Tag:West
Posted on: March 18, 2010 3:01 pm
Edited on: March 18, 2010 11:40 pm
 

Greatest Game Ever? BYU tops Florida in 2OT

Thomas Beisner

3:00 PM


I apologize for the inconvenience, folks, but my power went out today, leaving me unable to watch any NCAA basketball. Instead of just leaving you guys hanging, I called my best friend, who happens to be a Florida graduate student, and asked him to cover my post-game recap. Here is what he wrote:  

GAINESVILLE
- It seemed like things were finally back to normal at the University of Florida on Thursday as head coach Urban Meyer, just 24 hours removed from his subtle return from a much ballyhooed leave of absence, took to the field and instructed his next edition of SEC terrors in the Gators’ first spring practice.

Though still pulling an oxygen cart and being followed by an entourage of doctors, pharmacists and two children carrying the wires connected to his heart monitor, Meyer looked just as focused as he did during the Gator championship season, taking notes and chatting with assistants. His players, visibly excited, spoke openly of their giddiness over their coach being back and finally getting focused on what happens between the hashes. Meyer also spoke of what was most important.

“How about Timmy, yesterday,” Meyer said of former Gator Tim Tebow’s pro day workout. “The kid is just a flat-out football player, huh? The thing people don’t understand is that, sure, we could have fixed his throwing motion in the four years he was here. But what would that say about him? He’s a competitor and wanted to play through it because he is that tough. He’s a competitor. Flat out.”

Meyer continued talking about Tebow for another half an hour or so before finally being interrupted by Clinton Sullivan of the Apopka Daily Planet, who questioned the coach on how Tebow’s successor, John Brantley, stacked up to the former Heisman winner.

“Well, right off the bat, I’d have to say he’s more mobile than people give him credit for, though he won’t barrel through the line like Timmy,” Meyer explained. “Other than that, his arm is exceptionally strong and he’s picking up his playbook, but his butt’s not quite as toned and firm as Tim’s was. He has his teammates respect already, but he’s not as good of a kisser. It’s a bit of a mixed bag at this point.”

Despite his trepidation regarding Brantley’s progress, Meyer’s exuberance could be felt across the entire facility. His high-fives were on point and his pullover was wrinkle-free. It was the patented Meyer smirk, though, that provided the biggest sign that Florida’s head man is as relaxed and driven as he’s ever been.

When a reporter asked how Meyer convinced his kids to give up part of their Spring Break to carry around his heart wires, Meyer turned to the kids, looked back at the reporter and smiled like Lane Kiffin just got busted shirtless in a middle school.

“Those are my kids?” Meyer asked.

When the reporter nodded his head, Meyer just stared at them with amazement and a huge grin before chuckling to himself and muttering, “No s--- ” and heading back out to the field to get the Gators ready for another title run.

Yep, things are back to normal in Gainesville. SEC East, consider yourself warned.

*It was also rumored around the Florida campus that the Gators lost to BYU in the first round of the NCAA tournament, 99-92, in an exciting double-overtime affair.  However, not a single soul in Gainesville could confirm this to me.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: West
 
Posted on: March 17, 2010 2:54 pm
 

25 For Thursday: Guarantees on Day One

MATT JONES



The NCAA Tournament kicks off on Thursday and America's collective work production will take a hit that even a Bernake bailout cannot prevent.  Its March Madness time and we kick it off with 16 games on Thursday that will get your juices flowing.  Now in the first round, we know that there is a lot of action going in every direction and it can be difficult to keep up with what is going on at any given moment.  That is what we are for, to make the complex manageable.  So as you watch on Thursday, keep this list in front of you and refer to it often.  It is your Twenty-Five for Thursday NCAA Guarantees:

1.  BYU vs Florida Will Make You Very Happy:  It doesnt matter what game is actually the first action of the NCAA Tournament, I look forward to it with eager anticipation.  This year it happens to be BYU vs Florida, which means that I will watch the opening tap, comment on how BYU looks "better than I would have thought" and place a "friendly" wager on two teams who if they played during the regular season, I would choose working out on a gazelle over watching.  That is just what March does.

