Tuesday, March 27

Weak Stomachs Need Not Apply

Just a warning, for those of you who can't bear to watch those videos where a running back visibly tears his ACL, you may not want to visit the bottom half of the post. This is (taken from the Charlotte Observer) a list of the last 23 plays of the season run by UNC. Also, Adam Lucas has some interesting insight on the last play in the mailbag (thanks to Cason for pointing me to it).

9:50 left UNC 73 G'town 65

1. Danny Green jacks up a long 3-pointer
2. Ty Lawson turns the ball over.

5. Green jacks up another quick 3 that misses
6. Tyler Hansbrough misses a 10-foot hook.
7. Wayne Ellington misses a 3-pointer.
8. Lawson misses a 3.

Georgetown is now within three points at 75-72.

14. Tar Heels' last shot of regulation, Ellington misses a 3.
18. Terry misses a 3.
19. Terry misses a 12-footer.
20. Ellington misses a 3.
21. Green misses a 3.
22. Green misses another 3.

There were 9 3's in those possessions, a rate WAY too high for any team, much less the inside-out functioning Heels.

Sunday, March 25

Season's Initial Final Thoughts

Just some off the cuff points about the game (with the caveat that I was working at Brixx while it was on and not fully watching until the last 2/3 mins and first 2 mins of OT):

- I was very unimpressed with the way the last play went off, on a short list of shots I'd like to have to win a game (in that situation) that shot was about 7th. I'd like to have seen Ty drive and kick, drive and dish to Tyler/Brandan, or drive and take the shot (jumper/lay-up), or an isolation play for Tyler/Brandan in the post against 4 foul Roy Hibbert (I'm assuming he was still in), or a better look at a 3, or Reyshawn taking a 3 instead of Wayne. But thats just off the top of my head. I mean, why take a shot that we (as a team) make ~35% of the time when you can use your bigs, or a runner, which has a much higher probability of going in? ugh.

- Once in OT the game could have gone either way. If you give Tyler a foul instead of the travel call, if Ty's near steal on the G'town end is recovered by a Heel and not a Hoya that makes it a 2 point game at 2:30 instead of a 6 point game. And with about 3:00 or 2:30 left, down 6, we panicked and started taking 3's, I thought we were over that, we didn't need 3's to get back in it against USC, ugh.

Update: Wow, I looked at the stats from the game, this was UNC's 2nd worst Def eFG% 63.6 and worst Off eFG% 38.7 of the season. EVERY other part of the game seemed to go UNC's way, even rebounding 43% of the 62% missed shots, I'm surprised the score was tied at the end of the game, and can say that when something is not meant to happen, its not meant to happen (sorry John, I don't have a stat for "meant to happen", but I do know it was pretty low for the game at NC State).

Now the fun part: Sour Grapes!!
- Before the season started, (I don't think on this blog), my expectations for the team was Elite 8, with the talent and inexperience I thought that was a good goal, and that I'd be happy to finish the season there, Final Four would have been nice, losing in the sweet 16, a little upsetting, but I comfortably put the team in the top 4/8 range for the year, which is where they ended up.

- Hopefully this bad taste in everyone's mouth will encourage the team to stay together, and I think the team will be in top form if everyone but Wright stays, though I'd like him to hang around as well. This team had the Final Four in its grasp, so they should know that next year could lead to a title run if they all return.

Saturday, March 24

Scouting Report pt. 2

Ok, here are another list of my "on the money" predictions of UNC's Tournament run. Actually, on second thought, lets review the USC game. The Heels' shooting percentage was lower than the Trojans as expected, but the offensive rebounding more than made up for the difference, the Heels gathered 19 of their own missed shots, allowing them to attempt 16 more FGs and make up the difference in FG%. Now, on to Sunday's regional final.

When the Hoyas have the ball
- this is the interesting side of the matchup, and (statistically at least) strength versus strength, UNC 3rd vs G'town 2nd. The individual breakdowns are almost mirror images, with UNC's weakest Defense being TO's caused, while the Hoyas are a tad sloppy with the ball (224th), the same is true with steals, UNC 81st, G'town 283rd. Maybe Wes and Marcus can have "active hands" tomorrow.

When the Heels have the ball
- here is the mismatch, UNC 3rd vs. G'town 18th. While the Hoyas Offensively rebound well (7th) they keep their opponents off the Offensive glass as well as the Trojans, ok not that bad, but they are 157th. The same is true of TO's, the Hoyas are 249th at forcing TOs, which means that the only way they end possesions is with a missed basket (and hopefully UNC be pulling in most of their own misses.

One more point, I don't want any of you thinking that this is an Offense vs Defense matchup (Colts/Bears), or an Offense-fast vs Offense-slow matchup as CBS/Billy Packer might suggest it is. The Heels are a much more balanced team and should have an edge because of it.

Thats all well and good, BUT
- there is one factor that I haven't mentioned that likely carries the MOST weight of all, and you may just heard about it from Billy Packer. That factor is TEMPO. The Hoyas' correlation between pace and OE is -.44, bold and double starred. That means, when the game goes faster, the Hoyas' offense get markedly less productive. The Hoyas have only lost 1 game they have played at a tempo below their average (59.5 poss/game), in which they allowed Pitt an OE of 136.7. The Heels don't NEED to play fast to win, but it will make it easier to do so. If the Heels force turnovers as those seem to be a Hoya weakness, and convert those TO's into fast break points, then look for another Tar Heel trip to the Final Four. Now I'm not saying the Heels can't win a slow game, but the offensive goliath of Georgetown will be a lot easier to beat if the Heels get the possessions up above 70. Above 70 poss, the Hoyas are 1-1, 99.6 OE, and 45.4 eFG%, the Heels are 22-5, 115.5 OE, and 55.7 eFG%. Also, the Heels' DE improves to -1.6 to 90.6 (these are unadjusted figures). Sorry, that was a lot of numbers to throw at you all at once, but to me it says: if the game is fast (read > 68 poss) UNC has a good chance of winning, if its closer to around 60 poss the odds move closer to even, and may even favor the Hoyas. Anyways, this posting is happening much further in advance than the USC one, so please feel free to add or disagree in the comments.

