Everyone loves an Underdog, especially come March Madness and these opening games did not disappoint. †Mercer taking out Duke is every unaffiliated fan's dream game - a true David & Goliath type of match up. †It is interesting to see that now, even the mighty Duke is falling victim†to the decay in the quality of college basketball. †As we all noted earlier, college basketball has had a major quality decline since the NBA started routinely drafting 18 & 19 year olds. †It some ways, it makes the March Madness upsets less surprising. †But who couldn't enjoy Dayton taking out Ohio State?!
In case you missed it, MLB opened the baseball season with a Dodgers - Diamondbacks game in Australia. †Kershaw pitched a strong game leading to a 3-1 victory. †First of all, it is clear that the Aussies seem to be a little confused about the game. †I really do not understand why baseball would decide to send Opening Day to the other side of the planet - who knows about it?
Next week is the REAL opeining day - and it will be time for a little forecasting for 2014. †By the way, Tanaka pitches today...think I will have to watch.
Surprise!† Itís me, Itís me, Itís your Uncle B.O.B. filling in for Sully whose hunkered down in that frozen wasteland known as Hotlanta and focusing on some Hockey probably super happy because the Bruins are doing some dominating right about now.† OK, letís get this party started before I go wheels up at 7AM because I want to rant on the dance:
Whose overrated?† Well, that would be #2 Wisconsin (40 point win over American doesnít impress me) and #4 UCLA.†
Will we get another tourney of a 15 seed punking a 2?† I see two candidates in Villanova who drew a very good Milwaukee team, and Kansas limping in against Eastern Kentucky.††
Then youíve got the 12ís and 13ís who like to rise up of late as well, and when I look at the 12ís I can make a case for all of them winning, along with two of the 13ís (New Mexico State and Tulsa).†
March Madness Ė Las Vegas.† The whining coming out of the Nevada casinos about how the brackets were set up with the matchups is mind-numbing.† Hey Vega$, you mean that for once, you wonít have an edge?† Put up and Nut up or shut up.
March Madness Ė Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.† It turns out we know a few kids who got the brains to go to Cal Poly SLO and I know they are loving life right now with their school getting into the dance.† Now SLO, donít get all Cal State Santa Barbara and burn couches and crap, just enjoy because next up is undefeated, 34-0 #1 in the region ranked and #2 in the nation Wichita State.† Uh ohÖ
OK look, Iím all for the underdog, but Cal Poly went 13-19 and you reach a play-in game because you won youíre turdament?† Letís be clear here Ė the reward for getting to the dance, especially in the smaller less recognized conferences SHOULD BE WINNING YOUR REGULAR SEASON CONFERENCE TITLE, not a conference turdament thatís nothing more than a cash grab for the city hosting it.†
Hereís the thing:† Cal-Irvine wins the Big West Regular Season Title, goes 23-11, and because they lose one game in a meaningless tournament in Anaheim, they get screwed?† Whereís the common sense here?
March Madness Ė Play-in Games.† ††NC State, Xavier, Tennessee, Iowa, in play-in games?† If they are reduced to this, they donít belong, period end of story.† These play-in games are a cop-out to take the heat off the selection committees for not including more ACC, A10, SEC, and Big 10 teams.† OK, this is utter and complete horseshit.† But, I guess Dayton gets some cash out of this I suppose.
Oh, and three of the play-in games involve the winner going to the Midwest Region?† Of all places???† The 11, 12, and 16 are decided two days before the games begin?† This is the dumbest set of logic Iíve seen. †Speaking of whichÖ
March Madness Ė Regional Game Locations.† †Games of the South Region being played in Orlando, San Diego, Buffalo, and St. Louis?†
Games of the East Region being held in Spokane, San Antonio, and Buffalo?
Games of the Midwest Region being held in Orlando and Raleigh?††††††††††††††††
Games of the West Region being held in Milwaukee?
I thought part of being a college student was that you should already know your geography.† Oh wellÖ
March Madness Ė Round 1.† OK, letís put the rantings to the side for a minute, thereís some darn good games on the first round docket:
South:† VCU/SF Austin, UCLA/Tulsa, Ohio State/Dayton, New Mexico/Stanford.
Midwest:† Texas/Arizona State, St. Louis/NC State.
