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THE SPORTZ ASSASSIN



"Soaked in degrees of knowledge/polished by sun rays/carved by nine swordsmen/to a needle point of perfection/Its a blessing to deliver this lesson/ While travelin' the planet, extending development of the mind/never ending/We now send it long winded, des



Updated: 2018-04-26T05:37:42.874-04:00

 



Someone Got A Hold Of Malik Newman's Wikipedia Page

2018-03-25T21:20:18.759-04:00

Kansas' Malik Newman scored 32 points against Duke in their 85-81 Elite Eight win. So obviously someone took to Newman's Wikipedia page and made a little update:

                  (image)


Nice.



Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - First Round, Day 2

2018-03-17T22:14:59.650-04:00

Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all four games going on at the same time.GAME OF THE DAY: Nevada vs Texas. We'll get to that other game in a moment. That Nevada-Texas game was just so good. Both had leads where they felt they had the win. Both made plays to get back in the game. Caleb Martin was huge in this one, the crowd was alive and we got a rather energetic Eric Musselman dropping f-bombs on live TV.UPSET OF THE DAY: UMBC vs Virginia. Uh, let's see, who could it be?CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: ACC. The ACC went 4-1 today, though everyone will remember that 1.  North Carolina and Clemson took care of business while Syracuse and Florida State pulled off upsets. Still ... what happened to Virginia?CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: ACC. I've never put the same conference as the good and bad on the same day. But Virginia? You won 20 ACC games this year. You went 17-1 during the regular season and coasted to the ACC tournament championship.  The No. 1 team in the country and the top overall seed in this tournament. And you become the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed? They ACC couldn't beat you but a team from the America Easat could?.  DUD OF THE DAY: Florida State vs Missouri. Neither team evoked confidence heading into this one, but Florida State jumped all over Missouri and made this a sorta blowout. Sure, Mizzou made a few comebacks to get this close, but the Seminoles made quick work of this up-and-down Tigers squad. Not the usual No. 8 vs No. 9 matchup.DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: UMBC. It wasn't just that they beat Virginia, they just blew them out. That Cavaliers defense is so, so good but the Retrievers put 53 points on them in the second half.UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: It finally happened. Every year, we heard that one day a No. 16 seed will beat a No. 1 seed. It was out there though no one believes it will happen in that year. There have been a few close calls but it never happened. Teams who earned No. 1 seeds found their main motivation was not being that first team to lose that game. Well, Virginia became that team and, as all before them have feared, will always be that team. This tournament will forever be known as the one where the No. 1 seed lost to the 16-seed.  Forever and always.[...]



Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - First Round, Day 1

2018-03-17T21:45:54.861-04:00

Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all four games going on at the same time.GAME OF THE DAY: Loyola Chicago vs Miami. There were a couple of a good candidates but none of the others had a shot like the one Donte Ingram hit. Down one, Ingram hit a three with 0.3 seconds remaining for the win. Not only did they get the win, but they also had Sister Jean ... their 98-year old chaplain ... give an outstanding interview postgame. Great story.UPSET OF THE DAY: Buffalo vs Arizona.  Arizona was a popular pick to go to the Final Four as many felt their seed was rather low for their talent. Well, Buffalo wasn't having any of it. The Bulls owned the Wildcats, stomping them 89-68. What was surprising was how Arizona kind of quit in the second half of this game. They showed no fight.  CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: SEC. The SEC won all four games today (Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida and Alabama). The conference seemingly got no respect from the selection committee with their seeding. The first three won games they were supposed to while Alabama pulled a mild upset over Virginia Tech.CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: Pac-12. The ACC lost three games today (NC State, Virginia Tech, Miami) and would normally occupy this space, but the Pac-12 wins this by watching Arizona eliminated. This is the first time in decades that one of the power conferences didn't place at least one team in the Round of 32. The Pac-12 finished this tournament 0-3.  DUD OF THE DAY: Tennessee vs Wright State. Wright State was looked at as a team that could give Tennessee some problems. They didn't .DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Buffalo vs Arizona. I mean, Buffalo looked like a title favorite with all the NBA prospects while Arizona looked like an overwhelmed mid-major.  Unbelievable.UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Fading stars. Deandre Ayton and Trae Young will be among the first people picked in June's NBA Draft. Both played alright (Young played better) in their first NCAA Tournament game but that experience was also a one-and-done.[...]



Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - First Four

2018-03-15T11:35:52.215-04:00

Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all four games going on at the same time.GAME OF THE DAY: Syracuse vs Arizona State. Two teams that many thought shouldn't even be in the tournament faced off in the best game of the First Four. I mean, it was the lone game that actually had a game winner attempt from Arizona State that was off the mark. The Orange, who are used to sneaking into the tournament and making a run, is set to face off against TCU next.UPSET OF THE DAY: St. Bonaventure vs UCLA. Upset is a bit strong, but not many people are familiar with St. Bonnie at all and they just ousted one of the NCAA Tournament blue bloods in impressive fashion. It was the Bonnies first tournament win in 48 wins. Courtney Stockard dumped 26 points on the Bruins.CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: SWAC. The SWAC beat fellow HBCU conference MEAC in an NCAA Tournament game. Texas Southern went out and played a daunting schedule (their first 13 games were on the road and against power conference teams). They went 0-13, but that experience against better talent allowed them to get back to the NCAA tournament and win a game.CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: Pac 12. Only three Pac-12 teams made the tournament. Two of them lost in the First Four. Now only Arizona remains in the field of 64.  DUD OF THE DAY: Texas Southern vs NC Central. Both schools returned to the tournament for a second straight year. In the battle of HBCU schools, Texas Southern owned this game for the final 30 minutes.DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Texas Southern. Once they jumped all over North Carolina Central, they coasted to an 18-point win.  They held NCCU to just 46 points.UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Uniqueness of the First Four. The First Four gets mocked as not really being part of the tournament, but it shouldn't. Since the First Four began in 2011, at least one team has advanced to the second round (round of 32, in you wish). If you didn't pay attention, UCLA and Syracuse were playing in it. The city of Dayton does a fantastic job of hosting the event no matter if it is four mid-majors you are unfamilar or two schools from the west coast the fans support the event every year. I know for a program like UCLA that has won 11 championships may be bummed to end up there, but it still is the tournament. It feels like the tournament and usually gives us good games.[...]



The Annoying Things That Bracket People Do ...

