Thursday, July 24, 2008

WNBA Fight Not A Big Deal

Ok so I am not gonna lie to you guys. I didn't watch the game nor did I have any interest to. That is how it is for many sports fans when you are talking about women's basketball. But as pity and childish as the fight that went on Tuesday night might have actually put this sport on the map. Look I have heard this fight being called everything from a brawl to a throwdown and so many other things to make me think this fight was an epic 9 round boxing match. But if you honestly look at the highlights, to me anyway, it looks like any other high school cat fight that goes on in the halls during passing periods. Honestly if we weren't in the middle of baseball season that fight wouldn't of been a top story on Sportscenter. Ok that maybe a little bit harsh but seriously this fight is being blown way out of proportions.

Don't Compare To 2004 Brawl

Another thing that is making me mad about this issue is that most analysts are comparing it to the fight that happened in the same arena four years ago. If you don't remember the Pacers/Pistons got into a huge scuffle in November which ended in Stephen Jackson punching Piston fans. What happened on Tuesday wasn't what happened four years ago. Its not like the Spark players were going into the stands and beating the crap out of the Shock fans. This fight doesn't even deserve to be said in the same breath as the brawl of 2004. All this fight did was make this rivalry between these two teams interesting. The fight of 2004 made David Stern change his entire thought process about the game. Yes there maybe a little bit tighter security but not as much as after the brawl.

College Basketball Minute
News about my Missouri Tigers in this edition of college basketball minute. Former Missouri basketball coach Norm Stewart is recovering from open-heart surgery.University officials said the 73-year-old Stewart had an aortic valve replacement on Friday. He is recuperating at Boone Hospital Center and is expected to be released later this week.Stewart spent 32 years as coach at Missouri, his alma mater. He earned 731 career wins in his 38-year coaching career and is a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. I wish you a very speedy recovery Norm.
Anyway this weeks team rounds out the top five in my preseason top 25 poll and for the second straight time the team hails from the Big East conference. The UConn Huskies have the best team they have had since being stunned by George Mason in the Elite Eight of the 2006 NCAA tournament. Hasheem Thabeet the 7'3 center said no to the NBA draft and has everyone talking about the Huskies. If A.J Price can come back from his ACL injury and be as productive as he was UConn has a good shot at cutting down the nets in April of 2009.

Gonners View Top 25
1) North Carolina
2) Pittsburgh Panthers
3) UCLA Bruins
4) Louisville Cardinals
5) Connecticut Huskies

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is College Footbal Here Yet?

Psh I wish. I am sorry for die hard baseball fans but after the trade deadline I really start loosing interest in baseball until it gets to be the playoffs. So I am gonna talk about a sport I am seriously excited for every single fall. One reason I am excited is because my two teams (Missouri Tigers and Northwest Missouri State Bearcats (Division II)) should be very competitive this season. Yes I am very sad for my Bearcats cause they lost Xavier Omon and will be down compared to years past, but I do expect them to stay competitive. As for Missouri Chase Daniel is the man plain and simple. Missouri should be in the National Championship hunt the entire season if they don't let the hype get to their head. Here is a look at my preseason top 10 for college football season.

Gonners View Top 10 Best College Football Teams

1) Georgia Bulldogs-Offense has fire power with Stafford and Moerno (both should be Heisman Canidates) however off season problems have plagued the Bulldogs this season as Possible starting defensive end Jeremy Lomax and offensive lineman Clint Boling have pending legal problems; Lomax was arrested on concealed weapons charges and Boling was charged with DUI. This team has a hard toad to the National Championship but in my opinion has the best team in the nation to start the season.

2) Oklahoma Sooners-Sam Bradford is one of my early picks to win the Heisman. If he can be more consistent especially away from Norman the Sooners will roll over everyone in the Big 12 and be playing in the National Championship

3) Florida Gators- They have Tim Tebow and a slew of offensive weapons. I am interested to see how Emmanuel Moody comes in as the Gators relied more on Tebow for their running attack. Don't expect Tebow to get over 20 rushing TD's this season but Florida will be in the mix for the National Championship. Write this date down November 1st. Thats when they play Georgia.

4) Ohio State Buckeyes- They still have a great running attack in Chris "Beanie" Wells and Todd Boeckman back as quarterback. And they still have James Laurinaitis on defense (seems like he has been in college for over five years now). Should be heavily favored to win the Big 10 this year.

5) West Virginia Mountaineers- They still have Pat White at quarterback and after seeing how they torched Oklahoma in the Feista Bowl they make me believe they can play for a national championship. As we have seen in years past expect a let down to a less than par football team. My guess it will happen November 22nd at Louisville.

6) USC Trojans- Mark Sanchez finally gets his chance to take the reigns for the Trojans and with the great recruiting class they get year in and year out at Southern Cal you always have to expect them to compete.

7) Missouri Tigers-Yes I may be tooting my teams horn a little bit too much but I really believe the Tigers can do some special things this year. They return 1o defensive starters which vastly improved throughout the season and with Chase Daniel at the helm the Tigers should be in every game this season and should win the Big 12 North for the second consecutive year.

8) Clemson Tigers-Is this the Tigers year to shine in the ACC? Cullen Harper is a senior and is trying to be better than his 27 touchdown and 6 interception season last season. This is another team with major off season problems as they will be without starting middle linebacker Cortney Vincent, who was dismissed from the team in May. Vincent started 12 of 13 games and had 68 tackles and seven tackles for loss.
9) Texas Tech Red Raiders-The Red Raiders have one of the best offenses in all of college football. Michael Crabtree will have one hell of a season and with Graham Harrell at the helm he should have a 15+ touchdown reception season. The real question is will the defense be able to stop anyone on defense?

10) LSU Tigers-The national champs will be down a little bit with a lot of loss on not only the offense and defensive side of the ball but also in personnel. Still they have enough talent on both sides of the ball to compete. The big question will be at the quarterback position since Ryan Perrilloux was dismissed.
Others to consider: Auburn Tigers, Texas Longhorns, Arizona State Sun Devils, Wisconsin Badgers.

College Basketball Minute
Well Texas apparently loved Kevin Durrant's time at the school so much they don't want anyone to wear his jersey ever again. He is one of nine longhorn athletes to have his number retired which also includes former quarterback Vince Young. Now I have a problem with this. Honestly yes Durrant is one hell of a player but does he really deserve to have his number retired? He was their one year. His team did better in the NCAA tournament without him this year than they did the year he was on the team. Unfortunately I see this happening more and more around basketball. I wouldn't be surprised to see K-State retire Michael Beasley's number or USC retire O.J Mayo's number. Anyway on to my new team in the top 25 this week is Louisville. Yes they lose David Padgette but they still have Edgar Sosa, Earl Clark and Terrence Williams. The ACC might have the best team but the best conference race this year will be in the Big East.

Gonners View Top 25
1) North Carolina
2) Pittsburgh Panthers
3) UCLA Bruins
4) Louisville Cardinals

Monday, July 14, 2008

Home Run Derby Preview

I don't know how many people actually look forward to the Home run Derby but it is something I look forward to every year. True this years contest doesn't have the marquee names as it did in the past but it has a lot of young up and coming players that are quickly becoming All-Stars in Major League Baseball. Here is a look at the contenders.

American League Contenders

Justin Morneau 1B Minnesota Twins-2nd Home Run Derby contest. (Finished 5th place out of 8 in 2007). Morneau was the last competitor named to the home run derby. He has 14 HR and 68 RBI's in the first half of the 2008 season. Morneau is one of the only two competitors who actually have home run derby experience and is one of my picks to surprise in tonights competition.

Evan Longoria 3B Tampa Baby Rays-First Home Run Derby Contest. Longoria has 16 HR and 53 RBIs in the 2008 so far. Longoria is one of the many surprises to come out of the sunshine state this season as the Rays are a half game behind the Red Soxs for first place in the AL East. However I don't think Longoria will get out of the first round because nerves will get to the young guy.

Grady Sizemore CF Cleveland Indians-First Home Run Derby Contest. Sizemore has 23 HR and 54 RBI's in 2008 so far. Sizemore is one of the only bright spot for the Indians this season as he is the AL leader in home runs at the All-Star break. Should be one of the favorites to win the competition but I see him fading after round one. Expect to see him in this competition for years to come.

