Friday, February 27, 2009

Are you ready for March?

February 27th. Only one day left in the month and there is plenty of madness left. Tomorrow brings a full slate of 17 games for Top 25 teams.

Than March comes in with a bang featuring 3 games of Top 25 matchups!

Today is picks day, so you'll get the best of the games this weekend and my picks for the winners.

Last week I went 4-3, picking the surprising Texas game, but losing on 3 accounts. Totally unacceptable and I will do better this week, even with a bunch of Top 25 matchups. My record so far this year is 22-14.

Three games on Sunday that are must picks, so Saturday is only down to 4 games. I'll pick those based on the times to play in case anybody has nothing better to do than sit around and watch college basketball.

12 ET - First up, the pickings for this time slot are slim. The game most likely to not be a blowout is Cleveland St. (who beat the 'Cuse earlier this year) are traveling to play #23 Butler. Cleveland State was on the short end of a 50-48 score in their other matchup this year. This is the last regular season game for both teams and Butler only holds a one game lead in the conference over Green Bay (who knew?!?). The Bulldogs pull it out on the road and take the #1 seed to their conference Tourney.

2ET - A must pick here as Clemson visits Florida State. Both teams are tied for third place in the ACC @ 8-5 and need a victory to keep themselves out of the dreaded bubble discussion. FSU won the previous matchup (on Clemson's home court), but both teams are coming off of losses. Florida State has yet to impress, with their only high profile victory being over this same Tigers team earlier in the month. Clemson at least has a win against Duke and a surprising Illinois team. However, the game is in Seminole country. Still, against most odds, I think Clemson gets a victory on the road and improves their tournament resume.

4ET - A pseudo Top 25 matchup as Ohio State (who lost already this week to Illinois) travels to West Lafayette to play Purdue. The Boilermakers just lost last night to Michigan in Ann Arbor. Purdue has virtually locked up a trip to the Big Dance, while OSU might have some work to do. The key to this game (as is the case with most Great Lakes 11 games) is home court. Purdue at home = Win. Plus, people from OSU call it "The Ohio State" and I hate that.

You think putting "The" in front of your university makes it better? Nope. It doesn't. And you're not that good at basketball anyway. So there. And your coach's name it Thad. Ha!

I totally won that argument. Eat that Buckeye Nation!

9ET - UCLA @ Cal - UCLA is not the same team they have been the last few years. They don't play as good of defense and they don't have as many key players. They won't make another Final Four or Elite Eight run, but that doesn't matter today. Both teams are 1.5 games behind Washington for the Pac 10 lead and need a victory. California is now led by former Super Stanford Head Coach and NBA failure Mike Montgomery. He has taken the program to a new level, and his team needs a W more than UCLA. Cal has only lost once at home in conference play (to Oregon State, go figure) and will lock down a Bruins team that has lost 3 of 5. Cal wins. Eat that UCLA!

Sunday make things for the entire weekend even more interesting. If you think you have an idea of who will win what league and their corresponding tourney (stay tuned, a likely future post) Sunday will blow your mind.

12 ET - Marquette @ Louisville. This one is easy. The Fighting Pitinos (Louisville) will handle 'Quette who is without 1/3 of their trio of amazing guards. Dominic James is out for the year, which is a shame because he was one of the more exciting players to watch. Louisville keeps pace with UConn in the Big East with 2 extremely winnable games to go (vs. Seton Hall and @ West Virginia).

2 ET - The game of the year in the Big 12. Mizzou @ Kansas. Mizzou has achieved a Top 10 ranking by winning against the majority of teams it should and just winning period. Kansas is coming off a big win on Monday in Norman against the Griffin-less Sooners. KU has a one game lead in the conference standings, and controls their own destiny.

In the last matchup the Tigers got a victory by forcing 27 turnovers and holding the Jayhawks to 13.3% from the 3. Mizzou also got more fouls on KU (22 vs. 15 for MU) and attempted more free throws (27 vs. 16). KU had only one player in double figures (Tyshawn Taylor with 11) and Mizzou was led by Leo Lyons (13) and DeMarre Carroll (22).

My pick for the game. Revenge is sweet.

KU gets a game out of Cole-nan and Mighty Mouse along with the home cooking (fouls and free throws). KU will not turn it over 27 times and will shoot better than 13.3% from downtown. KU gets the inside track to the Big 12 title. Fizzou (as my cousin on Facebook put it so elequently) might get a sniff of a W, but the mystique of the Fieldhouse and the complete and utter loathing for Mizzou eminating from the crowd will be too much.

TBD - Michigan State @ Illinois - Illinois wins. This one is short because I am tired of writing and I am sure you are tired of reading. The Great Lakes 11 just got interesting! By the way

Finally some quick thoughts before the weekend.