2018-03-15T09:21:14.344-04:00

It is bracket time again, so people all across our great land are taking pen or pencil to brackets at hoping for the best.  They reason, they debate, they flip a coin.  Most of all, they think they are correct.  They go to blogs and websites to get that last bit of info to make their selections.This isn't that post.This is for those people who collect the brackets.  Those people who tirelessly print the brackets, make copies, convince people to enter a sheet in, chase people down for their money and enter in all the results into some sort of program ... or do the scoring themselves.Here are the people you are likely to deal with this week and this is just to let you know, you're not alone.WHAT'S THIS?:  I love when you hand someone a bracket and they respond this way.  If you don't know by now, you never will.  THE "FLORDIA" PEOPLE:  I love when people cannot spell Florida.  It is sometimes "Floirda" or "Florda" but usually I see "Flordia".  First off, you should be able to spell every single state with the exception of Massachusetts and Connecticut with relative ease.  Plus, it is only printed in type in the line right next to your dumb spelling.  THE NUMBERS PEOPLE: I love those people that refuse to write the names of the teams in the lines but instead write their seedings.  So you  get those 1s and 5s and 12s all over the place so it is awesome when you get to enter that sheet into a database.  Plus I love when they have two #1s facing off in the Final Four and write "1" as the winner.  Thanks.I'LL GET THE MONEY TO YOU ... :  We all know this.  Those people who just never have the $5 or whatever to pay.  It is the Final Four and you are still telling me to wait until payday?  Great.  God forbid they actually have a shot to win because they'll just hang onto their money with the ol' "well, you'd be giving it back to me anyway" jive.  Oh, and those late payers are usually the ones who are up your butt when they do win and complainin when all the money hadn't been collected yet.  CAN YOU MAKE A COPY FOR ME:  No.  I can't.  If you can't rewrite your brackets on another sheet for yourself or find a copying machine to make your own, why must I do it for you?  Am I your mother?THE 2:00 SHEET:  You always have someone a couple hours after the first game started handing you a sheet.  "Well, I couldn't find you and I had the sheet done before the tournament started."  Yeah, but you will end up winning and telling everyone you turned your sheet in late.  Thanks for that.ABBREVS THAT D'T MAKE SENSE:  Like that.  I can get with the UKs, KUs, OSUs, UNCs and G'towns.  I can get with state abbreviations like NC, FL or IN.  But what is L'lle?  Or Mhst?  WHO'S WINNING?  It is Thursday night on the first night of the Dance and you are asking who is in first.  What does that matter now?  That's like on Opening Day figuring out all the playoff scenarios in the baseball postseason.  Too soon, bruh.THE CRITIC:  People who look at people's Final Four picks and immediately slam them.  Look, Wichita State got there a few years back so who knows what picks are smart or dumb.  MULTIPLE BRACKETS:  Now, I don't care about people turning in as many brackets as they want.  But if you filled out 10 and had on one of them Florida Gulf Coast beating Georgetown, don't go around claiming your superiority over everyone in the bracket pool.  PROMISE UNFULFILLED:  There is nothing better than the person who spends Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday telling you how deeply they've been working on their brackets, breaking down to you why they picked who they picked, feeding you what some website said ... and then doesn't turn in a sheet.  C'mon man!NON-BASKETBAL[...]



Sportz Assassin's West Region Preview

2018-03-14T12:20:48.561-04:00

TEAM TO BEAT: Xavier. The Musketeers reached the Elite 8 last year before losing to Gonzaga. This year, they will attempt to take that next step and reach their first Final Four. They have the studs to do so (Trevon Bluiett) and an offense that can pile points on anybody. TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE REGION: North Carolina. There are some great teams in this region but I think the North Carolina-Michigan winner in the Sweet 16 comes out of this region. UNC beat Michigan handily earlier this season. The Tar Heels have won 11 of their last 12 NCAA Tournament games (the one they lost was at the buzzer) and beat more Quadrant 1 teams than anyone in the field. They could also be upset early on but they have the pedigree and experience to get back to the Final Four. TEAM TO WATCH FOR (LESS THAN A NO. 3 SEED): Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are being overlooked in this region.  The defending runners-up lost a lot from last year's team but just retooled for another run. Killian Tillie, Johnathan Williams and Josh Perkins lead a pretty formidable offense that is 9th in scoring and 14th in rebounding.  YOUR CINDERELLA: Providence. The Friars played three overtime games in the Big East tournament, including a win against Xavier and a loss to Villanova in the title game. They did beat Villanova in February so while they aren't the best team in the tournament, they have the team that won't quit and be a thorn in the side in whomever they play..   WORST SEEDING ERROR: Missouri. The Tigers were a team that was on the secure side of the bubble before bringing Michael Porter, Jr. back after a season-long back injury. His return didn't go well as he was clearly rusty and disrupted the rotation. This isn't a horrible seeding error, but an 8-seed?.    HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Gonzaga. North Carolina has a great home court advantage in Charlotte the first two rounds but it ends there.  Gonzaga will play nearby in Boise before possibly heading to Los Angeles. MUST WATCH GAME: Texas A&M vs Providence. Two teams that don't always play up to potential will go at it in Charlotte on Friday. Coming into the tournament, A&M doesn't exude confidence while Providence made an inspired run in the Big East tournament. Neither team piles up the points so the game should be close throughout with the winner getting North Carolina.MUST WATCH (POTENTIAL) SECOND ROUND GAME: Gonzaga vs Ohio State.  Gonzaga hasn't played a tournament team since before Christmas which was exactly the same time Ohio State went on that 8 game winning streak (and 12 of 13) where they beat Michigan State and Purdue. These two could make a run deep into the tournament ... yet one's season will definitely end by this day..[...]



Sportz Assassin's Midwest Region Preview

2018-03-14T11:26:06.270-04:00

TEAM TO BEAT: Kansas. The Jayhawks are back on their perch. Ho-hum. However, this Kansas team isn't as talented as usual and suffered three home losses on the year. Still, they have national player of the year candidate Devonte Graham and former one-and-done prospect (and transfer) Malik Newman. TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE REGION: Duke. The Blue Devils are the most talented team in the nation. They aren't the best team, meaning the sum of its parts isn't greater than the individual parts. Their switch to the zone late in the year has been a boon for Duke and allows guys like Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter to stay out of foul trouble and rests them offensively. Grayson Allen is still around and his play ... and behavior ... will be key to how well Duke does.TEAM TO WATCH FOR (LESS THAN A NO. 3 SEED): Clemson. The Tigers have had their best season in quite some time. The injury to Donte Grantham has forced them to pivot to a more defensive minded team and a less efficient offensive one. If they can get by New Mexico State (a big if) then they could get hot and make an Elite 8 run.  YOUR CINDERELLA: New Mexico State. Now forget what I just said. Clemson is banged up and have lost 4 of 6 so they are ripe for an upset. New Mexico State is tournament tested and are one of the best rebounding teams in the nation. Wing player Jemeriro Jones is second nationally in rebounding and will attempt to pound the glass against Clemson. This is a good, hungry team.   WORST SEEDING ERROR: Oklahoma. I don't think Syracuse should even be in the tournament, but their spot in the First Four is appropriate. Oklahoma is another bubble team that many felt didn't play well enough down the stretch to deserve a bid. Not only did they get in, but they didn't even have to play in the First Four.    HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Kansas. First weekend in state in Wichita then the next week in Omaha? Huge home court advantage.MUST WATCH GAME: Seton Hall vs NC State. The Wolfpack are talented. They have great guards and a big man in Omer Yurtseven that's a load to deal with. Seton Hall also has a talented big man in Angel Delgado and good guards. This should be a great, great game.MUST WATCH (POTENTIAL) SECOND ROUND GAME: Duke vs Oklahoma.  Duke would most likely bury the Sooners if this happened. Still, Trae Young against all those NBA prospects at Duke? Young against Grayson Allen? Young against that make shift zone defense? This would have the star power that most second round games don't.[...]



