Thursday, March 19, 2009

Welcome to Tipoff

Today begins the culmination of all the excitement of the regular season. The NCAA tournament starts (ok has started, and I am late) today and starts a 3 week journey to one shining moment. I tried to keep the suspense high making the readers sweat it out to find out my expert (ha) picks. Since I am late, you don't have an opportunity to redraw your brackets and if I cost you thousands of dollars you could have won by getting all the picks right, you are ridiculous for listening to anything that I have to say.

Let's begin. Region by region with explanations about the upsets/non-upsets.


First round winners:

1 Louisville

8 Ohio State (Siena just is too small, but I am excited abou tthe game)

12 Arizona (The MWC is bad in the tourney, I dont have the numbers, but they are bad)

4 Wake Forest

6 West Virginia (If you picked Dayton, I'm sorry that you picked this game wrong)

3 Kansas (Really good game especially because it is more of a home game for NDSU, but KU knows what defeat smells like, and it smells like rotten chinese food)

7 Boston College (I dont like the Pac-10 this year and BC is a good team who has a win over UNC this year)

2 Michigan St.

Second Round winners:

1 Louisville

4 Wake (This is going to be a great matchup)

3 Kansas (I know, I am a homer, but KU will be ready for this)

7 Boston College (MSU is struggling to get scoring from one of their stars -Raymar Morgan - and the Eagles played in the tougher ACC and are primed for a big win)

Semi Winners:

1 Louisville (Wake is too inconsistent, but I already said I am psyched for the game)

3 Kansas (Bill Self is way too good when he has time to plan for an opponent)

Regional winner:

1 Louisville (Pitino is a good coach -with a hideous white suit- and they are the better more experienced team)

West Regional

First round winners

1 UConn

8 BYU ( I konw this game already started, but that is who I would have picked and I would change it now in a heartbeat)

5 Purdue (MVC is weak this year and UNI won't beat the Great Lakes 11 Champs)

13 Mississippi State (I love the center Varnado for MSU and don't like the inexperience of UW's point guard)

6 Marquette (Utah State doesn't have the experience and the golden eagles will be playing for Damion James)

3 Mizzou

10 Maryland (I had to do something interesting and make this entire sub region all teams with M's to start their name)

2 Memphis (They look bad right now against Cal State Northridge)

Second Round

1 UConn

5 Purdue (They have good leadership and are a very tough team)

3 Mizzou (Marquette can't handle their pressure without James)

2 Memphis (another fun thing with Tigers matched up in the Sweet Sixteen)

Regoinal Semis

1 UConn

2 Memphis

*This is the way it should be the fourth #1 seed versus the best #2 seed*

Regoinal Winner

2 Memphis - They are hungry from last year

East Regional

First Round Winners

1 Pitt

9Tennessee (I like this team and I think they are starting to play good once again)

5 Florida State (After the ACC tourney they are primed for good things)

4 Xavier (Good stats to be a contender this year)

11 VCU (UCLA looks lost other than the occasional huge game from either Shipp or Collison, but VCU has a good team and you always have to like the Colonial Athletic Association)

3 Villanova
7 Texas
2 Duke

Second Round winners
1 Pitt (I like Tenn but I like Pitt more)
4 Xavier (I think they will do good things this year)
3 'Nova (VCU only gets one win, they are not George Mason)
7 Texas (Yes, Texas. I like the way they have been getting play from Dexter Pittman, and I think that Abrams is due for a big game. Plus, their athletes can guard all the Dukies and do it well)

Regional Semis
1 Pitt
3 'Nova
*Setting up a Big East rematch that will be big news*

Regional Winner
1 Pitt
* I think they are the best team in the nation and will take care of business*

East Regional

First round winners
12 Western Kentucky (They beat Louisville on the road this year and Illinois is without their point guard)
4 Gonzaga
6 Arizona State
3 Syracuse
7 Clemson (I like the ACC)
2 Oklahoma

Second Round Winners
8 LSU (I know this hasn't happened in a long time, but without Ty Lawson, I like the Tigers to surprise the world)
4 Gonzaga (The hilltoppers don't get to beat a 13 seed this year to get to the Sweet Sixteen)
6 Arizona State (I like the Sun Devils chances against the 2-3 Zone run byt the 'Cuse and James Harden will be a star after this game)
2 Oklahoma (OU is good and Blake Griffin can take care of Clemson)

Regional Semis
4 Gonzaga (I like the Zags. They have experience, inside play and outside play and are primed to give Mark Few a big raise)
6 Arizona State (Again, James Harden.... remember that name)

Regional Winner
4 Gonzaga
*Crazy I know, but I like it and they have waited a long time to get to this point

Final Four
Memphis vs. Louisville
Pitt vs. Gonzaga

Champoinship Game
Louisville vs. Pitt
These are two of the best teams around and proved it all year. They play tough, have leaders at the guard position and experience.


