Sweet 16: South and East Sweet 16 Picks

March 26, 2009

 

AP Photo/Matt York

AP Photo/Matt York

If you’re looking for analysis on the UCONN recruiting scandal, politely click the red “X” in the top right corner. Unlike Yahoo, I respect the sanctity of the NCAA tournament and what it means to student athletes’ futures. Publicity ploys such as these only benefit writers’ resume, at the expense of kids who’ve kept their noses clean. How anyone could take pleasure in generating distractions this time of year is beyond me.

 

Now, let’s get to my picks for tonight s games.

 

 

UConn over Purdue

 

I’ve heard quite a few analysts suggest that Purdue is capable of upsetting UCONN tonight. What the hell are they smoking? I could go into the particulars of the how this player matches up with that player, but I’m looking at this game from a motivation perspective. The lights are always bright when you reach this point in the season. However when all eyes are tuned in to see how you react to recent developments, you’re motivated to make a statement. This game will go one of two ways: UCONN runs Purdue out of the building, or Purdue loses a close one. Either way I don’t see Purdue overcoming their rebounding deficiencies.

 

Pittsburgh over Xavier

 

All week Pittsburgh has heard they would be the first #1 seed to knocked out the tournament. I can get behind that line of thinking, based off their recent tourney history. Pitt is often favored to reach the Elite Eight and Final Four, but they always play a terrible game that results in them being ousted. Sean Miller is gonna throw big body after big body at Dejuan Blair, and if he’s able to stay out of the foul trouble, I believe Pitt can squeak out another nailbiter.

 

Memphis over Missouri

 

I’m sick of hearing Digger Phelps and Doug Gottlieb go on & on about how Tyree Evans won’t be able to handle Missouri’s pressure. Did they not see Maryland press Memphis last week? Tyreke would inbound the ball and pass it off to Dozier at midcourt, or Antonio Anderson & Roburt Sallie would bring it up the court. Calipari won’t put his freshman in the uncomfortable position of trying to break a press that he’s not accustomed to seeing. Mike Anderson might’ve coached UAB when they beat Memphis in 2006. But this isn’t he same Memphis team, and Anderson hasn’t coached against a team with Memphis’s size. Darius Washington and Rodney Carney aren’t shooting shots for the hell of it, and Joey Dorsey isn’t out there losing his mind. The game might be close, but Memphis’s size and talent will prevail.

 

Villanova over Duke

 

Duke has been playing pretty good basketball since Jon Scheyer too over point guard duties, and I love the Memphis kid, Elliot Williams’s impact on the defensive end. Yet when I look at Villanova’s depth and that difficult matchup inside Dante Cunningham creates for Duke’s bigs, I have to give the edge to Villanova. Scottie Reynold and Corey Fisher’s perimeter play should give Duke’s defense fits tonight. So like most of my picks in this year’s tournament…when in doubt, go with the big East. Villanova wins a close one.

 

Hopefully we see some good games tonight. And I’ll delve into the Midwest and South regions tomorrow.

 

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March Madness: Round 2

March 21, 2009

in_a_calipari_576

If anyone’s seen my bracket, let me know. After a slow day Thursday, my brackets were toast by 11 p.m. last night. I filled out so many brackets, but the two I’m most focused on, on in the PSN Yahoo group. My “The Crunkest” bracket had 23 out of the 32 winners. That’s not terrible but when you consider that I lost two of my Sweet 16 teams, I’ll need everyone else to lose the Xavier/Wisconsin, and Cleveland St./Arizona game. Seriously, who had Cleveland St. and Wisconsin winning those games?

The second round tips off in a matter of hours. I’m anxious to see if teams like Pitt, Memphis, and Villanova can bounce back from rather shaky performances. If not, I’m screwed because all three in my Elite Eight, and two are in my Final Four. Hopefully Calipari, Dixon, and Wright chewed their guys out, and they’ll play like the great teams they are.

Anyway, here are the games I’m keeping an eye on, and how I think they’ll turn out.

3 Villanova over 6 UCLA

I haven’t been impressed with UCLA all season. They’ve been inconsistent on defense this year, and that’s unusual when talking about a Ben Howland team. If Villanova had played a better game Thursday, and this game wasn’t in Philadelphia, I could see UCLA grinding this game out until the end. Unfortunately that’s not the case. I really think this game will boil down to UCLA playing the wrong team, at the wrong time & place.

