The Field of 65 (as of February 25)

February 25, 2008

Selection Sunday is only three weeks away. A lot of teams have work left to do. By no means are JJ and I experts, but we did our field of 65.

JJ’s field is under his brainwork.

ONE seeds

tennessee.gif– Beat Memphis on road. #1 in RPI and #2 in SOS

memphis.gif – loss might help them. 6-1 vs. RPI top 50.

texas.gif – No team can say they have wins over Tennessee, Kansas and UCLA

duke.gif – Five wins vs. RPI top 50.

TWO seeds

ucla.gif – Loss against Washington hurts chances at one seed

unc.gif – Need a healthy Lawson to push for one seed

kansas.gif – Could be best team in the nation just not playing well

louisville.gif– Playing the best ball in the Big East.

Three seeds

georgetown.gif – Just don’t look very impressive

indiana.gif – In my mind, still the best team in the Big Ten.

xavier.gif – 6-1 against top 50. RPI 6 SOS 18

connecticut_logo_2003.gif – 5 wins against top 25. Get Dyson back

FOUR seeds

stanford.gif – SOS (135) keeping them from being a 3 seed.

purdue.gif– 9-1 in last 10 games.

wisconsin.gif – Purdue only team to ruin conference slate

drake.gif – Love the win at Butler

FIVE seeds

notre-dame.gif – Too bad NCAA tourney isn’t in Joyce Center. Just 5-5 record in road and neutral court games.

michigan-state.gif– Two losses to Iowa and Penn State really hurt

butler.gifDon’t like the SOS (143)

marquette.gif – Good CPU numbers (RPI 17 SOS 19), but 5 losses to teams inside RPI 50 is troubling

SIX seeds

wash-state-u.gif– Only 5-5 in last 10 games

vandy.gif – Have won 6 straight

clemson.gif – No marquee win

kansas-state.gif – Still have Beasley and win over Kansas

SEVEN seeds

gonzaga.gifNeed to beat Saint Mary’s at home on Saturday

pitt.gifWin over Duke carrying them

arizona.gifI’ll reward them for best SOS, but 0-5 against RPI top 25.

oklahoma.gifLoss against Stephen F. Austin confuses me

EIGHT seeds

saint-marys.gif – Weak SOS (155). Only good win against Gonzaga

aggies.gif – Really struggling lost last three

byu.gif – Louisville win looking better and better and Steve Young went there

arizona-state.gif4-1 vs. RPI top 25

NINE seeds

usc.gif – 2-7 record vs. RPI top 50 hurts

terps-logo.jpg– Played a tough schedule (SOS 16) and have win at UNC

miami.gif8-5 against top 100 and what have you done for me lately? Beat Duke

baylor.gif– Win against Kansas State really helps.

TEN seeds

west-virginia.gif – This team could very well get to 11 wins in the Big East

arkansas.gifReally struggling. Lost 3 of last 4.

south-bama.gif– Beat Mississippi State

msu.gifNot that impressed. Best win over in-state rival Mississippi.

ELEVEN seeds

mass.gif – Great win against Rhode Island and Strong SOS (24)

saint-josephs.gif – Second in strong A-10. Win over Villanova looking better

unlv.gif – Strong RPI (34) and experienced

rhode-island.gif – Hanging by a thread

TWELVE seeds

kent-state.gif – Great win at Saint Mary’s Saturday

uab.gif – Loss to Memphis almost looks like a win

syracuse.gifGive me another team with a win over a top 10 RPI team and a better combination of RPI (47) and SOS (17). Still have a lot of work to do.

davidson.gif – Must be rewarded for playing tough teams

13-16 seeds – Auto Bids

Last Four Out

Villanova

Ohio State

Florida

Kentucky


Saturday’s (2/23) Games to Watch

February 22, 2008

First off, I want to apologize for the fact that we have not gotten a Banter up last week and probably won’t today. We’re working on getting the BoxScore Banter on a local Syracuse radio station from 10-12 Saturday mornings… we’ll keep you up to date on that. But today, JJ and myself had the opportunity to interview Notre Dame Guard Kyle McAlarney. He gave some great information on Notre Dame’s success, the longstanding win streak at the Joyce Center, and the Sunday matchup with Syracuse.

