Posts Tagged ‘Kansas’

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?

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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.

I dont look like this person, but he has a beard

Warning: This is going to be a Rant. This is going to be the loudest thing I have written on this website.  Picture me screaming these words.

Missouri and Nebraska have both shown interest in expansion of the Big Ten (actually 11, referenced the rest of this article as Big 11).  They have to declare their future intentions and desires by Friday, a deadline created by the Big 12. If both teams decide to move against the conference then another big  domino could possibly fall. When the South minus Baylor plus Colorado might get an invitation to play in the late game, I mean the Pac-10.

First let me ask the a question:  The Big 11 wants to expand to 13 or 12? I think this is a huge question that is being overlooked.  So the Big 10 has been hiding the eleventh team long enough that they are thinking about expanding, maybe adding a championship game, etc. So why would they go after both Missouri and Nebraska? Ok, you caught the Big 11, they were playing the field dating around a bit and the dates started bragging, only to find out they are both being courted. Instead of being upset by this slut-manship by the Big 11, they are approaching it as kind of a Big Love situation and embracing each other as sister wives.  They are making people believe this is about two teams, but isn’t it really about 1? Why haven’t we heard more from the Big 11 commissioner? Why is this based on the courted and not who is making the final selection? Don’t they actually want Notre Dame?

Fact: I love question marks.

Theory: The Big 11 will either chose one of the teams or chose the team that remains after they make their decision on Friday only if its Nebraska, and will choose neither if its Notre Dame.

Break Down of the Ladies:

Nebraska

He has the power

Strength: Football and Volleyball

Natural Rivals: Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri

Big 12 Connection: Original member of the Big 8, built a Dynasty of smash mouth option football under Tom Osborne.

Big 11 Connection: Some suggest a rivalry between  the Huskers and the University of Michigan as both programs have storied pasts but they have seldom crossed paths.

Overall Rationale:  Nebraska fits the mold of the Big 11, built on tradition and the run game and loves thinking highly of itself. Nebraska fits the conference in mindset, but would loose a large part of it’s image in playing in the Western division of the Big 11 that would feature strong football programs like Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern. Although Wisconsin and Iowa have a little more tradition, its a very similar situation as being in the Big 12 North.

Missouri

Norm's Watching for sure

Strengths: Football, Basketball and Baseball*

*all generously listed as strengths.

Natural Rivals: Kansas, Kansas State, Illinois, Iowa State, Nebraska

Big 12 Connection: Member since 1907 the Tigers have had a long stand rivalry with Nebraska and Kansas with two of the longest run game streaks in the NCAA. The Boarder show down based on the Civil War with the football game played at neutral site to increase seating and revenue.

Big 11 Connection: Started a series with Illinois called the Bragging rights series (I guess every real name of the rivalry was taken). This dates back to 1980 and has run consistently since 1983. The football series although older (1896) has only played 21 games.

Overall Rationale: Missouri wants this. But if they are accepted its cause three other girls decided not to dance with the Big 11. With the expansion of the rivalry in recent years Missouri has tried to build name with the 11.  Missouri sees this as a chance to expand in both of the two major sports as the division would favor them for Basketball and Football.

So there’s the break down, and this leads to the new question. Since I am painting it as only one going, if only Missouri goes will Texas and Co. stick around? The Answer is yes, but the Marriage between the South and the Pac-10 is a whole other issue.

The Bearded Guy

Number 2-5

The NFL draft just concluded yesterday but all the talk has stemmed from Day 1 and the Broncos taking Tim Tebow in the first round with the 25th pick overall. It had the recently mute Blasian blowing up everywhere besides the blog he writes for. Let me remind readers of  his specialties, NASCAR and Basketball, but he is positive this is the worst pick EVER. On the other hand, I am not opposed to the pick instead I would have actually taken him at 1(22) and not have worried about trading all the picks to Baltimore, but the draft slot is worth it to jump a head of franchises who had been very serious about taking Tebow in Buffalo,  Seattle, Tampa or Cleveland. So Denver got a little antsy 1 (25) but besides that here’s what I like about him.