2 Memphis over10 Maryland

As a Memphis fan I was beside myself after their “too cool for school” approach to Cal St. Northridge. I don’t care if you’re the L.A. Lakers playing the Memphis Grizzlies, if you think you can win a game just by walking on the court, there’s 50-50 chance you’re gonna get your ass kicked. Talk about a bail out, that’s what Roburt Sallie did for Memphis. I didn’t think the kid had it in him. Before the season I thought he’d be the deadly sharp shooter Memphis has been looking to pair with their overly athletic team. Those expectations were never realized until Thursday so I gave up hope. Thursday’s game should serve as a wake-up call for a team that has championship aspirations.

As for Maryland, all my concerns about the matchup, went out the window after I read the Commercial Appeal’s article on Greivis Vasquez.

“If they (Memphis) played in the ACC, they’d have a losing record in the league. They’d win all their games outside the league. The ACC is tough. You can’t win games night in and night out because you have good athletes.”

 

Thank you Greivis, you’d set my mind as ease. When you kick a giant while he’s down, all you do is motivate him to rise up and swat you away. I love Memphis in this game, and I can’t wait to see Vasquez eat a nice plate of barbecued crow.

 

1 North Carolina over 8 LSU

 

Don’t hold me to that pick because I would happily accept being proven wrong. LSU really showed me something against Butler. They’re far more athletic than I had originally believed, and Marcus Thornton is a baller. I hate picking North Carolina in games like this one. LSU has long athletic players that could give Hansbrough some trouble. Like it’s been said over the past week, this game will come down to Ty Lawson’s health. If he’s able to be the explosive guard he’s been all season, I believe North Carolina could run away from LSU early.

 

Rest of the picks:

1 UCONN over 9 Texas A&M

4 Washington over 5 Purdue

2 Oklahoma over 10 Michigan

4 Gonzaga over12 W. Kentucky

2. Duke over 7 Texas

3 Syracuse over 6 Arizona St.

12 Wisconsin over 4 Xavier

3 Kansas over 11 Dayton

12 Arizona over 13 Cleveland St.

1 Pittsburgh over 8 Oklahoma St.

3 Missouri over 6 Marquette

10 USC over 2 Michigan St.

1Louisville over 9 Sienna 

Enjoy today’s games folks.


Quick NCAA Tourney Picks

March 19, 2009

The NCAA tournament tips off in a few hours, and I’m anxious to see how many of us will be throwing our brackets in the trash after the first two rounds. I personally have way too many brackets floating around the net and city so I don’t even know who I’ve picked in half of them. This has been such a bizarre year in college basketball. Last year we knew Memphis, North Carolina, Kansas and UCLA were ten steps ahead of everyone else. This time around, there’s no separation between the first, second, or third seeds. Realistically I could see a three seed sneaking their way to Detroit.

 

I’ll never deny or try to hide my allegiance to the Memphis Tigers. And since I’m pressed for time, here are my picks.

 

Teams to Watch

West Virginia

Marquette

Miss St.

VCU

 

Elite Eight

Louisville

Kansas

Memphis

UCONN

Pittsburgh

Villanova

UNC

Oklahoma

 

Final Four

Louisville

Memphis

Pittsburgh

North Carolina

 

Championship Game

Memphis

North Carolina

 

Champion

North Carolina

 

After the first round is done, check in and I’ll be going in depth on those games.


Welcome to Wade County

March 11, 2009
Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

“The Cavs could nose dive into the cellar of the Eastern Conference playoffs, or DeWayne Wade or Kobe Bryant could go on some insane 40+ point streak. But if things play out like I believe, the NBA and its fans will be crowning a new king at season’s end.” _crunkbuc4d1 1/12/09

I guess I was partially right on this one. The Cavs haven’t nose dived but D-Wade has gone on an insane streak lately. Well, it’s less of streak and more of a cluster of games. I mean, the dude has gone off in the past two months. He’s even putting up 40 points a game over his last seven. I really don’t like scoring averages, but I look them up from time to time just to keep an eye on what’s going on. In Wade’s case they’re hard to look past sometimes when every night he’s in the Sportcenter top 10, and Stuart Scott’s screaming “Booyah!” like an idiot.

What he did the other night against Chicago was amazing. I didn’t see the game live, but ESPN did a great job of recreating the moment. Seriously, D-Wade should FedEx Heat tickets to whoever put that highlight package together because it was sweet. They even included his misses in the damn thing. There was one play where he had 3 dudes trying to guard him, and he slashed through them and got to the rim. But the sickest play of that game was the last one.

Wade picked Salmons pocket, ran up the court, leaped in the air from behind the three, called his baby momma, posed for a DIME cover, added Moon to his fave 5, and then decided he wanted to hit the game winner. That’s how crazy that moment felt to me. D-Wade was Peter Petrelli and I was a civilian wondering what the hell I just saw. Come to think of it, Brad Miller must’ve thought the same thing.

