Thursday, March 30, 2006

ground zero

A different view of New York... here's the live webcam that was just brought on line to keep tabs on the upcoming construction at ground zero.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

tomahawk chop...

If this doesn't make you want to go to FSU, nothing will. Jenn Sterger and two of her friends have gained national recognition from ABC's tv coverage of the FSU/Miami game last fall. They are in the May issue of Maxim and she's written an article for SI. Apparantly she's quite the football fan as well.

Jenn Sterger

Sunday, March 26, 2006

the t.o. bounty

Howard Eskin, a sports radio host in Philadelphia, is raising money in order to pay the fine for any Philadelphia Eagle who “takes out” Terrell Owens. The guy who sent in the tip didn’t give a definition for “take out,” but given the nature of the Philadelphia sports fan, you have to assume that a stretcher has to be involved. And according to the tipster, thousands of dollars have already been raised.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Stars, Soriano and Owens

I've been to about 10 or 11 Stars games this year and not once have I seen them play as poorly as they did last night. Actually, last night was the first game they've lost that I've attended this season. What an absolutely horrible game by the Stars. To quote Mike Modano, "It was ugly to play and ugly to watch." Can I get an Amen? The Stars appeared to be just going through the motions. Bad passes, turning the puck over in their own zone. Poor power play execution. Weak goaltending. You name it, they did it poorly. The Stars have 5 home games in the next 8 days and I'll be at each of them so here's hoping they shake off that funk from last night against Anaheim starting tomorrow night against Minnesota.

Big shock that Soriano isn't planning on playing the outfield for Washington. The Nationals never asked Soriano prior to trading for him if he would be willing to play outfield and now they are paying the price. Texas had asked him to switch when he came over from the Yankees so why did the Nationals think it would be different this time around?

New Cowboy Terrel Owens has a new rap song out. Listen to it here. Word out of the Cowboys marketing organization is that Owen's new Cowboy jersey is already the top selling jersey on the Dallas Cowboys website.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

four seconds

Thats how close A&M was to making the Sweet 16... 4 seconds. 3.9 actually. With a two point lead and time running out in the game, the Aggies let Darrel Mitchell launch an uncontested 3-pointer that put LSU up by 1 with 3.9 seconds left. The Aggies fumbled the ball trying to get off a desparation shot at the end and the team that everyone said shouldn't have been in the tourney goes home 1 point away from reaching Atlanta and the Sweet 16. All you haters now can just shut up! They earned their at-large bid and proved they deserved it.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

tourney picks

Here's my initial bracket, the first pass at filling it out. I'll probably enter a couple different variations in different pools, but these are my main picks...

Atlanta Region

1st Round
Duke over Southern
GW over NC-Wilmington
Texas A&M over Syracuse
LSU over Iona
West Virginia over Southern Illinois
Iowa over NW St
NC State over California
Texas over Penn

2nd Round
Duke over GW
Texas A&M over LSU
West Virginia over Iowa
Texas over NC State

Sweet Sixteen
Duke over A&M
Texas over West Virginia

Regional Final
Duke over Texas


1st Round
Memphis over Oral Roberts
Arkansas over Bucknell
Pittsburgh over Kent State
Kansas over Bradley
Indiana over San Diego State
Gonzaga over Xavier
Marquette over Alabama
UCLA over Belmont

2nd Round
Memphis over Arkansas
Pittsburgh over Kansas
Gonzaga over Indiana
UCLA over Marquette

Sweet Sixteen
Pittsburgh over Memphis
UCLA over Gonzaga

Regional Final
UCLA over Pittsburgh

Washington D.C.

