Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I say this to you tonight.

It's all about to change. Hope and faith will come to the degenerates and philistines. The worst local sports talk show will flip and decide they loved this player the whole time. Age 26 with experience? Hell yeah.

Post hype sleeper?

Shit, the shine was gone when Mark Foley jokes became topical.

But you know what? It's time for Rickie Weeks to break out.

Okay, those of you who know me as a Brewer fan know that I'm one of the more optimistic of the Brewers fans. And you know he's been eternally on somebody's breakout list since Mark Foley jokes have been topical.

But the fact is? He is just too skilled not to be denied. The upside of .260/20/75/30/100? It's very real. And there are reasons why he can do this.

1) His second half was actually pretty good.

His OPS was on the borderline of hitting 800. For a middle infielder? That's pretty good. His line-drive and fly-ball rates were stronger. He may never get that batting average up to par, but he had a second half that he can build on.

2) The skill set.

His power is legitimate. His speed is coupled with a judgement on how to use it. He has a great ability to take walks. And his defense has become passable as well. He doesn't need much from his contact rate to become a top 5 second baseman. And he can get this done.

3) Toughness.

Yeah, Rickie Weeks has been someone who has been laid up. I get that. But that's not why he's got a chance. He will play through pain. Above and beyond seeming logic. The wrist problems he suffered through in '06 and '07 were compounded by him attempting to play through it. It means that when he's healthy? He won't sweat the small stuff.

The one reason why I may be an idiot dovetails from this. Staying healthy is a skill. He hasn't shown that in the bigs. Not to say he can't. But Milwaukee is a land of beer and nagging injuries.

I'm willing to put myself on the line and say it. It's gonna happen. Weeks and weeks of Rickie Weeks.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Okay, let's try this again shall we?

So I got one right? It was to be expected. All that research, and it was worth roughly 10 games. I feel bad about that. I had my moment of brilliance and many deaths in the second weekend.

And here's what I'm going to say. I'm going to analyze the strengths of each team. I will look for one major weakness? And


+ Height. It's not just Hasheem Thabeet that's a tall dude. They have size to break it down.
+ Shotblocking. A nautral extension of being tall.
+ Field Goal Defense. Forcing bad shots isn't exclusive to being tall, the perimeter defense is excellent as well.
+ Turnovers. They will likely win the turnover battle. Michigan State can lose the ball if they aren't careful.

- They just do not shoot threes. All of their losses have been of the variety where they get bombed out of the arena in a rapid fashion. Outside of A.J. Price? They have nobody who can score by the magic number.

Michigan State

+ Luck. Ken Pomeroy has them as the 8th most lucky team in D-1. For whatever that's worth.
+ Home State Advantage. Those who can afford it are going to roll out to Ford Field.
+ Rebounding. UConn is a solid team at generating second chances, but you know what? The Spartans are stronger.
+ Tom Izzo. Say what you will. He's a great coach. Someone who has made as many final fours as Izzo is worth a posession or two. Especially with Jim Calhoun busy texting.
+ Depth. They have a much deeper rotation than UConn.

- Turnovers. Kalin Lucas is a good distributor, but the reason why they lost a couple in the Breslin Center they shouldn't have is because the rebounds don't overcome the turnovers. And with a team like UConn?


+ Balance. They have little that they're basketball leading dominant, but they have a salad bar of the skills that they bring to the table.
+ The Line. They can generate baskets by drawing fouls. And when they get to the free throw line? They sink the baskets.
+ Second chance baskets. If they can keep a team up off the boards? They will win the rebounding battle.
+ Dante Cunningham. He is the most underrated player left in the Tournament.
+ Simmons bunching theory. Philadelphia is in position for a good run as a sports city.

- They foul. If you want to be snarky. It is what could cost them the game. In a bang bang play between Cunningham and Hansborough? Does overrated white guy or underrated salad bar get the call?

North Carolina

+ The most efficient offense in sports entertainment.
+ Fouls and Turnovers. They do not commit them.
+ They shoot sharply. Beyond the arc? Inside? They can handle themselves.
+ They generate second chances. They get their misses.
+ Six starters. Anybody in the country would take them.

- A good day from the backcourt can beat them. Scottie Reynolds is a shining star right now. Corey Stokes is a legitmate three-point shooter. One of them gets hot? And they contend.

So what does it all mean? It means I expect UConn and UNC to play each other. And Jim Calhoun takes one for evil. If you're betting game by game.

But if you're taking odds? Go for Villanova.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

There are two quarterbacks that teams have...

That should belie them needing a first round quarterback.

Now, it looks as if the New York Jets aren't going to go after a quarterback in round one. So, if you are a member of the Brett Ratliff nation? You should feel okay in thinking that he can change the world.

But here's something that I can't understand, why has everybody jumped off of the Josh Johnson bandwagon? I mean, Football Outsiders compared him to Randall Cunningham. Now they're expecting a pretender like Josh Freeman to come in. That's Mel Kiper talk. You cannot take that.

Josh Johnson is going to be a great pro quarterback. He doesn't have the completion percentage issues of a Josh Freeman. He uses his legs as a weapon, not as a crutch. And he also has a smooth throwing motion. He has all the tools. And he's had a year to adjust.

I know he's not the new regimes guy. But he really should be. If I'm anybody else? I make an offer so they can have Josh Freeman.

You Know What?

I'm an idiot.

I know, big shock there.

But let's be honest. I should have known Pittsburgh was going to lose. Pittsburgh has strengths. Plenty of them. They underperformed as a #1 seed, but they've had opponents who refuse to go out like that. But here's the thing.

Villanova has no weaknesses. They are an experienced team with an excellent balance. Threes? Nova can do it. Rebounding? Nova can do it. Coaching? Jay Wright's got a fearless swagger.

And Jaime Dixon? He always has good teams. He just hasn't been able to take the next step. He's like Bob Huggins, but with charm.

Alas. I bet against a team with experience and balance for a team with a coach who isn't there yet.

Ah well, if you read the blog, you know my bracket was dead anyway.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Day 1 Draft Breakdown! Guards!

I figure something. If I can hammer out the smaller details of the interior offensive linemen and middle linebackers, I can get back to a pace of one point five draftological posts per week. So, after the crazy good analysis of the middle linebackers? It is time for guardplay.

#72 Duke Robinson   *OL* Pictures, Images and Photos

1. Duke Robinson (Oklahoma)
6'5" 338 5.32

He's straight mauler in the run game. You will love running blast plays to his side. He has a jolting punch and he comes with excellent leverage. He will not get engulfed in pass protection. Keep his actions simple and he's a stud.

Second level is where you start getting some form of an issue. His quickness goes out the window when he has to make a move at a linebacker. He also struggles to lock on when he's pulling. He also does have certain character questions in terms of personal fouls and practice habits.

For what he is? He is a safe pick. He is essentially ballast in a zone blocking scheme. But if you're in the market for for a David Dixon site? I say go for it.

Herman Johnson Pictures, Images and Photos

2. Herman Johnson (LSU)
6'7" 364 5.50

Any discussion of Herman Johnson has something to do with his essential freakish nature. He played at about 385 during the year and he played with a surprising agility as well. He has long arms as well as decent power. Add that to a solid set of instincts? And you have a whole lot of upside here.

But even though he's lost 20 pounds since the Senior Bowl, he should lose about ten more pounds if he wants to be an effective professional. Because like Duke, he does have problems with his second level play. Also? When he wears down, he becomes a leaner, and a quick defensive tackle can eat him for lunch.

If he can get down to 340-350? He can turn himself into Stacy Andrews. Carrying a lot of weight as a collegian can shorten your career. You can get a right tackle out of him if you want. But it all comes down to weight. If he can manage it? He's Andrews. If he cannot? Do you remember Max-Jean Gilles?

That's okay. I don't either.

The next draft preview will be center.

Day 1 Draft Breakdown: Inside Linebackers

I've decided that I was going to take on an easy draft report for Day 1 propsects here. I mean, Inside Linebackers are a position that is never deep in Day 1 prospects.

This year? There are two.


1. Rey Maualuga (USC)
6'2" 248 4.80

What you have with Maualuga is a pure striker. When you get him going downhill? He can be a scary thought for a running back. He has the hand technique to shed blockers and he can hold on the point of attack. He also has good lateral agility and is in no form or fashion a liability if he has to go into coverage.

But he is not a sideline to sideline guy. As a pure Mike? That's an issue. You also can fake him out. He overpuruses on defense. It's a part of his knock you the fuck out mentality. It works against him on other levels as well. There's a certain concern about him becoming a million dollar blogger with bad knees.

That being said? He's still just 22, and maturity comes at different ages for most people. Flaky Maualuga has a lot to like and when he's at his best? He's a match-up nightmare. He's a top-15 pick, and he may get a chip on his shoulder if a team like say Jacksonville decides to reach for him. I like him a lot. He can play on my team anytime.

James Laurinitas Pictures, Images and Photos

2. James Laurinitas (Ohio State)
6'2" 244 4.76

If you've been paying attention to the Laurinitas trends, his stock has been falling. That just means some team may get a second instant starter in the early 30's. There's still a lot to like about son of Animal. He has great instincts and good athleticism. This means he's a sideline to sideline linebacker who can cover as well as show heart in the run game. And if he gets to you? You will be tackled.