They have never made it past the Sweet Sixteen, until this year and what a sweet way to do it.

I could have gone a lot of different ways with the bracket and I am sure you won't agree with me, but I'm sticking to it. We will keep you posted as the tourney progresses.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Bracket

I was so terribly wrong on all of my conference picks (save Tennessee who played pretty well) that I am ashamed. And even though the Mrs. doesn't like the Great Lakes 11 comments, I have to give her mad props for getting Purdue correct as the Tourney champs.

Quick other sports news before bracket talk:

- The Broncos made a mistake by even considering trading Jay Cutler. If he had a coach that would instill some discipline into him, he would be one of the Top 5 QB's in the game instead of just one of the top 5 fantasy picks.

- The World Baseball classic is a good thought, but it just doesn't work for me. I almost think it would do better in the fall after the World Series. Catch Phrase: The __(WS champs)___ are the best team in the world, but now find out which country is the best. The teams playing in the playoffs would have enough left in the tank to showcase some talent, you would have plenty of well rested players, and it would only matchup against NFL for ratings, which wouldn't be a problem if games were during the week. Now, everyone is concerned about college basketball and the change of tempo is too much to handle. Just my take.

- The Royals are doing very good this year. I am totally excited. They have at least 3 decent starters in the rotation (Meche, Grienke and Davies) and have an improved lineup and possibly just as good of a bullpen compared to last year.

- However, if the Yankees don't win this year it may be the biggest disappointment of all time.

- Went to a Nuggets game over the weekend and the NBA pace is not at all what I am accustomed to. It is a lot slower, but still enjoyable. I think what I was most amazed about was the fact that in warmups, ALL of the players were making every shot they put up. Despite the different game style and the potential for ruining the game (there is a rumor they may modify the traveling violation to allow for 2 steps.... this would be irreconcilable in my book. I know I am not much of a fan, but they would lose me if the league changed that rule), the NBA houses the best basketball players on the planet and it is a joy to watch the pure skill and athleticism that the athletes possess.

The Bracket!!!

So, I have yet to come out with a finished product as far as the bracket is concerned. I am doing more research as we speak, but I will tell you some thoughts if you are filling out a bracket early in the week.

- The 16 and 15 seeds may be some of the best that we have seen in a long time. Two of the 16 seeds have been given a 7% chance of winning. This is extraordinary due to the fact that no #16 seed has won in the Men's Tournament ever. Anything over 2% in my mind is consider quite good odds.

- All those experts that are picking three #1 teams and one #2 team for the final four are wrong. It won't be that easy this year. When you are picking, if you are a true risk taker and analyst, throw in a 3 seed or lower. If you are only filling out one bracket and don't trust me... fine. But when it comes time, I told you so.

- ESPN is featuring a simulator that is put on by Accuscore. It is totally awesome, as they break down each matchup based upon a whole bunch of numbers and ratings. I am totally using this to look for trends in picks to make my picks.

- The surest locks based upon this, other than a couple #1's moving on, is a Mizzou vs. Memphis sweet 16 matchup in the West. And then a Memphis win.

- Because I care, KU is not guaranteed a W in the first round. NDSU is a very good team (not to mention twice as close to the Metrodome as KU) and has a good outside shooting team. However, if KU takes care of business in round 1, look for them to advance to the Elite 8.

- Be careful when you pick your second round upsets. It is very important to look at location, location, location and how your underdog performed on the road this year. For instance, I have heard a lot about Clemson potentially upsetting Oklahoma in the second round. Oklahoma is playing in a familiar setting (Kansas City). Clemson did win road games against Illinois, Georgia Tech, BC, Va Tech, South Carolina and Miami from major conferences, but only 2 of those teams made the tourney (Illinois and BC) and neither is expected to go very far. Plus, they got bounced from the ACC tourney in the first round by Georgia Tech.

- The strangest championship game that I saw with my simulations was Illinois vs. Clemson. Yikes. Illinois is the favorite right now for a running no one wants to be in, the most likely 5 seed to be upset by a 12.

- VCU sure beats UCLA a lot.

- There are potentials for some interesting future matchups, mostly involving my Jayhawks. KU rematch with Mich State. Pitt vs. Nova in the regional final, Big East matchups all over the place (WVU vs. Louisville, UConn vs. Marquette, Louisville vs. UConn in the Final Four), KU vs. Marquette or Memphis in the Final Four where both teams have met before and KU vs. Mizzou in the Final Four. Do I actually think that these could happen??? Probably not.

