Tagged with "NBA"
ST Saturday Extravaganza - Spring Sports Heaven Week
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: MLB Masters Final Four NBA NHL

After a couple months of a sports desert, we finally arrive at one of great months in sports...over the next few weeks we have Baseball and all the promise of the new season, the Final Four, the Masters, the end of the NHL & NBA regular seasons and the start of the playoffs, the NFL draft and even the Kentucky Derby.  There will be no shortage of sports stories!  

This week we had Opening Day - and shown above is Bryce Harper crossing the plate with the second of his two HR performance.  It was electrifying!   The season is such a long grind in baseball, it is hard to derive much from single games or single series.  You just have to watch and enjoy the ride...something akin to a cross country road trip.  Lots to see along the way and eventually you see the Pacific Ocean and it's worth the drive.  

 

Speaking of Bryce Harper...check out this swing analysis of Harper and Babe Ruth...both front foot hitters.  I don't think anyone would dare to compare any modern day player with the uniqueness of Ruth's talents, but it is interesting to see the two swings.

The power that they can generate with there bat with their back foot off the ground is truly amazing.  I have tried to replicate the swing in the living room just to see what could be done...I just managed to break up some furniture.

 

Yankee Haters...Your Ship Has Come In!

For the first time in a very long time, the Yankees are fielding a mediocre to horrid lineup.  Yes they are injured, but they have created their own special version of hell for themselves and their fans.   They were hammered today by the Tigers after being mopped up by the Red Sox in their opening series.  They could come home from their current road trip with 2 or 3 wins for the season.   Is a last place Yankees finish possible this year?  I think so.

...And we have the race for playoffs in Apri for the NHL and NBA

OK, so the Winnipeg Jets have had no luck on the ice, so they are rolling out the Ice Bunnies to distract opposing teams.  Friends, do not be "This Guy" especially with your daughter at the game!  But I digress... the real point in that the Capitals moved into first place this week supplanting the Jets as the Southeast Division's contribution to the NHL.   The Caps are coming together as a team and are beginning to resemble the power team of a couple of years ago.  Their season really reflects the penalty imposed on teams in this shortened season where injuries to key players are magnified as are the inevitable rough spots through the schedule.  Good teams in a full season have time to right the ship...this year, the heat is on.

With that said, is there a sorrier division in hockey, or even all of sports, than the Southeast Division of the NHL?  In a league where the playoff invitation is wide open, only 1 team is going in this year and their contribution makes the playoff seedings a joke.  The Capitals would not even qualify for the playoffs, let alone the 3rd seed if standings points were all that mattered.  Crazy.  And then there is the 3 point game which is the NHL's poster child for stupidity.  How can some games be worth 2 standings points and other 3 standings points.  They should go to a 3-point must system...win in regulation is worth 3, OT & SO 2, OT loss 1...that would be fair.

 

So in the NHL, you have New Jersey and Winnipeg sinking like a stone - what about the NBA?  The East is set with their top 8 and in the West, the only undecided issue is whether the Lakers or the Jazz claim the 8th spot.  As a conspiracy theorist, I am going with the Lakers...the NBA cannot survive, or so they think, without the Lakers in the mix.  My first round playoff special has the Lakers of the Spurs setting up a deep run by the Lakers.  It's a good story right?  You heard it here first.

 

The Final Four is finally upon us...

Shouldn't that game have been last Monday?  College basketball, just like every other sport, seems to want to extend their seasons as long as humanly positive.   Listening to all the talk, I think Syracuse is the smart pick...therefore, I pick Michigan.  As much as I will be pulling for the Little Engine that Could, there is no way Witchita St. beats Louisville.   In the Michigan - Louisville final, I will again be pulling for the underdog Wolverines, but the Cardinals will be champs.

The Masters has arrived...has Tiger?

Many of you probably NEVER watch golf on TV and for good reason - it is the least interesting sport to watch this side of the paint drying finals... Behr versus Duron.  This year's Masters may be a reason to buck that trend.  If Tiger can continue his push to return to the player he once was against a field of highly motivated competition, then I am in agreement that he is Back.  I am not so sure he will pull it off, but it is hard to imagine he will not be in the mix come next Sunday.  I will be watching Thursday - Friday next week to get the lay of the land....

Here's to you YouGabber's...from the 16th Green at Augusta National (me on the right)!   See you next week!

 

 

Musings From The Hoodwood 4-2
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NCAA NBA MLB NFL

Hoodwood salutes Louisville's Kevin Ware who was up on crutches less than 24 hours after his gruesome leg injury.

Greetings from the Hoodwood, where everyones bracket has been destroyed.

College Basketball: And then there were four

You had these four teams didn’t you? No? You had three cause no one saw Wichita State. Ok, you’re bracket was a lot like the millions of others who pick a bracket and curse repeatedly when it comes apart. But I was trying to figure which one of the higher seeds would get through. I wanted to pick Michigan and did so in one of my brackets, since picking Kansas is always a dicey proposition. But look at the four teams that are heading to Atlanta they are all teams that are worth watching. Michigan with their exciting backcourt of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. You have Syracuse with their lockdown defense in their soul crushing zone that just eviscerated both Indiana and Marquette in the regionals. You have the yeoman Wichita State Shockers who have been dogs in every matchup so far this tourney but have sent Pitt, Gonzaga, LaSalle and Ohio State home wondering what hit them. And you have the blueblood of the group Louisville who went from grudging favorite to heart tugging lunch-pail squad after they rallied round their fallen teammate Kevin Ware who suffered a sickening leg injury yet was imploring his teammate all the while to win.  Four on the floor in Hot-Lanta. I think that the Cards are the best team left and wouldn’t it be ironic if the two teams left to battle it out were the teams departing from the dying embers of the once mighty Big East?