1st Round
UConn over Albany
Kentucky over UAB
Washington over Utah State
Illinois over Air Force
Michigan St over George Mason
North Carolina over Murray St
Wichita St over Seton Hall
Tennesse over Winthrop

2nd Round
UConn over Kentucky
Illinois over Washington
North Carolina over Michigan St
Wichita St over Tennessee

Sweet Sixteen
UConn over Illinois
North Carolina over Wichita St

Regional Final
UConn over North Carolina


1st Round
Villanova over Monmouth
Arizona over Wisconsin
Montana over Nevada
BC over Pacific
Wisc-Milw over Oklahoma
Florida over South Ala
Georgetown over Northern Iowa
Ohio State over Davidson

2nd Round
Villanova over Arizona
BC over Montana
Florida over Wisc-Milw
Ohio State over Georgetown

Sweet Sixteen
Boston College over Villanova
Ohio State over Florida

Regional Final
Ohio State over Boston College

Final Four
Duke over UCLA
UConn over Ohio State

UConn over Duke

Monday, March 13, 2006

a little bracket talk

I'd have to say the committee did a pretty good job of selecting the 65 teams this year... no huge surprises and no major snubs. I'd have put in Cincinnati instead of Air Force. So who pissed in Billy Packer's cheerios yesterday? We all know the MVC is no ACC, but they had 4 decent schools (some say 5) that were maybe a bit better than the 5th and 6th place ACC teams this year. I think Missouri St probably should have gotten the MVC's 4th bid instead of Bradley.

As far as seeds go, the biggest stand out is Tennessee as a 2 seed. What did they do to deserve that? Well they went 3-4 down the stretch and lost in the first round of the SEC tourney, doesn't sound like #2 seed material to me. Iowa's probably a bit over-seeded as well along with Syracuse who before the Big East tourney, probably wasn't even getting into the big dance. Georgetown's better than a 7 seed and will have to play Ohio State to make the Sweet 16.

Ahh and the Aggies will make their first appearance since 1987 gaining their first ever at-large bid. A 12 seed almost always beats a 5 in the tourney and I think A&M has maybe the best chance playing a slightly over-rated Syracuse team.

A few interesting Tourney facts:

• The last five national champions have come from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big East.

• The lowest seed to make the Final Four were the #11 LSU Tigers in 1986.

• Since seeding began in 1979, on only three occasions have three No. 1 seeds made the Final Four (1993, 1997 and 1999).

A few other opinions on who made the dance:
Mid-major schools create major second-guessing

Cincy gets snubbed

Sunday, March 12, 2006

is the mo-valley really the lo-valley

I definitely agree with this opinion... the Missouri Valley is over-rated! Count me as one who will be majorly pissed off (pun intended) if the Mo-Valley gets 5 bids.

Selective MVC Analysis
Published by Jason Kent March 11th, 2006

I’m not going to write off the College Basketball Ratings Percentage Index, but it needs to be deemphasized as an evaluating tool for NCAA Tournament berths. Qualitative analysis over quantitive. From my view point, this conference is overrated.

The objective for the selection committee is to select the best 34 remaining teams after automatic bids have been handed out. Right now as many as 6 Missouri Valley Conference teams are being discussed due to their inclusion in the RPI top 40 as of today. That’s more teams than the ACC, Big 12, SEC, Pac 10 and as many teams as the Big Ten. Only the Big East with 7 in the top 40 have more. Credit the MVC athletic directors for figuring out the finer details of the formula and taking advantage of it. I’m not trying to bash the conference, it’s the best of the mid-majors, but the possibility of the MVC drawing more teams than the ACC is a joke. The best 34 teams is what we are taking about here, and the RPI should only be a small part of the formula. Qualitative takes precedence.

Current RPI rankings of MVC and notable teams close by:
Missouri State - 19
Wisconsin - 20
Northern Iowa - 23
Wichita State - 24
Southern Illinois - 27
Boston College - 30
West Virginia - 34
Bradley - 35
Creighton - 40
Cincinnati - 41
Michigan - 46

Southern Illinois doesn’t need to be discussed as they secured a berth with a conference tournament victory against Bradley, in what was one of the ugliest games I’ve watched all season. The Salukis have a proven track record in the tournament so I’ll leave them alone. Tough team that could hang with the middle of the Big 10 pack.