2.  Florida's Dan Werner Will Have You Shaking Your Head:  It is not often that a player is so consistenly awful that you wonder how he not only plays, but is able to function in society.  Dan Werner is that player.  Dont say you have not been warned.

3.  Sam Houston State Will Make Announcers Make Stupid Puns:  I probably like Jay Bilas more than any other announcer in America.  But as my former assistant in Washington DC used to say about women who wore to much makeup, "he think he cute!"  I can guarantee some pun about "remembering the Alamo" or "Sam Houston State wont go down like Sam Houston, etc.  He has to do it.  Just forgive him.

4.  You Will be Angry About Which Game You are Getting Assigned at Some Point During the Day:  One of the great parts of the first round of the NCAA Tournament is the fact that there are four games going on at any given moment.  However what is assured is that the game you will want to see wont be on wherever you happen to live.  There is really nothing you can do about this except (a) go watch at a bar, (b) watch the Mega March Madness feature on CBSSports.com or (c) hope that Greg Gumbel will interrupt the game you are watching with updates.  What wont work is throwing your remote at the screen at cursing at Seth Davis.  Trust me, I have tried.

5.   David Koresh's Name Will Come Up in your Bar:  At some point during the telecast, they will mention that Baylor is in Waco, Texas.  Then someone in your group will say, "how do I know Waco?"  Then Branch Dividians are brought up and David Koresh will be mentioned.  Just go ahead and do it early and then you will look like the smart one of the group.

6.  Verne Lundquist Will Mispronounce Names:  This is a guarantee, but I dont look at it as a negative.  In fact, if you play a drinking game for each name that Verne butchers, you are guaranteed fun and a raucous crowd by 3:30 pm.  Just take "Verne" shots (something foreign and exotic) and sit back and smile.  It will make Villanova vs Robert Morris much more entertaining.

7.  Scottie Reynolds Is Still in School:  You know how some guys just seem to be in school forever?  Scottie Reynolds is that guy for me.  I am fairly sure he played with Ed Pickney and Harold McClain after being recruited by old Rollie.  Also on this list, Jon Scheyer, Greivis Vasquez and Luke Harangody.

8.  Murray State Will Beat Vanderbilt:  This is a given. Everyone has it in their bracket.  Just mark it down.

9.  Your Friend Will Tell You He Had Murray State Beating Vanderbilt:  Tell him to just shut about it.  We all had that game and we also had Siena beating Purdue.  You aren't special.  In fact, you would have been more special had you picked Vanderbilt, so seriously shut your mouth before I come over there and show you how little I care about your bracket.

10.  Frank Martin Will Scare Your Children:  Kansas State coach Frank Martin is clinically insane.  Just watch him.  He is an exact twin of the gym teacher on "Beavis and Butthead" and he looks at any point like the vein that is piercing through his skin will simply burst and cause his head to explode, thus forcing Teddy Valentine to give him a technical foul.  It is strange to remember, but he coached Michael Beasley.  How in the world did they not kill each other?

11.  An Old White Guy Will Tell You He Likes Luke Harangody:  Every time I have watched a Notre Dame game, some person (usually old, white and cranky) tells me that Luke Harangody plays "the game the right way" and that he is his favorite player.  Sometimes that person is a former Indiana coach and is paid by a national network to call the games.  Either way it is sad.

12.  You Will Be Fascinated by ODU Coach Blaine Taylor's Moustache:  Seriously it is amazing.  Black, bushy and extending over his lip.  There hasnt been a better one since Magnum P.I.  Watch the Old Dominion vs Notre Dame game just for the moustache.  You wont be disappointed.

13.  "The Butler Did It" Will Be Said by Someone:  Every year that Butler plays, someone makes that reference.  It is like clockwork.  And there hasn't been a working butler in this country outside of the Hamptons and Hollywood in thirty years.  This year it will be Spero Dedes.  Book it.

14.  By The Way, Who is Spero Dedes?:  He is calling the games in San Jose.  I have never heard of him and dont believe there has been a notable Spero since Vice President Agnew.  This must be investigated.

