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Let's Talk About Sports



A blog that focuses on baseball and especially my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox. I will also write articles about other sporting events that interest me, such as college basketball which I watch insane amounts of through the months of Nov.- March. C



Updated: 2015-09-17T01:37:15.041-04:00

 



UNC will win the National Championship

2005-03-30T17:19:59.916-05:00

This is what I wrote in a February 4th post on college basketball and UNC:"I don't care what the records say. I don't care if Illinois is 22-0 and BC is 20-0. The best team in the country is North Carolina and they have two losses."Since then, the Illini have only lost one game, a heartbreaker in the last game of the regular season at Ohio State. After leading the whole game, Matt Sylvester hit a 3 with less than 10 seconds left, to give Ohio State a 65-64 win on Senior Day. I tried to warn the Illini that this would be a tough game, but I guess Bruce Weber, head coach of Illinois doesn't read my blog. Here is what I wrote a week before the Ohio State game on Sunday February 27th."Illinois will try to finish the regular season undefeated, but the Buckeyes will be pumped up as they cannot participate in the NCAA tourney because of a violation, and this game is basically their national championship."I hate to say it, but I told you that the Buckeyes would be pumped for that game.It seems almost hard to imagine that less than two months ago BC was still undefeated and cruising through the Big East. They proceeded to go 4-4 in their last 8 games before the tourney, losing to Notre Dame, Villanova, Pitt on Senior Day, and West Virginia in the Big East tournament. They won their first game in the tournament, but the Cinderella team, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee knocked out the Eagles in the round of 32.UNC has lost two games since February 4th when I declared that they were the best team in college basketball. They lost to Duke by a point at Cameron, and then lost in the ACC semifinals to Georgia Tech. Besides those two hiccups, the Tar Heels have cruised through the season. Their first two games of the tourney were a joke, as they won the two games by a combined score of 55 points. To get to the Final Four, the Tar Heels had a much tougher time than I expected them to have. They almost lost to Villanova, which was playing without their star forward Curtis Sumpter, as they Heels survived and won 67-66. Then on Easter weekend, I expected their game against Wisconsin to be the blowout of the weekend. Wrong! The Tar Heels allowed the Badgers to stay in the game and only beat them by 6, 88-82. In spite of their recent close calls, they will be cutting down the nets on Monday night.The reason the Tar Heels will be cutting down the nets can basically be summed up in two words: Sean May. Sean May has had an amazing tournament so far, and when the Tar Heels get him the ball on the low block, he is unstoppable. The Illini do not have anybody that can stop May, and they have struggled playing against big strong post players all year long. The latest example was against Arizona, when Channing Frye scored 24 points on 11 of 14 shooting, and grabbed 12 boards. Frye is a great player and will be in the NBA next year, but let me tell you that he is no Sean May (and I'm a huge Arizona fan). May simply dominates whoever he plays against. In the two times he played against Sheldon Williams of Duke this year, he outplayed him both times. In the first game May scored 23 points and had 18 boards in the one point Tar Heel loss. In the rematch game, May scored 26 points, and had 24 boards and literally willed the Heels to victory. It was a performance that I will not forget for years to come. May will have an interesting test in the form of Paul Davis on Saturday night, who is having quite a tournament for himself. Davis is two inches taller than May, and is also listed as 17 pounds heavier than May, although I find that hard to believe. I feel that even though May is smaller and not is heavy, he will come out on top of this important matchup in the Michigan State vs. North Carolina game.There is another reason that the Tar Heels will win on Monday against Illinois and that is depth. The Tar Heels go 10 deep, while Illinois had two guys that play off the bench in Jack Ingram and Rich McBride. Illinois also has Nick Smith a 7-2 center, but since he did not play against Arizona, I am going to assume that he will not [...]



Players to Watch in Thursday's Games

2005-03-23T17:17:38.930-05:00

Louisville vs. Washington 7:10PMBoth of these teams play fast paced and the score of this game will definitely be in the 80's, if not higher. Washington plays a three guard set with Nate Robinson leading the attack. Although Robinson is a few inches short of six feet, his vertical is 43 inches, and he is as quick Earl Boykins. Robinson can shoot the 3, drive, and he makes things happen out on the floor. He almost left Washington last year after his sophomore year, but he decided to come back for one more year. Robinson will most likely enter the draft this year, and will continue to be the little pest that he is out on the court right now in the NBA.Francisco Garcia is a player any college basketball fan has known about since his freshmen year. He is the type of player that coaches want to have the ball in their last possession. Garcia is great, because not only can he create his own shoot, but he also is smart enough to know when to drive and kick the ball to the open man. Garcia is also an excellent free throw shooter at 87 percent. Garcia was honored on Senior Day in Louisville, even though he is only a junior, because he is leaving after this year to go to the NBA. Oh, and by the way, in the two biggest games of the year Garcia had 27 points in the first round game against LA Lafayette, and then had 21 in the rout of Georgia Tech.Wisconsin Milwaukee at Illinois 7:25PMWhen you play the Panthers, you better be ready to defend the 3 point line. In their first round game against Alabama, the Panthers hit 12 three pointers, 10 of them in the first half in knocking out No. 5 seed Alabama. They followed that up in their second round game against BC, by hitting 11 three pointers, and sending a team that started the year 20-0 back home to Boston. Unfortunately, for the Panthers Illinois is much better than the two teams they have already faced. If the Panthers are going to have any shot, Ed McCants has to have a huge game. In both first round games he hit 4 three pointers, and the Panthers need some more of his magic touch in order to keep the Cinderella shoe on for another day.How can you only mention one player from Illinois to direct your defensive effort towards? Answer: you can't. You can't mention Dee Brown, without mentioning the point guard who runs the show (Deron Williams), and the other backcourt mate, Luther Head. These three guards are almost unstoppable and they have lead Illinois to a 34-1 record this year. Dee Brown might be the most entertaining of the 3 guards simply for his speed, and his ability to change the game, either on offense or on defense. Against Michigan when Illinois was down late in the second half, Dee came up with 3 straight steals that lead to baskets to lead the Illini to victory and keep them unbeaten. He has an ultra quick release on his shot, and he has NBA range and then some. There is no way you can watch the Illini and not admire the type of player and effort that Dee gives.West Virginia at Texas Tech 9:40Who would have thought the Mountaineers would be in the sweet sixteen? I did pick them to win their first round game against Creighton, but I did not have the guts to pick them to beat Wake Forest. I don't imagine that many people did. This team has come almost out of nowhere, and up to this point, has won the most entertaining game in the tournament. This team does not have a player that averages more than 12 points a game, yet somehow they managed to put up 111 points on Wake Forest. If there is one player to watch in this game for UWV it is Mike Gansey. Gansey is a transfer from St. Bonaventure, and he was on the team a few years ago when they voted to forfeit their last two games of the regular season. Gansey scored 19 of his 29 points in the two overtimes in the win over Wake Forest. Gansey has a nose for the ball, and he always seems to be in the right place at the right time. This kid has instincts, and has basketball smarts that many players his age are lacking. If there is a loose ball in this game or a rebound that is important, look for Gansey t[...]



Perfection

2005-03-14T18:48:54.036-05:00

I guess this is what happens when every waking second you are thinking about college basketball and the implications that each game will have on the NCAA tournament. Although I got all 65 teams right, don't think it came without a price. The price I paid was: watching college basketball every night since November, constantly looking at team schedules, checking RPI numbers daily, and reading countless articles on the net about the sport I love. I hope you enjoy the tournament over the next three week as I know I am going to, and remember next year to keep coming back to my blog every Monday for my 65 picks on who will make the NCAA tournament.

Justin via Matt from Florida



Predicting the NCAA Tournament

2005-03-13T17:48:12.356-05:00

As most of you know, I have been predicting who will make the NCAA Tournament for the past 6 weeks. Well, now is the time when we will actually see how well I have been doing as Selection Sunday is just a few days away. Every day, I will be making revisions to these list, and my list revision will be done on Sunday afternoon. I am leaving for Florida tomorrow, but I will be calling my brother every day with the revisions that I want him to make. So, without further ado, here is the field of 65:

First all of the automatic bids:
America East: Vermont
Atlantic 10: George Washington
ACC: Duke
Atlantic Sun: Central Florida
Big 12: Oklahoma St.
Big East: Syracuse
Big Sky: Montana
Big South: Winthrop
Big Ten: Illinois
Big West: Utah St.
Colonial Athletic Association: Old Dominion
Conference USA: Louisville
Horizon League: Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Ivy: Penn
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference: Niagara
Mid Continent Conference: Oakland
Mid American Conference: Ohio
Mid Eastern Athletic Conference: Delaware State
Missouri Valley Conference: Creighton
Mountain West Conference: New Mexico
Northeast Conference: Farleigh Dickinson
Ohio Valley Conference: Eastern Kentucky
Pac 10: Washington
Patriot League: Bucknell
SEC: Florida
Southern: UT-Chattanooga
Southland: SE Louisiana
Southwestern Athletic Conference: Alabama A &M
Sun Belt Conference: LA Lafayette
West Coast Conference: Gonzaga
Western Athletic Conference: UTEP

These are the teams that I feel will be getting the remaining 34 at large bids.