But while son of Animal has a good ability to disengage, it does come at a cost of losing ground at the point of attack. He is also not nearly as strong as Maualuga. And he has never been a game changer. Nothing with the killshot. Nothing with the turnover. Just sort of solid. Just sort of there. Even if he takes a bad angle or two.

Now, anybody worth their salt know that the short sellers attack a prospect or two of experience during their senior year. Often, it's an outside linebacker from a Big 10 school. Usually they go to Penn State. But for a team like New England? A foray into Laurinitas-land would be good medicine.

There are some who would consider Darry Beckwith in this class. He isn't. Frantz Joesph may find his way into a sleeper list. Otherwise? Dollhouse.

Day 1 Breakdown: Defensive Tackles.

The NFL is of a cyclical nature. The 3-4 was a system left for dead not more than five years ago. And now? You are seeing a return of the 3-4 as a mack defense. And who's leading the charge? Boston College.

B.J. Raji

1. B.J. Raji (NT-Boston College)
6'2" 337 5.12

There is only one word you need to know when you talk about B.J. Raji. Power. He has an explosive first step. He has the leverage and balance to be immovable on his best days. He is a top notch run-stuffer.

But he brings nothing to the table as a pass-rusher despite his 2008 sack total. It's simply straight-line power. He is also a big dude, and the motor does wear itself down. And while the character questions seem to have been somewhat answered, someone who misses a year due to academics just might not be the plug and player that his Top-10 status belies.

But that being said? He was great in 2006 and did not miss a beat in 2008. He is a game changer for at least two downs. Mention any Williams surnamed defensive tackle? He will be just as good. Not #1 pick level, but a solid pick in the 6-10 range.

Peria Jerry Pictures, Images and Photos

2. Peria Jerry (DT-Ole Miss)
6'2" 298 4.98

There's a lot to like with Peria Jerry. As a one gap defensive tackle? He's gold. He has a great motor and an excellent first step. He has good agility, and he is not easily fooled on the run-pass recognition. Those that call him a Top 15 pick have a strong case here.

There's not much to dislike here. He's not a two-gap defensive tackle. But people know that coming in. He's also an overaged defensive tackle who can get dinged up with the minor injuries. Even if he plays with pain.

Now in a different world, Jerry would be the #1 defensive tackle available. He has a lot of strengths that he brings to the table. And I do declare that one of these years he could be a defensive tackle with 10 sacks. But we're living in a 3-4 world, at least among those who could use a D-Tackle. So he may not make the top half of round 1. If he doesn't? Someone's going to be very happy.

Evander Hood Pictures, Images and Photos

3. Evander "Ziggy" Hood (DT-Missouri)
6'3" 300 4.88

You actually have a good tweener set of skills here. Ziggy has a 10-yard dash time to rival a top prospect like Everette Brown, what does that mean? It means the man is quick. He also has good lateral agility. He also put up 225 35 times at his Pro Day. And you know what? He has the heart of a slow white guy. That means he's gritty.

But why is he a tweener? He lacks power. He's not the guy who can blow up a guard and shove him into the backfield. And the lateral agility is there. But it's inconsistent. He has stiff hips and if he has to turn and run? He loses a step. It's also why he has trouble getting through the line.

You don't know exactly where Ziggy will fall this year. A 3-4 team likely can't use him as a defensive end, so that limits his choices. He would not be a stupid move for the Colts or the Eagles (though the Eagles fan will boo him). But the fact is, he has the heart and motor that he can touch the tools and becomes something more. He's an upside play at this point.

4. Ron Brace (NT-Boston College)
6'3" 330 5.48

Now, everybody knows Raji. Raji is good. But there is a real case that he isn't the top run-stuffer in the draft. Never mind his 40-time which was worse during the pro-day, his first step is great. And with his power? It's enough for him to split a potential double team. If he can't? He will not get moved.

But obviously, Ron Brace is a big dude. This means he will wear down. And considering his back issues? That has to be a concern if he goes Ted Washington. And his quickness is solely straight line. And laterally? He's decent, but not spectacular.

For two downs? A 3-4 team has a chance to get a plug and play starter from the end of the second round on. He has definite cult hero potential of the Gilbert Brown variety. He will not have eye-popping numbers, but I would ask if he would be willing to promote local area fast food concerns. It could make him some good money.

Fili Moala Pictures, Images and Photos

5. Fili Moala (DT-USC)
6'4" 305 5.07

If you get Moala? Keep him motion. He's disruptive in slants and angles. He's a solid one-gapper. He was a man who allowed the linebackers of USC to wreak havoc. And there's a weakness that I will mention that he's strong enough to blunt at present.

And that weakness? He plays upright way too often. He's not an explosive player. He has good hands, but he does not disengage easily. But I'm not saying this as a bad thing. He's a plugger. If you have good linebackers, he's a solid assist man.

Not to say that he doesn't have upside. He has a frame to get 25-30 pounds and not lose a step. He needs to learn more about leverage if he's to become a superstar. If he does? He's a great 2nd rounder. If he doesn't? He's overvalued. But he can be interesting.

That's the defensive tackle list. Sen'Derrick Marks could be drafted in round 2, but I have to say that it would be a mistake. He doesn't have the sum near in comparison to his parts.

Yeah. Moving on.

Racism makes me mad.

And I know that's a simple and didactic statement. But you know what? When there's not much I can do from where I sit, there's not really many emotions I can feel. Sure, it pisses me off to see someone get themselves put upon by something less than a man because they are a different skin color. But?

I wasn't going to donate anything to the Dallas Policeman's ball. Yeah, I'm talking about the Ryan Moats incident. It's in my head. I wanted to talk about this last night, but I felt like trying to take a day to gain perspective. But I can't.

With people like Robert Powell in the world? We still have a long way to go. I know, playing the race card isn't very cool. But let's be honest here. Ryan Moats and his family are African-American, and Mrs. Moats got a gun pulled on her as she hustled in to the hospital.

The two hospital security guards? African-American.
The officer from Plano? African-American.

It was not until a white hospital worker came out to solve this did Powell let Moats in. And you know what? He worded the report as such that Moats was fleeing from a felony.

And he thinks he did nothing wrong. That's the fucked up thing. He thinks he did nothing wrong. You pull a gun on the woman in the family, you threaten a man who ran a red light to go to an emergency room with all sorts of trouble when you hear him say that family of his is dying, you have most of the state, let alone the country thinking your ass too incompetent to work mowing a small lawn.

And the fact that Ryan Moats stayed cool under all that assholerics?

He's a better man than I could ever be.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

As we start the Sweet 16...

I'm able to quantify why this tournament isn't strong. Well, technically it is in terms of paper talent. But my interest is fading away. It's why I made the crack about hating winning 13 of the 14 games that I could of in my second round.

This is why I am a member of the Hater Nation right now. I brought you reasons to love every team. Now you know what? It's time to let the hatred flow.

1 Pittsburgh: There's no reason to think that this isn't the year for the Panthers, except for the fact their team has underperformed in March since they days and nights of Ralph Willard. They will choke. Fuck them.
4 Xavier: There's no reason they should get to the Elite 8. But they have a tradition of fucking your shit up in the Sweet 16. If there's going to be an upset, it will be here.

3 Villanova: They've done nothing to arouse hatred out of me. But they're playing Duke. And until they win? Memories of the childish breacketology remain. Also, Scottie Reynolds slept with your girlfriend.
2 Duke: They're Duke. Do I need a reason? I do. Okay, because Coach K is an Arch-Conservative Ratboy who bitches about anything who doesn't go Duke's way. And I just got a blocking foul for that comment.

1 North Carolina: Sure, they're not Duke. But rooting for them is like rooting for Crystal Meth.
4 Gonzaga: Outside of their usual underperformance, the simple fact that Jeremy Pargo's Spur-like pulling down of Patty Mills cost them a chance at the NCAA Tournament.

3 Syracuse: Hey, all you high school prospects who like to hit girls? Jimmy Boeheim provides you sanctuary! Just ask star two guard Eric Devendorf!
2 Oklahoma: In a red state like Oklahoma, the love for a power forward who enjoys the comfort of women's clothing is only showing the hypocrisy of those who wish to divide us. And that's bullshit. I WANT SIDES, DAMNIT!

1 Louisville: Considering Louisville's losses this season? Arizona is the sort of team that's built to trip them up. I mean it. They play down to their perceived competition. Look back at their schedule. Red Drank broke themselves off a piece.
12 Arizona: You have two lottery picks and you're a 12 seed? It means you do not want it. You fuck around too damn much. And Chase Budinger looks like a romantic comedy villain! How can you root for that?!?

3 Kansas: They ruined North Dakota State's dream!
2 Michigan St.: Hey, did you know Tom Izzo was friends with Steve Mariucci? I KNOW I DIDN'T!

1 UConn: Jim Calhoun is like Jerry Tarkanian without any of the cool. He doesn't even recruit degenerates in a gangsta fashion. ILLEGAL PHONE CALLS! OOOOOOOOH! WHERE'S THE PLAYER YOU PLY TO GO TO STORRS WITH CRACK COCAINE!
5 Purdue: The Duke of the Midwest. If Robbie Hummel played in the ACC? You would be sick to death of his hyperbole.

