Tag Archives: March Madness

Roy and Coach K rocking out… together?

Just when I thought I’d seen it all, what comes across the screen?

Wow. Coach K jamming on guitar? In his undies?  Really?  And with Roy Williams (and Bob Knight and Rick Pitino) sans pants, no less.

I thought Michael Phelps rocking with A-Rod, Tony Hawk and Kobe was the peak of ridiculousness this campaign could hit:

Wrong!

What stomachache-inducing combo will DDB (and H.S.I. Productions) come up with next?

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Sweet 16 notes

Big East continues domination

In an otherwise unexciting tournament, one storyline has emerged: the Big East has been unstoppable.  Five of the Sweet 16 teams were Big East squads: No. 3 Villanova, No. 3 Syracuse, and a trio of No. 1 seeds: Louisville, Pitt and UConn.  Now only 12 teams remain (six of the eight games have been played, Kansas-Michigan State and UNC-Gonzaga are playing now).  The Big East will have four teams representing the conference in the Elite 8, as only Syracuse was eliminated this round.

In other news seeds 1-3 in every region advanced to the Sweet 16.  Yawn.  The only two “exciting” seeds, No. 5 Purdue (is that even exciting?) and No. 12 Arizona, were dismissed last night and tonight respectively.  If Gonzaga falls to UNC, the Elite Eight will be populated only by 1, 2 and 3 seeds.

Naismith POY finalists announced

Midway through the first half of tonight’s early games, CBS announced the four finalists for men’s college basketball’s Naismith Player of the Year.  The candidates?  Three forwards and a center: Blake Griffin (Oklahoma), Tyler Hansbrough (UNC), DeJuan Blair (Pitt) and Hasheem Thabeet (UConn).  While I don’t debate the talent of these players, there is one very noticable finalist that made me think, why is he in there?

Though undoubtedly a gifted player, I disagree with Tyler Hansbrough place among those considered for this year’s award.  Though he picked up just about every player of the year award offered last year, I don’t think that warrants his inclusion among this year’s finalists.  In my opinion, he’s not even the best player at North Carolina this year (his teammate Ty Lawson picked up ACC Player of the Year honors).  Was Hansbrough the ACC POY runner-up?  No, actually Florida State’s Toney Douglas was.

I’m not arguing that Hansbrough isn’t among the 10 top college players in the country.  I just don’t think he’s #1, this year.

As a Texas alum it pains me to say this, but I think the Naismith Award should go to Blake Griffin.  Averaging 21.9 points and 14.3 rebounds per game, Griffin is a beast under the basket.  He doesn’t just get double-doubles, he averages double-doubles.  And playing in this year’s tough Big 12, no less.

I’d be OK with Blair or Thabeet winning the award as well, but I think Griffin has been the most consistent all season.  Seven-foot-three center Thabeet had an impressive year, but was lackluster in his team’s two losses to Pitt, arguably the most important two games of UConn’s regular season.  Blair had a great season as well, but was streaky.  He really hit his stride towards the season’s end.  Blair dominated his first regular season matchup against Thabeet, but in Pitt’s second win against UConn, Sam Young (Blair’s teammate that averages 18.9 points of his own) was the one who took care of business.
Tourney’s ugliest unis unveiled

For those who hadn’t had the opportunity to see much Big 12 action this year, last night’s Missouri-Memphis game was a rude awakening.  What was the unwelcome disturbance?  Mizzou’s jerseys.

How bad can they be, you ask?  Bad enough to harken comparisons to Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard.  A “lovely” hue, I tell ya.

I’ll let you decide for yourself:

mizzou-unis1“Do you like your mustard spicy?”
“Ohhhhh yeah!”

Photo credit: The Charlotte Observer

Sadly, since Missouri is a No. 3 seed, it’s very likely they’ll be wearing these jerseys the rest of the way.  Who’s up next for the Tigers of Columbia?  No. 1 UConn.  With any luck Mizzou’ll be sent packing after tomorrow night’s next matchup.  I’m not necessarily rooting for UConn, I’m just rooting for my eyes to stop burning.
Why does that guy on Oklahoma wear long sleeves under his jersey?  Isn’t he burning up?

Well I know in my basketball playing days (I played, I never said I played well), I usually was a sweaty, disgusting mess.  Maybe I didn’t lose 10 lbs. every time I played like I hear that Shaq and other NBA players do, but let’s just say if I played, my jersey wasn’t dry at the end of the game.

I’ll stop with those gross details now.

Well all tournament I’ve been wondering, why does Oklahoma’s #5 (I’ve since found out his name is Tony Crocker), wear long sleeves under his jersey?  As an ex-player I could never envision any circumstance when I’d want to have more clothes on while playing an indoor basketball game.

