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Musings From The Hoodwood 2-23 New Spec Sheet
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: College Basketball

Coming down the line to the end of February, the cold is still here but the number of games is dwindling, the margin for error gets smaller and smaller for the so-called bubble teams

 

Atlantic Coast
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Virginia, North Carolina, Louisville, Duke, Notre Dame
Work to do: Miami-Fl, NC State, Clemson, Pitt
Skinny on the ACC:  The question here isn’t about where the solid teams are going. The solid teams are way safe, the working teams really have work to do. A side note, UNC breaking out the four corners to open the game against G-Tech was way way cool.

Key Game: Syracuse at Duke Sat 7p (ESPN) I know, I know the Orange are going nowhere but home in a week but an upset of Duke in Cameron would be a super consolation prize

Projected Bids: 6

Atlantic Ten
Conference Class- Mid-Major
Solid VCU

Work to do: Dayton, UMass, Rhode Island, Davidson
The A-10 Spec is: VCU is safe despite is lurching play, UMass is in ten types of trouble, only their monster numbers (38 RPI, 24 Strength of Sched) keep them on for now. Rhode Island is interchangeable with Davidson in getting in and right now the Rams are closer to the right side of the cut line than the Wildcats. Dayton is at 20 but I think they need a couple wins to firm up their resume

Key Games Dayton at VCU Saturday 2p Both teams are solid but a win here firms up a resume and keeps them on the home side of a tourney bid

Projected Bids: 4

 

American

Conference Class-Major

Solid SMU

Work to do: Cincy, Tulsa, Temple
All-American Spec: SMU is just about home free, they will get in this year. Temple is closing fast. Tulsa is coming apart at the seams and while Cincy got a much needed win over a sad sack Houston but need no slipup from here on out to get their resume back on solid ground.

Projected Bids: 3

 



Big East 
Conference Class-Major
Solid: Villanova, Butler

Work to do: Xavier, Providence, Georgetown, St. Johns
Big East Skinny: Nova is way safe, Butler is too despite the loss to Xavier who has rapidly recovered from their dangerous totter to the back end of the sheet and is maybe a couple wins from getting safe but getting swept by St. Johns hurts them as much as it helps the rapidly recovering Johnnies. Providence is getting closer and closer to safe but I still don’t really know why everyone is so hyped on the Hoyas they have, in my opinion fattened up on a weak schedule. They stay working for the time being.

Key Game: 

Projected bids: 5

Big Ten 
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Wisconsin, Maryland

Work to do: Purdue, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan State
The word on the Big Ten is: Wisky and the Terps are the only teams I feel good about. The Bucks shameful loss to the Wolverines makes their weak schedule standout just that much more and Sparty you have no reason to snicker as you have the same problem and that Texas Southern loss still dogging your resume. Purdue thinks its home free after sweeping Indiana but they aren’t. Indiana is running out of time short of winning the whole shooting match to get in. Iowa? If the Hawks keep winning they will be fine but they are too inconsistent to be sure

Key Game:  Illinois at Iowa 9:00 Wednesday (BTN) Is this a bubble play in game? Quite possibly.

Projected Bids: 6 

Big 12
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Baylor, Iowa State
Work to do: Oklahoma State, Texas
Skinny from the heartland:  Kansas has been safe since about New Years seemingly but have a bad habit of dumb losses and getting zapped in Manhattan by the weak Wildcats is a prime example. The Sooners and Bears join the Clones on the safe side of the fence. The Mountaineers are safer than the pundits want to give them credit for. Huggins always seems to get the most out of the least and has done it again in Morgantown. The Pokes and Horns still are on the wrong side of the cut line. This conference will NOT send 70% of its membership.

Key Game: Texas at Kansas 5p The Jayhawks are way safe but the Longhorns are running out of time to make a statement, a win in Allen Fieldhouse would do the trick in spades

Projected Bids: 6

 



Missouri Valley
Conference Class-Mid Major
Solid: Wichita State, Northern Iowa
Work to do: Evansville, Illinois State
Missouri Valley Skinny: The Shockers and Panthers are

Key Game: Northern Iowa @ Wichita State 2p (ESPN2) The regular season title is on the line here, and the coveted top seed at Arch Madness next week.

Projected Bids: 2


Mountain West
Conference Class-Major
Solid: San Diego State, Boise State, Wyoming
Work to do: Colorado State
Spec from the Mountains: Im thinking that this conference will send 4, legitimately. THe Aztecs are safe as are the Broncos and Cowboys. The Rams are almost there but could use another resume firming win

Key Game: Boise State at San Diego State Saturday 8p (ESPN2) Both teams are safe in my view but the Broncos could get a much better seed with a win here

Projected Bids: 4


Pacific 12
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Arizona, Utah
Work to do: UCLA, Oregon, Stanford, Oregon State
Spec from the left coast:  The solid teams are way safe, but the working teams have so many warts its frightening. The Bruins got housed in Tucson. The Ducks are making their case much stronger by beating Utah but even with 20 wins, Im not real sold on them. The Beavers are on the fringe and needs to keep winning to work their way into the conversation.

Key Games: Arizona at Utah (Pac12 Net) Saturday 9pThe Utes are trying to make their bones in the Pac-12 but face their sternest test with a Wildcat team that wants a #1 seed

Projected Bids: 3



Southeastern 
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Kentucky, Arkansas
Work to do: LSU, Texas A&M, Georgia, Ole Miss
Spec is Down South:  The Cats are playing for 40, the Hogs are safe. Now the ugly morass that is the rest of the SEC are living on rep and history rather than solid play. To be honest if any other conference had these records four teams in would be blasphemy, but instead the SEC gets the benefit of the doubt. Ill try to conceal my abject disgust.