NBA: Heat’s big payback

Earlier in the season I railed long and hard about the Spurs sending their three best players home before a big game against the Heat. The Spurs were at the end of a long eastern roadie, Pop decided to send his three best players home though none of them were injured. B-Ball fans cried foul while Pop and the Spurs shrugged it off. The B-squad Spurs played the Heat tough and nearly pulled the game out which Pop played up as even more a reason why there shouldn’t be a fuss. The NBA didn’t agree fining the Spurs $250K for not putting their best squad on the floor. The Heat and Spurs are two of the NBA’s best and the Easter rematch was highly anticpated especially with the Heat ripping off one of the NBA’s longest winning streaks at 27, the Spurs looked to be one of the teams that could legitimately stop the rampaging streak. But a couple things got in the way. The Bulls handed the Heat their first loss in better than a month on Wednesday and two of the Heat’s big three sat out the game. Dwayne Wade who has been nursing a bad knee for some time and tweaked it in the loss to the Bulls and surprisingly LeBron James who asked out with a hamstring pull. Pop and the Spurs tried to play it off with mock outrage, but truth be told they were ten types of pissed. The Spurs had been playing up the match as their chance to put down the bad boy Heat and further burnish their image as the clean-cut, do it the right way team. The Heat not only ruined that, but behind the usually benign Chris Bosh’s 23 points edged the Spurs. I think that was just rewards to the Spurs whom everyone knows I detest.

MLB: Getting PAID

As the 2013 MLB season shoves off from the dock a couple big name players became big paydays. Buster Posey who overcame a gruesome injury of his own to go from hot young player to established superstar and now is getting paid like one. His 9 year $167 million deal will likely make him a Giant for the rest of his career. But that wasn’t the biggest blockbuster deal of the year or hell even the week. The Tigers locked up their ace Justin Verlander in a $180 million deal that could vest to over $200 million. I don’t want to hear shit about MLB crying poor anytime soon if they are handing out loot like this. Even though the newly moved Houston Astros entire roster is being paid less these superstars, but given their roster might not win 55 games that might not be such a bad investment.

 

College Basketball: Observations. rumors and whatnot

Former Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith didnt stay unemployed for long as he gets the head job at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders had a bit of respectabilty under Bobby Knight but after he retired and his overmatched son couldnt keep up, the Red Raiders turned to Billy Gillispie with disastrous results. He  went 8-23 in his lone season and was under investigation for how he treated his players, whicch many said the hard driving (and hard drinking?) coach had done at his previous stops. This is a bit ironic since Gillispie succeeded Tubby Smith at Kentucky after Smith left for Minnesota

The stellar career of Brittney Griner is over as Louisville raced out to a huge lead then held on for an 82-81 win in the Women Regional Semis. Griner had been the main cog on the undefeated national champion team last year and the Bears had lost but one game over the course of two seasons. Heading to the WNBA as the top draft choice of the Chicago Sky, Griner will graduate as the #2 all time scorer in women's basketball history and far and away the #1 dunker.

On a more serious note, CBSSports. com is reporting that the Pac-12 head of officials Ed Rush is being investigated about comments that he made regarding Arizona coach Sean Miller. Rush allegedly told his charges that he would give $5000 or a trip to Cancun to whoever gave Miller a technical foul during the Pac-12 tourney in Vegas last month. Wasnt it fishy that Miller got a tech arguing about a highly suspect call? Rush has been quick to deny the allegations saying that his comments were made in jest but there are just somethings that you dont joke about. It also confirms a long held suspicion by your humble scribe that some officials just have it out for some coaches. I coached an alumni-senior game at my high school a couple times and after getting rung up and then thrown out of one game managed to get techs in the next four games I was coaching in by the same ref. And he was looking to T me up every year. Now I will admit the first time I got the 2 techs I deserved them. I shoved a chair out on to the court with my foot after the ref told me to take a seat. But after that this same ref was looking at me every year for me to say something and he would hit me...quick. After the who Tim Donaghy incident, basketball just doesnt need any question of its integrity.

NFL: Romo gets paid and other observations

I read this and couldnt stop laughing. Tony Romo signed a 6 year extension with the Pokes for $106 million dollars $55 million of it guaranteed. Tony Romo who has all of one playoff career and twice has had the Pokes on the verge of winning the NFC East in the last two years and have choked it away. He got $106 Million. Are you kidding me? I think Romo is an average quarterback at best, more on the lineage of Danny White and Drew Bledsoe than Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. But Jerry Jones is convinced that Romo is the franchise and will win him a Super Bowl, I wonder what Romo has on Jerry? He has to have some kind of incriminating pics or info to get that kind of loot.

Speaking of overpaid quarterbacks, the Raiders are looking to dump their supposed franchise QB as the Carson Palmer experiment just never really seem to click. After the Raiders raised some eyebrows with a blockbuster trade with the Bengals with whom Palmer had allegedly retired from playing with, the Raiders came close to making the playoffs in 2011 falling a game short then badly regressed in 2012 with Palmer throwing bushels of interceptions and making the Bengals look like hustlers for snookering the Raiders with the trade that garnered them high round draft picks. The Raiders are finding no interested takers in Palmer for a trade and have went so far as to trade for Matt Flynn from the Seahawks. Flynn, who was supposed to start in Seattle but got beat out by Russell Wilson and rode the pine as Wilson firmly established himself as the franchise quarterback is now on his 3rd team in as many year. This in turn may have the Raiders outright cutting Palmer who has refused to take a paycut. An interested party for Palmer may be the Arizona Cardinals who are still trying to recapture the brief glory days of the Kurt Warner era...stay tuned.

Phat Dap Head Slap

Phat Dap

A couple daps on a related subject. Phat Dap to CBS for wisely not showing the replay of Ware's gruesome replays endlessly. I didnt see the injury when it happened, I had just returned home and saw that play had stopped for an injury. I thought initally that Ware had blew out his knee or had injured himself like Nerlens Noel had done. When I saw the air cast on his leg I was taken back to when Kenyon Martin of my beloved alma mater Cincinnati had broken his leg and knew it was much more on that level, but CBS only showed the replay twice right after it happened choosing to focus on his teammates horrified and devastated look. Greg Gumber of CBS stated flatly at halftime that CBS would not show the replay anymore. I had to hunt it up on YouTube see and understood why. Also dap goes to Joe Theismann, someone Ive never been fond of but knows all to well what its like to have their leg broken on national TV as his career ended after his leg was snapped on a hit by Lawrence Taylor in 1985. Theismann has reached out to Ware and has offered encouragement and is one of the few that could truly sympathize with what Ware is dealing with.

