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.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Packers Will Be Fine Without Favre

The news Packer fans never wanted to hear finally broke Tuesday morning, when Brett Favre, the greatest icon in Packer history (yes I said greatest), retired after 17 years of playing the game he loves. Some fans refuse to believe it, but it is time to start looking at it because training camp will come sooner than you think and when #4 isn't at Packer camp it really is going to set in. While my other blogging friends are talking about his legacy and where he ranks in history, I am going to talk about the future (and a little on his legacy). As much as people don't want to believe it or think about it, the future for the Green Bay Packers without Favre is very bright. They have a ton of young talent on both the offensive and defensive side of the football, plus Aaron Rodgers, the man thought to be the front runner for the starting job, has learned under one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history for the past three years. While Alex Smith got thrown into the fire right away, Rodgers got to sit and learn which will ultimately make him a better quarterback than Smith will ever be. The Packers won't really lose a step, you just will never see the #4 be worn on anyone again.

My thoughts on Favre's legacy
My lasting memory of Brett Favre will not be the interception he had to end his career, nor will it be of his Super Bowl 31 win. I won't remember for his 442 touchdown passes or his 288 interceptions. What I will remember is how he played the game. How he played all his games like it was his last. He enjoyed playing the game just like he did in high school. What impressed me more than his love of the game was his drive not to quit. He played through injury, through sickness, and even through death. He played 275 straight games including the playoffs, a feat that will never be touched. People may remember him for his preformace on Monday night against the Raiders not 24 hours after his dad died. Others may remember some of his record breaking games. The game I will remember, which is not the most memorable by any means, was this year against the Kansas City Chiefs where Favre was trying to get his first career win against K.C. The Chiefs were 4-3 on a two game winning streak with Green Bay heading into Arrowhead Stadium as one of the hottest teams in the NFL at that point. With five minutes to go up 22-16, I thought the Chiefs had it in the bag. Then Favre throws a bullet to Greg Jennings over the middle for a 60 yard touchdown pass. It shocked me and after that I knew the Pack weren't going to lose. After that game the Chiefs started to tank and I soon became a huge supporter of Green Bay making it all the way to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately he fell just short of that feat. Through it all one things for certain, whether you are a Packer fan or not, everyone will miss Brett Favre.

Packer Fans Need To Stay Supportive
If Packer fans aren't careful I can see them becoming like last years Miami Dolphin team in just a couple of years. After Dan Marino retired the Dolphins flirted with the playoffs for a few years then they all of a sudden fell into a rut of being one of the worst teams in the National Football League for the past couple of years. Jay Fielder wasn't Dan Marino and I think Dolphin fans didn't realize it. Rodgers has huge shoes to fill in place of Favre, and Rodgers probably won't put up Favre like numbers for his career. There is only one Brett Favre and as hard as it is to move on, the Packer fans need to start thinking of life without #4. Congrats on a great career Brett.

*Since this blog was done today in honor of Brett Favres Retirement, there will not be one on Thursday.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Browns Offseason Moves Are Most Impressive

I know I know it is very early in the free agency process but so far it looks like the Cleveland Browns are the winners in this years free agency. For one they will have consistency at the starting quarterback position for the first time since the Browns returned to Cleveland, and two they got another speedy wide receiver to go along with an already lethal offense, and got some really big help on the defensive line. This team has now went from a team that barely missed the playoffs to a the favorite to win one of the toughest divisions in football and possibly a Super Bowl contender.

The Browns Moves
First day of free agency the Browns make sure they have consistency at the quarterback postion by signing Derek Anderson to a three year deal. This I think will help not only with consistency, but also it will cause competition at the quarterback postion, which is something many teams strive for. Then the Browns go out and make, in my opinion, the biggest signing in free agency by signing Donte Stallworth to a 7 year deal. Stallworth brings a ton of speed and will give Anderson another guy to throw to deep. Now it looks like the Browns offense might be the best offensive core in 2008. That is if everyone can stay healthy. On the defensive side the added to massive defensive lineman in Corey Williams and Shawn Rodgers. Rodgers, who was looking to be going to Cincinatti via trade, ended up a Brown after the Roger Goodell vetoed the trade to the Bengals. The Browns also gave up a second round pick to acquire Williams from the Packers and will be a huge pass rushing force for the Browns. With these monster moves though, the Browns don't have a draft pick until the fourth round of this years draft. However, the ways the Browns have been wheeling and dealing lately I wouldn't be surprised if they make a move to get a first day draft pick. This team in my opinion wins at least 11 games this season if they can stay healthy.

Other Good Moves
Here are some other moves that I think will benifit teams next year

  • Alge Crumpler signing a two year deal with the Titans, giving Vince Young a safety blanket when he does pass the ball.
  • Alan Faneca signing with the Jets which will not only help with Thomas Jones rushing production, but could also help Chad Pennington stay healthy for a full 16 games
  • Buffalo helping their defense immensely with signing Kawika Mitchell and Marcus Stroud. This will help keep the pressure off of a young offense.
  • And Jacksonville getting help at their number one weakness: the wide receiver spot by acquiring Troy Williamson from the Vikings and signing Jerry Porter.