Friday, March 23

Scouting Report Observations

This is just some rambling about tonight's UNC/USC game based on the observations I've made from their respective KenPom scouting reports. A few things catch my eye.
Trojan Offense - USC is a better defensive team than offensive team (raw and adj). Their offensive rating balloons from 105.5 (111) to 114.2 (37) when adjusted, perhaps thats a bit much? Thats just my opinion though, KP knows what he's doing. Also, I know John poo-poo's assists, but the Trojans are 277th in A/FGM (I mean, even if you poo-poo them, 277 is rough)
Defensive Balance - UNC's is very even, of the 4 parts (FG, TO, OR, FTR) 3 are between 24-41, and only TO's forced is >100 (and who needs TO's if the rest is gravy?). USC's is a little more top heavy, rating 16, 176, 157, 53) relying heavily on FG% instead of forcings TO's or keeping opponents off the glass. Its the second part of that sentence that makes me giddy, USC doesn't keep their opponents off the glass, just forces poor shooting, hopefully UNC can hustle and use the offensive boards to their advantage to outweigh any poor shooting.
Tar Heels' End - On the flip side, the Trojans offensively rebound really poorly, not like middle of the pack bad, 268th bad.
Oh, you mean we get 3 pts for those? - Both teams ignore the three ball like its the drunk girl at a party, UNC 25.4% 322nd, USC 26.2% 315th. Wow. The even more suprising thing is that the Trojans shoot 39.9% from the rarely visited 3pt-land which is good for 17th in the country.

Just some thoughts, should be a good game, hopefully it will start by 10:30.

Go Heels!

Thursday, March 22

Read it here first?

According to Jay Bilas, Jamal Tatum has "the guts of a burglar." The guts of a burglar.

Heard it here first?

Tubby Smith's going to Minnesota for $1.8 million/year.

Heard it here first?

McRoberts has decided to go pro, a fairly smart move for the big guy, his stock was higher in a weaker draft last year, but the Devils don't look (at this point) to be making a Final Four appearance next year, so he's not missing out on much. Could this be a side effect of Coach K's insistence to make him play as a pure post player.

Also, a story about similar issues on the home front. I'd say that Tyler is a made for college guy and he's likely to lean towards staying, his game translates the most poorly to the NBA. There are rumors that Roy's benching Ty (@GT) and comments about his poor practice habits have him soured on the college experience and could send him away early, but his stock hasn't peaked yet, which may keep him in school. Brandan's stock has peaked (much like Marvin's) due to size and potential, thought personally I don't think he's as ready for the pros as Marvin was and look how that turned out.

Wednesday, March 21

Tar Heel Season

Here it is folks, this is the graphical representation of the Tar Heel Season. Along the x-axis is the dates, the top set of lines is Offensive Efficiency, the middle is Defensive Efficiency, and the bottom is is Pace. Each stat has 2 sets of lines, one representing each game (the crazy all over the place line) and one representing the cumulative average of the stat. Note a few things: an overall decrease in pace, the DE that got drastically better (by playing cupcakes) and then has trended upward into the ACC season, and an offense trending downwards (for the same reason). These numbers are not adjusted for opponents so the final average DE (~92) is much higher than the KP DE (~84), the Heels have played the 7th hardest offensive schedule. For the actual data see KP-land, the UNC Gameplan page.

PS: Thanks to John for MS Painting this pretty picture.

PPS: This may seem like piling on, but here is a good article from a behind the scenes perspective on the team, joking, cutting up, etc.

Tuesday, March 20

Go Pokes

In a fitting end to their year, the once top 25 rated Oklahoma State Cowboys lost in the first round of the NIT to Marist, while playing at home. Looks like the Pokes were still a tad overrated.

In other NIT news, the ACC has 3 of the 8 teams left (FSU, Clemson, NC State), imagine if GA Tech hadn't upset UNC in Atlanta to sneak into the dance, we might have 4 teams left.

Monday, March 19

Round of 64 and 32 in Review

Alright kiddos, John and I are here, combo-posting our way to ideal procrastination by recapping the long weekend of college basketball.

East - Derrick Byars, Vanderbilt: helped romp GW in the opening round, and lead Vandy to upset the 2nd highest seed to lose thus far in the tourney (though Wazzou was the weakest #3)
West -
Midwest - Wendell White, UNLV: we're really getting lazy here, apparently John didn't watch as much of the tourney as I thought he did . White scored well, sank most of his FTs (as a 66% shooter), and his play elevated the Rebels out of John's doghouse
South - Mike Conley, OSU: Conley did his best Eric Maynor impersonation and took over with Greg Oden on the bench in OT (with a special bonus point being awarded to Lewis for getting them to OT after Oden's bonehead foul)

MDPs (D is for disappointing)
East - Dominic James, Marquette: John: "everyone thought he was all that and a bag of chips at the beginning of the season, but apparently he can't carry his team past the first round" Ryan: "well, he did kinda get the shaft, playing essentially what should be a 5-seed in the first round"
West - Derek Raivio, Gonzaga: 39 mins: 12 pts, 4 asts, 2 to's, 2 fta's, really, what gives? maybe he ate his pregame meal (cheese pizza with mushrooms) with his good buddy Josh.
Midwest - Luke Harangody, Notre Dame: the KenPom poserboy (this is a play on words with the word poster, like posterboy) pulled down an astonishing 1 rebound in 37 chances, that's just plain bad
South - Dane Watts, Creighton: the question is apparent, how did Creighton lose this game? They're really a better team outside of Fazekas, I was to pin the loss on ball hog point guard Nate Funk, but he did shoot nearly 50%, which is better than the team average, and he isn't known for his assists. So the finger gets pointed at poor Dane Watts. 1-12 from the field, 0-8 from 3 point land, if you just hit ONE of those 8 shots, Creighton wins, poor time for a cold hand Dane.

