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Archive for the ‘College Basketball’ Category

Brandon Jennings: Hero of the McDonalds All-American Game

Posted by Mike on March 27, 2008

Not because of his performance (which was impressive in itself), but because of this:

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┬áThat’s right, one future college point guard is determined to bring back the high fade. Brandon Jennings, a 6-2 point guard who will play for Arizona next season, showed up to the McDonald’s all American game with the eraser hair you see in the picture above. This phenomenon was remarkable in that it is the first time I actually remember something that happened at a McDonald’s All-American game. Sure, he’s phenomenal player. Sure, he’s a youtube idol from the powerhouse Oak Hill Academy. Sure, he had 12 points, nine assists, and could have had more if the rest of his team were paying attention. But who cares! He’s bringing back the hi-top! If he keeps this look and if someone can talk Jerryd Bayless to stay in Tuscon a little longer, the Wildcats will be one of my favorite teams to watch next season.

Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Bad Sports Fashion, Brandon Jennings, College Basketball | 9 Comments »

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

Posted by Mike on March 19, 2008

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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 »

Thank God The Teddy Bear Caught On

Posted by Mike on February 29, 2008

Or else this picture would haunt our daily nightmares.

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According to The Saint Louis Athletics website, the Billiken was a lucky charm that had a huge following in the early 20th century. The doll was named after William Howard Taft, the new U.S. President. The first manufacturer of the dolls, Horsman Dolls Inc., produced them as a sort of sequel to their original hit presidential toy, the Teddy Bear. The mere thought of a Build-A Billiken Workshop feels like something akin to birthing the undead.

However, that isn’t why I posted this picture. I also didn’t intend to target Rick Majerus for two posts in a row. But I simply cannot stop laughing at this picture, and what’s could be about to happen. They both have that evil grin on their face. Either Majerus or the mythical creature to your right is about to be eaten…and frankly, I’m not sure which.

Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, College Basketball, Rick Majerus, WTF | Leave a Comment »

Has Wilford Brimley Joined The Witness Protection Program?

Posted by Mike on February 28, 2008

Or has Dieter just really, really let himself go? YOU DECIDE!

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Whomever he is, he happens to be coaching the Saint Louis Billikens basketball team tonight.

Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Atlantic 10, Bad Sports Fashion, College Basketball, Rick Majerus | Leave a Comment »

#2 Tennessee vs. #1 Memphis Live Blog: Battle for the Parallelogram

Posted by Mike on February 23, 2008

This game has been hyped up all week, especially after Duke’s losses. As of this point in the the season, the Tigers and Vols have proven themselves to be the two best teams in the country. Tonight is the start of what could be a great in-state rivalry. Both teams are led by coaches with huge egos. Everyone has called this the game of the year.

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By definition, this game stands a 70-80% chance of being a disappointing blowout. I like those odds. Let’s watch.

9:05 pm: Tennessee has so many Smiths on the roster, Dan Schulman can’t tell them apart.

9:06 pm: 4-0, UT. JaJuan Smith hits the open three in the corner after the Vols outhustled Memphis on at least three loose balls. Calipari sees their flat play and calls a timeout 35 seconds into the game.

9:08 pm: 7-6, UT. Unless something changes soon, this game could become a shooting contest. JaJuan and Derrick Rose have hit two each.

9:09 pm: 9-9. Antonio Anderson with another 3! This game has been insanely fast for the first two minutes.

9:10 pm: 11-9, UT. Ramar Smith is getting some easy shots inside.

9:12 pm: For the first two minutes, the Tigers couldn’t miss. Right now, they’ve missed their last 4 or 5 shots.

9:14 pm: 14-11, Memphis. Chris Douglas-Roberts gets his first shot of the game, and he hits a three.

17-11, Memphis. Antonio Anderson hits another one!

9:15 pm: 17-14, Memphis. And then JaJuan Smith hits another one!

9:16 pm: 20-14, Memphis. Is anyone going to hit a two point shot tonight?

9:17 pm: 20-17, Memphis. Duke Crews gets the basket and the foul.

9:20 pm: In terms of fashion disasters, I think we’ll settle for Bruce Pearl’s bright orange suspenders.

9:21 pm: 21-17, Memphis. Unbelievable. The threes won’t stop falling, yet neither of these teams can buy a layup right now. They’re like the Tar Heels of the evil parallel universe.

9:25 pm: 23-17, Memphis. Jeff Robinson hits a floater in the lane.

