Tag:College Basketball
Posted on: March 2, 2010 9:02 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2010 4:43 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Mar. 1st

Good evening, boys and girls, and welcome to my little neck of the cbssports.com world known as 10TILTW.  It's great to be back, although I always find things easier when it's football season.  Conference tournaments are next week, and should give me plenty to talk about.  And despite the Olympics, my favorite hockey team tried to make some noise, unfortunately in a bad way.

1) Golden Re-Match - Olympic hockey got the boost it needed in an overtime classic between the USA and Canada.  That was the kind of game that could go a long way to getting casual fans back into the sport.  Kudos to the scrappy American team that never gave up and fought every minute, not just in that game, but every one, and congrats to the Canadians, eh.  A well deserved win to great fans of a great sport.

2) "Breakout Sport" - The breakout sport of this Olympics was curling, but I must confess I'm still at a little bit of a loss.  I get that the stone closest to the center wins, but couldn't quite get the scoring, especially when teams would get more than one point in the end.  I did finally pick up on the "curling" aspect of the thrower turning the stone, which eventually would get the stone to "curl" it's path.  Still can't figure out how sweeping the ice gets the stone to go further.  Those girls can come work on my apartment, though.  All in all, though, a very strategic sport with angles and english similar to billiards, but too often to me, it seemed to come down to the team with the "hammer" in that particular end.

3) "I'm Not Carrot Top!" - Even for someone like me who does not follow snowboarding, it's clear to see that Shaun White is in a league of his own.  Dude was getting 10 feet more air than anybody else out there.  It was like the Saints playing the Lions.  Just not fair.

4) The final count - I read an article going into the Vancouver games by this guy that has some sort of "formula" that appearantly is pretty accurate that had the Canadians taking the most medals with 28.  I do know the expectations were for a very strong showing by the home nation.  It resulted in the USA taking a record 37 medals and leaving Canada well behind in the total medal count.  But the Canadians need not hang their heads, they did take a record number of gold medals, meaning when then were winning, they were WINNING.

5) Orange Crush - In a weird weekend in college hoops which saw #1 Kansas and #2 Kentucky fall (and an inexplicable loss by my Gators to Georgia), Syracuse stepped up on the national stage and scored a huge win against Villanova to earn the number one spot in both polls.  I still think Kansas is the best all around team.  I still think Villanova has the shooting to when they are hot, they'll make serious noise.  But you have to give credit to the Cuse who parlayed a great early start into a phenominal season and a possible #1 seed in the big Tourney.

6) The back of the Pac - Just how horrible has the Pac-10 been this year?  You are looking at most likely the Pac-10 tournament winner being the only one in the conference to make the NCAA's, a la the Southland.  That is inexcusible for a big time conference, although well appreciated by the A-10, Mountain West, and Big East.  I'll be happy to see more than 4 non-BCS teams make the tourney this year, and will be happy to see teams that actually deserve it make it, including 8 or 9 from the conference playing the best basketball in the land.

7) Shaq shacked - The injury to Shaquille O'Neal is a huge loss to the Cavaliers, not that they won't still be in every game, not that they still won't likely win the East, especially with MVP LeBron, but because Cleveland got him for one reason and one reason only, to neutralize Dwight Howard in the playoffs.  If Shaq is unavailable for the playoffs, it may make the east wide open when you get to seven game series.

8) Crunch time on ice - Now that the Olympic break is over, the NHLers return to the playoff push, having only 1/4 of the season remaining.  The pre-break story of the year has to be (and I hate to say it) the Alex Oh-retch-kin led Washington Capitals (maybe he can disappear like he did in the game against Canada), who aren't just running away with a mediocre division, but the entire Eastern Conference.  The road to Lord Stanley's Cup will travel though the nation's capital.

9) Power struggle - Incredible.  Just when I thought things were turning around for the Lightning, in the playoff hunt, good coach, new owner, the GM Brainless Lawton decides to essentially pull a coup during the break when everybody's attention was elsewhere and put his own hand picked assistant on the coaching staff without the consent of the head coach.  Tocchet and this guy (both the assistant and Lawton) are like night and day, but now Tocchet is in a no-win situation, and the writing is on the wall.  And it's too bad, because I really like what he's done in turning this team around from the post-Tortorella era.  Now, if the team misses the playoffs, Rick will be the goat, and if they make it, Brainless can say it was because of the changes that "his" guy made to get them over the top.  Nothing would please me more than seeing Lawton being shown the door by new management.