Josh Hamilton RF Texas Rangers-First Home Run Contest. Hamilton has 21 HR and 95 RBI's in 2008 first half. The best single player story of the first half is definitely Hamilton after his battle with drug addiction. It would be absolutely amazing to see him win the competition. Expect Hamilton, who is the MLB RBI leader at the All-Star break, to stay around for a while.

National League Contenders

Dan Uggla 2B Florida Marlins-First Home Run Contest. Uggla has 23 HR and 59 RBI's in 2008 so far. Uggla has probably the best home run swing of any of the competitors. However with this being his first time will he let the pressure get to him. That is something to watch out for. If he can brush the pressure off, Uggla has a real chance to win this competition.

Chase Utley 2B Philadelphia Phillies-First Home Run Contest. Utley has 25 HR and 69 RBI's in 2008 so far. Utley was one of the hottest hitters in first few months of the season. However his last few months he has been overshadowed by teammate Ryan Howard, who leads the National League in home runs with 28. I see Utley being a first round casualty but he will have a huge second half for the Phillies.

Lance Berkman 1B Houston Astros- Fourth Home Run Contest (Best Finish- 2nd in 2004 contest). Berkman has 22 HR and 73 RBI's in 2008 so far. Berkman is my pick to win the contest for a few reasons. One he has been here before and should be the most loose of all the competitors and two he has a swing that can get him deep in this competition. However his home run history is somewhat of a concern. Berkman has been a first round exit in two home run contests he competed in including only having 1 home run in the 2002 contest so anything can happen.

Ryan Braun LF Milwaukee Brewers- First Home Run Contest. Braun has 23 HR and 66 RBI's in the 2008 so far. Braun has been the hottest hitter down the stretch as Milwaukee is closing in on the Cubs in the NL Central race. I think Braun will be a first round exit, I just seeing nerves getting him in the way of any success in this contest.

College Basketball Minute
The three point line is officially moving back in 2008. The three point line, which was 19 feet 9 inches, is moving back one foot and is getting closer to the NBA 3 point range (23 feet 9 inches). I think it is a very good move for college basketball because it seemed like three pointers were easy to come by in 2007 especially for some post players who have some range on their shot. The true three point shooters shouldn't be affected by the new rule but it should be interesting to see come November how much a foot will actually affect the game. Also #3 team in my poll despite losing a lot players the UCLA Bruins have yet another good team ready to make a run in March. They are fine in the guard position with Collison and Shipp but need some young guys to come up and take the place of Love and Mbah a Moute on the interior.
Gonners View Preseason Top 25 Poll
1) North Carolina Tar Heels
2) Pittsburgh Panthers
3) UCLA Bruins

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Letter To Brett Favre

So if you are like me you are pretty sick and tired of ESPN reporting every little text message Brett Favre sends to the entire world regarding his thoughts of coming back to the NFL for the 17th billion time. Yes when Brett Favre made his decision to retire in early March I honored the great NFL quarterback. But now instead of taking the Joe Montana or John Elway road into retirement he is taking more the Vinny Testaverde or Warren Moon approach to it (basically hanging on until no team wants him anymore). I personally think Favre has nothing left to prove to us. So I have decided to write a note to Brett to hopefully set him straight.

Dear Mr Brett Favre,

I know you could give a rats ass about a 20 year old kid from Iowa's opinion on your return to the NFL saga but I am gonna give it to you anyway. Its simple....don't come back. I mean seriously Brett you have played for 17 seasons you own every good (and some bad) NFL records and the biggest thing every player in the National Football player is after and thats a Super Bowl ring. Yes it will be weird not seeing you take the huddle with the Green Bay Packers next season but its time to hang up the jersey. I mean I dunno what your feelings towards Aaron Rodgers are but seriously the young guy has more pressure on him than probably any quarterback having to replace a legend ever has. Its been nice seeing you play and we will see you in Canton in 2012.


Nate Gonner

College Basketball Minute
The UConn Huskies, one of the teams that will eventually make their way into my Preseason Top 25, have released their Big East schedule for the 2008-2009 season. That include two games against Notre Dame, Seton Hall, and Pittsburgh. UConn’s BIG EAST regular season home games will be against Georgetown, Providence, Rutgers, USF, Syracuse and Villanova. UConn’s road BIG EAST games will be at Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette, St. John's and West Virginia. Speaking of Pittsburgh they are my #2 team on my Preseason top 25. If they can stay healthy this team has the depth, led by DeJuan Blair, Levance Fields, and Sam Young, to cut down the nets in April.
Gonners View Preaseason Top 25
1) North Carolina
2) Pittsburgh

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rose The Right Fit For Chicago

A Note to my readers,
I am sorry for the long absence. It has been a very crazy summer for me and I hope to get back in the groove and am excited to bring my view of sports back to you.
Nate Gonner

When the NBA Draft lottery was set a month ago I was dead set that the Chicago Bulls would take Michael Beasley from Kansas State. Personally I thought the Bulls needed so desperate help on the interior both rebounding and scoring. What better way to fix that then to bring in a guy who was third in the nation in scoring and first in the nation in rebounding. However Derrick Roses maturity and leadership skills are something the Bulls need far superior than Beasley's numbers. In one season at Memphis, Rose won 38 games and was two minutes away from winning a national championship with the Tigers. His play against the top guards in college basketball (i.e. D.J Augustin, Darren Collison, Drew Nietzel) in the NCAA tournament propelled him from a Top 10 prospect to the number one pick overall. His ball handling skills and quickness are already better than any of the guards on the Chicago Bulls right now (a backcourt which consists of Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, and Larry Hughes). Beasley has skills to make him a All-Star in this league, but with Rose's leadership and not to mention his ties with Chicago (he hails for the windy city) it was a no brainier for the Bulls.

Who's on their way out of Chicago?
Now with Rose on board Chicago has a ton of guards and not a lot of big guys down low. Now they have trade bait that could land them a very good veteran post player. Personally I think if you can the Bulls should keep Ben Gordon who has averaged 18 points his career compared to Kirk Hinrich and Larry Hughes who both have averaged 14 points per game for their entire career. Not to mention Gordon is much cheaper at four million dollar contract in 2008 compared to Hinrich's 11 million and Hughes 12 million. I would expect the Bulls to move one or both Hinrich and Hughes in order to open up some cap room for free agency this year and for years to come (Remember Lebron James contract in Cleveland ends in 2010). If Bulls fans are patient, Rose can bring another championship back to the windy city.

College Basketball Minute
If you are regular reader of my blog you know how much I love college basketball and so I have decided to incorporate College basketball into everyone one of my posts. Now that the NBA Draft is over its time to look at the Top 25 teams starting the season in 2008. Starting with the team at the top. They brought back more talent from last years team than any other team in college basketball, including the player of the year Tyler Hansbrough. The depth and experience the North Carolina Tar Heels are second to no one in the ACC Conference and in College Basketball.

Gonners View 2008-2009 Preseason Poll
1) North Carolina Tar Heels

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mayo Recieving Gifts Isn't Surprising

Finally we have a source to back up the allegations. Just yesterday the story broke on ESPN that O.J. Mayo has been receiving gifts since he was a freshman in high school. I mean come on people if the guy has been dubbed the best of the 2007 class as a 7th grader, you don't think someone is going to try and lure him to their agency? If you don't think so then you are crazy.

The Background Story

According to Louis Johnson, a former part of Mayo's inner circle group and a story from said Mayo accepted around $30,000 in cash and gifts during the past four years from Rodney Guillory, a 43-year-old Los Angeles event promoter. In addition to cash, the gifts included a flat-screen television for Mayo's dorm room, cell phone service, a hotel room, clothes, meals and airline tickets for Mayo's friends and a relative, according to Johnson, others with knowledge of the gifts and store receipts. When Mayo was in high school in Ohio and West Virginia, Guillory was receiving monthly payments from the Northern California sports agency Bill Duffy Associates. Johnson said BDA provided Guillory with around $200,000 before Mayo arrived at USC, and that Guillory used most of the money to support his own lifestyle but also gave a portion of it to Mayo. Mayo denies all allegations. Read the full story here

My Thoughts

The thing that caught my attention that wasn't brought up in the story had to deal with Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony and Mayo. It was rumored that during the season, Mayo got free tickets to a Denver Nuggets game courtesy of Anthony. That was the first thing that popped into my head when I heard that Anthony and Mayo were both Bill Duffy Associates (BDA) clients. Could this be a gift from one basketball player to another? Perhaps, but it seems kind of fishy that two players now owned by the same sports agency just happen to talk and Anthony just happened to give him free tickets like he was his best friend or some type of family member. I think once more things unfold you can bet a couple things. One USC is treading on thin ice with this and the Reggie Bush scandal still fresh in the minds of the NCAA committee. Two that if convicted Guillory is going to be behind bars as it is a misdemeanor in the state of California for sports agents or their representatives give gifts to high school or college athletes. Last at number three as he is trying to do anything to raise his draft stock, Mayo now has something no player wants while trying to make it in sports, a distraction.

