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Archive for March, 2007

Well again, it goes to show you… go with your first instinct.  My bracket is still alive after the weekend with ALL FOUR of my choices reaching, but I shouldnt have gone against  my bracket choice.. Georgetown DID make it, and deservedly so.

In fact, in my bracket I had Georgetown going all the way for the championship, and the way they played, toasting NC was impressive. If they can do that against NC, they can certainly do it against OSU to get them to the championship game.  Im not ready to predict that, quite yet..but WOW a 16-6 run and a win in OT against a Roy Williams team really means ALOT!

Back later this week with more analysis of the Final Four!

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Just a quickie here – I picked both region finals tonight, UCLA  the upset winner over Kansas, and Ohio State in the runaway over Memphis.  UCLA is looking stronger in every game they play, and should Florida make it, they will have perhaps their hardest game of the year in the Final Four. It would really be hard to bet against UCLA.

What can you say about Ohio State tho?  The game went pretty much as I expected with OSU pulling away late, as I said, because of their ability to get the ball inside to Odom.  He stepped up and had a great game. Memphis’ inability to score inside hurt them drastically.

Tomorrow is another day. 

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I had a good night Friday, after splitting 2-2 on Thursday. I went 6-2 overall in the Elite Eight games, and every team I had predicted is still alive in my bracket, even though I predicted a couple of upsets (my bracket choices were different). So maybe I should just trust my bracket? Hmm ok..lets see.

MIDWEST REGION FINAL: (1) Florida vs. (3) Oregon

In my bracket I picked Florida to move on. I think this will still be true, even though I haven’t seen Florida play a complete game. The tournament seems to be a story of endurance. Florida, North Carolina, OSU and Memphis all got behind, even drastically, and came back to win by just outlasting the onslaught. I’m thinking that this trend stops at this round. Florida should win here because they are just more talented. However Oregon proved against UNLV that they could shoot from everywhere, but I’ve just got a hunch, Florida will hit stride Sunday. So I’ll stay with my bracket pick and choose the Gators to move on to Atlanta.

WEST REGION FINAL: (1) Kansas vs. (2) UCLA

One of the three unprecedented 1-2 matchups, the edge would seem to go to Kansas. They outlasted SIU, and suprisingly so. The disturbing thing was that the Jayhawks were forced out of their game and forced to a 1/2-court slugfest, which SIU wanted. As such, they barely survived. UCLA on the other hand had a breakout game against Pitt, and played their game. Kansas has hung around in this tournament, where they have chosen to exit early in previous years, so that says, to me, that something has changed. However, their level of competition in the tournament hasnt really been top level either. I picked UCLA to win this region before, thinking that Kansas would disappear at some point. I think it might be here that they go home, so on a hunch, I’m choosing the upset Bruins to go to the Final Four.

EAST REGION FINAL: (1) North Carolina vs. (2) Georgetown

I had G’town coming out of this bracket, beating the Tar Heels, but I’m not sure now. USC dominated UNC early with aggressive play, but NC is SO deep with excellent talent, its really hard to count them out, even they were down 16. Not many teams can turn a game to a 10 point win in those situations. Roy Williams is the penultimate coach also and knows how to use his players. Georgetown struggled mightily over a spirited, but really less talented Vanderbilt team. This worries me alot, and should worry John Thompson alot. Give credit to their grittiness, but they have the talent to put teams away, but seem sluggish. I’d like to say they’ll move on, but I think I have to go against my bracket choice and choose the Tar Heels to advance, perhaps easily.

SOUTH REGION FINAL: (1) Ohio State vs. (2) Memphis

A tough choice, seeing that I varied from my bracket earlier and chose A&M over Memphis. I think that would have happened too, if A&M hadn’t shot like a 28% in the second half. Memphis, however, is the most athletic team in the tournament, and as I said before, endurance can be a benefit. Kudos to the Buckeyes who were massively outplayed by Tennessee to the tune of a 20-pt deficit, and then came back to win. I dont think this was mostly Buckeye, but lack of Volunteer tho. Greg Oden has yet to be a factor in a tournament game, and he may be called upon here to be physical with the Tigers… something he may not be able to do. Still, you gotta think that OSU’s level of competition this year has been at a higher level than Memphis. I chose OSU to advance, and I’ll stay with that, in a close game. But, watchout if OSU comes out sluggish. Memphis DEFINITELY will play to the end.