Big East (5): UConn, Pitt, BC, West Virginia, Villanova
Big 12 (5): Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas, Iowa State
ACC (4): North Carolina, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, N.C. State
SEC (4): Mississippi State, LSU, Alabama, Kentucky
Conference USA (3): Cincinnati, Charlotte, UAB
Big 10 (4): Wisconsin, Michigan State, Iowa, Minnesota
Pac 10 (3): Arizona, UCLA, Stanford
Big West (1): Pacific
Missouri Valley Conference (2): Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa
Mountain West (1): Utah
West Coast Conference (1): St. Mary's
Western Athletic Conference (1): Nevada

Keep checking back daily for the changes that I will be making via my brother to the bracket. I hope to at least get 61 or 62 teams right, with the goal being perfection of 65.


Matt



Viewing Guide for March 7-13

2005-03-07T18:31:24.606-05:00

It's Championship Week in college basketball, which is one of the best weeks in the entire year. Every team in college basketball has a chance to go dancing, if they win their conference tournament. ESPN is airing 99 games during the course of the week, and here are a few that you should check out.MondayCollege BasketballSt. Mary's vs. Gonzaga 11:59 ESPNSo what if the game is on at 11:59? These two teams played twice this year, with each team winning one time. This time they meet in the WCC championship game, where the automatic bid will be decided. Both of these teams will be dancing, regardless because they have had great seasons. This game is for bragging rights, and important to the seeding of these teams. I cannot wait to stay up tonight til 2:30 AM to watch this one!!NBAPhiladelphia at Miami 7:30PMC Webb is now in Philly to play second fiddle to AI. It won't matter in this game, as Shaq and D Wade will lead the Heat to victory.MLBNew York Yankees at Boston Red Sox 7pmThis is the first game between these two teams, since the memorable game 7 comeback win last October. Even though these two teams hate each other, it will not show in this game, as all the minor leaguers will play the majority of the game.TuesdayCollege BasketballDetroit at Wisconsin-Milwaukee 9:00PM ESPNThe thing I love about championship week is that you finally get a chance to see all the mid-majors play, and see how good they actually are. I've been hearing about RPI numbers, W-L records, and SOS of these teams for months. Enough of that; I want to see these teams play. UWM has had a great year at 23-5, and will try to get the automatic bid from the Horizon league.NBAMemphis at Sacramento 10:30PMWith C Webb in Philly, this might be the first time that Memphis can claim that they are a better team than Sactown. Let's see if they can prove it.WednesdayCollege BasketballProvidence vs. West Virginia 2pm ESPNLosing their last game of the regular season against Seton Hall really hurt UWV chances of making the tourney. They need at least 2 wins in the Big East tourney to get in.Tulane vs. DePaul 3:30 ESPN2The Blue Demons lost 4 out of their last 6 and therefore are firmly on the bubble.Seton Hall vs. Georgetown 7pm ESPNAfter losing their last 5 games of the regular season, the Hoyas need a huge run in the Big East tourney to get into the dance.Rutgers at Notre Dame 9pm ESPNThe Fighting Irish need at least 1 win in the tourney to feel safe about going to the big dance.NBAAtlanta at Boston 7pm FSNAntoine plays against his former team that traded him to the Celtics 2 weeks ago. Look for Walker and the Celts to have a big night.ThursdayCollege BasketballPitt vs. Villanova 2pm ESPNThis is why the Big East is so fun to watch. You get to watch great matchups, such as this one on a Thursday afternoon on Championship Week. I love it!!Arizona State vs. Washington 9:15 FSNDon't count out Ike Diogu and AZU making a run in the Pac 10 tourney to get into the dance. Ike is just plain sick, and he will be playing in the NBA for 15 years to come.NBAMinnesota at Miami 7pm TNTWill KG have to guard Shaq in this game? If so, I think Shaq can handle KG inside without a problem. Nevertheless, it will be an interesting matchup to watch.FridayCollege BasketballDo I really need to tell you what games to watch today? If you don't already know, I guess you'll never know. Put on ESPN the whole day for ACC, Big East, and Big Ten conference tournaments. Also on FSN, there will be the Pac 10 tournament games.NBADetroit Pistons at Boston Celtics 7:30 FSNThis a huge game for the Celts against arguably the best team in the East. It will be interesting to see how the Celts new additions fare in this game.SaturdayCollege BasketballConference USA Championship Game 11:30AM CBSWho is going to be in this game? My guess is Louisville and Cincinnati. I was not a fan of Louisville earlier in the season, but Larry O'Bannon, Francisco Garcia, and Taquan Dean convinced me this team is fo[...]



Comparing The Brackets

2005-03-01T15:21:08.386-05:00

It's Tuesday, so that means it's time for my weekly column comparing my brackets with those of Joe Lunardi's, Bracketology 101's, and this week I am also going to compare mine with Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated. Here are the picks on which we had different opinions.

Joe Lunardi has three picks which were different from mine and those teams are Monmouth (N.J.), Creighton, and Saint Joseph's.

Stewart Mandel from SI has 4 picks which I did not pick and those teams are: Wichita State, Northern Iowa, Saint Joseph's and Gardner and Webb.

Craig and Chris from Bracketology 101 only have 1 pick out of 65 that I disagree with them on, and that is Creighton.

Now, I am going to explain to you, why I did not include any of these 6 bubble teams in my predictions.

Creighton: They have won their last 5 games and now stand at 20-10 and 11-7 in the tough MVC. They also have big non-conference wins against Xavier, Nebraska, Ohio State and Missouri. Creighton was the 66th team, meaning they were one spot out of being included in my bracket. I decided to put Indiana in, after their big win against Michigan State on Sunday. If Creighton gets to the finals in the MVC, I think they are in, because the last 6 years the MVC has had at least 2 teams in the tourney. This year it could very well be Creighton and Southern Illinois.

Wichita State: After looking like a sure tournament team a few weeks ago, they have now lost 5 of their last 6. Last night they lost when Northern Iowa hit a 3 at the buzzer to win it. This team has no momentum, and is definitely on the outside looking in right now. They must make some noise in the MVC tournament to even be considered.

Northern Iowa: This is another team from the MVC vying for a spot in the tourney. They certainly can play, as they have wins over Iowa State, Southern Illinois, Wichita State, and University of Missouri Kansas City. I think that Southern Illinois is the only team from the MVC that is a lock. Creighton, Wichita State and Northern Iowa all have a shot at getting in, and its going to come down to the conference tournament. I can't wait.

Saint Joseph's, Gardner and Webb, and Monmouth (N.J.) were picked by at least one of the analysts. For these three teams, check out my Monday post, where I explained why I do not think these teams will make the tournament.