Head Slap

To Rick Reilly who decided to take Nike to task for its ad campaign for Tiger Woods who has recently ascended back to the #1 golf ranking. Reilly doesnt like the ad Winning takes Care of Everything. Reilly decided that he would be the moral police about Woods' questionable conduct during his fall from grace over the past five years. Now I grant you that Tiger is smug, condescedning and can act like a general boorish ass at time. But his private life is his own and he is back on the course winning and that should be all that matters. Winning doesnt "take care" of everything but to those that follow Woods and want him to dominate its the only thing, Ive never understood the diochotomy of the love hate relationship that the media has with Tiger, they want him to win and dominate like he did in the late 90s early 2000s but they want others to take him down from time to time. I dont get it do they want him to win or lose. I usually like Reillys writing but this article just rubbed me the wrong way.

 

That the view from the Hoodwood, until next post fellow Sports Fans!

Musings From The Hoodwood 3-26
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NCAA NBA NHL PGA FIFA

Oh Damn, another remote broken over the last few days...

Greetings from the Hoodwood where that sound you heard was the all the brackets being busted

NCAA: The Coaching Carousel spins up

The coaching carousel is usually something that starts up after the last strains of “One Shining Moment” have finished this year it seems that its already revving up before the first weekend of the tourney. UCLA axed Ben Howland after ten seasons. I remember when Howland was one of the hottest young coaches in the game. He came up as a head coach of Northern Arizona. I remember him because in 1998 he lead the  Lumberjacks to their first NCAA berth as Big Sky champs and they pushed my beloved Bearcats hard in their first round game losing by 3. Howland was a hot coaching commodity and was at the head of a lot of wish lists, but he eventually moved on to Pittsburhgh were as coach of the Panthers his star continued to rise fast, he took the Panthers to 3 straight Big East title games and winning it in 2003. Howland was on the rise and UCLA made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Steve Lavin was on the way out and Howland was charged with repairing a program that had fallen on hard hard times. He got the Bruins back to prominence within a couple years and making the first of three consecutive Final Fours in 2006. Howland was the toast of the city as the first coach since the legendary John Wooden to take UCLA to consecutive Final Fours, though the Bruins never captured a title losing to Florida in the title game in and the national semifinal in 2006 and 2007 respectively and Memphis in the 2008 semifinal.  Howland moved into 2nd in all time wins at UCLA  in 2011. But there was rumblings of a program in trouble as soon after the semifinal loss to Memphis, Howland reportedly backtracked on a recruit who was a diehard UCLA fan and had wanted to be a Bruin since his sophomore year in high school. Howland cooled on him and was trying to recruit outside of SoCal, ignoring the fertile base that had produced a number of solid players like Russell Westbrook, Arron Afflalo and Josh Shipp. His misses on recruits outside of SoCal and the ignoring of a deep recruiting base eroded their title hopes. Though the Bruins continued to make the tourney, they got housed repeatedly when they got there. The  nadir being a 20 point thrashing by Minnesota (more on them in a bit) Combine that with repeated stories that Howland’s abrasive coaching style was wearing thin on players and fans. There were an alarming number of players that were not only transferring out but starring at other programs. UCLA Dan Guerrero had decided that 10 was enough and relieved Howland of his duties.

In a move that caught some by surprise, the University of Minnesota fired their coach. Tubby Smith made the move to the Twin Cities in 2007 after 9 tumultuous years in Kentucky. Gophers alum Tony Dungy assisted in bringing Smith to Minnesota’s attention. He resigned at Kentucky to take the Minnesota job and was welcomed in the area as much as he was criticized in Kentucky. The Gophers went to the NIT in his first year and made the NCAA the following two. After an injury marred 2011, the Gophers got all the way to the NIT finals in 2012 and made the NCAA tourney this year. But Tubby was under increasing fire for his teams repeatedly playing inconsistent especially late in the season. Tubby’s laconic style must have not set well with the locals, because they were increasingly vocal about the results. Now with both Howland and Smith out, the speculation ramps up on who will be their respective sucessors. Shaka Smart is high on both schools wish lists. Smart was hired by current Minnesota AD Norwood Teague at VCU, and has a tight relationship. Also coveted by UCLA Smart is once again a hot commodity as is Butler coach Brad Stevens. Minnesota reportedly is also interested in Gopher alum Flip Saunders who was a long time coach in Minnesota with the pro Timberwolves.

NCAA: You’re gonna have to work

Im hearing the media wonks whine about, the “lack of sexy matchups” in the sweet 16. Im already annoyed. The wonks hate that a team like Florida Gulf Coast, Wichita State, and LaSalle are all still dancing. Doing the chicken dance, cabbage patch and running man while the established bluebloods like North Carolina, Georgetown, Oklahoma State all look on in horror and disgust from the outside. Guess what Wonky Wonk, you’re gonna have to work. You are going to have a few days to learn about the spunky kids from Philly who bring a combination of grit and toughness to their game. You’re going to have to learn about a team that wasn’t playing D-1 ball two years ago from a school that was founded during the 2ndClinton administration.

I mean, I admit the teams I hyped got nowhere. The MWC sent five teams and none got out the first weekend and only Colorado State and San Diego State even got wins. An A-10 team from Philly is still dancing but its LaSalle not Temple, a rugged team from the Missouri Valley keeps on dancing but its Wichita State not Creighton . Im sorry wonky wonk…you’re gonna have to work!

 

Real Musings from the Bandit…20 years has it been that long?