Sportz Assassin's East Region Preview

2018-03-14T10:42:29.403-04:00

TEAM TO BEAT: Villanova. The Wildcats have had an outstanding run the last few seasons and are in line to win their second championship in three years. They have two national award winner candidates in Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges. They have coughed up a few games this year but this team has a deadly combination of experience and efficiency rarely seen in the one-and-done era. TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE REGION: Villanova. The East Region is seen as the weakest of the four which sets up nicely for the Wildcats. Not to say there aren't landmines, but they are clearly the best team in this corner of the bracket. Of course, they seemed that way a year ago and lost in the 2nd round.TEAM TO WATCH FOR (LESS THAN A NO. 3 SEED): West Virginia. If only the Mountaineers could close out games, they would be a top two seed in this tournament. They have a disturbing trend of blowing huge leads to good teams and that's not a cross you want to bear right now. However, they got those leads using their Press Virginia defense which is so difficult to prepare for, especially on that second game of the weekend. If they can clamp down on their choking ways, they could do some damage.  YOUR CINDERELLA: Alabama. Any time you come into the tournament with a guy like Collin Sexton, you are dangerous. This isn't a great Crimson Tide squad but Sexton is the real deal. If they can get past Virginia Tech, their matchup against Villanova should be fun to watch.   WORST SEEDING ERROR: Alabama. The seeding in the region is a bit off by design. Butler is a No. 10 so they can avoid fellow Big East member Villanova in the second round. That knocked Alabama up a line to No. 9 despite them losing 15 games this season -- most by an at-large selection in history.    HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Villanova. Texas Tech and Stephen F. Austin should have a nice fan base when the two face off in Dallas but 'Nova's itinerary of Pittsburgh and Boston should enable Wildcats fans to fill both arenas to watch their school attempt to get back to the Final Four. MUST WATCH GAME: Virginia Tech vs Alabama. Sexton is a must-watch talent. Virginia Tech has a lot of athletic wings and forwards to work on Sexton. The Hokies have beaten Virginia, North Carolina and Duke this year so they won't be in fear of Bama. Should be an exciting game..MUST WATCH (POTENTIAL) SECOND ROUND GAME: Wichita State vs West Virginia.  Wichita State has a lot of good guards (led by Landry Shamet) who can handle the ball and make plays. West Virginia loves to press opponents and force them into turnovers. To see both those teams strengths collide should be a treat. Add in the Mountaineers penchant for blowing leads and this game could come down to the wire. [...]



Sportz Assassin's South Region Preview

2018-03-14T10:12:31.276-04:00

TEAM TO BEAT: Virginia. The Cavaliers comfortably take their position as the No. 1 overall seed. Their patented pack-line defense is playing at its best right now while their offense is just so efficient. They lost two games all season long and Tony Bennett's team, while not pretty to watch, frustrates opponents into submission. Can the Wahoos finally break through to the Final Four? TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE REGION: Arizona. The Wildcats are extremely talented and have something that no other team in the nation has -- Deandre Ayton. Ayton is one of the best players in the country and a likely top five pick in this summer's NBA draft if he decides to become a one-and-done. He's not all they have as Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins are beasts as well. This isn't a very good defensive team, which would make for an interesting matchup with Virginia in the Sweet 16.TEAM TO WATCH FOR (LESS THAN A NO. 3 SEED): Arizona. It is almost unfair that Arizona is a No. 4 seed but when you go back and look at their season, it fits. With the "eye test", they are on the short list or true national championship contenders. They are playing with a major chip on their shoulder after an ESPN report linked Sean Miller and Deandre Ayton in a pay-for-play deal. They can get on a tear and win this whole thing.  YOUR CINDERELLA: Texas. Look, they aren't the best team out there nor are they scary to deal with. But they have Mo Bamba and he can be scary to deal with when you dare enter the paint. The Longhorns have a lot happening to them this season so just getting to this point is quite a feat. Shaka Smart is an experienced tournament coach and the bottom half of the South bracket isn't as daunting as the top. They could slide into the second weekend.   WORST SEEDING ERROR: Arizona. Look, I'm not shocked they are a No. 4 seed since the metrics seem to point that out. But when you watch them play, you are in awe of their potential. The fact that the top overall see in the tournament, Virginia, might have to play them in the Sweet 16 seems wrong.    HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Virginia. While not playing in Virginia, their trek to Charlotte is an easy one for Hoos fans. Get to next weekend and Atlanta is also very doable. Two weeks in ACC country is a nice reward for the top overall seed.MUST WATCH GAME: Kentucky vs Davidson. Kentucky, who seemingly has stocked the NBA with its players, takes on Davidson, who is the alma mater of two-time MVP Steph Curry. This isn't your typical Kentucky tournament team as they have been so up and down all season long that you don't know what team will show up. Davidson is back in the tournament after winning the Atlantic 10 for the first time. Count on the Wildcats to win!.MUST WATCH (POTENTIAL) SECOND ROUND GAME: Arizona vs Kentucky.  Wildcats win this one too. Both teams feel as if they are underseeded and neither feel it is fair to meet each other in the 2nd round. The game must be played and there will be a lot of guys who will be playing in the NBA this time next year on the floor. While Kentucky will struggle to deal with Ayton, they do have the wings who can hang with Arizona. Should be a blast to watch.[...]