Proven Hard Working Guy and Willing to take any role:

Freshman year comes in as one of the most sought after players in the country to a second string role to Gator Nation chagrin, they were not huge on Chris Leak by then. But he provided hard nosed running and a few jump passes and Florida rolled to a title.

Took over a team and became the vocal leader and pressure:

Put into the starting role, he  statistically dominated his sophomore year with the cabinet cleaned of a lot of the talent that had won the title Tebow kept them a float in a middle year. Adding a Heisman trophy, finalist the next two years.

Applies the pressure:

Coming in as favorites to win it all Tebow and the Gators falter fairly early to Ole Miss in which  Tebow gives the speech declaring no one would  play as hard or lead like him… etc basically he was going to be beast among children.  Thus he public took responsibility for the team’s success and failure and continued to produce.

Student of the game:

I really was somebody ask Kentucky

Recognizing the Florida system does not easily convert to the NFL he went out of his way to work on his delivery and foot work. He impressed enough people with his raw abilities at the combine. Tebow with the desire to be a NFL quarterback at all costs has put it all on the table, he is not Eric Crouch (another Heisman winning quarterback from a different college system) who thought he would give the QBing thing a shot his way and hopefully someone would fit him. Tebow is reinvented. If this was basketball Tebow’s ceiling would be about a Duke journey man like Laettner but then again this isn’t basketball.

Can't Miss

Systems are far more advanced in football, and its been proven that  those willing to put in the time in the film room and working to develop a knowledge of other teams can be the most successful players in the game. I would like to recall the 1998 Draft of a couple of kids named: Peyton and Ryan. Both declared can’t miss guys, great college careers and honors, but Mr Leaf was more of the guy you saw at the club than in the film room, and he became known as one of the biggest busts in draft history. Peyton on the other hand was forced into the starting role early and took some lumps but eventually became the premiere quarterback in the league, basically calling the offense on his own. P.M. does have a great arm, but have you seen this guy move? He is slower than anything, but as a student of the game, he has made himself into the most frustrating players to defend against.  This is only possible in football, and this is the real reason I think Tebow has a shot.

Get one thing straight…I am not a Florida fan, I actually hated Tebow in college, and I will continue to hate him as he plays for Denver. But I also think he is going to hurt us (The Chiefs) in the near future. Bottom line: Nike signed him…..

Show to Watch: Breaking Bad, got to love a cancer stricken chemistry teacher go off the deep end and start cookin‘! Thanks you AMC, can’t wait to see Don Draper again soon.

who said Walt doesn't Party

Salute

-The Bearded Guy

Dear Reverse Oreo Followers, that means just you sittingpugs,

I am back from the abyss to rescue you from reading about Wrestle Mania.  Turns out, The Mark still considers it a sport. Anyways, if you know me, a few of the readers do, you know I have been in a dark place this week and half….I saw KU go down to NIU. Although, I will never say WE won the 2008 national championship or WE lost to NIU. I am still a huge fan of my home state team.

This article is about my denial…my denial to listen to The Mark or to believe the elements of the breakdown coming.  Bill Simmons has been the only one to mention this…he beat me to it…it’s the Sherron Collins Affect. Announcers love him, he played tough basketball, he is the winningest player in Kansas basketball history, he led a team minus 6 of the players from the national championship team to a big 12 title and sweet 16, but he is the reason Kansas lost and the reason this years team seemed so disjointed.

Lets break it down…..Kansas wins the 2008 National Title six players leave due to graduation or the draft. 5 are drafted. So whats left for KU is Collins and some what Aldrich. Cole had a great game in the semi-final which gave fans a glimpse of the future, but no one was expecting much from this team in 2009.  So there are zero seniors and one junior to speak of….Sherron…it became his team.  He battles! He carries a youthful team with potential but typically plays like at their experience level. He carries  them so much and so often that in the tournament last year other players are petrified to shoot, and it shows in their percentages and attempts. The role playing white guys (Reed and Morningstar) have no confidence in the one skill that lets them be on the floor (3 pointer) and Sherron only trusts Cole as a secondary scoring option. It was alright against North Dakota State, it was more than enough than Dayton. Then came Michigan State….Sherron muscling down the stretch…missing a key shot, then turning it over, then missing his one free throw. And the year is over.