Matt




Predicting the NCAA Tourament Round 5

2005-02-28T14:18:19.690-05:00

Over 300 teams are in Division 1 college basketball, but each year only 65 teams are invited to the Big Dance. This year, more than ever, the mid majors are making a strong push to get at large bids. These are my picks for the week. To make these picks I considered the following: won loss record (overall and in conference), SOS, record vs. 1-25, 26-50 and 51-100 in RPI, non-conference SOS, and RPI among other things. Needless to say, a lot of time and information goes into making these picks.The last 10 picks to get in were in no particular order: Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Houston, West Virginia, Indiana, Minnesota, Buffalo, New Mexico, St. Mary's (CA) and UTEPThe last 10 picks out in no particular order were: Virginia Tech, Memphis, UAB, Saint Joseph's, Utah State, Creighton, Akron, Kent State, Northern Iowa, Boston UniversityNew teams that were added this week are noted in bold. Also, one team is in italics, because they have already made the tournament, because the Ivy League does not have a conference tournament to settle the automatic bid, instead giving it to the regular season champ of the conference, which was Penn. 4 other conference automatic bids will be settled by this time next week as the Big South, Atlantic Sun, Southern, and Ohio Valley will all have their tournament champions by Monday.Big East (8): UConn, Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova, BC, West VirginiaBig 12 (6): Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Texas Tech, Iowa StateACC (5): North Carolina, Wake Forest, Duke, Maryland, Georgia TechSEC (5): Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State, LSUConference USA (5): Charlotte, Louisville, Cincinnati, DePaul, HoustonBig 10 (5): Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, IndianaPac 10 (4): Stanford, Washington, Arizona, UCLAMid-American Conference (2): Miami (Ohio), BuffaloMountain West Conference (2): Utah, New MexicoWest Coast Conference (2): Gonzaga, St. Mary'sWestern Athletic Conference (2): Nevada, UTEPAmerica East (1): VermontAtlantic 10 (1): George WashingtonAtlantic Sun (1): Central Florida Big Sky (1): Portland StateBig West (1): PacificColonial Athletic Association (1): Old DominionHorizon (1): Wisconsin MilwaukeeIvy (1): PennMetro Atlantic Athletic Conference (1): RiderMid-Continent Conference (1): Oral RobertsMid-Eastern Athletic Conference (1): Coppin StateMissouri Valley Conference (1): Southern IllinoisNortheast Conference (1): Farleigh DickinsonOhio Valley Conference (1): Tennessee TechPatriot League (1): Holy CrossSouthern Conference (1): DavidsonSouthland Conference (1): SE LouisianaSouthwestern Athletic Conference (1): Alabama A&MSun Belt Conference (1): Denver Teams that have been eliminated from the tourney since last week:Miami: The Hurricanes beat Florida State last week, but then lost a huge game against Georgia Tech on Saturday. Miami lost by 4 points, and they are now 7-8 in conference, and 16-10 overall. They have one remaining game at Duke this Thursday, and then the ACC tournament. Assuming a loss on Thursday, the Hurricanes are going to need at least 2 wins in the ACC tourney to sneak in the Big Dance.Virginia Tech: I so much wanted to include them in my predictions because I think that as a team they are a great story. However, getting blown out against N.C. State when they had 7 days to prepare for them is unacceptable. If they can win their last two games against Clemson and Maryland, and then win at least 1 game in the ACC tourney, I think they will be dancing. Otherwise, Seth Greenberg and his team will be in the NIT.Marquette: All you need to know about this non-selection is that Travis Diener is out for the year. As horrible as it sounds, Marquette does not stand a chance at getting into the NCAA tourney without their leading scorer. He was their leader, the offense was run through him, and he made everyone around him better. Without Diener, this team will struggle.Memphis[...]



Viewing Guide for the Week of Feb.28-March 6

2005-03-03T20:26:09.333-05:00

Herein, lies the sporting events that will captivate you if only only dare and watch them. Take the risk and watch some college basketball, and you shall not be disappointed.MondayCollege BasketballPitt at BC 7pm ESPNThis is BC's last big game before the Big East Tourney. BC got lucky as they only had to play Pitt, Syracuse, and UConn once. Look for Carl Krauser to have a big game.Oklahoma at Texas 9pm ESPNIn football they call this game "The Red River Shootout." No matter what sporting event, games between these two teams are always a big deal, especially when both of these teams are likely headed to the tourney.Northern Iowa at Wichita State 9:00If Wichita State can win this game, I think they are likely going to be in the tourney.New Mexico at UNLV 11:59 ESPNYou gotta love watching MWC games at midnight on Big Monday's. Here is a chance for most of the nation to see Danny Granger, a forward that is expected by NBAdraft.net to be picked by Charlotte in the second round.NBASan Antonio at Cleveland 7:00If Bruce Bowen is one of the best defenders in the NBA, I would love to be able to see him try and stop Lebron.TuesdayCollege BasketballSaint Joseph's at George Washington 7pm ESPN2Who thought St. Joe's would be this good after losing both Jameer Nelson, and Delonte West to the NBA? I sure did not, as St. Joe's is 12-1 in the A 10, and has a decent chance at getting into the tourney.Mississippi State at Arkansas 7:05 ESPNA couple of weeks ago Mississippi State was a lock to be in the tourney. Now after losing 3 of their last five games, they are no longer a lock for the tourney, and could really help themselves out by getting a win on national TV against a good Razorbacks team.Indiana at Wisconsin 9pm ESPNFor a few weeks, people have been saying that Indiana is on the bubble. After starting off the season slow, Indiana has played better in conference play, and stand at 8-5 in the Big 10. A win at Wisconsin would be huge for their tournament chances.VA Tech at Clemson 9pmI think VA Tech is on the bubble. Some people think they have no shot at the tourney. They must win this game at Clemson, in order to even be considered to be on the bubble.NBASeattle at Indiana 7pmTwo of the best shooters in the NBA in Ray Allen and Reggie Miller face each for what might be their last time.WednesdayCollege BasketballGeorgia Tech at Wake Forest 7pm ESPNGT still needs some help in order to get into the tournament, and a win at Wake gives them a great shot at getting in the tourney.Georgetown at UConn 7:30Three straight losses has put the Hoyas back on the bubble. UConn on the other hand has been on an excellent run, winning 7 of their last 8, and the only loss was to North Carolina. This is a tough test for a young Hoyas team, but it is a game that means a lot to their tournament chances.Missouri at Iowa State 8:00Iowa State started off at 0-5 in the Big 12, then won their next 7 games in conference, and since that huge win in Kansas last week, they have lost to Texas A&M and Nebraska. They need to win their final two games against Missouri and Colorado, and then win their first game in the Big 12 tournament to feel safe about their tourney chances.DePaul at UAB 8:30UAB is just 2-4 in their last 6 games, and could use a win against DePaul which has the always dangerous Quemont Greer and Drake Diener (cousin of Marquette player Travis Diener).NBALos Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics 7:30 FSNAntoine's first game back in green is against the Lakers and Kobe. The Celts need a win to repay L.A. for the game they lost against them last week out in L.A.ThursdayCollege BasketballCharlotte at Louisville 7pm ESPN2Do I dare call a game from Conference USA the game of the week? If this isn't the most important game of the week, it certainly ranks up there. Charlotte and Louisville both have identical 12-2 records in conference, and this will determine first place in[...]



The Top 5 Point Guards in America are....

2005-02-25T11:25:28.490-05:00

Where to do you start when writing an article like this? There are so many talented and exciting point guards in college basketball, that it has been very hard to narrow the list down to just 5. I'm sure some people after reading this article will disagree with the 5 selections that I made. But that's what makes this type of article fun. There is so much room for interpretation and it is interesting to hear opinions' on who somebody thinks is a top 5 point guard in the country. So, without further ado, here is the list:5. Travis Diener, MarquetteMy heart just dropped when I heard that Diener had broke his hand in practice and that he would be out for the rest of the season. Anybody who caught even a glimpse of the Cincinnati vs. Marquette game last night could tell how much they miss their point guard. Diener is not a prototypical point guard in that he is not extremely quick, but he has excellent basketball instincts. He knows how to control a game. He knows when to run, and when to set up the half court offense. There might not be a smarter guard in America in terms of basketball sense. Diener was averaging 19.7 points a game, and 7 dimes a game when he got hurt earlier this week. He also shoots 40 percent from behind the arc. Diener might not be a high draft pick, because he does not have the speed and quickness that other guards possess. NBAdraft.net has Diener getting picked 55th in the draft this coming June. Teams that are picking before the Pistons at the 55th spot would be smart to not let a guy with this talent slip that low in the draft.4. John Lucas III, Oklahoma StateJohn Lucas transferred to Oklahoma State in 2003 after playing two years at Baylor. Lucas and other players on that Baylor team were allowed to transfer and would not have to sit out a year due to the scandal in which Patrick Dennehy was killed by teammate Carlton Dotson. Lucas decided to transfer to O.K. State, while his teammates at Baylor, Lawrence Roberts and Kenny Taylor transferred to Mississippi State and Texas, respectively. Lucas also survived a lot in his childhood having grown up the son of John Lucas II, who was an NBA player and coach. He was also an alcoholic, but has now been sober for over 20 years. That did not make the comments and ridiculing stop when John Lucas III was going through school. All of this turbulence seems to have made Lucas stronger. In his first year as the point guard for the Cowboys, he led them to the Final Four. He is the leader of a veteran team, and his team is poised to make another Final Four run, especially with the emergence of freshman JamesOn Curry, who is now starting for the team. Lucas contributes just under 16 points and 5 assists a game, and although he is small in size (5'11) he plays with no fear, and is a guard that is just so fun to watch.3. Raymond Felton, North CarolinaI know Tar Heel fans are going to be upset that Felton is only third on this list, and that another ACC point guard is ranked ahead of him. I love Felton just as much as any other college basketball fan, but his turnovers are what prompted me to rank him at #3 instead of #2 or #1. Felton averages 12 points, 7 assists, and 2 steals a game. The scary thing for Tar Heels fans is that he also coughs up the ball 3.6 times a game. Most of the nation saw this firsthand a couple of weeks ago when North Carolina played Duke. Felton had eight turnovers in the game, and did not take the open shot with 5 seconds left as he should have, and basically cost North Carolina the game. Besides that one shortfall, Felton is all that you could ask for in a point guard. He is super quick, has a nasty dribble, and he can take it to the rack. He shoots the 3 well, knows how to get his teammates involved, and you can see him directing traffic out on the court anytime you watch an NC game. This Sunday he will be playing against anothe[...]