Sportz' Bubble Watch (3/11)

2018-03-11T17:22:34.943-04:00

Okay. I've been doing my whole Sportz' Bubble Watch for a few years now and I think it is time to start back up. With only a few weeks left in the season before conference tournaments, let's see how the bubble looks.So, here are my locks ... yes, by conference. Locks are teams that I think are in no matter what.  Looking good are teams that are in, barring a total collapse.  I split the bubble teams either In or Out; self explanatory.  Also there's a spot for teams that need a miracle.  No more losses and maybe a deep conference tournament run.I figure there are 21 conferences who are one-bid leagues and 11 conferences that could net multiple bids. So who should be going?ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE (8)LOCKS:  Virginia, Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, Miami, Virginia TechLOOKING GOOD:  Florida State, NC StateBUBBLE IN:  BUBBLE OUT:  Syracuse, Louisville, Notre DameThe ACC will get 8 in ... but can they get more? Syracuse likely has no shot. Louisville probably is out as well. Their losses at the end of the season, albeit to really good teams, kills their chances. Notre Dame is a trickier deal. On paper, they don't get in. But they missed Bonzie Colson for much of the season. He's back now, making them a different team. Now comes the question of if the committee believes they deserve to be in off of a projection more than a resume.  I think not. BIG EAST (6)LOCKS:  Villanova, Xavier, Creighton, ButlerLOOKING GOOD:  Seton Hall, ProvidenceBUBBLE IN:  BUBBLE OUT:  MarquetteThe Big East is pretty much set. The only thing up in the air is if Xavier can nab a No. 1 seed, giving the conference two. BIG TEN (4)LOCKS:  Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan, Ohio StateLOOKING GOOD:  BUBBLE IN:  BUBBLE OUT:  Nebraska, Penn State, MarylandThere will be a lot of huffing and puffing about Nebraska ... who went 13-5 in the Big Ten ... not getting in. That's one of the issues with these new super conferences. With the lack of a round robin and the fact that there can be even more dead weight at the bottom of the standings, this kind of stuff happens. The Big Ten was down, but they've got four teams locked in. Show us what you got. BIG 12 CONFERENCE (7)LOCKS:  Kansas, Texas Tech, West Virginia, TCULOOKING GOOD:  BUBBLE IN:  Kansas State, Texas, OklahomaBUBBLE OUT:  Oklahoma State, BaylorThe Big 12 is a great league and the fact that only Iowa State (who, ironically, won the league's automatic bid last year) is the lone school not in consideration for a bid. That bubble line is so tough. Oklahoma was such a lock early on but has stunk it up over the last two months that including them would almost be insulting. Oklahoma State beat Kansas twice (they are a No. 1 seed) and may not get in. K-State looks alright and Texas will probably get in but with this weird bubble you can't be too safe. PAC-12 CONFERENCE (3)LOCKS:  ArizonaLOOKING GOOD:  BUBBLE IN:  USC, UCLABUBBLE OUT:  Arizona State, Oregon, Utah, WashingtonThe Pac-12 is down. Only Arizona is a lock, though the two Los Angeles team should be able to wiggle in. The fact the league is bad puts Oregon, Utah and Washington as long shots to get in. Then there is Arizona State who, like Oklahoma, has stunk up the joint since the calendar switched to 2018. The Sun Devils have beaten Kansas and Xavier ... two No. 1 seeds ... but may miss.SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE (8)LOCKS:  Kentucky, Auburn, Tennessee, Florida, Texas A&MLOOKING GOOD:  Alabama, ArkansasIN BUBBLE:  MissouriOUT BUBBLE:  Mississippi StateThe SEC seems to be cut and dry. Even the "Looking Good" and "In" teams look pretty solid.AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (3)LOCKS: Cin[...]



Looking Back at the "52 Stops to Super Bowl LII"

2018-02-05T13:55:41.993-05:00

Super Bowl LII is over and the Philadelphia Eagles are champions. So let's see what hit and missed on my stats for the "52 Stops to Super Bowl LII":

#47-SUPER BOWL SQUARES:  I had mentioned that there were 15 different combinations that never came up in the 204 quarters in Super Bowl history.  Well,

The first quarter numbers of 9-3 happened for the first time.
The halftime numbers of 2-2 happened for the first time.

Now there are 13.

#46-FEBRUARY LOVES THE AFC: The AFC fell to 10-6 in February Super Bowls.

#45-SCORE EARLY AND OFTEN: The team that scores first is now 35-17. The Patriots became the third team to score at least 30 points to lose a Super Bowl. In fact, the Pats set a record for most points scored by a losing team. Teams who score the first TD is now 38-14 and teams leading at the half are now 38-11.

#44-PATRIOTS AND EAGLES ARE BACK: Patriots tied to Broncos for most Super Bowl losses with five.

#38-DIVISION ALL IN:  The NFC East became the first division to have all its members as Super Bowl champions.

#37-NFC EAST TOPS THEM ALL: The NFC East extended its lead by winning its 13th Super Bowl ... five more than the AFC East and AFC North.

#32-CHAMPIONSHIP CITIES:  Philadelphia joins New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston with Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup and NBA Championships.

#27-BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: The Super Bowl newbie quarterback has now won five of the last seven Super Bowls against the veteran quarterback.

#25-STICK WITH THE FAVORITES: The underdog Eagles won, meaning the favorite is now 33-19

#23-NFC OWNS THE COIN TOSS: The AFC won the coin toss for just the third time in the last 21 Super Bowls.

#22-MAKING SURE YOU SCORE: There have been successful field goals in 50 of 52 Super Bowls.

#21-NFC EAST VS AFC EAST:  The NFC East is now 9-3 in Super Bowls against the AFC East. That includes the Colts win over the Cowboys in Super Bowl V when the Colts were in the AFC East.

#19-WEARING WHITE IS KEY:  The white team lost?  The team wearing the white jersey lost for just the second time in the last 13 Super Bowls.

#12-PASSING FANCY: Tom Brady set a Super Bowl record for passing yards in a game ... and lost.

#11-DON'T TRAIL BY DOUBLE DIGITS: Teams who trail by double digits in a Super Bowl are now 4-44.

#9-STILL HAVEN'T WON ONE: The Eagles are now officially off that list.

#7-MVPS WINNING SUPER BOWLS: Brady lost, meaning Kurt Warner in 1999 is still the last NFL MVP to win a Super Bowl in the same season.

#5-ALL TIME SERIES: The Eagles are now 8-6 all-time against the Patriots.

#2-BELICHICK AND SABAN: Those two still haven't won a championship in the same season since 2003.

#1-WHO WINS:  I was wrong. Again.