Plus Check Out The Sports Flows MLB Power Ranking

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Whats Wrong With New Yorks Baseball Teams?

So the baseball season is officially into full swing now. After struggling early it seems like the predicted front runners are now a top of their division after a tumultuous start. Everyone except New Yorks duo of high paid and high powered teams. Yes you can throw the Tigers struggling in that mix too. But for Detroit this is new territory. They haven't been outright picked to be a World Series contender in years,while the Mets and Yankees have. As of May 7th both the Mets and Yankees are a combine one game over .500. The New York Mets are sitting at 17-15 and a 1.5 behind the surprising first place Florida Marlins. Johan Santana has only won three of his seven starts this season. While the Yankees are 17-18 right now and are 4.5 games behind the Boston Red Soxs in the AL East. Alex Rodriguez being on the DL doesn't help the Yankees at all either. So for how much longer can the fans of these two franchises hold out before they start getting on a roll and start winning on a regular basis? Probably not for too much longer.

The Mets Not Over Collapse?
Now bare with me here I know the Mets have had some serious injury problems, especially to the starting rotation, but has this team really shaken off one of the biggest collapses in Major League history? To me I don't really think they have. I know the Mets front office thought that bringing in Johan Santana as their ace would be a quick fix but it really hasn't. The fact is the Mets have basically the same offensive team as they did a year ago. And in sports today, if you stay with your same team for a long period of time eventually things start to fall apart. For one they are getting fairly old with veterans like Moise Alou and Carlos Delgado still on the team. The fact is the core of the that saw their seven game lead with under 20 games to go just disappear is still in tact. Sure this team has the talent to win over a 100 games and make it to the World Series, but somethings like a collapse haunt you for a very long time and that maybe the case with the Mets.

Predictions for the Rest Of The Season
Honestly I see the Yankees hovering around .500 the entire season. This team seems to be in a little bit of a rebuilding stage and is trying to slowly replace the old veterans with young players and it is going to take sometime for them to gel together. So Yankee fans don't be disappointed if your team is watching from home this postseason because it more than likely is gonna happen. As for the Mets I think once they get healthy you will see a turnaround from them and they will start going on five and six game winning streaks more often. They are still my favorite to win the NL East.

Monday, May 5, 2008

There Is A Reason Kobe Has Only One MVP Trophy

I think it is about time I chime about this Kobe winning his first MVP award this year. I got the news from a sports buddy of mine and not ESPN. Well me and him have had debates all year long about the NBA and the LA Lakers. Some of them have gotten very heated. For those who don't know my favorite sport of all time is College Basketball, and my least favorite is the NBA. Now some of you may look at that and be like how the heck does that work. Well I will tell you, it has to do with players like Kobe Bryant.

Kobe The Oversized Baby
Yes its All-Stars like Kobe Bryant that make me hate the NBA. Guys who think they are all that and a bag of chips and have that no one can touch this smug about them. Kobe is seen around the league a role model. If you ask me he is anything but that. It seems like everyone forgot that this guy wanted out of Los Angles just last summer and was throwing numerous hissy fits about it. He complained about how Jerry West wasn't getting him guys that he could win with. Does a role model complain when he doesn't get his way? Apparently. Does a role model run his best teammate and coach out of town? Seems like it since Kobe ran Shaquille O'Neal and Phil Jackson right out of town after the 2003 season after they helped Bryant win three rings. Kobe said he didn't need anybody, that you could win without them. Well Mr Hot Shot hasn't won a ring since, and its because his I'm god complex has hindered him winning championships. Now I will be one of the first to admit that Kobe Bryant has amazing basketball skills, that is no question but his attitude and immaturity up pretty much until this point in his career has been the main reason I have a beef with the guy. For the first 28 years of his life he must of thought there was an "I" in team because this seems to be the first time that I have seen him actually being a team player. Which is why he finally won the MVP because the most valuable player because he learned to win with the players around him and was able to put up the numbers he has had in the past. Kobe finally woke up, smelled the roses, and thought hey I really do need some help in order to win and became a leader instead of trying to win a championship all by myself. Congratulations Kobe you have finally grown up, and everyone is so proud of you.

Comparing Kobe to MJ
The thing that makes me angry is when NBA experts have said Kobe is the next Michael Jordan. All the those experts you need to shut up and stop comparing this man child to the greatest player to ever run up and down the NBA court. Yes Kobe scored 81 points in a single game against the lowly Toronto Raptors in a regular season game. Yippee that still doesn't make him Michael Jordan. The only way Kobe could be MJ is if he somehow cloned himself from Michael Jordan, and I don't think that happened. When it is all said and done Kobe Bryant will be a lock to be an NBA Hall of Famer, but he will never touch Jordan's Legacy. So will everyone stop comparing any good player in the NBA to Michael Jordan, cause they aren't and will never be Michael Jordan. The bottom line is Jordan made the NBA great, and Kobe is slowly destroying it. That and the fact they play no defense in the NBA is why I think it is horrible. And thats the way the cookie crumbles. There maybe a day when I can watch the NBA again and actually enjoy it but it won't be until Kobe Bryant announces his retirement. Which won't be for another 10 or so years.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Headlines from the Sports Blogging World

Hey guys,

Unfortunately I won't be able to post a thursday post this week. I am in the process of moving out of college and finishing up finals. So I wanted to use this post to give some of my colleagues some press. There are a lot of great sports blog posts up this week, and here are a few of them.

My colleague Neil over at The Sports Lounge has a couple great basketball posts up on his site, including a great one about the Washington Wizards still having a pulse. The Sports Lounge

For all you fantasy baseball fans, my buddy Joe over at Sports Flow has a great fantasy baseball recap from last week. Breaking down who is hot, and who is not in the majors. The Sports Flow

April DeLancy, one of the most talented women bloggers I know, has a great blog up about Roger Clemens over on her blog Women Like Sports

Sports Attitude has some great stuff up on his site, including his thoughts on the NFL Draft. Sports Attitude

If you are interested in getting in my blog roll. You can leave me a post on here or email me at Happy Thursday everyone.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Chiefs Are HUGE Draft Day Winners

As I watched the NFL Draft the past two days, I just hoped that the Chiefs would bring in someone that would make the Jared Allen trade worth while. I was maybe one of the only Chiefs fans not happy with the trade, and while I still am not 100 percent happy with the move, I definitely can live with it now.

First Round

If you have to give up a great defensive player in Jared Allen, no doubt getting the best defensive player in the draft is worth it and thats what the Chiefs got in Glenn Dorsey. Taught under the tenacious coaching of Bo Pelini, Dorsey is a guy that can just flat out push over offensive linemen. He will definitely be the anchor of the Chiefs defense for years to come. Then with their second first round pick they got the guy many mock drafts were predicting the Chiefs would pick at #5 in Branden Albert. Both guys will start day one for the Chiefs.

Second Round

With Ty Law gone and Patrick Surtain getting up their in age, the Chiefs needed a corner and they got a first round corner in the second round in Virginia Tech's Brandon Flowers. He is a very hard hitting corner with some pretty decent speed. He has a very strong upper body. Expect Flowers to be a starter from day one as well.

Third Round
Three picks in this round starting with running back Jamaal Charles out of Texas. Now I really didn't want a running back in this draft, but if we had to get one Charles was the guy. He is very explosive and has break away speed to leave defenders in the dust. The first questionable pick I thought was two picks later with getting tight end Brad Cottam out of Tennessee. This guy has some work to do but he could definitely pan out for the Chiefs. Big guy at 6-7 but doesn't seem to have good hands. Hopefully he can learn a thing or two under Tony Gonzalaez. I just didn't think they really needed a tight end. The last pick the Chiefs had in the third round they used on DaJuan Morgan out of NC State who should be a very solid back up safety for the Chiefs. Morgan was the Wolfpacks leading tackler in 2007 with 97 tackles to go along with three interceptions.