Comparing The Brackets

2005-02-22T23:56:22.123-05:00

As many of you know who visit the blog regularly, every Tuesday I take a look at what the experts have predicted for the field of 65, and compare their predictions with mine. So, without further ado, here are the links to Joe Lunardi's picks, as well as Bracketology's 101 picks, and Michael Lazarus picks. Michael Lazarus as of Tuesday night at 11:30 did not have his picks up yet on FoxSports.com. Therefore, I am not going to compare my picks to his this week, because I want to post this now.Joe Lunardi had 4 teams that he picked that I did not and they are UTEP, Minnesota, Wichita State, and Farleigh Dickinson.Craig and Chris from Bracketology 101 had 6 picks which differed from mine and they are Minnesota, NC State, Creighton, Farleigh Dickinson, Buffalo, and Denver.I examined all of these teams while making my selections and let me explain why they did not make the field of 65.UTEP: They lost at Pacific on Bracket Buster Saturday by 7 points. Right now, I think the WCC is only strong enough to get one team into the tourney. Nevada will definitely get in, because they have had a great season. UTEP has 3 remaining games all at home and if they win those 3, and then win at least 1 game in their conference tourney, I think they are in.Minnesota: The Golden Gophers had a tough week having to face Michigan State and Ohio State. They beat Ohio State by 2, and lost to Michigan State by 19. My problem with the Golden Gophers is that they are only 7-6 in the weak Big Ten. They have 2 games which when you look at the Big Ten standings may not seem tough, but they really are. They have to play Iowa at home and then travel to Purdue. When they travel to Purdue, it will be Senior Day at the game for the Boilermakers. Also, it will be Gene Keady's last home game as Purdue's coach. If they win both of those games, I think they will be in next week.Wichita State: I am sorry but losing your last 3 games does not bode well to get an at large spot in my predictions, even if the losses were against good teams. Wichita State lost to Bradley (12-12, 5-10 in conference), and then lost to Creighton, and then to the leader of the MAC, Miami (Ohio). This team has a huge game against MVC leader Southern Illinois on Saturday. I cannot wait to see the outcome of this game. They won by 2 the last time these two teams faced, but this time the game is at Southern Illinois with first place in the MVC up for grabs.Farleigh Dickinson: This team is in second place in their conference, but because of their win against first place Monmouth (N.J.) last week, analysts are picking them for the field of 65. They are still a game behind Monmouth in the standings, and the two teams split the season series. Both teams have 3 games left against teams they should beat, which means one thing: the automatic bid for this conference is going to come down to the conference tournament. Plain and simple.NC State: This team is only 5-7 in the ACC, and yet some people are still picking them for the field of 65 (I almost picked them myself). Why is this? Well, because they are a good team that has beat some very good opponents this year (Georgia Tech and Maryland twice, VA Tech). They have two absolutely critical games this week against North Carolina and VA Tech. If they can keep the Carolina game somewhat respectable and then beat VA Tech, they might get into my predictions next week, even with a record of 6-8 in the ACC.Creighton: Talk about giving love to the mid majors! I do not see Creighton getting in right now as they stand at 17-10 overall and 8-7 in the MVC. They have beaten Wichita State twice, Ohio State, Xavier and Northern Iowa. But for me to consider them, they must win their next 3 games (including a tough one against Illinois State) and then win a few games in their conference tournament. Then, and only then, will I[...]



Predicting the NCAA Tourney Round 4

2005-02-21T11:38:13.010-05:00

These are the 65 teams that I feel will make the tournament, if the selection committee had to make all their decisions on who's in and who's out, today. New teams that have been added this week are noted in bold.Big East (7): Boston College, Villanova, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Pitt, Georgetown, UConnACC (7): Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, MiamiConference USA (7): Louisville, Charlotte, Memphis, Cincinnati, DePaul, Marquettee, HoustonBig 12 (6): Oklahoma State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Iowa State, TexasSEC (5): Kentucky, Florida, LSU, Alabama, Mississippi StatePac 10 (4): Washington, Arizona, Stanford UCLABig 10 (3): Illinois, Michigan State, WisconsinA10 (2): Saint Joseph's, George WashingtonWCC (2): St. Marys (CA), GonzagaAmerica East (1): VermontAtlantic Sun (1): Gardner and WebbBig Sky (1): Portland StateBig South (1): WinthropBig West (1): PacificColonial Athletic Association (1): Old DominionHorizon League (1): Wisconsin MilwaukeeIvy League (1): PennMetro Atlantic Athletic Conference (1): NiagaraMid Continent Conference (1): Oral RobertsMid-American Conference (1): Miami (Ohio)Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (1): Coppin StateMissouri Valley Conference (1): Southern IllinoisMountain West (1): UtahNortheast (1): Monmouth (N.J.)Ohio Valley Conference (1): Tennessee TechPatriot League (1): Holy CrossSouthern Conference (1): DavidsonSouthland Conference (1): SE LouisianaSouthwestern Athletic Conference (1): Alabama A&MSun Belt Conference (1): LA LafayetteWAC (1): Nevada Teams that have been eliminated from the tourney since last week: UAB: 4 straight losses in conference does not bode well for an at large bid.Minnesota: Losing big to Michigan State, and then barely beating Ohio State did this team in. They certainly have a great chance of being in next week if they beat Iowa and Purdue this week.Utah State: Losing to Pacific in a game they should have won, and then losing to Cal State Fullerton did this team in. They need to win their last 3 games, and then make some noise in the Big West tournament to get in. Wichita State: 3 straight losses means no bid for Wichita State this week. They have two huge games coming up: Saturday against Southern Illinois and then on Monday vs. Northern Iowa. If they can win those 2 games, they will be in good position. Samford:They have lost 3 of their last 4 games, and lost on Saturday to Tennessee Tech, which now leads the conference. Denver:Losing one game to a team that is below .500 in the conference was enough for Denver to slid out of my predictions in the competitive Sun Belt Conference. Matt[...]