Key Game: Arkansas at Kentucky 4p (SEC/ESPN) This may be the last best chance for an SEC team to get the Wildcats who often play indifferent at home, if the Hogs don’t get ‘em we might not be talking about a possible Wildcats loss for another month in Indy.

Projected Bids: 4
 


West Coast 
Conference Class- Mid Major
Solid: Gonzaga
Work to do: St. Mary’s, BYU
West Coast Spec:  The Bulldogs are gunning for an unbeaten WCC season and a top seed in the Big Dance, they haven’t loset in this calendar year. The Gales and Cougars are  trying to stay on the opposite side of the bracket in the WCC tourney and catch the Bulldogs sleepwalking to steal a bid.
Key Game: BYU at Gonzaga Sat 10p The Coogs cry they get no respect but they will get ten tons of it (and maybe solidify a bid) if they can knock off the Bulldogs in the Kennel, good luck though as they hold the nations longest home win streak.

Projected Bids: 2

There are others in the mix to be sure. Teams from the always dangerous (Projected winners in Parentheses) Colonial (Northeastern) and Big South (Coastal Carolina) always are in the mix and can send multiple teams. Of course the champions from the following conferences get an automatic bid: Amer. East (Albany) , Atlantic Sun (Florida Gulf Coast), Big Sky (Sacramento State), Big West (Cal-Davis), Conference USA (Louisiana Tech) Horizon (Valpo), Ivy (Harvard), MAC (Central Michigan), MAAC (Iona) , MEAC (North Carolina Central), Northeast (St. Francis), Ohio Valley (Murray State), Patriot (Bucknell), Southern (Wofford), Southland (Sam Houston St) , Sun Belt (Georgia St), Summit (South Dakota St) , and SWAC (Alabama State) WAC (New Mexico State)

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

Next Update: Likely Saturday

 

Phat Dap

Hakim Emmanuel threw a 900 series that’s 3 perfect games. 36 strikes in a row for the first ever 900 series for a Massachusetts bowler.

 

Head Slap

To Roy Williams who criticized the Smith Center fans for being subdued last weekend against Georgia Tech. Sorry RoyBoy, The sorry Wreck aint Duke and beating them by 29 isnt going to get the adrenaline going…the potshot was unneeded.

 

Musings From The Hoodwood 2-17
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: College Basketball

Get ready for lots more like this...very painful for your humble scribe. I saw it firsthand.

This weeks hoodwood is a spec sheet as Ive barely have had time to look at sports much less bring you a full musings. 

Atlantic Coast
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Virginia, North Carolina, Notre Dame,,Louisville, Duke
Work to do:  Miami-FL, NC State, Pitt
Skinny on the ACC:  The Cavs and Dukies are still way safe but the conference is getting to be a hot mess. Im moving the Irish, Cards and Heels in. NC State and Pitt are close but Im still wanting more wins from these two to move them up...

Key Game: Miami @Louisville Sat 7p (ESPN) The Canes are looking for a signature win, getting one at the Yum! Center would do the trick.

Projected Bids:

Atlantic Ten
Conference Class- Major
Solid: Dayton, GW, VCU

Work to do: Rhode Island, UMass, Davidson, 
The A-10 Spec is: Im still going with 3 teams here though everyone here has been getting a case of the shakes none so mucj more than VCU but their numbers are still so good. I want the Flyers to get a signature win but they are missing opportunites

Key Games UMass @ Rhode Island Wed 7:00 Believe it or not this is a matchup of leaders in the conference, the winner gets a major resume boost.

Projected Bids: 3

 

American

Conference Class-Major

Solid Temple, SMU

Work to do: Cincy,Tulsa
All-American Spec: The Mustangs throttled UConn in front of a happy home crowd on Saturday and are getting closer and closer to lock status. Temple has suddenly turned into a shot caller after housing Cincy and whipping a sad sack East Carolina.  THe Bearcats are looking mighty suspect after the aforementioned whipping by Temple and getting zapped on a buzzer beater by Tulane before a stunned collective in Cincy (including yours truly who saw the game at Fifth Third Arena) and have more bad losses to dodge than good wins to collect down the stretch. The Golden Hurricane are teetering dangerously toward falling off this list and I cant defend the Huskies any longer they are off the list

Key Games Xavier vs Cincinnati 7:30p (ESPN2) These two school are separated by about 5 miles and aside from this one game co-exist in the Queen City, but this game has high stakes for a quality win

Projected Bids: 3

 



Big East 
Conference Class-Major
Solid: Villanova, Butler

Work to do: Xavier, Providence, Georgetown, St. Johns, Seton Hall
Big East Skinny: Nova is still way safe, Butler dodged a  mammoth upset bid by Creighton and I feel good about making them solid, Xavier just keep mucking up every chance that they get to move up. Georgetown and Providence are the two teams that have the best shot at moving up for now. I cant take St. Johns or Seton Hall seriously.

