03.25.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by nvr1983 on March 25th, 2008

We’re working on Sweet 16 previews right now, but figured that we should appease our eager readers with some interesting news from around the country, which you may have missed with MLB’s Opening Day in Japan taking all the headlines (it certainly did in Boston).

  • SEC to repay fans who were unable to use tickets: Tornado-related ticket repayment: $2.5 M. Winning a 4 games in 4 days including a doubleheader before running out of gas in the NCAA tournament: Priceless.
  • Sweet 16 Thoughts: RTC favorite (and Duke ’92 grad) Seth Davis chimes in with his thoughts on the regions. We found his analysis of potential Oklahoma State coaches (Bill Self and Billy Gillispie) particularly interesting. Like Davis, we don’t think the Cowboys will get either of them, but it begs the question of how much money Boone Pickens is willing to put into the program?
  • Kansas State coach expects Beasley to enter NBA draft: In other news, Duke is not expect to fire Mike Krzyzewski. . .
  • Chris Lofton has a minor leg injury: We don’t think this will have much of an impact on Thursday against Louisville, but it is something to look out for given Tennessee’s point guard difficulties.
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Late Introduction & Weekend Thoughts

Posted by rtmsf on March 17th, 2008

By way of a late introduction, we wanted to thank our buddy N-Bug for his detailed postings this past weekend on the various conference tourneys and bracket analysis.  We’ve been insanely busy with our real job(s), and haven’t been able to do much more than catch the occasional game and periodically watch Bob Knight get molested by Digger.  Somebody should call an Amber Alert on Digger and just get it over with – that dude is creepy.  As for Knight, we figure that one of these times where Digger is busily groping his arms and shoulders, he’s going to snap and dispose of Mr. Phelps in the nearest wastebasket.

Anyway, here are a few thoughts on the weekend games and brackets.

  • That tornado situation at the SEC Tourney in the ATL was crazy.  We were watching it live and the rumbling locomotive sound for anyone who grew up in flyover land (we did) was unmistakeable.
  • By the same token, penalizing Georgia/Kentucky by making it play two games in a single day, and further limiting the fan access to school administrators and families at the Alexander Coliseum was a total bush league maneuver by the SEC.  Does anyone think this would have been the same response (no fans) had the SEC football championship game been interrupted by a natural disaster?  No freakin way.
  • Props to Georgia and Dennis Felton though for sticking it right back up the SEC’s ass by winning three games in about 27 hours.
  • Seth Greenberg’s diatribe about whether the Hokies were one of the best 65 teams in America has been debated endlessly already.  Clearly, they’re one of the best 65, but that’s not the important measure.  They needed to be one of the best 34 at-large teams, and it’s arguable whether they were.  Then his follow-up response yesterday was pure idiocy, which N-Bug eloquently captured.  It’s about the “experience,” Seth?  If it’s really about the “experience,” then most of your players already got to have the “experience” last season; whereas South Alabama’s and St. Mary’s players will get that “experience” this time around.  What a joke.
  • Also can’t believe he brought up the garbage bowls at all, as if any but a handful of bowls are on par with the NCAA Tournement.
  • What is it about Pitt in the Big East Tourney?  They completely outmuscled and outhustled the Hoyas all over the court on Saturday night.
  • UNC, UCLA, Kansas, Wisconsin.  Pretty much all chalk in those tourneys.  Most likely second-round loser?  Wisky.
  • Who else thought Bob Knight was ready to rip into Vitale for the mere mention of him returning to Indiana?  We’re not sure whether Knight is on some gag order as a result of his settlement with the school, but his eyes told the tale.  He was livid, and he quite obviously sees Vitale and Digger as little more than failed coaches turned circus clowns.  He seems to respect Hubert Davis and Jay Bilas, though.  Maybe it’s a players/coaches thing.
  • Easiest bracket is the West, with UCLA only facing a serious threat from UConn, depending a) on whether the Huskies can avoid losing in the first two rounds; and b) which UConn shows up (which largely determines the first point).
  • Toughest bracket is the East, with UNC potentially facing an Indiana team with enough talent to knock them off in the second round (think: UNC 2000?), an explosive ND squad, and either Louisville or Tennessee potentially in the regional finals.  Any of those three teams are F4-worthy.