52 Stops to Super Bowl LII

2018-02-04T14:52:24.754-05:00

Every year since Super Bowl XL, I have used this blog for my "Stops To Super Bowl" list.  Every year, I create a list of smart, dumb, inane and chat worthy items for you to use in any banter leading up to and during the Super Bowl.This year, it is 52 Stops to Super Bowl LII and I'm back with some more (and some of the same) little items for you about the upcoming big game.#52-PATRIOTS AND EAGLES DO IT AGAIN:  The Patriots and Eagles will play in their second Super Bowl against each other. This will be the sixth pair to have a Super Bowl rematch and the seventh game to be a rematch.These two met in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville with the Pats winning, 24-21.Other Super Bowl rematches are the Dolphins-Redskins, 49ers-Bengals, Cowboys-Bills, Giants-Patriots and Steelers-Cowboys. Only the Steelers-Cowboys have met three times in the Super Bowl.History doesn't tell you much about who will win. The 49ers beat the Bengals twice, as did the Cowboys over the Bills and Giants over the Patriots. The Steelers beat the Cowboys twice before Dallas beat Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XXX. The Redskins would win their rematch with the Dolphins ten years after their first meeting.#51-SUPER BOWL LI BROKE THE MOLD: As I've said, I've done these "Stop to Super Bowl" since Super Bowl XL. Most of the stats stay true year to year. Well. Super Bowl LI simply broke the mold.The record for largest comeback in a Super Bowl was 10 points, which was done three times. The Patriots overcame a whopping 25-point deficit.  It was also the first overtime Super Bowl ever. The Pats were also the first team to win a Super Bowl despite throwing a pick-six.Records were set for most passing yards (442), completions (43), pass attempts (63) and first downs (37) by a team and a player.  The Patriots became the only team to win a Super Bowl despite having the lead for zero seconds.#50-BELICHICK KNOWS SUPER BOWLS:  Bill Belichick heads to his eighth Super Bowl appearance as a head coach. Belichick's eighth appearance and five Super Bowl titles are best all-time.Belichick was also the defensive coordinator for the Giants in Super Bowls XXI and XXV and an assistant head coach for the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. That's eleven Super Bowls he's coached in.Amazingly, in his 18 seasons as the Patriots head coach, Belichick has taken his team to 12 AFC Championship games including a current streak of seven in a row.Eagles' head coach Doug Pederson has Super Bowl experience as well, though not as a coach. He was Brett Favre's backup during their Super Bowl XXXI championship season (beating the Patriots) as well as on the team that lost Super Bowl XXXII.#49-REPEAT THE REPEAT:  The Patriots are trying to become the first team since the ... well, Patriots ... to repeat as Super Bowl champions. The Pats did in in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX. If they do so, they will become just the second franchise to repeat as Super Bowl champions multiple times. Other repeat Super Bowl champions have been:Packers (I, II)Dolphins (VII, VIII)Steelers (IX, X)Steelers (XIII, XIV)49ers (XXIII, XXIV)Cowboys (XXVII, XXVIII)Broncos (XXXII, XXXIII)Patriots (XXXVIII, XXXIX)Prior to the Super Bowl era, the Bears (1940-41), Eagles (1948-49), Lions (1952-53), Browns (1954-55), Colts (1958-59) and Packers (1961-62) won back to back NFL championships. The Green Bay Packers won three consecutive NFL championships from 1965 to 1967 with the 1966 and 1967 teams playing in the first two Super Bowls. #48-ASK THE CHIEFS HOW TO BEAT THESE GUYSThe Kansas City Chiefs know what it takes to beat these guys. The Chiefs beat the Patriots in Week 1 of the season ... the opening Thursday game ... 42-27 in an amazing late game offensive display. The very next week, the [...]



Sportz' 2017 Year In Sports

2017-12-30T00:47:08.875-05:00

This has been an odd year for the Sportz Assassin's favorite teams. There's been some of sports best moments and some of its worst. This isn't me coming at sports as a whole but from where my teams did this year.TAR HEELS WIN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPI am 42 years old and I take my Heels' losses much better than I did when I was younger. Sure, I still get pretty disgusted when we lose to Duke but I don't shy away from the world as I did when I was in, say, high school.But I can honestly say that I've never been as nervous for the Heels' wins as I have been this year. To have the 2016 season end on that Kris Jenkins three at the buzzer was honestly a shock to the system. This team had been on its Redemption tour all season but this team felt different. In 1993, I felt Carolina had the squad to end Duke's run on national titles. It felt like a team that wasn't flashy but extremely talented and experienced. In 2005 when Carolina won the championship, this was a very talented team that ... after the Matt Doherty era ... I was just excited that we were back in the running for a title. We won that one and I gave my wife the biggest hug. In 2009, I had taken every day off from work that the tournament was on because I knew the Tar Heels were going to win the whole thing. They blasted through the tournament and it felt more like validation than anything.To tell the truth, I've had the same feeling in 1994, 1995, 1998 and 2012 when UNC didn't win it all.This team had a different feel. It wasn't as talented as the 1993, 2005 or 2009 team (not to mention the 1982 team that I was much too young to remember much about). They were good, sure, but lost arguably its two best and most reliable players in Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson. Joel Berry looked like he could become the leader, but he wasn't the point guard that Raymond Felton or Ty Lawson was. Justin Jackson hadn't put it all together yet. Guys like Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks were streaky at best and since they were seniors it seemed as if they wouldn't be much more than that. We love Theo Pinson but he's always hurt. Tony Bradley and Seventh Woods were nice freshman but neither had the look of taking on too much in their first season.There were some nice wins during the season ... and even that shootout loss to Kentucky ... to make you feel like this team was going places. But then there were losses to Indiana and Georgia Tech and Miami and that horrible offensive performance against Virginia to make you think they'll throw up a stinker in the tournament and get beat. UNC would end up winning the ACC regular season crown and would beat Duke on senior night which is always icing on the cake ... but all that went out the window when less than a week later Carolina gave up a big lead and Duke spectacularly spanked them in the ACC tournament semis.Still got that No. 1 seed but they were wobbly. Blew out Texas Southern but Berry got hurt. Then Carolina trailed Arkansas late and I remember saying to my wife that "this team spent all year talking about redemption and they're gonna lose in the second round to freakin' Arkansas. But a 12-0 run to end the game got UNC through. After blowing out Butler, UNC looked like they had Kentucky on the ropes. Kentucky would take the lead and what looked like control of the game until another 12-0 run got the lead back for the Heels. Kentucky would tie the game at 73 on a tough three by Malik Monk when ... well ... Luke Maye.That was a great day for this Heels fan who moved to Kentucky nearly two decades ago. Great day indeed. My wife was coming home and busted through the door right after Maye hit that shot screaming in joy. She hates Kentucky more than I do, so she may have had a better day.Then the Final Four. After doi[...]



Sportz Assassin's 2018 College Football Playoff

2018-01-09T12:57:52.946-05:00

While I love the College Football Playoff over the BCS, the Bowl Alliance and anything else we had, I still wish there more teams involved.

Go ahead and debate why my dream wouldn't work or would be logistically horrible but do it elsewhere.  This is a magical place where unicorns dance in the clouds with gummy bears jumping from here and there. I'd like a 12-team playoff where the champions of the Power 5 each get in as well as the highest ranked non-power conference champ gets in. The other six slots go to at-large teams that we determine by using those CFP rankings.  And we also use those rankings to seed the schools. My only caveat is to not have teams from the same conference play in the first round.