Saturday is Bracket Busters so there are plenty of great games to watch. Here are my Top Five:

5) UP AND COMING

creighton.gifCreighton @ oral-roberts.gif Oral Roberts

3pm ESPN2/ESPN 30

Creighton most likely isn’t getting into the tournament, but this team is going to be a dangerous team in the next couple years. This team has seven underclassmen and watch out for freshman P’Allen Stinnett as he leads the team in scoring. This game could very well be a defensive battle. Creighton forces 24 turnovers a game and Oral Roberts allows opponents to only shoot 40% from the field. Watch out for Oral Roberts’ Robert Jarvis. The Junior star leads the Golden Eagles with 16 points a game and shoots 42% from beyond the arc. Jarvis and Golden Eagles could make some noise come March.

My Winner – Oral Roberts

4) A MUST WIN

#13 connecticut_logo_2003.gif Connecticut @ villanova.gif Villanova

12pm ESPN/ESPN 360

This is one of the two games on the list that doesn’t involve mid-majors teams. Villanova needs this win badly if it wants to have any hope of getting back into the NCAA picture. At 6-7 with home games against UConn and Marquette in the next two before traveling to Louisville, the Wildcats must protect their home court. Ten wins is necessary for this team in order to leave a good impression on the committee before Selection Sunday. As for Connecticut, it needs this one to stay keep pace with the three other teams tied for first place.

My winner – Connecticut

3) POTENTIAL CINDERELLAS

kent-state.gif Kent State @ #20 saint-marys.gif Saint Mary’s

12 am ESPN2/ESPN 360

This game is technically Sunday because it starts at midnight. That’s why the am is in bold if you didn’t already notice. But this game is between two teams that I think could make a run to the sweet 16 in March. Saint Mary’s is almost a lock, but Kent State could really sure up an at-large bid with this huge road win. Watch out for Saint Mary’s freshman Patrick Mills. He’s another outstanding freshman in the country that can really play.

My Winner – Saint Mary’s

2) BEST BRACKET BUSTER

#18 drake.gif Drake @ #8 butler.gif Butler

5pm ESPN2/ESPN 360

This might be one of the best matchups between two mid-major teams that I can remember. I mean both these two teams are ranked in the top 25 and both teams should receive a seven seed or higher in the tournament. Drake is from the Missouri Valley Conference, a conference that has produced three sweet 16 teams in the past two years (Bradley in 2006 and Wichita State and Southen Illinois in 2007). Drake could certainly be the next. Butler went to the sweet 16 last season before falling to eventually champion Florida. With two senior leaders in the backcourt, Mike Green and A.J. Graves, this Butler team is very dangerous. Or will these bulldogs be outplayed by the other Bulldog guards, Josh Young and Leonard Houston. If you didn’t get it, both of these teams are the Bulldogs. Butler’s looks cool though, I don’t like how Drake’s humping the D.

My Winner – Drake

1) GAME OF THE REGULAR SEASON

#2 tennessee.gif Tennessee @ #1 memphis.gif Memphis

9pm ESPN/ESPN 360

I don’t really think you need a preview of this game. We’ve heard about this game all week. Will Bruce Pearl, the former mascot, wear his putrid Orange suit? Can Memphis stay undefeated? Would the Tigers be best off losing this game? Well, John Calipari might think so. He said that this is the first game his team is “allowed to lose.” Not only is this a game between the #1 and #2 teams in the country, but Memphis’ is putting the longest active home winning streak on the line. The Tigers have won 47 straight games in the FedEx Forum. I don’t think Memphis wants to lose.

My winner – Memphis

P.S. – Yesterday, Calipari came on Mike and the Mad Dog and he said that his team would probably still be undefeated in a major conference. WRONG! Memphis would not be undefeated in any major conference, but if it was in one, maybe people wouldn’t be questioning this team. Calipari started giving praise to certain Conference USA teams saying Houston and UAB are quality teams. Right.

Enjoy

Aneesh


Yankee Spring Training Thoughts…..

February 20, 2008

joba1.jpgHowdy y’all… Unlike Kyle Kendrick I did not get traded to Japan… It has just been a while for a blog post… But I’m back baby…

Since Spring Training has finally kicked off with enough of the Andy Pettitte circus its time for some real baseball issues… Who would’ve thunk A-Rod would come to camp after signing a record contract and even Mr. Publicity is on the backburner….

Never the less here are 5 Pressing Story-Lines to keep an eye for the Yankees in the Grapefruit League…

1. To start or not to start… That is thy question… Everyone around Yankee camp is wondering… How exactly is the Joba Chamberlain plan for 2008 going to pan out. Even though the Yankees claim they will be starting him in the bullpen for 2008, I wouldn’t say that is a forgone conclusion, especially if a starter goes down early in Spring Training. If all pans out with the Yankees starters, the Yanks would be wise to keep the phenomenal kid in the bullpen to set up Mariano Rivera. What the Yankees will do… Only time will tell.