As I sit at my office desk here at Black Bandit Productions and Enterprises looking out the window its snowing and I think of the last few times that it has snowed in March, five years agomy youngest Princess Jazzie was born the day after Hoodwood got socked with 9 inches of snow and I clowned on the fact that people were waiting in the snowy maelstrom for a fuckin’ IKEA to open. I really cant knock it too much now since Im sitting in an IKEA office chair (shaddap!) but I digress. I see snow in March and think of my Grandma. 20 years ago I was dealing with losing her and how all of a sudden my childhood was really over. I worried for my Grampy who had been married to her for almost 47 years and wondered how I would fend for myself. I saw Jim Valvano’s now iconic speech at the inaugural ESPY awards and drew comfort and inspriration from the dying coach’s immortal words. It was almost as if I could hear my grandma saying a lot of the same things that Coach V was saying about never giving up and to live life to the fullest. I look back at it now and think where I was and what was going on. In the blink of an eye 20 years has passed I have two daughters. The NCAA tourney is still a staple of March, The Canadiens are dark horse contenders for a Stanley Cup (They haven’t won it since 1993) and when it snows like this I get wistful thinking of my grandma and the coach…a weird juxtaposition I know but hey.

 

NBA: Heat keeps on streakin’

The count is now 27, the Heat 108-94 win over the Magic keeps the Heat win streak intact. When I saw the Heat lose to the Pacers on February 1st, I didn’t think that I would be watching the last time that they walked off the court a loser. That was nearly 2 months ago. The Heat have trailed multiple times by double digits. Still just over the horizon is the Valhalla like 33 game mark that the 71-72 Lakers set. If we’re talking about the Heat next week they will have hit 30 games and they will have beaten the team that I say will take them down. The despised Spurs. I have the feeling that the NBA will twist it just enough to keep the Heat in check and further lionize their golden child team.  But if they get past that and the Knicks on April 2nd watch out.

 

PGA: Look whos back on top

Heeeeeees Back! Tiger, who dominated at Bay Hill to win his umpteenth Arnold Palmer (no rumor that Arnie is thinking of retiring the name and calling it the Tiger invitational) but his 2 stroke win gave him his 8th win at Bay Hill but more importantly it moved Tiger back to the #1 world ranking for the first since 2010 before his marital woes brought him down. Now does this mean more everyone playing for 2nd like back in the day when Tiger was winning tourneys by double digit strokes? No, hes back on top of the golf world and I think all is back right. He now has more rivals and players like Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Bubba Watson who would be able to push Tiger to stay on top. But it will be fun to see Tiger once again being the player everyone is gunning for.

 

Phat Dap

To flying under the radar, the Pittsburgh Penguins have won 12 in a row, and under the radar of the Blackhawks long unbeaten streak. The Pens have won 9 of the 12 in regulation. Say what you want about the Blackhawks, I think the Pens are more impressive. They will go for 13 wins in a row tonight against Montreal.

Also a Dap to B-Dub who you see in this slot on Mondays. B-Dub is moving on to other endeavors. It was a pleasure to have followed you, a Hoodwood salute to you!

 

Head Slap

To Costa Rican soccer who incessantly whined about losing to the US in a World Cup qualifier in the snow in Denver. The game was played with a yellow ball since near whiteout conditions were in effect. But the Americans won 1-0 and the Costa Rican team filed a protest, saying that the condition was unplayable. Gee its funny that the game was close throughout and they had a number of chances to score. FIFA is looking into the protest and if it was filed properly. Costa Rica wants the game replayed. Head Slap to a sore loser

 

Musings From The Hoodwood 3-19
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NCAA NBA Baseball

Who will cut down the nets in 3 weeks...68 teams-67 games are you ready to dance???

 

Greetings from the Hoodwood, where March Madness is in full swing…

The 68 teams have been selected and the final spec sheet results will be posted below but some thoughts on the selections and how teams were placed.

By and large I think the committee, who I think has the hardest job in sports got it right. This was a fairly easy year to prognosticate teams even without a dominant team. The so-called bubble was soft and there was a pretty clear cut delineation of who would make it and who wouldn’t. I thought some teams got the shaft though.  Lets break it down by regions. Many of the thoughts here were immediately written as the seed were being announced.

This is a copy of my live blog on my thoughts on who gets in to the 2013 tourney

Midwest Region

The overall #1 is Louisville, no real argument here. They really came on strong late. I don’t like the squad but they will be a tough out. They are in the Midwest going to Lexington no surprise.

Missouri gets in, like I said…playing Colorado State…

Oregon got a 12 desipte winning the Pac-12

Saint Louis gets a 4 but a tough draw with New Mexico State.

On the bottom of the Midwest bracket Duke gets a 2

Cincy gets a 10 facing a Creighton

Michigan State gets a 3 seed

Memphis gets a 6 seed, I was surprised to see them get in that high considering their super weak non-con sked and how they dominated the weak C-USA

Middle Tennessee gets in!  But playing Saint Mary’s! another case of putting the small teams against one another to kill each other off.  Ive long maintained that the NCAA selection committee loathes the mid-majors, they will give them high seeds but put them against a tough mid-major draw OR a tough power conference team seeded way too low.

South Region

Kansas gets the #1 in the South and goes (errr stays in) Kansas City

UNC gets a #8 seed wow…and gets Villanova…A team some thought didn’t deserve to be in

Again 2 smaller teams face each other in a 5/12 matchup with VCU and Akron

Georgetown goes to Philly as a #2 seed and faces first timer Florida Gulf Coast…a dangerous matchup

OKLAHOMA gets in??? Oh what a travesty

 

East Region

Indiana gets the #1 seed in the east and are in Dayton, which is another cake walk

Temple gets in just like I said as a 9 seed against NC State that’s gonna be a great matchup

UNLV gets a 5 but they play Cal in San Jose…that’s a virtual home game an hour down 880 from Berkeley add to boot these two teams played each other in December.

Miami got a #2 seed at the bottom of the East region

Illinois got a 7 which I think is too high against Colorado is happy to be in.