10) The look ahead - Some games to watch this coming week, The Heat have a couple huge games in the NBA this week with the Lakers on Thursday and the Hawks on Saturday, but it will be all college b-ball as teams make their push for the tournament.  Among the key games, Kentucky Florida on Saturday, which the Gators might need to make the tournament, the Kansas Kansas State rematch tomorrow, West Virginia Villanova on Saturday, and a huge Big East bubble game tomorrow between UConn and Notre Dame.  Looking forward to tourney basketball the next few weeks.

Posted on: December 2, 2009 1:05 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2009 8:37 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Nov. 30th

As winter quickly approaches us and most of my loyal followers are preparing for bitterly cold nights, snow, and all the other things that come along with it while I sit here in my shorts pecking at my computer (nah nah Tongue out), due to a couple of major college football stories, I feel compelled to break my own rule yet again and extend it to covering Tuesday as well, especially since one affects a certain game on Dec. 5th.  So here are 10 things I learned in the week and a day between 11/24 and 12/1.

1) What an idiot!- How can you, in the week leading up to one of arguably the biggest games in your career, do something so stupid as what Carlos Dunlap did to effectively end his career at the University of Florida.  I honestly don't see him playing another game this year, and he was likely to come out, so this pretty much puts the kabosh on UF's leading pass rusher and defensive MVP from last year's BCS title game.  It remains to be seen as to what effect this has on the Gators on Dec. 5th, as the Gators do have lots of talent, but unlike some of my fellow Gator fans, I realize this will affect them at least somewhat.  There is not another Carlos Dunlap on this team, and his presense and pressure will be missed to some degree, no matter how well everybody else steps up in his absense.  And to those trying to pin this on Urban Meyer somehow, please stop.  What, do you want these teams to have 100 assistant coaches to babysit each player personally all the time?  Notice, I wasn't in here blaming Lane Kiffin for what Richardson and his thug friend did (although I did find it funny that it was the same guy Lane got in trouble with the SEC over).  It's how the coach deals with these situations that you can hold them responsible for, not the actions themselves.  Dunlap is an adult, and he will face the consequences of his poor choices.

2) Bobby deserved better- Yes, I know things haven't been going the Seminoles way recently.  I have NEVER seen a UF-FSU game where the Noles didn't deserve to be on the same field as the Gators until Saturday.  But this is the man that had FOURTEEN straight AP Top 4 finishes.  That's a mark that's very likely never to be duplicated ever again.  The whole Bowden-Fisher situation will be filed away under "How NOT to handle a head coach in waiting."  Depending on who you listen to, Bobby Bowden was either forced out, or given the option to come back, but as little more than a figure head.  Now, while I feel that Bobby should have been allowed to come back next year with no strings, Jimbo did deserve the right to name a defensive coordinator, as that would have been Bobby's last year.  You did have to start preparing for life after Bobby.  Thing is, it's awful hard to be the man who replaces the man.  Why do I get the feeling that if FSU struggles early next year, that firejimbofisher.com is not too far away.  Hopefully FSU sends Bobby out on a winning note in whatever bowl game they end up in.

3) Sorry Charlie- In a move that surprised absolutely no one, Notre Dame cut ties with Charlie Weiss on Monday, ending Notre Dame's worst three year run in their history.  While there is a lot of blame to go around here, where is the blame that should fall squarely on the shoulders of the former athletic director (I forget his name)?  As much of a weasel as he is, Mike Lupica pointed this out on a recent "Sports Reporters" on that four letter network.  He's the one that got played by Charlie Weis and locked him up to a ridiculous 10 year deal that's now going to cost Notre Dame something in the range of $20 million to pay a coach who won't be coaching for them.  And they'll have to pay whoever comes in, likely involving another buy-out.  And where's these strong athletes from ND's alleged top 10 recruiting classes recently?  They have Floyd for one more year, and Teo for two more.  Beyond that, what do they have?  Claussen will be gone.  Tate will be gone.  If you notice, Charlie only won with Willingham's players.  It's going to take a lot for Notre Dame to return to BCS title contender, because as I pointed out before, the reason they had lost 9 bowls in a row before last year was they kept running into superior competition due to them being Notre Dame and drawing well in both fanbase and ratings.  This is not going to change soon, even if they start winning 9-10 games a season.  Those annual bowl blowouts do hurt you when it comes to recruiting.  I don't care if you are Notre Dame.