Viewing Guide for the Week of Feb. 21-27

2005-02-20T18:02:10.230-05:00

These are some of the games that I will be watching and keeping track of this week, and I suggest that you do the same.MondayGame 1 of the 2004 World Series St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox 6pm NESNThis game was an ugly game as the Red Sox committed 4 errors, two by Manny in the eighth inning, and somehow still win the game. Mark Bellhorn who a few days before this game was getting crushed by the media hit the game winning HR in the bottom of the eighth.Notre Dame at UConn 7pm ESPNLast time these two teams played, Marcus Williams had 16 assists for UConn, but missed a layup with under 20 seconds left, and the Huskies lost the game. I think UConn will definitely win this game, because they are the better team, and this time the game is being played at Storrs.Kansas at Oklahoma 9pm ESPNKansas has lost their last two games. There is no way that Bill Self lets his Jayhawks lose 3 straight.Utah at New Mexico 9pmCan the Utes go undefeated in the MWC? If they beat the Lobos in the Pit, it looks like that will go throughout the season without a loss in conference.TuesdayGame 2 of the 2004 World Series Cardinals at Red Sox 7pm NESNCurt Schilling pitches 6 miraculous innings, and he accomplishes what he came to Boston to do: win a World Series.Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers 10:30 FSN20 years ago this was a HUGE rivalry. Now, with both teams struggling to stay above .500 it does not mean as much. In any case, I always love to see the Celts beat the Lakers.Texas at Texas Tech 8pm ESPN2Texas has really had trouble winning games since losing P.J. Tucker for the season due to him being academically ineligible. Going to play Texas Tech, will not change that.Alabama at LSU 9pm ESPNLSU had two huge wins last week against Florida and Mississippi State. The team that I was not convinced for real last week, has proven to me otherwise.North Carolina at N.C. State 8pmJulius Hodge needs to carry his team to a victory over the Tar Heels if the Wolfpack expect to get into the tourney.WednesdayDuke at Georgia Tech 7pm ESPNThe Yellow Jackets are firmly on the bubble right now. A win against the Blue Devils would add a big win to their resume.Memphis at Charlotte 7:30Memphis has come back from the dead to actually be a force in Conference USA. A win at Charlotte makes their chances of making the tourney almost a sure thing.BC at Villanova 9pm ESPN2Villanova is one team that nobody wants to face. After beating unbeaten Kansas last month by 20 points, they showed that they are a team that can beat anybody in the country. BC better beware of the Cats'.Memphis at Washington 7pmWho thought that both of these NBA teams would have 30 wins at the All Star Break? Certainly, not me.ThursdayGame 3 of the 2004 World Series Sox at Cardinals 7pm NESNPedro's last game as a Red Sox was a masterpiece, and I recommend you set your VCR's to tape one of the best pitchers who ever pitched for the Red Sox in his last game.Wisconsin at Michigan State 7pm ESPNLast time these two teams faced MSU had a comfortable lead with a minute left, only to blow it and see Wisconsin win. The results of this game will be different.Marquette at Cincinnati 9pm ESPN2The Bearcats are a very physical team, and if Marquette wants to get into the tourney they must get to .500 in conference play. Right now, they are 5-7 in the CUSA.Arizona State at Washington 10:30 FSNArizona State is one game below .500 in the Pac 10. A win at Washington puts them in the tourney.Sacramento at Dallas 9:30 TNTThis game showcases two teams that love to run, shoot, and forget about defense. Get the scoreboard ready, cuz in this game both teams are going to score way over 100 points.FridayBoston at Utah 9pm FSNUtah has never been the same since the retirement of John Stockton, and since Karl Malone left. Th[...]



G Mac, JamesOn and Savannah State doesn't win a game

2005-02-18T16:54:44.113-05:00

Kyle Veltrop argues that with the game on the line, there is no player he would rather have take the shot than Gerry McNamara. I love G Mac, but I'll take my chances with Salim.

Savannah State has done what only one other team in the past 50 years has done, in losing all 28 of their games. Randy Hill has the story.

The player of the year in each conference is...

Looking forward to upsets in the tourney? Look no further than these teams

Arguably the best high school basketball player last year sold dope, got caught, and had his scholarship taken away by North Carolina. Now starting for Oklahoma State, JamesOn Curry is the type of diaper dandy that I love to see play. This article is a must read.

Top 10 games of the weekend according to Gregg Doyel

According to the poll I had on this blog a few days ago, 48% of you thought that the Texas Tech vs. Kansas game was the best game of the year so far. I agree with you.

Salim vs. Redick update from last night's games:

Salim 7 of 14 FG, and 4 of 6 on 3's, 22 points in the Wildcats 25 point win over the Ducks

Redick 7 of 16 FG, and 3 of 8 on 3's, 19 points in Duke's loss to Virginia Tech


Matt



Salim or Redick: That is the Question

2005-02-17T01:06:39.846-05:00

In his latest column at CBS Sportsline, Gregg Doyel rants about Lute Olson and how Lute should keep his mouth shut instead of consistently making comparisons between J.J. Redick and Salim Stoudamire. It is obvious and very true that many of the media people love Redick for his shooting ability and how he has carried Duke this season. Duke is on TV basically every week, which allows the members of the media as well as college basketball fans to see J.J. Redick at his best. Now I know that Redick is a great shooter. But is Redick the best shooter in the country? And is it bad that Lute Olson continues to stick up for his senior shooting guard Salim Stoudamire? I tend to disagree with the column by Doyel and let me tell you why.Lute Olson has a right that every human being has, and that is of free speech. He has the right to support Salim Stoudamire and call him the best shooter in the country if he wants too. I do not see why Doyel thinks that is such a bad crime to do such a thing. When Mack Brown spoke out in late November and said that his team deserved a BCS bowl game, some people in the media tended to think that it was wrong of him to do so. I was of this opinion at first too, before I realized that there was nothing wrong with doing that. Brown thought his team deserved a BCS bowl game, so that is what he said. Lute Olson thinks Salim is the best shooter in the country, and that is exactly what he said. What is so wrong with that? Am I missing something here?When you look at the stats, Salim is the best shooter in the country. From the Sportsline article,"There's a bit of information (our publicist) shared with me about Redick being the best shooter in the country," Olson began. If he hit 71 consecutive field goals, he'd reach Salim's field goal percentage shooting. If Redick made 53 consecutive 3-pointers, he'd tie Salim for 3-point field-goal percentage. How in the world can somebody continue to go on TV and say Redick is the greatest shooter in the country?"The one person in particular that Lute is referring to is Dick Vitale. Dickie V is a big fan of Redick and he always raves about Redick. Watch the next Duke game on ESPN that Vitale is announcing and you will recognize this within a few minutes. Some people are of the opinion that Vitale has always been a Duke supporter and that he now has fallen in love with Redick over his 3 years at Duke. I would estimate that Vitale has announced at least 5 of Duke's games this year. I know for a fact that he announced both Maryland games, Wake Forest and North Carolina games. I am sure that he has done other Duke games that I have forgotten, or that I may not have watched. I do not think that Vitale has done any Arizona games so far this year (correct me if I'm wrong). The Pac 10 has a schedule where they play games on Thursdays and Saturdays and most of those games are carried by Fox Sports Net. So, while it is Dickie V's opinion that Redick is the best shooter in the country, I am curious to find out if he right in making that statement.Both Redick and Salim are great players. Both can shoot the 3 as well as drive to the hoop. But when making a comparison it helps to look at the numbers. And if you trust the numbers they prove that Salim is a better 3-point shooter. Some people might say that Redick gets more attention from opposing teams, but that is definitely not true. Both Redick and Salim lead their teams in scoring, and opposing teams come into games knowing that they have to shut down these players in order to have a chance to win. There are many quotes out there from coaches and announcers who favor one of these players or another. One quote comes from USC interim coach Jim Saia who was mentioned in this article [...]



Comparing the Brackets

2005-02-15T18:10:46.400-05:00

Every Tuesday I take a look at what some of the experts have predicted for the field of 65 and compare their predictions with mine. Joe Lunardi's picks from ESPN can be found here, and the site Bracketology 101 has picks every week and they can be found here. Michael Lazarus of Fox Sports picks can be found here.Joe Lunardi has three picks that differ from my own and they are Kent State, Stanford, and LSU.Craig and Chris from Bracketology 101 also have three picks which differ from my own and they are Boston University, Stanford, and Western Kentucky.Michael Lazarus has three picks which differ from mine and they are Sam Houston State, UL Lafayette, and LSU.I am going to take a look at these 7 teams and explain why they do not make the tourney.Stanford: They had one game last week against California and beat them 71-56. This really does not mean anything as Cal does not have a good team this year. Stanford now stands at 13-9 and they are 7-5 in the conference. Dan Grunfield who is the leading scorer for the Cardinals was lost for the season after he hurt his knee in the second half. The injury will require surgery, but no date has been set yet. With 6 games remaining in their season, and 4 of them at home the Cardinals have a good shot at convincing me they belong in my predictions. They play USC and UCLA at home this week. If they beat UCLA, which is a very young, but talented team, I think they will be dancing come this time next week.Kent State: This team has a few things going for them. They have a very good RPI at 39 and their SOS (strength of schedule) is 58. Both are very respectable numbers for a mid major. Usually the bubble teams such as Kent State have RPI's somewhere between 30 and 70 so they are in the right neighborhood. Kent State has also beaten some worthy opponents in Creighton, Florida State and Miami of Ohio (who by the way happens to be 1st in the MAC). They also came very close to beating BC in December, but lost by two points. The reason I did not pick Kent State is because I think the MAC will only get one team into the tourney, and as of right now I think that team is Miami of Ohio. I hold the right to change my opinion on this in the upcoming weeks.LSU: Yes, its true that LSU is 6-4 in the always tough SEC conference, but when you look at their schedule, who have they beaten? Their 3 best wins are Arkansas, Ohio State, and Mississippi State (whom I think is vastly overrated). Their next 3 games are against Mississippi State, Florida, and Arkansas. If they win 2 of those games, I will look at them much more favorably then I do now, and they will be in my bracket.Boston University: They had a huge win over Vermont on Saturday, which was the Catamounts first loss in the American East. Still, I do not see how this conference is going to get two bids, and I think that Vermont will be the only team in the tourney from the American East.Western Kentucky: Craig and Chris from Bracketology 101 pick Western Kentucky to win the Sun Belt Conference, while I am still sticking with Denver. Denver lost to Western Kentucky on the road last week 84-79. Either of these teams could be in the tourney and it is going to come down to whoever wins the conference championship next month and gets the automatic bid.UL Lafayette: At 9-2 in conference play they are tied for first place in the west division of the Sun Belt Conference with Denver. However, they have lost both of their games to Denver, which prompted me to include Denver in my picks for the tourney instead of UL Lafayette. They do have wins against Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky, but until Denver losses they are going to continue to be my pick to win the Sun Belt Conferenc[...]



