Posts Tagged ‘CBS’

The first weekend of March Madness is over and Kansas still looks good but Ohio State is making believers out of a lot of us. We also learned, as I told you last time, Big Ten basketball doesn’t translate into the tournament and the Big East might have been overrated. Well, not might have been, they were overrated. Also, let’s not forget that Jimmermania is still alive and well.

It wasn’t a good year to be a six seed. Three of the four six seeds lost. Cincinnati was the only six seed to make it the second round. The Southwest bracket has to be in tatters for everyone. The ten seed Florida State, eleven seed VCU, twelve seed Richmond and thirteen seed Morehead State all won in that region. Louisville wasn’t able to get past Morehead State but at least Rick Pitino landed on his feet. He was in the studio for CBS before the weekend was over.

Pitino made lemons out of lemonade but Bruce Pearl fared much worse. After Tennessee failed to show up for the Michigan game and lost by thirty points so the Volunteers brass decided enough was enough. Pearl was in hot water from the beginning of the season so now was as good a time to cut ties with him. Maybe he and his colorful suits can land at a school where recruiting infractions aren’t frowned upon. USC would be a good fit if they decide to show their coach the door.

Who cares about rules?

Last week I questioned if Notre Dame deserved a two seed, they didn’t. I also questioned why Texas was a four seed. Maybe that wasn’t a bad spot for them because they obviously weren’t ready for the big time. The Big Ten had seven teams at the start of the tournament and two rounds later they have two. Purdue couldn’t hang with VCU so now Kansas looks to have an easier time to the Final Four. The Big East had eleven teams on Thursday and now they have just two. Pitt decided to give the game away against Butler so now Florida has an easier path to the Final Four. Maybe those conferences were overinflated and probably should have had fewer teams in the tournament. Of course it’s hindsight but how did Colorado and Alabama not make this tournament? They couldn’t have done worse than the bottom teams in those conferences.

Jimmer Fredette and BYU are into the Sweet Sixteen so look for another weekend of his mug being everywhere. He leads the tournament in scoring at 33 points a game. Did you expect anything less from him? Jimmermania lives!!! The BYU – Florida matchup in the Southeast region is probably one of the most anticipated games. The winner should be able to parlay that momentum into winning the next game and a potential date with Kansas.

Jimmer Madness

I doubted Ohio State before the tournament but they have raised some eyebrows. I still don’t think they’ll make the Final Four but they are better than I thought. Pitt beat Ohio State to be the first one seed to fall. Obama’s Final Four is already busted. Ohio State meets Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen. John Calipari has Kentucky playing well at the right time. They looked a bit shaky in early February, losing three out of four, but it only matters how you’re playing now.

Kansas was my favorite before the Tournament and I haven’t seen anything that changes my mind. It helps that ten seed Florida State is the highest seed remaining in the Southwest. The Morris twins are averaging a combined 36 points a game to go with 20.5 rebounds per game. Impressive.

Kansas' keys to success

I was able to catch the games on Armed Forces Network but I got some crappy broadcasters and they never changed away from the blowout games. Spero Dedes and Bob Wenzel were calling the St. Peter’s – Purdue game and then the Georgetown – VCU game. They were terrible. I didn’t get any excitement from them. I know the Purdue game was a blowout but Speros and Wenzel couldn’t save it. The TNT crew just didn’t work for me. Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley are great on NBA but they’re not college guys. Although, Charles Barkley had a pretty good blast when he called the Big East, “the Big Least”. Steve Smith, Tom Crean, Seth Davis and Greg Anthony were great in the studio but they really should’ve found some room for Jay Bilas. He’s the best college hoops analyst and he’s not involved in the telecasts, that’s a shame.

CBS couldn't find a place for this guy?

Advertisements

March Madness is upon us and, for some strange reason, I’m more excited about it than I was last year. Maybe the fact that North Carolina is in it this year has gotten my juices flowing or maybe it has something to do with Jimmermania. Who knows?

What I do know is that it’s absolutely ridiculous to have play-in games for the 11 seed in the Southwest region and the 12 seed in the East region. Who thought this was a good idea? So let me get this straight, UAB was good enough to play for the right to be the 12th seed against Clemson but since they lost, they are completely out of the tournament? They were good enough to play for a 12th seed but not good enough to be a 13, 14, 15 or even a 16th seed? So, the Conference USA regular season champion (UAB) isn’t good enough to be in the tournament but the fourth place team (Memphis) is good enough to be a 12th seed? How does that work? I can see the play-in game for the 16th seed being that way but if you’re playing for a seed higher than 16, you should be good enough for the lower seed if you lose. I guess logic went out the window when the NCAA was thinking about how to add more games to the Tournament and how to make more money from it. Plus, how does the losing team not go to the NIT? I forgot, it’s the NIT and nobody really cares.