Stay tuned and you will get my bracket soon!

Wishing Opening round Thursday and Friday became National Holidays,


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tourney Picks

My Conference Tourney Picks:

Big 12: Oklahoma. Two words: Blake Griffin.

Big East: Pitt. They just win.

SEC: Tennessee. I don't think anyone will argue with any team being picked in this conference tourney.

ACC: I like Wake to win this one. I think they will make it far in the NCAA's and look to get a quick start with the ACC title.

Pac-10: Arizona State. They need something to improve their seed in the NCAA's and have one of the most dynamic players in the country in James Harden.

Great Lakes 11: Illinois. They need to play well and I don't think Mich. State will have the energy to take it all.

The bracket comes out Sunday so get excited!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gentleman, Start Your Engines!


I totally called those conference championship games last night. Too bad no money was being put into my pocket.

Tonight features 3 more automatic bids being dolled out, but first a quick pop culture reference that you may not know about.

These are two references to McDonalds and are ways for you to get your money's worth (assuming your stomach can handle it) out of the dollar menu.

The first item up for bids is the Mcgangbang. Totally disgusting, but runs for $2 plus tax. A great deal.

The next is something I just found out today courtesy of's Hot Clicks. This is the Ghetto Big Mac. It is a video on You Tube and this burger is available for $1 plus half (if 2 people) or 1/3 (if 3) the cost of small fries ($1).

Half an Hour later.....

So I don't do a lot of YouTube and got sucked into a whirlwind of music that I have not heard before from John Mayer. If you like an artist, search for them on You Tube and I bet you will be amazed. I was. Totally awesome.

Speaking of music, it is Tuesday and time for a Song of the Day because Tuesday is Song of the Day Day.

Today's song comes from the thug life that I so frequently (ha, that's funny) live.

All The Above
By: Maino featuring T-Pain

The other reason for this song is that I went to High School with a guy who's last name was Maino and who went by Maino. The funny thing is that the Maino I knew was so far from a Hip Hop artist that if he wasn't smart, I dont think he could spell hip hop.

I digress....

Tonight's Championship games are in the Summit Conference, Horizon, and Sun Belt.

The Summit Conference is home to UMKC, the worst named team in college basketball (Kangaroos). However, that is not who is playing tonight. Tonight features North Dakota State versus Oakland. Why is this important to you? NDSU is in its first year of post season eligibility and features Ben Woodside, who took a redshirt year his freshman year to be able to play for a birth in the big Dance, the Bison's leading scorer. Woodside scored 60 points earlier this year in a 112-111 loss to Stephen F. Austin. All year he was held to less than double digit scoring twice averages 23 points per game, 6.4 assists, and shoots 43.4% from Fargo (downtown). When the Bison make the tourney tonight, you will be sure to hear a couple of human interest stories about him.
The Horizon features Butler versus Cleveland State. Every team on the bubble is rooting for Butler to win, as CSU doesn't have a chance at an at-large bid. Every team with the possible exception of K-State. The Wildcats don't have the resume right now to make the field, but with a couple of wins in the Big 12 Tourney and an increased RPI number for CSU (Top 50?) they might sneak in. Butler should win this one.
The Sun Belt features South Alabama versus Western Kentucky in a battle of teams that will surely be discussed as potential first round upset material next week. WKU beat Drake (in classic buzzer beater fashion) last year to advance to the second round and won the first ever 12 vs. 13 matchup by beating San Diego. They did lose in the Sweet 16 to UCLA, but definitely put themselves on the map. They are a good team, having beat Louisville (The Big East Champion) earlier this year. South Alabama is looking for its 3rd appearence in 4 years, and will do so as the underdog. They have won one NCAA tourney game. In 1989 over Alabama. They lost both matchups with WKU this year and will most likely lose a third.

Well, there is a pretty good wrapup of tonight's matchups.

The Major conferences are staring their tournaments today and tomorrow with the Big East having every team in the 16 team conference play this year with a double bye system and making the tournament last 5 days. If you ask me, that is a little over kill, but it makes more money for the conference.

Hope you enjoy your money saving MickeyD's trip and we will catch up soon.


Monday, March 9, 2009

March and Monday

Picks from the weekend came with an astounding 7-1 record, the only loss coming with Marquette turning the ball over in the final minute of regulation with a 1 point lead surrendering the lead and eventually losing the game in overtime. I was wrong about Marquette, they are struggling and will have difficulty winning another game this year.