3 Missouri: Mike Anderson looks like Evander Holyfield in ten years, and that's awesome. The game the play is awesome. But they cannot beat Memphis. Memphis' backcourt can handle their swagger. And I dislike Memphis.
2 Memphis: John Calipari is like the dad who hosts all the drinking parties that you're not invited to. He could ditch Memphis for the Clippers at any moments notice.

Okay, so the hater nation is not dead. But you need to bring RPI back selection comittee. Chalk is boring. And everybody hates good teams.

I know I do.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Seasonal Arc Show...

There are so many challenges to make a show like that successful. I mean, you have to go through all of the hoops to get a show on the air. And if it's an episodic show, you feel like you can jump in midway through the season and feel like you missed nothing.

Oh, look, The Big Bang Theory made a joke about someone that looks nerdy! Yeah. That sort of thing. But if you go with a seasonlong arc? Bad things can happen.

1) If you don't catch an audience early, you aren't going to catch an audience.

Imagine a show like Lost. Now, I count one of my proudest moments as my Matt Fraction interview. So you know I like my science fiction. And yet? I missed this. And when I wake up, it's six weeks later and I find that this show has too much meat to for me to catch up. I'm a small town boy. I have no TiVO!

So, the island and I never meet. It is what it is. Glad it's popular. Glad Hurley gives hope for factors. But the audience is limited at best.

2) You cannot get good by Episode Six.

I love Reaper. Really and truly. Ray Wise is the best supporting actor in a comedy series and the Emmys are a farce until he gets recognized. But the first part of the season was awful. The superhero will they-won't they I can't tell my secret identity was just lame. And I almost dropped the show. I'm glad I didn't. But I almost did.

Dollhouse just got interesting on Episode Six as well. There were three twists that made the end of the episode awesome. Not to mention the fact that Patton Oswalt can act. That makes me want to see Big Fan. It will be the next effort of the dude who wrote The Wrestler.

Patton for Best Actor? Perhaps.

Anyway...the reason why you can't wait for Episode Six to get good is because the casual fan who may be willing to try an episode or two is already gone. Not to say that the talent for Dollhouse didn't beat the fact that episode six was going to change the game into many brains, but it barely made a dent in the ratings. Now we'll watch to see what happens in further episodes.

Okay. You had me be opinionated. You had me pontificate. You waited paitently. So here's a free Eliza Dushku photo.

Eliza Pictures, Images and Photos

It has a basketball. Thereby it fills my sports promise.


Rethinking the Packer draft...

Now we're here in the in-between time of the draft. And if you look at my previous effort? You will notice that several of the players I have chosen are rising up the draft boards. My top four have gone up in value. So, I have to come out and rethink this.

So I will. Because I love my readers.

1) B.J. Raji NT Boston College

Now I am dubious to whether or not he'll be there at 9. But he is a big, tough space eater going down and facing your center. If he's there? He'd be the perfect anchor for a team switching over to the magic of the 3-4 defense.

2) Jarron Gilbert DE San Jose State

And you know what? Even at this point he still may be at the lower end of his draft stock. You saw the youtube. You saw the draftguys.tv spot. Jarron Gilbert may find his way into the end of the first round when we're done.

This is why I want Crabtree to fall to 9 and the Eagles on the Phone. I'd be willing to go up to 28 to get him. I like him that much. Jarron Gilbert will be a force of nature.

3) Darcel McBath FS Texas Tech

Now everybody is excited about Sean Smith and his size and athleticism, and I'm not here to rain on that parade. He is good. But Darcel McBath? He is good Day 2 value. He has better quickness and lateral agility than given credit for. He could be a cornerback in a pinch.

But he's a leader in the defensive backfield. He's best as a ballhawk. He's great in run support. In fact, let's call it like this. He's Darren Sharper with instincts. You want some of that? I want some of that.

3b) Coye Francies CB San Jose State

There are a few cornerbacks where you really probably should throw the 40 time out with. Malcolm Jenkins is one. Joe Burnett and Macho Harris are others. But Coye Francies has a listed 4.63 40-time according to nfldraftscout.com. So the question comes? Is he quick enough? He's as quick as tag team partner Christopher Owens (who's 40-time is 2 tenths of a second faster.)Yes. He has the physical, instinctive game, with the loose hips in coverage that remind me of a young Al Harris. And the 40 time means he's still available here.

But drafting two guys from San Jose State? Trust me. The defense was not the issue. Not by a longshot.

4) Troy Kropog OT Tulane

He doesn't have the mean streak or the right tackle power of a Fenoki Tenopu, but that may not be necessary in a zone-blocking scheme. He engages his blocks, and even if it's more of a catch than a push, you aren't going to disengage. But as a pass blocker? He's got real skill. He's savvy enough to pick up blitzers and other such schemes. He's quick enough to handle speed rushers.

5) Sammie Lee Hill DT Stillman

On potential alone? Hill may jump up a round or two. How many 330 pounders are quick enough to be a 3-4 defensive end? Hill can. But we're drafting Hill to see if he couldn't be a Nose Tackle. And when he gets low? The man can eat centers for brunch. He has great power when his leverage is right.

The only problem is obvious. He is still raw in terms of hand placement and getting low. A good defensive line coach makes him spectacular. Hill has high character. It's not the case of the million dollar body with the ten cent head. He can get there.

6) Nate Davis QB Ball State

Now, I know. Just three weeks ago, he was my fifth quarterback taken. At this point? He's in an Andre Woodsonesque free fall. But while there was a certain lack of orthodoxy to his success, if he actually lands in Round 6? You look at the gifts. And he reminds you of Troy Smith with his upside. He's a mobile quarterback with a cannon for an arm. You know he won't start right away at this point, and if the light comes on? He's an asset and a half.

At the very least? He tells Brian Brohm that he can't get too comfortable after he couldn't beat out Matt Flynn.

6a) Lee Robinson OLB Alcorn State

Now some would say take Aaron Maybin at 9. And you know what, if Raji wasn't there? I would at least consider it. But here? Here you have the perfect 3-4 Outside Linebacker. His coverage skills are somewhat sketchy. I will admit that. But that being said? Going downhill, there are few linebackers better in this draft. He can disengage those who wish to pick him up. And he can keep the trash away at the line of scrimmage. He very well could be Aaron Maybin at 1/100th the price.

7) Chris Ogbonnaya RB Texas

I like him a lot. He's a bit of a hybrid between BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Matt Forte. He's a hard-charging one cut runner who came into Texas as a wideout. He has good quickness and a decent power game. And he's a high character guy who can help on special teams with the soft hands of a wide receiver. And in a league where anybody can come off the street and be a fantasy football hall of famer at running back, isn't it important to have reasons to like a guy? I think so.

I know, this draft looks weird. Smaller schools and Texas. But you know what? I like it. I'm going to give myself an A for the day.



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Matt Stafford's fall.

Now, we all know that it seems as if Jason Smith is going to be the #1 pick in this years draft. And you know what? It's a perfectly okay pick. I kind of caught a riser when I did my thought exercise.

(To say nothing of Jarron Gilbert, but that's another story.)

But the question then remains, where does Stafford fall to?

Now sure, Marc Bulger is about 1/5th the man he used to be. But the Rams? They like Eugene Monroe. And it's a good fit. (And they have spectacular needs at other positions as well. Not to mention that whole copycat league thing.)

So if not the Rams, and we know what the Chiefs have done, do the Seahawks take an heir apparent for Hasselbeck? They could. But they reloaded with Houshmanzahdeh and they have an opportunity to greatly aid their defense with B.J. Raji. They may try to reload here and see about someone on the Nate Davis, Pat White plane later.

The Browns may not be happy with where they stand at quarterback, but their defense was spectaculawful last season, and the Braylon Edwards question probably has more to do with this than any bad performances from Horse Balls and Dr. Quinn.

Bengals have Carson Palmer and he should be healthy.

Raiders have JaMarcus Russell and it is only year two of him as a starter.

The Jaguars? Not if Michael Crabtree falls here. They have a team that, as before and as forever, is one wide receiver away from glory. Garrard is tolerable. If Crabtree is here? Crabtree goes here.

Green Bay obviously doesn't need a quarterback. Obviously. But that being said? Ted Thompson is more than willing to listen to a fair offer to move up here. If the Niners don't pay attention? Some team like the Broncos or the Bears could be snaking their dream scenario.

Now the Niners have a dream coming true if Stafford falls here. There is a 99 and 44/100th chance of an upgrade at quarterback if they decide to take Matt Stafford. Now, sure, they could want an Andre Smith or a Brian Orapko. But I think Niners fan would have a vintage fit of pique of they pass on Stafford.

Matt Stafford will fall. And it will be the storyline ESPN will beat into the ground. But if he gets past #10? Then somebody is making a big mistake.

And this is from the guy who deigned call him a possible Joey Harrington. Imagine if somebody who liked him imagined him falling to #11 or beyond.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ten things I learned in this tournament's first weekend.

Oh hi. Did you miss me? Yeah. I know you didn't. But I spent this weekend watching basketball, and polishing the old screenplay.

What? A blogger with a screenplay? COME ON!

But since I'm a man who likes to share what he's learned. Here we go.

1) When in doubt, trust Non-Conference Strength of Schedule if you want a surprise.