Sherron and Cole stay, Kansas has an amazing recruiting class, all but one pretty much rode the bench this year, and the young guys have matured. Pre-season number one, potentially 3 All-Americans with depth and Tyshawn Taylor coming off a stellar summer as a leader in u19 international competition. Then the season begins:

-Tyshawn looks uncomfortable on the floor and like he doesn’t quiet fit in to a specific roll. Making him sloppy with the ball several times early and down the stretch.

Explanation:  Sherron has decided to be the team’s leader he must also being the teams point guard. He handles most of the offensive sets and has a high number of turnovers numerous times.

-Cole Aldrich doesn’t look like “Tournament Cole”, you know the one who had a triple double with blocks and a smooth hook shot.

Explanation: Many things a foot injury and family member passing away, but also his touches all year depended on how many offensive rebounds he could get, Sherron’s drive style offense created a ton on congestion in the paint. No room to get Cole the touches needed to wear down teams.

Xavier Henry disappears mid-season, January, making me believe Kansas has a shot to get him back next year. He disappeared so much that in the first K-State game, Self often went with the limited abilities to create their own offense of Morningstar and Reed over him. Giving into “Ok, we played these guys last year, all we have to do is give the ball to Sherron and let him do him.” That team looked like the tournament team from the year before, scared deferring to Sherron, turning the ball over trying to get it to him, didn’t we have two significant lower block threats? and an amazing wing player?  Atleast Sherron came through that time.

Explanation:  Xavier was not allowed to create because of Collins style of drive first-look second. I hope I can Thank Collins for that later.

Collins created all these problems because he had to be the leader, he had to be the scorer, he had to be the go to guy. A lot of people are blaming Self for this loss, for not letting his guys be the athletic guys they were against NIU. But this team was taken from Self a long time ago when it became all about Sherron.

Thanks for the memories, the wins, the good and bad, and for hopefully hurting Xavier’s draft stock enough that I get to see him in a Kansas Uniform one more year.

Notes:

Pre Bracket Final Four:

Syracuse, Kansas, Michigan State, and Kentucky.

The one odd one I pick sticks!

All Americans Still Alive:

John Wall, Eliminated: Elite 8

Evan Turner, Eliminated: Sweet 16

Wes Johnson, Eliminated: Sweet 16

Scottie Reynolds, Eliminated: Round of 32 almost Round of 64

DeMarcus Cousins, Eliminated: Elite 8.

Just saying…..

Thing to Watch Now:

The Pacific

Too Bad, It's Over!

Now that the Olympics are over it is time for me to officially start my commentary on the NCAA basketball season. In our group it has been discussed that there is not a clear cut group of number ones and even more so, number twos. Based on the rankings right now (which seeding is not based on), Ohio State would get a 2 seed with 7 losses, that’s right seven, and West Virginia would get the final one with 6 losses. Really? There’s something for The Blasian to write about right there.  Ohio State lost to North Carolina, Minnesota, and Michigan (plus their quality losses). Wow they deserve to be in the top 10 like I need to be treated for anorexia.

This season does not make sense, pre-season we had Kansas at one (ok they are still around there) and Texas and Michigan State at two depending on the poll. Texas fell apart! 17-0 and since? 6-7.

Michigan State  at 22-7 also lost to North Carolina to add to their 16-14 record, apparently they had two quality wins out of their 16. I will take them over the Buckeyes in the rematch.  But that’s the Big 10.

Pac 10? Are you out there? There is a chance that everyone in the conference could have double digit losses. A stretch maybe, but still a possibility. I guess Cal gets in, but it depends on who wins the PAC 10 Tournament, they might only get two teams in.  Is this really the conference that has: Stanford, UCLA, Arizona, and USC?