West:† Gonzaga/OK State, San Diego State/NM State.†
March Madness Ė Thursday Early Game Upsets.† Right out the chute, Dayton punks Ohio State and almost immediately the debate began about why these two teams donít play in November and/or December.† Kenny Smithís response was spot on ďBecause of things like this.Ē† Iím glad the NCAA forced an Ohio State/Dayton matchup.† Now letís see if the Buckeyes want to start scheduling games.† If Iím Dayton, why should I?†
Just thinking back, how is it that anybody is surprised by an Ivy League entrant into the dance?† They've given fits and even won games in the past, specifically Princeton and Harvard.† And the worst thing for Cincinnati this year?† It was a 5/12 matchup.†
Uh, those Albany uniforms, yet they are only down six to Florida†at the half?†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
LET THE MADNESS BEGIN AND LETíS ENJOY IT BECAUSE ITíS STARTED OFF GOOD!!!
Itís Thursday again and time flies after a weekend in a hotel full youth hockey teams it was great to get back home. The kids had a blast but they got there buts kicked on the ice. They were excited about the Tournament so they had a league game Thusday Night. That they just laid an egg. It was funny they had been off for a week and a half the locker room was loud and they came out flying and then the wheels fell off that bus.
Friday early dismissal from school at noon time and than a 3 Oíclock tournament gam about an hour away. The kids were pumped †and excited but they played a team a level up from them and got smoked. After the game myself and lil Lanz checked into the hotel the kids had a ball playing all kinds of games much to the shigren of† the non hockey guests. We as did a team from White Plans NY had parents strategically placed around the hotel so they couldnít get into too much trouble. Kids probably stayed up too late to play well Saturday morning as they got the butts handed to them again.Lil lanz broke his stick which meant it was going to cost me some $$$$$. If you havenít bought a kid a hockey stick lately they start at roughly $60 bucks and go well into the hundreds and Iím sure Jeff can attest to this as well baseball bats arení t cheap either especially as the lads get a we bit older and have to use BBCore bats we are talking anywhere from $100 to $400 bucks . Even a nice wood bat will cost you at least $60 but most likely closer toa $100.
Lil lanz and I went off found a local Dickís Sporting goods Lil lanz wsanít excited about the stick selection. I wasnít excited about the prices. A local lacrosse league was signing up kids at Dicks so asked if there was a Hockey store around. The guy said 10 minutes down the street. Went there found a nice stick that was the right size and the right price on sell for &60 marked down from $80. Very similar to lil Lanzís old stick.. he loved so did the kids on the team.
The boys played for the Bronze medal Saturday Night ended up playing the same team they did on Friday. This time the boys scored first. The other team tied it in the second period and then took the lead. The boys had a bunch of chances but couldnít put another one through the pipes. If they did it would have been a shootout and they all would have gotten into that.
They had a nice ceremony after the game. The Mrs. Drove out for the 7pm game. They brought all the kids on both teams out to the blueline announced each kid by number and name. The kids got a runner up medal and a tournament T shirt and a pair of skate socks and a program oh yeah and some gatorades. It was a great weekend for the kids and maybe even a better one for the parents and maybe not so good for a few hotel guests.
A couple kids told me some lady asked them if this was a hotel or a day care. She told them she was a paying guest. The kids said we donít know we are just here to play hockey. What would you expect from a bunch of 11†and 12 year old kids..
here are few pics from the tourney
Lil Lanz receiving his medal and T
LIL Lanz changing on the fly
LIL Lanz battling for postion on a faceoff
The Boys waiting for their medals on the Blue Line
The Rules committee has a few proposals on the table. That the rule on slurs and the Nword are already in the rules and will be handled at the discreation of the on field officials.† One proposal will have kicks from the 40.wasnít there originally than to the 35, the 30 back to the 35 and now back to the 40 . That would most likely end a few return men careers because there wonít be any. Two proposals of moving extra points back to the 20 and the 25 or just let it be,† A lot of stuff about more cameras and more reviewable plays which means more advertising and longer games.
The Boston Bruins are the hottest team in Hockey right now riding a huge 10 game winning streak. They are just playing damn good hockey all the guys are pitching in . Hopefully they ride this train into the playoffs and maintain the pace.
Havenít looked at the damn bracket give me Wichita State , Michigan State, Michigan and Harvard or Crieghton or the little sisters of the poor. All I know is itís a great weekend for college hoops and may those underdogs win.