Good Luck on YOUR picks.

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Its been a while since I got on my soap box regarding the most corrupt government in the history of the United States, but I guess I am willing to take some abuse for the priviledge formally calling for the impeachment of the President.

I have to say that, if I was given a chance to go back in time, I would choose, not to go back to my youth, but a mere 8 years ago, that I could change my vote.  Richard Nixon’s discretions seem to pale in comparison to this administration and its massive abuse of power.  Never in the history of the United States, has there been such blatent disregard for the founding fathers intent for responsible government. And Im just tired of it.

In November, Americans turned out in record numbers, especially young Americans to send a
message to Washington that they were tired of the abuse.  NO other president has gone as long
as this one, with such a low appeal.  Yet, arrogantly, this inadequate moron has manged to
keep his political rhetoric active and continue to abuse his power like no other leader since perhaps
Hitler.  Good company, Bush!

Not only has he been the architect of a major deception about the Iraq war, which has been proven
beyond a shadow of a doubt now by his OWN government,  but now his corrupt group of criminals
are crafting a new lie, trying to convince us all that Iraq is the hotbed of terrorism, which any
reasonable person knows is NOT the case.  The “war” is a conflict between religious factions, and
oh for all your stupid idiots, is NOT terrorism.

Here’s the picture for those of you still with your thumb up your butt.  Before the illicit invasion by
the United States, Saddam Hussein (who by the way had NO ties with Al Quaeda, another lie that
was fabricated by the evil administration), kept volatile factions in check with force (the only thing
these people understand).  So in the name of “we have to do something”, Bush invades and topples
this balancing mechanism.  With nothing to check the violence, both sides get a flood of aid from their
sympathizers (not terrorists).  With no force, faction fighting starts back up (see history of the
region if you dont know what that means).  So now the Bushies try to tell you that we are
holding the “insurgents”… which isnt true at all.  EVERYONE is now an insurgent..the Iraquis
have actually been leaving the country in droves! What Bush promised was democracy, but
what has really happened is vast corruption (not my words, but the Army General in charge) in
the Iraqi government,  corruption among the contractors bleeding our budget dry,  and of
course the continued killing of our own children, needlessly in a civil war that we have no stake
in. Very good Bush, wake the hell up!

Oh and now it comes out about the politically motivated firings of Federal prosecutors. At first,
Gonzales says “Oh, I knew nothing about it?”  Yeah right butt wipe. A typical Bush liar.  You arent
head of the largest judicial organization, that fires the equivalent of 8 vice presidents, and not
KNOW about it. Please!!!  Oh yeah we find out today that he actually SIGNED OFF on those
firings…AND YET!!!!!!!!!!!  Bush calls to offer “his support”.  Gee I wonder why?

Well, its because he’s going to need Mr. Gonzales when the Congressional judiciary committee wants
to speak with Karl Rove and Harriet Meyers about those prosecutor firings. Seems that the Congressional
judiciary committee wants them to testify under oath (as they would ANY wirness to a congressional
hearing)… didnt John Roberts do that?  But Mr Bush, being the corrupt politican  says “no”. He
wont let them and will exercise his “executive” priviledge to protect them. Oh really?  What
the hell are you hiding or protecting Mr. Bush?  And how about that support for Gonzales? Well
sure you support him.  He’s the one that would have to support the subpoena’s from Congress
to your corrupt friends.  My friends, this regime puts Karl Marx, Stalin and Lennin to shame.

Why Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon look like archangels compared to this buffoon.

Yes, its time that someone in Congress gets the cajones enough to start talking impeachment.

What’s funny is all the people, when Bush exits, who will make money on the “tell all” books about how he’s manipulated the Congress and deceived the American people.

Truly he is the worst excuse EVER for a  President, and if he doesn’t get impeached, his legacy will
truly record him as the worst President in American History

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Update – I was almost a genius – but not quite.

Thanks to Texas A&M choking (why didnt I expect this based on their history) and Tennessee blowing a 20-point lead, I went 2-2 on the 1st night. Interestingly enough, my bracket elite eight is still in tact (yes in my bracket I chose Memphis and OSU.  Man I dunno what the heck the Tennessee coach said at half time, but they were a different team.  Acie Law – the head Aggie, should be taken out and whipped for his lackluster performance, and missing a game-sealing lay up at the end of the game.