Butler gets a 6 though Greg Gumbel stumbled over the announcement

West Region (Kentucky is running out of time)

Got all four #1 seeds correct as Gonzaga gets the West #1

Pitt and Wichita State will be an interesting matchup

Again a pair of smaller teams put against one another in a pit fight Boise State and LaSalle

Ohio State goes to Dayton a virtual home game

New Mexico gets a #3 seed a bit of surprise

 

Justice!!! UK, Bama, Iowa not in the tourney while Middle Tennessee St, Boise State, LaSalle and St. Mary get AT LARGE bids.

 

 

The 68 teams now have their dance tickets…

I correctly predicted all the #1 seeds, I missed the following:  Too many in the ACC, 6 projected 4 made it. Too Many in the SEC 4 projected in but only 3 made it. In the A-10 and the Big 12 I didn’t project enough, I picked 4 and 5 made it in each conference. And Middle Tennessee stormed in out of the Sun Belt with Western Kentucky having garnered that conference’s  auto bid.

 

Spec Sheet....the final tally

Atlantic Coast
Conference Class-Power

In: Miami
Going: Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State,

Incorrect: Maryland, Virginia (out)
Skinny on the ACC: Miami got the shaft, they won the ACC regular season and conference titles and got a #2 seed like Duke who won neither and didn’t get to the ACC semis! I should have known better than to pick as many ACC teams

Atlantic Coast Conference Champions: Miami

Projected Bids: 6

Actual Bids: 4

Atlantic Ten
Conference Class-Major
In: Saint Louis

Going: Va. Commonwealth, Temple, Butler

Incorrect : LaSalle (in)

The A-10 Spec is: VCU got the shaft! They get a 5 seed but got Akron. LaSalle to my surprise got the benefit of the doubt, but they also got the shaft with playing Boise State.

Atlantic 10 Conference Champions: Saint Louis

Projected Bids: 4

Actual Bids: 5

Big East

Conference Class-Power
In: Louisville

Going: Syracuse, Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pitt ,Cincinnati, Villanova,

Big East Skinny:  All the teams I picked to go went

 

Big East Champions: Louisville

Projected bids: 8
Actual Bids: 8


Big Ten
Conference Class-Power
IN: Ohio State

Going: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin

Hoping For The Best, but will get left out: Iowa
The word on the Big Ten is: Called the cut line right on this one…Iowa got knocked out early and head to the NIT

 

Big Ten Conference Champions: Ohio State

Projected Bids: 7
Actual Bids: 7


Big 12
Conference Class-Power
IN: Kansas

Going: Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas State

Incorrect: Oklahoma (in)
Skinny from the heartland:  The Jayhawks may have very well locked down a #1 seed here. The Wildcats, Cyclones and Pokes are tourney bound, Oklahoma got a surprise (to me) nod I was sure that they would be on the wrong side of the cut line.

Big 12 Conference Championship: Kansas

Projected Bids: 4
Actual Bids: 5


Conference USA
Conference Class-Major
IN: Memphis
Hoping For The Best, but will get left out: Southern Miss
Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec: The Tigers were the only team coming out of here, just as I forcecast. Despite the OT loss, Southern Miss did not get the call.

Conference USA Champions: Memphis

Projected Bids: 1
Actual Bids: 1


Missouri Valley
Conference Class-Mid Major
IN: Creighton

Going: Wichita State
Missouri Valley Skinny:  Wichita State might have been sweating for a minute but I think that they deserved to go

Missouri Valley Conference Champions: Creighton

Projected Bids: 2
Actual Bids: 2

Mountain West
Conference Class-Major
IN: New Mexico

Going: UNLV, San Diego State, Colorado State, Boise State
Spec from the Mountains:  I got laughed at when I said that this conference deserved more bids than the SEC, sneered at when I said that they were a sneaky good conference with 4 bids on lock and deserving of 5. Lo and behold, they got 5 just as I projected. Though Boise State got a 12 play in game.

Mountain West Conference Champions: New Mexico

Projected Bids: 5
Actual Bids: 5

Pacific 12
Conference Class-Power
In: Oregon

Going: UCLA, Cal, Colorado, Arizona

Spec from the left coast:  The Ducks are quacking all the way to the dance, but really got the shaft as a #12 seed. Are you telling me that they as the auto bid as Pac-12 champs are worse than my beloved Bearcats who were more than pleased to get a bid as a 10 seed. All the teams I projected here got in. But Oregon got the poorest seed. Puzzling

Pacific 12 Conference Champions: Oregon

Projected Bids: 5

Actual Bids: 5



Southeastern
Conference Class-Power
In: Ole Miss

Going: Mizzou, Florida

Incorrect: Alabama (out)
Spec is Down South: Wellllp! I was a bit surprised that Bama was on the wrong side of the cut line, the SEC didn’t get the benefit of the doubt at all.

Southeastern Conference Champions: Ole Miss

Projected Bids: 4
Actual Bids: 3

Western Athletic

Conference Class- Major
In: New Mexico State

Hoping For The Best, But won’t get in: Louisiana Tech, Denver
Spec on the WAC: The Aggies took advantage of upsets to cruise to the title and make this a one bid conference.

 

Western Athletic Conference Champions: New Mexico State

Projected Bids: 1

Actual Bids: 1

West Coast
Conference Class- Mid Major

In: Gonzaga
Going: St. Marys
West Coast Spec: Again you laughed when I said that Gonzaga was a #1…and sneered at my confidence in St. Mary’s. But (gasp!) they both made it in though I think the Gaels got shafted heading to the play-in game in Dayton

West Coast Conference Champions: Gonzaga

Projected Bids: 2
Actual Bids: 2

Middle Tennesee of the Sun Belt garnered an At-Large Bid from the Sun Belt
There are others in the mix to be sure. the champions from the following conferences got an automatic bid:  (bids earned in bold/incorrect projections) Amer. East (Albany/Vermont), Atlantic Sun (Florida Gulf Coast), Big Sky (Montana/Weber St.), Big South (Liberty/Charleston Southern), Big West (Pacific/Long Beach St.), Colonial (James Madison/Northeastern),  Horizon (Valpo), Ivy  (Harvard), MAC (Akron), MAAC (Iona/Loyola-MD), MEAC (North Carolina A&T/Norfolk St.), Northeast(LIU-Brooklyn/Robert Morris), Ohio Valley (Belmont), Patriot (Bucknell), Southern (Davidson/Elon) , Southland (Northwestern St. /S.F. Austin), Sun Belt (Western Kentucky), Summit (South Dakota St.), and SWAC (Southern)

Thats it for the Spec Sheet now...