2. Who’s on 1st…. With the Yankees committed to keeping Melky Cabrera in Centerfield. Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Jason Giambi will compete for the LF and DH positions in the lineup. However Giambi will be seeing some time at first, but due to his putrid defense the question remains who will be seeing that playing time. The Yankees have Shelly Duncan who did a stupendous job coming up in July… However is he the answer every day as the first basemen. The Yankees also have brought veterans Morgan Ensberg and Jason Lane to camp. My hunch Duncan will be the Yankees every day first basemen with Giambi playing part time as well.philandian.jpg

3. The Kids are all right…. The Yankees in a very un-Yankee like fashion passed up on the Johan Santana deal and decided to stick with Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy for 2008 and beyond. The Yankees are counting on these two starters to do a stand up job for them. The question is… Will they? They are highly touted and showed flashes of brilliance last season. However can they handle it for a full season. Look to see if they struggle early on in camp if the Yankees push Joba Chamberlain faster in the rotation plan.

4. Hit me baby one more time… For veterans Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina anmoose.jpgd Andy Pettitte this could be their final go around in pinstripes. Do Giambi and Mussina have enough left in the tank to give solid respectable seasons. Mussina will be counted on to improve upon a 5 era, and Giambi will counted on to hit 20-25 homeruns if he can manage to stay healthy. And now onto Pettitte, I would not throw him into the mix. However, due to the HGH saga, the question remains is Andy mentally ready for 2008. Don’t be surprised if this is Andy’s Final go around just due to all of the stress this season may bring.

5. New Cup joeyg.jpgof Joe… For the first time since the 1995 season… Joe Torre is not the Skipper at Legends Field in Tampa Florida. Girardi the vibrant, new manager will bring a different style and intensity to Spring Training as opposed to the laid back Torre. After all Mike Mussina said, “this is more running then all of last season” when referring to a tough opening workout under Girardi. Although Girardi will look to push buttons differently then Mr. Torre, as a new manager following a legend, Joey G will make sure he earns the respect of his veterans early in camp…

Well Folks… The Countdown is now at… 41 Days till Opening Day 2008…

Be good everybody…. Stay Tuned for my MLB Spring Training Burning Issues…

JJ


Weekend Wrap

February 18, 2008

First off, I want to begin by saying that Syracuse fans storming the court was a flat out travesty. Have some class. Act like you’ve won before… the school did win the national championship just five years ago. I didn’t see USF storm the court when they beat Syracuse. I didn’t see Louisville storm the court when they overcame a huge deficit against Georgetown and demolished them in primetime. Pittsburgh didn’t storm the court when they beat Georgetown either. The Oakland Zoo has some class, Otto’s Army is a complete joke. For all I know, Syracuse has beaten Georgetown the last four times in the Dome. So they should expect to beat the Hoyas. This student section also stormed the court two years ago when they beat #18 West Virginia at home. When will these pathetic, bandwagon, loser fans learn? Syracuse has the biggest fair weather fans who feel the need to storm the court three days after everybody gave up on this team…. Anyway I’m done. Pathetic.

Here is my weekend wrap.

Team of the Weekend

indiana.gif Indiana Hoosiers

sampson-hugging-guy.jpgI don’t care if Syracuse beat Georgetown or if Wake Forest beat Duke. This Indiana team really deserves props for how they overcame distractions and destroyed Michigan State. Not only did they overcome distractions, but they also overcame the loss of one of their best players, D.J. White. They stay in the hunt for the Big T Ten title and have a huge matchup with Purdue on Tuesday in Bloomington. It should be the last game that pig coaches.

Bums of the Weekend

georgetown.gif Georgetown Hoyas

What a horrible display of basketball. The Hoyas have lost their last six games in the state of New York against the Orange. This team had another mediocre game, if you even want to call if that, against their biggest rival. There isn’t a more overrated team than the Georgetown Hoyas and they are led by one of the most overrated players in Roy Hibbert. If not for the stupid zebras this team could very well have two or three more losses.

Upset of the Weekend

wake-forest.gif Wake Forest over duke.gif Duke

Nobody expected this one. Duke was 10-0 in the conference before this game and it looked like the best team in the nation before this game. Wake Forest has now played itself back on to the bubble and really could help itself with a huge win at North Carolina next Sunday.

