Digital Headbutt

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Simplifying the Madness: Last Minute NCAA Tournament Bracket Ideas for 2008

Posted by Mike on March 19, 2008

mascotbasketball.jpg

THE NIGHTMARE SITUATION: It’s 11:00 am on Thursday. You’re in an NCAA Tournament pool, but you haven’t had the time to even look at the bracket, much less fill it out. And you have less than an hour to make sense of a sheet of paper and condense an entire season of college basketball you haven’t watched into 63 decisions. And did we mention you have less than an hour?

Fret not. We’re here to help. Just ask yourself this question:

What do you want to do in relation to your bracket pool?

Seems very easy to answer, doesn’t it? Not so fast. While your conscious reaction is “I wanna win!”, something deep inside you may tell you something else. Perhaps you want your bracket to be unique. Perhaps you want to call the upset that no one dared to predict. Just a little something to inflate your ego. Or, maybe you’re just in the pool to have a little fun, and watch the faces of your co-workers squirm, as they, who care deeply about college basketball, have their brackets trumped by someone who put something together in the eleventh hour.

Whatever the case may be, there’s a bracket for you.

1. “I just want to win”

You have pure capitalism or bragging rights in mind. You just need to win your office pool.

Solution: Go Chalk.

Most of the other members of your pool are likely to try some crazy method of predicting every last upset. When all of the crazy methods are taken, most of what usually remains is rational. Those top seeds are at the top for a reason. Since the expansion of the tournament to 64 teams, at least one #1 seed has reached the final four every year. Usually, it’s around two.

Strategy: Pick the two #1 seeds you think are the strongest and let them pass to the Final Four. From the two other regions, pick one top seed to exit in the Sweet 16 and one to exit in the Elite 8, and allow a seed between #2 and #5 to win the region. Then pick one or two upsets in the 5/12 and 6/11 matchups, flip a coin for the 7/10s and the 8/9s, and take the favorites in the remaining first round matchups, and fill the rest of the bracket at your whim. Chances are that you won’t be far off.

2. “I want to call the upset”

You need to show off some basketball “knowledge”. You need to predict the upset that no one saw coming.

Solution: Calculate your Upset.

Let us first make one thing clear 8/9 and 7/10 matchups are far too close to be considered upsets. At the same time, 2/15 and 1/16 upsets are too statistically implausible. However, you can typically count on the underdog to win 3-5 of the 3/14, 4/13, 5/12, and 6/11 matchups. For the latter rounds, one of the 6 seeds will always beat a 3, and at least one 2 seed usually gets taken down by a 7 or 10 seed every year.

Strategy: Take from this pool…

#11 Kansas State: Michael Beasley may be the best player in college basketball.

#11 St. Joseph’s: Their coach is experienced, and they had to beat #3 seeded Xavier twice in 2 weeks to earn an at-large bid.

#11 Baylor: Their opponent, Purdue, is inexperienced and from a weaker conference.

#12 Villanova: See Baylor. Their point guard, Scottie Reynolds, is crucial to success.

#12 Western Kentucky: talented team going up against high-seeded mid-major.

#12 Temple: Atlantic 10 Champions, and Michigan State has underachieved in recent tournaments.

#13 Winthrop: Both Winthrop and their opponents play slow; this game will be close no matter what.

#13 Oral Roberts: ORU is not new to this stage, and Pitt may let down after the Big East tournament.

#13 San Diego: Won the West Coast Conference, who brought 3 teams to the tourney.

#14 Georgia: Hey, they’ve come this far.

Choose 3-4 of these Cinderellas and season to taste in the first round. After that, pick a couple of #2 seeds to go down in the second round.

3. “I want to have fun”.

The tournament is a roller coaster. You just want to be along for the ride.

Solution: Get creative.

Or in the case of time limitations, let other people be creative for you. Take a cue from Storming the Floor, and decide by which mascot would win in a fight. You can pick completely at random for all that anyone cares. No one can ever truly predict these things; it has largely to do with luck. However, remember to keep luck on your side. In almost all brackets, all of the 1 seeds and half of the 2 and 3 seeds should make the Sweet 16. After that, go crazy. Who knows, you might even win.

Strategy: There is no strategy. Just wing it, have fun, sit back, and enjoy the four most chaotic days in sports.