The rest of the draft
Loved the pick in the fourth round getting Will Franklin out of Missouri. He is the second fastest receiver in the draft and did very well last season at Missouri. He does have some injury problems which is why he fell into the fourth round. Brandon Carr out of Grand Valley State maybe a steal. He played for a two time Division Two National Champion and has excellent speed. Seeing him crush Northwests dreams twice in the national championship was enough to have me sold on this kid. They also got a good kick returner in Utah State's Kevin Robinson who had a total of four touchdowns ran back on kick returns.

All in All I am very impressed with the Chiefs draft. They hopefully will make some strides into getting back to the playoffs.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sleepers in the 2008 NFL Draft

While everyone is talking who is going to be going in the first round, I am going to talk about some guys that aren't getting a lot of press that could very well make an impact at the next level.

1) Xavier Omon RB Northwest Missouri State University-Yes I might be biased, but I have seen him play for the past two years in person and ladies and gentleman the man flat out has game. Over 2,300 yards this last season and is the only back in any division college football to rush for over 1,500 yards in four consecutive seasons. He rushed for over 600 yards in two playoff games (309 against Chadron State and 292 against Grand Valley State). Yes he doesn't have Darren McFadden speed but the guy has pretty good speed running a 4.55 40 yard dash. I can easily see Omon being taken in the late rounds (probably 6th or 7th round).

2) Paul Smith QB Tulsa-Stellar senior year for Smith throwing for over 5,000 yards and 47 touchdowns. He also rushed for 13 more. His leader ship skills helped Tulsa win big in their bowl game against Bowling Green and to a 10-4 record. Some experts say he is a system quarterback and may have poor arm strength but his accuracy is comparable to the other quarterbacks in the draft. I don't see him slipping past the 6th rounds and could even go early in Day 2.

3) Todd Blythe WR Iowa State- Huge receiver out of Iowa State University with very good hands. The only reason he is not higher in the draft is he played for a bad team. Brett Meyer never really stayed in the pocket long enough to find Blythe down field. He was an All-Big 12 candidate in his sophomore season at Iowa State as well. A team that would draft Blythe is a team looking deep in the draft for a guy that could possibly come in a fill the #3 wide out spot. I see him going around Round 6 maybe late 5th but not much higher than that.

4) Dexter Jackson-WR Appalachian State-This kid has tremendous speed. Jackson runs a 4.37 40 yard dash and he could really be a great punt returner or kick returner at the next level. Didn't really have outstanding numbers receiving in college but his senior season was the best catching 30 balls for 688 yards and 8 touchdowns. He could be put in as a fourth or fifth wide receiver too. I see him going middle of the second day in the late fourth early fifth round pick.

5) Josh Johnson QB San Diego-Finishing up with a quaterback which had a 43:1 touchdown to interception ratio. Thats right Johnson only threw one interception this last season in college football while completing 68% of his passes. The only knock against him is he is very skinny for a quarterback and some are questioning his toughness in the pocket. He is a threat though to run the football at anytime. I see Johnson going early in Day two being a early to mid fourth round pick.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Baseball has had Backward Start To Season

For all my fellow readers out there I want to apologize that it took me until the middle of April to actually start talking about. You see to me the baseball season doesn't begin until the Final Four is over so last Monday was actually the first time I had even paid any attention to baseball. However, after the week I have used to get caught up on whats happening in the baseball world I have seen that there has been one reoccurring theme throughout the early going, its all backwards through the first few games.

The Good Surprises

  • As of Sunday night, the Arizona Diamondbacks are the best team in baseball. Yes all of baseball. They have scored a Major League leading 77 runs through 12 games while only giving up 45 runs. Justin Upton has been the leader for the Diamondbacks hitting .400 with 5 home runs and 11 RBI's with an on base percentage of over 1.100. And with Brandon Webb already having three wins in this young season, the Diamondbacks are quickly become the team to beat in the NL.
  • The team with the lowest payroll in baseball is leading the NL East. Yes it is not a typo the Florida Marlins with a 7-5 record have a game and a half lead in the NL East, the same Division as the New York Mets and Philadelphia Philles. It surprise me especially since the Marlins have given up 14 more runs than they have scored on offense. (56 Runs Scored 70 Runs Allowed).
  • The state of Missouri baseball teams has a combine record of 16-9. The Kansas City Royals have had a very good start to the season sweeping the Detroit Tigers in Detroit to begin the season and have been 4-5 since then. They also took 2 of 3 games from the New York Yankees. While the St. Louis Cardinals are leading the NL Central with a record of 9-4 while Albert Pujols is hitting .390. Going to school in Missouri I hear about both teams a lot and I have to say I am surprised by both teams fast start. Something to keep in the back of your head, A source of mine who is a Kansas City Royals fan said if the Royals are still around by the All-Star break that the Royals will go out and get another power hitter like the Reds Adam Dunn.
The Bad Surprises
  • The Detroit Tigers are the worst team in baseball with a 2-10 record. If you told me the Tigers would start 2-10 I would of thought you were smoking weed. How can this offense only score 33 runs? They have a payroll this season exceeding 150 million dollars. Thats absurd.
  • The AL East has all five teams within one game of the lead, and one of the teams on top isn't New York or Boston. Both are 6-6 and 5-5 in there last 10. David Ortiz is off to the worst start of his career with only three hits this season. Will Big Papi, the Yanks, and the Red Soxs get out of this early season slump. Stay tune. By the way the Mets aren't much better at 5-6 and a game and a half out of the NL East race. While Missouri has a record of 16-9 the state of New York is 11-12. Explain that one.
  • The NL Champs last year are 4-7. The Colorado Rockies haven't seem to shake off the World Series loss hang over just yet. And with how competitive the NL West has been in the early going, I don't see things getting any easier of the Rockies.
Right now the Division leaders are Arizona (NL West), St. Louis (NL Central), Florida (NL East), Oakland (AL Central), Chicago (AL Central), and Toronto/Baltimore (AL East). I know its early, but if this continues we are in for an interesting baseball season.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Self Would Be Smart To Stay At Kansas

It seems like even when things are going well for Bill Self the eyes of all Kansas fans are watching him, judging his every move. This time Jayhawk fans want to see if their coach, who lead them to their first National Championship in 20 years, is going to leave them. Last week it was rumored that Self was interested at taking over at his alma mater which is Big 12 rival Oklahoma State. The job opened up after Sean Sutton resigned after two years of being the Cowboys head coach. Now they want Self and for good reason. He is an amazing recruiter, and finally got over his elite eight hump and now has a championship on his resume. Not to mention he played basketball at OK State. However, even though he has a long history at Oklahoma State, I wouldn't accept the job.

Self's Road To Kansas Has Been A Long One.
Self's coaching career ironically started at the place he is currently employed. From 1985-1986 he was an assistant coach on for Kansas. For the next seven years he was an assistant at OK State. He finally got his first head coaching position at Oral Roberts started during the 1993-1994 season where he won only six games. It took him only two more seasons to build Oral Roberts in a contender, winning 18 games in his third year and in his fourth he guided the Golden Eagles to their first ever NCAA tournament in over 10 years in 1997. After the 1997 season, he was hired at the University of Tulsa and in just three seasons he guided Tulsa to their only Elite Eight. He then took a job at Illinois where in his first season lead the Illini to the Big 10 title and a birth in the Elite Eight. Then after two more successful seasons he went back to the place that gave him his first coaching job.

Oklahoma State his next destination?
Now Oklahoma State is throwing money at Self to be their next head coach. Self said he is committed to staying at Kansas and I fully believe him. He reminds me a lot of Les Miles and how he handled the situation at Michigan opened up. He said he was committed to LSU first and even though being a Missouri Tigers fan and hating Bill Self's guts I do have immense respect for how the guy handled the first round losses to Bucknell and Bradley back to back years and how he handled the critics saying he couldn't get over the Elite Eight hump. I hate flaky coaches who jump from one job to the next. Honestly coaching the Kansas Jayhawks is one of the Top 10 best schools to coach in college basketball. While he would be at his alma mater at OK State and would get more money to coach there Kansas is a once and a lifetime job. He just won a title there, meaning the fans will back off of him a bit. Not to mention I see a contract extension in his future. If Bill Self is smart he will be coaching Kansas for sometime to come.