I’m not gonna break down the regions because that’s boring and no one really knows what’s gonna happen until it happens. Brackets will be busted by the weekend, count on it. If you’re like me, you usually have a good Thursday but Friday kills you. Thursday goes something like 14-2 but Friday you go 10-6, 9-7 or the dreaded 8-8.

Just looking at the bracket, I’m trying to figure out why Notre Dame is a 2nd seed. Yes, they had a great year but are they better than Texas who somehow fell to a 4 seed? Am I supposed to buy that the Big East is tougher than the Big 12?

Wisconsin is the only Big Ten team that’s a legit threat in this tournament. Big Ten basketball doesn’t translate to the tournament unless you have a highly talented Michigan State team with the coaching ability of Tom Izzo. MSU has Izzo but the horses aren’t there. Ohio State will be the first #1 seed to fall. They don’t get past West Virginia. Wisconsin has a great D but they can’t afford to get behind. The Badgers aren’t made to play up-tempo and defense at the same time.

I’m not buying Kansas State to do anything. Good luck against Wisconsin in round 2. I’m also not buying St. John’s to scare anyone in the tournament. They might get past a weak Gonzaga team in round one but not BYU in round 2.

This brings me to Jimmermania. I hope everyone is ready to have Jimmer Fredette of BYU shoved down their throats. You know it’s coming. The kid can play but is he the second coming of (insert the best white player ever in college basketball)? Too bad Billy Packer isn’t doing games anymore because you just know he would be all over this kid. Remember the 2000 Tournament? Packer was head over heels in love with Mateen Cleaves. It was embarrassing. I don’t think we’ll ever see man-love like that anytime soon.

Do you know this guy? Don't worry, CBS will get you up to speed

Maybe Jimmermania won’t make it past the Sweet Sixteen. BYU would most likely meet Florida there. Plus, The Bearded One doesn’t think BYU is all that. He told me earlier in the week, “They don’t scare me. They got their shit kicked in by San Diego State in the Mountain West Final.” Word!

The 5-12 matchup in the West regional between Arizona (5) and Memphis (12) should be a good one. Good luck to Memphis. It would be nice to see them in their first Final Four since 1973. I wouldn’t hold my breath if I’m a Tiger fan, this is the same Memphis team that got hammered by UTEP 74-47 in late February and they’re young. Maybe next year.

So, who wins the whole thing? Unless someone can tell me why they shouldn’t win, Kansas has to be the favorite to cut down the nets in Houston on April 4th. The Jayhawks are 1st in the nation in field goal percentage and 5th in points per game. Their two losses came in conference play to Texas and Kansas State. Notre Dame can’t beat them if the seeds held until the Southwest final. Pittsburgh would play them tough if they met in the Final Four. Nobody from the East region scares me. Duke and San Diego State don’t have enough to beat the Jayhawks if they met in the Final.

Who's better?

The announcer pairings are out and I’m looking forward to Gus Johnson/Len Elmore, Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery and Jim Nantz/Clark Kellogg. I don’t think the addition of the TNT NBA group adds anything to the announcing mix.

We all win

The one thing I hope happens, besides Michigan losing to Tennessee in round one, is that they’ll bring back the Luther Vandross version of One Shining Moment. The Jennifer Hudson version they did last year was terrible.

See you after the first weekend.

The selection and post-selection shows are finished and the brackets are all over the net waiting to be printed.  By the way, if you’re in the States and you need help with your picks, make sure to pick up a copy of the Monday USA Today.  They always, in my opinion, have the best coverage and analysis before the tournament.  It gives me a headache to watch all the shows talk about the tournament.  Most talking heads are vague enough that they can always be right later in the tournament.

If I were back in Chicago I would have already filled out ten brackets just as a precursor to all the information I will devour in the days before the tournament.  Don’t disregard that first bracket you fill out “just for fun” because sometimes your gut is better at picking games than stats.  Sometimes too much information is bad information.  When all is said and done and the information has been absorbed, I fill out my final bracket and that’s the one I use.  I’m not Multiple Bracket Guy.  I hate that guy.  Don’t be that guy or any of these guys.

I'll miss you most of all Jim Nantz

The tournament has been very lucrative for me over the years.  I’ve won a pool on five occasions.  In 1994, while at Eastern Michigan, I nailed the tournament for four large.  While everyone was drooling over the Duke roster of Grant Hill, Cherokee Parks, Antonio Lang, Chris Collins and Jeff Capel, I put all my chips on Arkansas with Scotty Thurman and Corliss Williamson.  The other times I’ve filled out a bracket the story was always the same.  I’d kill round one (28-4, 29-3) and then my brackets get busted in round two.  So, by the end of the first weekend I’d already be out of the running.

Thanks Scotty, I owe you big time.

This site doesn’t promote gambling but it’s not discouraging it either.  If you’re in college, find your campus bookie (every school has them) and become friends with him.  He’ll automatically be the most interesting person you know.  If you know what you’re doing, you can make some good money in college.  If you’re just looking for a quick, big score then stay away.