 Key Game: Xavier at Cincinnati Wednesday 7 (ESPN2) The Muskies need this win over their in-city rivals to keep their fledgling tourney hopes up

Projected bids: 5

Big Ten 
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Wisconsin, Ohio State, Maryland
Work to do: Indiana, Michigan State, Iowa, Purdue, Illinois
The word on the Big Ten is: Maryland is still safe and ill give Ohio State the benefit of the doubt again after getting zapped by a Valentine in East Lansing which may make the Spartans safe. Illinois wasted a great chance to move more to the solid line but got housed by Wisconsin who is super safe. The Hoosiers are just running out of chances to

Key Game:  Purdue at Indiana Thursday 7p (BTN) The Hoosiers and Boilers both need this win to solidfy their respective resumes

Projected Bids: 6

Big 12
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma
Work to do: Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas
Skinny from the heartland:  Ok Mountaineer fans, WVU is up to solid. Stop badgering me about me not saying I thought they were not totally legit. Their thrilling win over Kansas solidifies their chances. Iowa State comes uptown as well. But Ill wait on Baylor and Oklahoma State both having taken bad losses

Key Game: Texas @ Oklahoma Tuesday 9p (ESPN) The Longhorns are getting close, Ill admit it, winning at their hated rival gets them closer

Projected Bids: 

Conference USA 
Conference Class-Mid-Major
Solid: Louisiana Tech
Work to do: UAB, Western Kentucky

Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec: The Bulldogs are in the drivers seat…for now. Im close to moving this conference to the single bid line

Key Game: Louisiana Tech @ Charlotte Thursday 7:00 (CBSS) The Niners are going nowhere but Halton arena has long been a house of horrors for conference leaders.

Projected Bids: 1


Missouri Valley
Conference Class-Mid Major
Solid: Wichita State, Northern Iowa
Work to do: Evansville
Missouri Valley Skinny: Both the Shockers and Panthers are circling each other till warmup showdown at the end of the month.  The Redbirds are off but the Aces are on and need to keep winning to get noticed.

Key Game: Drake at Evansville Wednesday 8:00 (ESPN3) The Aces had better not overlook the Bulldogs in advance of their potential resume making showdown with Wichita State

Projected Bids: 2


Mountain West
Conference Class-Major
Solid: San Diego State
Work to do: Boise State, Colorado State
Spec from the Mountains: San Diego State is in the drivers seat, Boise State is in real trouble, and the Broncos need to get a signature win

Key Game: San Diego State at New Mexico Tuesday 9:30p  (CBSS) The Aztecs had best be careful, a loss in the Pit is a bad one to take this year

Projected Bids: 2


Pacific 12
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Arizona, Utah
Work to do: UCLA, Stanford, Oregon
Spec from the left coast:  Arizona (yawn, snore) is still safe. Yes, Utah. You are safe now. Im not really sold on UCLA and Oregon just flunked their latest test.

Key Games: UCLA @ Arizona State 9p (ESPN2) The Bruins had better watch themselves in Tempe, they have no room for screwups

Projected Bids: 4



Southeastern 
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Kentucky, Arkansas
Work to do: Ole Miss, LSU, Texas A&M, Georgia
Spec is Down South: Marking time till they head to Indy, the Wildcats are a deadbolt lock. There are still no real bona fide locks in this conference beyond Arkansas who becomes the 2nd ranked SEC team and haven’t done anything to not be included. All the working teams are still needing major work on their respective resume to get anywhere near safe.

Key Game: LSU @ Texas A&M 7p (SECNet) Both teams are needing this win to get closer to lock

Projected Bids: 5

 


West Coast 
Conference Class- Mid Major
Solid: Gonzaga
Work to do: St. Mary’s, BYU
West Coast Spec:  The Bulldogs (I refuse to call them them the Zags) are #3 in the country and are going to be a tough out in March. They are marking time till then. The Gaels are flunking every big test that the otherwise weak WCC is presenting them. BYU is at 20 wins but may need to win out to get a bid
Key Game: Gonzaga at St. Marys Saturday 11p (ESPN2) As luck would have it the Gaels host the Bulldogs, and the Bulldogs can clinch the WCC #1 seed with a win

Projected Bids: 1

There are others in the mix to be sure. Teams from the always dangerous Colonial and Big South always are in the mix and can send multiple teams. Of course the champions from the following conferences get an automatic bid: Amer. East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big West, Horizon, Ivy, MAC, MAAC, MEAC, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Sun Belt, Summit, SWAC and WAC projected bids from these conferences will be posted here starting February 24st

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

Next Spec Feb 19

 

Musings From The Hoodwood 2-10
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: College Basketball NBA MLB

Two basketball legends....

 

Greetings from the Hoodwood, where you will always get pointed at if you throw a good pass and it leads to a bucket. That’s the way Coach Smith taught us to do…

Requiem for a legend Dean Smith (1931-2015)

Dean Smith was the face of Carolina Basketball, though a number of legends Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Vince Carter, Jerry Stackhouse, Brad Daughtery, Phil Ford, Bob McAdoo are first to come to mind, Smith was the one that brought it together. Think of the things in basketball that you see that are common. The huddle at the free throw line, the player pulling at his jersey to indicate that he would like to be subbed out, pointing at a teammate that assisted a good score. The Carolina way was how Dean Smith expected his players to play and carry themselves. Smith has a huge coaching tress and the players that he coached in the words of long time coaching rival Mike Krzyzewski “revered him” Michael Jordan called him a second father. Smith got the great players but it was the bit players that recall how much Smith meant to them as well, with recommendations, advice and mentorship that ran far beyond the basketball court. Smith was a civil rights activist too, many people forget that he recruited the first black player to play in the ACC, Charles Scott. Smith would have had a player much earlier in Lou Hudson, but Hudson didn’t qualify academically and went to Minnesota. But Smith was a part of desegregating a Chapel Hill eatery in the 1960s. He did it not for the publicity, Smith was notoriously pub shy, always deflecting credit to his players, but for the reason it was the right thing to do and he knew that being the Tar Heels basketball coach he would lend gravity to the local cause as part of the greater good. Smith retired in 1997 as the all time winningest coach in D-1, his 879 wins now stand 6th all time. The basketball world mourns the loss of this coaching icon.