- Too many guys were injured @ the NFL combine for me to really care about it. I think the players individual pro days will mean more when they are fully healthy and performing in a familiar environment.

- Already the Washington Redskins assured themselves of not winning their division. They signed two big free agents (which never work out for the skin's, see Deion, Jeff George and Adam Archuleta... the book is still out on Jason Taylor) and have too much money in too few players.

- The Chiefs need to do Tony G and Brian Waters a favor and get them to a contender. They are in true rebuilding mode, and while I think those two would be perfect mentors for younger players, they deserve a chance at success. Larry Johnson can go to the Lions for all I care. He had not been a quality guy for the city and needs to part ways.

- The Royals started off spring training with Mark Teahan getting 2 errors @ second base and letting Horacio Ramirez start and give up 6 runs. So far, two bad decisions, but they pop that everyone is displaying at the plate (John Buck = Homer) is very encouraging. Gordon with 2 strikeouts is concerning though. Keep reading.

- The NBA trade deadline was awful. The Kings and Bulls pulled off the biggest trade and nobody of consequence went anywhere. Now the NBA is borrowing money to bail out its teams.

This is ridiculous because when you give players that are destined to ride the pine multi-million dollar contracts, you are just asking for failure. The NBA needs new GM's and needs them fast. There are too many dumb ones. Bill Simmons should be the GM of some NBA team, because at least people would care.

- Tiger's return ended poorly, but he's back. Good for golf and good for Tiger.

- It's March people! Get excited! The Mrs. and I are taking a nice vacay to Vegas (yeah alliteration) for the First round of the NCAA tourney. While Vegas doesn't quite smell like awesome (more like smoke) it's an awesome place to be for the Tourney. There will definitely be a post about my experiences there.

I'm over 7 bucks again on after losing it all on some tennis bet (*note to self: don't bet everything on stupid tennis matches). When I get over 10 we will celebrate.

Have a great weekend and keep the comments coming. Suggestions for days of the week would be great too!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Too Much Coffee

Today is officially Tuesday of "Judgement week" and you can't but help think that it is going to be a good week for college basketball.
KU vs. OU already, with Duke @ Maryland, Florida @ the surprising LSU Tigers, UConn @ Marquette, K-State @ the somehow in the Top 10 Mizzou, then Mizzou @ Kansas, Mich. State @ Illinois, Marquette @ Louisville, (13) Clemson @ (25) Florida State, and Ohio State @ Purdue.


So crazy, I spelled crazyness with a "y", not an "i". It's that crazy.

Which brings me to my reaction to last night. KU traveled to Norman, OK and got a W against a Blake Griffin-less Sooner squad. Full of runs (see 22-8, followed by 50-16!!) the game presented those who watched the whole thing, with a lot to look forward to come March.

Oklahoma definitely missed Blake Griffin, especially when Taylor Griffin went to the bench 5 minutes into the first half with 2 fouls. Cole-nan the Barbarian definitely took advantage with a Nick Collison inspired rebounding effort (20, a new career high). He also finished with a season average of 15 points.

KU had trouble stopping OU's guards early, as Willie Warren (the Big 12 frosh of the year) lit up Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed. It wasn't until Billy Self put Sherron Collins on Warren, that KU started to play like a ranked team.

The best player of the game was Tyshawn Taylor, a guy that KU needs in order to compete in the tourney. He put up 26 points with 3 assists and only 1 turnover. Quite a line for a freshman who has been the most erratic player on the team. He will be a star for KU, he's just taking a little bit of time to grow into that player. If Taylor plays like he did in Norman every game, KU has a decent shot in the tourney.

The biggest argument about the game last night was, was this win really that big for KU since OU was without Griffin (thanks allen for giving this perfect idea for the post)? The answer is yes. This was that big for KU.

A victory on the road in conference play with only 3 games left on the slate is huge. KU put themselves in the driver seat for at least a share of the Big 12 crown and the #1 seed in the conference tourney. It showed the team (especially the younger guys) that they can compete with anybody. Sure, no Griffin, but OU is made up of more than one player.

On the flip side, this was not that bad for OU other than losing the inside track to the Big 12 title. They will not be punished come tourney time by the selection committee, and will get Griffin back at full strength for March.

Who would win if OU was full strength??

Well, every ounce of my heart wants to say KU would win. KU would have a different game plan trying to deny Griffin (the Player of the year front runner) the ball and double teaming him when he caught it. They would make the other OU players beat them and try to force turnovers, potentially by switching to a zone defense to make them make outside shots.

I think after watching last night, there would be a slim chance for KU, but they would lose. OU did get a lot of breaks being at home, but they dominated the first 10 minutes and would have not let KU back in the game if they had Griffin.

No picks for today, as tonight's games don't excite me too much (save Florida @ LSU to see which team is for real).

Now, for the song of the day, being it is Tuesday and therefore song of the day day.