15.  UTEP's Derrick Caracter Will Dominate and Frustrate:  He is big, he is chubby and he is talented.  However Derrick Caracter has burned bridges everywhere he has been, most famously under Rick Pitino at Louisville.  At one time he was known as the best high school player in America.  He now finds himself at UTEP with a chance to redeem his reputation nationally in this Tournament.  What will he do? Probably a bit of everything.

16.  You Will Hate Whatever Commercials Are Playing:  If you are a true fan, and I know you are or you would not be reading this article, then you will watch every moment of the First and Second Round.  If you do, you will hate whatever commercials are on the air by the end of the weekend.  I still remember the Enterprise Rent-a-Car one where the woman asks if she should take "red or black" lingerie on their trip and her husband gets a goofy smile and says "both."  The first time I saw it, I had a crush on the woman...by the 500th, I wanted her to take the lingerie and strangle her husband, while the Enterprise Rent-a-Car SUV ran over them both. 

17.  Northern Iowa's Ali Farokhmanesh Will Impress:  Every year there is that one team that has a player who shoots from 25 feet and gets you out of your chair.  This year it is Ali from Northern Iowa.  He may be the best shooter in the Tournament and he is barely 6 feet tall.  He will hit at least one bomb against UNLV that will make you jump up and say "Wow."

18.  A Picture of Jerry Tarkanian Chewing a Towel Will Come on the Screen:  You can't show a UNLV game on television without at least one shot of Tark and a towel.  Its mandated by Congress.

19.  Demarcus Cousins' Attitude Will Be Mentioned:  During every Kentucky game played, there will be a skirmish for a loose ball, Demarcus Cousins will be involved and the announcer will say "he has a temper, he needs to calm down."  It happens every game, quickly followed by the announcer saying, "if Kentucky is going to win in this Tournament, Cousins will have to keep his cool." 

20.  You Will Not Watch Marquette vs Washington:  Its totally unwatchable basketball.  Grind it out, punch each other in the face, game in the 50s.  If this game were a movie, it would be anything starring Sandra Bullock, pre-"Blind Side."  Avoid at all costs.

21.  Having Said That, Marquette is the Lock of the Year:  Washington has literally no chance of winning this game...NO CHANCE.  Right now the line is a pick 'em...Vegas didnt watch Washington play and neither did you.  They won the Pac 10 Tournament, but you, me, Spero Dedes, Dan Werner and Ali from Northern Iowa could have won the Pac 10 Tournament this year.  Put it all on Marquette.

22.  A Shot of John Thompson Will Come on the Screen:  I dont mean JT III, who coaches Georgetown now, but the elder Thompson.  And I will continue to be amazed at how large that man is.  6'8" (at least), probably 325 pounds and a towering figure like none other.  The thought of him even scares me right now.

23.  You Wont Be Able to Tell the Morris Twins Apart:  Absolutely impossible to do.  Their parents named them Marcus and Markieff, the oddest assortment of names for twins since my high school's Nathan and Nathaniel.  Look at the two of them and try to figure out which is which.  You know how they say that parents can tell twins apart based on slight physical differences?  For the Morris Twins, the only differences are in the tattoos.

24. Rick Barnes Is Not Coaching:  Rick Barnes has not coached a game in the last two months of this season.  Actually let me strike that...Rick Barnes has not coached a game WELL in the last two months of this season.  On Thursday night versus Wake Forest, he will be on the sideline talking, but rest assured what he is doing can't be quantified as "coaching."  His players aren't listening, no plays are being executed and chaos is reigning.  But be calm, this is normal.

25.  The Night Will End with the Biggest Upset of the Day:  San Diego State is going to beat Tennessee.  The Fighting Headbands from Knoxville will fall on a late three by Steve Fisher's bunch and Bruce Pearl will walk into the locker room dejected, ending the year with yet another disappointing postseason. 

So there you go.  Twenty-five guarantees for Day One.  There were going to be more, but Frank Martin is outside my window and I need to go lock the door.