Surprise Team (Good and Bad)
Good - USC: edges out Vandy here, the Trojan's one monster game ekes out Vandy's 2 solid ones
Bad - GW: how about putting up a fight? how about living up to the Cinderella #11 seed expectations? the committee obviously thought you were gonna get NBDL All-Star Game MVP Pops Mensah-Bonsu back on loan from the Fort Worth Flyers
Good - VCU: now, GW, this is how its done, performing up to the lofty expectations of an 11-seed, the Rams upset Duke and then took Pitt to the wire, bravo Eric Maynor, bravo
Bad - Duke: we all knew you deserved a 7 seed, but you played like a 12 seed. Duke is a better team than they showed here (usually the opposite on opening weekend) but VCU's guard penetration really undid them
Good - Butler: I've succumbed to John's call for the Butler Bulldogs as the "good" team, I don't think beating a poor-rebounding Maryland team with a 7 guard lineup qualifies, but whatever, email John with questions (or email me, I'll give you his IM)
Bad - Wisconsin: losing to John's personal favorite team number 70-something in KenPom UNLV, along with sputtering against #15 Texas A&M CC. I mean, we all knew you were the weakest 2 seed, especially playing without Butch, but really folks, come on.
Good - Texas A&M: they beat a strong Louisville side essentially on the road, way to go Acie, way to go.
Bad - Stanford: they had to play on the road too, but their performance was far from exemplary, they were never in a game that they should have had a shot at winning, damn Cardinal.

Best Sweet 16 Matchup(s)
Memphis v. Texas A&M - The Aggies get the homecourt advantage they had to play against Louisville, playing in San Antonion should give them an edge over Memphis.
Florida v. Butler - again, email John with questions, I personally think this will be a comfortable win for Florida (Butler relies on OR% to power their offense, while Florida is 10th in the nation at stopping opponents from ORing)
Best Elite 8 Matchup (that won't happen since John and I suck at picking brackets)
UNC v. Georgetown - should be a great clash of styles between two of the best offensive teams in the nation

Sunday, March 18

it feels so good to be baaaaaaaaaaaaaack...

...ok, well, not really. its pretty depressing being on a plane at 5 am traveling from a tropical island to a place with ~1 foot of snow, and then come home to good old NC to find that the temp is having difficulty reaching 50, but all good things must come to an end. Anyways, I'm going to ramble briefly about my tourney thoughts before I start catching up on the homework I've neglected.

I fully agree with John (& Byron), UNC got hosed in terms of set up. Why make the Heels the #2 overall seed if you're going to cram their bracket full (KP 15, 16, 36, 37) of challenges just to make it to the elite eight? And not only is that not enough, but you set up an E8 matchup with Big East Champ G'Town, (KP 5) in NEW JERSEY (a little bit closer to DC than Chapel Hill). WTF, why not just flip the numbers around, #2 UNC v #7 Mich St, #3 Texas (who literally tied #1 seed Kansas twice in 2 weeks), then having to tackle the region's actual #1 (based on ease of competition and being seeded close to home). I was excited about being a #1 until I realized it meant you get screwed over, oh wait, unless you have Greg Oden on your team. Speaking of:

Issue number 2, WHAT BUCKEYE BOOSTER IS PAYING OFF THE COMMITTEE?!?!!?! I mean, I know, I know, Greg Oden is good for college basketball, but PLEASE, do you want to give them some actual competition or just hand them the Atlanta plane tickets/hotel accomodations?? In the top 8, everything is all set up to make sense, #1 Florida v. #8 Wisc, #4 Kansas v. #5 UCLA (strong reg season, but has dropped lately), #3 OSU plays the next best team, being, oh wait, that must be a TYPO, my bracket says MEMPHIS, they must have meant to put G'TOWN, silly committee. I can't honestly understand how they feel the champion of CUSA is a better team than the champion of the BIG EAST. Oh, and those 4/5 seeds? rough times for the Buckeyes, neither 4 (UVA) or 5 (Tenn) is better than Michigan St (UNC's 9 seed), and neither has any inkling of a notion of a lightbulb of a gameplan with a chance in hell of stopping Greg Oden. The Buckeyes can sleep their way to the freaking Elite 8 and get a 3 game tournament.

Ok, other than OBVIOUSLY flipping the UNC/OSU brackets, the other half of the tournament looks very sharp, KU's bracket is hard as expected, and Florida's is easy as expected (though Purdue is proving difficult).

Lastly, what a BORING tourney, I feel glad that I've missed this one out of the past 4 spring breaks, there have been exactly 3 upsets (not counting 1 seed differentials, ie 8/9 or 4/5). Basically the committee hit the nail on the head, never have I seen a Sat/Sun so full of 4 v 5, 2 v 7, and 3 v 6.

Ok, I've got to wash the Ponce stench off of myself and do some Linear Algebra, so GO WINTHROP, down with OverratedU, let's make this tourney interesting.

PS: bonus question, how will the Heels attempt to guard Kevin Durant?

Saturday, March 17

Exit mask, stage right

I don't think we need to worry about Tyler Hansbrough being effective in the NCAA Tournament anymore.

Friday, March 16

Player notables revisited

As promised, I'm checking back in with those player notables and looking at how my picks and the Gamenight picks did in the first round.

Bryce Taylor, Oregon: 6-11 FGs (2-3 3pt), 0-0 FTs, 1 TO, 14 pts
Colin Falls, Notre Dame: 6-16 FGs (2-10 3pt), 0-1 FTs, 3 TOs, 14 pts
Josh Washington, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi: 2-5 FGs (1-2 3pt), 2-4 FTs, 0 TOs, 7 pts
Anthony Morrow, Georgia Tech: 3-9 FGs (3-6 3pt), 2-2 FTs, 0 TOs, 11 pts

Gamenight picks:
Tory Jackson, Notre Dame: 3-12 FGs (2-4 3pt), 1-5 FTs, 3 TOs, 9 pts
Greivis Vasquez, Maryland: 4-9 FGs (1-4 3pt), 1-2 FTs, 4 TOs, 10 pts
Stephen Curry, Davidson: 9-21 FGs (5-14 3pt), 7-7 FTs, 4 TOs, 30 pts
Aaron Brooks, Oregon: 6-15 FGs (0-4 3pt), 6-6 FTs, 2 TOs, 18 pts

Advantage: Gamenight, damn. Stephen Curry just blew it up against Maryland. Lot of turnovers in there, though.