Final thing for now – thanks again to N-Bug for helping out and also setting up the Yahoo Bracket for RTC.  Be sure to sign up by Thurs. morning.

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Night in Review: March 14, 2008 (Part 1)

Posted by nvr1983 on March 15th, 2008

I am not sure what to call this column because I don’t want to steal rtmsf’s “After the Buzzer” title and it’s too damn early to think straight. If you have any clever ideas for a title, leave a comment and I’ll consider it. I’m breaking this into multiple parts because it would take me roughly the entire day if I tried to do this for every conference tourney. I’ll try to recap the major conferences with more emphasis on the games I actually saw. Since there is just too much stuff going on for one man to cover (thanks rtmsf), some people will get the short end of the stick (apologies in advance to the Big West Conference fans). If you want to add your 2 cents on these games or the ones I skip over, feel free to leave comments on them.

Onto the games/tornadoes. . .

– Obviously, the big story of the night as the Worldwide Leader told me this morning was the tornadoes/storms that delayed the SEC Tournament (and probably destroyed a few homes and various other buildings). I didn’t get to see much of the game because of other commitments (read: much better games were on), but the finish of Mississippi State-Alabama game was ridiculous. I caught the end of regulation as Alabama’s Mykal Riley hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer that hit every part of the rim and bounced off the backboard before falling through. With the game going into OT, the really weird stuff as the roof tore and the building began to shake. After a hour-plus delay, play resumed and MSU won 69-67 as Riley couldn’t work his magic again at the buzzer at the end of OT. We would say more, but we were already on FSN watching the battle of LA. If anybody who was in the Georgia Dome when this all went down, we would be interested in hearing about it. In other SEC news, Tennessee survived a scare and maintained its bid for a #1 seed as Chris Lofton hit a 3 with 11.4 secs left to give UT an 89-87 victory over South Carolina in Dave Odom’s final game as coach of the Gamecocks.  In the other game of the day, Arkansas beat Vandy 81-75. I didn’t see any of this game (not even the highlights), but I will just point to the HUGE edge for the Razorbacks on the boards (43-20 or 45-24 depending on whether you believe the box score or AP article).
– Play resumes today as the delayed UGA/UK game will be played at noon ET at Georgia Tech. After that, UT and Arkansas will play in thee first at 6 PM. MSU and the winner of UGA/UK will tip at approximately 8:30 PM. This obviously puts the winner of UGA/UK at a huge disadvantage as they will have to pull an Ernie Banks, but in the end I don’t think it will matter. UK is pretty much guaranteed a spot in the tournament and UGA won’t be making the tournament now that players can’t take a Harrick Jr. basketball class. The picks here are UK, UT, and MSU. Yeah, I’m going chalk and I briefly considered taking the Razorbacks, but I’ll go with UT waking up and taking care of business.

– Normally, I would give more coverage to the most hyped conference in the sport, but this year the conference is UNC/Duke and a bunch of nobodies. So here’s a quick recap of the games: UNC wasn’t firing on all cylinders, but beat FSU, 82-70 (Psycho T chipped in 22 and 6); Duke survived a weak stretch with the lead falling to 52-50, which they are prone to have given the way they play, but won 82-70 (not a typo); Virginia Tech and Clemson both won handily. I don’t even have to look at the match-ups to tell you my predictions: Duke and UNC.

– Big 12: I’ll give them more billing on my recap tomorrow, but there was not much that was noteworthy yesterday. Recap: Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas A&M won. Beasley’s 25 and 9 wasn’t enough to lift KSU over TAMU, but KSU still should be in the NCAA Tournament comfortably given the way other bubble teams have performed. Another conference with 2 really strong teams followed by mediocre teams so the picks are Texas and Kansas
– CUSA: Memphis won to reach the finals where they will play Tulsa. Obviously, Memphis is the pick here.
– Atlantic 10: This was actually pretty big news for bubble teams as #10 Xavier lost to St. Joe’s in the semis. St. Joe’s will play Temple for an auto bid. This is particularly important because it means that St. Joe’s can give the conference its 3rd team in the tourney if they can beat Temple. Xavier is guaranteed with Temple and St. Joe’s a good shot regardless of whether or not they win the tournament. I’m going with Temple to win tonight.

I’ll be back later with a recap of the Big Ten and Pac Ten.

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