Monday, April 7, 2008

National Championship Preview

Tonight one coach will win their first ever National Championship. Tonight two teams with high powered offenses and scrappy defenses square off in San Antonio. With a combine four losses between them this is one game you do not want to miss. So who is gonna take the prize? Will it be Brandon Rush and the Kansas Jayhawks or will it be Chris-Douglas Roberts and Memphis. Before I pick who will come out on top lets go back and see how these teams got here.

Kansas Jayhawks (36-3 (13-3 Big 12 Champions))-The Jayhawks started out the season red hot winning their first 20 games before losing on the road at Kansas State on January 30th. They would lose only two more the rest of the way leading them to tonights game with Memphis. Seven players have been leading scorers for the Jayhawks this year and not a single Jayhawk was named to the All-Big 12 team. This selfless group is lead in scoring by Brandon Rush who is averaging over 13 points a game, while three other players average over 10 points per game. A player to watch out for is freshman center Cole Aldrich who had 8 points 7 rebounds and 4 blocks in 16 minutes in the win against North Carolina. He will be a factor in stopping Joey Dorsey down low. Kansas has had a winning tradition the past couple years, winning 84 out of their last 94 games.

Memphis Tigers (38-1 (16-0 CUSA Champions)-The only team that had a better start to their season was Memphis, winning 26 games in a row before losing in late February to Tennessee. The haven't lost since. Not to mention that they had the toughest non conference schedule, playing Georgetown, Arizona, USC, Oklahoma, Connecticut, and Gonzaga along with Tennessee. They are lead in scoring by Chris-Douglas Roberts with almost 19 points per game and freshman sensation Derrick Rose who is averaging 14 points this season and dropped 25 in their win against UCLA on Saturday. Memphis is playing in only their second championship game, which they lost to UCLA in 1973.

Who Will Win-Kansas leads the all-time series with Memphis 3-2. Tonight Memphis evens the score. Kansas won the last match over 20 years ago back on December 28th 1987 64-62 and Memphis will win by the same score. This game is going to come down to who turns over the ball more and Kansas turned the ball over 19 times against North Carolina. UCLA turned the ball over 12 times and lost by 15 to Memphis. CDR will have a great game for Memphis as they will win their first ever National Championship Game. And as a Missouri Fan living in Midwest country I see a lot of Kansas fans all the time and today I came up with another great Kansas Hater Chant. So for Kansas fans this is for you: Rock Chalk Jayhawk....FUCK KU! Have a good week everyone talk to you on Thursday.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My Thoughts On The Final Four

Now two remain. Memphis and (Kansas) are left to fight for the 2008 National Championship. Here is what I thought of Saturday's action.

  • For the second year in a row my champion falls in the semifinals as UCLA loses to Memphis. Last year I had Georgetown winning it all and they fell to Ohio State.

  • Lets start with UCLA. One thing it seemed like many of their players had butterfingers in today's games. They have too many rebounds slip through their hands leading to second chance opportunities for Memphis. Also UCLA wasn't committed to getting Kevin Love the basketball. The Bruins had Joey Dorsey and Shawn Taggart both had 3 fouls in the early portion of the second half and they were more worried about trying to get back into the game by way of the three pointer.

  • The critics (including me) can shut up about Memphis's free throw shooting ability. They make the free throws when they count stepping up and making 20-23 from the charity strike to put UCLA away. Derrick Rose scores 25 points the tigers and was giving Darren Collison fits on the defensive end. Collison would end up only scoring 2 points and fouling out in the final minutes of the game. Also loved Joey Dorsey's stat line. Zero points 15 rebounds.
  • Also congratulations to Memphis for winning their 38th game this season, the most ever in one season in Division 1 basketball.
  • Kansas let Tyler Hansbrough score 17 points but made him earn every single one of them as the Jayhawk defense propelled Bill Self into the championship game. The Jayhawks at one point in the first half were up 40-12 over the Tar Heels. It was just the third time this season that North Carolina was held under 70 points.

  • The player who impressed me the most was Cole Aldrich off the bench for Kansas. In 16 minutes he scored 8 points, grabbed down 7 rebounds, and had four blocked shots. I would expect Aldrich to player more minutes Monday against Memphis.

  • The stat that really hurt North Carolina, 5-24 from three point land. It looked to me that UNC was trying to get back into the game with one shot instead of using their great transition game to get them easy points.

One game remains. Tune in tomorrow for an in-depth championship preview as Memphis takes on Kansas for the 2008 National Championship.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Final Four Preview

We are down to the final four and man what a tournament it has been. After all the upsets and nail biting games we are left with all #1 seeds left in the tournament, the first time that has ever happened. San Antonio is the place to be this weekend and here is the way I see the games going on Saturday.

UCLA vs Memphis-tip time approximately 6:07 pm on CBS-This is a rematch of the Elite Eight contest back in 2005 (UCLA won that game 50-45). While I don't think that game is going to be that low scoring, it will be just as close. The Memphis Tigers come into the Final Four as probably the hottest team defeating Michigan State and Texas soundly after getting a scare from Mississippi State in the second round. UCLA is in about the same boat. They just squeaked by Texas A&M in round two before winning more comfortably against both Western Kentucky and Xavier. Many of these players on Memphis's team played in that 2005 Elite Eight game and would love nothing more than to get some revenge on their way to the National Title Game. However this is UCLA's third straight trip to the final four and Memphis is looking for revenge, the Bruins don't see the Florida Gators in this Final Four (the team that ended their season the last two years) so you have to like the Bruins chances as well. The matchup I am watching for in this game is Kevin Love against Joey Dorsey. Dorsey isn't a guy that is going to score you 20 points a night. He reminds me a lot of Ben Wallace of the Cleveland Cavilers because he revolves his game around defense. He is gonna have to be at his best against one of the best freshman in the land in Kevin Love. Also am looking at the Freshman Phenom story angle between Love and Derrick Rose. Who Wins: I have UCLA as my champion and am picking them in this basketball game. Both teams have great defenses and both have very good transition games but UCLA has been their the past two years and you can't beat experience. Bruins by 5.

Kansas vs North Carolina-tip time 30 minutes after the conclusion of UCLA/Memphis on CBS- Its a game Jayhawk fans have been waiting to play for the past five years. As good as the players are in this basketball game the biggest storyline will be Roy Williams going up against his former team. Williams left the Jayhawks after the conclusion of the 2003 basketball season. Finally Bill Self has got over the Final Four hump and wants to make sure his first final four experience is a memorable one. Overall for this entire tournament North Carolina has been playing the best basketball from the opening game to now. Every other final four team has had a game in this tournament decided by 3 points or less. Carolina lowest margin of victory was 10 against Louisville. However if there is a team in this entire tournament that has the talent to go toe to toe with the two loss Tar Heel team it is the Jayhawks. They play of Sasha Kaun off the bench helped the Jayhawks escape Davidson and don't forget about Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, and Sherron Collins. Hansbrough will more than likely will be guarded by Darnell Jackson (with Arthur getting some time on him as well). If they can stop Ty Lawson from outrunning them up and down the court the Jayhawks are in this game. Carolina will like to get out and run. Who Wins: I think the game though comes down to depth and Kansas has it. The Jayhawks need to get Hansbrough in foul trouble early and if they do that they can build a lead and keep it. Kansas wins against Roy's Tar Heels and advances to the Championship game.

Full National Championship Preview coming up on Monday. Hope everyone has a great weekend of watching College Basketball (and when basketball isn't on a little baseball)

Monday, March 31, 2008

My Thoughts of the Elite 8

In all my years of being a die hard sports fan I thought I would never see all #1 seeds make it to the final four. Some of the 1 seeds coasted into the final four, others struggled. This is what caught my eye in the round of 8.

  • The dream for Davidson is over. I couldn't believe Curry picked up his dribble and actually passed on the final shot of the game. Curry for now is saying he is going to come back to Davidson for his junior season, but we all know that could change at anytime. If he does infact come back Davidson will more than likely be in the preseason Top 25 poll. To me this game is kind of in different. For those who know me I am a huge Missouri Tigers fan so I hate Kansas but I have them going to the championship game this year. Although the bracket side of myself is happy, my hating Kansas side hurts because it would of been an amazing story to see Kansas lose to another mid major in this decade. Plus it would of set up an amazing rematch between Davidson and North Carolina (for those non die hard college basketball fans Davidson only lost by four to UNC during the regular season). Oh well I guess I will just have to settle for what very well could be the game of the decade between Roy Williams and North Carolina against his old team the Kansas Jayhawks. Darn.