I have to switch it back to some hip hop and go with:
"My Life" by The Game featuring Lil' Wayne

Its not a song that you want your parents to listen to because they won't like it and tell you it is crap, but it totally made me think.

Dear lord, you done took so many of my people.
I'm just wondering why
you haven't taken my life.
What the hell am I doing right?

I know that it is referencing some gang rapper life, but I take it completely differently and apply it to my life.

*warning, philosophical questions that are unanswerable*

Why am I still here?
What purpose do I ultimately serve?
Am I here to relay my perspective on sports for the rest of the world's enjoyment (or like 8 people, like is happening now)?

I got to know my God in a completely different way than most people, and while I don't talk about it a whole lot, I know he is there. It is a life long question that I don't think everyone is able to answer until they know they are gone. Why am I here?

It is "Judgement week", so think about it.


Friday, February 20, 2009


Thank goodness for Fridays. Looking forward to the weekend always adds a little pep in your step and this weekend comes after a short 4 day week (off for Prez's Day).

This week was one to forget in college basketball because last week was so entertaining (rivalry week). This weekend continues the trend. There are only two matchups of Top 25 teams, Villanova @ Syracuse and Wake Forest @ Duke. There are some other intriguing matchups, but many of those are part of Bracketbuster weekend (as ESPN calls it) involving Midmajor teams, so the matchups of the BCS conferences are not that great.

On Wednesday, I made one of the worse picks I have made all year. Purdue trounced Michigan State in West Lafayette and made me look silly. My record for the year: 18-11

Let's crack open another Friday six pack of picks (Officially, Friday = six pack of picks day)

First off, the two games featuring Top 25 teams (I know there are differences in the polls, but I am using the ESPN polls because that's what I read the most). Both these games are on Sunday and both are mandatory selections for the six pack.

Villanova has been one of the hotter teams in the Big East, until last Friday when they lost by 21 points to an unranked West Virginia team. Syracuse has lost 6 of their last 9 only managing to beat Georgetown by 4 at home in overtime, West Virginia at home and Notre Dame at home. All teams that are unranked, and West Virginia is the only one of the three with a winning conference record (7-6 with only 2 wins coming against the top half of the conference).

Enough jibber jabber, get to the pick already!

Villanova takes this one in a big matchup and big letdown for the Orange.

Our other matchup features a game with more implications for conference rankings and NCAA seeding. Duke welcomes Wake to Cameron Indoor in a game that features 2 of the 4 teams in a log jam at second place in the ACC. Since attaining the number one ranking in the country, Wake has beaten ranked teams Duke and Florida State, but also lost to 3 of the bottom 4 teams in the conference (Georgia Tech, Miami and NC State).

Since Duke attained the number one ranking (just after Wake) they have lost 4 of 7, but have lost to good teams (BC, UNC, Wake, and Clemson). They have played themselves out of 1 seed discussions for the NCAA tournament, but are still a good team.

I look for Duke to get back on track against a good team, just because the game is at home.

My other five picks are:

(2) Oklahoma @ Texas: Leading off with my upset special. Texas takes the rematch (OU won in Norman 78-63) with a much needed win. This puts OU in striking distance of either KU or MU for the conference crown. This also make OU either ticked off or completely lost leading into their matchup Monday against the Jayhawks.

(22) Butler @ Davidson: The key to this game is Stephen Curry. He is questionable for the game, and if he doesn't play look for Butler to take care of business. Heck, Davidson just lost to the Citadel at home Wednesday without Curry. If he is healthy, I think Davidson plays its way back in to the at-large bid discussion, not just mandating a win in their conference tourney.

(23) Utah State @ St. Mary's: St. Mary's is still without Patrick Mills, their Australian national team member and starting point guard, and I look for them to struggle. Mills is a difference maker and Player of the Year candidate in the WCC and without him, the Gaels have not been the same. The Aggies win.

Nebraska @ (18) Kansas: What? Am I not allowed to pick my own team? KU wins against a scrappy Husker team. I just needed a short entry for your reading pleasure.

(16) Illinois @ Ohio State: Big Ten teams this year are not very good on the road. Combined they are 37-47. Ten of those wins have come from the top two teams (Michigan State and Purdue, the only teams with winning conference records on the road). Illinois is not one of those two teams and Ohio State is 5-1 @ home in conference. The Buckeyes get their sixth win against a Top 25 opponent this year, a highly misleading stat considering the only team still ranked of the previous five is Purdue and at the time the Boilermakers were without (insert buzzword) *Playmaker* Robbie Hummel.

I would talk about how disappointed I am in the NBA trade deadline, but I haven't had time to fully evaluate all the trades. Somethings I do know are that the biggest deals include Rafer Alston, the Sacramento Kings, Thabo Sefolosha (who has probably the coolest name in the NBA) and Calvin Booth.