The first two rounds are played on campus. I like that because it (a) is a lot to ask fans to travel to three or four neutral sites to watch games plus it is a reward for finishing with a top seeding. The semifinals could use those rotating bowl games with the title game being bid on like they currently do.

In fact, if the teams wanted to do so, you could use the other New Year's Six games to host the teams that lost in the first two rounds. Since the Rose and Sugar Bowl host the semifinals this year, they get the losers of the first round next year. The Orange and Cotton Bowls (which host the semis next year) host the losers of the second round this year.  Then the Peach and Fiesta Bowls host the first round losers this year and the second round losers next year.

So, here is my playoff teams, according to my eligibility requirements: 

1-Clemson (ACC Champion)
2-Oklahoma (Big 12 Champion)
3-Georgia (SEC Champion)
4-Alabama
5-Ohio State (Big Ten Champion)
6-Wisconsin
7-Auburn
8-USC (Pac 12 Champion)
9-Penn State
10-Miami
11-Washington
12-UCF (highest ranked Group of Five champion)

The first round would go as such with a full Saturday slate of games. Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia and Alabama would get byes.

12-UCF at 5-Ohio State (12pm)
11-Washington at 6-Wisconsin (4pm)
10-Miami at 7-Auburn (4pm)
9-Penn State at 8-USC (8pm)

The losers of these games would then be picked for the Peach and Fiesta Bowls. The following week, here would be the matchups:

Auburn/Miami at 2-Oklahoma (12pm)
Wisconsin/Washington at 3-Georgia (4pm)
USC/Penn State at 1-Clemson (4pm)
Ohio State/UCF at 4-Alabama (8pm)

The losers of those games will go to the Cotton and Orange Bowls. The following week would be the semifinals (at the Rose and Sugar Bowl) with the championship a week later at a neutral site.

So let's act as chalk happens and the higher seeded teams win each game.  Here is how it would look:

WEEK 1
UCF at Ohio State
Washington at Wisconsin
Miami at Auburn
Penn State at USC

WEEK 2
USC at Clemson
Auburn at Oklahoma
Wisconsin at Georgia
Ohio State at Alabama

WEEK 3
Alabama vs Clemson (Sugar)
Georgia vs Oklahoma (Rose)
Miami vs Penn State (Peach)
Washington vs UCF (Fiesta)
Ohio State vs Auburn (Orange)
USC vs Wisconsin (Cotton)

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Clemson vs Oklahoma



Let's Add Teams To The NFL And Right Some Wrongs

2017-10-11T15:00:09.801-04:00

What if you could be the commissioner of the NFL and could just wave your hand to get what you wanted done?That's the premise I'm using for what I'd love to do to the NFL involving franchises. The franchises have been in a mess over the past couple of years and I'd like to fix it. Does it live in the realm of reality? Nope. But I'd like to see it.I'd also like to see the NFL add eight more teams. Yes. Eight. More. Teams. You'd think that the NFL would be able to support a 40-team league if the NHL can support 31 teams. There's plenty of players and plenty of owners lining up to buy in. Plus the NFL is desperately trying to grow the game internationally so we can cover that as well.CURRENT FRANCHISESFirst thing is first. Let's get the current roster of teams squared away. The Chargers need to head back to San Diego after this disastrous attempt in Los Angeles. The city doesn't want them and frankly doesn't need them. Get them back to San Diego and do everything you can to make it work. Beg.Oh, and the Oakland Raiders? You stay in Oakland. I know the Raiders have had a bad time with their stadium issues for 30 years but this team belongs in that town. Make it work. Whether you totally renovate their current stadium when the A's get their new digs or you build something that both teams could share or you have them play in Santa Clara with the Niners, make it happen.The Rams will get to stay in Los Angeles.EXPANSION FRANCHISESSo here we go:London. Just get it over with already. I'm not a big fan of it but if the NFL is hell bent on playing three or more games in London every year then go ahead and put a team there. The logistics are tough, sure, but they can't be much more difficult than six teams having to adjust to it already. Putting a team in the UK would mean eight teams would be inconvenienced each year. So do it.The NFL would enjoy being able to televise that extra game at 9:00 am ET, meaning for eight weeks a year they could own an entire day to football. Keep attempts to help the road teams with scheduling byes around those London trips and help the London team by scheduling longer American road trips. More on this later.Las Vegas.  The Raiders don't get to go there, but Vegas gets its team. Since the NHL opened up a jar to the Vegas area, the NFL seems like a great fit. Not only will the city get its own team with its own brand, but fans from visiting teams would love to take roadies out to Sin City to enjoy a good time.Portland. The Pacific Northwest deserves a second team and Portland is the city that should house it. The city has been on the shortlist of possible MLB expansion and one of the cities that could host a relocated NHL team.San Antonio. If Florida can house three teams and Los Angeles can have two then why can't football-crazed Texas have a third team? The Alamodome is set for some upgrades and the city has been the "threat city" when other franchises try to ransom a stadium out of their current homes. And, sorry, but I want to name this franchise the Oilers. They should be able to have the name and get those colors and uniforms back. It's a great NFL brand that died when the franchise moved to Nashville and became the Titans and when the expansion Houston franchise decided to become the Texans. San Antonio Oilers!Mexico City. If we are going to put a team in London then why not in Mexico City? Mexico has a ton of football fans and the support would be there. Now, would the corporate dollars be there? That's a tougher question but Mexican fans both in Mexico and United States would support the team. Road trips (and the altitude) could be tough but it would fit time-zone wise. And if we are going to force some east c[...]



Fantasy Football Week 3 Meme

2017-09-29T17:50:37.207-04:00





Do we need to change how we judge boxing matches?