Posted in Bracket, College Basketball, Get Pumped!, NCAA Tournament, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year | 1 Comment »

Vote For Digital Headbutt Or We Shoot The Saban

Posted by Mike on June 16, 2007

Round 3 of the Ladies…Hot Blogger Bracket is well underway, and right now I’m in a really close matchup with Sammy’s Sports Sermons. So desperate times call for desperate measures.

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That’s right, I have captured the one that you seek. Vote for me, Digital Headbutt, or I will shoot the Saban, and he will never be heard from again.

Wait a minute…Who wrote this? Saban, did you write this behind my back?

(Saban nods ‘yes’)

GODDAMMIT! Now I’m going to look like a fool in front of the whole world! You think I’m a fool, Saban?!? DO YA?!? HUH?!? HUH?!?

(Saban nods ‘no’)

That’s what I thought. Now just sit there, and stop trying to screw this up!

(Saban nods ‘yes’)

Okay, where were we? Oh yes. What I meant to say was “If you vote for Digital Headbutt, we will reward you, the voters, by shooting the Saban, so he will never be heard from again.” He’s been a nuisance to all of us, and in doing this we won’t have to put up with his antics for the next 10-20 years. Even the Bammers don’t want that; they just don’t know it yet.

And to my Tar Heel faithful: thank you for voting. You’ve gotten me this far, now let’s kick it up a notch!

(Director) Aaaaaannnd Cut!

Good work people! Now that’s what I call a ransom video.

(Saban) Can I go home now?

Not yet. We need to make another tape addressing your followers. But first, some barbecue.

(Saban) With a side of lies?

We wouldn’t serve it to you any other way, Mr. Saban.

(Saban) Hooray!

 

Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Alabama, Bracket, College Football, Cult of Personality, Digital Headbutt, Great Moments in Stupidity, Hot Blogger Bracket, Mud Butt, Nick Saban, Patriotism at its finest, Sabanism, Shameless Self Promotion, This is why the Internet was invented, Way More Tags Than This Post Merits | 4 Comments »

To Vote Against Digital Headbutt Is To Vote Against America

Posted by Mike on June 11, 2007

I have managed to advance into Round 2 of the Ladies…Hot Blogger Bracket. But this week I am facing a member of the sports blog pantheon, Orson Swindle of Every Day Should Be Saturday. EDSBS is one of the biggest and best blogs out there, so I understand that you may be tempted to vote for him. But to vote, you must be able to make an informed decision, and to make an informed decision there is something you should know.

To vote against Digital Headbutt is to reject the very principles on which this country was founded.

Allow me to explain.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution clearly protects all religious speech from any action “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” What, you ask, does this have anything to do with sports blogging? Because in this space a month and a half ago, I was the person who uncovered a new religion growing in Alabama: Sabanism. You may agree with the principles of Sabanism, or you may disagree with them. But you cannot, under any circumstances, attempt to block the message. Political, Religious and Social Speech gets the highest level of First Amendment protection, according to the established precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court. Tell me, since when does any of that kind of speech protection apply to “Appalachain is HOT HOT HOT“? Never, that’s when.

So don’t let the allure of a Tim Tebow picture fool you. By voting for EDSBS, you are voting to shun religious speech from being heard in the marketplace of ideas, which is essential to the proper function of democracy. By voting for EDSBS, you are telling the U.S. Constitution to go to hell, and by proxy the United States itself. Well, I AM NOT GOING TO SIT HERE QUIETLY AND LET YOU LAY WASTE TO MY BELOVED COUNTRY!!!

So vote for America. Vote for Digital Headbutt. If you don’t, the terrorists win.

BONUS: You also have to consider that this is a Hot Blogger Bracket. Look at this picture and tell me if there’s anything remotely sexy about this “Orson Swindle” fellow:

Didn’t think so.

Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Bracket, Championship, Cult of Personality, Digital Headbutt, Hot Blogger Bracket, Patriotism at its finest, Sabanism, Shameless Self Promotion, Stuff That Involves Things, This is why the Internet was invented, USA! USA!, Way More Tags Than This Post Merits, yes this is a slow news day. how can you tell?, Your hubris is burning from the nosebleed section | 3 Comments »

Tennessee vs. Rutgers Live Blog: 2007 NCAA Women’s National Championship

Posted by Mike on April 3, 2007

Tonight Tennessee plays Rutgers for the National Championship in Women’s basketball. The Vols will look to run a high tempo offense to tire their opponent, while Rutgers looks to stop them with their suffocating team defense in the halfcourt. Their game against LSU was a clinic on how to stop the fast break, and tonight they look to do the same. Whether or not they can pull it off will determine who wins this game.

8:28 pm: It’s official: Gail Goestenkors is leaving Duke to replace retiring legendary coach Jody Conradt at Texas. WHOOOO!!!

8:43 pm: Bobbitt vs. Ajavon and Anosike vs. Vaughn could go a long way to determine this game. All four players are from the New York metro area. Small world. Now would be a I time I should say something awkward like, NYC REPRESENT!!! But I think I’ll resist.

8:46 pm: 3-0, Tenn. The Vols win the tip. Anosike makes a great offensive rebound, and ultimately Shannon Bobbitt hits a three from the right wing.

Both teams are showing their cards early. Tennessee is trying to dictate a pace akin to a track meet, and Rutgers wants to make me watch paint dry.

8:47 pm: 5-0, Tenn. Sidney Spencer hits a turnaround jumper.

8:49 pm: 5-3, Tenn. We’ve already got controversy two minutes in. The refs are trying to determine whether a jumper by Ajavon hit a two or three point jumper. Ultimately it was called a three, which was a good call. But come on, refs, Ed Hochuli could make a call faster than that!

8:51 pm: If Rutgers wants to dictate the pace of this game, they need to get their defensive rebounds and prevent the Lady Vols from getting second chance points. They’ve already given up three or four offensive rebounds.

8:53 pm: 6-4, Tenn. Tennessee is running a full court press, trying to force turnovers. But the Scarlet Knights have thus far done a good job of offensive ball control. If only they can rebound now.

Official timeout, as we’re treated to a little of “The Message” by the Furious Five. A rare move in coolness by ESPN.

8:59 pm: 6-6. Essence Carson hits a nice midrange jumper to tie the game.

9:01 pm: Tennessee continues to dominate the boards, but they’re having a hard time making their shots.

9:02 pm: 8-6, Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights force a turnover, and are rewarded with a quick basket to take the lead.

Rutgers’ offense is decidedly faster tonight than I had expected, at least in their scoring possessions.

9:03 pm: 8-8. As we hit an official timeout, the fouls are already starting to pile up on Rutgers.

9:07 pm: 12-8, Tenn. The Vols take the lead as Candace Parker hits two straight jumpers, the first an easy one off a great inbound pass.

9:08 pm: 12-12. Kia Vaughn gets two straight baskets of her own to tie the game. Both of them came off offensive rebounds.

9:11 pm: 14-12, Tenn. The Vols take the lead off of free throws, but their press is paying off, as Rutgers commits two consecutive turnovers.

9:14 pm: 16-14, Tenn. Official timeout. The Scarlet Knights are going to reap the rewards of consistently attacking the inside, which Tennessee isn’t doing enough of right now.

9:18 pm: 18-14, Tenn. Parker gets a tough basket in the paint, but how does Horn buckle not shoot that open three?

Rutgers has done a good job of slowing the pace of the game, but their turnovers (7 so far) and lack of rebounding prevent them from taking full advantage.

9:21 pm: 22-14, Tenn. Alberta Auguste is playing well off the bench for Tennessee.

Sidney Spencer’s jumper extends the lead to 8.

9:22 pm: 22-16, Tenn. Ajavon hits a tough shot before the official timeout.

9:26 pm: 27-18, Tenn. Vaughn’s return to the lineup is helping Rutgers on offense, but Tennessee continues to win the battle in the offensive glass. The last one by Anosike leads to a three pointer by Spencer. The Vols have 13 second chance points.

9:33 pm: As the first half ends, Tennessee leads, 29-18, at halftime. Candace Parker is doing a good job of passing the ball, even if she isn’t shooting lights out. The Lady Vols are playing great defense, and while Rutgers has dictated tempo, they haven’t used it to their advantage, going cold on offense (they stopped attacking the inside) and letting Tennessee dominate the glass. For the Scarlet Knights to come back they will need to get rebounds and start hitting the three.