We’ll hope for better tiding tonight.

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Ok, so we’re down to the sweet sixteen, and for the first time in a VERY long time, there are no double digit seeds in it.  Each game this weekend, beginning tonight, has the potential for upset. In fact if you were to do the math, there is only about a 6% chance we’ll see all four #1 seeds in the final four, so that means, basically, its a good bet that maybe 2 of them DONT come out of the weekend to play on.

(1) Kansas  vs.  (4)  Southern Illinois – West Region – Thursday night

The action begins at 7:10 ET tonight with this great matchup. Kansas seems to have shaken its early round exit strategy this year with strong defense and good inside play.  Indeed Kansas is clearly the bigger and more talented team.  SIU has proven to be scrappy and very defensively minded.  They arent a particularly strong offensive team-averaging a little over 63 pts per game compared to Kansas’ 78.  SIU makes this interesting only if they can slow the game down, and maybe making it a half-court game and forcing Kansas to take outside and jump shots. I dont think that will happen.  Kansas has a weakness – Free Throw shooting.  Their highest percentage shooter is Mario chalmers at around 78% and drops off quickly and drastically from there. SIU is a bit better here.  I just dont see how SIU can make this game be low scoring enough to win. I will give the edge to Kansas, perhaps pulling away late to advance to the elite eight.

(2) UCLA  vs.  (3) Pittsburgh – West Regional – Thursday night

This will be an interesting matchup, as both teams tend to be characterized by defense not offense.  So, what could be important early, is if one team or another can get hot and pull away.  Most games ebb and flow, but an early deficit could be a good strategy for either team.  But I would imagine that this will be a little like watching two heavyweights slug it out. Methodical, lots of physicality, and the opposite of the track meet kind of game that people like to watch.  Relying mostly on guard play, UCLA doesnt get alot of inside scoring, while Pitt does bank on paint shooting.   This will be a game of counters – getting the alternate shooter free. That being the case, UCLA would have the slight edge. However, UCLA does have a decisive statistical edge in free throws, so I’m going to pick the Bruins in a close, hard-fought game.

(2) Memphis  vs.  (3) Texas A&M – South Region – Thursday night

This could be a barn burner.  A&M has the talent here and they’ll be playing in San Antonio only a rock’s throw from College Station.  They were convincing in their victory over a Rick Pitino coached-Louisville team. Memphis faced a similar situation in last year’s tournament having to play UCLA on the west coast, and they lost. However the Tigers are powerful, and very athletic, though Chris Roberts wont be 100% after his injury.  They have alot of strength, and are good (not great) inside. But the Aggies, in addition to being a good shooting team, are very good defensively, and stack up against Memphis very well.  Acie Law IV will need to have a good game and will need a good supporting cast.  I’m going with the Aggies to nip Memphis toward the end of the game perhaps outdualing Memphis at the FT line where the Tigers arent strong.

(1) Ohio State  vs.  (5) Tennessee – South Region – Thursday night

These two teams played earlier this year with OSU nipping the Vols on a last minute bucket.  Tennessee is a much better team now, and is riding a couple of impressive tournament wins.  The Vols have an opportunity to uptempo the game also, which isnt what OSU likes.  The Buckeyes were sluggish in the opening round, and slow in their second round win against Xavier.  Im not convinced that OSU has found a rhythm yet in this tournament and this could hurt them. OSU is the better team, but I have to look at the upsets that are going to happen, and this one seems ripe.  I’ll take Tennessee winning late  to be an upset winner to the elite 8.

(1) North Carolina  vs.  (5) USC – East Region – Friday night

The disparity here would seem to favor NC.. experience, program eliteness, etc. But not so fast.  USC has nothing to lose here, so they’ll be more willing to take a few chances and play harder.  USC has some outstanding guards that can shoot lights out.. each one can go for 25pts or more. Carolina, on the other hand has size, and depth. That would be a challenge for USC. For the Trojans, a game of hot shooting will be the key. NC played just “ok” against MSU and won. It took USC having a bang up performance from multiple guys to beat Texas, but they also were aided by some dismal shooting by the Longhorns.  I’m banking on the fact that USC wont be the beneficiary of that two games in a row, PLUS control the inside against NC.  We’ll pick the Tar Heels, in a wild one.