The best trade of the deadline went to the Lakers, who traded Chris Mihm for....

Are you ready for this?


The former Longhorn Center averaging 2 points and 1.9 rebounds a game was traded for...


Are you sure you're ready for this?


Mihm was traded, with cash (enough to pay his salary for the year) to the Memphis Grizzlies...


I don't think you're ready for this.


It's too silly to write.....

Mihm was traded (with salary paid by the Lakers) for a conditional second round pick in 2013. 2013!!!! And it's a conditional pick!!! That means there is a chance the Lakers won't even get the pick! The NBA is just ridiculous.

That's all for today; now I just have to think of a way to convince my loving, caring, understanding wife who gave our dog the middle name of Jabbar, to give our first son the middle name Thabo!



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's Been a While

Hello again sports fans.

Apologies for my lack of posts and insightful looks into everything sports.

And on a completely un-sports related note, I have decided to dub Tuesday Song of the Day day. Other days of the week will soon be identified, suggestions are welcome.

Today's song:
Sometime Around Midnight
By: The Airborne Toxic Event

Dark, emotional song with complex beats and words that seemingly have no meaning. The band's name is something awesome as well. Totally a great listening experience and I will probably download the album. I will let you know how it goes.

Quick Hits on the last week of sports:
- Record for the year of picks: 18-10
I became a little disenchanted with the world after KU lost a heart breaker to the evil that resides in Columbia (you may know them as Mizzou). We will get back in the full swing of things quick after a healthy weekend of beating the other Jayhawk rival. (Note from that game: the best play came from Brady Morningstar who committed a blocking foul on Clemente and subsequently got KU a 5 point play. Clemente with a stupid elbow directly in front of the referee resulting in 2 technical free throws and the ball followed by 3 pointer from the corner from Tyrel Reed - who later got smacked in the head by Clemente, who needs to keep his cool and I swear was crying on the bench at the end of the game).

There is one game of interest tonight as #5 Michigan State travels to play #21 Purdue. Purdue has not been the same team as of late as their leader Robbie Hummel has been sidelined with a stress fracture in his back (that has to hurt a lot, I can't even imagine). Michigan State is the cream of the crop in the Great Lakes Eleven and will keep their stranglehold on the top stop. Michigan State will make it look easy.

- Good point from Colin on the MLS. Soccer is a sport that has yet to find the mainstream in the US, despite being played by more kids than any other sport. This is partly because parents just want their kids to run around and blow off some energy playing, but also because the world of competitive soccer in the US is kind of a joke. Paying a butt load of money to join a club team, then traveling all over to play and this is in a game that you can't compare statistics between players other than goals and saves. A little bit crazy if you ask me.

Anyway, The Beckhams in the USA reality show should be over. It didn't work, nobody cares, and the US needs to matter in the world cup. Everything Colin said. Thanks.

I did enjoy ESPN pumping the US vs. Mexico match last week during rivalry week, but it is so hard to get soccer highlights when there are only 2 goals scored in a 90+ minute match. That is one reason soccer is so hard to sell.

What can you sell if the game ends in a 0-0 tie and its just good defense? The NHL has modified its rules to me more "fan friendly" because no goals were boring fans to death. I'm not suggesting that soccer needs to change its rules, but unless something changes in the US for the sport, soccer will remain a dull sport in the public's eyes.

- Tiger Woods is close to returning to the PGA tour. Good for the sport, even though I really can't watch golf. I know how hard it is for the pros to play as well as they do, but I just can't watch it. I would rather be playing it seeing how hard I can hit the ball off the Tee and how badly I can injure my back doing so.

- The NBA All-Star extravaganza was this weekend and it included something new. A game of H-O-R-S-E was played between Kevin Durant, OJ Mayo and some guy from the Atlanta Hawks (Pretty sure it was Joe Johnson). Durant won, and I only saw highlights on PTI on Monday, which is disappointing. I want to see that competition! That is the game that anyone with a ball and a hoop can play as long as you have 2 people. You can't have a dunk contest with 2 people (who judges, the net?) and a game of 1 on 1 only stays cool for so long (either someone quits or gets punched). We need more H-O-R-S-E in the world and the NBA should start it, they owe us that for all the traveling that doesn't get called.

Also, the NBA trade deadline is coming up on Thursday, and there is never enough excitement in the NBA to capture my attention. For that reason, I am calling out the NBA and challenging them to draw my attention to the deadline in a formal letter.