10:00 pm: 35-24, Tenn. I missed the first four minutes of the second half. Fortunately for me, not much has changed.

10:01 pm: 35-26, Tenn. Kia Vaughn gets another basket inside. She needs to get the ball more.

10:04 pm: More referee controversy, as Rutgers is wrongly called for a shot clock violation. The call is ultimately corrected, but Rutgers was denied an opportunity at second chance points.

10:05 pm: 35-28, Tenn. Vaughn scores again, this time off a putback. She has 12 tonight.

10:06 pm: 38-28, Tenn. More offensive rebounding by Tennessee leads to an open three by Bobbitt, and the Vols have a double digit lead once again.

10:08 pm: 43-28, Tenn. More great play by Bobbitt (a three, a steal, and an assist) gives Tennessee a 15 point lead with less than 12 points, and C. Vivian Stringer is forced to call a timeout. The wheels are starting to come off of Rutgers.

10:16 pm: 46-30, Tenn. Shannon Bobbitt cannot be stopped. She is on fire from the bonusphere, as Tennessee is finally beginning to dictate their tempo.

10:19 pm: 46-33, Tenn. The biggest reason why Tennessee is winning: 20 offensive rebounds. Even if they slow the game down, they aren’t in control is they can’t win the battle of the boards.

7:34 left.

10:25 pm: 48-35, Tenn. Vaughn gets the basket and the foul but Rutgers isn’t setting up their offense fast enough.

At this point I think that the Final Four’s MOP would be Nicky Anosike of the Lady Vols. She has done everything that’s been asked of her and more.

10:27 pm: 50-35, Tenn, 5:00 left. The Vols steal it, Hornbuckle hits the jumper, and the lead is back to 15. Against Rutgers’ gameplan, Tennessee has this game sealed.

10:29 pm: 50-39, Tenn, 3:44 left. Rutgers hits two straight baskets, the latest by Essence Carson, to bring the Scarlet Knights within 11. However, it’s likely too little, too late.

10:31 pm: 50-42, Tenn, 2:00 left. Matee Ajavon hits a three, but Tennessee’s offensive rebounds continue to kill Rutgers.

10:37 pm: 56-44, Tenn, 1:08 left. Wow. I just heard that the Russian Women’s Professional league is willing to play players like Parker over a million dollars per year. Meanwhile, as of 2004 the maximum salary of a WNBA player is $90,000. This has to change. Players like Lisa Leslie, Ivory Latta, Diana Taurasi and Candace Parker are worth a lot more than $90,000. I don’t care what you think about women’s basketball, these girls are that talented.

10:43 pm: 59-46, Tennessee, Final. The Lady Vols win their 7th Women’s National Championship, and their first since 1998. Even though Rutgers slowed the game down, the Lady Vols dominated this game from start to finish, not allowing the Scarlet Knights to get comfortable at all. In particular, Tennessee dominate the boards, which is why I think Anosikie should be the Final Four MOP. Congratulations to Tennessee for winning the National Championship, but I can’t but wonder what could have been, if UNC had managed to hold on to their lead in the end on Sunday night.

Posted in #1, Basketball, Big East, Bracket, Championship, College Basketball, Digital Headbutt, Final Four, Live Blog, NCAA Tournament, Pat Summitt, Rutgers, SEC, Tennessee Volunteers, women's basketball | 4 Comments »

Ohio State vs. Florida Live Blog: 2007 NCAA Final Four

Posted by Mike on April 2, 2007

Tonight Ohio State plays Florida for the National Championship in basketball. If Ohio State wins, I will have lost my bracket pool to a bracket determined by coin flips and picked Davidson to face the Buckeyes tonight. At least I will be in the company of three friends:

Hurricanes Are For Drinking

Run Up The Score

The Sports Flow

8:39 pm: Watching the ESPN preview. If Bruce Pearl were a broadcaster, he would be the heir apparent to Dick Vitale. He has the energy, and he really knows his basketball. You probably knew that; the Vols would be in big trouble if he didn’t.