 

NBA: The Heat is on...23 and counting down to 33??

The Miami Heat are looking like a team that is dead on serious about defending their title. Ripping off 23 wins in a row  is now the the 2nd longest streak in NBA history. LeBron James hasn’t been the real catlalyst for this run, rather its been Dwayne Wade who has went from forgotten man on this roster to reasserting himself as a rel go-to guy for the Heat. Its funny to see James play so relaxed knowing that he can have an off night and DWade still come thru like a pimp. The latest win was a taut 105-103 thriller over the Celtics. The Heat clinched the Southeast and the question is will Heat coach Erik Spoelstra start resting players ahead of the playoffs and not worry about the streak. Looking ahead the Heat might not get another real test for another week in which this streak could be 27 games when they head into Chicago…this could get good as the Heat are the most serious challenge to the NBA’s Dimaggio-like streak of 33 wins set by the Lakers in 1971-72.

Baseball: The US comes up snake eyes at the WBC…again.

I guess there is a stigma that America’s best players have in playing in the WBC. Is it that it takes away from their leisurely warmup to the regular season. Playing high stakes games in March is not something that seems to be appealing to American players while the Latino and Asian teams seem to playing these games as if the World Series depended on it. The Americans looked like they would break out of their indifferent malaise as they rallied smartly to down Canada and win their pool when they were close to being eliminated and relegated to having to qualify in 2017. But after winning and rolling to an easy win over Puerto Rico the Amercians fell apart against the Dominicans and were ultimately sent on their way by Puerto Rico who got a measure of revenge for their earlier defeat and once again the Americans fall short of the final four and will watch yet another team celebrate a championship of their sport on their homeland. Without David Wright who was fast earning a Captain America moniker the US lacked a fearsome bat in their lineup as Giancarlo (Mike) Stanton just seemed to disappear time and time again in big money situations. You have to wonder how good the US team would be with a real pitching rotation. Like Cliff Lee, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, David Price and Zack Greinke instead of junkball…errr knuckleballer RA Dickey,Ryan Vogelsong, Derek Holland, Luke Gregerson and Gio Gonazalez.  And real hitters Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey, Josh Hamilton and Prince Fielder instead of Ben Zobrist, Eric Hosmer, JP Arenciba, Willie Bloomquist and Shane Victorino. The US had some star power with Joe Mauer, the aforementioned David Wright, Ryan Braun and the electric DP combo of Jimmy Rollins and Brandon Phillips but when Wright went down the Americans power went out and with it another WBC fail.

PHAT DAP/HEAD SLAP

Phat Dap

Most of the time I give dap to a sports figure, but I have to give dap to one of YouGab’s own. Actually the son of our own. Phat Dap to the young Beeze  who shaved his head in support of cancer patients. I did something like this a few years ago to support a friend that was battling cancer. Phat Dap to the young man who might have been unsure about his look, but to me he looks like someone Hoodwood is damn proud of.

Head Slap

To Andrew Bynum who has decided that he wont be able to go for the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers are long lamenting being a part of the the deal that sent Dwight Howard to LA, the Sixers felt like that they got the lemon or bag of beans in the deal. Bynum’s bad knees will shelve him for the whole season. The Sixers will get zero games from the talented yet mercurial big man.

 

Thats it from the Hoodwood, Im going to get ready for wall to wall basketball...until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans!


 

 

 

Musings From The Hoodwood 3-12
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: MLB NBA NCAA

Went to a Baseball game and a Hockey Brawl Broke out....

Greetings From the Hoodwood, where the locals are seeing more and more signs of spring

Baseball: Is the WBC worth the hype?

Beeze asked in the QOTD was anyone watching the World Baseball Classic or was interested. At first I wasn’t that interested but after the brawl between Mexico and Canada my interest was piqued. I was chatting with Latino co-worker and we were debating the merits of who would win between Venzuela and the Dominican Republic. Im looking at a virtual all-star game between these two teams in the WBC first round. The only thing I wasn’t digging was the interminable length of the game. If you have ever seen a game in a Latino country, its something to behold. The singing, the chanting, the seemingly continual drum beat that almost acts as a pulse of the game.  The game itself moves slowly because it seems that the managers are playing a continual chess game and pitching changes abound. The WBC excaberates this, I really couldn’t watch the entire game. But it was something I at least checked out some. And to the uniformed, baseball in Latin countries. Especially Puerto Rico is something best watched live.

The setup of the tourney is hard to follow, and with it being right at the beginning of the ramp up of the conference and NCAA tourney most of the US is really not paying attention. Where the WBC would like to style itself like a World Cup of Baseball; in the US, its not held in high esteem though a good deal of the tournament is held in the States. This quadrennial event is held in 3 US venues including one semifinal and final. So far the US is still standing in this tourney, having won their pool after losing their first game and face Puerto Rico in the double elimination 2nd round.  While a surprising Italian team will face a powerhouse Dominican squad. The US has never gotten to the final of this tournament, and Im not confident that they can get to the finale in San Francisco where Im sure that a Japanese team will be waiting.

NBA: Are the Lakers on the road to recovery?

I knock the Lakers on a regular basis but understand that like the MLB needs the Yankees to be a competitive team. The Lake Show started an anemic 17-25, and after running their first coach off 5 games into the season  and battling rumored infighting between team leader Kobe Bryant and newcomer Dwight Howard who is still not a total bet to stay on as he explores his imminent free agency.  But the Lake Show suddenly found its legs and have went 16-6 and have pushed their way back into playoff contention. Are the Lakers a title contender? I don’t think that they are, heck I don’t think that they are the best basketball team in the city…with their roomie Clippers and collegiate Bruins having a better title chance than they do.  But the if the Lakers are anything they are resilient and will be headache for any team that they face in the seasons last month.