Posted on: March 17, 2010 11:36 am
Edited on: March 17, 2010 11:41 am
 

Previewing Buffalo: Friday's Games

DREW FRANKLIN
Day two of the NCAA tournament kicks off Friday at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, NY.  And before you ask - yes, they're replacing the ice with NCAA licensed hardwood.  It would just be silly if they didn't.

The West and East Regions will do battle in the great city of Buffalo, named after the famous hot wing sauce.  Let's take a look at the matchups...

(2) West Virginia vs. (15) Morgan State, 12:15 pm

WEST VIRGINIA

West Virginia is a team you have to keep your eye on at all times.  As soon as you look away, you could get blasted by a water bottle or loose change thrown by their fans.

MORGAN STATE

Morgan State - which I still can't find on the map - has two electrifying players you've probably never heard of in Reggie Holmes and Kevin Thompson.  Both will likely struggle against West Virginia's big bodies.

NO UPSET HERE

West Virginia will win easily and won't need a Da'Sean Butler bank shot at the buzzer to do so.



(7) Clemson vs. (10) Missouri, 2:45 pm

CLEMSON

The seventh seeded Clemson is led by All-ACC'er Trevor Booker.  Booker, who seems like he has been in school for eight years, is averaging 15.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.  He ranks in the top 5 all-time in career scoring and rebounding at Clemson.

MISSOURI

Mizzou plays what is known as "The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball."  They love to get up and down the floor and distribute the basketball.  Defensively, Missouri leads the nation in steals per game and turnovers forced per game.  You gotta love Mike Anderson.

LACE UP THOSE SNEAKERS FOR A RAPID PACE

Both squads play a similar up-tempo offense and pressure defense.  It will be a very fast-paced and entertaining game.  My money is on the Tigers.  Should be a safe bet.



(8) Gonzaga vs. (9) Florida State, 7:10 pm

GONZAGA

The Zags are in their 12th consecutive NCAA tournament despite losing four starters to the NBA last season.  Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they were placed in Buffalo, some 3,000 miles and three time zones away.  If they defeat Florida State, they will face Syracuse in the Orange's own backyard.  Moral of the story: Gonzaga got the shaft.

FLORIDA STATE

The Seminoles won ten games in the ACC but eight of them came against sub .500 teams. FSU's Chris Singleton and Solomon Alabi both made third-team All-ACC and were the top vote-getters on the ACC all-defensive team.

CONTRASTING STRENGTHS

Gonzaga has the fifth-best field goal percentage in the country at .494, and Florida State is the NCAA's best against the field goal at .372.  This one all depends on who shows up to play.



(1) Syracuse vs. (16) Vermont, 9:30 pm

C-A-T-A-M-O-U-N-T-S! CATAMOUNTS! CATAMOUNTS! CATAMOUNTS!

Vermont will pull off the upset.  You heard it here, folks.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: East, West
 
Posted on: March 16, 2010 11:37 pm
 

Getting Ready For Thursday's Games: NEW ORLEANS

MATT JONES



When the NCAA Tournament kicks off Thursday in New Orleans, the feel will certainly be festive.  And by festive, I mean hungover, because for reasons that only the brilliant minds behind the proposed NCAA Tournament expansion to 96 could likely understand, the first round is taking place in New Orleans the night after St Patricks Day.  So in a city where public drunkedness is not only accepted, it is actively encouraged and at times, mandatory, the NCAA is going to place basketball games after the nation's drunkest collective holiday.  Its for the kids ladies and gentlemen.

When the games do actually get started however, there will be a lot to see in James Carville's hometown.  One of the top two teams in the country, an #8 seed that was ranked #1 overall this season, a certain NIT team that played its way into a #6 seed and quite possibly the most athletic team in America are all setting up shop in New Orleans as they hope to advance on in the South and West regions.  Each game has some intrigue, some wackiness and a whole lot of Harangody.  An overview:

NOTRE DAME vs OLD DOMINION  12:25

Most people would claim that the iconic figure in college basketball this year was John Wall, the uber-talented UK point guard who dazzled the country with athleticism, wild dunks and game-winning shots.  They are wrong.  The real icon of college basketball is the man with the worst hair and body in sports, Luke Harangody.  If Harangody were a car, he would be a Kia Rondo, tall and boxy, prone to slow, awkward movements and proportionated in such a way as to seem to make success impossible.  But like the Kia Rondo, Harangody finds a way to get the job done.  When you watch this game today, take a few possessions and simply follow the 'Gody.  Like the fat guy who sweats a lot but still finds a way to get garbage buckets in your church league game, the 'Gody will win no beauty points as he looks to the naked eye as the most unathletic basketball players since the cast of "Hang Time" left the court (still Reggie Theus's best coaching job).  But he will score, rebound and even defend, all without seemingly being able to make one impressive movement.  He is the basketball equivalent to an episode of "Friends," unlikely to leave you feeling the least bit impressed, but garnering solid ratings.

The 'Gody is playing against Old Dominion, a team I actually saw on our Road Trip across America and one that can cause some problems.  ODU is as athletic a small school as you will see in the Tournament.  They are long at every position and their goal is to get every rebound and outwork you, while playing a brand of basketball that can best be labeled as "boring."  Their coach will try to counter the 'Gody's boxcut with his own moustache, a full feathered beauty that is both dark and bushy, a veritable forest under his lip.   With his facial hair mesmerizing, it is easy to forget just how talented this team is and it isnt an exaggeration to say that they will be the more athletic team on the floor. 

Prediction

Notre Dame is full of Irish Catholics and the noon start on the day after St Patrick's Day will ensure a small crowd at the opening tip.  ODU has the players to get out on the Irish three point shooters and Harangody will not be able to impose his will down low.  However the Irish are deeper, have the best player on the floor and by the second half, Johnny O'Malley and the rest of the Irish faithful will stagger into the gym just in time to see the Irish win by 7.

BAYLOR vs SAM HOUSTON STATE 3:00

Every year the NCAA Tournament sees one team develop into a trendy pick to make noise and allows announcers on the Worldwide Leader to get on television and make proclamations that have no real substance but sound important like "I tell you who I like Digger, I like "TEAM X".  The way they shoot the ball, play defense and their great Coach _____, this is a team that can really make some noise. I am not saying I will pick them over (INSERT #1 seed), but it wouldnt shock me if they get hot and cut down the nets to the Final Four.  While the announcer says this, all of the other blow-dryed hairpieces on set shake their head and proclaim that they too like this team and have been on board with them all year.  Inevitably this team is never as good as these paid airbags say they are and often the disappointment starts in game one.

This season that team is most certainly Baylor.  You cant throw a stick without running into someone who has Baylor as their "sleeper team into the Final Four."  The Bears are coached by Scott Drew and have found a way to turn around a basketball program that was long thought to be dead.  However considering the fact tha tmost fans couldn't name one player on the Bears' roster, annoitment as a Final Four team seems a bit premature.  As for Sam Houston State, they are fun to watch.  They bring it up and down quickly, like to shoot a lot of three pointers and try to win by managing the game pace.  Earlier this season they gave Kentucky a run for its money in Rupp Arena and since then, have put up great shooting performances week after week.  Baylor isnt the greatest draw for Sam Houston, because they can match the athleticism that Sam Houston uses to dominate its opponents.  But if they hit threes, then who knows what can happen.

Prediction

 Did you like how I got you excited right there....made you think that I was going to pick the upset upstarts?  Not going to happen.  Had SHS gotten a slow, methodical team, I might pull the shocker.  As is, Baylor moves on and makes pundits shake their head and nod that they are the team to watch in the games ahead.


KENTUCKY VS EAST TENNESSEE STATE  7:00 PM

You know all about Kentucky, Calipari, Wall, Cousins, etc.  They are really good and no group of players since Shane Battier was smiling and going to class every day at Duke have received the consistent national publicity of this group of Kentucky players.  They have been visited by Lebron, Magic, Ashley Judd, Drake, Ben Roethlisberger (pre-college town romp), Mike Tomlin, Charles Barkley and even the biggest star of them all, World Wide Wes.  They have raised over a million bucks for Haiti, talked to the President over the phone and even got to rub on Seth Davis's rosy cheeks.  It has been such a strange, magical journey.  But now it gets real and the games mean more.  All the goodwill of the 32-2 campaign that has won the hearts of Kentuckians is at stake in one three-week period where anything can happen.

