. Plus, the game is in Houston.
The Pick: A&M

Baylor vs. Villanova:
I have to pick Baylor. Again, in Houston and 'Nova is not that good.
The Pick: Baylor

The Finals coming soon!


Friday Madness!

Friday's Games:
This will go quick, I have been trying to hard. Yikes!

Mich St vs. New Mexico State:
Too much talent and, for whatever reason, Tom Izzo always prepares his team for the tourney.
The Pick: Michigan State.

Maryland vs. Houston:
Maryland if from a weak ACC this year, Houston is from the really weak Conference USA.
The Pick: Maryland

Oklahoma State vs. Georgia Tech:
I have gotten to see Georgia Tech in that last few weeks, and I have to say that Derrick Favors is an impressive freshman, but Okie State will make too many 3's.
The Pick: Okie State

Ohio State vs. UC Santa Barbara:
UCSB's mascot is the Gauchos. Enough said.
The Pick: OSU

West Region:
Syracuse vs. Vermont:
The 1 vs. 16 seed that has the most potential for upset. And that potential is 0.001%.
The Pick: Syracuse

Gonzaga vs. Florida State:
I just love the players the 'Zags have. And FSU is in the ACC.
The Pick: Gonzaga

Xavier vs. Minnesota:
The line on this game is basically 0. I dont like either team. At all.
The Pick: Xavier (even though Golden Gophers are way cooler than Musketeers)

Pitt vs. Oakland:
The Summit Conference is terrible (Oakland). Look for a big Pitt win.
The Pick: Pitt

East Regional:
Temple vs. Cornell:
The trendy pick is Cornell. They have talent and played a lot of tough games. But Temple is better.
The Pick: Temple

Wisconsin vs. Wofford:
I'm not even sure I know where Wofford is, but I know their mascot is the Terriers. Ouch.
The Pick: Wisconsin

Clemson vs. Mizzou:
Again, don't like either team. The Big XII is better.
The Pick: Mizzou

West Virginia vs. Morgan State:
West Virginia is on a roll, and Huggy Bear is peeved they didn't get a 1 seed. Look out.
The Pick: WVU

South Regional:
Duke vs. Arkansas Pine Bluff:
The Pick: Duke (no explaination needed)

California vs. Louisville:
I want to pick the coach in Rick Pitino, but Cal is a really good team.
The Pick: Cal

Texas A&M vs. Utah State:
The Aggies will win.

What?!? Both teams are the Aggies?!?!?

Then let's go with A&M even though Utah State is like a 1000 miles closer to Spokane than College Station.
The Pick: A&M

Purdue vs. Siena:
Trendy pick: Siena. Purdue with out Robbie Hummel = not as good, but not that bad.
The Pick: Purdue

Round one = blogged. Today's games = Awesome


Saturday Second Round

Picks to advance to the Sweet 16:

For my picks from the Thrusday First Round action, see here, here and here.

Kansas vs. Northern Iowa:

Northern Iowa vs. any other seed lower than a 1 would be a good game. Too bad they are playing Kansas in the second round. In Oklahoma City.

The Pick: Kansas

BYU vs. KState:

BYU has been very good this year. They have a legitimate star in Jimmer Fredette. They don't have much fear, and they have some crazy brazilian guy. KState, has some latin power and craziness with Frank "The Stare" Martin (My brother Mark's nickname), Denis Clemente and Luis "I throw ball at basket" Colon. And they have a consistent scorer in Jacob Pullen.

The Pick:KState

Notre Dame (Ooops) vs. Baylor:

You can believe me or not, but I picked Baylor. They are good. And I love the big XII.

The Pick: Baylor

Villanova vs. Richmond:

I still have Villanova. They have struggled late in the season, but I like the experience of the team and the star power from Scottie Reynolds. Richmond will make this a close game, but it won't be enough to want it more than the Wildcats.

The Pick: 'Nova

Vanderbilt vs. Butler:

I like Butler. Again, look for experience and want to. I think in the battle of stars, you will see Gordon Hayward take the cake over Ogilvy.

The Pick: Butler..... (Does this count as having a Mid Major in the Sweet Sixteen? Is this a surprise at all?)

Kentucky vs. Texas:

Kentucky. At this point it is a risk benefit issue. If I pick Texas, and they dont win and Kentucky goes far, Yikes!

The Pick: Kentucky

New Mexico vs. Washington:

Both teams have somewhat of a home court advantage being in San Jose. I still think the Pac 10 is weak and New Mexico is really good. Plus, they have an experienced coach in Steve Alford, and a star in Hobson.

The Pick: New Mexico

Georgetown vs. SDSU:

There is a thought process in the NFL that teams from the west coast that travel to the east coast for games, and vice versa, do extremely poorly. There are stats (they may be related to spreads more than actual records) that support this. SDSU will be in G'Town territory and just don't have the height to compete with Greg Monroe.

The Pick: G'Town

I will get to Friday's games soon.


The Thursday Evening Madness

First on Thursday Evening:
Northern Iowa vs. UNLV:
Again the Mid Major thing. Let's just say we were to take the two teams from this game and split them with the 8 vs. 9 game in the East which is Texas and Wake Forest. Wouldn't you rather watch a UNLV vs. Wake Forest and Northern Iowa vs. Texas? I know I would.