Well it turns out Crocker has “a condition that slows his ability to stay warm,” according to the Tulsa World. Check out more commentary on it here (just be sure to ignore Anonymous’ ignorant comments).

tony-crocker-sleeves1Photo credit: Tulsa World

Coach K versus Obama

As you may or may not have heard last week, Duke’s coach Mike Krzyzewski was less than pleased to hear that President Obama wasted valuable time to fill out a bracket.  Who was in his Final Four?  Not Duke.  And even worse, he had Carolina winning it all.

Really Coach K, is that why you’re mad?  Because to me it just seems you’re upset that the President didn’t pick your team, and even worse, chose your archnemesis to win it all.

Some argue that Coach K was just joking, but it didn’t seem that way to me.  I’m pretty sure his “really the economy is something he should focus on” jab seemed more out of disgust than a light-hearted jab at an old pal.

Well, as it turns out, it was a pretty wise decision on Obama’s part not to pick Duke for his Final Four.  He actually had them going out in the Elite Eight round, one round further than they actually did.  Villanova blew out Duke last night, 77-54.

coach-kThe face of a coach that should spend more time getting his team to the Final Four instead of judging political officials who fill out brackets. Zing.

Photo credit: The Boston Globe

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ACC thoughts

Even though I’ve liked past Maryland jerseys better, I love that their jerseys incorporate Maryland’s flag.  (I think South Carolina’s palmetto flag edges Maryland’s design for the country’s best state flag.)  I was not, however, a fan of their alternate yellow home jerseys, though I believe they only lost once this season while wearing them.

maryland-flag-jersey
Left: Maryland flag,  Right: past Maryland jersey, with yellow-and-black piping, mimicking the Maryland flag

I think it’s awesome that Adrian Bowie plays for Maryland, considering that Bowie, Md is one of the state’s largest cities.

I also like that Missouri native Tyler Hansbrough chose to play basketball for North Carolina.  It’s pretty fitting, considering the state already has a Greensboro (where UNC is playing its first two rounds of NCAA tournament games), Goldsboro, Asheboro, Tarboro, Roxboro, Roseboro, Wadesboro and a Bladenboro.  Hansbrough just sounds like another North Carolina town.

By the way, Maryland tore Cal up in the second half.  Watch out for those No. 10 Terps!  And UNC broke into triple digits with its 101-58 win over Radford.

On a non-ACC note, UConn trampled all over Chattanooga, winning by a whopping 56 points!  The Huskies won 103-47 with associate head coach George Blaney at the helm while ailing head coach Jim Calhoun recouperated.

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And we’re off!

It’s the most wonderful time of the sports year!  Are you watching the games?  Did you fill out a bracket?  Have you bragged about your superior picks to your friends or smack-talked yet?  If not what are you doing?

Only three games have been played so far, and no upsets  yet.  But No. 2 Memphis encountered some difficulty en route to beating No. 15 Cal State-Northridge.  Though Memphis won 81-70, but it took until eight or so minutes from the end for Memphis to take the lead in the game for good.

No. 9 Texas A&M beat No. 8 BYU soundly 79-66, repeating the No. 9 Texas A&M over No. 8 BYU win in the first round of the NCAA tournament a year ago.

No. 8 LSU defeated No. 9 Butler in an exciting matchup.  Early foul trouble for Butler’s star Matt Howard combined with turnovers made the game look like a potential runaway for the Tigers in the first half.  But the Bulldogs came roaring back and the teams exchanged leads throughout the second half.  LSU won the battle 75-71.

Now I’m alternating between the No. 5 Purdue – No. 12 Northern Iowa game and the No. 1 vs No. 16 matchup between the North Carolina Tar Heels and Radford Highlanders.  The Tar Heels started the game on a tear, scoring their first basket three seconds into the game.  Many have talked about how UNC has a virtual home game, but unbeknownst to many, Radford only had to travel 123 miles from southwestern Virginia for the game in Greensboro.

Tyler Hansbrough just shot and made two foul shots, passing Duke’s J.J. Redick as the ACC’s all-time scoring leader.  How appropriate that Hansbrough surpassed Redick at the foul line.  Hansbrough seems to be a permanent fixture there, and Redick was known for his over 90 percent free throw average throughout his career.

UNC leads 30-18.  Purdue leads Northern Iowa 32-20 at halftime.  No. 1 UConn and No. 16 Chattanooga just tipped off and the Huskies lead 16-8.  UConn’s coach Jim Calhoun has fallen ill and is not coaching the team in today’s matchup.  No. 10 Maryland just tipped off against No. 7 Cal as well and the Terrapins lead 22-21.