Roy Hibbert, Georgetown: 4-10 FGs (0-0 3pt), 2-3 FTs, 0 TOs, 10 pts
Dan Cage, Vanderbilt: 2-8 FGs (2-8 3pt), 0-0 FTs, 1 TO, 6 pts
Jared Dudley, Boston College: 9-16 FGs (0-3 3pt), 1-2 FTs, 1 TO, 19 pts
Moses Ehambe, Oral Roberts: 3-7 FGs (3-7 3pt), 1-1 FT, 0 TOs, 10 pts

Gamenight picks:
Reyshawn Terry, North Carolina: 8-9 FGs (2-3 3pt), 0-0 FTs, 6 TOs, 18 pts
Derrick Low, Washington State: 5-7 FGs (2-4 3pt), 0-0 FTs, 0 TOs, 12 pts
Derrick Byars, Vanderbilt: 5-14 FGs (2-6 3pt), 0-0 FTs, 0 TOs, 12 pts
Caleb Green, Oral Roberts: 4-16 FGs (0-0 3pt), 5-9 FTs, 4 TOs, 13 pts

Advantage: Gamenight by a hair; many more points but many more turnovers as well.

David Padgett, Louisville: 7-9 FGs (0-0 3pt), 2-4 FTs, 0 TOs, 16 pts
Josh Carter, Texas A&M: 1-7 FGs (1-6 3pt), 2-2 FTs, 2 TOs, 5 pts
Lee Cummard, Brigham Young: 2-4 FGs (1-3 3pt), 0-1 FTs, 2 TOs, 5 pts
Nick Fazekas, Nevada: 5-13 FGs (1-3 3pt), 6-7 FTs, 6 TOs, 17 pts

Gamenight picks:
Jamar Wilson, Albany: 9-18 FGs (4-7 3pt), 3-5 FTs, 1 TO, 25 pts
Brook Lopez, Stanford: 8-15 FGs (0-0 3pt), 2-4 FTs, 3 TOs, 18 pts
Nick Fazekas, Nevada: 5-13 FGs (1-3 3pt), 6-7 FTs, 6 TOs, 17 pts
Forgot the last one, sorry; don't have DVR

Advantage: Damn it, Gamenight, you're running me out of the building here

B.A. Walker, Virginia Commonwealth: 2-7 FGs (2-5 3pt), 4-5 FTs, 1 TO, 10 pts
Derek Raivio, Gonzaga: 4-10 FGs (2-6 3pt), 2-2 FTs, 2 TOs, 12 pts
Keith Simmons, Holy Cross: 0-5 FGs (0-4 3pt), 4-6 FTs, 1 TO, 4 pts
Jesse Pellot-Rosa, Virginia Commonwealth: 4-11 FGs (3-5 3pt), 3-4 FTs, 14 pts

Gamenight picks:
Deron Washington, Virginia Tech: 5-10 FGs (3-3 3pt), 1-2 FTs, 0 TOs, 14 pts
Eric Maynor, Virginia Commonwealth: 8-16 FGs (0-1 3pt), 6-8 FTs, 3 TOs, 22 pts
Dashaun Wood, Wright State: 4-12 FGs (2-6 3pt), 3-4 FTs, 4 TOs, 13 pts
Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga: 1-7 FGs (0-1 3pt), 5-7 FTs, 3 TOs, 7 pts

Advantage: Gamenight is smarter than the stat sheet is, it seems.


Sorry I didn't get around to posting my bracket yesterday. Here it is; feel free to comment about my silly decisions and point and laugh when Florida wins again in my face.

First Round
1 Florida over 16 Jackson State
8 Arizona over 9 Purdue
5 Butler over 12 Old Dominion
4 Maryland over 13 Davidson
6 Notre Dame over 11 Winthrop
3 Oregon over 14 Miami (Ohio)
10 Georgia Tech over 7 UNLV
2 Wisconsin over 15 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

1 North Carolina over 16 Eastern Kentucky
9 Michigan State over 8 Marquette
12 Arkansas over 5 Southern California
4 Texas over 13 New Mexico State
6 Vanderbilt over 11 George Washington
14 Oral Roberts over 3 Washington State
7 Boston College over 10 Texas Tech
2 Georgetown over 15 Belmont

1 Ohio State over 16 Central Connecticut State
9 Xavier over 8 Brigham Young
5 Tennessee over 12 Long Beach State
4 Virginia over 13 Albany
6 Louisville over 11 Stanford
3 Texas A&M over 14 Pennsylvania
7 Nevada over 10 Creighton
2 Memphis over 15 North Texas

1 Kansas over 16 Niagara
9 Villanova over 8 Kentucky
5 Virginia Tech over 12 Illinois
13 Holy Cross over 4 Southern Illinois
11 Virginia Commonwealth over 6 Duke
3 Pittsburgh over 14 Wright State
10 Gonzaga over 7 Indiana
2 UCLA over 15 Weber State

Second Round
1 Florida over 8 Arizona
4 Maryland over 5 Butler
6 Notre Dame over 3 Oregon
2 Wisconsin over 10 Georgia Tech

1 North Carolina over 9 Michigan State
4 Texas over 12 Arkansas
6 Vanderbilt over 14 Oral Roberts
2 Georgetown over 7 Boston College

1 Ohio State over 9 Xavier
4 Virginia over 5 Tennessee
3 Texas A&M over 6 Louisville
7 Nevada over 2 Memphis

1 Kansas over 9 Villanova
5 Virginia Tech over 13 Holy Cross
11 Virginia Commonwealth over 3 Pittsburgh
2 UCLA over 10 Gonzaga

Sweet Sixteen
1 Florida over 4 Maryland
6 Notre Dame over 2 Wisconsin

1 North Carolina over 4 Texas
2 Georgetown over 6 Vanderbilt

1 Ohio State over 4 Virginia
3 Texas A&M over 7 Nevada

1 Kansas over 5 Virginia Tech
11 Virginia Commonwealth over 2 UCLA

Elite Eight
6 Notre Dame over 1 Florida
1 North Carolina over 2 Georgetown
3 Texas A&M over 1 Ohio State
1 Kansas over 11 Virginia Commonwealth

Final Four
1 Kansas over 6 Notre Dame
1 North Carolina over 3 Texas A&M

National Championship
1 Kansas over 1 North Carolina

Bracket destroyed! Clearly I know nothing about college basketball.