  • Have to give props to Memphis who really suprised me as they easily handled Texas. I had been on the bandwagon of Memphis all season saying they deserve to be #1 when they were playing Conference USA teams. I dropped off them winning the championship when I saw the side of the bracket they were on which had some of the hardest teams in it. They have proven me and the rest of the critics wrong by getting by three great teams (Mississippi State, Michigan State, and Texas) to get into the final four. Free Throw shooting has really not been a problem since they played Mississippi State but they are playing a very very good UCLA team who they have seen in recent tournament past. I love the matchup down low that could go on between Love and Dorsey.

  • Finally even though it was only a ten point win I thought North Carolina had dominated most of the game and has been no doubt the most impressive team in this tournament to this point. All the other number one seeds had a least one game decided by three points or less. They will have a great opponent waiting for them in the final four when they play Kansas. Expect a fast paced game on Saturday as both teams like to get out and run up and down the floor.
We are down to the final four now and in less than a week a champion will be crowned. Tune in Thursday for Final four analysis and predictions

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My Thoughts On The Sweet 16

The Sweet 16 can really be summed up by one word...blowout. There was only one game decided by single digits in the round of 16 (Xaviers overtime win over West Virginia 79-75) and many of them weren't close at all. Here is what caught my eye in the Sweet 16.

  • We will start with the Cinderella Davidson who took Wisconsin behind the woodshed in the second half and torched the Badgers 73-56. Stephen Curry went off again scoring 31 points in the game and now has 103 points scored in 3 tournament games. It was his teammates who helped him out today by scoring early and allowing Curry to get looks in the second half. Let me say to all those people who think KU is going to run over Davidson you are in for a wake up call starting right now. This team has gone toe to toe with Duke, UCLA, and UNC in the regular season. Yes Kansas is beating teams by an average of 20 points per game the best margin in the NCAA but it won't happen in this game. Jayhawk fans better be ready for a nail biter on Sunday.
  • Speaking of Kansas they had themselves a good game against a team they should of beat in Villanova to move into the Elite eight. Kansas's defense tonight was great and is one of the most underrated part of this teams game. They are more known for there high octane scoring but this team can very much win games in the 50's and 60's. Curry will get his points but you can bet there will be a couple Jayhawks hassling him all night on Sunday.
  • Texas used at 20-3 run to pull away from Stanford which shows that even though having big men is good having a good core of guards is just a little bit better. D.J Augustin was his normal self today as he scored 23 points to lead the Longhorns. The Big 12 is the only conference that has two teams left in the tournament and i think they will have two in the final four as well.
  • Xavier got luck Joe Alexander fouled out in the first minute of overtime cause if he played the full five minutes i think Xavier is going home. Josh Duncan played the game of his life and in foul trouble none the less scoring a career high 26 points. He played with four fouls for half of the second half. Duncan is going to need that kind of effort if he is going to be UCLA.
  • Western Ketucky's Cinderella bid is over thanks to UCLA but not without a fight. After being down 41-20 at half, the hilltoppers climbed back to cut the lead to four but couldn't get int any closer. Kevin Love's 29 points was a killer for Western Kentucky.
  • UNC rolled despite not scoring 100 points for the first time in this tournament. It was amazing that Tyler Hansbrough was held to only 2 points in the first half.
  • Probably the biggest surprise of the tournament was how bad Louisville beat Tennessee. The Vol's, who never lead in the game, shot a horrid 33 percent for the game and 25 percent from three point land. It is the second straight impressive blowout in as many games for the Cardinals. Something tells me they won' do that against UNC.
  • Drew Neitzel ends his Spartan career with only three point in a blowout loss to Memphis. What a bad way to end a great career.
Elite Eight Picks
UNC over Louisville-Tarheels have the best transition game in the country. Louisville has to cut down on the turnovers (19 against Tennessee) if the want to keep it close.

UCLA over Xavier-This one will be very close in fact I think this goes to overtime but Kevin Love will be too much for Xavier and will get Josh Duncan in four trouble again.

Texas over Memphis-Impressive performance by Memphis as they were up as much as 30 against Michigan State but the guard play of Texas will be too much.

Kansas over Davidson-I am rooting for the Wildcats but at the end of the day there is too much talent on this team as KU is on a mission and will meet UNC in the final four which could be the game over the decade.

Enjoy the next few days of basketball guys talk to you again on Sunday.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sweet 16 Predictions

The pretenders are now out of the tournaments. In the Sweet 16 legends are born. Players and coaches make a name for themselves as teams inch closer to the Final Four in San Antonio. A preview of the action for the next two days.

Memphis vs Michigan State
How They Got Here-Memphis beat Texas Arlington 87-63 and Mississippi State 75-72. Michigan State-beat Temple 72-61 and Pittsburgh 65-54.
The player that has really impressed me this tournament has been Michigan State freshman Kalin Lucas. His speed was huge in their second round win over Pittsburgh. He and his Spartan teammates are playing a team in Memphis that likes to get up and down the floor themselves. The huge problem for Memphis is their free throw shooting which kept Mississippi State in the game in the second round. If the game comes down to free throws, Memphis loses thats that. The X factor in this game is Drew Neitzel, if he is on the Spartans pull the upset, if he isn't his career at Michigan State is over.

Texas vs Stanford
How They Got Here- Texas beat Austin Peay 74-54 and Miami 75-72. Stanford beat Cornell 77-53 and Marquette 82-81 F/OT.
In my opinion the game of the Sweet 16 because whoever comes out of this game will be playing in San Antonio. Texas has the guards, Stanford has the big men inside. Stanford barely won a game against a team that is guard dominate in Marquette and Texas has the best guard tandem in the D.J Augustin and A.J Abrams. The Lopez brothers inside have given teams trouble all year long and cause problems. I think this game goes to overtime with the Longhorns winning because of their ability to knock down clutch three pointers.

UCLA vs Western Kentucky

How They Got Here-UCLA beat Mississippi Valley State 70-29 and Texas A&M 51-49. Western Kentucky beat Drake 101-99 F/OT and San Diego 72-63.
The Hilltoppers are this years Cinderella coming out of no where to shock Drake in overtime then took care of one of the hottest teams in the NCAA in San Diego. Is there anyway they can beat the Bruins? Yes in fact there is. Chances might be slim to do it, but UCLA should be ready for forty minutes of great basketball, something they didn't do against Texas A&M and it almost cost them. If Courtney Lee can get hot against UCLA and if Ty Rodgers is on, UCLA could be going home after tonight. Realistically though I don't see it and I think UCLA wins by 8.

Xavier vs West Virginia

How They Got Here-Xavier beat Georgia 73-61 and Purdue 85-78. West Virgina beat Arizona 75-65 and Duke 73-67
How good has Joe Alexander been the past couple of months? His 22 points and 11 rebounds helped propel the Mountaineers into the Sweet 16 over #2 seed Duke. Xavier had two close calls against Georgia and Purdue will the third time not be so lucky for Xavier. West Virginia definitely has the guard and the style of basketball to compete with the Musketeers but ultimately it is going to come down to defense for the Mountaineers. So far in the tournament they have only allowed an average of 66 point in their two contests. I think it is going to end up being a low scoring ball game with Xavier pulling it out in the final minute to win by 2.

Wisconsin vs Davidson

How They Got Here-Wisconsin beat Cal State Fullerton 71-56 and Kansas State 72-55. Davidson beat Gonzaga 82-76 and Georgetown 74-70.
Davidson is in my opinion the feel good story of the tournament. A team so close to three monumental upsets this non conference season final got one in the win over Georgetown. They have a team that plays more their style of basketball in Wisconsin who wins with great defense. If Stephen Curry can stay hot (he is averaging 35 points in the tournament so far) Davidson has a shot at the Elite Eight. This is where I think the upset will happen. I think Davidson keeps the emotions flowing and they pull out another huge win against the Badgers.

Kansas vs Villanova
How They Got Here-Kansas beat Portland State 85-61 and UNLV 75-56. Villanova beat Clemson 75-69 and Sienna 84-72.
I loved the effort that Nova showed in getting back into the game with Clemson that they eventually won. They didn't quit which is something I liked. They are gonna need some of that if they want to have a chance to beat the Jayhawks. I have no doubt KU will have a double digit lead at some point in the first half. How Nova responds is going to be the factor in this game. If they can go on a run and chip away at that lead and then keep it low in the final minutes they have a shot. Problem is I think Kansas is just way too talented for the Wildcats and the Jayhawks will end up winning this on by 19.