Cleveland State had a NCF SOS of 68, Wake Forest had one in the 200's. Siena had a NCF SOS of 2, Ohio State's was 74. Wisconsin beat Florida State in every aspect of the strength of schedule. Yeah, sure this is imperfect numberology, but it dovetails into number two...

2) There better be some other aspect for you to trust in if you want to see an upset pulled.

Western Kentucky won because Chester Frazier could not play. You saw the furious comeback the Illini made at the end of the game, right? Imagine if they had the guy that could make off with the turnovers throughout.

And it also explains Arizona. They were a much more experienced team then they were last year, when they were crappy with the #1 strength of schedule. But they have two guaranteed lottery picks, and you know there are a lot of people who can do magic when the have a chip on their shoulders.

That explains why the team nobody wanted is in the Sweet 16.

3) I hate no calls.

The way you call the first 39 minutes of the game should not change in minute 40. And no, I'm not bitter about the VCU-UCLA game. The upset should have happened, but Collison did get arm. He'd admit it.

4) I also hate Arizona as Cinderella.

Check my twitter. It explains all.

5) I love people sleeping on Pittsburgh.

Why? Because East Tennessee State was a 14 seed sleeping in the 16 seed bracket. They were going to scare someone. It just happened to be the Panthers. And Oklahoma State? Check their Non-Conference strength of schedule. It was top 5. They'll reestablish themselves this next weekend.

6) Gary Williams will always win one more game than he's supposed to.
If he makes the tournament.

7) Bob Huggins will lose one more game than he's supposed to.

Unless he's playing Duke.

8) My heart hates the way this tournament is going.

Even if I have my Elite 8 intact for the first time ever.

9) Carter Blackburn is my favorite CBS Sports announcer.

Because he sounds like failed WWE Superstar Mike Adamle. And that is something you cannot put a price on.

10) Conference RPI is essentially ballast.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Western Kentucky are the Red Drank.

Oh look, another NCAA Liveblog!

Hi! Welcome! Analysis to come shortly.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How does the Final 4 Go?

Memphis beats Michigan State. It will be harsh and severe. Like 2005. Michigan State runs out of miracles here.

Pittsburgh just has too much talent for Oklahoma.

And of course? Memphis wins it all.

South Projections...

Round 1
1 North Carolina
16 Radford

Radford cannot take care of the ball. Lawson not being there will be meaningless to the end result.

9 Butler

LSU. When I'm in doubt, I always trust a teams ability to win the turnover battle. And LSU, while not tournament tested, has the size and experience to win the hustle battles as well as the turnover battles. Butler will be back. But this year? The Tigers get the win.

5 Illinois
12 Western Kentucky

Chester Frazier is going to be a loss that looms large. Western Kentucky is not great at taking care of the ball. But without Frazier? Illinois cannot take care of the weakness. Now that doesn't mean they won't be able to force bad shots, but the offensive strength for Western Kentucky is in their 1-3. And they can hit from deep and their spindly center will be able to work the offensive glass. Upset lives here.

4 Gonzaga
13 Akron

Gonzaga looks like they can win by 20. Akron can get steals, but with the broad base of skills the Zags have shown this season? Akron doesn't have much a chance to pull a steal. Zags will at least get one.

6 Arizona St.
11 Temple

Both teams have a similar sort of style to them. Slow pace. Big strength is in the two-guard. Both force bad looks. Both are good shooting teams. Both take care of the ball with some aplomb. So? Arizona State. They are stylistically better.

3 Syracuse
14 Stephen F. Austin

Herein lies the rub of instinct. If you think a team like Stephen F. Austin can win, and you know I do. But I know Syracuse can get past Arizona State if they win here. So, I'm going to think on this out loud.

For Syracuse to win they are going to have to jump on Stephen F. Austin early. Flynn is dynamic, but he is not made to take care of the ball. The team does not have great free throw shooting either. This means if Stephen F. Austin can keep it close?

Also? Syracuse has not been a team that provides a threatening frontcourt. The Lumberjacks have Matt Kingsley and little else down low, but this is a team that they can go toe to toe with. It is a veteran team. They have amazing perimter defense. It can take care of the ball.

I have gone back and forth here. I really do think Stephen F. Austin can win here. But the flashes of Holy Cross and their quixotic run in the early parts of the decade are dancing through my head. But in the world of one man, one bracket?

Damn the broadcasters, SFA is a-ok.

7 Clemson
10 Michigan

Michigan has poor interior defense. Michigan struggles from beyond the arc. Clemson can work it in down low. Michigan can't take advantage of Clemson's poor perimiter defense. So? Clemson advances.

2 Oklahoma
15 Morgan St.

Morgan State is a tough team. Their defense is fierce. They may take Oklahoma to the limit in this game. But Blake Griffin will be just too strong here.

Round 2
1 North Carolina

If Lawson is not healthy, then LSU could be shocking the world. They have the defensive intensity and experienced guardplay to hang in with the Heels. Tasmin Mitchell could handle Hansborough. And Marcus Thornton could go crazy.

But with the qualifier out of the way? North Carolina is on a mission. If Bobby Frasor and Larry Drew are merely steady? They should be able to move onward. LSU has struggled versus quality teams this season.

12 Western Kentucky
4 Gonzaga

The turnover advantage that Illinois just couldn't exploit? Gonzaga can. Team PMS can keep it close for a while, maybe even a long while. But in this instance I trust the Zags. (PMS = Pettigrew, Mendez-Valdez, Slaughter)

6 Arizona St.
14 Stephen F. Austin

Can the Lumberjacks make the Sweet 16? I don't think so. James Harden is a real live superstar without the flaws of the Orangemen. They'll keep it close. But they won't win.

7 Clemson
2 Oklahoma

Clemson is a foul prone team that does not limit second looks on the offensive glass. Oklahoma has Blake Griffin. Sometimes? Logic is just as simple as that.

Sweet 16
1 North Carolina
4 Gonzaga

UNC because I think Ty Lawson is healthy by this point. This will be the game they hype the shit out of. But it should be a classic. The key to victory? Oddly enough, Danny Green. The Zags can't handle the three very well. If Green's gunning? Then it's an elite UNC.

6 Arizona St.
2 Oklahoma

If you're a fan of individual players? You have to love this potentiality. Harden versus Blake Griffin. But while James Harden may be able to keep it interesting? The Sun Devils are not great at cleaning the offensive glass.

Elite 8
1 North Carolina
2 Oklahoma

Willie Warren is the key here. Blake Griffin is going to be Blake Griffin in the low post. And that will keep them shiny. But if Willie Warren (or to a similar extent Austin Johnson, Cade Davis, or Tony Crocker) is hot from three. It won't matter how healthy UNC is. OU has taken on challenges all year. They will be rewarded for it here.

East Bound And Down Projections

Round 1
1 Pittsburgh
16 E. Tennessee St.

I like Courtney Pigram and Kevin Tiggs, and I think they have a chance to keep it below 20. But they can't rebound. DeJuan Blair can go for 25-25 in this one.

8 Oklahoma St.
9 Tennessee

I love the Cowboys in this one. They can take care of the ball. They can limit offensive rebounds. And they are sharpshooters. For a team that is marginal to bad at stopping good looks like Tennessee? That means you get the Cowboys.

5 Florida St.
12 Wisconsin

Pomeroy loves the Badgers. And why not? Florida State is bad at limiting an offenses second look as well as taking care of the ball. And the Badgers can take care of the ball and get second looks. But for a team with good size like the Seminoles? I know how the script is going to go. Toney Douglas and the tall trees of the Seminoles inside are going to eat the Badgers alive in the final minutes.

I wish I was homer enough to give the Badgers the 5-12 win. I just can't.

4 Xavier
13 Portland St.

There is also a high potential for upset here. A team unfazed by taking down a giant with a fanbase that doesn't have to travel that far. They can hit the threes. They are decent at generating turnovers (and Xavier sucks at taking care of the ball). They were here last year, and they have good guards. The problem? Most of their losses? They were to teams with height to them. Xavier is a tall team. A tall team that can hit 3's. My instinct is to get upset nuts. But I cannot.

11 VCU

Take Virginia Commonwealth. UCLA struggles to draw fouls. This brings Larry Sanders into the game as a raw but an absolutely adequate future Jarvis Varnardo. This leads Eric Maynor to have more room to maneuver. UCLA also has bad perimeter defense. Maynor has to touch the stardom of two years ago. I think he can.

3 Villanova
14 American

Villanova in Philadelphia. It's a team that's kind of good at everything. Donte Cunningham should have a lot of room to work with. They have a deep backcourt. American won't go out like a punk, but it's a veteran team that has to destroy it from beyond the arc and take care of the ball. Long odds of that.

7 Texas
10 Minnesota

This is going to be fun. Or painful. It all depends on whether you like "Hair of the Dog" by Nazareth. Well, nothing against the A-team of Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg. But this is built for Gus Johnson or Bill Rafferty. Both teams love to shotblock. Both teams have excellent perimeter defense. Neither team has great offense. The difference in this game? The turnover battle. Minnesota has lived and died by their ability to generate more turnovers than they give up. Texas can take care of the ball. This is why they advance.

2 Duke
15 Binghamton

Please. One, it's in Greensboro. Two, Binghamton already fouls too much to overcome Duke's fancy footwork and phantom flopping. Three, they don't take care of the ball very well. The fighting Tony Kornheisers time will come. Next season.