Predicting the NCAA Tourney Round 3

2005-02-14T14:21:37.200-05:00

These are the teams that I feel will make the NCAA Tournament if the season ended today. I consider strength of schedule, conference records, and out of conference opponents when deciding what teams get in every week. New teams that have been added this week are noted in bold. Big East (7): Connecticut, Syracuse, Boston College, Georgetown, Villanova, Pitt, Notre DameACC (6): North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Maryland, Georgia Tech, MiamiBig 12 (6): Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas Tech, Texas, Iowa StateConference USA (6): Depaul, Cincinnati, Louisville, Charlotte, Memphis, UABSEC (4): Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi StateBig 10 (4): Illinois, Michigan State, Wisconsin, MinnesotaPac 10 (3): Arizona, Washington, UCLABig West (2): Pacific, Utah StateWest Coast Conference (2): Gonzaga, St. Mary's (CA)Missouri Valley Conference(2): Wichita State, Southern IllinoisA 10 (2): George Washington, St. Joseph'sWestern Athletic Conference (2): Nevada, UTEPAmerica East (1): VermontAtlantic Sun Conference (1): Gardner and WebbBig Sky Conference (1): Portland StateBig South Conference (1): WinthropColonial Athletic Association (1): Old DominionHorizon League (1): Wisconsin MilwaukeeIvy (1): PennMetro Atlantic Athletic Conference (1): NiagaraMid Continent Conference (1): Oral RobertsMid American Conference (1): Miami (Ohio)Mountain West Conference (1): UtahMid Eastern Athletic Conference (1): Coppin StateNortheast Conference (1): Monmouth (N.J.)Ohio Valley Conference (1): SamfordPatriot League (1): Holy CrossSouthern Conference (1): DavidsonSouthland Conference (1): SE LouisianaSouthwestern Athletic Conference (1): Alabama A&MSun Belt Conference (1): Denver Teams that have been eliminated from the tourney since last week: Virginia Tech: Two losses last week to Maryland and Virginia means the Hokies are going to the NIT. Marquette: A loss to TCU, and an overtime win against East Carolina is not enough to keep this bubble team in the tourney this week. Arizona State: An embarrassing loss to USC and getting blown out at UCLA knocks this Pac 10 team out. Air Force: They only had one game last week, and beat Colorado State. It came down to one of the last picks, but I decided to include UTEP instead. Rider: Two losses to Iona, and Manhattan knocked this team out of first place in their conference. University of Missouri Kansas City: A loss to Oakland, which is one of the lower teams in the Mid Continent Conference, gave Oral Roberts the lead in the conference. Matt [...]



Viewing Guide for the Week of February 14-20

2005-02-14T23:12:01.373-05:00

These are some of the games that I will be watching and tracking this week. If I were to write down every game that I am interested in, I am afraid nobody would read the article, because it would be too long. Anyways.....MondayPitt at Syracuse 7pm ESPNIn the first game between these two teams, Syracuse had a 17 point lead in the first half only to see Pitt come back and win the game. Syracuse looks for revenge at home in the Carrier Dome.Kansas at Texas Tech 9pm ESPNThe Red Raiders have certainly flown under the radar this season. With a record of 15-6, and 7-3 in the Big 12, Bobby Knight will get into the tourney as usual. The question is can his team beat the Jayhawks who are undefeated in the Big 12 and only have one loss all season?Davidson at College of Charleston 7pmDavidson is 13-0 in conference play in the Southern league, and if they win this game, they will likely go undefeated in the conference.Florida A&M at Savannah State 7pmThe game of the week. If you think I'm kidding, I'm not. Savannah State is 0-27 and this is their last game and last chance to salvage a win on what has been a horrible season.TuesdayWake Forest at Miami 7pmMiami is a team that is on the bubble, and could use a huge win to add to their resume. They will get their chance against one of the best teams in the ACC.Bucknell at Villanova 7:30Bucknell already beat Pitt this year. Can a team from the Patriot league beat two teams that are in the top 25 from the Big East in the same year?WednesdayMinnesota at Michigan State 7:30After beating Wisconsin on February 5th, the Golden Gophers were heading in the right direction and likely to the tournament. With losses last week to Indiana and Northwestern, they need more quality wins to get into the tournament. However, I do not see the Golden Gophers beating the Spartans and I think Minnesota will be losers of 3 straight after this game, and be going in the direction of the NIT.Depaul at Charlotte 7:30Two teams that are headed for the tourney from Conference USA fight for 2nd place in the conference as they both stand at 8-2.Georgetown at Notre Dame 8pm ESPN ClassicTurn back the clock game with old announcers, old graphics, and old uniforms. This game is a live broadcast by ESPN Classic and viewers can only hope this game is as good as the first time these two teams played when Georgetown won on a dunk at the buzzer.Texas A&M at Texas 8pmTexas is playing their way out of the tourney with losses to Iowa State and Colorado in the last week. They need this game to get above .500 in conference play.Arkansas at Alabama 8pmAlabama is the one team many people have not seen that is going to make some noise in the tourney. They went to the Elite 8 last year, and could be poised for another long term run in the tourney with the way they are playing this year. Arkansas needs conference wins, as they are 5-6 right now in conference play.Memphis at Boston 7pm FSNBoston's record stands at 26-25 with two games left before the All Star Break. I was convinced a few weeks ago that they would go into the All Star Break under .500 and I still feel that way. A loss to Sacramento on Sunday and a loss to Memphis tonight will do just that. (P.S. I hope my prediction is wrong for my beloved Celtics).ThursdayLouisville at Marquette 7pm ESPNLouisville beat Marquette by 47 two weeks ago. Somehow, I do not see that happening again in this game.Oregon State at Arizona State 9pmIke Diogu of Arizona State is one of the 3 best big men in the country along with Sean May and Andrew Bogut. Unfortunately his team is 5-8 in the Pac 10 and must get somewhere close to .500 by seasons' end to have a chance to m[...]