9:27 pm: 23-21, Memphis. Too many Smiths! My brain can’t take it! It’s like I’m watching the black Matrix, and the Vols are the agents. Bright orange, horrifically dressed, headbanded agents.

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9:29 pm: 29-24, Memphis. And it continues to rain threes for the Tigers. Eight three pointers and one two pointer so far.

9:37 pm: Speaking of Tennessee fashion disasters: Peyton Manning’s orange plaid shirt….(shivers)

9:39 pm: 31-24, Memphis. Derrick Rose drives inside for a layup after Memphis gets a few big offensive rebounds.

9:40 pm: 31-26, Memphis. Chris Lofton has yet to score a point in this game, and we’re near halftime.

9:46 pm: 33-26, Memphis. The following demonstrates the the shooting of both teams so far in this game…

The first ten minutes:

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And the second ten minutes:

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9:50 pm: 35-32, Memphis. Tennessee gets back within a possession thanks in part to their free throw shooting.

9:52 pm: And we hit halftime. Memphis leads, 35-34 in a slightly sloppy but otherwise exciting game. To win, the Tigers need to either get the threes falling again or start driving at the Vols’ small interior defense. The Vols, meanwhile, must get Chris Lofton involved in their offense and cut down on turnovers.

10:11 pm: 36-35, UT. Tennessee takes the lead, as Memphis’ threes have gone completely cold.

10:12 pm: 37-36, Memphis. Dozier finally gets a chance inside, and it pays off.

10:13 pm: 39-37, UT. Wayne Chism hits a three to give the lead back to the Vols.

10:17 pm: Track meet, or Yackety Sax? You decide.

10:18 pm: A huge injury for the Vols as one of UT’s few big men, Wayne Chism, lands awkwardly on his ankle.

10:20 pm: 39-39. It seems that Memphis only player scoring in the paint is their point guard, Derrick Rose. He drives in for a tough layup over two outstreched defenders’ arms.

10:25 pm: 45-39, UT. J.P. Prince, the only Vol without a headband right now, in almost single-handedly taking over this game.

10:27 pm: 45-41, UT. Douglas-Roberts gets a huge momentum-stopping basket. Like Lofton, we haven’t heard as much from CDR as Memphis needs.

10:28 pm: 45-43, UT. …until now. Roberts with another huge basket, and it’s a one-possession game again.

47-43, UT. Chris Lofton finally gets his first basket of the night.

10:32 pm: 50-43, UT. It;s a bit jarring when your opponent’s center starts draining threes.

The Vols seem to be playing smarter basketball in the second half when J.P. Prince is on the floor.

10:37 pm: 50-47, UT. Now that Chism is hobbling a bit and the threes aren’t falling, Memphis is attacking the paint with a bit more impetus. Right now, that’s what’s keeping them in the game.

10:40 pm: Joey Dorsey picks up his fourth foul. Worse for him, he is simultaneously balding and trying to get away with cornrows.

10:42 pm: 53-47, UT. Prince with another key basket in transition. Memphis is forced to take another timeout, and they now have only one left for the remainder of the game.

10:45 pm: 53-49, UT. Under 8 minutes left in the second half. On ESPN2: guys impaling the faces of fish. Juuuuuuuust thought you should know.

10:49 pm: In 12 minutes, the Tigers have scored 14 points. They have yet to hit a three in the second half.

54-51, UT, 7:23 left. If Memphis wins this game, it will be on the shoulders of Derrick Rose.

10:50 pm: 56-53, 6:38 left. Suddenly these two teams are exchanging drives inside. It’s the exact opposite of the first half.

10:51 pm: 58-55, 5:38 left. Just as Dozier brings Memphis to within one, J.P. Prince makes another huge play in transition.

10:52 pm: 58-57, 4:59 left. Derick Rose is exhausted, but he simply will not let his team lose.

10:54 pm: 4:12 left. Andre Allen goes to the line with a chance to tie.

…Naturally, he misses them both. Such is the dilemma with Memphis.

10:58 pm: 59-58, Memphis, 3:20 left. Memphis takes the lead thanks to a baseline shot by, who else, Derrick Rose. He now has 22.

11:00 pm: 2:55 left. The charity stripe continues to fail the Tigers.

11:02 pm: 61-58, 2:19 left. Derrick Rose with the perfectly run fast break, and CDR with the finish…but he gets hurt on the play. Not good for the Tigers.