Round 2
1 Pittsburgh
8 Oklahoma State

Remember the year when Xavier was game but ultimately lost to Ohio State in overtime? It's not going to follow the same script. Oklahoma State is fast and can hit threes, but a 4 guard attack is catnip for Pittsburgh. If Pittsburgh controls the tempo, and it's a lot more likely to happen? The Panthers walk to the Sweet 16.

4 Xavier
5 Florida State

Both teams have one similar flaw. They are not great at generating turnovers. Both teams have one different advantage. Toney Douglas is veteran and one of the better guards Xavier will see. But Xavier will get second chance looks. So who wins?


11 VCU
3 Villanova

Virginia Commonwealth will be game, but the Larry Sanders show ends here. Donte Cunningham is veteran and the Wildcats can draw fouls pretty effectively. Then, it's just a matter of Scottie Reynolds forcing Eric Maynor into trying to do too much. Nova to the Sweet 16.

7 Texas
2 Duke

There will be no second round schadenfreude here. Put it simply. Duke can generate offense. Texas cannot. If Duke struggled to take care of the ball? Things would be different. But they can. So they go to the Sweet 16.

Sweet 16

1 Pittsburgh
4 Xavier

It was an easy choice here. Xavier may be taller and they may have a tough front court. But Levance Fields and Gilbert Brown will be the differencemakers here. It will be closer than my confidence indicates. But Xavier's struggles with the turnovers are the doomswitch.

3 Villanova
2 Duke

I have no empirical analysis here. Both sides are very evenly matched. But I choose Villanova. Their defense is strong. They will force bad shots. And Elliot Williams is a freshman. Odds are he can't beat them.

Also, fuck Duke.

Elite Eight
1 Pittsburgh
3 Villanova

Yeah, Villanova beat Pittsburgh by 10. But that was at home. This is a veteran team with good experience. But then again? So is Villanova. Let's break it down. Pitt will win the rebounding battle. And Pitt will win the Turnover battle.

Chalk it up for Pitt.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

West Coast: Bringing The Heat

Round 1
1 Connecticut
16 Chattanooga

Mediocre and veteran is still mediocre. Take UConn. Feel good about it.

9 Texas A&M

Both teams are good but flawed. BYU is a great shooting team, but an inside threat can eat it alive. Texas A&M is a team that can draw fouls excellently and rebound decently, but they are poor versus a good three point shooting team. Oh hai? BYU has 4 starters that have a 37 percent shooting percentage beyond the arc. TAKE THE MORMONS!

5 Purdue
12 Northern Iowa

The question is, can the giant Jordan Egelseder get the ball where he wants to. If he can? Then UNI can keep it close. If not? Purdue can win in a walk. UNI is good, but they're a tad too youthful. I think JaJuan Johnson will control the game.

4 Washington
13 Mississippi St.

For being such an excellent shotblocking team, the fighting Jarvis vanardo's are soo poor at rebounding. Washington? Spectacular at generating second chance opportunities off of misses. Also? If Jay Mariotti says you will shock the world, you will lose.

6 Marquette
11 Utah St.

Marquette has a simple script to win the game. Disrupt the passing lanes and get Gary Wilkinson into foul trouble. They do both? Then it would take a bad shooting night to lose. My one-time stealth final four pick at least gets one.

3 Missouri
14 Cornell

A sharpshooting team always finds a way to stay in the game. And even with a solid defense that generates a tremendous amout of steals and an excellent low post presence, Cornell is not going to be one of those teams down by 21 at the half. They're not going to win? But they'll be a good sparring partner.

7 California
10 Maryland

Cal is the pick here. The Golden Bears are a sharpshooting team that can take care of the ball. They are better at stopping second chance looks. They can't generate turnovers, but they will not likely lose the turnover battle. If it comes down to stars? I would trust Cal's Jerome Randle.

2 Memphis
15 CSU Northridge

Memphis. You don't need an analysis as to why.

Round 2
1 UConn

Remember when I said that a team with a good low-post can eat BYU alive? Hi, Hasheem Thabeet. Hi, Jeff Adrien. Welcome to the Sweet 16.

4 Washington
5 Purdue

Washington is great at rebounding. Purdue not so much. Purdue's great at field goal defense. Washington is already not a great shooting team. Purdue's better at generating turnovers. JaJuan Johnson is more of a talent than Jon Brockman. A healthy Robbie Hummell makes it no contest.

3 Missouri
6 Marquette

If Dominic James was helthy, this would have been different. But Missouri is just too strong down low. Marquette can keep it interesting, but this game is Missouri's to win. Leo Lyons FTW.

2 Memphis
7 California

Memphis cannot hit the three. But you know what? It doesn't matter. They're a veteran team who will dominate down low, win the turnover battle, and manage the game on offense. Cal's a good team. Memphis is a great one.

Sweet 16
1 UConn
5 Purdue

Purdue will win the turnover battle. They have all their stars healthy. They will have better guard play. UConn will draw more fouls and get more second chance looks. They will make Purdue take bad shots. They still have A.J. Price willing to take the big shot.

So you see? Evenly matched. A man who found me weird but funny once has a rule. One conference always dominates a tournament. And I just get the sense that Purdue will have a shot at glory.

3 Missouri
2 Memphis

I do like Memphis and I will pick Memphis. But that being said? Leo Lyons can make millions of dollars with a warrior's performance here. And if Missouri can get out and run? This will usurp Gonzaga-UNC as the #1 sweet 16 potential match-up. But Memphis will win, and losing here is no disgrace

Elite 8
5 Purdue
2 Memphis

Trust in Memphis. They are going up against a game but ultimately weaker team on paper. The strengths in the UConn game for the Boilermakers disappear here. Memphis is the Final 4 team. All hail the age of Calipari.

The Midwest Projections

Round 1
1 Louisville
16 Alabama St./Morehead St.

Obvious pick is obvious. I want Chief Kickingstallionsims to make it past the play-in game. But betting on a 16 to beat a 1 is like betting on getting a Royal Flush. It will happen eventually, but you can't take it.

8 Ohio State
9 Siena

Siena is a scrappy team with good tournament experience. Kenny Hansbrouck is a go-to guy. They generate a lot of turnovers, and this was a team that took it to the Sweet 16 last year. But as for Ohio State? They have Evan Turner, B.J. Mullens, and a short trip down I-70 with a slight turn on I-75. Their size and inside game mean they advance.

5 Utah
12 Arizona

Does Arizona deserve to be here? No. Can they win? They do have a triumverate. Will they win? No. No momentum going into the tournament does not equal the miracle 5-12 upset. I take Utah.

4 Wake Forest
13 Cleveland St.

This really does look like an upset. Jeff Teague struggles to take care of the ball, and the Vikings have two people with fast hands in Cedric Jackson and D'Aundray Brown. Cleveland State already has a big win over a Top 4 seed. Gary Waters is an excellent coach. But they are quite undersized and Wake Forest has talent in the low post. I think this game will be fun to watch. But I just cannot pull the trigger on the upset.

6 West Virginia
11 Dayton

West Virginia is going to pummel Dayton. Dayton is a poor shooting team that wins by hitting the offensive glass hard. West Virginia is a mediocre shooting team that wins by shotblocking, hitting the offensive glass hard, and defending the perimeter. They can beat Dayton's press. And they will advance.

3 Kansas
14 North Dakota St.

This is a game that everybody wants to see as an upset. And there is a lot to it. The Bison are an experienced team of bombers. Ben Woodside and Brett Winkleman are very talented go-to guys. And it will be a semi-home game for them.

But can they pull it off? As much as I want to say it. And my first instinct is to go with the upset. But I just can't. I expect it to go down to the last shot. And I expect a no-call. Kansas advances.

7 Boston College
10 USC

If Taj Gibson plays Taj Gibson's game? Boston College has no answer for it. I say that it's going to happen. Boston College gets their shots blocked and their USC's 1-4 is just too strong for Boston College to handle.

2 Michigan St.
15 Robert Morris

One year, I had a gut feeling that Winthrop was a fifteen seed and could take out #2 seed Tennessee. I don't see it here. Robert Morris will be game. But Michigan state will win it by at least 15.

Round 2
1 Louisville
8 Ohio St.

Now I know Louisville has a tendency to get tripped up by mediocre teams. And I know that Ohio State is a sharp-shooting team that can block shots. Louisville has an inside presence that can tamp down their game. Louisville will be advancing to the Sweet 16.

4 Wake Forest
5 Utah

This is something of an obvious choice. Whereas Wake Forest would have trouble with their first match-up in the draw. You have a team that plays man and can't generate steals. This is catnip for the Wakes. This is why they will win.

3 Kansas
6 West Virginia

Kansas struggles to take care of the ball. And with a defense as strong as West Virginia's? They will make the Jayhawks suffer. I feel like this would be a 71-58 win for the Mountaineers.

2 Michigan St.
10 USC

There are two reasons why you have to go to Michigan State here. 1) Kalin Lucas is a better point guard than Daniel Hackett. 2) This is why Michigan State is better than taking care of the ball. Trust this. Sparty makes it to weekend two.

Sweet 16
1 Louisville
4 Wake Forest

Louisville is going to bring the pain here. Pitino's press promises pain for promising point guard Jeff Teague. Sure, they can keep it close. Wake has good defense. But Louisville will win the Turnover battle. Thereby they get to the elite eight.