Monday, March 12

Tournament player notables

Well, now that the College Gamenight crew has given their four "players to watch" in each of the four regions, I'll do the same. These are supposed to be players you may not have heard of, so instead of taking from the 20%-of-possessions-used pool, I'll draw from anyone who uses at least 15% of their team's possessions to spread it around a little. Otherwise you have players like Ivan Radenovic, Chase Budinger, and Al Horford in the Midwest.

Bryce Taylor, Oregon
Colin Falls, Notre Dame
Josh Washington, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Anthony Morrow, Georgia Tech

Gamenight picks:
Tory Jackson, Notre Dame
Greivis Vasquez, Maryland
Stephen Curry, Davidson
Aaron Brooks, Oregon

Roy Hibbert, Georgetown
Dan Cage, Vanderbilt
Jared Dudley, Boston College
Moses Ehambe, Oral Roberts
(Sorry; Hibbert and Dudley are just that good that they beat out all eligible contenders in this region other than Cage)

Gamenight picks:
Reyshawn Terry, North Carolina
Derrick Low, Washington State
Derrick Byars, Vanderbilt
Caleb Green, Oral Roberts

David Padgett, Louisville
Josh Carter, Texas A&M
Lee Cummard, Brigham Young
Nick Fazekas, Nevada

Gamenight picks:
Jamar Wilson, Albany
Brook Lopez, Stanford
Nick Fazekas, Nevada
Forgot the last one, sorry; don't have DVR

B.A. Walker, Virginia Commonwealth
Derek Raivio, Gonzaga
Keith Simmons, Holy Cross
Jesse Pellot-Rosa, Virginia Commonwealth

Gamenight picks:
Deron Washington, Virginia Tech
Eric Maynor, Virginia Commonwealth
Dashaun Wood, Wright State
Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga

Since we're all about checking back on our predictions around here, I'll try to look back at these ORtg animals after the first couple rounds and see how they fared, as well as how they stacked up against the Gamenight picks. Also, look for the TFSB bracket (John edition) on Wednesday if Ryan fails to make contact with me on his take soon from a shack on a beach somewhere in Puerto Rico.

Sunday, March 11

Selection Sunday

Some thoughts on the bracket:

Overall, I thought the Selection Committee did an extremely good job. Way to go, leaving out Syracuse! I think the inclusions of Purdue and Illinois were very good calls and the inclusion of Old Dominion was defensible. I'm surprised to see that Stanford and Arkansas got in; Arkansas probably deserved it more than Stanford did. While not in the order I would have put them in (Ohio State probably deserved the top overall seed), Kenpom agrees wholeheartedly with the Committee's #1 seeds.

Florida gets some tough draws as both Arizona and Maryland can really bring the offensive firepower. Both could be easily upset, though, as Carl Landry & co.'s defensive capabilities could shut down the Arizona offense, and we've seen that a team as lowly as Miami can beat Maryland if they don't show up. So even though I don't forsee a Davidson victory in the first round or a Butler/Old Dominion victory in the second, it could happen and give Florida an easier road to the Elite Eight.

On the bottom half, it's really a toss-up, as I could see any of four teams advancing into the Elite Eight: Wisconsin (yes, even without Butch), Oregon, Notre Dame, or Georgia Tech. Probably the best bottom-half in the bracket. I'm just not seeing it for Winthrop, because even if they manage to beat the Irish, I don't see them getting past The Institution Formerly Known as OverratedU. Not after Oregon's dusting of the Pac-10 tournament.

Again, what a TOUGH draw for UNC. It's going to take some great focus and career nights from all of our guys to make it out of this region alive. Maybe Michigan State will fold again in the first round like it has recently, but I don't see it happening against Marquette. Arkansas is actually a better team than SoCal, but I could see that one going either way. I don't think either team has a prayer versus Texas.

In the bottom half, it looks like Georgetown walks to the Elite Eight. Vanderbilt will beat George Washington then lose to the Washington State/Oral Roberts winner (I'm not so sure that Oral Roberts can't win in this one; their big man Caleb Green is pretty impressive). Boston College rolls over Texas Tech, then gets flattened by Georgetown.

Ohio State effectively earns the #1 overall seed with their matchups here. What a cakewalk! Xavier looks better than an overrated BYU team, Tennessee gets the worst 12-seed in the field (Long Beach State? Wtf?), and Albany might get the upset over a slightly-injured Virginia squad, but none of them will put up any fight whatsoever against OSU.

It gets a bit rougher in the bottom half of this one. Louisville-Stanford should be a great game, with the winner drawing a strong 3-seed Texas A&M team. Not sure why they got a #3 this year; I would have swapped their seed with Memphis'. At any rate, Nevada-Creighton should also be a good one, with the winner (probably Creighton, but Nick Fazekas can carry the Wolf Pack all by himself if he decides to) putting up another good fight against Memphis.

Kansas also faces a tough road here. Look for the Villanova-Kentucky game to be a good one, with the winner giving Kansas a real test. Illinois over Virginia Tech is probably the most likely 12-5 upset this year, but either team could really do some damage against a slightly overrated Southern Illinois team. All could give Kansas trouble on the way to the Elite Eight.