11;03 pm: 61-60, 1:57 left. Agent Tyler with the basket inside, and Tennessee makes it a one point game again.

1:10 left. What a play by Rose to keep the ball in Memphis’s hands with one minute to go.

:41.5 left. Great passing, but Memphis can;t convert, as they miss an easy look. Tennessee ball.

26.5 left. Tennessee with the basket to take the lead back! It’s agent Tyler with another huge basket.

:8.8 left. Memphis can’t get a good shot, and are forced to foul J.P. Prince.

What a game this has been. Certainly a game that lived up to its in-state #1 vs. #2 hype.

:2.9 left, 64-61, UT. Tennessee makes the smart play and fouls Rose before he can make a shot. He makes the first and intentionally makes the second, but Memphis can’t get the offensive rebound, and are forced to foul Chris Lofton.

11:13 pm: Lofton hits his free throws, and the game is over. Tennessee wins, 66-62, and will be #1 in the country for the first time in school history. Memphis played as hard a game as they could, and Derrick Rose had a performance for the ages. But three aspect of the game faile3d the Tigers tonight. The Vols got more offensive rebounds, Memphis couldn’t hit a three pointer in the second half, and they were 8-17 from the free throw line.

Overall, it was an unbelievably exciting game that lives up to the hype.

 

Posted in College Basketball, Conference USA, Live Blog, Memphis, SEC, Tennessee Volunteers | 5 Comments »

Brandan Wright All-Stars: ACC

Posted by Mike on January 11, 2008

This was originally posted on Storming The Floor.

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Brandan Wright was a great player in his short time at Carolina. As half of one of the best 1-2 frontcourt punches in the nation, he led the ACC in field goal percentage, and was a big lift to a 12-deep UNC team which, when mentally in the game, could not be stopped.

However, Brandan had a weakness. Oh, did he have a weakness. His free throw shooting was terrible. The shooting motion was almost painful to watch, and Heels fans could hear the clang of the ball bouncing off the rim from the moment Wright drew a foul. It was especially painful when compared to Tyler Hansbrough, about an 80% free throw shooter. As great and talented a player as Brandan was, the one aspect of his Carolina career which I will always remember is OH MY GOD HE’S SHOOTING FREE THROWS RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!

So this is dedicated to the players who only shoot the ball smooth as silk when there’s a hand in their face. The great shooters of each conference who can’t hit a free throw to save their souls. These…are the Brandan Wright All-Stars of the ACC.

Center: Ryan Pettinella, Virginia. The 6-9 senior transfer from Penn has rapidly regressed in his free throw abilities during his college career. As a freshman, he shot 63.1 percent from the free throw line. Since then, the percentage has come down to 42%, to 24%, to an unbelievable 10% this season.

Read that again. Ten percent from the free throw line. Dave Leitao would get a better free throw percentage from a parapalegic with Tourettes in the student section. All of this despite shooting nearly 54% from the field.

Forward: Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech.
The local freshman phenom from College Park is second in the ACC in field goal percentage (66.1), but is only 20 of 38 from the charity stripe, less than 53 percent.

Forward: Dwayne Collins, Miami(FL). The Hurricanes’ sixth man has been a valuable part of their 13-1 start, shooting 59.1% off the bench. However, with a 46.3 shooting percentage from the stripe. expect to see him on the bench in the final minutes.

Guard: Rakim Sanders, Boston College. The Eagles’ shooting guard, designated sharpshooter, and second leading scorer (behind the indispensable Tyrese Rice) is a paltry 36.4 percent from the line this season.

Guard
: Cliff Hammonds, Clemson. You know I had to put a Clemson player on this list. While he was not involved in the Tiger’s charity stripe breakdown against North Carolina, his free throw percentage is perhaps the worst among ACC starters (35%), despite being one of the conference’s best 3-point shooters, 46.3% from beyond the arc.

So the next time your team is playing from behind late in a game, these are the players you need to foul.

(Dis)honorable mention: Brian Zoubek (Duke), Deon Thompson (UNC), Ismael Smith (Wake), The entire Clemson squad, except Terrence Oglesby, in their game against North Carolina.

Posted in ACC, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Bad Free Throw Shooters, Boston College, Clemson, College Basketball, Georgia Tech, Miami, NCAA, Storming The Floor, Virginia, Way More Tags Than This Post Merits | 1 Comment »