Welcome to Wednesday, Gabbers. It is officially bracket season. Iíve made my picks for our Gab bracket and my fiancťe and I did a separate bracket through CBS. Iíve never done a bracket with a significant other before. Iím interested to see if she can pick this better than I can. She has Michigan against Pitt in the title game. I believe I have Syracuse-Arizona with CBS. I intentionally picked a different bracket for the Gab league. I figure neither is going to be close, so why not try differences?
The President picked his bracket. A lot of folks are probably against Obama doing this, maybe some of you reading this are. I find it to be harmless and relatable really. I donít know why ESPN wastes his time filming his selection process each year. I would hope it wouldnít take our Commander in Chief too long to fill his bracket out. Heís got much bigger fish to fry this season.
Obama picked Florida, Lousiville, Arizona, and Michigan State as his Final Four teams. Itís a pretty clean and safe group. Obama did correctly pick Louisville to win it all last year. He was in the 74th percentile on ESPNís bracket challenge last year. I agree with the President on MSU and Arizona, but I went with Syracuse and Wichita State to round out my Final Four. I really hope the Big East can pull through in their last season.
So, weíve had a lot to gripe about in the NBA. We hope Adam Silver can turn things around, as many of us here were big fans of the NBA in seasons past. Some of us still are. My confidence in Silver was shook a little last week when he came out and said there is no ďtankingĒ in the NBA. Silver prefers to call it ďrebuildingĒ. He really canít see that teams like Philly are giving up? Or is he just trying to make a diplomatic answer? As crooked as most folks think your draft process is, being seen as condoning tanking isnít exactly a confidence booster. Iím curious to see how Silver would explain the rebuilding process to season ticket holders in Philly. (Assuming such a creature exists.)
As March draws to a close, baseball draws closer. The weather warms. People get outside again. The voice of the turtle is once again be heard in our land. Despite ESPNís rants that Millenials (my generation) are starting to make the MLS as/more popular than the MLB, folks are excited about the game. The last few season have been, IMO, great. There is parody again. Teams like the Pirates and Orioles are back in contention. While the mistakes of the steroid-era (A-Rod) are hopefully fading, young stars like Trout and Puig are coming to the forefront.†
Still, the MLB is taking something of a gamble with one of itís opening series. †The Dodgers and Diamondbacks are opening this season with a pair of games in Australia. Zach Grienke recently made headlines by saying there was ďzero excitementĒ for the Dodgers to open the season in Australia. I donít doubt it. The Dodgers loose a home series in the deal. While this is supposedly a home series, itís also around a 13 hour flight. There is reason for concern.
MLB stands to learn from the NFL. The NFL has itís yearly games in London. I havenít heard any players glowing about the experience. Iím sure GMs and coaches alike cringe when they see their teams scheduled for the game, especially if they are the ďhome teamĒ. Thatís money out of your cityís pocket. I donít know how popular the games are in London, but they seem to fill the stadium, though much of it is probably corporate seats.†
Bottom line on exhibition games, overseas is too far during the season. You can do pre-season stuff over seas. Thatís fine. The games that matter, on the other hand, should be at home. Giving away home games is not any sort of advantage. If you want internationals, make it something close: Mexico, non-Toronto Canada, Dominican. Going over an ocean is a bit much to ask of players and the fans trying to follow their home team.
Speaking of the D-Backs, they will be the latest team to break the $25 hot dog barrier. They will unveil an 18-inch corn dog stuffed with cheese, bacon, and jalapenos and served with fries. Hell, it should come with a beer at that price.
Well, thatís it for this week. Thanks as always for stopping in. Anyone else find themselves watching the Marvel movies special on ABC last night? It had a lot of juicy tid bits about upcoming movies. One that Iím pretty excited for is Guardians of the Galaxy. Itís a bit of a stretch as most people probably havenít heard of this group. If you havenít seen the trailer by now, check it out. Let me know, would you see it?
Before I get started, more birthday greetings...this time to my mom. Yes her birthday is one week after her granddaughters. Mine coincidentally was 11 days after mine...but still. Happy Birthday... Now on the the final spec tally...
Well the bids have been issued 68 teams now know where their road to the Final Four starts at, and while many wont get out of the first weekend and first city they dream of being this years Florida Gulf Coast or Wichita State, every player on every team dreams of making that one big shot that will be remembered for ages. This is where 286 teams wish that they were, holding one of the golden tickets to the NCAA tournament.