NCAA Stock Rising green-arrow-up.png

louisville.gif Louisville Cardinals

This team is the best team in the conference. Not Georgetown, UCONN, or Notre Dame. It’s Louisville. I know UCONN beat the Ville, but the game was in Hartford. If you watch this Cardinal team play, then you will see that they are clicking on all cylinders. I think this team is the most equipped to make the deepest run in the tournament, but we’ll learn a lot more about them in the next coming weeks. They still have to go to Pittsburgh and Georgetown and have home contests versus Villanova and Notre Dame. Also, many people thought this team was dead after the early season struggles. They thought this team would get in as a 7, 8, or 9 seed, but now this team looks like a 3, 4, or 5 seed.

syracuse.gifSyracuse Orange

Trust me, this teams stock could very well fall after they probably get blown out the next two games at Louisville and Notre Dame. But for now, they helped themselves out with a needed win against Georgetown. But unlike last year, people know this team still has a lot of work to do if they want to get into the tourney. Their last 5 games are absolutely brutal: @ UL, @ ND, vs. Pitt, @ Seton Hall and vs. Marquette.

Stock Falling red-arrow-down.png

florida.gif Florida Gators

I’ll say it again. If you think this team is definitely in the tournament, please think again. They have do losses this week against LSU and Vandy to push them back to 6-5 in conference. This team still has to play at home against Mississippi State and Tennessee before finishing the season at Kentucky. 9-7 or 8-8 in conference might not get this team in the tournament because their SOS is 117.

baylor.gifBaylor Bears

Remember when people thought this team was in the tournament when they started the conference schedule with four wins? Well, they’ve now lost five or six and are in trouble heading down the stretch. They go to Oklahoma on Tuesday and then face Kansas State at home on Saturday. This team can’t afford to drop both games because they still have games against Texas A&M and at Texas Tech remaining. This team better be careful. I don’t care if they are a great story.

ohio-state.gif Ohio State

It seems that every major conference bubble team lost to a putrid opponent this week. Florida lost to LSU. Syracuse lost to USF. And on Sunday, OSU lost to rival Michigan. The road is now tougher for the Buckeyes as they play every team that is ahead of them in the Big Ten and their only other game remaining on the slate is on the road against an up and coming Minnesota team. This team could very well finish 9-9 in conference.

Player of the Week – Eric Gordon

eric-gordon.jpgThis freshman phenom came through when his team needed him the most. With D.J. White out of the game and his team in an early hole against a top 15 team, Gordon led them back with 28 points. He made big basket after big basket and put his team on his back in a game they could not lose. I wonder how early in the recruiting process that pig coach called Gordon to get him to come to Indiana.

Aneesh


Saturday’s (2/16) Games to Watch

February 16, 2008

Here are the 5 games on Saturday with the biggest NCAA tournament implications:

#7 stanford.gif  Stanford @ arizona.gif Arizona

3:30 ABC/ESPN 360

If Stanford has any hope of catching UCLA for the regular season Pac-10 title, it needs this one on the road. This is its second straight game in the great state of Arizona (it lost to ASU by four on Thursday). Both teams are comfortably in the tournament, but a win like this for the Wildcats would help their tournament seeding.

My Winner – Arizona

#11 texas.gif Texas @ baylor.gif Baylor

6pm ESPN/ESPN 360

I have three games in here because they are not only good games, but because I think three teams this week could really use a marquee win. Baylor is the first of those teams as they get a Texas team coming off of a huge win against Kansas. Beating the Longhorns now would almost solidify Baylor’s comeback into the national picture. It’s lost two straight games at Kansas and at Oklahoma State, so a win on Saturday would be a great bounce back.

My winner – Texas

#9 michigan-state.gif Michigan State @ #12 indiana.gif Indiana

9pm ESPN/ESPN 360

First off, Kelvin Sampson is a pig. What a bum. Anyway, the only NCAA tournament implication this game has is seeding. However, the loser of this game might as well kiss the regular season Big Ten title away as Purdue is in complete control with only one loss. Both of these teams are in the tourney, but this game is obviously intriguing because of the hoopla surrounding that pig. How will the Hoosiers respond on their home court in front of their home fans?  Sampson should get booed.

My Winner – Michigan State

florida.gif Florida @ #10 vandy.gif  Vanderbilt

3pm ESPN Full Court/ESPN 360

Florida is the second team that desperately needs a marquee NCAA win. Right now people have them in the tournament as a 9 or 10 seed after that horrible home loss to LSU, but if they don’t get a marquee win soon, then people might be questioning their tournament resume. The Gators already handled Vanderbilt once at home, but this game is surely going to be different in Nashville.  But the problem with Florida is that its computer numbers are awful (RPI 60 SOS 141). A rebound win at Vanderbilt will help people’s worries in Gainesville.