9:00 pm: Everyone is picking Florida to win. Under normal circumstances I would consider that a clear sign that the Buckeyes will win tonight. But Florida is such a good team, and this tournament has been so chalky, I don’t know what to think.

9:15 pm: Ladies And Gentlemen, Jim Nantz and Billy Packer!

9:23 pm: The game begins! Florida wins the tip, but misses their first shot. OSU fares no better.

9:24 pm: 3-2, Florida. A bad inbound pass is stolen by Mike Conley, who gets the easy layup. Florida runs the break and Brewer hits a quick three.

9:25 pm: 5-3, OSU. Great passing leads to an open three by Ivan Harris.

9:27 pm: 5-5. Noah steals a pass in the halfcourt, and Humphrey gets the easy layup on the break.

Considering the strength in the middle, I’m surprised that both teams are settling for outside shots so far.

9:28 pm: 7-5, OSU. Conley drives to the right and gets another layup to give the lead to the Buckeyes.

9:28 pm: 9-5, OSU. We finally have our first true points in the paint, as Oden hits a shot with his left hand.

9:29 pm: 9-7, OSU. Taurean Green drives in for a tough basket in the lane. The Gators did a good job of creating space for him.

As we hit the first official timeout, Florida is using their bench early, much more so than the Buckeyes.

9:33 pm: 9-9. Walter Hodge ties the game with another inside drive. I didn’t expect to see so much inside play by the guards against some of the best big men in America.

9:36 pm: 11-11. Florida is doing a good job of pressuring Conley. He’s being forced to make bad passes, and he almost threw one away there.

9:37 pm: Considering how tight the refs are calling this game, you think that Oden would have been called for a foul for elbowing Corey Brewer in the ribcage.

9:39 pm: 14-11, Florida. Green give Florida the lead on free throws. Jamar Butler comes in for Conley, who has two fouls.

9:40 pm: 17-11, Florida. Hodge steals the ball from Butler and gets three the hard way. Conley is being missed already. Florida has been very opportunistic, getting 10 of their 17 points off OSU turnovers.

9:42 pm: 17-13, Florida. Official timeout.

9:46 pm: 20-15, Florida. Brewer hits another three on the fast break.

Greg Oden has played for 10 straight minutes, but he’s been putting in a lot of effort. He needs a breather.

9:47 pm: 21-15, Florida. Conley is back in the game despite foul trouble. Ohio State needs the ball handling.

9:49 pm: So far it’s clear that Florida is the deeper team. I think they can take the approach UNC normally takes in their games, dictating a faster tempo until they run Ohio State ragged. It’s foolproof, because unlike the Tar Heels, I don’t see a mental collapse from these Gators.

Official Timeout. 7:59 left, first half.

9:53 pm: 23-17, Florida. Horford get his first basket, a bank shot from the left side. Conley drives in for a layup on the next possession.

A lot more points are coming from the guards today than one would expect.

9:54 pm: 23-19, Florida. A great pass by Conley, and Mark Terwilliger gets the emphatic dunk! The Buckeyes are a completely different team with Conley at point instead of Butler.

Florida is starting to miss free throws. This could become trouble later, as the game winds down and their legs get tired.

9:56 pm: 27-22, Florida. Ivan Harris hits a three to bring the lead to two, but Lee Humphrey responds immediately.

9:57 pm: 30-22, Florida. What a sweet shot by Brewer. He hasn’t missed one yet from three.

9:58 pm: 33-22, Florida. Taurean Green hits another three for the Gators, as they take the game’s first double digit lead. Florida has been on fire from the bonusphere. Their effectiveness is sort of sneaky, in that so much emphasis is put in Florida’s frontcourt, but games like this they kill you from the perimeter. Although Lee Humphrey shooting lights out should not surprise anyone.

10:03 pm: 35-24, Florida. Brewer swipes Conley clean, breaks away and delivers the windmill jam. Brewer has 11 points. Not that it matters now, but it would have been a lot of fun to see Brewer vs. Kevin Durant in a college game.

10:07 pm: 37-26, Florida. Oden has scored the last two baskets for Ohio State, but he’s looking very tired. He didn’t even challenge Horford’s jumpshot.

10:08 pm: 40-27, Florida. Green hits another three. The Gators are 6 of 8 for beyond the arc, and have made their last 5.