Well almost anything.  What can't happen is losing to ETSU in the first round on Thursday night.  ETSU famously was once led by a player that makes the NCAA all "hey I remember that guy but I have no idea where he went to school" list, Keith "Mr." Jennings.  For it was 21 years ago that Jennings took a #16 seeded ETSU team and very nearly pulled the shocker over #1 seeded Oklahoma. They hope to bring that kind of magic back to light again, but this time against a much bigger fish and a much more talented group of players.  Win partor lose, they will probably take solace in the fact that they will head back to Johnson City, Tennessee after the game and be greeted by the hottest group of mountain coeds this side of a very special episode of Hee-Haw.

Prediction

 Kentucky wins by a lot and moves on, much to the delight of the Big Blue nation.  But when ETSU's most famous alum Kenny Chesney sneaks into the building, Jay Bilas becomes so enamored with his soft, beach sounds that he takes off his announcing headset, mumbles something about Baylor being a sleeper to get to the Final Fourand goes on tour with Buffett.

TEXAS vs WAKE FOREST  9:35 PM

What do you get when the two most underperforming participants in a particular endeavor get together to see which can muster up just enough to even showcase a flash of their former brilliance?  No, its not every Pacino/Deniro move of the past ten years, but rather is the Underachievement HEavyweight Championship Title Match when Texas plays Wake Forest.  Over the course of this past season, no two teams have been more baffling and neither has made its fans groan and search out for signs of life from its coach than the Longhorns and Demon Deacons.  Both teams have loads of talent, but both have played so terribly at times that even Mike Dunleavy has asked from afar, "dont you coaches do anything?"

The most egregious offender has been Texas, where Rick Barnes has definitely proven that he is the worst Top 12 program coach in America.  While there is no doubt that Barnes has assembled talent by the boatload in Austin, his team has played as poorly in the last two months as any team in the Tournament and has produced an historically unprecedented waste of talent from one program in one season.  There may be as many as six guys on the Texas roster who could play in the NBA and players one through eleven, they could be the most talented team in America.  But they are stuck floundering around, getting blown out by mediocre teams and backing their way into the tournament on the back of a win against NIT contender North Carolina in December.  Remember, Texas was ONCE #1.  Now they are hideous and absent a miracle turnaround, will finish a season of disappointment like none other.

Prediction

There are those that say March forgives all sins.  If either of these teams can win this game and then upset Kentucky, a season of disappointment can quickly be forgotten.  Both teams have been awful, but in Texas's case there has been the occasional show of life.  Wake Forest has been tuned out for months.  Texas wins a close one in a game that simply frustrates all who watch.

So there you have it, Notre Dame, Baylor, Kentucky and Texas.  Chalk from this guy.  But hey, its New Orleans and the fun will be on the streets anyway.  Enjoy the games and watch out for Harry Connick on the street trying to sing you a song...he does it to all the tourists. 

Posted on: March 16, 2010 1:38 pm
Edited on: March 16, 2010 4:00 pm
 

Previewing Oklahoma City: Thursday's Games

Thomas Beisner

1:00 PM

The NCAA tournament gets kicking on Thursday in the place that gave us Chuck Norris and Carrie Underwood as beautiful Oklahoma hosts four games of regional insignificance (two Midwest and two West).  The winners of each game will face each other again on Saturday (funny how they do that, huh?) and the losers will be forced out faster than the Cherokee Indians were welcomed in.  You, though, are settling in for a nice four-day binge and have nothing to worry about.  Except being uninformed.  So, read up.