I challenge you to make the trade deadline mean something more than a second round pick to Boston in exchange for the expiring contract of the winner of best human impression of an alien fetus (Sam Cassell). If the Kings are involved in a trade with anyone other than the 4 best teams in the league, that does not count. If team that is more than 5 games out of the 8th spot in their league makes a move to "get better" for this season, that doesn't count. Please stop sucking before the trade deadline and let me dream about Chris Bosh being relevant in the US (Canada sucks), and think about how one of the contenders just got better and will be as much of an unstoppable force as Neo was in the Matrix trilogy. Thank you for your consideration, DDSF

- College football/the NFL is about to be relevant again as the NFL scouting combine starts this weekend. I'm totally excited to see who surprises everyone by running a 4.22 40-yard dash and which quarterback will run a 5.2 just like me. Plus, we get to see more of Mel Kiper's hair and Todd McShay being a total loser with his picks that mean absolutely nothing for about another month and a half.

- Finally, as baseball season is basically upon us (spring training) the steroids issue is even more prevalent. I'm sure there will be more news coming out about A-Rod as I am writing this (I can't bring myself to watch that press conference), but there are some things that I have an issue with.
Bud Selig does not want to be blamed for the whole issue and emergence of steroids in the game. I just have one question for the Commish:

Are you kidding me?????

After the strike of 1994, baseball needed something to jump start the League and bring it back to a favorite of the American public. Enter the home run chase of 1998.

If Bug Selig wants us to believe that while these guys were using performance enhancing drugs, he had no knowledge, then he is crazy. I'm sure he knew about it and that he just turned a blind eye. I can't blame him, because he a business to run (MLB), but the fact remains that he has most likely known that steroids have been a problem for 10 years. Heck, the biggest "juicer" in recent history (Jose Canseco) was most relevant playing for the A's and Rangers (1985-1994). He was the AL MVP in 1988 and the Comeback Player of the Year (ha ha, that's funny now because he probably came back with a little help from his friends - steroids) in 1994.

Bud, you will be blamed, and you deserve it. Stop complaining.

Also, the Commish is contemplating punishing A-Rod for using steroids in 2003. Why do I have a problem with this? Because there were 103 other players who tested positive at the same time. How can you punish one person for the wrongdoings of so many others? I don't expect A-Rod to be punished, but the discussion itself it ridiculous.

Still working on figuring out the principle of verticality,


Monday, February 9, 2009

This is BIG Monday

Recapping the weekend:

I went 5-2 on college basketball picks missing on Texas (more on this later) and Gonzaga who both looked completely lost and hardly Top 25 material.

My record for the year is now up to 17-9. Pretty decent for a first timer. If anyone has requests for games to pick leading up to a weekend, just send it in by Thursday night and hopefully your wish will be granted.

In other news, did anyone notice that the Pro Bowl happened?


Me neither, that is until I read the KC Star and realized that Tony G now holds records for the most receptions and receiving yards in Pro Bowl history. He is also tied for the most TD catches in Pro Bowl history. Not that he really cares (just like Larry "Man Crush" Fitzgerald really cares about the MVP of the Pro Bowl after losing the Souper Dee Duper Bowl), but it is a nice resume builder for the Hall of Fame.

While we are on the topic of football, since my last lengthy post news came out from the NFL heads of officiating that they blew a critical call in the Souper Bowl! The touchdown celebration from Santonio Holmes on the game winning touchdown was completely illegal. It should have been a 15 yard penalty (duh!) and the reason the call was missed was because it was too far after the play was over.

Umm.... isn't the referees job to watch the whole game for any infraction?

I know what you're thinking, "Shocked and Appalled, Shocked and Appalled."

Except, not.

We knew the refs blew the call by at least Monday, and it took until Thursday for this news to come out from the NFL. Again, if this had been Pittsburgh getting robbed of 15 yards on the final drive of the game, the keywords from the media would have been chaos, riot and anarchy.

I also have to mention a couple baseball references. First, my Royals avoided arbitration with Mark Teahan and signed him to a one-year deal. Good move for one of the most versatile players on the team (and starting second baseman???!?!?!?); Let's just hope that he can find his stroke at the plate again.

Secondly, there is a boat load of new steroids allegations. These mostly involve A-Rod, which doesn't really surprise me. The problem I have with the allegations is that (don't think I am defending anyone because steroids have just ruined the game completely) they are from a report in 2003 of 750 players in which 104 of them tested positive to see if random screening was necessary.

My issues with this include:
-There are 103 players other than A-Rod who tested positive.
-MLB did a preliminary test to see if testing was necessary. If you need a test to see if you need to test (say that 10 times fast) you have absolutely no idea what the hell is going on! Seriously, this just confirms my belief that Bud Selig has had absolutely no idea what is going on in the sport that he is the commissioner of and there needs to be changes.
-This test isolates 750 players in MLB, but what if those that did not get tested had a higher percentage of positive tests? 104/750= 13.86%. Roughly 1 in 7. Probably the 1's in this equation made more money, got better stats, won more awards and put a ton of good solid players who didn't cheat in the minor leagues.
-104 players tested positive for steroids. OK, cool. But as a professional drug dealer, I have to think about how many other drugs there were circulating around baseball. What about amphetamine (Ritalin, Adderall) abuse in the league? Those who didn't have attention deficit disorders would use these to get more "zoned in" to the games and focus better. Drugs, Drugs, Drugs, Steroids, Steroids, Steroids.