Turnovers Killed the Tar Heels

2005-02-10T01:26:29.143-05:00

Back 30 years ago tickets for a Duke vs. UNC matchup would only set a person back $2. Can you imagine that? That is so crazy to think about now, when tickets on ebay for the rematch on March 6 are going for $660(for those of you who think that is insane, there is already 9 bids on those tickets). So many players have come and gone throughout the years, but this rivalry remains as intense as it ever has been. Jerry Stackhouse, Vince Carter, Eric Montross, Shane Battier, Christian Laettner, and Grant Hill have all participated in the greatest rivalry in college basketball. Unfortunately for North Carolina's three seniors that have played and taken part in this rivalry their record now stands at 1-7 against the hated Blue Devils. Jawad Williams, Melvin Scott and Jackie Manuel have endured these years, and I'm sure they will be looking for a different outcome to the game when these two teams meet again on March 6 the last game of the regular season. This game basically came down to one thing. Turnovers absolutely killed the Tar Heels as they gave Duke the ball 23 times. When one of the best point guards in America, in Raymond Felton has 8 turnovers, you know that as a team your playing great defense. Despite all of this, UNC had a chance to win it, but Felton basically threw the game away, when he decided not to take an open jumper with 5 seconds left. Instead he dribbled to the right, and passed it to David Noel who proceeded to lose the ball out of bounds. Even though it was not a dramatic ending, the ending of the game symbolized how the Tar Heels had played throughout the night, which was sloppy. One other thing that really hurt the Tar Heels was that some of their best players just had miserable games. Rashad McCants who is the teams leading scorer shot only 3 of 13 from the field and 1 of 8 from behind the arc. Jawad Williams is another guy that the Tar Heels count on and tonight he only had 2 points. Sean May carried the Tar Heels the whole night with 23 points and 18 boards, but on the last possession of the ball game, when the Heels had a chance to win, he did not touch the ball. To go into Cameroon Indoor Stadium you need to have your big players step up. Tonight that did not happen. Duke on the other hand got the output that they expected from J.J. Redick and Daniel Ewing. Redick was lethal behind the three point line as usual hitting 4 trifectas against UNC. Daniel Ewing had 15 points, and had two three pointers after UNC had tied the game at 53. But the player who stepped up huge in this game, was somebody that no one had talked about coming into this game, DeMarcus Nelson. The freshmen, who last year was California's Mr. Basketball had 16 points, one shy of his career high. DeMarcus also played great perimeter defense and had four steals. Sometimes in big games like this, its the person you least expect to break out, that has a huge game. Monday night JamesOn Curry of Oklahoma State introduced himself to the nation scoring 22 points against in state rival Oklahoma. Tonight the heralded freshmen from Cali showed that he can play with the big boys, as he had the best game of his young career against the school that resides only 8 miles away from Duke. Last Friday I wrote that North Carolina is the best team in the country. Maybe I should rephrase that. They have the most talent in college basketball right now, but talent does not win a team games. Right now, I believe that when all is said and done that they will be National Champions (and I'm not a UNC fan). But to get there they must take care of the ball, and they need production from McCants, Willai[...]



Comparing the Brackets

2005-02-09T14:39:28.326-05:00

Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com, Michael Lazarus of foxsports.com, and Craig and Chris from Bracketology 101 all predict who they thought would make the tournament as of Monday. I thought it would be interesting to compare what teams they thought would make it in, to what I am predicting.

Joe Lunardi has 4 picks that are different from mine: Iowa, UTEP, St. Joseph's, and Stanford.

Michael Lazarus has 5 picks that are different from mine: Delaware State, Alabama State, St. Jospeph's, Iowa, and Stanford.

Craig and Chris' picks were most alike to the picks I made as we only disagreed on these 3 picks: Iowa, LSU, UTEP.

One team that all three analysts picked that I did not was Iowa. Two of the analysts thought that UTEP, St. Joseph's and Stanford would make the tourney, and I did not pick those teams. I am going to take a look at the 4 teams that these analysts thought would make it, and explain why I did not chose them.

Teams picked by all three analysts to make the tourney.

Iowa: Why are people picking Iowa to make the tourney? Is it because they almost beat Illinois? Frankly, I am not sure why. With the loss of Pierre Pierce this team is headed downhill and fast. They did have some great wins early in the season against Louisville, Texas, Texas Tech and Air Force, but when a team is 3-5 in the Big Ten in a down year, I find it hard to include them in the tourney. Add to that fact, that they just lost their best player makes this team a hard one to include in the tourney.

Teams picked by two of the three analysts.

UTEP: This team has a few big wins against Arizona State and at Nevada. I think that the WCC is only going to get one team in the tourney as of right now. Nevada is atop the WCC standings at 9-2, while UTEP is 8-3. This Saturday UTEP and Nevada play again in a game that will have huge implications on both of these teams chances for the big dance.

St. Josephs: I know St. Joe's is 8-1 in their league. But what some people forget is that they play in the A-10. The A-10 has never really been a good conference, and the conference definitely is struggling this year. When you take a look at their schedule, you can ask yourself who have they really beaten? When you have to argue over whether Xavier or Davidson is your best win of the season, you know you are really stretching. At this point, I just cannot include a team like this in my predictions.

Stanford: Okay, so they do have a win over my favorite team, Arizona. Stanford could have proved something to me last week by either beating Arizona or Arizona State on the road, but they lost both games. Their next 3 games are at home against California, USC and UCLA all games they should win if they want to be in the tourney. If they win those three, they will most likely be in, as far as I'm concerned after those games. But right now, with their record at 12-9 and 6-5 in the Pac 10, I am not going to include them.


Matt




Predicting the NCAA Tournament Round 2

2005-02-09T14:20:43.830-05:00

I made a few changes to my predictions on Wednesday. One reader commented that he thought Ohio State was on probabtion and therefore could not participate in the tourney. After doing some research, I found that he was right, so I took Ohio State out of my predictions. I apologize for including them in my predictions, as I should have known that they were on probabtion.

I also added an extra team to my predictions. Another reader commented that I should include 65 teams, instead of 64 because of the play in game that happens on the Tuesday before the tourney starts. I decided to take his advice and add another team. Just to clarify the play in game happens on Tuesday, and whichever team wins that game will most likely go on to be a #16 team in the tourney, while the other team goes home.


These are the teams that I feel will make the NCAA Tournament. More than a few teams have been pushed off the bracket, and that will be normal during this column for the next 6 weeks. New teams that have been added to the bracket from last weeks are noted in bold.

Big East (7): Boston College, Syracuse, Georgetown, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Notre Dame
ACC (7): North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami
Big 12 (5): Kansas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas
Conference USA (6): Louisville, Depaul, Cincinnati, Charlotte, UAB, Marquette
Big Ten (4): Illinois, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota,
SEC (4): Kentucky, Florida, Mississippi State, Alabama
Pac 10 (4): Washington, Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA
West Coast Conference (2): Gonzaga, St. Mary's
Big West (2): Pacific, Utah State
Missouri Valley Conference (2): Wichita State, Southern Illinois
Mountain West Conference (2): Utah, Air Force
America East (1): Vermont
Atlantic 10 (1): George Washington
Atlantic Sun (1): Gardner Webb
Big Sky (1): Portland State
Big South (1): Winthrop
Colonial Athletic Association (1): Old Dominion
Horizon (1): Wisconsin Milwaukee
Ivy (1): Penn
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (1): Rider
Mid Continent Conference (1): University of Missouri Kansas City
Mid American Conference (1): Miami (Ohi0)
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (1): Coppin State
Northeast Conference (1): Monmouth (N.J.)
Ohio Valley Conference (1): Samford
Patriot League (1): Holy Cross
Southern Conference (1): Davidson
Southland Conference (1): SE Louisiana
Southwestern Athletic Conference (1): Alabama A&M
Sun Belt Conference (1): Denver
Western Athletic Conference (1): Nevada



Matt









Viewing Guide for the Week of Feb. 7-13

2005-02-07T00:03:23.476-05:00

These are the games that I will be watching in the upcoming week, and I suggest that you watch them as well. Monday Connecticut at Syracuse 7pm ESPN This game will be a battle between two great low post players in Hakim Warrick and Josh Boone. This game also features great perimeter play with Rashad Anderson and Gerry McNamara. Oklahoma at Oklahoma State 9pm ESPN2 Oklahoma won round 1 of this in state rivalry, and O.K. State will try to get revenge on their home floor. Tuesday 2004 ALCS Game 5 New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox 6pm NESN Get your VCR's ready. One of the greatest games in all of Red Sox history. David Ortiz comes up big in the 14th inning and provides the winning hit for the Red Sox for the second game in a row. Boston College at Notre Dame 7pm ESPN2 This could be Boston College's hardest game of the season as they travel to South Bend to play the Fighting Irish. Phoenix at Sacramento 10pm Two of the best teams in the West square off. Wednesday 2004 ALCS Game 6 Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees 6pm NESN One of the greatest pitching performances by anybody to ever put on a Red Sox uniform. Curt Schilling gave the Red Sox 7 awesome innings and the Sox tied the series at 3-3. North Carolina at Duke 9pm ESPN This is one of the games that you look forward to every year, regardless if you root for one of these two teams. North Carolina has the better team this year, but Duke might have the best home court advantage in all of college basketball. This is the game of the week. Thursday 2004 ALCS Game 7 Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees 7pm NESN Johnny Damon. After struggling the whole series Damon had two homers and six RBI's to take the AL pennant and be the first team ever to come back from a 0-3 deficit. And to think I was there to witness history. Unbelievable!!!!!! N.C. State at Wake Forest 7pm ESPN N.C. State lost both of their games last week to North Carolina and Virginia, and they are not going to make the tournament, unless they get some big wins. A win at Wake would be huge. Sacramento at Seattle 10:30 TNT This game promises to be an up-tempo fast break type of NBA game that is rarely seen anymore. You definitely don't want to miss a chance to see fast break NBA basketball like this. Friday Denver at Cleveland 8pm ESPN Lebron vs. Carmelo. Nuff said. Saturday Wisconsin at Illinois 1pm CBS The Illini broke Wisconsin's 38 home game win streak a few weeks ago. The Badgers have a shot at revenge in this game. Duke at Maryland 9pm ESPN Different game, but similar scenario. Duke was undefeated until Maryland rolled into Cameron a few weeks ago, and blew up the idea of Duke going undefeated for the season. Duke can get revenge at Maryland's home court in Saturday night primetime ESPN basketball. Sunday North Carolina at Connecticut 1pm CBS Talk about a tough week Going into Cameron is a hard enough week by itself, but having to travel to Storrs to play the Huskies will make for a hard week for the Tar Heels. N.C. State at Georgia Tech 6pm FSN Even if N.C. State wins on Thursday against Wake, they still need some more quality wins. After the game against GT, they still have Maryland, North Carolina and Wake again. Talk about a tough couple weeks. I think N.C. State needs to win 3 of those games, and beat up on the other teams they play to get into the tourney. I just don't see it happening. [...]



