Friday, March 28, 2008

Tennessee's Disastrous Offense

Simon on Sports has a hilarous post on that abomination that Bruce Pearl calls an offense at Tennessee. Nice work Simon -- "uncontested threes are for pussies".

Its amazing to me that Indiana wants to interview this guy. Well at least they will have plenty of time to now. I have mentioned before that I hated Tennessee wild, out of control offense. Well it was executed perfectly last night.

Both teams were sloppy, but Tennessee was just plain uncomfortable to watch.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Stories from the First Weekend of the Tournament

What a great first weekend of the NCAA tournament!! Loved having 3 double digit seeds still in the tournament. Congrats to all of the Sweet Sixteen teams and especially the big surprises; Davidson, Western Kentucky, Villanova and West Virginia.

BTW, nice job on the poll readers. You guys said the 3 teams (seeded 2-4) that were most likely to miss the Sweet Sixteen; Wash St, Vandy and Duke. Two out of three is very good predicting!!

Here are some of the interesting stories that I have read about the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.

The Dagger on YahooSports has an interesting article on the performance of the different conferences -- Kudos to the success of the Big Ten, Big East and Pac-10 so far.

Storming The Floor is doing some real nice profiles on each of the teams in the Sweet Sixteen. If you haven't read these yet, you should check them out. They provide a nice synopsis of who each team is and how they got there.

While the first weekend was FANtastic, I was surprised to learn that the ratings have been down this year. Fanhouse has an interesting article on the ratings you should check out.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Round 2 Tourney Bets

I ended up 2 for 3 in the first round bets, winning with Xavier and Purdue and losing on St. Joes unlikely loss to Oklahoma. Xavier was not pretty and I was definitely sweating out the first half 9 point deficit to Georgia, but in the end Xavier's defense and depth was too much for Georgia and they won by 12.

Tougher round coming up and I frankly don't see a lot of games/lines that I like so I am only going with two. These lines are provided from BetUS.com where new users get a 50% deposit bonus.

Duke giving 4.5 points over West Virginia
Duke got a real scare in the first round and I expect them to bounce back with a vengeance today. Yes, West Virginia is a good team and played very well against Arizona, but Duke matches up better with West Virginia than they did with Belmont. Their outside shooting should be the difference in this one and I expect them to cover the 4.5 points easily.

Notre Dame gettting 2.5 points against Washington State
The Big East, ACC and Big Ten have excelled in the tourney so far and the Pac-10 and SEC have sputtered. I think Notre Dame is the better team and their play throughout the loaded Big East conference has been exceptional - they were also 17-0 at home this year. While this is not a home game, there are golden dome alumni throughout the US and they should have a larger contingent in DC than Wash St. As a result, it should be more of a home game for ND than WSU. I expect Notre Dame to win this game outright so I am very happy to get 2.5 points for my trouble.

Good luck all.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sleepers, Upsets and Odds to Win it All

Let's first get the obvious stuff out of the way first. My Final Four - UNC, Georgetown, Texas and UCLA. I think UNC is going to win the NC over UCLA.

Sleepers for the Sweet Sixteen:
#11 seed St. Joe's

St. Joe's beat Xavier twice in the past two weeks. They play very good defense and they are a good road team. Meanwhile, Oklahoma is limping into the tournament. While they have a good frontcourt, their backcourt struggles -- and guard play is key in the tourney. In the second round, St Joe's will likely meet Louisville which is a very good team. However, Louisville has struggled against defensive minded teams losing its last two to Pitt and GTown. Additionally, Louisville has the 4th lowest FT% at 65%, while St. Joe's shoots 75% from the charity stripe.

#5 seed Notre Dame (not a huge upset, but they should beat #4 Wash St in Rd 2)
I really like Notre Dame's inside/outside game with Harangody and McAlarney. They are a very quiet 24-7 in the extremely tough Big East. While Washington St was solid against the weaker teams in the Pac 10. They are 0-5 against UCLA and Stanford and they lost twice to an average Arizona team. Just a gut feel here but I think Notre Dame is the better team.

Now for some more fun stuff. All of these lines and odds come from BetUS.com and obvious are subject to change from the time of writing this. BetUS is also offering a 50% deposit bonus if you join now, click here.

First off lets look at some of the odds to win it all (shown under the Future/props section)

UNC 4:1
UCLA 4:1


Both of these seem like pretty good values to me. Often favorites are no more than 3:1, but because so many teams are capable of winning it all the odds are a bit better this year. In reality, UNC and UCLA seem heads and shoulders above the other top teams that I like these odds.

Duke 14:1
GTown 16:1


Both of these seem like real interesting speculations in my mind. I really think either of these teams could win it all. While Kansas, Memphis and Tennessee all have major flaws that I would not want to wager a futures bet on, I think Duke and GTown are a legitimate speculation that may payoff.

Now for some straight line and over/under picks. Again these lines are based on the lines at BetUS.com

Xavier over Georgia giving 8.5 points

Kudos to Georgia getting in and playing their hearts out over 4 days. However, we have seen these play-in conference tourney runs lead to complete letdowns in the tourney (remember Syracuse and McNamara a couple years ago). While they did have a nice run, I don't think Georgia is a real good team and yet they are meeting a very good Xavier team. I would give the 8.5 points here and grab Xavier for a big win.