Pop gets 1000

His usual grumpy grouchy self Gregg Popovich was the winning coach for the 1000th time, starting from his first win a 106-105 win over Dallas in December of 1996 to now. Popovich has racked up all his wins with one team only Jerry Sloan with a shade over 1100 wins has more. 1000 wins, think about that. Pop has more wins than 5 teams. You yawn and say yeah ok, the Bobcats/Hornets/Pelicans conglomerate but think more about it. The Magic and Timberwolves came into existence six years before Pop got the head coaching job in San Antonio…and still have fewer wins. Many people forget that Pop was the Spurs general manager first and installed himself as head coach in 1996 after the Spurs started 3-15 in 1996 (It didn’t help that David Robinson was hurt the whole year) and went all of 17-47 But after that season, the Spurs haven’t had a losing season, won 5 NBA titles and have been one of the preeminent teams in pro basketball. Pop is a grump and a sideline reporters worst nightmare with his acidic terse responses to their queries. But Pop wins and the Spurs selfless style has been cranking out wins at a regular clip every year. As much as I detest Pop and the Spurs, as Sheedy Wallace said “Ball don’t lie” Pop wins, and the Hoodwood salutes an awesome achievement

The First Spec Sheet of the Season

It’s February and the stretch drive to the NCAA Men’s tournament is under way. For the 11th season, I bring you the Sheet of Speculation on the NCAA tournament. Call it the Spec Sheet for short. From now until NCAA selection show on March 16th, I will speculate on who I think will fill the 68 slots for the NCAA tourney. I don’t worry much about seeding; it’s who I think will get in. For right now, the teams are classified into two groups. Solid teams are on good track to make the tourney, and Work to do are teams that have a good shot but need to buff up their respective resumes to see their names among the chosen ones.

 

Atlantic Coast
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Virginia, North Carolina, Louisville, Duke
Work to do: Notre Dame, Miami-FL, NC State, Pitt
Skinny on the ACC:  The Cavs and Dukies are marking time until March and a possible ACC title showdown in Greensboro. The Heels and Cards look good, beyond that Im still not sold on Notre Dame in spite of their 21 wins and after getting thrashed by Duke before a sullen home crowd and on network TV to boot, they still have something to prove to me. Pitt is making itself look good after rallying to beat the going nowhere

Key Game: Pitt @Louisville Sat 7p (ESPN) The Cards and Panthers are long time foes from their Big East days. Both could use the win to boost their respective resumes

Projected Bids:

Atlantic Ten
Conference Class- Major
Solid: Dayton, GW, VCU

Work to do: Rhode Island, UMass
The A-10 Spec is: VCU is still way safe with single digit numbers in RPI and SOS despite losing a buzzer beater to St. Bonnies who are getting a rep for playing beat the clock. GW beat the clock in OT to sink Dayton who I still are pretty good to go

Key Games St. Bonaventure @ Dayton Sat 12:30 The Flyers had better be wary of the Bonnies especially if they keep it close. A win in UD arena might get them on the list

Projected Bids: 

 

American

Conference Class-Major

Solid Cincy, SMU

Work to do: Tulsa, UConn
All-American Spec: This is a funky conference, the defending champ is down and the contender is in 3rd place, the top team Tulsa is highly suspect lacking a signature win

Key Games Cincinnati vs Temple 7:30p (CBSSN) The Bearcats need to continue to stack wins to keep out of bubble trouble while the Owls could use a signature win and would like a spot of revenge after getting housed by 31 in January at Cincy.

Projected Bids: 3

 



Big East 
Conference Class-Major
Solid: Villanova, Butler

Work to do: Xavier, Providence, Georgetown, St. Johns, Seton Hall
Big East Skinny: Nova is way safe, and Im really thinking Butler is getting that way too. Both are ranked and barring a collapse are getting close to bonafide locks. Xavier is one of the more puzzling teams, getting housed by a sorry Creighton then topping a solid Providence a few days later

Key Game: Villanova at Providence Wednesday 7:30 The Friars could get a solid look to move up if they knock off the sixth ranked Wildcats

Projected bids: 5

Big Ten 
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Wisconsin, Ohio State, Maryland
Work to do: Indiana, Michigan State, Iowa, Purdue, Illinois
The word on the Big Ten is: Of this group right now, Wisky is the only one that is way safe. I know I have three listed but Ohio State and Maryland are ranked and Ill give them the benefit of the doubt…for now. The Bucks and Terps have way too many holes on their resume to feel safe yet. The working class is as big a mess. Michigan State is well…their usual Sparty Self, tough schedule plenty of weight but lacking a signature win and unless you want to count the road win at Iowa (stop laughing) have no wins to hang their hat on as they are 0-4 against ranked teams. The Boilers have three wins over ranked teams but have a litany of dumb losses (Garnder Webb & North Florida at home) weighing down their resume. Iowa and Illinois are intriguing but Ill wait on either of them.

Key Game:  Indiana at Maryland Wednesday 9p (BTN) The Hoosiers keep squawking about getting respect. Ill move them to solid if they can knock off the Terps in College Park. The Terps end any question of their belonging on the solid line with their 20th win

Projected Bids: 6

Big 12
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Kansas, Oklahoma
Work to do: Baylor, West Virigina, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Texas
Skinny from the heartland:  It’s the usual suspects here. Kansas is marking time till March and Oklahoma rides its rugged defense. After that, Oklahoma State looks to be the first to move uptown after knocking off  Kansas and Baylor back to back the latter in Waco. Don’t write off the Bears, their numbers are simply too good to overlook. The Mountaineers and Cyclones are ranked and to be sure are looking ready to make that move up. To be on the real the only real team in question is Texas. The Horns are looking up at too many teams and have blown too many chances to make a statement.