Louisville vs Tennessee
How They Got Here-Louisville beat Boise State 79-61 and Oklahoma 78-48. Tennessee beat American 72-57 and Butler 76-71 F/OT
This game is probably the second best one out of the bunch. I expect this game to be a high scoring dogfight. Louisville should win the battle inside with David Padgett inside but Tennessee and its trio of Smiths (Jamar, Tyler, and Ramar) along with Chris Lofton will be a tough task at hand. However, I think Louisville's experience is what propels them into the Elite Eight with seniors Padgett and Juan Palacios along with an experienced sophomore guard in Edgar Sosa. Ultimately I think it is close, but Louisville wins.

North Carolina vs Washington State
How They Got Here-North Carolina beat Mount Saint Mary's 113-74 and Arkansas 108-77. Washington State beat Winthrop 71-40 and Notre Dame 61-41.
North Carolina steam rolled through the first two games of the tournament while Washington State used second half runs to pull away from its competition. North Carolina has been scoring over 100 points this entire tournament but I don't see that happening against Washington State who is holding opponents to 56 points per game this entire year. Because of that Washington State will keep themselves in it. What is going to give Washington State problems will be North Carolina's transition game, which in my opinion is the best in the nation. If Washington State turns the ball over 15 to 20 times they will lose by 20. I think North Carolina will end up winning by 10 thanks and move into the Elite Eight.

I hope everyone has a great weekend of basketball ahead of themselves. Tune in on Monday for a recap of the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight.

Monday, March 24, 2008

My Thoughts On Round 2

We are now down to the final 16 teams of the NCAA tournament and wow what a tournament has it been so far. We have seen it all; Upsets, overtime thrillers, blowouts, and nail bitters. This is what caught my eye in the second round.

  • #2 seeds had a whole bunch of problems with Duke and Georgetown bowing out of the tournament, Texas hanging on to a 3 point win after leading by 17, and Tennessee having to go an extra five minutes to defeat the scrappy Bulldogs of Butler.
  • Davidson finally beats one of the top tier teams beating Georgetown 74-70. Davidson had close losses to UCLA, Duke, and UNC. This is arguably the biggest upset of the tournament so far. Stephen Curry scores 25 of his 30 points in the second half while Georgetown was outscored 47 to 32 in the second half.
  • Many of the Freshman Phenoms are out of the tournament including Michael Beasley, Eric Gordon, and O.J Mayo.
  • Two of the hottest teams: San Diego and Pittsburgh, bow out in the second round. San Diego won six straight games including wins over Saint Marys, Gonzaga, and UConn before losing to Western Kentucky 72-63. Pittsburgh also won six in a row including wins over Louisville, Marquette, and Georgetown before losing to Michigan State 65-54
  • Second round saw #1 seeds get a little bit of a scare. With UCLA winning only by two and Memphis winning by 3.
  • Of the 16 teams left there are 4 #1 seeds, 2 #2 seeds, #4 3 seeds, 1#4 seed, 1 #5 seed, 1 #7 seed, 1 #10 seeds, and 2 #12 seeds still in the tournament.
  • Of the 16 teams left there are 3 Pac 10 teams, 3 Big East teams, 2 Big 12 teams, 2 Big Ten teams, 1 A-10 team, 1 C-USA team, 1 SEC team, 1 ACC team and 2 Mid Major teams (Davidson, Western Kentucky) still in the tournament.
My Bracket So Far
As bad as my first two days were I am sitting rather pretty right now. My final four is still intact and I have 6 of my 8 elite 8 teams left in the tournament. Plus it was nice calling the Davidson/Georgetown upsets after my other upset picks kind of went by the wayside (George Mason over Notre Dame, St. Joesph over Oklahoma). It seemed like I picked the wrong day to have my upsets happen. As long as Kansas, UCLA, Texas, and North Carolina can continue to win along with getting one of my elite 8 teams (either Xavier or Louisville) I should be fine going into the weekend. For my regular readers I want to apologize with the crazy schedule this week. I had a crazy week at school this week getting ready for spring break but I will be back on my regular schedule this week. Tune in Thursday for my Sweet Sixteen predictions as we get closer to crowning the 2007-2008 NCAA Basketball Championship.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

M y Thoughts Of Round 1

With Round One of the NCAA tournament in the books I wanted to give you my recap thoughts on a busy first two days college basketball.

  • Day 2 had massive amounts of upsets (especially in Tampa) Higher seeds only winning 10 out of 16 games.
  • Like I have said for the past month and a half Vandy is not that good away from their home arena and it showed last night in a blow out upset loss to Siena.
  • Belmont is better than a lot of people think but Duke played down to their level and got very lucky they weren't the upset of the first round two years running.
  • Stephen Curry is the man for Davidson (40 points on 14-22 shooting)
  • Notre Dame is better than I gave them credit for.
  • 30 3 pointers made in Drake/Western Kentucky is insane. It is also fitting the Bulldogs would lose on a last second three the way the game was going.
  • Again the #1 seeds have no problem with the #16 seeds.
  • Big 10 really impressed me (3-1 only loss was Indiana)
Round 2 Things To Watch Out For
  • Couple possible 2 seed upsets between Duke/West Virginia and Georgetown/Davidson (even Tennessee/Butler)
  • Two double digit seed games in Tampa between Sienna/Villanova and Western Kentucky/San Diego.
  • Two great 4 vs 5 matchups between Pittsburgh/Michigan State and Washington State/Notre Dame.
  • Seeing if Beasley can lead K-State to the Sweet 16
Great tournament so far. I will be back Monday to give you my thoughts on the Second Round of the NCAA tournament.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Breaking Down The Bracket

Its my favorite time of year. The brackets are out, the bubbles have been popped and starting on Thursday 64 teams try to run the table and win the national championship. Here is my first ever breakdown of the bracket here on Gonners View with everything from first round and second round upsets, dark horses for the final four, my final four, and my national championship. So lets get started with my top five first round upsets in order of my confidence of them happening.

First Round Upsets

1. George Mason over Notre Dame-This has more obvious reasons than just the classic 5/12 matchup on it. George Mason still has a couple players starting from that team who made it all the way to the final four before losing to Florida in 2005. Notre Dame's early exit didn't help my confidence in the Irish either. This is one 5/12 matchup that has upset written all over it. Pencil in George Mason in the second round, and don't over look them for another upset in round.

2. Davidson over Gonzaga-This matchup happens to be my favorite of the first round. Davidson has been so close to monumental upsets this season, losing at the hands of Duke, North Carolina, and UCLA. This time I think they get over the hump. In fact I can see Davidson getting as far as the Elite Eight because of Stephen Curry's abilility to score. The Zags just didn't impress me in their double overtime lose to San Diego in the WCC championship game. Oh and I did I mention this game is solely being played in Davidson's backyard? Wildcats will get into the second round.

3. St. Joesph over Oklahoma- Oklahoma getting a #6 seed is one of the few gripes I have in this years bracket. How can a team who lost 11 games be worthy of a 6 seed? They looked bad in their quarterfinal loss to Kansas and St. Joesph will send them home early from the tournament. Outside of Blake Griffin, the Sooners really don't have a huge scoring threat. St. Joe really impressed me with their semifinal win over Xavier in the A-10 tournament and I think will continue that success in the tournament.

4. Baylor over Purdue-People might see this as odd but I can see it happening. Both struggled in their resepctive conference tournaments but I think Baylor needs to come out and prove that they deserve to be in the field of 65 after an embarrasing loss to last place Colorado in the Big 12 tournament. This will be one of the more intruging first round games of the tournament.

5. Saint Mary's over Miami-Snubbed teams around the nation were grumbling at the sight of Saint Mary's being in the field of 65, but I honestly think they deserve to be here and will give Miami a really tough test in the first round. Miami this entire season hasn't really impressed me they only have one good win to note and that was at home against Duke. Expect the Hurricanes to struggle in this game and for Saint Marys to move on.

Potential Second Round Upsets

1. Davidson over Georgetown-This is where Davidson's non conference schedule is going to help them. They might not matchup very well inside with Georgetown, but if they can contain Roy Hibbert and keep the Hoya guards from going off from three point land I think Davidson has a chance to pull the first major upset of the tournament. If the Hoya's shutdown Curry though its all over for the Wildcats.