St. Joe's getting 1 against Oklahoma

I have already said that I really like St. Joe's to reach the Sweet Sixteen and I definitely look for them to win this first round. See my analysis above for why I like them.

Purdue over Baylor giving 3 points

I know everyone says the Big 10 is down but I have seen Purdue a couple times this year and they are a very talented team. They were the best 3 point shooting team in the Big 10 and hit 11 per game. They also play very hard-nosed defense and will slow Baylor's uptempo pace (so I also like the under 140 in this one too). I think the early exit from the B10 Tourney will be a motivating factor and they will be ready to play.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Who will They be Rooting For?

I saw a post on celebrities supporting their bubble team on Epiccarnival.com and thought it would be interesting to expand the list of celebrities and the alma mater they will be rooting for during March Madness. Please feel free to comment in any others that I have left off (limit it to likely tourney teams and non-bball celebs since we all know where they went):

Willard Scott (weatherman) - American University
Barry Levinson (director of Rain Man, The Natural)

Jerry Jones (owner of Dallas Cowboys) - Arkansas Razorbacks
Jimmy Johnson

Robert Romanus (Mike Damone from Fast Times at Ridgemont High) - Butler Bulldogs

Jon Heder - Brigham Young


Shawn Weatherly (Baywatch actress) - Clemson Tigers

Moby - Connecticut Huskies
Meg Ryan

Jimmy Smits - Cornell
Bill Maher

Jeremy Piven - Drake University

Joe Ogilvie - Duke Blue Devils
Ron Paul (Internet Presidential Candidate)
John Feinstein (sports author)

Bill Clinton - Georgetown Hoyas
Carl Reiner
Paul Tagliabue

Mark Cuban - Indiana Hoosiers
John Mellencamp

Ashley Judd - Kentucky Wildcats



Memphis Tigers -- can't find any -- a little help?

James Caan - Michigan State University
Tom Sizemore

Regis Philbin - Notre Dame Irish
Mike Golic
George Wendt ("Norm")

Peter Gammons (baseball analyst) - North Carolina Tarheels
Andy Griffith
Lewis Black (comedian)

Ed Harris - Oklahoma Sooners

Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers) - Pitt Panthers
Mike Ditka
John Irving (author)

Orville Redenbacher - Purdue Boilermakers
Ryan Newman (Nascar driver)

Tiger Woods - Stanford Cardinal
Jerry Yang (Yahoo co-founder)
Reese Witherspoon


Bill Cosby - Temple Owls
Bob Saget (dad on Full House)

Cormac McCarthey (author) - Tennessee Volunteers
Al Gore ("inventor of the internet")

Matthew McConaughey - Texas Longhorns
Owen Wilson
Laura Bush (First Lady)

Lyle Lovett - Texas A&M Aggies
Mary Beth Decker (cyber playmate)
a lot more of her is visible with a simple Google search


Heather Locklear - UCLA Bruins
Beau Bridges
Jack Black


Tom Selleck - USC Trojans
Ron Howard
Snoop Dogg
Will Ferrell (all powerful God of comedy)


Skip Bayless - Vanderbilt University
Molly Sims (SI model)


Gary Larson (Far Side creator) - Washington State Cougars
Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder)

Phil Hellmuth (poker brat) - Wisconsin Badgers
Andy Katz (guru on college hoops...just ask him)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

UNC - Duke -- The real story is horrible officiating

Absolutely these were two of the best teams in the country (btw, I have been on Duke's bandwagon since they were unrated early in the season). Absolutely this game was loaded with some of the most talented college hoops players in the nation. Absolutely it was an incredibly hard fought battle by both teams. And in the end, I think the best team won tonight.

However, the real story here was the absolute horrible officiating by this ACC officiating team. The media talks about the Big Ten being the black and blue conference but this was ridiculous tonight.

The referees absolutely swallowed their whistles tonight and the hacking underneath was unbelievable. Only 28 total fouls called all night? What?? And a number of those were intentional end of the game fouls. Hansborough (the leader in free throw shots in the ACC) never gets to the line -- What? Did you see the scratches all over the guys arms and face?

I will say this -- the lack of calls was at least balanced on both ends of the court -- what a circus. The pace of the game is what kept it entertaining. But otherwise it was tough to watch a game as guys were getting physically knocked to the ground on every possession with zero foul calls.

I understand "letting guys play" but when it takes away from the nature of the game, things are far too extreme. I hope this is not a trend we see in the NCAA tournament, because frankly it is bad for college basketball.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A little Recruiting News

Congrats to Badger fans on landing Diamond Taylor, a top recruit for 2009 out of Chicago.

Taylor plays on a talented St. Joseph's team (home of Isiah Thomas, Demitri McCamey at Illinois and Evan Taylor of Ohio State). While not currently rated in the Top 100 by Scout.com for the class of 2009, I would expect that to change over the summer. He has great athleticism and a silky smooth outside shot.

In other news, Devin Ebanks, the 13th rated player in the 2008 class, has chosen to De-commit from Indiana in the wake of the Kelvin Sampson scandal and resignation. Scout.com is reporting that the talented SF is likely to commit to another school as opposed to re-committing to Indiana after a permanent coach is hired.