4) Crash that Tiger- Who the hell is in Tiger Woods P.R. staff and why do they still have jobs?  Look, Tiger owes us the general public absolutely nothing.  No explanation.  And I can see why his lawyers told him not to talk to police (because Elin would be in jail right now if he had).  But if you want to see a playbook of P.R. done right, spin it back to Kobe Bryant.  He had geniuses on his P.R. team.  To think that this would go away just because you're Tiger Woods.  Look, because you ARE Tiger Woods, somebody in the media will dig up the dirt and uncover the story.  And while stonewalling the police is the correct legal tactic, don't think they won't do the same.  Fewer people are going to forgive him for trying this P.R. coverup spin job.  The media, police, and public are not stupid.  We can put two and two together just fine on our own, thanks.  UPDATE: As I was piecing my blog together, Tiger finally came out and admitted some of the stuff, something he should have done on Sunday, but I guess better late than never.  It is my sincere hope though that people can now leave him alone and let his family work it out if they can, or handle what they must if they can't.  I just know I'd find it hard to cheat on Wood's wife, although I'd find it hard to marry her now knowing her temper.  Hell hath no furry like a woman scorned.

5) I've finally found the best team in the NFL- After wondering if it might be the Colts of the Vikings (and I still think the Vikings will be a tough matchup), and as much as it pains me to say it, because of their holier than thou, think they've already won somehting in the past, refusing to take off their Black and Gold glasses and defend Reggie Bush till the end fans, there is no denying that it is the New Orleans Saints.  That was an epic beatdown of a pretty good Patriots team on Monday night, and they did something I never would have thought possible, especially form a Saints team, confuse Tom Brady with their defense.  I was always holding reservation on the Saints, because I just didn't believe in their D (have always believed in their O, even with Reggie Bust).  I always thought somewhere along the way it would revert back to the old Saints D.  Well, now I know better, and unfortunately, it reaffirms my prediction of the Saints winning it all I made a few weeks ago.  I'll be very happy for the Saints players (except Reggie and maybe cocky Shockey), and the city of New Orleans, but god, I dread having to deal with the obnoxious fans thinking that they just might FINALLY win something this year.  By the way, Gregg Williams HAS to be coordinator of the year.

6) So much for that matchup in Tampa- Yeesh.  The ACC has to be thrilled that its two best teams got beat by mid-level SEC teams this past weekend.  Georgia Tech looked from being in line for a Top 5 finish to being just another conference champion.  And that's IF they beat Clemson and win their Orange Bowl game.  I'll have my prediction in point 10.

7) Can we stop with the overrated crap?- After Thursday and Friday in which Texas and Alabama both struggled on the road in rivalry games and Cincinatti's defense got exposed by Illinois, all the threads in here were about just how overrated these three teams are.  And while I can't give a good defense to Cincy (although I still wouldn't call them overrated), the other two, along with Florida and TCU who took care of business on Saturday, are clearly the four best teams in the country.  Look, they are called rivalry games for a reason.  Usually you can throw the records out.  And they all won, which is what counts in the end.  The 2006 Gators didn't earn any style points in the season, but still handled tOSU with ease.  And what I wouldn't give to see TCU play any/all of the other three teams.  They are the real deal, and I think would matchup well.  God, a playoff (even 4 team) would have been nice this year.  And in a side note, I hope if Texas beats Nebraska, the BCS does the right thing and gives an invite to Boise State as well.

8) Some quick college hardwood thoughts- What a start for the University of Florida basketball team, one that most people has going 5th in the SEC East.  Now, while they have yet to play a conference game, and Michigan State followed it up with a disappointing performance in last night's rematch of the title game, you have to like how good they look right now.  It will be interesting to see how they do against Syracuse (another hot team early) in the SEC-Big East challenge game here in Tampa.  Even as a Gator fan, I didn't see a 7-0 start.  I'd love to see Billy's boys make the tournament this year.  And what's happened to UCLA.  They look completely lost out of the gate at 2-4.  Now they have players transferring out.  And it doens't get any easier with a Dec. 6th date at Kansas.