10:09 pm: The first half ends, and Florida leads, 40-29 at halftime. Florida dominated the pace of the game in the first half, and in particular did a great job taking Oden and Conley out of their comfort zone. To comeback in this game Ohio State will need to clamp down on perimeter defense, win the rebounding battle, and attack inside against Florida’s frontcourt, who already have two players with two fouls each.

10:31 pm: 40-31, Florida. As the second half begins, Oden gets position inside and gets an easy shot off the glass. He’s scored the last 9 points for the Buckeyes.

10:32 pm: 42-35, Florida. Conley steals from Green and makes a great pass to Ron Lewis, who posterizes Corey Brewer.

10:33 pm: 42-36, Florida. As I suggested, Ohio State is attacking the inside, and Noah picks up his third foul.

10:34 pm: 44-36, Florida. Chris Richard gets an easy dunk, a putback of a miss by Brewer.

This has nothing to do with the game, but I saw an ad for CBS featuring CSI: Miami, and I just couldn’t resist showing you the best CSI spoof ever.

10:36 pm: 49-38, Florida. Lee Humphrey cannot be stopped.

10:46 pm: 51-42, Florida. Conley brings the Buckeyes within five, as Ohio State finally gets to the free throw line. But Florida gets an easy shot inside on the next possession.

10:47 pm: 51-44, Florida. Ohio State continues to score in the paint, where they have 32 of their 44 points.

10:50 pm: 53-44, Florida. With 12 minutes left, Florida’s frontcourt is in deep foul trouble now. Let’s see if Ohio State can use that to take the lead back.

Official timeout.

10:53 pm: 53-46, Florida. Conley hits the tough revers layup, as Ohio State tries to attack the foul troubled frontcourt of the Gators.

10:54 pm: 56-46, Florida. On the very next possession, Lee Humphrey fakes out Jamar Butler and hits another three to give Florida a double digit lead.

10:57 pm: 58-47, Florida. In spite of the foul trouble, Florida is running Oden ragged. He can’t outfight the Gators for a rebound anymore, and Horford is able to slam it on the other end uncontested.

10:59 pm: 61-50, Florida. Noah picks up his fourth foul but Oden is absolutely exhausted now. Before the commercial break, I think I heard Jim Nantz say “The F—eyes!”

8:23 left.

11:01 pm: 64-52, Florida. A great initial block by Oden, but how can anyone leave Humphrey so wide open?

11:04 pm: 64-56, Florida. Ohio State scores two straight baskets, and is starting to run a press against the Gators. With Florida’s good passing, this could backfire.

6:14 left.

11:11 pm: 66-60, Florida, 5:00 left. You have to commend Greg Oden, He’s had to play three different Florida players for 33 minutes and is still producing a solid performance.

11:12 pm: 69-62, Florida, 4:30 left. Just as Oden cuts the lead to 6, Taurean Green hits a three at the top of the key.

11:13 pm: 73-62, Florida, 3:25 left. Florida is beginning to kill time. Richard and Horford both hit shots inside, and Florida regains a double digit lead.

11:14 pm: With two and a half minutes to go, the Gators up 11, and Ohio State running on fumes, this game looks pretty much over.

11:17 pm: So that’s why Ohio State is losing. Jim Tressel isn’t wearing the sweater vest.

11:19 pm: 75-63, Florida, 2:15 left. As Florida is closing in on being at the pinnacle of college basketball, I begin to wonder: whatever happened to Teddy Dupay, one of the players that first put Billy Donovan’s team on the map? He was their star point guard when they shocked Duke in 200 en route to the 2000 NCAA Tournament finals before losing to Michigan State. Yet I have not heard from him since.

11:22 pm: Damn. If you thought Joakim Noah was ugly, you should take a look at Yannick. Nnnyyyagghhh…

11:29 pm: It’s official: Florida wins, 84-75, and captures their 2nd consecutive national championship. Congratulations to the Gators, who executed a near perfect gameplan, giving Oden and Conley fits all night, shooting lights out from three, and silencing all the critics (myself included; I had them losing to Maryland in my bracket). Most importantly, with Ohio State’s loss I am spared the embarrassment of losing a bracket challenge to a penny. Corey Brewer is the Most Outstanding Player, which he deserves. His overall play was insane tonight.