Toss-up down in the bottom of this one, but I don't really see any good games other than a Duke-Pittsburgh matchup. Virginia Commonwealth and Wright State don't look like they'll be trouble for either. Gonzaga certainly won't put up much of a fight against Indiana, which could give UCLA a bit of trouble, but that's not likely. If Duke shows well, they could down UCLA to get to the Elite Eight.

All in all, it should be a good year ripe with upsets. Congratulations to the Selection Committee once again for making it a good field, and to CBS for threatening to take Billy Packer off tenure if he stepped one toe out of line this year in his questions for Gary Walters.



Michigan State, then Texas? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING?!?!?

Thanks a lot for the title of being the #2 team in the country, selection committee! Thanks a lot!

Saturday, March 10

College Gamenight, TFSB-style

Well, now that I'm on Spring Break with lots of free time, I'll update on some Championship Week happenings. I'll begin with a look at how the major conference tournaments look from here for Saturday and Sunday.

This has been THE best ACC tournament ever. Simply amazing. No higher seed wins on Thursday, as Florida State squeaks by Clemson, Miami surprises Maryland, State roughs up Duke in overtime, and Wake guts out a double-overtime win over Georgia Tech. On Friday, UNC powers past FSU despite looking out of focus for much of the game (credit Wayne Ellington for keeping Florida State out of the running for much of it), BC barely manages to get past Miami in overtime, NC State rides 74% shooting in the second half to make up for an abysmal 33% field-goal percentage in the first half in its upset over Virginia, and Wake's late Thursday night comes home to roost against Virginia Tech, in which they just tanked in the second half. On Saturday, UNC plays Boston College. Neither team looked very focused on Friday, so look for both coaches to have really dug into their players in preparation for this one. In the nightcap, Virginia Tech plays a suddenly frisky NC State team. If the Pack shooters heat up, watch out. Costner has dominated in his first two games and will match up well with the athletic Hokie forwards. If Atsür continues shooting well, as he did in the second half versus Virginia, and State can get a good night from McCauley, it shouldn't be too difficult to get to the finals. The most important thing to be wary of is depth, as State has not gotten anything out of its bench players, per the regular season. How long can the Pack ride its five starters? We'll find out. It's been a great ride, regardless.

In terms of bids, Florida State didn't show well against UNC, which I thought they needed to do, and Georgia Tech lost to Wake, even though it was in double overtime. This could be trouble for both, but I think ultimately Georgia Tech will be dancing, while Thornton & Co. watch from Tallahassee.

Big East
We're in the finals now for the Big East. All four top seeds advanced to the semifinals, and Georgetown and Pittsburgh have advanced to the finals. Look for Roy Hibbert & Co. to pick apart Pitt. Yawn.

Big Ten
Well, Michigan kept it close, but couldn't seal the deal against Ohio State, the team that looks like it's the only lock for a #1 seed at this point in the NCAA Tournament. Purdue and Wisconsin freaking crushed Iowa and Michigan State, respectively, and Illinois got by Indiana in overtime. Matchups for the semifinals are Ohio State-Purdue and Wisconsin-Illinois. I think both Purdue and Illinois are dancing after their wins today, but beating one of the top two seeds in the Big Ten certainly wouldn't hurt. Michigan is likely out after falling to Ohio State.

In the quarters, Oklahoma chokes against Kansas, Texas Tech gets EMBARRASSED by Kansas State (66-45), Oklahoma State topples Texas A&M by one (?!?!?), and Texas manages to stave off Baylor by five. Matchups for the semis are Kansas-Kansas State and Oklahoma State-Texas. Not too thrilled with these matchups, but Kansas State and Oklahoma State are likely still fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives, so we could have two upsets on our hands if Kansas and Texas are at all lackadaisical.

In the quarters, Oregon spanks Arizona (the most mysterious team, in my opinion, as to how they will perform in the Tournament), Cal upsets UCLA in OT, Washington State handles a likely-out Washington team, and my beloved Cardinal loses by four in OT to SoCal. Oregon is in the finals after destroying California. They face SoCal, which won by nine versus Washington State tonight.

The SEC, which doesn't know how to properly fill out a conference tournament bracket, has had some funky finishes. In the quarters, Kain'tuck lost to Mississippi State on a weird lane violation, Arkansas squeaked by an overrated Vanderbilt team by one, and Florida and Ole Miss annihilated Georgia and LSU, respectively. An underrated Mississippi State team faces a ho-hum Arkansas squad in the semis opposite a Florida-Ole Miss matchup. Can Ole Miss keep the West Side mojo going?

NCAA Tournament look
At this point, it looks as though no one but Ohio State is a lock for a #1 seed. Contenders still are UNC, Kansas, Texas A&M, Florida, Georgetown, UCLA, and Wisconsin. Texas A&M lost to Oklahoma State tonight, which won't bode well with the Selection Committee, so I'd say they're a #2 seed. Even though UCLA lost to Cal, they should still be getting heavy consideration for a #1 seed. All other contenders are still alive in their respective conference tournaments, so it's really too close to call at this point. We'll take a look back as the tournaments finish up tomorrow and on Sunday.

In bubble news, Xavier loses to Rhode Island tonight (?!?!?), so that will take a spot from the at-large pool (Xavier is certainly worthy of one). Nevada also lost to Utah State (again), removing one other spot. I take now a selection from the most recent installment of Bubble Watch:

"If you believe Nevada and Xavier are in (which is a very safe bet), and you believe Purdue, Illinois and Kansas State are now likely to get there (which is pretty reasonable), that leaves only one at-large spot for the rest of the pool -- and that assumes that Memphis doesn't lose in the C-USA final Saturday.

Here's the pool of teams that appear to be in contention for that spot:

Air Force, Stanford, Florida State, West Virginia, Old Dominion, Drexel, Missouri State and Appalachian State."