Another worthy team is regular season champion, Wichita State. The Shockers actually went out and played some top teams in the non-conference schedule. Michigan State and Illinois can attest they’re a very solid ball club. Quantitative numbers are in their favor as well, but it’s the qualitative analysis of how they’ve performaned that makes them a tournament team.

Now to bubbleville, with Northern Iowa. Bracket Expert Joe Lunardi says they’re easily in as a 10 seed. Credit UNI for having the most quality wins of any of their peers. Victories over Iowa at home and LSU should be rewarded, and for that I wouldn’t be too upset with the Panthers getting a dance ticket. However, on the other end they finished 5th in conference play, and lost 5 of their last 7. Stack them up against other bubble teams and I’d struggle to place them above Michigan, Seton Hall, Texas A&M, and Florida State. Put the Panthers in the ACC and tell me how they’d finish? I’d have them amongst Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.

Missouri State, considered the very best according to the RPI has already received more air time than they deserve. The Bears most impressive non-conference win comes against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Midly impressive. Only one major conference opponent graced their schedule, and they fell to an average Arkansas team. MVC apologists don’t give me the “you’ve never seen them play”. The beauty of DirectTV have provided more MVC telecasts than I could handle. Are the Bears a good team, sure, but are they more deserving than Michigan, Seton Hall, and Florida Sate? Quality wins from those three include: Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois, NC State, West Virginia, and Duke. Anyone one of those is more impressive than the entire Missouri State resume in my opinion. Convince me they would have ever even made it to Madison Square Garden for the Big East tournament?

On to two teams who don’t even deserve mention, Bradley and Creighton. For starters they finished 6th and 4th respectively during the MVC regular season. The Braves don’t have a notable non-conference win and didn’t play ANYBODY. It’s a lot easier to get to 20 wins that way. The Bluejays have a slightly more polished resume with victories over George Mason and Nebraska, however they struggled down the stretch (injuries didn’t help) and the overall product just doesn’t compare to other bubble hopefuls.

The RPI has created the illusion these teams are just as good as the tournament teams in the ACC, Big Ten and Big East. I don’t think I need to elaborate any further where each of these would finish in the aforementioned conference. As I said before, credit the AD’s for understanding the system and working it to their favor … but qualitative analyis proves overwhelmingly the Missouri Valley is vastly overrated.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

beginning of the madness

Championship week is underway with the major conferences getting things kicked off today or tomorrow. Syracuse got a nice win over Cincinnati but will need to knock off UConn as well to get serious consideration for an at-large bid. Gerry McNamara make an amazing 3-pointer for the win, but watching the replay, it was an obvious travel on the play. They will need much more than luck to beat the Huskies tomorrow.

So CBS Sportsline is making the NCAA Tournament available On Demand on your computer for free this Thursday... all games, streaming onto your desktop. Sounds great, right? It's like the American dream! Except there could be some issues. Because of the intense demand expected (every year, ESPN and other sports sites notch record traffic during the first two days of the tournament), CBS Sportsline and the NCAA are sending out “400,000 to 1 million” VIP invites, allowing only those people immediate access to watch the games. If you’re not one of the VIPs, you’ll be put in a virtual waiting room until someone leaves … all I can say is, if I get in, there's no chance I'll even think of signing off. If by some miracle you do happen to get in, you better hope your server doesn’t go down (which you can almost count on happening), because then you’re not getting back in.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

lots of action tonight

The Mavs play the Spurs for the top spot in the Western Conf. at 8:30pm on TNT and the Stars play in Phoenix at 8pm... looks like I'll be doing a good bit of channel flipping. If the Mavs are at full strength tonight, they have a great chance to beat the Spurs even in San Antonio. With Phoenix still in disaray over the gambling scandle, the Stars will start things up after the break with a much needed win after falling apart in two defeats out west prior to the Olympics. In Survivor, Bobby gets the boot, so say the spoiler forums.