 

Yesterday was Princess Jazzie 5th Birthday!!!!

Spec Sheet 3-6

A wild weekend indeed, there have been upsets and buzzer beaters, thrillers and stunners. And the big boy conferences all have yet to finish their regular season schedule. As the sheet goes to a daily update we change the teams statuses. Safe is just that. The teams in this heading are safe and are playing for the best seed possible. The teams that playing their way in are not totally safe but are playing well enough to merit consideration. Hoping for the Best are teams that short of a miracle tournament run are just about done. Ten teams have clinched their automatic bids, and are listed accordingly. Your humble scribe has correctly projected seven of these auto bids… Clown on Liberty’s 15-20 record all you want, the Flames are likely headed to a First Four game in Dayton but they are in the tournament nonetheless as Big South Champs. Florida Gulf Coast makes its first ever  tourney appearance as America East tourney champions.

 

 

Atlantic Coast
Conference Class-Power
Safe: Miami Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State

Playing Their Way In: Virginia
Hoping for the Best: Maryland
Skinny on the ACC: Miami clinched its first ever ACC title regular season or postseason and have the #1 seed headed to Greensboro, but the Dukies are the team to beat after punishing Carolina in front of a sullen Chapel Hill crowd. Could we see a Miami-Duke ACC title game next Sunday with a #1 seed on the line? Virginia secured a 1st round bye with a taut win over Maryland and may be just about safe. The Terrapins on the other hand are in real trouble after a late season slide they may need to get to Saturday at least to get back on the right side of the tourney equation.

Atlantic Coast Conference Championship: Mar 14-Mar 17 Greensboro Coliseum; Greensboro, NC

Key Games:  Wake Forest vs Maryland Thursday 7p (ESPNU) The fading Terrapins had better not rely on the fact that they have beaten the Demon Deacons twice, if they slip up they have no shot at a tourney bid.

Projected Bids: 5

Atlantic Ten
Conference Class-Major
Safe: Va. Commonwealth, Saint Louis, Butler

Playing Their Way In: Temple

Hoping For The Best: LaSalle, Xavier

The A-10 Spec is: St. Louis will head to the Barclays center in Brooklyn and the A-10 tourney as the top seed after steadily pulling away from a fading LaSalle squad. While VCU and Butler are way safe. Temple just went safe after routing the Rams in front of a rabidly happy home crowd and a national TV audience who is getting a glimpse of how dangerously good this team is.

 

Atlantic 10 Conference Championship: Mar 14-17 Barclays Center, Brooklyn

Key Games: St. Joseph’s vs Xavier Thursday 6:30p (NBCS) The Muskies need to string together wins in Brooklyn to play bid stealer.

Projected Bids: 4

Big East
Conference Class-Power
Safe: Syracuse, Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pitt ,

Playing Their Way In: Cincinnati, Villanova,

Hoping For The Best: Providence
Big East Skinny:  The Hoyas blasted the Orange in front of happy home crowd in DC and will head to MSG as the #1 seed. There are plenty of safe teams here, Cincy isn’t totally rock Safe safe, but beating Providence will further that end. The Friars took a tough loss against UConn and have more or less faded into a win it to get in it Also the badly fading Johnnies who lost a heartbreaker to Marquette are in need to get to no less than the Semis on Friday to stay in the conversation.

 

Big East Championship: Mar 12-16 Madison Square Garden, New York

Key Game: Cincinnati vs Providence Wednesday Noon (ESPN) The Bearcats are a lot safer than the Friars who are needing to make a lot happen to get tourney consideration.

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Projected bids: 8

Big Ten
Conference Class-Power
Safe: Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin

Hoping For The Best: Minnesota, Iowa
The word on the Big Ten is: Indiana won a thriller against Michigan in Ann Arbor and head to Chicago as the #1 seed. Where the Gophers looked like they were home free, they take yet another hit on their resume, losing to Purdue. That combined with the steady improvement of Iowa means the Gophers are now looking up at not only the Hawkeyes but the Illini and Boilers have passed them in the standings. The Gophers may need a couple wins in Chicago to get back safe. If any bids get stolen, that may snatch the bid that just ten days ago looked to be in the bag.

 

Big Ten Conference Championship: Mar 14-17: United Center, Chicago

Key Game: Minnesota vs Illinois Thursday Noon (BTN) The Gophers might feel a lot safer if they beat the Iliini

Projected Bids: 7

Big 12
Conference Class-Power
Safe: Kansas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas State

Playing Their Way In: Oklahoma
Hoping For The Best: Baylor
Skinny from the heartland:  Just when you are about to write Baylor off they not only knock off Kansas and prevent them from winning the Big 12 title outright, they laid a frightening woodshed job on them that makes you wonder what this team can do if they put it all together.  They still need to put in work to get

 

Big 12 Conference Championships: Mar 13-16 Sprint Center, Kansas City

Key Games: Baylor vs  Oklahoma State Thursday 9:30  (FSN) The Bears need to get at least to semifinal Saturday to push their way in, beating the Pokes is crucial to that end

Projected Bids: 5

Conference USA
Conference Class-Major
Safe: Memphis
Hoping For The Best: Central Florida, Southern Miss
Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec: The Tigers ran the table in the C-USA and are safe, though I still think that this a one-bid conference unless Southern Miss or UCF plays bid stealer.

Conference USA Championships: March 13-16 BOK Center, Tulsa

Key Game: TBD vs USM Thursday (CBSS) The Eagles will face the winner of the UAB/SMU and had better not even think of losing if they want to retain what slim tourney hopes that they have.

Projected Bids: 1

Missouri Valley
Conference Class-Mid Major
IN: Creighton

Safe: Wichita State
Missouri Valley Skinny:  Bravo to the Bluejays! They edged the Shockers in a thrilling finale and clinch the auto bid, Im pretty sure that Shockers will garner an at large bid. Northern Iowa is off the sheet and will not get a bid after losing in their first game.