2 Michigan St.
6 West Virginia

And the winner of the rebounding battle is going to win this game. And while the Mountaineers can generate a good second chance opportunity or two? They won't be able to stop Sparty from doing their own second chancery. Chalky? Sure. But that's how it goes.

Elite 8
1 Louisville

2 Michigan State

Michigan State's defense will be tough. They will likely win the rebounding battle. The may lose the turnover battle. But if it goes shot for shot? Who do you trust in this matter. Kalin Lucas or Edgar Sosa?

I choose Kalin Lucas. Sparty gets the Midwest. Yeah.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Josh McDaniels may be a good coach...

And Jay Cutler is a bit of a dick. This is why nobody likes the Broncos-Chargers rivalry when both sides are gunslinging. But you know what?

Josh McDaniels needs to grow the fuck up.

You're the authority figure dealing with the fevered egos. And you have not had any success as a professional coach. So when you decide that you want to go after a quarterback that's not the first round pick that at the very least knows how to make it happen versus most teams? You need to be polite.

You cannot act like the Belichick yet. In this day and age. The disciplinarian needs cachet before they can get anywhere. The Hoodie and Parcells were highly regarded assistants before they took their shots. And neither one of them was able to get rolling right off the bat.

Hell, the Hoodie failed in his first shot.

It's not as if you have to be milquetoast. You can have a spine. But here's the question that you have to ask yourself here. You want to have a locker room that hates you and a rookie quarterback who's likely to fall on their face?

Or do you want known upside? I'd take the upside.

The Grand National Guide to the Big Dance...

I have shown you a lot of things about College Basketball. I have shown you who to love. I have shown you who to be annoyed with (Arizona). But for today? I will tell you all the things you need to know. Yay!

In list form! Boo!

The Round 1 (One on One) Match-Ups I'm excited for.
1) Eric Maynor vs. Darren Collison VCU vs. UCLA (This is the best point guard battle in round one that everybody knows about. Speed kills, and both of them have it. Maynor's shocked the world before, can he do it again?)
2) Josh Carter vs. Lee Cummard Texas A&M vs. BYU (A great match-up of tall two guards. Josh Carter is the super-offensive player. Deadly from beyond the arc, at the line, and he takes care of the ball.)
3) James Harden vs. Dionte Christmas Arizona State vs. Temple (Harden is a top three pick and a salad bar of offensive skills as well as getting fast hands. Dionte Christmas is a gunner with an awesome name who is tasked to stop him.)
4) Trevor Booker vs. DeShawn Sims Clemson vs. Michigan (A battle of undersized low-post threats. Booker is a good shooter, great rebounder and shot-blocker, an excellent anticipation of passing lanes, and he draws fouls without committing too many. Sims is a better offensive player who will protect the ball. This will be an excellent battle.)
5) Ben Woodside vs. Sherron Collins North Dakota State vs. Kansas (Ben Woodside is a top-notch offenseive player. He can score. He can distribute. He can draw fouls without committing them. Sherron Collins is a step up in weight class. But if the Bison would be Cinderella? He needs to get the win here.)

Most Likely to shock the world (13 seeds and higher most likely to take a game. Or lose by like two.)

1) Cleveland State (Excellent defense. Fast hands. They generate turnovers. And Teague is young, and Wake cannot take care of the ball.)
2) North Dakota State (They can shoot the lights out. 4 starters are 39% or better from beyond the arc. I know Kansas is a very talented team. The Bison's shots need to fall to win, but I would not be stunned if they don't. After all, The B-Magic extends to nicknames too.)
3) Stephen F. Austin (I know, this is my pick to click. A deliberate team that plays excellent perimeter defense. They control the tempo? They get second chance baskets? They will shock the Cuse. The Cuse aren't great at stopping the offensive rebound.)
4) Mississippi State (I don't trust teams that have to kill themselves to get to the tournament. I don't trust teams with Freshman point guards. But that's just me. Washington is a poor shooting team. Jarvis Vanardo is an intimidating force inside. This could be a game where Mississippi State has 35 minutes of domination and just runs out of gas.)
5) American (Pomeroy gives them a 1 in 10 shot. But it's Villanova in Philly. Garrison Carr is a gamer, but I'm just putting them there to make five.)

Second Weekend Drama (A.K.A. There's always one team that sneaks into the final four)
1) West Virginia (A Huggins coached team knows how to defend. Dayton should be an easy win. If they can control the physicality, they can beat Kansas. And Michigan State has the same sort of style as West Virginia. If you like fouls? After that? Two losses by 9 points to Louisville.)
2) UCLA (If they can get past round 2? Duke is very winnable. They play the same style as Pitt who just seems like they cannot get over the hump.)
3) Arizona State (Glaser-Harden-Pendergraph and a veteran coach of the ACC wars in Herb Sendek can do well if they get past the 3/14 game. They may be talented enough to handle Oklahoma. And the UNC-Gonzaga winner? They can take it. And if not?)
4) Gonzaga (They can make the run.)
5) Whoever emerges from the 4/5 pod in the East

More to come later.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Selection Sunday LiveBlog

One of a million. Coming soon.

Now everybody is going to give you a ranking of last 4 in and first 4 out...

And you know what? I will too. With USC in and Baylor out, some would say that a bid has been stolen. Now I say that Joe Lunardi is just being sagacious. USC did enough when they beat UCLA.

That being said? If I do not make a suggestion of the Last four and First four out, I will be doing a disservice to the blogosphere. So here we go now.

Last 4 in:
Maryland (Inconsistent play is overcome with a batch of high quality wins toward the end.)
San Diego State (Their computer numbers are hard to deny.)
Michigan (Michigan's SOS is just too strong to deny with their passable RPI. 43/14. It has to get in.)
Auburn (They are the hottest team in the Big Six going into the tournament, and if you note that Kovortney Barber was injured while they scuffled through the non-conference schedule. They get in.)

First 4 out:
Penn State (Only one team has had a worse RPI and got in. If they beat Iowa in their last regular season game? They would have been in.)
Creighton (Like I said, they got destroyed in their final game. It killed Illinois State last year. It means Creighton will be dead this year.)
St. Mary's (CA) (Can the random post conference tournament game wash away the pain of losing to the Zags by 24? I say no. But the NCAA may make me a liar.)
New Mexico (The best conference champion. Their fatal flaw is that their RPI and SOS is just not strong enough for them to make the tournament with no wins in the conference tournament.)

But the way this year goes? You may find me a genius? A liar? Or somewhere in-between.

Keep watching.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What's the matter with Kansas Now?

Now, before last year with the magic of fat guy in a little coat as well as Supernintendo Chalmers, Kansas was a bracketological dreamcrusher. Badgers fans remember the ride in 2005 they went on because Bucknell took out the Jayhawks. And Patrick O'Bryant made millions off of the fact that Kansas couldn't handle his style next year.

But then there was a solid run in 2007 and 2008 brings us back to do. Then suddenly, out of the land of murder and Shannon Elizabeth, the Jayhawks got buzzbombed. Beaten. Bamboozled. Broken. Busted.

Baylor took step two of what just might be a magical run on the backs of the aforementioned Jayhawks. And a State Senator David Wysong? He took it as well as can be expected.

The Kansas Senate on Thursday adopted a resolution that says the Kansas University men’s basketball team should no longer play teams that start with the letter “B” in March.

Despite KU’s reigning national championship and history of basketball excellence, the killer B-team losses to Bucknell in 2005, Bradley in 2006 -- both in the NCAA Tournament — and Baylor earlier Thursday in the Big 12 Tournament produce too much “heartache” among Jayhawk fans, the resolution stated.

The resolution by state Sen. David Wysong, R-Mission Hills, an avid KU fan, was adopted on a voice vote just before the Senate adjourned for the day.

Because the culture of Kansas needed to be healed because Curtis Jerrels had a good day, David Wysong wasted an entire state's time. Why? The firmly entrenched politician, who clearly looks like a weirdo raper guy, needed an ego boost.

But at least he knows what Animal Husbandry is*. So there's that.


Can the Brewers thread the needle?

Yes. The Brewers can thread the needle. On paper? They don't look as good as the Cardinals or the Cubs. But as Brian Moynahan kept talking me down last September, I realized something.

I need to have faith. And there are three reasons where your Milwaukee Brewers may not have had the window slam in their faces. I will go from likeliest to least likely.

1) The Bullpen will be better.

It's a reasonable expectation. At the very least? We know what we're getting straight away. Hoffman will be a decent closer as he runs for 600 saves. Carlos Villanueva has the 8th inning on lockdown. Seth McClung grew by leaps and bounds last year. Todd Coffey is intriguing. And the Brewers could find a LOOGY.

And no Eric Gagne! That's just good karma. Don't trust what Al's Ramblings says, he believes that cold weather is a reason why Global Warming doesn't exist. And Eric Gagne is gone.

2) The offense touches its upside.

62.5% of the starting line-up is still under 27. And you know what this means? A combined consolidation season from Braun, Fielder, Hardy, Hart, and Weeks in 2008 could mean something more in '09. Baseball Prospectus noted that they were only worth two more wins in 2008 than 2007.

If Hart or Weeks explodes with the cream of an 8th grade boy on offense, or if Braun and Fielder haven't touched the sky of their talent? What we have here is a team that does not need the same margin of error from their pitching staff.