Guys of his ilk will be the most interesting people you ever know

I’m not going to bore you with my (lack of) insight on the greatest three weeks of sports because I haven’t been able to really follow the season as a whole here in South Korea.  I know the rankings, I’ve seen box scores and I’ve even been able to watch streams of some games but that’s not enough that you should care what I think.  I will give you my Final Four and winner but feel free to disregard it.  I’ll just do it for posterity.  You’ll probably get some insight later in the week from The Bearded Guy and The Blasian.  To be honest, forget everything The Blasian tells you about the tournament.  He still thinks the Memphis Tigers were in the 2008 National Championship game against Kansas but we all know that Memphis went winless in the 2007/2008 season.  Yes, Kansas did win the tournament that year but I can’t remember who they played.  The NCAA can be confusing sometimes when it comes to records and history.

I know Mario Chalmers hit a big shot in 2008 but I can't remember against whom

With the time difference, the lack of coverage in the ROK and the fact that North Carolina and Eastern Michigan are not in the tournament, I don’t have much to say about March Madness.  This will be the second time in my life that I won’t be in the States for the tournament.  In 2003 I was in Hong Kong and it sucked not being able to see any games.  I don’t know if there was something like justin.tv back then.  You can’t get psyched about it by reading recaps and message boards (remember them?).  Somehow Malcolm Gladwell became a huge fan of the NBA as a child by only reading old issues of Sports Illustrated and never seeing an actual game in his native Canada but Gladwell must have some gene I’m missing because I need to watch the games to get excited about them.  Maybe it’s not a gene, maybe it’s a Canadian thing.

Malcom Gladwell - Genius and Canadian. That doesn't sound right.

My favorite memory of the March Madness was back in 1996 when I travelled with a bunch of other Eastern Michigan students to Indianapolis for rounds one and two of the tournament.  Eastern beat Duke in round one and it was the greatest sporting experiences I’ve ever had.  The Eastern fans were hot and it was nice giving it back to the Dukies.  Plus, Greg Newton told me to fuck off as Duke was leaving the court at the end of the half.  Good times.  Unfortunately, we lost to Ray Allen and UCONN in round two but we had so much fun over those four days.

What I think might happen:

Final Four – Kansas v Pittsburgh, West Virgina v Duke
Final – Kansas v West Virginia
Champs – Kansas

I’m sure you’re gonna be hearing a lot about John Wall.

Try to watch any games Gus Johnson is doing because you’ll be in for a wild ride.

Gus Johnson is excited about everything

Back in the day, Craig Bolerjack and Ian Eagle would always be in The Pit in New Mexico, Boise or some other out-of-the-way venue and I couldn’t wait to see where CBS shipped them off to.  It was like they were being punished or paying their dues.  We use to actually have bets on where they would show up.  Now that Bolerjack and Eagle have moved up the pecking order, who are the announcers CBS sends to the Siberia of March Madness?

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!!!!

Maybe it’s because I live in Korea but I really have no interest in this game.  Neither team appeals to me.  There’s no hype here.  I don’t have to read about it in the papers.  If this game happens or not, it wouldn’t matter to me.  All I know is that New Orleans is playing Indianapolis in Miami and I think this is Super Bowl XLIV. 

The game is on CBS with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms doing the game.  You should be in for a treat if you get to watch it because Jim Nantz makes anything better.  Simms is hit or miss but Nantz is always gold.  If I were going to watch this game I would be interested solely in the way Nantz is calling the game and making Simms his bitch.  Jim Nantz should be doing all major sporting events.  He already OWNS The Masters and March Madness (even when Billy Packer was there).  Nantz should be a free agent and able to call all big events on other networks.  He should be in Vancouver for the Winter Olympics and in South Africa for the World Cup.  Those events would benefit from having a Jim Nantz call the action.  World Series, NBA Finals, Wimbledon,…… whatever, Nantz makes it all better.  Plus, for all you How I Met Your Mother fans, check out Jim Nantz on the Perfect Week episode.  He nailed it.  Even if you’re not a fan of the show, watch it, you’ll change you’re mind after seeing Nantz interviewing Barney.  Jim Fucking Nantz.

This guy should be calling everything

On to the actual game:

Line:  Indianapolis (-5), O/U 56.5

Pick: Colts 

I know New Orleans scores a lot of points but Peyton Manning is the MVP of the damn league.  He can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.  I don’t care about Dwight Freeney being injured.  This game begins and ends with Peyton Manning.  This game is going under. 

Indianapolis 31-23 

I’m kind of glad I’m not at home for the coverage because for some reason I have a feeling that Hurricane Katrina will makes its way into the subplot of this game and it really shouldn’t.  Neither thing has anything to do with the other.  If New Orleans wins it won’t erase anything that happened in the wake of the hurricane.  New Orleans won’t miraculously be a better place if the Saints win.  You can interview all the people you want but a Super Bowl win won’t make anything better; it will just make the people who were affected by the storm forget for a while.

No matter who wins, this still happened