Key Game: Baylor @ Kansas Sat 1:00 (CBS) Baylor moves to solid with no question if they can knock off

Projected Bids: 

Conference USA 
Conference Class-Mid-Major
Solid: Louisiana Tech
Work to do: UAB, Western Kentucky

Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec: It’s the usual 3-way logjam atop this conference. The Bulldogs have a solid resume while the Hilltoppers have a top 25 win and a win over a decent SEC team on its resume. UAB has a sketchier record but have something that WKU does not a win over La. Tech. This will look to be a fun conference to spec

Key Game: Western Kentucky @ Marshall Sat 5:30 If ever there was something that screamed trap game its here. The middling Herd in Huntington are just not what a Hilltopper squad need to encounter after a humiliating loss against Rice at home

Projected Bids: 1


Missouri Valley
Conference Class-Mid Major
Solid: Wichita State, Northern Iowa
Work to do: Illinois State
Missouri Valley Skinny: Quick, tell me who leads and is the higher ranked squad in the MVC? Buzz! Its not the Shockers but the Panthers who are 12th ranked and actually tied for the MVC lead. But with a  solid home win over the Shockers, the Panthers are in the MVC drivers seat. Barring an epic collapse by either squad, they are both marking time till March and not just Arch Madness. The Redbirds are an interesting bunch but the schedule sets up nicely win against UNI and follow that up with a home win against the Shockers and they could be writing things. Don’t snicker, the Shockers struggled to beat the Redbirds at the Koch Center last month.  

Key Game: Illinois State at Northern Iowa Wednesday 8:00 (ESPN3) If the Redbirds are serious about getting into the tourney conversation beating the ranked Panthers in Cedar Falls would go a long way to that end

Projected Bids: 2


Mountain West
Conference Class-Major
Solid: San Diego State
Work to do: Boise State, Colorado State
Spec from the Mountains: I watched part of the San Diego State-Boise State game and the Broncos look like that they are ready. But they still need a real road win. As does the Rams…well looky here

Key Game: Colorado State @ San Diego State Saturday 8p The Broncos could really bolster their resume with a win at Viejas

Projected Bids: 2


Pacific 12
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Arizona
Work to do: UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon, Utah
Spec from the left coast:  Arizona (yawn, snore) is safe. Utah is getting there. As long as Illinois keeps looking good, Oregon will show off their win over them as a resume builder. UCLA? Weeeelllll. I want to love the Bruins. I really really do. Even with having to listen to Bill Walton on their broadcasts. But they keep losing dumb games and getting housed as well. They will stay right where they are until they can prove they can win consistent and not fall to weak teams like Cal

Key Games: Oregon at UCLA 3p (PAC12 Net) A high noon (local) game and a chance for the Bruins to prove themselves

Projected Bids: 4



Southeastern 
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Kentucky
Work to do: Ole Miss, LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Georgia
Spec is Down South: Marking time till they head to Indy, the Wildcats are a deadbolt lock. Beyond that, to be real the SEC is pretty weak. Arkansas and Ole Miss are the most solid of the group. Im still not sold on LSU

Key Game: Kentucky @ LSU 7p (ESPN) The Tigers would put a huge star on their resume if they pull the upset at the Maravich Center

Projected Bids: 5

 


West Coast 
Conference Class- Mid Major
Solid: Gonzaga
Work to do: St. Mary’s, BYU
West Coast Spec:  The Bulldogs (I refuse to call them them the Zags) are #3 in the country and are going to be a tough out in March. They are marking time till then. The Gaels
Key Game: St. Marys @ BYU Thursday 9p (ESPN2) The Cougars are making their usual noise about being serious contenders for a bid, but they need to stack wins in a hurry. The Gaels could use the signature win in Provo

Projected Bids: 1

There are others in the mix to be sure. Teams from the always dangerous Colonial and Big South always are in the mix and can send multiple teams. Of course the champions from the following conferences get an automatic bid: Amer. East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big West, Horizon, Ivy, MAC, MAAC, MEAC, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Sun Belt, Summit, SWAC and WAC projected bids from these conferences will be posted here starting February 24st

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

Next Spec Feb 13

 

Phat Dap

To Herb McGee of Philadelphia University…I know a who is already forming on your lips. But the coach of the D-2 program gets the dap of the week for winning his 1000th game. McGee joins Coach Krzyzewski as coaches who recently hit the 1000 win mark but McGee has done all his winning at one school…Krzyzewski had 79 wins at Army before coming to Durham to coach the Blue Devils

Head Slap

To James Dolan, head poobah of the Knicks. When a long time fans sent Dolan an email critical of the way that Dolan has been running the Knicks. Now to be sure the Knicks are horrid, they became the first NBA team to be assured of a losing season after losing yet again Monday night. Dolans response which was full of vitriol and hateful language was just the kind of response that has made Dolan the bane of all sports owner. Calling the letter writer a sad case, questioning if he might have been an alcoholic and opining that no one in his family likes him Dolan ripped him. Dolan then told the letter writer who has been a fan of the Knicks since the 50’s that he might be better rooting for the Brooklyn Nets. What a dumbass.

Quick Hits

Hoodwood also pays tribute to golfing legend Billy Casper who passed away Saturday as well

If you have watched any NFL Films in your lifetime, you need to be mourning the passing of Ed Sabol the founder of NFL Films who was just as much a football films legend as his son.

Geno Auriemma and the Uconn women are still the mafia don, they housed the then #1 Gamecocks

James Shields to the Padres???? Ummmm Ok. The Pads still arent going to the playoffs even with all their new toys

I told you the Red Wings are coming on strong...

Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans!

Musings From The Hoodwood 2-3
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL College Basketball

Greetings from the Hoodwood where the Groundhog is one of a select few that are not welcome in the city limits.

