Wednesday, November 26, 2008

College Hoops: What we learned during Feast Week

-- Two players looked like the best pro prospects that I saw -- Blake Griffin and Greg Monroe. Both are big men with the ability to put the ball on the floor. Blake has not been a secret during the last year, but he is really looking like a top 3 pick right now. I was surprised with how tall Monroe is. I knew he was silky smooth but I did not realize he was 6'11. I think it is going to be very hard for GTown to keep Monroe around longer than this year.

-- The landscape has changed and Mid-Majors are going to continue to be a force in the Top 25 and NCAA Tournament. With the advent of so many underclassmen going to the NBA, the top teams in the BCS conferences will continue to be putting young teams on the court. However, the Mid-Majors have more experienced teams of upperclassmen and that experience advantage will continue to help them overcome a good portion of the "talent level" disadvantage. We all know about Gonzaga, Xavier and Davidson this year, but do you know about Dayton (6-0 beating Marquette and Auburn), Butler (5-0, winning over Northwestern and Drake) and Mercer (5-2, with wins over Alabama and Auburn).

-- The bloom is off the Billy Gillespie rose. Kentucky looks pretty awful again this year. Gillespie has brought in two solid recruiting classes but is really struggling to win games. Now we learn that one of his highly recruited freshman, DeAndre Liggins refused to go into a game in the second half as a protest to playing time. What? When was the last time you heard that happen in college basketball -- I honestly cannot recall ever hearing of such a thing. What is Gillespie promising these kids during recruiting. Not only that but the kid is playing the next night against West Virginia. Yikes, no disciplinary action at all? Crazy.

-- The Big East is just loaded. No rocket science here, but I was really surprised at how good so many of these teams are. Here are the best teams and their records so far:

Pitt #4 7-0 (wins over Texas Tech and Washington State)
UConn #2 6-0 (wins over Wisconsin and Miami Fl)
Syracuse NR 6-0 (wins over Kansas, Florida and Virginia)
Nova #22 6-0 (weak schedule to date)
Louisville #3 2-0 (weak schedule to date)
Notre Dame #8 4-1 (beat Texas, lost to #1 UNC)
Georgetown #16 3-1 (lost to #12 Tenn)

Then the second tier will likely yield another Top 25 before then end of the year among West Virginia, Cincinnati and Marquette.

-- UNC may set a record for the most lopsided bracket pool selection this year. The disparity between #1 and all the other teams is greater than I can remember in a long, long time. Of course, talent alone does not insure that the Heels will cut down the nets next spring, but it sure seems like a lock looking at things this fall.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Make some Moola

I first heard about Moola.com about a year ago, but at the time the games that they had seemed much more luck-oriented than skill-based. However, since that time they have added some skill games, Gold Rush and Sports Betting in particular, that provide good players the ability to win without needing luck.

Moola.com bills itself as a Massively Multiplayer Rewards Game (MMRG) that is kind of like a free super-jackpot game show, where you start with a small free balance provided by their advertisers and sponsors. You start competing at the very lowest levels and if you win you double your balance. Over time, you build a bankroll by winning and through free spins of a Moola Booster wheel.

Their members have won real money and the current top player on the Leaderboard has over $8,000 in his account. If you like skill-based games and you don't want to risk your own money, I highly recommend playing at Moola.com.

My favorite game is Gold Rush, a 2-player game of strategy, in which the most clever bidder goes home with the gold! The objective is to reach 32 points through a series of betting rounds using your own 6 pieces of gold that are valued between 1 and 6 points. Each round the person with the highest bet takes that round of gold. There are various strategies for betting your multi-valued pieces and often your strategy changes depending on who you are playing (another good player or a weak player).

Check it out and good luck at the tables.