Lets review the spec. I got 59 of the 68 teams correct. There were some that got the shaft, by not getting a bid. There were some that got bid that didnít (in my opinion) didnít deserve it but here is the final tally.
Incorrectly Forecasted as out: NC State Skinny on the ACC:†I thought the Wolfpack didnít do enough to get in, but apparently the selection committee thought that they did but sent them to Dayton to play in the 11 seed play in game.
Projected Bids: 5, Teams selected: 6
Atlantic Ten Conference Class- Major
Correctly Predicted: Saint Louis, George Washington, UMass, St. Joes, Dayton, VCU
The A-10 Spec is:†Got them all. The wonks whine about Dayton but they deserved it. Coach K knocked the validity of the
All-American Spec:†SMU got the shaft! 23-9 and ranked but not sent to the tourney. The Mustangs got royally hosed. The American is already looking like the bastard stepchild of the conference, defending champ Louisville who steamrolled through the conference tourney gets a 4 while regular season co-champ Cincy not only gets sent west as a 5 faces a tough Ivy League champ Harvard.
Correctly Predicted : Providence
Going: Creighton, Xavier, Villanova
Big East Skinny:†Four projected and four going, though like I said Xavier was sweating it till they were announced in the 11 seed 1st round.
Projected bids: 4
Big Ten† Conference Class-Power
Correctly Predicted: Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State
Incorrectly Forcasted as out:Iowa
The word on the Big Ten is:†Iowa gets in??? Are you serious? The committee contradicts itself by saying finish strong but awards a bid to an Iowa team limping to the finish line. I donít think that they deserved a bid and doubt that they will get out of Dayton. †
Big Ten Championship Michigan State vs Michigan Saturday 3:30 (CBS)††Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
Projected Bids:†5 Actual Bids: 6
Big 12 Conference Class-Power
Correctly Projected: Iowa State, †Kansas, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State Skinny from the heartland:††The Cyclones lead 7 teams into the dance, West Virginia wasnít really going to make this crowded bus.
Projected but not selected: La. Tech Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec:†The Hurricane got the only bid and I was stunned to see that the only bid. I think that La. Tech should have gotten a bid
Projected Bids:†2 Actual Bids: 1
Missouri Valley Conference Class-Mid Major
Clinched: Wichita State
Missouri Valley Skinny: The Shockers got the #1 seed
Missouri Valley Conference Champions:†Wichita State
Mountain West Conference Class-Major
Correctly Projected: New Mexico, San Diego State Spec from the Mountains:†There were no surprises here, the Lobos and Aztecs were getting bids and everyone knew it.
Spec from the left coast:†The loss to the Bruins didnít cost the Wildcats their #1 and my gut feelings on Arizona State and Cal being in and out respectively rang true.
Pac-12 Conference Championship Key Games:†UCLA vs Arizona Saturday 6p (FS1)††
†MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
Southeastern† Conference Class-Power
Going: Florida, UK
Incorrectly Forecasted as out: Tennessee Spec is Down South:† The SEC sent three I think to keep the powerful SEC contingent happy. Tennessee really didnít deserve their bid
Projected Bids:†2, Actual Bids:3
West Coast† Conference Class- Mid Major
Incorrectly Forecasted as out: BYU West Coast Spec:†BYU getting a bid was a shock, I really didnít think that they had the resume to get a bid.
West Coast Conference Champions: †Gonzaga
Projected Bids: 1
The following conferences sent their champions as the lone representative from their respective conferences and (projected Amer. East (Albany), Atlantic Sun (Mercer), Big Sky (Weber State), Big South†(Coastal Carolina). Big West (Cal-Poly), Colonial (Delaware), Horizon (Milwaukee), Ivy (Harvard), MAC (Western Michigan) , MAAC (Manhattan) , MEAC (NC Central), Northeast (Mount St. Maryís), Ohio Valley (Eastern Kentucky) , Patriot (American), Southern (Wofford), Southland (SF Austin), Sun Belt (Georgia St.) , Summit (North Dakota St.), and SWAC (Texas Southern) and Western Athletic (New Mexico St).†
Now in the words of Kevin BaconÖ
The Hoodwood†returns in its full glory with thoughts on the Sweet 16 next week. Until Next Post fellow sports fans!