Missouri Valley Conference Champions: Creighton

Projected Bids: 2


Mountain West
Conference Class-Major
Safe: UNLV, San Diego State, Colorado State, New Mexico
Playing Their Way In: Boise State
Spec from the Mountains:  The Lobos are safe, as are the Rams, Rebels and Aztecs. Im thinking that the Broncos could use another win to pad the win column. But im seeing 5 coming out here. All deserving.

Key Games: San Diego State vs Boise State Thursday Midnight (CBSS) The Broncos could Safeify their status with another win.

Mountain West Conference Championship:  Mar 13-16 Thomas & Mack Arena, Las Vegas

Projected Bids: 5


Pacific 12
Conference Class-Power
Safe: Oregon, UCLA, Cal, Arizona

Hoping For The Best: Colorado, Arizona State
Spec from the left coast:  Arizona and UCLA finished tied for the regular season title, Oregon took a shocking rout from the lowly Utes but did nothing to jeopardize their tourney status. Cal has been watching the other teams shuffle around them but Im thinking that they are pretty safe barring a bad loss in the Pac-12 quarters to the USC/Utah winner.  Colorado didn’t get one of the four coveted byes and needs only to avoid a 1st round loss to secure their dance ticket.

Pacific 12 Conference Championship:  MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas Mar 13-16

Key Game:  Colorado vs Oregon State Wednesday5:30 (PAC-12Net) The Buffs need only to not take an embarrassing pratfall against the Pac-12 cellar dwellers to be good to go. Keep in mind that the Buffs lost their season finale…to these same Beavers.

Projected Bids: 5



Southeastern
Conference Class-Power
Safe: Mizzou, Florida

Playing Their Way In: UK
Work to do:  Ole Miss, Alabama
Spec is Down South: Just when you are about to send the Wildcats to NIT oblivion they up and drop a stunna on Florida. Big Blue Nation sits back with a smug look on its face as even those that most ardently despise the Wildcats (your humble scribe as an example) can not deny that they earned a huge boost to a very shaky resume. In a weak SEC they have but to avoid a first round embarrassment and they are good to go. Get past them and the chaff is pretty easy to weed out.  Ole Miss and Bama are ahead of Mizzou I know but lack real weight to their respective resumes. I have 3 teams but knowing the committees tendency to kowtow to the noisy SEC patrons will likely give a 4th bid. But they both don’t get one.

Southeastern Conference Championship: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville Mar 13-17

Key Game: TBD vs UK Thursday It would behoove the Wildcats to follow up their mammoth win with a win in their conference tourney game. They go right back to the wrong side of the cut line if they lose.

Projected Bids: 4


Western Athletic

Conference Class- Major
Safe: Louisiana Tech
Work to do: New Mexico State, Denver
Spec on the WAC: Are the Bulldogs in trouble??? After cruising through a majority of the WAC schedule they take a pair of damaging routs the latter to a Denver squad that is peaking at the absolute right time. This crew has one loss in the calendar year and are riding a 10 game win streak into Vegas. Now the Bulldogs hang on to the #1 seed for the upcoming WAC tourney with a better RPI (WAC tiebreaker) but the Pioneers look bound and determined to have some say so in who gets the auto bid. Do not sleep on Denver…they are the wild card that the big boy conference are now deadly afraid of. If they play bid stealer, and especially if they beat La. Tech in a winner take all WAC final this week it could make for a few sleepless nights for the big boys ahead of selection Sunday. Stay tuned.

 

Western Athletic Conference Championship: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas  Mar. 13-16

Key Game: TBD vs Denver Thursday TBA (ROOT/FSN) The Pioneers need to get to the finale to stay in the conversation. They will play the winner of Texas St./Seattle first round game.

Projected Bids: 1

West Coast
Conference Class- Mid Major
Safe: St. Marys, Gonzaga
Work to do: BYU
West Coast Spec: The Bulldogs let the upset minded Lions of Loyola Marymount hang with them for a half then coolly dispatched them. The then handed the Gaels a third head to head loss to claim the WCC title and a likely #1 seed The Gaels  on the other hand got all they could handle from a tougher than heretofore thought San Diego. But got through to the final. I think both are safe and going. BYU got sent home with a loss to San Diego and saw its meager bid chances fade away.

West Coast Conference Champions: Gonzaga

Projected Bids: 2

There are others in the mix to be sure. the champions from the following conferences get an automatic bid:  (Projected winners in parentheses/bids earned in bold) Amer. East (Vermont), Atlantic Sun (Florida Gulf Coast), Big Sky (Weber St.), Big South (Liberty), Big West (Long Beach St.), Colonial (James Madison),  Horizon (Valpo), Ivy  (Harvard), MAC (Akron), MAAC (IONA), MEAC (Norfolk St), Northeast(Robert Morris), Ohio Valley (Belmont), Patriot (Bucknell), Southern (Davidson) , Southland (S.F. Austin), Sun Belt (Western Kentucky), Summit (Western Illinois), and SWAC (Southern)


Since this is still spec, nothing here is solid and we haven't even brought up the possibility of upsets. But those never happen, right?

Next Spec Sheet:  Wednesday

 

PHAT DAP/HEAD SLAP

Phat Dap

I know its blowing up the internet but its worth the dap…DeAndre Jordan with a sick dunk

Head Slap

To a bad winner. Indiana had just defeated Michigan to win its first outright Big Ten title in 20 years. But why was head coach Tom Crean shouting at Michigan assistant Jeff Meyer at games end. Crean was shouting at Meyer “You wrecked our program!” Now Crean took over a battered program wracked with sanctions after the actions of Kelvin Sampson and took a long hard road rebuilding a once proud program. But waiting until they had gotten back on top to berate Meyer who was cleared of any wrongdoing by the NCAA in the Sampson scandal was just classless.

 

Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans!

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