9) Look ahead- The games I'm looking forward to are the conference championship games, which I will predict in my next point, and in the NFL, Patriots Dolphins to see which team can bounce back from devastating losses, Cowboys Giants to see which team ate too much turkey on their Thanksgiving day game (my guess would be the Giants who seemed to load up before their night game with the Broncos), and Packers Ravens.  There's also a couple interesting NBA games coming up with Boston San Antonio on Thursday, and Lakers Heat on Friday with the Heat on the back end of a two in a row situation.  In hockey, you have the Penguins and Avalanche on Thursday, and my Lightning have a tough two game stretch with Boston tonight and New Jersey on Friday.  And on the college hardwood, you have a very interesting Ohio State Florida State matchup tonight as part of the ACC Big Ten challenge.

10) BuccinGator's college football conference championship game predictions- While there are only 5 official conference championship games (3 BCS in SEC, Big 12, and ACC and 2 non in CUSA and MAC), with two conferences having defacto championship games this week with tomorrow's Oregon Oregon State game (which for the first time will decide a Pac-10 champion and Rose Bowl bid between these two) and Saturday's Cincinnati Pitt game, in what has to be a scheduling coup for the Big East and Pac-10.  So, in order of how they are played:

Oregon 38, Oregon State 24 (just think Masoli is too much for the Beavers yet again)
Central Michigan 34, Ohio 17 (LeFevour gets it done)
Houston 45, ECU 20 (Case Keenum way too much for ECU, way too late for Heisman.  Those UTEP and UCF losses will kill him)
Cincinnati 37, Pitt 27 (Although Cincy's defense does scare me.  Pitt could pull this out, but I refuse to bet against Pike)
Florida 31, Alabama 27 (was going to go with last year's score as I think the game will be very similar [still do], but with Dunlap out, give Bama another TD)
Georgia Tech 31, Clemson 27 (C.J. Spiller could play spoiler, though.  Just noticed the forecast for here in Tampa calls for thunderstorms that day.  Of course, both these teams love to run anyway)
Texas 21, Nebraska 9 (Nebraska's D will keep this close, quite possibly closer than what I have it).

Hopefully I can go 5-2.  Last year, I think I went 3-2, but I also think it was the mid-majors that tripped me up.
Posted on: December 17, 2008 9:56 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2009 8:34 pm
 

10 Things I learned the Week of Dec. 15th

Ugh!  I just got done Christmas shopping, and it gets harder and harder every year.  I remember when I was 10, I had harder times coming up with gift ideas for myself, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me that the same thing is happening now that my son is 10.  His big wish for this year was a microscope, and both sets of grandparents got him one (actually, one set got him a telescope, so he was really happy), so he'll be able to play whenever he wants.  Not sure what his fascination is.  Guess something in Science at school tweaked his interest.  Didn't post on time yesterday because it was my work's sports banquet (yes, we have recreational sports leagues at my work).  I'm not nearly as spry (or as light) as I used to be 10 years ago, so now I ump/ref instead of play for the most part.  I hope I can come up with ten things this light week in sports.  If Diva's reading, she'll be happy that I'll throw in at least one hockey take.  And special thanks to yo, who lobbed me two softballs (well, one softball, the other was a heater I sent screaming anyway).  Instead of Meatloafing my predictions as I had been accustomed to recently, I nailed every one!!!  Yea!

1) The best Heisman class - Well, I kind of lucked out in picking Bradford to win the Heisman (and hopefully lucked into my Gators being the recipient of the Heisman curse), but I couldn't believe some Texas/Florida/Oklahoma fans were bashing some of these kids.  Bradford's coach runs up the score.  They don't play defense in the Big 12.  Tebow's just a runner.  Everybody, please SHUT UP!  All three kids are class acts and outstanding leaders of the three best football teams in the country.  I honestly would not have had a problem had ANY of the three won, and definitely would not try to make an arguement AGAINST any of them.  Argue for them all you want.  All three are terrific.  Anyway, it was interesting, as somebody pointed out, Bradford won the Heisman, Tebow won the Maxwell, and McCoy the Walter Camp.  All three were the best player, depending on who you asked.  And frankly, that's the way it should have been.

2) "Buc"ed by the Dirty Birds - Ugh, my Bucs lost another huge division road test this week, and lost a couple defensive players to boot.  I didn't think an injury to our D tackle position would hurt us this bad, but I guess it did, as we seem to have lost the ability to stop the run.  I thought for sure the Bucs would be able to ice it when they blocked that punt late in the game, but alas, a critical penalty and the inability to overcome it sealed their fate.  Then when Griese was sacked on a horrible play on his part, I knew it was over.  Thing is, Atlanta almost had a critical penalty of their own, but Michael Turner (who is having an outstanding year, and might be one of the best free agent acquisitions this year) was able to get back pretty much every yard, and Atlanta needed it to, as Elam barely snuck the winning FG inside the offensive left upright.  Had they been the 8 or 9 yards further back, it either would have clanked, or been barely pushed wide.  My only solice is that if the Bucs win out, they'll still make the playoffs.  But unless they face the Cardinals (who are a joke), they will be one and done.