Final Regular Season Record: 33-18

One thing that bothered me while catching up with the weekend scores and analysis was that one writer actually thought the Kansas victory was an upset of sorts. The writer (who mostly covers MMA, so I don't have any idea why she was talking basketball) gave props to Seth Davis for correctly picking that game. How can a higher ranked team with only 2 conferences losses and home court advantage (not to mention a 41 game home winning streak) be an underdog to a team with 6 conference losses on the road and not even ranked in the top 25? I know there is a bunch of East Coast bias in the sports world, but that was just ridiculous. The post is here, and of course is way down the page from after the East Coast results.

So to continue. I promised some conference tourney picks today so here goes.

Tonight features one Top 25 team: Gonzaga.

They take on St. Mary's with the return of Patrick Mills, and Australian national player, and a good one at that. He had been hurt for quite a while, but is back and St. Mary's is winning again. I think that St. Mary's will be a low seed in the tourney that no one wants to play, but loses this game to a very good Gonzaga team.

The Colonial Athletic Association, Southern Conference and Metro Atlantic Athletic conference all have finals tonight. VCU will take the CAA over George Mason (even though I am rooting for GM). The Southern conference is having a Davidson-less final (who won't make the dance), but feature the home team in the final (Chattanooga) who takes the home court advantage, doubles down on 11 and rides it to the big dance. In the MAAC, there is a very good game featuring the last two representatives in the field of 65. Siena (a bubble team because of a tough schedule and a good RPI), the 2008 champ faces off against Niagra, the 2007 champ. A game that I would watch if I was home. I think that Siena has done enough this year to learn how to win big games like this.

How about that MVC over the weekend? Overtime thrillers, last second shots, complete elation with victory (for UNI) and utter sadness (Illinois State and Creighton, who I think is out).

Something that I have to comment on now is the Chiefs draft needs now. The original thought was that the they were in need of a quarterback and might draft one with the third pick in the draft. That is no longer the case with the acquisition of Cassel. I think the biggest need for this team is defense and the safest pick that I have heard about is Aaron Curry, a linebacker out of Wake Forest. I think that he is the surest pick (he finished his senoir season in a draft full of underclassmen) and the Chiefs can not afford to miss with this pick. The Chiefs do need a wide reciever, but I think they have a good one in Dwayne Bowe and need someone else who is a dynamic down field threat, not a possesion reciever like Michael Crabtree. Bowe is a better possesion type reciever and the Chiefs need a burner (i.e. the Steelers this year with Hines Ward and Nate Washington).

More tomorrow and hooray for basketball. Keep the comments coming.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Final Friday Picks

This will (by default) be my final picks on Friday for the season.

With a record of 26-17, it would be really great to improve a lot this weekend. Since I like a lot of numbers (I know, I'm weird, but just deal with it) I will give you an 8 pack of picks today and try to get to a win pct of .666!

I think the time slot thing worked, so let's go with that again.

12Et: UConn @ Pitt. Pitt won the last matchup in Connecticut's house. I think they will win this one too in a very physical game. Short and sweet.

2ET: Syracuse @ Marquette. Marquette has struggled (but atleast showed up) since they lost their leader in senior point guard Damion James. Syracuse has hung around the edge of the Top 25 rankings and not made a huge splash the whole year. The 'Cuse is a tournament team, Big East or NCAA, and looks to peak late in the year.
Despite that fact, I think Marquette has figured out like sans-James and gets a big win for their seeding in the NCAA tourney.

4ET: Texas @ Kansas. KU got beat down in Lubbock (Bill Self has yet to win their with the 'Hawks) by a 3 point attack that looked like a game of H-O-R-S-E according Coach because of a complete lack of defense and effort.
Side Note: When asked about the officiating in the game this columnist had no comment. However, all Big 12 games have been terribly officiated this year, so the same columnist was not surprised.
Texas looks to cement itself in the Big Dance with a W in Allen Fieldhouse.
The last meeting between to two teams in Lawrence ended with with KU celebrating an outright Big 12 championship with a 90-86 victory.
Matt Kleinmann, KU's redheaded walk-on and redshirt senoir from Overland Park, KS, got a ring for the thumb as KU won its fifth straight Big 12 title when Oklahoma lost on Wednesday. This year's championship will be an outright title as the Jayhawks finish an astounding 14-2 in conference play and beat the Longhorns with help from the Phog.

9ET: Louisville @ West Virginia: Teams that are known better for their coaches (Pitino and Huggy Bear, respectively) meet in ESPN's primetime matchup on Saturday. A regular in this post the Fighting Pitinos (I don't know why, they just show up for all the big games) take out the Mountaineers and leave Huggins longing for a hug as they steal the Big East title coupled with a UConn loss.