My winner – Vanderbilt

#8 georgetown.gif Georgetown @ syracuse.gif Syracuse

12pm ESPN/ESPN 360

There is no bias here. Everybody remembers last year when Georgetown came into the Dome. Syracuse beat them, the students danced on the court as if the team locked up a spot in the tournament…. fast forward to this year. The Orange finds itself in desperate need of a marquee win and the Hoyas come stomping into the Dome. At 6-6 in the conference with games at Louisville and at Notre Dame looming in the next week, this game at home is almost a must win. But don’t be shocked if Syracuse comes out on top because as Jay Bilas put it, Syracuse is the ultimate bubble team. It’ll do what it takes to stay on it (like a win over the Hoyas), but won’t do what it takes to get off of it (like beating St. Johns, Wichita State and Drexel last year).

My Winner – Georgetown

Enjoy

Aneesh


Down with Zebras

February 15, 2008
This is going to be my post to complain about the stupid Zebras aka the referees. I’m sick and tired of these dumb zebras deciding games. They did it again in the Georgetown Villanova game and the Rutgers Tennessee game. I know you guys probably don’t care much about women’s basketball, but what happened in the Rutgers Tennessee game was down right atrocious. Everybody in their right mind saw that their was a clock malfunction and that the game clock for some reason stopped dead with .02 seconds left in the game. About a second later, the referee blew the whistle for a foul. But as SportsCenter showed us, there should have been no time left on the clock and Rutgers should have won the game. In the Georgetown game, the zebra blew his dumb whistle for a ticky tack foul call with .01 seconds left. That gave Jonathan Wallace two opportunities from the foul line to seal the game for the Hoyas. He hit both and Villanova, who needed that win more than any other team in the nation, didn’t even get a chance to win the game outright in overtime.
I had the privilege of hearing Pedro Gomez speak yesterday. He’s the ESPN reporter who followed Barry Bonds around. But somebody asked him a very interesting question. Which do you think is worse, gambling or steroids? I thought he was going to definitely say steroids, but he said gambling. He said that both are terrible offenses, but if he had to choose, he would say gambling because then the integrity of the game is in question. And the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with Pedro and the more I saw it yesterday. The integrity, the actual outcome of the games yesterday were decided by the referees. Whether it was gambling or not, I do not want a third party deciding games. It should be decided amongst the players. With steroids, it gives players a competitive advantage, but the game still has to be played. Now, I’m not saying that steroids is a good thing because it is a very very very bad thing. But I rather not have any ref, commissioner, league or fans decide games. I want the games played out. That was my problem with the Suns Spurs series last year. David Stern essentially decided the series. He put the Suns at a severe disadvantage in Game 5. I won’t gripe about that because that is very old news, but in the games played yesterday, another third party decided the winner of the game. This is where fans, people that make sports what it is, start to question the integrity of the game. Don’t mess with that.
I hate Zebras, but thank god Villanova lost. For the sake of Syracuse getting into the tournament.
Aneesh

He Said…. He said….

February 14, 2008

After the non stop television coverage of the hearings between Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee, my question to you folks is this. How many more days till opening day? Before I give my take on the whole proceedings that occurred this afternoon let me say this. Aren’t you sick of all the coverage. The hearings… The lying… It might as well be out of the Young and the Restless. Sooner or later the truth all of it will come to the floor. When it does… Call me…

However….

cheaters.jpgLet me say this… Anyone and I mean anyone who believes Roger Clemens did not use performance enhancing drugs is sipping the Clemens Kool Aid… The telling tale here folks was the testimony of my boy… Andy Pettitte… is what did Mr Clemens in… When its a he said-he said battle, and then you have a third party come in. You listen. Especially when the third party is an honest, religious man that is going to tell the truth. Congressmen Cummings asked Clemens about this and he said… Andy must have “misremembered” about the conversation Pettitte claims Roger and he had about HGH. Thats all you need to know folks… Clemens is trying to save a hall of fame bid that is now forever tarnshised due to performance enhancing drugs… Now I admire Roger Clemens for some of the things he said today… Such as he cares about his reputation. He cares about educating people of the dangers of steroids… But Roger… Actions speak louder then words… And guess what you lose…

Thats All Folks….

PS… 45 Days till Opening Day….

Be Good

JJ