AP Photo/J Pat Carter

AP Photo/J Pat Carter

Anyway, Bron Bron is still the MVP. I’m not changing my pick unless D-Wade keeps doing what’s he’s doing and the Heat get the 4th seed. That’s the only way I can see him swaying votes his way. Either way I’m gonna sit back and enjoy the show.

Props to maxamillion711.com for the clip.


The King is ready to reign over his court

January 12, 2009
The King is ready to reign over his court.

Dust off your robes and scepters; you are cordially invited to the coronation ceremony of Prince Lebron Raymone James. For years Lebron James has been referred to as “King James” despite the lacking the game which justifies the lofty title. It’s funny how times can change so quickly. After finishing 2nd, 5th, and 4th respectively in MVP voting since 2006, he has positioned himself to win his first MVP award and make history in the process.

With a little over half the season left to play, Lebron James has established himself as the front runner for the league’s most prestigious individual award. I must admit, the LBJ kool-aid was rather bitter tasting to me at the start of season. But as the Cavaliers turned on the jets and his competitors began to plunge, that kool-aid tastes as sweet as can be. The Cavs stand atop the Eastern Conference standings and Lebron’s stats line is as impressive as ever.

Heading into his upcoming game against the lowly Memphis Grizzlies, Lebron’s statistical impact can be seen on both ends of the floor. If he keeps up his current pace, he’ll finish the season with a career best in blocks (1.3), turnovers (2.9), field goal (.508), and free throw percentage (.788). He’s also on pace to average 2 steals a game, which he’s only eclipsed during his rookie season.

Many of the talking heads out there will have you believe Lebron’s improvement can be directly related to his involvement with the U.S. Olympic team. I, on the other hand, think it’s the personnel surrounding him. Danny Ferry finally got off his high horse and decided to build these Cavs with role-players who compliment the “Prince”. Over the last two seasons he’s dispatched guys such as: Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Joe Smith, and Damon Jones, while replacing them with a Ben Wallace, Delonte West, Mo Williams, and Daniel Gibson. Add in Anderson Varejao and long-time Cav Zydrunas Illgaukas and the picture becomes a bit clearer.

Log jamming the paint has been the most successful strategy for defending Lebron in the past.  Memo to the other 29 teams in the league; these aren’t the same old Cavs. Their rotating backcourt is knocking down the open shots, which may have been missed in previous years, allowing Lebron more opportunities to impose his will on the court. This new found luxury also allows Lebron to expend more energy on defense, without the added pressure of creating something out of nothing on offense. On most nights he’s assigned to the opposition’s best wing defender, and has developed a knack for blocking shots on help defense.

Given his performance thus far this season, and the fact that everyone in the media wants him as their son, it’s not out the question to think Lebron could become the first ever unanimous MVP award winner. Of course, there’s plenty of basketball still left to play. The Cavs could nose dive into the cellar of the Eastern Conference playoffs, or DeWayne Wade or Kobe Bryant could go on some insane 40+ point streak. But if things play out like I believe, the NBA and its fans will be crowning a new king at season’s end.

.

 


Yet Another Outlook on the 2008 NFL Season

September 4, 2008
   

ESPN.com

ESPN.com

 

Can you feel it…it’s almost here. Tonight, billions of households around the world will tune in to watch an event that affects the next few months for all of us. No…I don’t mean the Republican National Convention, I’m talking about the kickoff to the 2008 NFL regular season. The New York Giants begin their Super Bowl title defense against the Washington Redskins, in what could be deemed…”The Enigma Bowl”. Many fans don’t know what to think of these two teams, but will no doubt be glued to their television screens like they’re watching the Super Bowl.

 

Before the season gets off and running, I figured I’d throw out my predictions for the upcoming NFL season.

AFC Division Winners

East – New England Patriots

North – Pittsburgh Steelers

South – Indianapolis Colts

West – San Diego Chargers  

AFC Wildcard Pool

Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans  

NFC Division Winners

East -Dallas Cowboys

North – Minnesota Vikings

South – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

West – Arizona Cardinals

NFC Wildcard Pool

New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers

Getty Images

Getty Images

 

Super Bowl XLIII

Minnesota Vikings def. San Diego Chargers 27-17 

Awards

Most Valuable Player – Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota 

Offensive Player of the Year – Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota

Defensive Player of the Year – Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota

Coach of the Year – Brad Childress, Minnesota

Offensive Rookie of the Year – Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee

Defensive Rookie of the Year – Jerod Mayo, LB, New England

Comeback Player of the Year – Julius Peppers, DE, Carolina

 

Now that that’s out the way, let’s get this season off and poppin!

 

I’m not an expert, and I’ve never claimed to be one. But I am a football fan nonetheless. If you have a comment leave here.