NFL: Super game, stupid end

Please don?t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the 49th edition of The BIG game.? It was a full tilt hang on tight rollicking ride that was one for the books. Not since the 25th edition had a game come all the way down to a do or die last half minute score or else decision. After the Patriots had rallied from 10 down to take the lead, Russell Wilson led the defending champs on a legendary drive, racing the clock down field fueled by catches by Marshawn Lynch and Jermaine Kerse the latter on a diving twisting juggling catch that hearkened back to this personally painful memory

But I digress, the Pats were about to be done in for the third straight Super Bowl by an amazing catch first David Tyree, then Mario Manningham. Wilson and Kerse were going to prove that the Giants weren?t the only team that could steal a title with a breathtaking catch. Lynch bulled his way to the 1 and while Pats coach Bill Belichick was stewing on the sideline debating if they should let the Seahawks score to get a last crack at the ball. The clock kept ticking, the Seahawks raced to the line and Wilson went back to pass?he fired for a cutting Ricardo Lockette in the end zone. Unheralded rookie Malcolm Butler read the play and got to the spot Wilson wanted to hit Lockette and intercepted the pass. Game, set match Patriots. I saw the play and like so many football fanatics were instantly puzzled. Why, why, why did the Seahawks decide against using the battering ram that is Lynch who heretofore had been brilliant? Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell swore up and down that he was just trying get a quick pass in to stop the clock. Stop the clock? Are you fucking serious? If you so badly wanted or needed to stop the clock, why not spike it? Why not throw the ball into the fifth level of University of Phoenix Stadium, or to Scottsdale or across town to Princess Katie in Mesa? But throwing it at the 1? No sense at all, none.? Lynch for his part was his usual taciturn self after the game , his only quote ?This is a team game? He would have had every right to go ballistic on the call and a lot of football fans would have sympathized. In the end in was an ill coda to an otherwise exciting game. Brady now joins his childhood idol Joe Montana and the mush mouthed Terry Bradshaw as the only QB to win four Super Bowls. Brady?s? 328 yards on a Super Bowl record 37 completions won him the MVP award with his last score to Julian Edelman being the difference. I thought it cool that Edelman and Butler got to share the ?Im going to Disney World!? plug. Butler an undrafted and heretofore unremarkable free agent from Division-II West Alabama was such an afterthought he barely played until midway through the contest and was the victim of the Kearse catch just two plays before he made the most defining of plays. His pick overshadowed the four catch 109 yard receiving day of Chris Matthews who came damn close to being the name you found in Wikipedia and not the MSNBC pundit.? Matthews played brilliantly, leading me to opening opine, ?Who is this kid?? So now instead of a budding dynasty in Seattle the Pats are back on top for the first time in a decade. Brady has more or less put himself in the rare air of the QB?s that won in different era. Montana won his four in an nine year period, got hurt trying for a 3-peat and was gone from San Fran less than 3 years after his last Super Bowl win. Bradshaw won four Super Bowls in six years, then the Steel Curtain rusted and he was exposed for the so-so quarterback some thought he was. Brady won 3 in 4 years but then many said he wasn?t able to win the big one that he was saved by late field goals. Now a full decade removed from his last Super Bowl in 2005, he comes back to win the biggest of big games with an electric final game winning touchdown drive. Love him or hate him you got to give Brady his due as a champ.

Spec Sheet

Starting Friday and being posted here for the next six weeks will be an an annual staple of the Hoodwood. The Speculation Sheet or Spec Sheet for short. Im not a bracketologist, I just like to speculate what teams will fill the brackets. Get who I think will make the field of 68 right here in the Hoodwood

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Phat Dap

To Malcolm Butler the rightly lionized hero of the Super Bowl. This is a kid who went to a small D-2 school in West Alabama after getting kicked off of his junior college time in Hinds Mississippi returned to make good and then transfer to West Alabama. Belichick must have seen something he liked, the young rookie nicknamed Scrap, was Johnny on the Spot in the most crucial of times and made the biggest of plays. And through all the hubbub of interviews still seems like a humble kid. I call him a kid, because he was born in March of 1990?yikes.

Head Slap

To Doug Baldwin who drew a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty that at first I had no idea what for. That was until I saw the replay later on. You realize that Baldwin scored a touchdown, something that hall of famers Walter Payton, Dan Marino, Joe Namath didn?t and Earl Campbell Gale Sayers and Jim Brown never got a chance to do. What did he do in celebration not a spike or dance, he put the ball on the ground and squatted over it like he was taking a shit. That was totally classless. Add to boot that Irvin was ejected for fighting in the games closing seconds and you have a pair of asses not aces that were part of the reason why the Seahawks were not holding the Lomabardi trophy again.

Quick Hits

The Hawks streak stopped at 20 after a perfect January. Are they the team to beat?

Virginia gets thumped by Duke but bounces back strong to whip the Heels in Chapel Hill, they will be a tough out come March

The semi-pro basketball team in Lexington?errrr UK keeps on winning

The Wings are coming on strong in the East?better believe that

A-Rod wins the MVP?big big shock there.

Six weeks to Spring? Hell with that, pitchers and catchers report in a couple weeks.

Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans

Bandits Super Bowl Pick
Category: NFL
Tags: NFL Picks & Predictions

 

 

OK Chilluns gather ‘round for a story. We’ll go way back to 1959 when the NFL consisted of 12 teams in 11 cities and was just starting to emerge as a force on the sporting landscape.  The Colts (who were playing happily in Baltimore) would defeat the New York Giants for the second time in as many seasons to win the NFL title. The NFL landscape was primarily a northern and eastern entity the most southern team in 1959 was Washington with the Rams and Niners being the only teams west of the Mississippi. The Cardinals franchise played in Chicago, and was the poor south side cousins in Comiskey Park to the more affluent and popular Bears who played in Wrigley Field. The Cards were owned by Violet Bidwell-Wolfner widow of Charles Bidwell one of the more senior owners in the NFL. She was besieged by suitors for her ball club who was losing money. The Bidwell family decided to spurn all the suitors and not sell, and instead moved to St. Louis where for 27 years they would be the football counterpart to a more famous (and more successful) baseball team of the same name. The Bidwell family still owns the Cards to this day and have since moved on to Arizona where they are the host team for this year’s title tilt.