Enough depressing talk (can I get a Prozac??!) and on to something a little more fun. College Basketball.

This weekend was filled with upsets (the rankings are about to get as wild as a drunken game of Hungry Hungry Hippos) and College Basketball is finally the center of national attention with the end of the NFL season.

The most intriguing thing so far is how conferences have been shaken up (Yahtzee!) since the start of conference play.

List #9:
Conference shakeups you should know about:
1. The Big East has 2 previously ranked teams (Georgetown and Notre Dame) with records of 4-7 and 3-7 in league play! South Florida has as many conference wins (3) as Notre Dame does.
2. There are 5 teams in division I basketball with undefeated conference records out of 31 leagues. Kansas (8-0) and Oklahoma (9-0) in the Big 12, Princeton (4-0) in the Ivy League, Gonazaga (8-0) in the West Coast, Utah State (11-0) in the WAC and Memphis (8-0) in Conference USA. Memphis has a 50 game conference winning streak.
3. The team with the best record in the SEC is not Tennessee or Florida. It's LSU with a 7-1 record. Last year the team only won 6 conference games and finished 13-17.
4. The ACC (in my opinion is the best conference in the nation) is so muddled, that a loss by Boston College this weekend dropped them from 3rd to 7th. Not only that, the last team to beat #1 in the polls (Georgia Tech) has only one conference win.
5. The Summit League is being led by North Dakota State (12-1 in conference) who is in their first year of eligibility for postseason play because they joined Division I so recently.
6. The Colonial Athletic Association, with NCAA Cinderellas George Mason, Virginia Commonwealth and Old Dominion is being led by Northeastern (11-2).
7. The Big 12's top team is Oklahoma. The teams occupying spots 2-5 are all from the North division (KU, Mizzou, Kstate, and Nebraska)

More on the Big 12 because that's what I truly follow and most of my readers like to hear about. To put into perspective how monumental the standings of the league are let me break down the last 5 years of standings.

1.KU, Texas
4.Oklahoma, Baylor

2.Texas A&M

1.KU, Texas

1.KU, Oklahoma
3.Okie State
6.Iowa State

1.Okie State
2.KU, Texas
5.Tech, Mizzou

I did the top 6 each year because that represents the top half each year. I know you are looking at the standings thinking, "What are you getting at sports guru who also deals drugs to children for a living?"

The top 6 in the league each of the past 5 years has featured no more than 3 teams from the north. When reviewing all standings for the Big 12, there has never been more than 3 teams from the north finish in the top 6.

That is why the standings (as they stand now) are so shocking. Not only are there 4 north teams in the top 6, there are 4 north teams in the top 5!

That even includes the game tonight featuring Kansas (8-0) at Mizzou (7-2).

Big Monday = West Virginia @ Pitt and KU @ MU in a pair of rivalry games!

Pitt takes care of Huggy Bear and the Mountaineers with a win at home. I don't think too many of you will argue with that. Pitt already won in West Virginia by 12. I don't expect this game to be much different.

In the Big 12 matchup (If you didn't get it already Big Monday features matchups from the Big East and the Big 12; Catchy huh?) The Jayhawks take a lot of momentum into the showdown with Mizzou who has won 3 straight and 7 of 8. Both teams should be ranked (not available now) and are playing for bragging right in the Border War.

Now as a KU fan, I am completely obligated to pick KU regardless of anything else. And I will. KU wins this game. Sure, the game is in Columbia, Mizzou is a four point favorite and Paige Arena, er, Mizzou Arena rarely sells out. But picking MU is like picking your nose; Nothing good comes out of it.

Here's why KU will win.

Mizzou plays fast. Really fast. They lead the Big 12 in scoring.

KU plays fast too. KU has some of the quickest guards in the conference (Hello, Mighty Mouse) and they have big men that can run the floor as well as any in the country.

KU also has big guys that are huge (Cole-nan the Barbarian, coming off of an 18 rebound game) and have found a third scoring option in Mario Little to complement the other super heroes on the team. Little is shooting 62.8% and is not a big man. He takes a ton of mid range jumpers and will have plenty of opportunities to get shots in a fast paced game tonight.

KU has also found a way to make 3's when it counts. With defenses closing in on Collins at crunch time, they leave Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar open on the wings to put in 3's at 41% and 46% respectively. Plus, the two Kansas natives play defense.

8 hours to game time! Get Extreme!


Friday, February 6, 2009

Hale(y) to the Chief!