That said, UNLV is a pretty good team from the Mountain West Conference. But, they are good team at home. Northern Iowa finished in the Top 25 at the end of the conference season. They come from the always dangerous Missouri Valley Conference (see: Creighton, Bradley, Drake), and are a very experienced team. They will win this game and I would have them going further this year, except they got a terrible seed.
The Pick: Nothern Iowa

Kentucky vs. East Tennessee State:
If you don't pick all number 1 seeds in your bracket, you really have problems. Number 1 seeds have never lost (and they want to expand the field of 65...).
The Pick: Kentucky

Washington vs. Marquette:
The Big East is overrated. The Pac 10 is terrible. This game is a crap shoot. I'm taking Washington because they won the Pac 10 tourney, and they have Isaiah Thomas on their team.
The Pick: UDub

Georgetown vs. Ohio:
Ohio snuck into the tourney by winning the MAC tourney. The MAC doesn't really have a history of winning at all in the big dance, but Georgetown has been maddeningly (I think that's a word) inconsistent. Still, Greg Monroe, G'Town's center, may be the best player in the tourney.
The Pick: G'Town

Wake Forest vs. Texas:
The ACC was looking like they were only going to get 3 or 4 schools into the dance after non-conference play, and then conference play suddenly made these teams better? Texas was number 1 earlier this year and dropped out of the rankings. Damion James won't let Texas lose. He didn't skip going to the NBA so he could lose in the first round of the NCAA's.
The Pick: Texas

New Mexico vs. Montana:
Montana, from the Big Sky Conference, stands about as much chance of winning this game as I do of winning the Powerball. New Mexico's Darrington Hobson is a big guard that can do it all. The reason that the Lobos won at BYU and broke one of the longest home court winning streaks in the nation is because he blocked a layup straight on from one of BYU's big men. It was one of the better plays I have seen all year.
The Pick: New Mexico

Tennessee vs. San Diego State:
Tennessee beat #1 and #2 this year. And loss to multiple teams ranked in the 100's. SDSU got snubbed last year and probably should have been seeded higher. The 6 vs. 11 matchups are more intriguing this year to me than the 5 vs. 12. This is one reason why. I have no idea who is going to win this game. That said, why not pick the upset.
The Pick: SDSU

Kansas vs. Lehigh:
My pick to win it all. Kansas. They won't lose to this Patriot team league team and KState fans won't be making TShirts about Bucknell.
The Pick: Kansas

The Madness continues!

Set of games for block 2 on Thursday:

KState vs. North Texas:
If I pick anything other than KState, I might be beaten. And, the 'Cats are going to win anyway. There is not much else I can say about that.
The Pick: KState

Vanderbilt vs. Murray State:
Vandy is also from the overrated SEC, but they are actually a decent team. They will win. I don't really know that much else about either of these teams, other than the player to watch for Vandy, Jeff Ogilvy. He's really good.
The Pick: Vandy

Baylor vs. Sam Houston State:
Baylor is a very good team. They are 25-7 and 3 of those losses have been to teams from the amazing state of Kansas. Baylor has one of the best offenses in the nation and have a likely NBA lottery pick in Ekpe Udoh. He led the Big XII in blocks and has been the biggest reason for Baylor's lofty record. Sam Houston State is in the tournament. That's about all I can say.
The Pick: Baylor

St. Mary's College vs. Richmond:
Much has been said this year about Richmond. They took care of business (mostly) in a very deep Atlantic 10 conference. The Spiders had a short column in Sports Illustrated talking about their turnaround and their amazing attitude. St. Mary's, on the other hand, has had little publicity (as is the case with many west coast teams). They won the West Coast Conference tournament to get in the field of 65, beating a very talented Gonzaga team. This might be the game of the day. It also reminds me that the selection committee hates Mid major teams. Matching up two fine teams against each other is common and it adds no excitement to the dance. But probably makes money, which is all the committee cares about. I digress...
The Pick: Richmond, too much talent. SMC's roster is full of foreign players, which does not translate well to the American college game.

The extra Game:

UTEP vs. Butler:
The only late afternoon game on the schedule. This is again Mid Major vs. Mid Major. And it's one of the dangerous 5 vs. 12 matchups. I think that Butler, having been in the Top 25 for the last couple of years, has too much talent and (now) bid game experience to lose. UTEP is a very good team and should challenge the Bulldogs, but can't match up with a team that finished 11 in the AP Top 25 and 8 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. The player you should know (if you don't) is Gordon Hayward. 6'9" guard/forward, who learned how to be a guard and then had a huge growth spurt. He has great ball handling skills and is a matchup nightmare.
The Pick: Butler

Notes from the first half this morning.
- Villanova looks like crap. I having them winning in the next round, so you don't say I cheated. But they look awufl. Robert Morris is up by 6 at half?!?!?!?!?
- ODU is haning tough with Notre Dame, after falling behind by double digits early.
- Florida/BYU is a really good game. Both are shooting well, and they should make for a good game against KState.



Lets start with the morning games. I am a little behind this year on picks, so I will do it time slot by time slot. Thursday morning is where it begins!

First up:
Florida vs. BYU:
I got an opportunity to watch the BYU vs. New Mexico game late in conference play this year. When the game was over I had one thing to say. Both of those teams were really good. Florida squeaked into the tournament, played (averagely) in an average conference and won two games because of last second shots.
The Pick: BYU

Old Dominion vs. Notre Dame:
ND played its way into the tourney with a good run to end the season. I think they are overrated, by a lot. Old Dominion is one of my favorite teams to pick, and from the every dangerous Colonial Athletic Association. Notre Dame has Luke Harangody, who was a player of the year candidate before his team was awful in the middle of the season and he got hurt.

Every ounce of me wants to pick ODU, but I can't
The Pick: Notre Dame

Villanova vs. Robert Morris
'Nova somehow managed a 2 seed and gets a good draw against Robert Morris. I dont think there is any question is who is going to win this game. The only news is that the starting guards for Villanova are suspended from the start of the game. How will this affect the rest of the tourney for 'Nova?
The Pick: Villanova

More to come,