I don't think Kansas State is in at this point, so I'm going to put them in the second list, with two to choose from. At this point, I'd have to give the nod to West Virginia and Missouri State. If Kansas State beats Kansas, that obviously punches their ticket, and I'd go with West Virginia over Missouri State if that's the case. Another "last one out" scenario for Missouri State this year, which really sucks for them. Also, I'd like to point out that the CAA sucks balls this year. This clearly means that if any of them gets a bid alongside VCU, they'll wreck my bracket, because there's no way I'm picking either Old Dominion or Drexel to win a game in the Tournament. Unless they play UNLV or BYU.

Thursday, March 8

The Short List (and other pre-break ramblings)

OK, John and I earlier went over an idea that involved creating a list of teams we feel confident in saying contains the future 2007 NCAA Champion (and no, its not 336 teams long, or 65 teams long). The best idea we had was to take teams in the top 20 OE AND DE, since we feel both are vital to creating a winning team (sorry Duke, you need both to go on that special 6 game win streak). WARNING STATS EXPLATION AHEAD, IF YOU'RE AFRAID, JUST SKIP TO THE LIST; Using the top 20/336 which translates to 6% (or 94th percentile), the cutoff for OE is 116.4 (22nd) and DE is 90.0 (26th). I am using the Mean and SD to determine a z-score because it is a more fair way than just taking the top 20, especially if OE or DE (turns out) is easier to be good at (read, more widely distributed).

Teams OE/DE (both top 6%)
UNC 1/2
Kansas 15/1
A&M 6/8
Florida 5/15
OhioSt 7/13
G'town 3/22 (close one)
Wisc 18/5 (void, no Butch)
UCLA 14/9 (first skip here, Duke is 9 but misses the list w/37OE)
Maryland 21/11 (Memphis is a near miss 23OE)
GATech 13/25

Now, teams that would make a 6/10 rule
Duke, Memphis, Pitt, L'ville, 'Nova (how are they #9 in the Big East?)

Ok, look at that list, look at it hard, I will give you 5:1 odds AGAINST any team on that list winning it all, that's 5 teams, all top 25, and if ANY win it, I'd pay 10 bucks and all you have to do is give me 2. And it would be like taking candy from a baby.

Now, whom should you watch out for? Here is a list of ESPN determined "locks" (and Joe Lunardi is right 63 out of 65 times) who you should think twice before moving into the next round, did I say twice? I meant TEN TIMES, ie, if they're the 2 seed, GO WITH BELMONT.

Nevada (66) - um, yeah, assuming they get in (WAC win or not), they'll be hard pressed to win a game
Texas Tech (58) - not even Bobby Knight magic can salvage this team, they should be 1 and done
UNLV (56) - John's favorite "lock"
BYU (53) - suprising 1 seed in the MWC
UVA (45) - guard play could carry them a few games into March Madness
Vandy (49) - unless they play Florida, in Nashville
USC (41) - I was suprised to see this team a "lock", what does thier NonConf schedule look like again?
OverratedU (42) - the name says it all folks
BC (40) - depth may catch up to them by game 2
Stanford (54) - sorry John, I hope Chad Ford isn't right about Lopez
Missouri St (43) - doubtful to be in at this juncture, but if they slip in don't wager too much on them

In other news: Willis McGahee is a Raven for 2 3rds and a 7th (WTF?)

Wednesday, March 7

3/7 "Daily" And-1 GRRRRR

Wow, sorry, its been a while, I talked myself out of posting Mondays and just took it a little too far. Anyways, I'll be out of internet contact (but hope to god not TV contact) for Spring Break (starting Thursday) and will rely on John to keep you informed of ACC/NCAA Tourney happenings.

1) College Action - this section used to be longer, see explanation below, basically 4 teams could have tied for the ACC Reg Season, but only UNC came through with a win, UW beat UCLA, OKSt dropped their last game at Nebraska (2-8 last 10, no home wins)

2) NFL Action - The free agent market opened up check out the results here ditto from the above section see below.

And-1) UNC/Duke - A number of good links about this game and the extracurricular events that surrounded it, here is just a sampling: Forde, Lucas, Jones. In my opinion, the foul was not intentional, Henderson wasn't sent in to injure Tyler. However, the elbow had excessive force that didn't need to be there at any point in the game much less with 14s left. Thus a flagrant foul was called and the appropriate action taken by the officials. Now, that said, I would like to express extreme displeasure with 2 individuals (in no particular order). Coach K: he handled the initial comments well, but the attempt to shift blame to either Tyler Hansbrough or Roy Williams is juvenile and should be beneath him. Apparently he just couldn't handle taking the blame. Billy Packer: when I got home, I watched the DVR'd version of the foul, and dispite a mountain of video evidence showing that Henderson a) swung his elbow, b) at Tyler's face, and c) with the ball already out of Tyler's hands, that there shouldn't have been a foul called on Henderson (it was on the first Duke player Stevie Whiteboy) and that Henderson should neither be ejected or suspended. In summary, I agree with most of the things Forde said, the foul was flagrant, not intentional, and the correct action was taken. Oh, yeah, there was a game played or something. UNC essentially ran Duke out of the gym, defending the 3 well and taking care of the ball, the Heels used easy buckets to shoot ~10% better than the Devils. As the N&O puts it here, this is the Carolina we've all missed since late January (the one that waxed top 25 opponents by 20 points per game, remember?), the same one that will have to show up if they want to play their way to Atlanta.

All-ACC teams - props to John for nailing the 1st team, I mean, I guess you have to trust us on that one, man, I wish we had a place where we could predict things like that, and then look back and see what became of our predictions, sigh. A couple of noteworthy points: The 5th place finisher on the 1st team Dowdell had 90 1st team votes, the 6th place finisher overall (1st on the 2nd team, JR Reynolds) had 20, good to see an overall agreement, and nobody getting the short end of the stick. Also, HOW did Josh McRoberts (5th) finish above Demarcus Nelson (7th) in All-Defensive team voting? I believe it was Nelson who guarded the fleet footed second coming of Raymond Felton Ty Lawson Sunday afternoon while McRoberts "defended" Hansbrough to the tune of 26 and 17. POY Dudley, ROY Wright, COY Leito (sp?)