(8) BYU vs. (9) Florida Thursday 12:20 PM 

Overview:  It is a heavy burden that the Gators and Cougars carry on Thursday. It is this Oklahoma City game that ushers in the entire 2010 NCAA Tournament. BYU and guard Jimmer Fredette shot into the national rankings this season while Florida just did what Florida does. They won a lot of games early and then tanked. Unlike the previous two editions under the worst coach to ever win a title, however, the Gators somehow snuck into the tournament ahead of Mississippi State, a team that beat them in the SEC tourney. Most experts attribute this to Florida’s win against Michigan State at the beginning of the year. However, the truth is that in exchange for this NCAA berth, Alex Tyus has agreed to let his forehead serve as a secondary CBS network for the remainder of the tournament, giving more coverage to you, the viewer. Who loves you, baby?

Parsons Power: If Florida wants to advance to get beaten by Kansas State, they’ll need to rely on America’s most public supporter of Miley Cyrus, Chandler Parsons. Since deciding to stop looking like Ellen and going with a buzzcut, Parsons has looked like a new man (or just a man, period). He’s become the Gators single most important player in terms of ball-handling, shooting, rebounding and keeping Dan Werner off the court.

Watchability: CSI, the first one. Remember the first time you watched CSI? You got all gassed up with mystery and suspense and watched every episode, rented the season on DVD and then watched it again? Then they came out with 12 spin-offs and you were too mentally drained to keep up. Remember? Well, that’s how this is. It’s ok to show some emotion and get fired up about the first game of the tourney. Just take it easy on those Doritos and watch how many of those Natty Lights you pound. We have a long ways to go. Be patient, young man.

(2) Kansas St. vs. (15) North Texas Thursday 2:40

Overview:  The Big 12 runner-up is set to put a thrashing on the Sun Belt tournament champions. There’s pretty much no other way around it. But, it doesn’t mean you can’t use this time to appreciate the University of North Texas, one of the greatest small schools in our nation, which scores very highly on the odd factor. UNT, besides hiring a high school coach to run a pass-friendly offense in football and serving as the film location for the Kathy Ireland/Sinbad football masterpiece “Unnecessary Roughness”, has, without a doubt, the greatest alumni list in the history of academia. These names are all proud members of the Mean Green Nation Region: “Mean” Joe Greene, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Pat Boone, Thomas Haden Church, Don Henley, Norah Jones, Dr. Phil, Meatloaf, Larry McMurtry, Roy Orbison, half the Von Erich wrestling family and The Undertaker. It won’t help fight of a furious beating from the Martin Mafia, but it means that Kevin Harlan and Dan Bonner better study up.

Why the Mean Green will win: Kansas State lost to Ole Miss, who lost to Mississippi State, who lost to Rider, who lost to Rutgers, who lost to Louisville, who lost to Western Kentucky, who lost to….drum roll please…..North Texas! So you’re saying there’s a chance?

Watchability: A breaking news interruption. You’ll pretend to care because everyone else around you is. But, really, you’re just waiting for it to flip over to something better (and closer).

(8) UNLV vs. (9) Northern Iowa Thursday 7:10 PM 

Overview:  When the CBS College Road Trip hit Cedar Falls, Iowa for a Northern Iowa game, two things were very apparent. First, Cedar Falls is about as far opposite of Las Vegas as any town could be and, second, “Gary Parrish” is a dirty word. If Northern Iowa wins the national championship, cutting down the nets will come only as a secondary prize to finally forcing Parrish to rank their team in his top-25, which 2 out of 3 UNI fans will voluntarily tell you that he refuses to do out of nothing more than bias.

Vegas Odds: Had my middle school English teacher not changed the definition of “irony” about 25 times in one semester, I’d call the fact that the historical odds favor ninth-seeded UNI to beat eight-seeded Nevada-Las Vegas ironic. Instead, I’ll call it interesting. The lower seed in the 8-9 matchup has won 54% of the time in the NCAA tournament, which means the Panthers could get their All-Midwest matchup with the Jayhawks in the second round. But, they only beat Southern Illinois by an average of seven points this year and UNLV beat them by nine, a truly flawless and unquestioned method of comparison. Honestly, that last stat is probably worthless.  I'm just contractually required by CBS to bag on UNI.