One of those spurned suitors was Lamar Hunt, heir to an oil tycoon fortune. Hunt was frustrated in his bid to buy the Cardinals and annoyed that the NFL showed no signs of expanding beyond its 12 team, soon to be 12 city base. Hunt contacted another Texas oil tycoon, Bud Adams as well as 6 other high dollar men, would be owners including Barron Hilton (yeah the hotel owner and Paris’ grandfather) Bob Howsam in Denver, Billy Sullivan in Boston and Detroit insurance magnate Ralph Wilson (who was considering Miami, then chose to go to Buffalo because it had a stadium to join his “foolish club” which would become the American Football League.

Now at first the NFL was helpful, then commissioner Bert Bell gave Hunt a copy of the NFL’s constitution and by-laws to give a framework of a setup. Bell seemed to be at the very least indifferent to the idea of a new league but wasn’t openly hostile at first. Unfortunately Bell passed away during the 1959 season at a game and the NFL took its time about naming a new commissioner. The 12 owners of the NFL in contrast were openly hostile to the thought of a competing league and tried to take steps to kill the league before it got off the ground, creating expansion teams in Dallas and Minneapolis the former was where Hunt was creating a team and the latter awarded to owners who were going to create an AFL in the Twin Cities. They also approved the Cards move to St. Louis to keep them out of that city as well. The preemptive strikes shut the AFL out of two potential markets and made the third a tough go for the founder of the new league. The AFL had to scramble to find a new owner and market and settled on Oakland whose initial owner the enigmatic Chet Soda who had to be talked out of naming the team the Señors, he settled on Raiders instead. That team would struggle for the first couple years and the soon to be iconoclastic Al Davis would join the team as a coach in 1963, turning the doormat to powerhouse  In any case the AFL launched with 8 teams and though at times unsteady developed as a pro league with teams in new cities with Boston, Buffalo, Denver and Houston and teams in established NFL cities of New York, Los Angeles. Dallas was a newly created NFL City and Oakland was just across the bay from the 49ers who had been in the NFL a decade.  Though wobbly, with the Chargers having to move downstate to San Diego after one season and the Texans having to relocate Kansas City and rebrand as the Chiefs in 1963, The league began to establish itself as solid pro league despite the shaky status of the Raiders, the ineptness of the Titans ownership (who would later become the Jets) and the hideousness of the Broncos brown and yellow vertically striped socks. After gaining a TV contract with NBC in 1965 that added a nice cash infusion to the teams, the AFL stepped up its pursuit of the best college players. The problem started when Giants kicker Charlie Gogolak played out his option with the New York Giants and signed with the Buffalo Bills becoming the first NFL player to “jump leagues”. This enraged the NFL who then went about trying to destroy the AFL with a big money bidding war. But the AFL hung in and the number of players were drafted by teams in both leagues increased dramatically, when Raiders GM Al Davis became commissioner of the AFL in 1966 and openly tried to recruit established NFL stars to jump to the AFL this started a series of negotiations that would end the bidding war and merge the two leagues. Not only did this bring about a merger, both leagues were creating teams that would bring pro football to what was once considered far flung outposts like Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans and Cincinnati. In June 1966 a merger between the AFL and NFL was announced for 1970 and creation of a World Championship game between the two leagues in January, 1967. Initially called the AFL-NFL Championship game, the first matchup between the Packers and Chiefs  was a 35-10 rout in favor of the Packers and to some confirmation that the AFL was still out of their league. Although what many overlook was that the game was only 14-10 at the half and a Packers interception in the 3rd quarter that set up a score making it 21-10 was the key point in the game.  The game was nicknamed the Super Bowl but NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle hated the name. He wanted to initially call the game the Pro Bowl but that was already in use as the NFL’s All-Star game, with no workable alternatives eventually the name became official with the 3rd game. That game was the historic Jets upset of the seemingly invincible 13-1, 18 point favorite Colts that gave the AFL more credibility and with the Chiefs thumping the Vikings in the 4th Super Bowl, the last game for an AFL team as its own league, the game was seen more and more as the crown jewel of the pro game. The NFL went on as a 26 team, 2 conference entity with the Super Bowl as its championship game and has grown to the 32 team behemoth.  The game has grown in stature being the most watched sporting event every year with the top four most watched broadcasts in US history are Super Bowl game with the broadcast rights and commercial spots being highly coveted as it rotates among the networks. How much food is consumed? Only Thanksgiving ranks higher in consumption. Fast forward back to present day where the Super Bowl is the crown jewel of football and the dream of every football player. The winning team will get a $92K payday but it’s the foot high 7 pound Tiffany Silver Trophy that is the desire. The best quote is from Johnny Davis who was a reserve running back for the Niners in their first Super Bowl win. "The money is nice, but I'll spend that it’s the ring that lasts forever" So now you have a bit of insight on how we have come to know as the defacto sporting holiday as Super Bowl Sunday.