3) A B compared to 2008 from the starters.

If the offesnive youth energy comes upwards, then the Sabathia-Sheets diad will not be near as missed. I know Gallardo can bring it. If he stays healthy, he can be able to give a good account of what Ben Sheets had. So what does that leave for the Brewers?

Chris Capuano as CC Sabathia, Don't laugh.

...Now you're hurting my feelings.

Okay, let's look at his previous base of skills using the BP-approved level of VORP.

2005: 35.5
2006: 41.1

Obviously, it's not the level of Sabathia. But you know what? When Sabathia was a Brewer? His VORP was 51.9. If Capuano can come back to his 2006 levels? It will be just like adding a starter for the stretch drive.

If not? C'est la vie for small windows.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Strange Day in Bubbletown.

Now we'll break it down by conference, but some odd things have happened today. And you have to stop and reassess. We know what we know. But let's reassess it here.

ACC: The six locks are the same. (UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State, and Boston College). Maryland got to the semifinals. And as such? There are five keys to look at here. Record/RPI/SOS/Top 50 Record/Last 10 games.

Maryland: (20-12) 9-9 49/22 4-7 6-4

You have to think they've done enough. A look at this resume compared to other resumes along the way of the bubble watch? Especially considering they did beat Michigan. Fucking Michigan.

Big East: If your RPI is below Penn State's, you've got no chance of an at-large. Thus no to Providence. Seven bids. (Louisville, UConn, Pitt, Villanova, Marquette, Syracuse, and West Virginia).

Big 10: Penn State's done enough. Illinois, Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State and Minnesota join them. Michigan and Wisconsin?

Michigan: (19-13) 10-10 42/11 6-11 5-5

I'll admit it. It's one that looks slightly better than my team. Slightly...

Wisconsin: (18-12) 10-9 43/13 4-10 7-3

...when you eliminate from consideration the fact that Michigan lost to the Badgers twice.

Big 12: It's a match-up of contrasting styles when Baylor takes on Missouri. Baylor is guard-oriented and built to score. Missouri is frontcourt oriented and built to press. Baylor needs to take the final step to make the NCAA's. But Mizzou is a bad match-up for the Bears. Otherwise? The Big 12 gets six. Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas A&M

Pac-10: As Arizona looks dead, the left for dead USC is suddenly in. The win over UCLA is their 20th win. 11th conference win. 4th win versus a team in the RPI top 50. They go back to the tournament after being dead not even a week ago.

SEC: FUBAR. If you're considering Florida on the outside looking in? South Carolina's resume is just as bad.

Florida: (23-10) 10-8 53/84 1-5 4-6
South Carolina: 21-9 (11-7) 59/93 0-4 5-5

Mississippi State's RPI is still in Providence levels, so you can't really consider them. But what about Auburn? It's a resume that could use another win, but there's one number I want you to pay attention to.

Auburn: 21-10 (11-6) 58/67 2-3 9-1

Yeah, Jeff Lebo's team is coming together. And in a world with similar resumes, the selection committee will hang on to any positive that they can think of. This means that Auburn will be the SEC's third team.

Mountain West: Three berths. San Diego State got to the finals. No excuse for them not to be with BYU and Utah. New Mexico is out because they cross into the 70's with the RPI.

Atlantic 10: With the scrappy Duquesne Dukes making the finals versus Temple? An at-large berth has been stolen (because it was supposed to be Xavier and Dayton). For a comparison point? We'll discuss Temple as an at-large.

Temple: 21-11 (13-5) 33/42 2-5 8-2

If they lose? Tennessee winning out is a big deal for their hopes. Because some mid-major has to win the shaft. And the fighting Bill Cosby's may have to dig it.

C-USA: Memphis beats Tulsa and we can all relax.

Missouri Valley: For Creighton's benefit...

Creighton: 26-7 (15-5) 41/111 2-2 9-1

I know last year is last year. But this team got its ass kicked in the semis by Illinois State. Nobody's considering them an NCAA team. I mean, last year the selection committee torched the selfsame Redbirds for their choke job. But is Creighton safer because they got burned in the Semis? Who watches the ESPNU?

Horizon: Cleveland State and Butler. That's all you need to know.

WAC: Utah State needs to win out. They have not played much and losing to Nevada is bad luck and with this bubble, a malicious wounding.

So with the 34 at large berths and 31 conference champs. (Shows my readership that I never got called on a previous fuckup.) We essentially have 62 teams locked in. So? How do I delineate who's in with who's out?

I honestly don't know. Utah State and Creighton will have strong computer numbers. What if Duqusene and Baylor win? I'm doing this as strict gut work.

Last 4 In

First 4 Out
New Mexico

Number 65 will all come down to a 10 point win in Ann Arbor on Janurary 2nd. God love college hoops.

The Duality of H and Y. The Day 1 Draft Breakdown Part The Third

Two smart people have said things that will make this position very interesting to watch come April. One, the fact that the NFL is a copycat league. If you notice one thing? Dustin Keller types are now in vogue. Pass catching is greater than than blocking.

H is greater than Y. But is it really a good thing? Brandon Pettigrew would have you believe otherwise. Mike Lombardi would have you believe otherwise. But you're not here for them? You're there for me.

Nelson, Shawn Pictures, Images and Photos

1. Shawn Nelson, Southern Miss
(6'5" 242, 4.56)

What you have here is the man voted most likely to be compared to Dustin Keller. He's a man with a timed combine speed of 4.56, he's a man with excellent hands. Quite frankly? He is going to be the first tight end taken. And unlike Keller, he can block a little too.

His weaknesses are minimal. He could use some polish on his route-running, and his blocking is mostly of the wall nature. But that being said? The former will get better with experience. And the latter? He does have a frame that can fill out.

Now, he's not going to be a ready-made member of a stud stable in the passing game. But he can be the short route guy and the dude who can run the seams like a stud. There's a chance that he can grow into something great. But he can be a pass-catching weapon straight away.

Brandon Pettigrew Pictures, Images and Photos

2. Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State
(6'6" 260 4.85)

Here's a man who reminds me so much of Bubba Franks it's not even funny. His kung-fu strength is in his power game. His pass-catching game is based on his ability to box out and get the short yardage safety vale goal line stuff. But his main strength? His ability to be a smaller offensive lineman.

But in a world of certain digitality? His game is sort of analog. He will not threaten any sort of the seam. But you know what else? He really can't break a tackle either. But if you can throw it to him? He will get it.

You may not be happy if your team drafts Brandon Pettigrew. But you shouldn't be up in arms. He's an excellent tight end, and he will be able to give his team a solid 7-8 year career

Cook, Jared Pictures, Images and Photos

3. Jared Cook, South Carolina
(6'5" 242 4.50)

If Pettigrew is the next Bubba Franks? Then there's a definite possibility that Cook is the next Vernon Davis. He is an overgrown wide receiver whose strength is in his athleticism. His 40-time is faster than Nelson's. He put up one more rep on the bench press than Pettigrew. And he does have the hands to take advantage of his 41" vertical.

But as Mike Singletary wanted to take a helmet upside Davis' head? Someone just might want to do the same to Cook. He is a very bad blocker. And he also has seen the bench for dogging it against Clemson in 2008. And for a man that fast? He has no improvisational skill. But that vision thing is something that can be trained.

Everybody in the NFL wants a player that they can dream on. Someone with the athleticism of an all-pro who just needs a little bit of training. You hit the pick, and it's just like hitting the lottery. But here's the deal. It's just like hitting a two-outer in hold 'em. You're happy it happened, but 95% of the time it doesn't.

Casey, James Pictures, Images and Photos

4. James Casey, Rice
(6'4" 246 4.71)

James Casey's best comparison is to a swiss army knife. You have someone who has played seven positions in one game. Someone who has a professional baseball worthy throwing arm. And he actually had a season on the Rice Track team. But as a tight end?

He was someone who made Jarrett Dillard that much better as the Number 2 option with Rice. Because as a receiver, he has great hands, and out of all the tight ends? His is the best at being elusive in terms of making you miss. And as the Wildcat stays in vogue? James Casey has that much more that he can bring to the table.

That being said? He is a 24 year old with two years of college experience. It does say something for his upside, but he is switching offensive schemes as well as needs to learn how to block in a more professional fashion.

But if you're a patient man? Dallas Clark upside resides here.

chase coffman game winning touchdown catch Pictures, Images and Photos

5. Chase Coffman, Missouri
(6'6" 252 4.83e)

His hands are the best in the draft. He has an ability to high angle and focus. He is a great route runner and he has an ability to get separation and find seams in the zone to get open. He's a hard worker and can find a way to play through pain.

But the reason why he's down the list? Simple. He's tall, but he's not football strong. He is not currently functional in blocking aspects of the game. And as I write this? He doesn't have a 40 time listed.

Now, Coffman may not have the upside of a James Casey or a Jared Cook. But you know what? He has great bloodlines and good football skills. His game reminds me of another alliterative tight end.

Protip: Chase Coffman cannot wear the hotpants.

And let's be honest. There is still plenty of value in Day 2. Cornelius Ingram, Travis Beckum. In fact?

I just might make a tight end sleeper post.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Homefield Advantage Is Always Important...