Just as great as last Sunday's matchups, make sure you get your couch ready!

12 ET: Purdue @ Michigan State: State has already claimed the Great Lakes 11 title and look to add another game of seperation. The Boilermakers have been all over the place lately and the Spartans take advantage winning on Senior day.

2ET: Virginia Tech @ Florida State: Bubble teams in the ACC meet to figure out who gets locked and who needs a couple more W's. This late in the season, it is important to defend home court and Florida State has figured that out. Their only home losses have come at the hands of Duke, Pitt and UNC. Not a bad set of 3 to lose to. FSU wins. Va Tech needs to at least get to the ACC finals to make the Dance.

4ET: Duke @ UNC.

Is the Drama built up enough for ya?


Ok. Enough. UNC wins @ home.

Duke isn't that good or big to compete with the Tar Heels. Right now, they are my pick for winning it all, as much as it hurts.

6ET: Clemson @ Wake Forest: I picked Clemson last week against all reason and lost. I will not make the same mistake twice. Wake is a very good team who will find a way to win and gain some momentum for the ACC Tourney.

Keep your eyes peeled this weekend for all of the conference tourney results (the MVC is my pick for good weekend drama). There will be a bunch of Automatic picks and it will get you more excited for the Major Conference Tourneys next week.

It's March!! Wooo Hoo!!

Something that I learned from my bro Mark, I will close with exclamation points after my name to add some drama. Monday brings a lot of fun and some picks for the conference tourneys.


(!!! = Excitement!!!)

PS. I tried 4 exclamation points and it so did not work. Just an FYI for all y'all following.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Let the Madness Begin

Over the weekend, the picks record was 4-3. Missing on Clemson (should have gone with the numbers not my gut), UCLA (Cal blew it) and Illinois (they blew it too).

Overall, my record is 26-17.

Not where I had hoped to be at this point in the season. However, the conference tournaments are just about to start and that means that there will be constant updates on automatic qualifiers. This is where the highlight shows will now start to focus on college basketball and ignore the NBA where defense does not happen.

Tonight the Horizon League, Big South Conference and Ohio Valley Conference begin their conference tournaments.

The Horizon features Butler, who should win, Big South features Radford and VMI while the Ohio Valley features Murray State, League Champ Tennessee Martin and Austin Peay.

I am struggling today to come up with insightful insights, so I'll just hit up another set of bullets.

- Kansas's victory (or should I say drubbing) of Mizzou all but assures them a Big 12 title. THey have a chance to go 15-1 in conference play by beating Tech on Wednesday and Texas in the Phog. That is 2 games better than last year's national championship team. I understand that the Big 12 is down this year, but I would have never expected those kind of results with a completely new team. Bill Self deserves all the pub he is getting for coach of the year.

- KState plays in Stillwater tonight in a must win for tourney consideration. They almost have to get to 10-6 in league play in order to make the field due to losses to Oregon (worst team in the Pac-10 by 3 games) and Iowa. They will need a strong performance from Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen to even begin to think about winning. I think they can do it, but not sure they will on the road.

- The Chiefs acquiring Matt Cassel over the weekend irritated me at first. Then I found out the trade was for a second round pick AND included veteran leader Mike Vrabel. I don't think Cassel is necessarily the answer in KC, but I think he is better than Thigpen or Croyle. Plus, if you think about the trade, you get two starters for a second round pick. Not a bad deal.

- The fantasy impact of TJ Housh for the Seattle Seahawks is huge. I look for that whole team to put up pretty good numbers this next year, especially John Carlson, the Tight end. He should be a Top 5 TE next year.

- I still don't get the NBA. Drew Gooden got traded to the Kings as part of a deal where he and Andres Nocioni went to the Kings and Brad Miller and John Salmons (the only two players I knew on the Kings roster) to the Bulls. Gooden subsequently has been bought out by the Kings, who, I guess, are hoping for the first pick in next years draft. Either that, or somebody really wants the Kings to move back to KC.

- Baseball is starting off and the Royals are getting decent pithcing from their top 3. Meche, Grienke and Kyle Davies (I'm excited now!) are all off to good spring starts. The biggest problem with the Royals is the Right side of the infield. They don't have a real second baseman yet, and have 613 first baseman all competing for time.

Song of the Day

I don't have a good one, so....

"That's what you get"
By Paramore

I dont know why I like chick rock bands, but I do. Paramore, Lucious Jackson just to name a couple. This song just gets me pumped every time I hear it. Hopefully you all can enjoy it too.

Until next time,