SUPER BOWL 49 (XLIX)

New England Patriots (14-4, #1 AFC Seed) vs Seattle Seahawks (14-4, #1 NFC Seed)

For the NFL Championship and the Vince Lombardi Trophy

University of Phoenix Stadium; Glendale, AZ 6:30 (NBC- Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya)

Favorite: Pick ‘Em

Fast Facts on the Game:

Second Super Bowl played in this venue, the third played in the greater Phoenix area (Super Bowl 30 played in Tempe)

Fifth time since the current playoff format was implemented in 1990 that the conferences #1 seeds made it to the Super Bowl. With both teams sporting 14-4 records the winning team will have the NFL’s best record

There has yet to be a shutout or overtime in the Super Bowl

Pete Carroll coached the Patriots from 1997-1999 and was succeeded by Bill Belichick whom had just resigned from the Jets a day after taking the position. The Patriots had to pay the Jets a first round pick as compensation. Carroll also coached the Jets briefly for a season.

Carroll and Belichick join Don Shula, George Allen, Forrest Gregg, Marv Levy, Bill Parcells, Dan Reeves, Mike Holmgren, Jon Gruden, Tony Dungy and John Fox to take a team to a Super Bowl in their 2nd or 3rd coaching stop

With a win: Carroll becomes first coach to win multiple college titles and Super Bowl Titles. Belichick becomes only second coach to win four Super Bowls (Noll)

Last Meeting Seahawks won 24-23 in 2012

NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks

Regular Season: 12-4 NFC West Champions

Head Coach Pete Carroll 50-30 in 5 seasons in SEA; 83-61 in 9 seasons with NYJ, NE & SEA; 91-65 overall

Earned First Round Bye as NFC #1 Seed

Defeated NFC South Champion Carolina 31-17 in NFC Divisional Round

Defeated NFC North Champion Green Bay in OT 28-22 in NFC Championship

Team Leaders Russell Wilson 3475 Yards 20 TDs Marshawn Lynch 1306 Yards 13 TDs Doug Baldwin 66 Rec 825 Yds 3 TDs NFL #1 Defense by yards and points allowed

1-1in the Super Bowl (Defending Super Bowl Champs, lost in SB 40)

SEA Fast Fact: First team since 2004 Patriots to win a playoff game the year after winning a Super Bowl

AFC Champion New England Patriots

Regular Season 13-3 AFC West Champions

Head Coach Bill Belichick 175-65 in 15 Seasons in NE; 211-109 in 20 overall season in CLE & NE; 232-118 overall.

Earned 1st Round Bye as AFC #1 Seed

Defeated AFC #2 Wild Card Baltimore 35-31 in AFC Divisional Round

Defeated AFC East Champion Indianapolis 45-7 in AFC Championship Game

Team Leaders Tom Brady 4109 Yards 33 TDs, Rob Gronkowski 82 Rec 1124 yds 12 TDs

3-4 in the Super Bowl Wins (35, 37, 38) Losses (20, 31, 42, 46)

NE Fast Fact The Patriots are part of an AFC monopoly over the last 18 Super Bowls, the Steelers, Broncos , Colts and Ravens have all been to multiple Super Bowls 16 of 18 in that span and all the wins have been by these five franchises (Raiders and Titans the only single game interlopers who both lost)

When the Seahawks have the ball

The Seahawks are a run to set up the pass type of team. Marshawn Lynch is a media sphinx who frustrates reporters with his monotone repetitive answers and defense bruising yet deceptively quick running back that is capable of breaking a long run as well as running through and over tacklers, sometimes on the same play. Russell Wilson has grown into the big time and has the mobility enough to make defenses respect his scrambling. Wilson and Lynch run the read-option offense to near flawless execution. The Patriots defense relies on the fact that most teams have a hard time keeping up with their offense so a bend but don’t break mentality often is the rule here. Vince Willfork is the veteran anchor here and it will be interesting to see the first couple meetings between these players.

 

When The Patriots have the ball

Start with Tom Brady who went from 6th round afterthought pick in 2000 to Hall of Fame lock today, he runs an offense that lacks name talent but can score and score often. Rob Gronkowski is a goof off the field but on it is a matchup nightmare on the field, a big talented target that can outrun a linebacker and run over a cover corner or safety. Underrated Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are complementary receivers that are very dependable in their own right. They face the ferociously nicknamed the Legion of Boom, the Seahawk defense led by the ever loquacious Richard Sherman who is the standard bearer of shutdown corners in the NFL. Calling his defensive backfield mates Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor very underrated or lesser heralded would be quite the misnomer now as few offenses are foolish enough to test them often. The Seahawks secondary is as tough as they come and will be a handful to avoid. Add in free agent pick up Cliff Avril as a good pass rusher and Brady might have a harder time than the experts think he will. To gain a decided edge the onus will be on the Seahawks defensive line to get a push up front and hit Brady early and often.

 

Coaching

Pete Carroll is a player’s coach, his unbridled enthusiasm is no act he’s a coach that brings an energy that his player feed off of and mirror. He runs a tight ship but is loose enough where the players play hard for him. Bill Belichick is monkish, wonkish and the definition of a grumpy frumpy coach but his businesslike mantra has made the Patriots the 21st century’s dominant team that has missed the playoffs only twice in his tenure with 14 consecutive winning and double digit win seasons. Both coaches get the most out of hidden gems and underrated talent.

The Prediction

On paper this looks to be an even game, the Pats high powered offense against the defending champs’ rugged defense. But the real game will be on the other side. If Russell Wilson shakes off his yips from the NFC championship and is the mobile whirling dervish that he can be, the Pats are in trouble. Marshawn Lynch is the key, when he gets rolling, he seems to get stronger as the game goes on and his punishing run style is known to wear defenses down to the point where he can break a long run. It will be a tight game all the way through but the Seahawks defense can run the best known policy on to beat the Patriots: Hit Tom Brady early and often. I think Sherman or Thomas makes a big enough hit on Gronkowski to tip the scales enough to get the win and the Seahawks become only the 9th team to repeat as Super Bowl titlists

 

 

Pick Seahawks 33 Patriots 24

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