2017-09-19T13:15:54.332-04:00

I am 42 years old and grew up with those great boxing matches of the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s and was born just as the era of great 1970s fighters. I loved boxing. Still love boxing. No matter how much it still tries to hurt me.In the last few months, boxing continues to tempt me only to let me down. First was the Pacquiao-Horn fight which somehow ended with Horn winning a decision. Next came the spectacle of Mayweather-McGregor which was less about boxing as it was about showmanship. Then came the fight I really craved: Alvarez-GGG. While that was worth the wait and the fight I enjoyed, it ended with controversy as one judge somehow saw Alvarez win 10 rounds despite the other two judges combined only seeing him win 11.There is also a less heralded controversy of the Burnett-Haskins fight that saw one judge mixing up which fighter was which and his scorecard was completely messed up.It hurts. It hurts that the sport that I loved growing up trying so hard to shoot itself in the foot. The fact that I still get so hyped up heading into the mega-fight nights means it still has that kind of pull for me but the fact that it is still screwing me around means it hasn't learned how to act mature. Remember, I lived through bitten ears, fan man and grown men quitting at the beginning of bouts.But it is judges like the ones in the Horn fight and Adalaide Byrd of the Alvarez-Golovkin bout that makes me cringe. So much so that there may be a need to change the way we score these things.ROUND SCORINGGo back to the old days where there was no 10-point must system. If a fighter wins the round, then the round goes in his column. At the end of the fight, see who won more rounds. Simple? It keeps that point deduction after knockdowns off the board (do we really need that? I mean, isn't the fact you got knocked down a contributing factor to why you lost that round?) and makes the scoring simpler. It also keeps that oddity of a 10-10 round from happening.The one drawback I see is if a point deduction is warranted. Say for low blows, head butts or any other fouls that happen during a fight.OLYMPIC SCORINGThe Olympics used a new scoring system similar to what professional boxing uses in the 10-point system. There, you have five judges who give the winner of each round 10 points and the round's "loser" can be given points in comparison to how they performed. For instance, a close round would be scored 10-9 with a round that was dominant by one fighter being, say, 10-7. Now, the catch is that each round a computer randomly selects three judges' cards to count.In professional boxing, this would be changed up a little to accommodate a 12-round bout ... but would it really help? What if the computer randomly collects the data from the wayward judge instead of the impartial judge? Also, scoring a round 10-7 could really skew the scoring of a fight where an opponent may never recover, even if he actually does in the bout. It may not be as perfect as it seems, at least in a pro setting.Maybe just have the five judges and keep all five scores. That way, a wayward scorecard doesn't drastically effect the outcome like it did last Saturday.SCORE THE FIGHT, NOT THE ROUNDSOne out there way is to score the fight as the whole and not the rounds. For purists, this may not totally fly as judges are supposed to judge each round as its own entity without letting anything leading up to that round influencing their decision. Just because one fighter was pummeling the other in Round 5 doesn't mean a close Round 6 should go to the guy who has been previously in command.Some do feel that judges should judge the fight at the end and[...]






Assassins

2017-08-28T23:27:54.413-04:00





Tar Heels 2017 National Champions!!!!!

2017-04-04T17:34:49.161-04:00





Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - Elite 8

2017-04-03T10:07:25.358-04:00

Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all games going on at the same time.GAME OF THE DAY: North Carolina vs Kentucky. Two blue bloods.  Both worthy of not only getting to the Final Four but winning a national championship.  The Tar Heels owned the first half but Kentucky kept it close enough.  In the second half, Kentucky took the game over and let by five late.  But just as they did last week, Carolina went on a 12-0 run to take back the lead.  Malik Monk did everything he could to get Kentucky back ... including hitting that three to tie the game 73-73.  But Theo Pinson ran down the court, tossed it to Luke Maye and he hit one of the biggest shots in the tournament.UPSET OF THE DAY: Oregon vs Kansas.  Through three rounds, Kansas looked like the best team of the tournament and the favorite to cut down the nets.  But then their shots just wouldn't fall against Oregon and the ones that looked good were blocked by Bell.  Kansas against goes home early while Oregon heads to their first Final Four since the first Final Four.CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: West Coast. The ACC, SEC and Pac 12 have had teams in the Final Four before.  But it has been 60 years since the WCC has gotten to the party.  Congrats to that league.CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: SEC. Yeah, that is a bit harsh since the SEC has had a very solid ... albeit unexpectedly so ... tournament.  But, in the Elite 8 both Kentucky and Florida (the conference's two top teams) went down before the final weekend.  Still, nothing to hang their head over.  DUD OF THE DAY: Gonzaga vs Xavier. Look, Xavier barely made it into the tournament after a bad ending to the regular season.  Their magic just ran out against a very, very, very good Gonzaga team.  I was hoping that they'd be able to perform at a high level again but it just wasn't in the cards.DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Gonzaga.  Fellow No. 1 seed North Carolina won on a shot in the final second while No. 1 Kansas was beaten by Oregon.  The Zags looked really good against the Musketeers.UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: First timers. Funny that North Carolina made it to their record 20th Final Four the same season that Gonzaga and South Carolina are making their first Final Four appearances and Oregon is making their first one since 1939 (which there wasn't technically a Final Four).  New blood.  It's nice.  [...]



Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - Sweet 16, Day 2

2017-03-25T15:39:15.020-04:00

Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all games going on at the same time.GAME OF THE DAY: Florida vs Wisconsin. This wasn't supposed to be the best game.  I'm not saying that before the game but during the game.  Florida had a nice lead late and seemed to have this thing wrapped up.  But some late threes and a wild shot to tie the game got Wisconsin in the game and into overtime.  From there, it looked like Wisconsin had the game in the bag.  As Florida was grasping for anything, two huge plays the Gators made will be remembered for a long time:  Canyon Barry's block of a Wisconsin breakaway layup and Chris Chiozza's buzzer beating floater for three.  What a finish and the first overtime and buzzer beater of this tournament.UPSET OF THE DAY: South Carolina vs Baylor.  How are the Gamecocks doing this?  Well, with one of the toughest defenses in the nation and the offensive strength of Sindarius Thonwell.  This team limped into the tournament and the program hadn't won an NCAA Tournament game in over 40 years.  Now they've won three in a row and are a win away from their first Final Four.CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: SEC. The much maligned Southeastern Conference has three teams in the Elite 8.  Two of those teams won on Friday.  The SEC is the only conference with multiple teams still alive.CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: Big Ten. The SEC, ACC, Pac 12, Big 12 and Big East still have teams in the tournament.  The Big Ten is the lone power conference that doesn't.  DUD OF THE DAY: Kentucky vs UCLA. This is solely based on the hype.  This game was targeted all week long as special ... but UCLA and Lonzo Ball really didn't wow anyone.  Most of that was what Kentucky did to them but it wasn't a great sequel to the Bruins' regular season victory.DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: South Carolina. Baylor was seemingly never in that game.  South Carolina smothered them.UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Left vs Right. This isn't a political deal.  But the left part of the bracket and the right couldn't be any different.  On the right side of the bracket (the Midwest and South regions), you have Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky.  Those are the three winningest programs in college basketball history.  They have 16 titles between them.  Oregon, who also resides on the right side, won the very first NCAA tournament.  On the left, Gonzaga and Xavier will play for their first Final Four appearance.  South Carolina will do the same against Florida.[...]



Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - Sweet 16, Day 1

2017-03-24T17:39:07.036-04:00

Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all games going on at the same time.GAME OF THE DAY: Gonzaga vs West Virginia. This game was awesome.  So physical with so many ebbs and flows.  West Virginia's defense looked so dominant at times that I felt that Gonzaga couldn't overcome it.  Then the Zags go on a run and I felt the 'Neers were wobbly.  Then it gets back and forth with a huge shot by the Bulldogs late.  The fact that West Virginia couldn't get that final shot up was both heartbreaking and fantastic.UPSET OF THE DAY: Xavier vs Arizona.  This was a great game throughout but Arizona had an eight point lead with over three minutes left.  The irony of this game is, when tied, Xavier through a pass inside from the high post and scored at the basket while Arizona was hell-bent to take a three for the win instead of getting a shot at the basket.  Xavier had a six game losing skid at one point and will now be playing for a spot in the Final Four.CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: West Coast. The Pac 12 and Big 12 split their games and Xavier repped the Big East.  But let's throw it up for the West Coast Conference's Gonzaga who hung tough and ultimately beat a West Virginia team that beat Kansas earlier in the year.  The WCC isn't the Big 12 but this Gonzaga team would do fine in that league or any other.CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: Big Ten. Michigan's magical run ends in such a tough fashion while Purdue hung with Kansas before getting blown out.  Wisconsin is still alive in the East but the much maligned Big Ten shouldn't feel too bad about what they did in this tournament.  DUD OF THE DAY: Kansas vs Purdue. Look, three of the games were absolute nail-biters and the Kansas-Purdue game was a 32-point spanking.  And even that game was good for a long while.DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Kansas. They were up just 53-51 on Purdue.  Then closed on a 45-15 run.UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Final shots. This tournament has been devoid of that game-winning buzzer beater that ended last year's tournament.  There have been close games and all but none of those shots.  Look at the three games that ended with those opportunities last night.  Arizona was down two, with the ball, settled for a three (albeit a good luck that nearly landed) and lost.  Michigan, down one, settled for a step-back three.  West Virginia had the ball for 30 seconds and kept firing threes to the point that they had to take a three pointer (they had plenty of time to get a two, foul and get the ball back) that eventually the didn't get off.One of basketball's annoying trends is winning a game with a tough shot.  Why not a smart play?  Xavier was tied with Arizona with less than a minute left and got a shot right at the basket.  Why couldn't the bigger Arizona Wildcats do so to tie?  Oregon's winning bucket was also on a layup.  The point is that we don't need Kobe-esque fade away threes off of the wrong foot with four people guarding you to win these games.  Make the smart play.[...]



Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - Second Round, Day 2

2017-03-20T12:01:29.472-04:00

Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all four games going on at the same time.GAME OF THE DAY: Kentucky vs Wichita State. There was smack talk and a lively crowd.  The game was back and forth with the outcome in doubt going to the final shot.  No, it wasn't the most eye-popping game on a day filled with some good games but it was fun.  The Wildcats' freshmen came to play and were huge in the final moments.UPSET OF THE DAY: South Carolina vs Duke.  While this game had upset written all over it, that doesn't make it any less shocking.  For some reason, Duke was looked at as some juggernaut of late, even though they ended up going just 6-4 in their last ten games ... and that includes that magical ACC tournament run.  It was easily a pro-Gamecocks crowd as the game was played in South Carolina and Tar Heel fans who stayed after their game cheered on against the Blue Devils.  South Carolina countered every typical Duke punch and a program that hasn't won a tournament game in over 40 years is now in the Sweet 16.CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: SEC. I gave love to the Big Ten for bucking their critics so today I'll do so with the SEC.  I am usually one of those smacking on the SEC but, here they are with three teams in the Sweet 16.  Plus, Arkansas had North Carolina on the ropes before the Heels reeled off a 12-0 run to win.  We all know Kentucky's strength but South Carolina and Florida weren't taken as seriously and they proved their meddle by toppling ACC schools.CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: ACC. One day after Florida State and Virginia get beat, the ACC sees both Louisville and Duke get upset and done before the Sweet 16.  That means the mighty ACC has just one team remaining in the tournament -- North Carolina.  Last year, the ACC dominated this tournament.  This year ... not so much.  DUD OF THE DAY: Kansas vs Michigan State. Tom Izzo is the master of tournament upsets and the Spartans looked the part for about a half on Sunday.  But Josh Jackson looked like an NBA player among college guys and the Jayhawks blew out Michigan State in the second half.  With many of the games on Sunday in doubt in the final minutes, this one didn't live up to its brethren.DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Kansas. Or should I say Josh Jackson.  Man that guy is good.UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Freshmen. Last season we saw upperclassmen take back college basketball and was the narrative of the season.  It's been a good mix this year but Sunday we saw how talented this crop of freshmen is.  Kentucky's freshmen Fox, Monk and Adebayo all were huge late in securing their win over Wichita State.  Josh Jackson ... okay, you know how I feel about his performance.  UCLA's Lonzo Ball was the coolest cucumber in the gym as the Bruins finally wore out Cincinnati.  Even unheralded freshmen like South Carolina's Rakym Felder were big-time.[...]



Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - Second Round, Day 1

2017-03-19T17:47:02.770-04:00

Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all four games going on at the same time.GAME OF THE DAY: Purdue vs Iowa State. From start to finish, this game was intense.  Purdue did get a huge lead going but the Cyclones fought back to make this one of the best back and forth games in the tournament.  And ... boy ... that Biggie Swanigan.UPSET OF THE DAY: Wisconsin vs Villanova.  Sure, Wisconsin wasn't a typical No. 8 seed but Villanova was the defending champ and the top overall seed.  Most people had the Wildcats at least to the Sweet 16 if not the Elite 8.  So to see them not playing past the first weekend is quite shocking.CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: Big Ten. Just look at the teams who won above.  The conference has been so maligned this season that to see at least two in the Sweet 16 ... including arguably their two best teams ... is gratifying.  Wisconsin took down the biggest dawg on the block while Purdue earned a ton of respect.  Even Northwestern's controversial loss to Gonzaga was valiant.CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: ACC. One day after Miami gets blown out, we see Florida State and Virginia look like they didn't even belong on the same court as Xavier or Florida, respectively.  Virginia had been struggling and faced a higher seed ... but to score just 39 points?  And Florida State was never in their game with Xavier.  DUD OF THE DAY: Florida vs Virginia. Usually the No. 4 vs No. 5 game is competitive.  Not this one.  Virginia looked absolutely horrible and reverted back to a few weeks ago when they just couldn't score.DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Xavier. Who are these guys?  Remember that Xavier couldn't beat anyone not named DePaul for, like, a month.  Now they just spank No. 3 Florida State.  In Orlando, no less.UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Bad calls. Humans make mistakes and referees are humans.  Still, with all the replay at our disposal nowadays (I mean, refs have gone to the monitor to see exactly how many seconds were remaining in North Carolina's 39-point win over Texas Southern) you'd think they could verify an obvious goal tending.  That missed call along with the technical foul called on Northwestern coach Doug Collins really stole the good feeling from their game with Gonzaga.  It also robbed us of what could have been a great finish to possibly see another No. 1 seed go down.   [...]