This is why I'm still wondering about Utah State getting the automatic berth. I'll be honest, this is like the dilemma of bear versus shark. Jokes about Stew Morrill aside, it's a question that solely depends on home court advantage.

See, while Nevada is sleek and has somebody named Luke Babbit who may grow up to be a killing machine. Utah State is lumbering. Beastly. Most every swipe can draw blood. And even if they go on the road?

If they can play their game on the edge of the water? They will come up with the fish. Nevada is not nearly as good of an attacker on land. See?


Fine. Let me try it this way. Luke Babbitt is a shark. Gary Wilkerson is a bear.

Gary Wilkerson is going to kick his ass.

I have nothing better to do so...

I have to give you a pew pew pew gif here. Teaching and the low cycle of manic depression. It is what it is.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Draft Day 1 Breakdown 2...

It's kind of an interesting thing to break down safeties. You have to match-up the value of the rangy centerfielder free safety and the burly tiny would be linebacker intimidator strong safety. How do you value them? Who would I rather have?

Read on and find out.

Louis Delmas Pictures, Images and Photos

1. Louis Delmas (FS-Western Michigan)
5'11" 202 4.53

There is no potential first round safety this year. Delmas is a slightly undersized free safety who plays downhill and provides excellent run support. He's violent, but not one of those guys who overruns everything. Not to say he won't on occasion? But with great ballhawk skills and great run support? There's a lot to like here.

Why are there worries? He is undersized. Undersized hitters get dinged up. He also isn't stiff, but his pass-coverage instincts are imperfect. And with a mediocre timed speed? It is something that he will need to work on.

But that being said? As a productive free safety/eighth man in the box? He is an excellent player. If you need safety help, he can be a pretty solid instant starter, and you're waiting until Round 2 to get him. He won't get past the Texans round two.

William Moore Pictures, Images and Photos

2. William Moore (SS-Missouri)
6'1" 221 4.53

Yes, physically and with the upside? You can trust in William Moore. But he has been a little bit oversized for a safety. He played at 230 last year. It meant fail for his Senior year. He doesn't have the technique to stay with speed receivers. And his instincts are a tad subpar.

But you know what? He's a great cover two safety. You let him roam? And he'll be an intimidator. Great athleticism. Outstanding when he's close enough to close, and if your quarterback starts birddogging? He will make you pay. And he will also killshot your receiver.

William Moore is a tailor-made Cover 2 safety. If your team runs the cover 2? You're golden. If not. Be patient with him. The lightbulb needs to turn on.

patrick chung Pictures, Images and Photos

3. Patrick Chung (SS-Oregon)
5'11" 212 4.54

He is the safety with nigh impeccable instincts when it comes to in the box play. His angles are imperfect, but that's something that can be worked on. He's an experienced fearless run stuffer who can handle themselves with a good tight end. If by some fluke he doesn't make a roster? You have an instant gunner.

The problem? His athleticism. His timed speed is decent. But if you need him as a last line of defense? His coverage skills need improvment. Also, he's a good physical tackler, but he's not an intimidator.

What you get with Patrick Chung is a ready-made inside the box safety. He does have decent athleticism, but he is out of position often as a back half safety. He can step right in and succeed if you use him right. You just have to understand what he's built for.

4. Sherrod Martin (FS-Troy)
6'1" 198 4.52

Here's your fast-riser into Day 1 potentiality. A great Senior Bowl. A solid combine. He may actually be a cornerback in the pros, but let's cross that road when it comes.

What does Sherrod bring to the table? Like most, a good level of athleticism and a willingness to stick his head in there. He is an excellent ceterfielder as well as a safety who gets the balls. (Heh heh heh.) He has good upside. And the tools? They make the scouts drool.

The thing is? He may not have the build to stay as a safety. He's had shoulder problems in the past, and he needs to get stronger if he wants to stay around as a safety, because as a cornerback, he is strictly developmental. But with those tools? Be it at safety or corner, someone will get in the Sherrod Martin business.

5. Chip Vaughn (SS-Wake Forest)
6'1" 221 4.51

He moved from receiver when he got to Wake Forest, and that's not a bad thing when you look at what he's done. He got better on every play in every game. And he has good instincts as well considering his relative inexperience. He has a solid triangle ratio and he will use it for gunning as well as covering.

Inexperience is still a problem. With zone blocking schemes, he can get eaten alive on the cutback. He doesn't have great lateral speed. And for an ex-receiver? His hands are average at best.

This is a flinstone chewable sleeper. He's still growing. If you're patient, and are willing to let him grow with the special teams? You will have awesome in 2012.

Whereas I am awesome now.


The State of the Bubble...

It is kind of dead. We kind of know where everything is and what place it's in. There's little marginality here. We can reasonably assume the at-large right now with a 3 team margin of error. Seriously.

Like take the ACC. You have Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Wake Forest, Florida State and Boston College. They can get seven if Maryland or Miami runs to the semis. Pretty simple, yeah?

Move it to the Big East? It's even simpler. Seven in. (Louisville, UConn, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Marquette, Syracuse, amd West Virginia) Providence needs a tournament game to state their case. And you really can't have a team beat a team three times. (Providence has beaten Cincinnati twice.) Anybody else needs an auto berth at this point.

Big 10 will get seven teams. You get Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin, Ohio State and the two teams that last the longest among Penn State, Minnesota, Michigan and Northwestern. Penn State is not safe because they have bad computer numbers and having your last two games be losses to Iowa and Indiana? You deserve nothing but an NIT bid.

The Big 12? Six teams. Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri are obvious. Texas A&M is safe after they beat Missouri to end the regular season. Oklahoma State has a 25/9. So they're safe. Texas has been inconsistent down the last 12. But they've done enough. What about Kansas State? If UW-Green Bay doesn't deserve an at-large berth, no one with a worse RPI does. Run them to the finals and maybe we'll reconsider.

Pac-10? You know the 4 likely. Washington, UCLA, Arizona State and Cal. Arizona needs a win. USC might need two. (They don't have near the schedule of Arizona.) No one else can not win to get in. (But Washington State has a shot if you want a most likely to steal one).

The SEC? I really don't know. Three teams should be in. (South Carolina, Tennessee and LSU). But are they really going to get more than 4? Kentucky needs to get out and steal it. Florida needs to win two. But here's the question I pose to you. How can you leave Auburn out if they make the SEC Finals? They would be one of the hottest teams in basketball and a tough out in the tournament.

MWC? BYU and Utah are automatic. New Mexico beats TCU and they're in. If the 4/5 winner (a.k.a. San Diego State or UNLV) gets to the finals? They can get a berth.

A-10? Dayton and Xavier are in. Temple gets to the finals? They're back on the bubble.

The Missouri Valley Conference gets 1 bid and likes it.

The West Coast Conference gets may only get two teams if St. Mary's gets the win. Why? Because I already had my 33 at large berths before I got here. Or Penn State falls out. One of the two.

Who knows?

Yes this is me in zappos outfit on TwitPic

8 Minutes of SNL were funny last week...

Which for them is usually good if it doesn't involve Tiny Fey. I have a draft and a state of the Bubble post upcoming. Also chinese food. But please do enjoy...

Yes, Jessica Biel makes a cameo as Jessica Rabbit. Yes Jessica Biel has a great Mae West impression. But you know what? Andy Samberg makes fun of Cathy. And that's hilarious on its own. Not recurring character hilarious. But it was good for this.

Bill Hader as an Alien. It works. There's a backstory here. Why does Dave Del Monte help Greg. I want to know.

There. Saturday Night Live's best parts. 8 out of 72? Not bad.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Now, as one who enjoyed the duel between David Holston and Ryan Toolson.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Matt Caputo write a pretty impressive article on the state of independent basketball. I know I'm not normally one to exchange links with people unless it's something that's been linked previously or ever. I don't do tips very well. But this article is a must read.

Independents Day.


The Grand National Championships Guide to Karaoke Survival...

Now, Elvi is the more hipsterish of us. He would not be caught dead in a Karaoke Bar. And while we're starting to give each other shit about hipster v. liking everything debate, you're lucky that I'm on the frontlines of the not being cool and liking everything. So if you ever find yourself in a bar and drunk enough to get onstage, these three songs are your pick to click.

Tom Jones by It's Not Unusual

Because let's be honest, any song that you can do in the style of a smarmy lounge lizard is a song that you can karaoke the shit out of. True story. In my senior year of High School which I like to call it my contract year considering how I've lived my life before or since. I was able to lounge lizard my way into second place in a karaoke contest. If ever you find yourself in a bar and you're forced to sing for your life? I say go for it.

Ice, Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice

Because if you're going to be cheezy you have to go all the way. I mean, most people won't have John Cena's theme song where the entire chorus John Cena keeps rhyming now with now, so you have to rock to a classic. And you at least know the first two lines of this, you can get something rolling right?

Stop, collaborate and listen, Ice is back with a brand new edition? That's all you need. You're on the rails. The geeky cute girl is yours. Cue credits.

Michael Jackson by Beat It

I know. Insert joke here, right? But it's the perfect karaoke song. Something you kind of know. Something that has a break for you to thrash about punk-rock style during the Eddie Van Halen solo, because that is both fun as well as good exercise. And it's not a slow song. Slow songs require talent. Speed and Enthusiasm is good for both shortstops and karaoke singing. It makes up for a lot of mistakes.

You're welcome!