(2) Georgetown  vs.  (6) Vanderbilt – East Region – Friday night

Vandy can play with the best of them, especially from a speed standpoint. However, these two teams met earlier this year, and Georgetown won easily by 16, during a time the Hoyas weren’t playing well together.  GTown are stronger, more confident, and more talented.  The game will boil down to knocking shots down and rebounding.  Georgetown has high 70’s and 80% FTs shooters, and a better rebounding team,  so Im going to lean toward the Hoyas moving on here.

(1) Florida  vs. (5) Butler – Midwest Region – Friday night.

Florida is ripe to be beat.  They had a little lackluster performance against lowly Jackson State in the 1st round, and nearly were muscled out by Purdue.  Butler is a very disciplined team, thatn doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.  They are methodical and dont allow other teams to dictate their play.  However, that being said, the Gators are naturally just too talented a team here. They might could play at 50% efficiency and still win.  However, an upset could happen if and only if, Butler dominates shooting and Florida somehow, falls asleep – not likely – I’ll go with Florida by 12 or so.

(3) Oregon  vs.  (7) UNLV – Midwest Region – Friday night.

This might be the most interesting game to watch.  Different styles, lots of guard play, and  two somewhat obscure teams with regard to others.  UNLV is the better defensive team, though not a poor offensive team.  Oregon is exactly the opposite – much better offensively than defensively. Over the last month, tho, Oregon played above themselves a bit.  Oregon tends to be a little bit free-spirited, which could hurt them.  UNLV can run and can dominate in a chaotic game.  Im inclined to take Oregon here, somewhat fighting my urges to pick the upset, so we’ll go with the Ducks in a close game, but I really wouldnt be surprised to see UNLV win.

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Well I have to feel somewhat bittersweet in going 6-2 on Sunday’s games.  First, I feel reasonably good that I successfully called the UNLV upset over Wisconsin, but missed the Tennessee win over Virginia (but I did say I was reluctant to call VA).  And, I missed the Texas-USC game, but over all, 13-3 in the 2nd round isnt shabby at all.  This brings me to a cum total of 41-8 over the first weekend of games, which I’ll gladly take.

Some impressions:

Florida over Purdue.  Well, I guess somehow I expected a better performance. Florida started very slowly, and didnt even seem to be “in the game” until maybe just before halftime. It showed me that a very good, agressive team might give the Gators problems downstream..maybe even Butler next week.. but probably not.

Oregon over Winthrop.  Well, so much for the Cinderella story, which at this point will need to be relegated to Butler if its to happen. Oregon shot well, and played excellent defense, and busted Winthrop’s touted defense mercilessly.  Oregon seemed to be one of the more memorable performances.

UNLV over Wisconsin.  As I stated previously, I never had a really good feeling about the Badgers. They just dont seem to be able to win big games. For all practical purposes, Wisconsin came close  at one point, but really they were never in it. Watch UNLV to be a sleeper.

Kansas over Kentucky.  Predicted, and for once, Kansas turned in a very solid performance. They may be the best #1 seed playing at the moment.

SIU over Va Tech – Also predicted, and the Salukis dominated from the git-go and never looked back. The Kansas-SIU game should be a doozy!

USC over Texas – Perhaps the biggest disappointment, but I have said that Texas was VERY vulnerable because of a lack of 3-point shooting, and poor defense.  Guess what? when you have ONE person you wrap your offense around, thats a killer in a tournament. Durant got 30, but everything else was just wrong.  USC on the other hand, was brilliant.  They might be the spoiler in the East. North Carolina better watch it.

Tennessee over Virginia – Well, in all honestly I said this would be close and I really wanted to go with Tenn, but like a dummy I stuck with Va.  Tennesse is still very vulnerable. I dont see them going much further.

Memphis over Nevada. Yeah, well predicted and a typical strong D bought them this game. Maybe one of the best matchups comes next week when they play A&M.

 We’ll be back later this week with predictions, but as a teaser, I could easily see two #1 seeds out in the next round. Tune back and you’ll find which ones!

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