Sunday, March 28, 2010

2010 Final Four, by the numbers

As history tells it, 18 of the past 23 Final Fours have featured either Duke or North Carolina (1991 had both). In fact, since 1956 there's only been a single Final Four didn't feature at least one of these schools: Duke, UNC, UCLA, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisville, Cincinnati or Georgetown. The year was 1979, featuring Indiana State's Larry Bird vs Michigan State's Magic Johnson in the championship game (DePaul & Penn were the other two.)
While Coach K & Duke have clinched just their second Final Four in nine years, Tom Izzo & Michigan State are making their sixth Final Four appearance in twelve years. BigEast champ West Virginia's previous appearance was 1959, but Bob Huggins led Cincy to the Final Four in 1992 (along with IU, Duke and Michigan's Fab5). Although Brad Stevens will be coaching in his first Final Four among 3 Hall of Fame coaches, he's still got a major advantage: this is the first time a Final Four team is playing in their own backyard since 1972 (UCLA), four years before he was born.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dancing with Hoosiers

After two unsuccessful tries, Randy Wittman's son Ryan has finally put Cornell into the next round. Ben Allen helped St Marys shock everyone by beating Villanova to advance to the 3rd round. North Carolina and Tyler Zeller have advanced to the NIT's Elite 8. The Butler Bulldogs took care of UTEP and Murray State, and are now halfway home. Who can forget Ohio's Armon Bassett's amazing March performance? Like Allen, Meezy played for Kelvin Sampson a couple years ago, as did Jordan Crawford - probably best known as that kid that dunked over LeBron James, now has Xavier looking to make another Regional Finals appearance.
Purdue Boilermakers have shushed all doubters by advancing to their 2nd consecutive Sweet Sixteen.
Ohio State and Michigan St are also representing the BigTen, with Northern Iowa/Tennessee standing in the way of a trip to Indy. However, not all is bright in the Schrockstar Galaxy of Stars: Notre Dame lost in the first round to Old Dominion; IUPUI lost the league championship to Oakland; and Indiana, Ball State, Evansville, Indiana State, Valparaiso and Vincenses were not even invited.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Road to Indianapolis

Back in October, I gave you a Tri-State Hoops Preview highlighting Butler, Kentucky, Michigan State, Purdue and other area teams showing real promise to play in the Final Four. Now that the Tournament has arrived, we have a clearer view of possible Regional Finalists. If all #1s and #2s advance to the Elite 8 that would be boring - so I have Xavier upsetting Kansas State in Salt Lake City. What can I say? I'm a risk-taker!
Here's a map of those eight perceived finalists

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Assembly Hall should be named after RMK

Assembly Hall in Bloomington needs a name change, it's simply not unique enough. BigTen foe Fightin Illini also shares the same stadium name in Champaign - both basketball and football - but that's another rant.
Other than it being beautiful architecture, the storied arena has bred a few national champs, a dozen league titles, numerous All-Americans, a 55-game winning streak, NCAA's last undefeated season, and countless electrifying games. Like when Marco scored 34 points over Josh McRoberts, Defensive PoY Shelden Williams and #1 Duke; or Kirk Haston's game-winning 3-pointer over #1 MSU in 2001. That next season, Indiana fans led the nation in attendance on their way to the NCAA Championship game. Just like in 2005, when IU led the nation in soccer attendance - and then Yeagley's squad won the National Title the season after he left. Another cawinkadink: IU football broke their 15-yr bowl drought just months after Hep died.
OK, so things aren't the same at Assembly Hall ever since Sampson knowingly made too many phone calls and IU eventually lost all their scholarship players (all while Memphis cheated their way to a title), but there are still games that give us goosebumps: the Purdue game was thrilling, as were the Michigan/Minnesota/Iowa wins and Crean's ejection. I dare you to show me a program that can put 16,000 fans in the seats every game with a losing record.
Now that Glass has extended the initial olive branch to Bobby Knight by inducting him into the HoF, another one should be offered for permanently elevating the program to elite status. Please Fred, make it happen.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

2010 § Bracketology

Two classic Bracket Buster games tonight: Conference USA has Memphis@UAB fighting for a 2nd conference bid (UTEP) and the mighty Big East features UConn@Notre Dame, vying for an 8th conference bid. And even better match-ups tonight: Duke at College Park and Kansas State at Lawrence. 
Mississippi State has the SEC West on lock due to the season-opener win in Oxford Jan 9th. The 2nd place Rebels would need to win at least 2 more games to have a chance: LSU and @Ark. Isn't it weird how they beat IU in Puerto Rico, then Kansas St and almost beat another top-10 Villanova in November?  But no quality conference wins? ouch.
These teams are in: Florida, Clemson, Louisville, G.Tech, FSU, Wake Forest, Marquette, Notre Dame, OK St, Illinois, Saint Marys
The Last 4 in: UAB, Dayton, Va Tech and San Diego State
Which means these teams will probably not get an invite: UConn, Mississippi St, Rhode Island, Ole Miss, Charlotte, Seton Hall, Minnesota, Memphis, ASU.

Top 12 Comedy Podcasts

I'm not calling this a list of my favorites, because I know this to be fact, not opinion: Kill Tony T.Y.S.O. Bad Friends Are You Garbage...