The Chiefs hired Todd Haley. I think this is a great move and it is really the sign that the Chiefs are in rebuilding mode. This should allow them to find a completely new identity and hopefully they will make splashes in the free agent market this year.

I think that if the Chiefs can get a good offensive and defensive lineman that can make an impact this next year, they will be much improved. I don't care if it is in the draft or free agency, but a good team starts with the line.

The QB situation is difficult to decide on. I say give Haley a year with Brodie or Thigpen and see what he can do. Again, it depends on the line. The Chiefs havent had one since Priest Holmes was a star and have struggled since.

12-7 record for basketball so far this year.

This weekend is chop full of good games and I am totally looking forward to it.

I have to get to work early (and save lives, you know how it is) so this will be short but informative.

I'll give you my version of a six pack of picks (Seven!)

Ranked teams playing this weekend: 24 (Marquette plays tonight)

Top 25 Matchups (and automatic picks for the weekend): 3 (Purdue @ Illinois, Syracuse @ Villanova, and Memphis @ Gonzaga)

Illinois is coming off a tough road loss to Wisconsin and Purdue is coming off a road loss at Ohio State. Both teams need a win to keep pace in The Great Lakes 11, but I like The Illini to take this one at home (they play Sunday, are the marquee game and they play good in big games).

Villanova beats Syracuse, who can't win on the road against good teams. The Wildcats are too quick for the 2-3 zone to work and the Orange can't play on the road.

Memphis is full of young talent and the Zags are one of the more experienced teams in the NCAA. In Washington, in primetime (college gamenight) I look for the Zags experience to shine. If it were in Memphis this would be a different story, but home court is home court and good teams find a way to win.

Other games to keep an eye on:

Notre Dame @ UCLA: Home Court rules, but ND needs it (too bad, chime up the price is right failure music)
Texas @ Nebraska: Texas lost two straight at home (to Kstate and Mizzou, U-G-L-Y), but look for them to rebound against a smaller Husker team
Minnesota @ Ohio State: OSU just beat Purdue, and they have found a win to win at home this year. I think Tubby Smith will have his Gophers playing well, but not Golden. OSU wins for my upset special.
Butler @ Wright St: Butler is 11-1 in conference play and has a tough road game (WSU is 8-4) but they have dominated the Horizon league for a while and will continue to do so.

Til next time,

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Catching Up

Let's start off with my record now for college basketball picks. I got all 7 games right on Saturday. However, I totally whiffed on saying the rest of the ranked teams would have no problem winning. KState and Georgia Tech made me look dumb. And for that, I will take an extra loss.

Monday, I went 1-1 by missing entirely how good of a team UConn is when they have Thabeet playing like a lottery pick. He changed every aspect of Louisville's offense and that is why the Huskies won. At least I got a W from my Jayhawks.

On the subject of the KU basketball game, Fran Frashilla is probably the worst color commentator on the planet. He picks a catch phrase for the night and sticks with it the whole game whether or not it makes any sense (he used North/South last night). And he totally falls asleep when announcing important facts. Sherron Collins had made 33 consecutive free throws and then Fran lost count. He did get to 35, but Fran didn't notice and he still didn't notice when Collins missed. Terrible.

Ron Franklin (the play by play guy who is almost as bad by having diarrhea of the mouth and saying things before thinking about them - he was wrong on foul calls about 8 times) has resorted to introducing FF as "A former Division I college basketball coach". I can only presume this is because everyone thinks FF is a complete fool and knows absolutely nothing about the game of basketball.

My favorite quote from last night courtesy of FF:
"It looks like he just violated the principle of verticality there!"

Some key points about this quote:
-If there is a principle of verticality, FF made it up.
-If someone violated the principle, I have no idea how because, again, it is made up.

Reaction to the Suppppppppppper Bowl (Hooray for avoiding copyright infringement!)

My pick was wrong.

But at least it was close.

I thought (as did anyone who really thought about the game) that the Cards would make Rothy throw the ball to win the game. I was right. 256 yards and a game winning touchdown coming through the air is a pretty decent game. The Steelers had a total of 61 rushing yards and Gary Russel (who scored the only rushing TD of the game) ended the game with 2 rushes, -3 yards and 1 touchdown. Go figure.

Arizona threw the ball all over the field and ended with 3 passing TD's and 377 passing yards (all from Kurt "too bad my kids won't get a puppy now" Warner). This was against a defense that had only given up 300 TOTAL yards in game once during the regular season.

Random thoughts from the game:

-The first half was kind of boring. Until the 100 yard interception return, not much had happened.

-I never realized how much challenges slow down the game. It was painful to have Al Michaels and John Madden tell us about the result of the challenge for 5 minutes before hearing it from the referee.