Watchability: A country music cover song video. Just like the first time you saw John Michael Montgomery singing “I Swear”, to be more exact. You know you’ve gone through this song and dance before and you have no idea who is on your television screen, but you can’t turn away because there’s a part of you that knows this is what heaven is like. Though it’s familiar, it still carries an allure that will have you watching from beginning until end, even though you swore not to. (Note: Research shows that Montgomery actually released his version before All 4 One released theirs. However, if you haven’t noticed that we’re not doing second drafts by now, you aren’t reading enough.)

(1) Kansas vs. (16) Lehigh Thursday 9:30 PM 

Overview:  College basketball’s chosen ones, as appointed by the undeniably brilliant national media, will start their journey toward destiny against tiny Lehigh University of Bethlehem, Pa. The match will pit Jayhawk against Mountain Hawk in a no holds barred blood bath sure to last the first 2-3 minutes of the game, at which point the Kansas will unleash a beating that will have people wondering if popular sovereignty is at stake again.

Why Leigh will pull the upset: Kansas lost to Oklahoma State, who lost to Rhode Island, who lost to Virginia Commonwealth, who lost to James Madison, who lost to Northeastern, who lost to Boston, who lost to Harvard, who lost to Princeton, who lost to Brown, who lost to Yale, who lost to Quinnipiac, who lost to…..drum roll please…..Lehigh. So you’re saying there’s a chance?

Watchability: The Jersey Shore. You’ll tune in and get a kick out of the first few minutes. You’ll laugh, shake your head and text your friends about what a train wreck it is. Then, after about 10 minutes, it will hit you that what you’re watching is actual real life and you’ll start to feel embarrassed over the televised disaster and flip to something else. Preferably, some other CBS programming on Alex Tyus’ forehead.

Oklahoma City, we'll see you in just a matter of time.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Midwest, West
 
Posted on: March 14, 2010 11:10 pm
Edited on: March 15, 2010 10:33 am
 

Know Your 16 Seed: Vermont

DREW FRANKLIN

The University of Vermont and State Agriculture College

The University of Vermont and State Agriculture College, or the University of Vermont for short, is a national public research university and the state of Vermont's land-grant university.  But most know UVM as 10,000 Phish fans that love peace, love, Mother Earth, and her funny smelling plants.

Location: Burlington, Vermont

Burlington is the largest city in our nation's 45th largest state.  It is known as "The Queen City of Vermont" by Vermonters.

Notable Alumni

Ben Affleck - Matt Damon's husband (Dropped out after one semester)
Trey Anastasio - lead singer for Phish
Eugene Kalkin - founder of Linens 'N Things 

The Catamounts

Because calling themselves the Cougars would really flood the admissions office with young men.  C-A-T-A-M-O-U-N-T-S!  CATAMOUNTS! CATAMOUNTS! CATAMOUNTS!

Mike Lonergan, Head Coach

Lonergan is in his fifth season as head coach at UVM.  He was the America East Coach of the Year in 2007.  More importantly, he has his own website, MikeLonergan.com.  That's baller status.

The Starting 5

#12 Nick Vier, Guard, Senior - 5.2 ppg, 2.5 apg
#24 Maurice Joseph, Guard, Senior - 14.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg
#21 Garvey Young, Guard, Sophomore - 7.5 ppg, 4.2 ppg
#32 Evan Fjeld, Forward, Junior - 10.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg
#23 Marqus Blakely, Forward, Senior - 17.2 ppg, 9.1 rpg

How They Got Here

Vermont beat Boston University - who apparently isn't just a hockey team - in the America East Championship.  Reggie Lewis Player of the Year Marqus Blakely scored 24 points, grabbed 18 rebounds, and had 5 assists in the Cats 83-70 win.

How Far Will They Go?

UVM plays #1 Syracuse Friday at 9:30 pm in a very familiar first round matchup.  Vermont upset the Orange in the 4/13 game in the 2005 NCAA tourney.  Will the Catamounts be able to shock the world one more time?  You're damn right they will.

I'm taking the upset.  Vermont will beat Syracuse to advance to the second round in the year of the 16 seed.  You heard it here, folks.





Category: NCAAB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com