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Archive for the ‘NCAA Tournament’ Category

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.

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

Who’s the REAL Carolina?

Posted by Mike on June 8, 2007

This weekend’s Super Regional is very confusing, because pits Carolina against…Carolina. The NCAA Baseball Tournament is in its final weekend before Omaha and the College World Series, and the Tar Heels are looking to achieve two consecutive CWS appearances for the first time in school history. Standing in their way is the University of South Carolina. This is going to be fun.

Action starts tonight at Boshamer Stadium, where this time I have the cheap seats! (And by cheap seats, I mean “general admission grass hill”.) I’ll provide recaps of the games on Tar Heel Mania. For a preview of the series, go to the ultimate authority, College Baseball Blog.

Best of luck to the Tar Heels. You know we’re to try making fun of the other team’s nickname.

Posted in #1, ACC, Baseball, Carolina, Championship, Digital Headbutt, NCAA Tournament, North Carolina, Shameless Self Promotion, Tar Heel Mania, Tar Heels, UNC, Way More Tags Than This Post Merits, yes this is a slow news day. how can you tell? | 4 Comments »

The Gods Are Not Pleased With Aluminum Bats

Posted by Mike on June 2, 2007

Today starts Day 2 of the NCAA Baseball regionals throughout the country, including in Chapel Hill. Go to Tar Heel Mania for a recap of Day 1 action.

Yesterday was bleeping hot. 90 degrees, 90% humidity. Add Aluminum bench seating and…well, it ain’t too comfortable. Apparently it will be cooler today, but because tropical Storm Barry is blowing, in, we could get a lot of rain over the weekend, possibly delaying several of the scheduled games. Any regionals near the southeast Atlantic coast are likely in the same situation.  I just hope that they’ll be able to finish the regional before the end of the weekend, because I may not be able to watch a baseball tournament that seeps into Monday and Tuesday. We need the rain down here, but Let’s hope that weather cooperates for just a little longer.

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Today’s games should be interesting. Jacksonville plays Western Carolina in the regional’s first elimination games, and UNC freshman pitcher Alex White will be facing his hometown team in East Carolina. Let’s hope he can get it done and bring the Heels to 2-0.

Posted in ACC, Baseball, Carolina, Digital Headbutt, NCAA Tournament, Shameless Self Promotion, Tar Heels, UNC | Leave a Comment »

Play Ball!

Posted by Mike on June 1, 2007

The NCAA Baseball Tournament starts today, and I will be at Boshamer Stadium this weekend to catch all of the action. I made a preview regarding my beloved UNC on Tar Heel Mania, and I’ll be providing recaps of the days action over there, so tune in if you’re interested. The MLB doesn’t get interesting until after the All-Star Break, so this tournament will be a lot of fun. If you’re lucky enough to go the the Myrtle Beach, SC regional, this weekend ought to be heaven on earth.

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For thorough previews of the NCAA Baseball Tournament, see College Baseball Blog and my good friend Extra P.

Posted in #1, ACC, Baseball, Digital Headbutt, NCAA Tournament, Shameless Self Promotion | 3 Comments »

Stuff That Involves Things…Roy’s a Hall of Famer

Posted by Mike on April 5, 2007

Stuff That Involves Things provides links, pictures, and videos about some of the stories that are on my mind but I am too lazy to write about right now.

  • Roy Williams has been voted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame. Congratulations to Roy, who has the highest winning percentage of any active coach. In spite of the Georgetown loss, this team will contend again in 2008 (barring an exodus).

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  • Football Spring Practice is April 14th, and I’m very excitied about it, perhaps more than I should be. New coach Butch Davis should make a speedy recovery from the cancer in his mouth. According to Johnathan Tu of 82 Sluggo Win, however, coach Davis has a much more serious ailment on the horizon.

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  • The Carolina Hurricanes have been eliminated from playoff contention, and thus cannot defend their Stanley Cup title. I knew that losing Doug Weight, Mark Recchi, Matt Cullen and Aaron Ward was going to affect the team, but I didn’t think that they were going to fall this far. At least we still have you, Stormy.

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  • The WNBA Draft was held the day after the National Championship (which makes no sense; there should be 2 weeks difference). Duke’s Lindsey Harding was the first overall pick by the Phoenix Mercury, but was Traded to the Minnesota Lynx, and Alison Bales was selected 9th by the Indiana Fever. Now I know who to root against. UNC’s Ivory Latta was selected 11th by the defending champion Detroit Shock (YEEEAAHH!!!), and Camille Little was picked in the second round by the San Antonio Silver Stars. Now I know who to root for. Other notable draftees from the ACC include Maryland’s Shay Doron (New York) and NC State’s Ashley Key (Indiana). I would also like to point out that the WNBA President (below, with Latta) has the weirdest accent ever.

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  • The 2007 Masters begins today. I know this because the azaleas are blooming in by backyard. If I were to ever live blog a golf tournament, I would cover it IN ALL CAPS AND WITH THREE EXCLAMATION POINTS TO END EVERY SENTENCE!!! MAYBE I CAN MAKE PHIL MICKELSON MISS A PUTT OR TWO THIS WAY!!! THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!!!

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Posted in ACC, College Basketball, Digital Headbutt, Funny Videos, NCAA, NCAA Tournament, NHL, North Carolina, Roy Williams, Stuff That Involves Things, Tar Heels, women's basketball | 2 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 »