3) Panther roar - Remember when there was speculation of a subway Super Bowl and talk of the Giants being the best team in the NFL.  Well, if Carolina can beat New York in New York this weekend, they will be the number one seed in the NFC, and it's hard to see any team beating Carolina in Carolina right now.

4) Steel Curtain - The Steelers (benefeciaries of a questionable replay call) took a huge step toward possibly establishing themselves as the number one contender in the AFC.  My friend thinks that the Ravens would win a rematch, which they might do, as the Steelers will have trouble running the ball against that D, but on the flip side, I brought up to him that unless the Ravens can start getting TD's, kicking FG's won't cut it, especially in Heinz Field in January where it will be next to impossible.  Still, it would have been interesting to see Tomlin's call on a 4th and goal from the 1 foot line.  Does he go for the win?  Or does he kick the tying FG?  We'll never know, now.

5) A Hockey take - Well, not much has changed since the last time I talked ice on my blog.  My Bolts stick suck eggs.  The Pens, my second favorite team, are decent, but are playing in what looks like the best division in hockey (well, if you kick out the Islanders).  But how about the San Jose Sharks (sorry, Diva)???  I don't get to see them much here in Tampa, but I don't think I've seen a team play this impressive of hockey to start a season, possibly ever.  If they can keep it up, I'd love to see the Sharks play Diva's Wings in the Western Conference finals.  That looks right now like it'd be a helluva series.

6) A Pittsburgh Fleury - Of course, now that the Penguins have Marc-Andre Fleury back between the pipes after being out a month with an injury, maybe they can make a push to get a higher seed in the playoffs, and maybe even push for the division since the Rangers are returning to earth a little bit (sorry Diva, but you'll have to deal with my Pen takes, especially since you have that rat bastard Hossa).

7) Dropping like Flies - I heard an unbelievable statistic the other day.  I believe I heard it on the four letter network, or possibly read it in one of the local papers, but since Jerry Sloan started coaching the Jazz in 1998, there have been an AVERAGE of TWENTY TWO head coaching changes in the NBA PER YEAR!!!!!  This in a league with 30 teams.  That's ludicrous!!!  And people wonder why I consider college to be the better brand of basketball.  This may be a symptom more than a cause, but still!  Sheesh!!!!!  (BTW, there has already been 6 midseason this year alone).

8) As much as I love college basketball - Is there anything more useless than a pre-February RPI?  Looking at the current RPI, Florida State (who owns my Gators in basketball the same way we own them in football, but you can guess which is more important to us in the state of Florida) is number 9, while the Tarheels of UNC are 15th.  Yeah, okay.  Let's see it stay that way when they get into conference play.

9) Weekly Look Ahead - The games I'm looking forward to are Pittsburgh Tennesse in a showdown for the #1 seed in the AFC, Atlanta Minnesota in a HUGE game for both teams (congrats to Yo's Vikes, who now hold a strangle lock on the #3 seed in a game I accurately predicted {pats himself on the back}), and the SNF game of the year for the #1 seed in the NFC between Carolina and the Giants.  Whoever wins that game will lock up the number 1 seed being a game up and the tie break with one left.  Also, I look forward to the Poinsettia Bowl between Boise State and TCU.  How is this game being played on Dec. 23rd???  This is the type of matchup you usually see no earlier than Dec. 31st, and could be better than some of the BCS games.

10) Buccingator's Bowl Predictions - Let's see if I can keep my hot streak going.  I'll give the picks on all the games through the 24th, in case I'm late in posting again.

Eagle Bank Bowl - Navy 21 Wake Forest 17

New Mexico Bowl - Fresno State 31 Colorado State 20

St. Petersburgh (Florida, not Russia) Bowl - USF 34 Memphis 20

Las Vegas Bowl - BYU 24 Arizona 13

New Orleans Bowl - Troy 35 Southern Miss 21

Poinsettia Bowl - TCU 20 Boise State 14 (Boise has not seen a defense like these Horned Frogs have)

Hawaii Bowl - Hawaii 20 Notre Dame 17

 

 
 
 
 
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