Count on him down the Stretch!

SEC basketball is back, kind of, not really, but they have Kentucky and Tennessee. Do not count on Kentucky when it matters though, I mean they have Calipari, the worse close game coach around. He called a timeout the other day giving the opposing team a chance for a shot to tie or win. Afterwards, Calipari said “It’s the dumbest Timeout, I have ever called!” (True) but what about timeouts you haven’t called  JOHN?!? He’s bad on both sides of the decision making.

Now I am not going to fill out a bracket and post it on Reverse Oreo. Come on, some secretary is going to fill out a bracket based on colors and mascots and get 75% correct.  So I am going to take my likely final four, before the bracket is out and after its out.

Pre-Bracket Final Four

Kentucky – out in the final four because of Calipari

Syracuse- They have been pretty consistent

Kansas- They have two big games to wrap up the season before the Big 12 tourney (KSU and @ Mizzou).

Michigan State- They are mature and the held Purdue to 44 pts over the weekend

All I care to remember from the KBL

Korean Basketball:  We have talked about how terrible KBL guard play and wondered out loud why they haven’t brought over a foreign player to run the show. This is further confused by the history of the league that once banned foreigners over the height of 6’8″, which has since been abolished. Yet they have never shown an interest in guards from outside Korea. Still a foreign concept here, and I am left more confused after watching the daily games.

I leave you with this video, enjoy

Salute

The Bearded Guy

Since there is no “Simply RiCOCKulous” article for this week, I decided to hit you with something a we can all relate to…b/c we all have gotten these emails at work!  You know what emails I’m talking about!  The one from that really close “Personal Friend” (You know the one that you grew up with and gave your kidney to last year and the same one that would never do anything to harm you in any way) b/c you can always trust them!!……Yea, that buddy…so  you open the email at work and all of a sudden, a picture or short video of 2 COMPLETELY NAKED  Women (or Men) playing twister while covered in chocolate pops up on your screen!…(See now you know what I’m talking about) And sometimes if you are lucky like me, it is at that exact moment that your boss decides to walk by and pay you a visit.  Well THIS poor fellow has it much worse b/c his email was opened on live TV on a major financial network….Poor Bastard! But still quite funny!

Another future casualty of the Economic Downturn! Or simply stupid!

Anyway this is primarily a Sports Blog so let me go ahead and say a couple words on something sports related…..

1) Arsenal of the EPL is NOT who we thought they were! That’s right the Gunners lost AGAIN to another big team this week!  Actually getting crushed 3-1 at home by Manchester United!  Yet, the Young Gunz can take some solace in the fact that they have had an impressive season so far given that most thought, they would finish out of the top 4 given their age and inexperience!  However quite to contrary, b/c as recently as last week the ARSENAL was at the top of the EPL standings (if only be it for a couple days). But if they really want to make it to the next level they are going to have to at least win at home against the Man Utd’s and Chelsea’s of the World!

"THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE"

2)  Apparently Being ranked #1 in College Basketball is an Automatic Loss Manufacturer this season!  Since the cupcake portion of the season ended (around Jan 4th),  All 3 teams that have been ranked #1 coming into the week (Kansas, Texas and Kentucky) have promptly lost after being bestowed with such Honor.  And due to this, I’m not sure if I feel that anybody is a clear cut favorite to win it all this year. Here’s hoping the next #1 ranked team can at least keep the rating for a week!

3) And am I the only 1 that thinks Tennis is getting totally boring?  Serena and Federer won again at the Aussie Open!!  Where’s the new blood??? Who is suppose to be challenging these guys?  Murray and Roddick are definitely not living up to the hype and  Nadal still really can’t beat Federer either!  At least Serena takes brakes from dominating her opponents to make clothes, jewelry and music videos or whatever!  But you can’t deny that when she’s focused nobody can beat her, (including her sister)!  I mean I’m all for Great Champions and all but would love to at least see some more promising competition for these two!

This is all too Common! (Pun intended!!)

– Kennedy Wong aka The BLASIAN