-The Cardinals offense is terrible at defense. I know sounds dumb, but they let James Harrison run 100 yards for a touchdown. When a 242 pound linebacker outruns a 4 wide set with a running back, almost gets caught by an offensive lineman (which was totally weird, especially because it was around the 15 of the cardinals- 80 yards from the line of scrimmage) in the process and looks like he was going to need more oxygen during the halftime show than Bruce Springsteen, you know there is no way he should have scored.

-Any joke about TurDuckEn during a game broadcast by John Madden is hilarious. Congrats to Mary for making Dave stop saying the word for the entire second half and still making a joke about it for just as long. TurDuckEn. TurDucken. TurDuckEn. TurDuckEn.

-I can't but help feel gyped that:
1)The refs totally missed Santonio Holmes TD celebration using the football as a prop (automatic 15 yard penalty)
2)The refs didn't review the "fumble" with 5 seconds left in the biggest game of the year
3)We didn't get to see one last hail mary attempt to Larry Fitzgerald/Anquan Boldin/Steve Breatson.
I think the refs totally blew the game in important times and almost none of the national media cares. If the Steelers had the ball last, were down and Big Ben "fumbled" the streets of Pittsburgh would have been a riot zone and the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and all Rent-a-Cops within a 12 state area would have been called in to control the damage.

-I have decided that I want Haley (the Offensive Coordinator of the Cards) to be the next Chiefs coach. After the go-ahead TD for Arizona, I swear he was still coaching Larry Fitzgerald by telling him not to look up and watch the scoreboard, but to finish the run.

Let me say that again.

This guy was still coaching intensley with a lead and 2:30 left in the NFL championship game when his offense just took the lead for the worst run franchise in NFL history! That's discipline. I want that. I WANT THAT! WE CAN BUILD ON THAT!!

Final Notes on Tuesday:
- I am glad Derrick Thomas got into the Hall of Fame. He was what I remember of Defense when I was growing up. Neil Smith was a good compliment, but DT made the Chiefs Defense. Game in and Game out. When I watch highlights of him getting 7 sacks in one game (!!!!) on the Seahawks, I wonder if I really understood how good he was. He had 116.5 sacks in the 90's, the most in the NFL.

- Congrats to KState's Clemente. Dropping 44 on Texas in Austin is no easy feat. Nice work.

- Just saw the rankings of football recruiting classes of the Kanasas City area teams and Kansas has the highest of the 3 (KU, KSU and MU) at 31. Delicious.

- I took the over (47) for the NFL championship and came away victorious. I'm still over 6 bucks and reeling! Watch out Vegas!

Still trying to figure out the principle of verticality,

Monday, February 2, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Sorry about today. This post should be riddled with information and only lightly substantiated opinions about College Basketball and the NFL game on Sunday, but there were some computer issues (which have resolved) mandating this post be short (due to the fact that this is not my full time job).

My picks for the two college basketball games tonight.

UConn @ Louisville
UConn has ascended to the #1 ranking in the land. Meaning they will lose.

Louisville is turning into a great team (they beat West Virginia handily while commiting 26 turnovers) and are playing @ home. Like I said on Friday, good teams find ways to win at home when it counts. The Pitino Generic Mascots win and take over the top spot in the Big East.

Kansas @ Baylor
My Jayhawks are taking the long trip to Waco to face a recently down-trodden Bears team. The Bears are coming off a loss to Mizzou on Saturday and now have a sub .500 record in confercence play. Not good.

Kansas is coming off of a home win over Colorado to go to 6-0 in the conference. The Jayhawks managed to win despite allowing the Buffaloes to trim a 21 point lead to 2 in the second half. But the Jayhawks did crack the Top 25 rankings for the first time in 2009.

I look for Kansas to take care of business (Collins has a good day on national TV). It should be a good game though, as both teams like to play fast tempo (last year KU won 100-90) and both have plenty of weapons.

Just one thought today from my Sunday NFL watching experience.
The Misses and I traveled North to Westminster to watch the game with our friends (my old roommate and his wife) from college Dave and Mary. They have a nice house and an HD tv, so we had plenty of food and a good time.

During the game I was explaining to them my new found fun in with the free betting. Dave seemed pretty intrigued by the idea and thought it would be fun to make small wagers (all bets = 50 cents) throughout the game on trite items.

Anyway, Dave and I had 2 bets going that lasted the entire game. One, I said the Cards would get less than 42 rushing yards for the day and Dave took the over. I did win.

The other, and the entire purpose of this story, was that Dave said Fitzgerald would have 2 touchdown catches in the game. I figured why not?

So you know that Fitz caught his second TD catch with less than 3 minutes left and gave the Cards the lead. He was ecstatic!

He was so ecstatic he ran up to my face (I dont think he realized the significance of the play for the whole game) and screamed mildly intoxicated and highly maniacal:


And started running around the room in jubilation.



Over 50 cents.

More tomorrow.