2. Indiana over North Carolina-You might think I am crazy, but I can see this happening. D.J White can go toe to toe with Tyler Hansbrough inside and with Eric Gordon's ability to sink shots from anywhere on the court I see this being a tough game for the Tar Heels to get passed. If they do though they are pretty much a lock for the Final Four. Seeing as this might be the last time we see the Hooisers in the NCAA tournament for a couple of years they are going to bring everything they have to every game and that makes them a dangerous team to play.

3. USC over Wisconsin-Outside of Indiana I really don't think there is a good team in the Big 10 conference. I mean for crying out loud Illinois almost sunk into the tournament with a sub .500 record. O.J Mayo will keep USC in it. Wisconsin really needs to prove something to me in order for them to get a little bit of respect from me.

4. George Mason over Washington State-George Mason again. Yes I do believe that expeirence rather than talent helps teams when it comes to the NCAA tournament. GMU has a handful of players who were on the floor at the final four two years ago and I think that will help them in their quest for another final four berth. This should be a very competitve game.

5. Drake over Connecticut-Seeding wise this doesn't look like an upset but on paper this would be a huge feat for Drake. A team picked to be at the bottom of the Missouri Valley Conference going on to beat UConn under first year head coach Keno Davis? Man that sounds like something out of a fairy tale. With the way Drake season has gone why not pick them over UConn

Dark Horses For Final Four

1. Stanford-With two monsters down low in Robin and Brook Lopez should keep things interest for the Cardinal and create match up problems for opponents.

2. Louisville-This team is very expereinced lead by David Padgent and with Rick Pitino patrolling the sidelines the sky is the limit for the Cardinals.

3. Pittsburgh- Beat Georgetown, Marquette, and Louisville in a three day span. Just think what they can do with a day in between games.

4. Xavier-This team has the weapons to take out Duke in the Sweet 16 and has enough to give big bad UCLA some serious problems.

5. USC-With how easy the Midwest Region is, it wouldn't suprise me if O.J Mayo takes over basketball games and can get into a rematch with Kansas in the Elite Eight.

My Final Four

UCLA taking on Texas

Kansas taking on North Carolina

National Championship-UCLA over Kansas.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Conference Championship Predictions

Championship week is upon is and it wouldn't be me if I didn't give you my view on who will win each major conference championship game. So without further adieu here is my view on championship games of the Big 12, Big East, Big 10, SEC, Pac 10, and ACC tournament.

ACC Championship Game-
North Carolina over Duke-I think this is the most obvious championship game of the six because the ACC is not as deep as it has been in recent years. You have the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils as great teams in the conference then you have a lot of decent but not great team in the middle and the bottom of the league. I could see an outside shot of Maryland getting in there but a rematch between hated rivals should be in the mix. In the tie breaker match North Carolina wins the tie breaker match between these to and wins the #1 overall seed in the tournament with a 82-77 victory.

Big East Championship Game-
Louisville over Connecticut-No Georgetown in the championship I know but I really think the Hoya's won't be in this tournament very long. They may in fact lose to Villanova this afternoon. I think UConn matches up very very well with the Roy Hibbert and will beat the Hoyas if they matchup in the semi's tomorrow night. Louisville is out prove something after losing the conference regular season title and will be out to make a statement in this tournament. Sosa will help lead the Cardinals to a 67-60 win over the Huskies of UConn.

Big 10 Championship Game-
Purdue over Michigan State-Interested in this tournament because I don't think there is one team in the conference that is the clear cut favorite. They all are rather weak and I can see every one of the Big 10 teams losing in the first or second round. I think we will see how good Wisconsin actually is in this tournament because I really think they could lose to the Michigan/Iowa winner in the second round. Purdue just seems to be the best team in this conference and I think will easily win this tournament and Michigan State has Drew Nietzel which will help them go very deep in this tournament but ultimately the Boilermakers will win and win big over the Spartans 67-53.

Big 12 Championship Game-Texas over Kansas-This will be the most entertaining championship game of the six. The horns have been hot since early February while Kansas has been great all season. Winner of this game will get a number one seed in the big dance. Essentially this tournament is a weekend full of home games for Kansas but I think the horns will be too much because Texas will rain threes and will win it on a last three to beat the Jayhawks 66-64. This will be the most entertaining championship game of the 6 by far.

Pac 10 Championship Game-Stanford over USC-I know the Cardinal just lost to USC not a week ago, but I think they redeem themselves and win a 2 seed in the tournament. USC is the hottest team in the Pac 10 right now and I think that helps them get past a tough second round game against Kevin Love and UCLA but will run out of gas toward the championship because of the Lopez brothers will be too much inside. Watch out Stanford could be a dark horse for the final four and they beat O.J Mayo 67-56.

SEC Championship Game-Kentucky over Tennessee-The Wildcats have been the hottest team in all the land and I think they take over an win a very weak SEC conference championship game. Vandy doesn't impress me at all, Florida won't get in the tourney thanks to a horrid non conference schedule, Mississippi State is ok but nothing great so that leaves Tennessee and Kentucky. Tennessee will have a target on their back the entire tournament and I think that ends up hurting them in the Championship game over the Wildcats 69-64.

Exciting weekend ahead. Tune in to Gonners View all week next week where I will break down the entire bracket and give you my top 5 upsets, my final four dark horses, and my entire tournament bracket all next week. Have a great weekend of B-Ball everyone.

Monday, March 10, 2008

5 Teams That Need To Step Up During Conference Tournament Week

We are less than six days away from Selection Sunday where 65 teams will get a ticket to the biggest tournament in sports. However those teams on the bubble have one last chance to make their case for one of those 65 spots. Here are five teams that need a good showing in their conference tournament in order to have a good chance of getting their ticket punched on Sunday.

Syracuse (19-12 (9-9 Big East))-A good end to the season for the Orangemen as they won two straight games heading to Madison Square Garden. Before that Syracuse lost 6 of 7, four of the six were by single digits. The Orangeman have no good non conference wins to account for and losses to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and South Florida doesn't help their resume. They do have conference wins over Georgetown and Marquette. A win or two in the Big East tournament should mean the Orangemen are in right? Consider this, last year Syracuse ended the year 22-10 including 10-6 in the Big East and they didn't get an invitation to the dance. If this years team wants to get their ticket punched they should at least get to the semifinal game of the Big East tournament to feel good about their chances.

Maryland (18-13 (8-8 ACC))-Back to back losses that really could of helped the resume puts the Terps in a position where they really have to make the ACC Championship game in order to feel safe in getting in. They have some bad non conference losses to Missouri, American, and Ohio along with getting swept by rival Duke. They do however have a huge win at North Carolina on the resume but that might be the only bright spot on the resume. Good news for the Terps is the first opportunity to see one of the two powerhouses in the semifinals.

Baylor (20-9 (9-7 Big 12))-The Bears have officially wrapped up the #5 seed in the Big 12 tournament and unless Colorado plays the game of their lives, Baylor will play Oklahoma in the Quarterfinals. If they can get past the Sooners the Bears should feel good about their chances of getting into the tournament. The problem is Baylor has lost both meetings with Oklahoma this season by a combine total of seven points. Will third time be a charm for the Bears? Non conference games include wins over Notre Dame and Winthrop and close losses to Washington State and Arkansas. No bad losses on Baylors resume.

Kentucky (18-11 (12-4 SEC))-The Wildcats are one of the hottest teams in the nation right now losing just twice in their last 13 contests. They should be in with just one win the SEC tournament, and they need to make sure they don't get blown out if they happen to lose in the SEC tournament. They do have glaring losses earlier this season to Gardner Webb and San Diego but their strength is 13th best in the nation because of games against North Carolina, Indiana, and Louisville (all losses).

Dayton (20-9 (8-8 A-10))- The Flyers soared through the non conference season, picking up great wins against Big East foes Louisville and Pittsburgh. But a struggle during the conference season has put Dayton in a tough spot. They have the 8th seed in the A-10 tournament, which if they can get past Saint Louis, has them facing big time rival Xavier for a third time. They realistically need to win that second round game against Xavier to feel decent about an at large birth. This team has the talent to win the A-10 it is just a matter of will they come to play.

Selection Sunday is six days away. I hope everyone enjoys a great week of championship basketball, because I know I will.