I’ll be liveblogging the Women’s National Championship tomorrow night, but now I’m going to bed.

Posted in #1, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Basketball, Big Ten, Billy Packer, Bracket, College Basketball, Digital Headbutt, Final Four, Florida Gators, Live Blog, NCAA Tournament, Ohio State, SEC | 12 Comments »

LSU vs. Rutgers Live Blog: NCAA Women’s Final Four

Posted by Mike on April 1, 2007

Tonight LSU plays Rutgers in the first game of the 2007 NCAA Women’s Final Four for the right to go to the National Championship game. The Tigers are looking to dominate the paint on the back of Sylvia Fowles. The Scarlet Knights hope to stop LSU with their stifling defense.

lsu_fowles.jpgrutgers_women.jpg

6:33 pm: Wow. I’m shocked that Stacey Dales even knows what chopped & screwed hip hop is. She just used it to describe this matchup. These ESPN gimmicks piss me off.

6:37 pm: If you know you to rearrange the word “LOHIDAY”, you can win $15,000. Wow, that’s a tough one. If that’s not a scam, I don’t know what is.

6:42 pm: This is LSU’s fourth consecutive trip to the final four. They are building a dynasty in Baton Rouge. It’s too bad that the team’s architect won’t be coaching them anymore. As serious as the allegations are against Pokey Chatman, I was really looking forward to seeing her coach the Tigers for the next 20 years.

7:02 pm: Tonight’s announcing crew: Mike Patrick, Doris Burke, Mark Jones, and Holly Rowe. The lack of Erin Andrews is thoroughly disappointing. Still, it beats Jim Nantz and Billy Packer.

7:06 pm: C. Vivian Stringer’s motto: Feed yourself first. Now that’s a coach I can get behind.

7:07 pm: 3-0, Rutgers. Tamee Ajavon (#22) hits a three to open the game and give Rutgers the early lead.

In a game where 60 points will give you the win, LSU cannot afford to miss their free throws.

7:09 pm: 6-0, Rutgers. On the next possession, Epiphanny Prince gets three the hard way.

7:10 pm: 6-2, Rutgers. Fowles gets the ball inside and gets the easy layup. LSU seems to be trying to dictate a faster pace, which is uncharacteristic of them. Maybe they want to throw the Scarlet Knights off guard.

7:12 pm: The Tigers have given Rutgers quite a few early opportunities. If they don’t convert them, it could haunt them later.

Just as I say that, Heather Zurich hits a three. 9-2, Rutgers.

7:13 pm: 12-2, Rutgers. Essence Carson hits another three for the Scarlet Knights. As we hit the first official timeout, Rutgers is baffling LSU so far. Their defense leads to bad shots or turnovers, which in turn leads to opportunities on offense. LSU’s guards aren’t coming up to defend the three.

7:17 pm: LSU finally contests a three attempt, and Rutgers misses badly. Erika White gets a nice reverse layup on the next possession. 12-4, Rutgers.

7:19 pm: The Scarlet Knights have not allowed a single easy shot since Fowles’ first basket. Even when White was on a Tigers fast break, Rutgers caught up and stopped her from getting the layup. Ajavon hits the three on the next possession. 15-4, Rutgers.

7:21 pm: 18-6, Rutgers. Ajavon is on fire, as she hits another three.

Official timeout, 11:16 left. LSU’s three baskets have all been inside attacks. The guards need drive the ball inside more if LSU wants good scoring opportunities.

7:24 pm: The need to attack the inside increases for LSU, as Rutgers center Kia Vaughn is on the bench with 2 fouls.

7:25 pm: 18-9, Rutgers. LSU finally gets an outside shot, from White.

7:26 pm: 20-9, Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are running a clinic on how to stop the fast break.

7:28 pm: 23-13, Rutgers. If LSU is going to come back, it looks like it’s going to be on the shoulders of Sylvia Fowles’ defense and Erika White’s offense. However, it means nothing if the Tigers can’t defend the three.

Official timeout.

7:34 pm: 25-15, Rutgers. 5’3″ Erika White is taking over for the Tigers. My mom would be proud.