North Carolina is the best team in the country

2005-02-04T03:31:12.186-05:00

I don't care what the records say. I don't care if Illinois is 22-0 and BC is 20-0. The best team in the country is North Carolina and they have two losses. They absolutely demolished N.C. State tonight, and they have a team that does it all. They have depth, they have scoring, they have defense, and they also have a great coach. The game tonight was never in doubt, but it was so fun to watch the Tar Heels pick apart N.C. State. It was a clinic.

Arizona is back!! After worrying about my Wildcats and their horrible performance against Washington State on Saturday, Arizona came out with a vengeance and beat up California 97-76.

Another Pac 10 game, another blowout. The only other great team in the Pac 10 Washington also had an easy time with USC defeating them 99-69.

After being down by 12 at halftime, and in a situation where they could possibly lose twice to St. Mary's in the same year, Gonzaga stormed back in the second half to win 68-63. This was an absolute huge game, and now these two teams are tied for the lead in the WCC at 6-2. I think both of these teams are a lock for the NCAA tourney, unless something crazy happens.

Ike Diogu is the best player you've never heard of. That is, unless you watch a ton of Pac 10 basketball as I do. Ike had 39 points and 10 boards in Arizona State's big win against Stanford. Ike is leading the Pac 10 in scoring, rebounding and blocks. Remember the name, because you will hear it for the next 15 years.

San Francisco might have kissed their NCAA tourney bid goodbye tonight with a bad loss to Pepperdine. UTEP had an even worse loss against Tulsa, and the outcome of that game makes me think that the WAC might just be getting 1 bid into the tourney.

In the crowed conference of the Ohio Valley, I chose on Monday that Tennessee Tech would be the team representing the conference in the tourney. Well, Tenn. Tech just played the other top team Samford and lost 64-57. There is now a 3 way tie for the conference lead as Murray State, Tenn. Tech, and Samford all are at 7-2 in conference. The conference is definitely up for grabs.


Matt



The Bubble Watch is Back

2005-02-03T15:31:49.163-05:00

The bubble watch is back. ESPN.com profiles all the teams that are on the bubble in terms of getting an NCAA tourney bid. If your team is down by 3 with 30 seconds left and has the ball, you as a coach CANNOT get a T from the ref. That is just plain stupid. Well it happened last night in the Nova vs. UConn game. After Jay Wright got hit with the T, Rashad Anderson from UConn hit 2 free throws to put UConn up by 5. Game Over. Here is what Wright had to say about the game, "I shouldn't have put our team in that position," Wright said. "I just feel bad for my players because they played so hard. I take responsibility for it." Arizona fans all around the globe are wishing Will Bynum had never transferred to Georgia Tech. He has stepped up huge while B.J. Elder has been injured and hit the winning 3 for the Yellow Jackets with 3 seconds left against Florida State last night. Last night, while watching a great night of college ball with George and Jon, I thought it might happen. Yes, the unthinkable was actually a possibility. Savannah State was only down by 7 at halftime to Florida A&M. Then, the second half came. And that second half ended the same way it has all season for Savannah State as they lost their 25th game of the year. Only 3 more chances for this team to win a game this year. Is there any question that J.J. Redick is the best shooter in college basketball? Redick had 33 points, played all 40 minutes and nearly single-handedly brought his team back late in the game. Coach K had this to say about him, "His desire to win could not have been exemplified in any higher fashion, he was magnificent," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said, referring to Redick. "His demeanor was the key to bringing us back." When all was said and done, Wake Forest escaped with a 92-89 win, it what was a marvelous game. The Demon Deacons were lucky that Redick did not hit the shot at the buzzer that would have sent it into OT. You could see it on the players for Wake Forest, as they breathed a sigh of relief after Redick's shot bounced off the backboard and rim. UAB crushed Marquette last night by the score of 86-63. This was a very important game for both teams, as they are both on the bubble. Although Marquette has 3 easy games coming up, I'm not sure if they have enough to make the tourney. In the Big Ten, Minnesota beat Michigan 71-54, and Ohio State beat Purdue 75-65. Minnesota is now 15-6, and 5-3 in conference, while Ohio State is 15-7 and 4-4 in conference. Minnesota has the easier record down the stretch, and these two teams meet on Feb. 19 and the winner of that game could very well likely be tourney bound. Georgetown continues to improve this season, and won last night against Seton Hall 61-51. Georgetown now stands at 14-6, and 6-3 in the very tough Big East. G Town needs to win at least 2 of the games they have against Villanova, Notre Dame, and Connecticut in the next month to be a lock for the tourney. With only 3 teams seeming to a lock for this years tourney, the SEC is definitely having a down year. So will they get a fourth team? LSU, Florida, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, and South Carolina are all teams that could potentially get an NCAA berth. There are only 4 teams in the SEC that will not be making the tourney and those are Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn and Mississippi. The rest is up for grabs. Matt [...]



Bracketology

2005-02-01T16:08:48.230-05:00

Joe Lunardi from ESPN.com has his latest Bracketology column out, and Craig and Chris also have predicted the teams they feel will be in tourney over at Bracketology 101. Check out these links to compare their predictions with mine.

Will Savannah State lose every game they play this season? Their record stands today at 0-24. They have four remaining games left in their season, and if they lose them all they will only become the 2nd time in the last 50 years to lose all their games.

Pat Forde from ESPN does a conference midterm article and looks at the teams that are undefeated so far in conference play.

Top 100 prospects in college basketball, and where they are committed to attending school next year.

The Chainsaw tells you all you ever wanted to know about his undefeated teammates.

Attitude has been very important to Villanova's sucess this year.

Midsesason MVP's in the major conferences by Seth Davis.

Matt





Predicting the NCAA Tournament

2005-01-31T18:12:57.926-05:00

I am going to try and predict all 64 teams that will be making it into the tournament about a month and a half from now. Conference wins played a big role in what teams I chose, and also the out of conference schedule was a big influence as well. Without further ado, here are the teams broken down by conference, that I expect to see come March Madness.

Big East (7): Boston College, Pitt, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Villanova, Connecticut, Georgetown
ACC (6): Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Maryland, Georgia Tech, N.C. State
Big Ten (5): Illinois, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa
Big 12 (5): Kansas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech
Pac 10 (4): Arizona, Washington, UCLA, Arizona State
Conference U.S.A. (4): Louisville, Cincinnati, DePaul, Charlotte
SEC (4): Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi State
West Coast Conference (2): St. Mary's, Gonzaga
Western Athletic Conference (2): UTEP, Nevada
Big West (2): Pacific, Utah State
Atlantic 10 (2): Dayton, George Washington
Mountain West (2): Air Force, Utah
American East: Vermont
Atlantic Sun: Gardner Webb
Big Sky: Portland State
Big South: Winthrop
Colonial Athletic Association: Old Dominion
Horizon: Wisconsin Green Bay
Ivy: Penn
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference: Rider
Mid Continent Conference: University of Missouri-Kansas City
Mid American Conference: Western Michigan
Mid Eastern Athletic Conference: Coppin State
Missouri Valley Conference: Wichita State
Northeast Conference: Monmouth
Ohio Valley Conference: Tennessee Tech
Patriot: Holy Cross
Southern Conference: Davidson
Southland: SE Louisiana
Southwestern Athletic Conference: Alabama A&M
Sun Belt Conference: Arkansas State