GT 84 UNC 77
UNC 86 Dook 72
UNC vs. Clemson/FSU winner 3/9

Duke 67 UNC 62
UNC 90 VT 60
UNC 78 Maryland 72
UNC 60 NC State 54 (Congrats to the ACC Champs)

Clippers 100 Bobcats 93
Kings 135 Bobcats 120
Blazers 127 Bobcats 90
Supersonics 96 Bobcats 89
Jazz 120 Bobcats 95
@ Suns 3/7
West coast trip: 5 games down, 0-5 (pred: 1-5) um, with the Suns left, I can't imagine going 1-5, that prediction was made before Okafor's 4-6 week injury. Without Emeka the Bobcats couldn't defend the OverratedSU Pokes.

I had a nice post all about the conference tournaments and the last weekend of college action, complaining about the CAA getting 3 bids, telling of all the NFL teams throwing money around, and potentially revoking OverratedSU's nickname (if everyone knows they suck are they still overrated?) In summary, life sucks and my computer thinks my battery has 45% power left when it actually has 0% left. All I have time left to do now link to KP's conference tourney odds and give my own fun predictions:
Care to join me John?, 1 pt for winner, 2 for semifinalist, etc, thus lowest score wins.
ACC - still thinking
A-10 - UMass
Big Ten - Ohio St.
Big XII - Texas A&M
Big East - Louisville
Pac10 - UCLA
SEC - Florida
MWC - dare I say Nevada
CUSA - hah, Memphis
MAC - Toledo

Tuesday, March 6

Some individual awards

Full post coming later, but for now, some awards.

Player of the Year, conference
ACC: Jared Dudley
Big East: Roy Hibbert
Big Ten: Drew Neitzel
Big XII: Kevin Durant
MVC: Blake Ahearn
Pac-10: Ivan Radenovic
SEC: Chris Lofton

Pack mule, conference
Get these guys some oxygen.

ACC: Gavin Grant, NCSU (90.7% of team's minutes)
Big East: Brian Laing, Seton Hall (89.2%)
Big Ten: Drew Neitzel, Michigan St. (88.1%)
Big XII: Jarrius Jackson, Texas Tech (94.0%)
MVC: Gabriel Moore, Indiana St. (93.0%)
Pac-10: Mustafa Shakur, Arizona (86.9%)
SEC: Brandon Wallace, South Carolina (90.5%)

Best Pure Shooter
Derek Stockalper, Cal Poly. 83-137 (.606) from inside and 65-130 (.500) from outside the arc this season. Incredible.

Best Offensive Rebounder
Kentrell Gransberry, South Florida. This guy pulled down a full 20.0% of possible offensive boards. One out of every five of his team's misses was hauled in by this guy while he was on the court. Amazing.

Free Throw Rate
Sai'quon Stone, Southern Mississippi. Southern Miss gets all the calls. Stone's field goal attempts: 178. Stone's free throw attempts: 222.

Block Percentage
Joel Anthony, Nevada Las Vegas. BLOCK PARTY! As much shit as I give UNLV, while Anthony was on the court, he swatted a full 18.50% of opponents' 2-point common street trash. Effectively one out of every five 2-pointers. Yikes.

Friday, March 2

Stupid Yellow Jackets and their home-court play

Power 16 for 3/1 Before Loss to Georgia Tech

#1 Seeds
2. Kansas
3. Ohio State
4. North Carolina

#2 Seeds
5. Wisconsin
6. Texas A&M
7. Florida
8. Memphis

#3 Seeds
9. Georgetown
10. Pittsburgh
11. Duke
12. Texas

#4 Seeds
13. Louisville
14. Maryland
15. Washington State
16. Notre Dame

Thursday, March 1

Even though Gary Williams outrebounded Ibekwe...

After last night's game, Maryland has moved into the top 20 in both offense and defense, so I'm moving them onto the "short list." We must have played really poorly, losing to a team that's a legitimate title contender. By two. On the road.

3/1 Daily And-1

1) College Wrap Up - Maryland went up big early and held off Duke on their Senior Night (like I told everyone, losing to Maryland on the road isn't a bad loss), meanwhile, in Austin the 'Horns and Aggies took it down to the wire and played to an essential tie 3 times (Reg, OT1, 2 pt margin to end OT2 = a Ryan tie), however, fortunately the polls/Joe Lunardi don't think that way, this should help ease the pressure of Texas A&M on UNC as a 1-seed (Katz Article). 'Nova beat UConn to keep the Huskies spiraling downward (@ UConn no less). Similarly over in the SEC things went as planned, as UK beat UGA and Arkansas beat Miss St at home.

2) NFL Cuts -
Some suprising names, most of all Jamal Lewis (WTF?), his cap hit must have been huge so they're just going to try and resign him. The Panthers are restructuring Jordan Gross' contract (which moves from ~.5 mill to 4.5 mil this off season, ouchie). All NFL teams must be under the cap by the 3rd when Free Agency starts. This year's prime cut of Porterhouse Steak for your local GM: Adalius Thomas, averaging better than 70 tackles, 9 sacks, and 1 pick the last 3 years, who the Ravens declined to franchise. Also, the Bears extended Lovie Smith's contract.

And-1) More 'Roiding
- A couple more stories about the Florida 'Roid Ring.


UNC @ GT 3/1
Dook @ UNC 3/4

Duke 67 UNC 62
UNC vs. BC/VT Winner 3/2 (ACC Tourney)

Bobcats 102 76ers 87
Raptors 93 Bobcats 76
Clippers 100 Bobcats 93
Kings 135 Bobcats 120
@ Jail Blazers 3/1
@ Supersonics 3/4
@ Jazz 3/5
@ Suns 3/7
West coast trip: 2 games down, 0-2 (pred: 1-5)

VT @ UVA (go 'Hoos)
Memphis @ UTEP (the Tigers are beefing up their schedule again)
UCLA @ Wazzu (tasty)