7:36 pm: 27-16, Rutgers. LSU continues to struggle from the free throw line. Every point is magnified in a defensive game like this; the Tigers have to make those.

7:37 pm: What a block by Sylvia Fowles! Rutgers attempts a seemingly easy layup off a great pass, but Fowles comes out of nowhere to swipe the shot off the backboard.

7:39 pm: Official timeout.

7:42 pm: 29-16, Rutgers. LSU puts defensive pressure on Ajavon, but she creates space with a devastating crossover, and hits the fadeaway jumper. She has 11 in the first half.

7:42 pm: 31-16, Rutgers. The Tigers can’t control the defensive rebound, and Carson makes them pay.

7:44 pm: 37-16, Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are shooting lights out, and they’re bullying LSU on defense. As Just Call Me Juice would put it, Rutgers is playing like a team of density…err, destiny.

7:48 pm: As the first half ends, Rutgers leads, 37-19 at halftime. The Scarlet Knights are shooting very well from outside (8-11 from the bonusphere), but more importantly they’ve rendered Sylvia Fowles a non-factor, even though Kia Vaughn has spent most of the game on the bench. If LSU wants to come back, they must put pressure on Rutgers’ guards, do a better job of passing the ball and penetrating the defense. Even if they don’t shoot the ball well, they stand a chance of coming back if they can dominate the boards and not commit turnovers.

8:06 pm: 37-21, Rutgers. The second half starts, and Sylvia Fowles finally gets a good look and scores.

Erika White tries to score on the fast break, but 3 Rutgers players close in on her as she tries to make a layup. It’s nearly impossible to run a fast break on the Scarlet Knights.

8:09 pm: 37-21, Rutgers. RaShonta LeBlanc hits a three for the Tigers, only their second of the game.

8:13 pm: 39-24, Rutgers. Kia Vaughn gets the offensive rebound against three LSU players, scores the putback and draws the foul.

Official timeout.

8:17 pm: Vaughn picks up her third foul. LSU needs to drive the lane.

Quianna Chaney hits a three for the Tigers. 39-27, Rutgers.

8:20 pm: Vaughn gets another offensive rebound.

Essence Carson looks like she’s hurt pretty bad.

8:22 pm: I can already tell that LSU is unlikely to come back from this one. Rutgers continues to dominate the boards, and that keeps you ahead even when the shots aren’t falling.

8:25 pm: 41-28, Rutgers. With 10:42 left in the game, Rutgers’ shooting has gone cold, but LSU hasn’t been able to take advantage of their good defense; they’ve been taking very bad shots in the second half.

8:28 pm: 43-28, Rutgers. Vaughn hits a tough shot inside, stretching the lead back to 15.

More than midway through the first half, neither team has scored in double digits.

8:32 pm: 45-28, Rutgers. 7:24 left.

If you look at the scoreboard, this may be one of the ugliest games I’ve seen in a while. But Rutgers has played great basketball in this game, preventing LSU from being effective at all.

8:36 pm: 50-28, Rutgers. More great passing by Rutgers, Brittany Ray hits an open three, and rutgers has taken their lead above 20 with less than seven minutes left.

8:37 pm: 50-31, Rutgers. LSU finally breaks their scoring drought, but it seems far too little, far too late at this point.

8:39 pm: 52-33, Rutgers, 4:56 left. The Scarlet Knights will know Tuesday if they have the best team in the nation. There is no doubt, however, that their players have the best names:

  • Kia Vaughn
  • Epiphanny Price
  • Essence Carson
  • Dee Dee Jernigan
  • Matee Ajavon
  • Rashidat Junaid
  • Myia McCurdy

How can anyone compete with that? I challenge you to find a team with a better collection of player names.

8:47 pm: 56-35, Rutgers, 1:58 left. I didn’t think it was possible to render Sylvia Fowles useless, but Rutgers has done exactly that. Candace Parker, Erlana Larkins, and/or Camille Little will have a very hard time with this team.

8:52 pm: The game ends. Rutgers wins, 59-35 in an absolutely dominating performance. I cannot believe that such a good team could be bullied so badly with so much at stake.Rutgers will go to the National Championship game against the winner of Tennessee vs. North Carolina, which promises to be a much faster game. I’ll be liveblogging it at Tar Heel Mania.

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