Back to NCAA Thursday Funday.

Want a peek at my bracket?  Check it out here, and feel free to make fun of my picks in the comments section!  I’m 3-1 so far (if you count Morehead State winning the play-in game); I picked the Butler upset that fell short.

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The Best Free Show Everyone Missed

Last night I had a chance to see The Roots play at the UT campus for 40 Acres Fest. I had my doubts about giving up a night of Final Four action, but free live music five blocks from my apartment will certainly get my attention.

Despite conflicting with one of America’s favorite sporting events, thousands showed up to see the show. The spectators were treated to The Roots’ own brand of experimental hip hop. They played a great set and even integrated beats from “This is Why I’m Hot,” “Sexyback,” and “Jungle Boogie.” I loved whenever the entire band would dance together in a choreographed routine, but the highlight for me was the endless energy of the tuba player. Despite lugging around this enormous instrument for the duration of the show, he always radiated his enthusiasm in his dancing while he played. The Roots definitely put on a memorable show.

In hoops action, Memphis defeated UCLA by 15 and Kansas beat UNC by 18. It has been a fitting Final Four to end what has easily been my worst bracket-picking job of all time. Like everyone else, I doubted Memphis, and was once again proven wrong. Though after seeing the Tigers manhandle the Longhorns last week, I can’t say that the outcome of the Memphis-UCLA game was a huge surprise. As for Kansas, I’m still upset about Davidson losing to them by 2 in the Elite 8. Does this mean Davidson would have beat Carolina by 19 if they made that 3-pointer at the buzzer? Could you imagine, with all the UNC fans cheering so fervently for Davidson in the opening rounds?

I guess this means my personal “Kansas rule” will have to be revoked for March Madness Bracket ’09 and beyond. For those of you who don’t know, after several years of Kansas choking in the tournament and screwing up my bracket, I decided to institute a “Kansas rule” where I didn’t allow the team to proceed beyond the Sweet 16 in making my selections. After two or three years of this working beautifully, the Kansas rule (as well as all of my personal bracket-picking rules this year) has blown up in my face. Which means next year I’ll put them in the Final Four, and an unknown team like Bradley will knock them out in the first round again, devastating my bracket and leaving me cursing.

Revised final prediction: Memphis beats Kansas 78-66 in the final. Take that with a grain of salt.

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Opening Day at the Nationals New Stadium

Tonight the Washington Nationals christened their brand new ballpark. Having lived in DC the past two years, witnessing the past two opening days in person, and watching 20-plus games at old RFK, this game certainly piqued my interest. It also didn’t hurt that the Nationals opened up against my beloved Atlanta Braves.

Based on all I could see radiating from my TV set, the new stadium is an amazing upgrade from the personality-lacking RFK. Food venues looked decent, the field didn’t show the evidence of splitting duties with a soccer team, and on the whole the stadium looked like a great place to enjoy a night or afternoon of baseball (perhaps this was aided by a 40,000+ crowd on hand). I can’t wait to catch a game there the next time I’m in the area.

I’ve yet to see a quality photo of the finished stadium as yet, but this might give you a good idea:

Picture source: The Ballparks of Baseball website
http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/future/wash751.jpg

Now that looks like a real ballpark. Eerily similar to the Braves’ own Turner Field… Apparently the Nats’ new home offers views of the Capitol and National Monument as well.

Sadly, the Braves lost 3-2… I didn’t have the chance to see much of the game, but I did see the Braves come from behind in the top of the 9th to tie it up 2-2 on a passed ball, but this excitement was brief. In the bottom of the inning Ryan Zimmerman hit a walk-off homer to make the inaugural day memorable for Nats fans. At least Zimmerman is a UVA baseball alum, so that lessens the pain.

Overall it’s been an abysmal day for teams I like… Texas lost by almost 20, and won’t be joining the Final 4. Also, Davidson lost by 2 to Kansas, ending the awe of the nation. We will now be “treated” to a Final Four with four #1s, which has never before happened. I don’t know what angers me more, how dull and uninteresting that makes next weekend or that millions of basketball idiots across the country who make picks solely on the basis of seed are slaughtering me.

For the record, I picked two of them, UNC and UCLA. My final is UNC over UCLA.

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The Yellow C in UCLA

What’s up with the yellow C in UCLA on the Bruins basketball jerseys? I’ve been wondering this for weeks but I finally found out. It’s not to emphasize California in the school name or to demonstrate that California is the Golden State in visual form… Actually, the C is the roman numeral for the number 100, and denotes that UCLA has compiled 100 team NCAA championships, the first of any athletic program in the country. Read more here.

Now you can have this piece of trivia at your disposal the next time it comes up in conversation.

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