Posted tagged ‘NCAA tournament’

Thoughts. Done Randomly.

April 8, 2008


–Well, count me among the few who thought that Final Four sucked ass. ‘Hey, we’ve got all four number one seeds. We’re sure to get three great games on Final Four weekend for once!’ Yeah, how’d that work out for you? Saturday night’s matchups featured a Memphis team totally outplaying UCLA and Kansas unexpectedly raping North Carolina. Sure, the Heels made a run in the late first half and early second half and should be commended for cutting a 40-12 deficit to 4 points, but it seemed that run was just as much of a condemnation of Kansas’ focus as it was the Tar Heels’ drive to make a run.


–Also, once and for all: Tyler Hansbrough is not the best player in the country. He proved it Saturday. The Jayhawks big men shut him down, and Hansbrough wasn’t even the best player on that floor over the weekend (Derrick Rose). To those media members–including Jay Bilas–who stated that although Hansbrough probably wasn’t the best player in the country he should get the award anyway…’re dead wrong. I’m not going to call you an ‘idiot’ or rail against your knowledge of the game. But I will say that admitting that Psycho T wasn’t the best player in the country but still giving him the award for BEST PLAYER IN THE COUNTRY is asanine. The award isn’t National Most Valuable Player; if that were the case, I’d listen to arguments for Hansbrough over Michael Beasley and Rose. But its for National Player of the Year. The best player. The national media members who voted for Hansbrough even though they thought he wasn’t the best player in the NCAAs blew it this year.


–Also, I know everyone was ecstatic about the championship game yesterday. Yes, it was exciting. It went into overtime, and there was a game-tying three point shot at the end of regulation. But the quality of the play during the game was really, really bad. Ball handling was very sloppy. Both teams took bad shots. Memphis looked horrible at the free throw line down the stretch. The Tigers blew a nine-point lead with two minutes left. Joey Dorsey played a really stupid game and was lucky to not have been called for a few technicals during the game. Also, it seemed very apparent to me that the officials in the game couldn’t keep up with the level of athleticism displayed by both squads. There were numerous instances of out of control ball handlers getting blocking fouls called when it was obvious they didn’t deserve them. Also, there were a lot of instances where the reverse situation occurred: a player made a strong move to the hoop, drew contact, lost the ball–and nothing happened.


–However, the worst part of the game was the coaching of John Calipari. I hate Billy Packer like everyone else. But he made a very good point during the game: every time Rose had the ball, the Tigers set a screen for him. Either Rose would call for one or a screen would be set for him. And every time, the Jayhawks did a fantastic job of stepping out and denying the open lane, essentially creating a double-team on Rose, causing him to give up the ball. Packer was calling for Memphis to stop setting Rose screens all game, and until the final five minutes, they kept doing it. Then, up three with seconds left, I really do not understand the decision to not foul there and allow Kansas to take that shot. I know it was a terrific shot by Mario Chalmers. I know there were two Memphis players there contesting. But if you foul him with three or four seconds left, the Jayhawks–with no timeouts–have to devise a play to get an open look, rather than just improvising during a chaotic situation like they did.


–Finally, what really steamed my clams (WTF?) during the weekend was the announcement of the 2008 class of the Basketball Hall of Fame and its coverage. Honestly, you would of thought that Dick Vitale was the only guy that made it this year. ESPN interviewed a bawling Dickie V for its story on SportsCenter and then showed a list of the other guys that made it–including PATRICK EWING AND HAKEEM OLAJUWON!!!. Lets see……this year’s class includes Patrick Ewing, perhaps the best player in New York Knicks history and a top-five center; Hakeem Olajuwon, a player many consider (including me) to be the best center of the modern era and winner of two NBA titles; and Pat Riley, one of the best coaches in league history…..and the four-letter network decides to run the interview of Vitale sobbing like a little girl with a skinned knee over and over again like its some touching moment. Then, while in the car listening to Westwood One’s pre-game coverage of the NCAA tournament title game, their reporter describes the class like this: This year’s class includes Patrick Ewing, a member of the 1984 NCAA Championship team and the New York Knicks all-time leading scorer; Hakeem Olajuwon, member of those great Houston Cougars Phi Slamma Jamma teams of the 1980s; and of course, Dick Vitale–Dickie V–coach anc announcer. They then played Vitale’s interview. What the fuck?????

I don’t begrudge Vitale’s induction and his emotion; I’m not sure if he deserved it, but I don’t have a vote. But I think even Dookie V would be a little embarassed that he was getting the majority of the coverage while two of the best players and one of the top coaches of the era were being inducted right next to him and being mentioned in reports as mere afterthoughts.


March 24, 2008

Duke_West Virginia 

What a wonderful weekend of March Madness. Sure, outside of the Duke-Belmont game on Thursday night, the first day was pretty shitty. But that was more than made up for on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. At one point Sunday, Tennessee-Butler was in overtime, Davidson-Georgetown was going down to the wire, and Western Kentucky was holding off San Diego to advance to its first Sweet 16…….all at the same time. Watching CBS go back and forth between the three games, not getting a commercial break in for about a half-hour was the second coolest thing I saw all weekend (the first, obviously, being Duke losing again…..but we will get to that later).

East Region–North Carolina and Louisville might have had the most impressive weekends of anyone in the entire tourney. The Tar Heels scored 221 points in two games, including a blowout of Arkansas, one of the SEC’s top two teams. Meanwhile, Louisville dispatched Boise State 79-61 (and it wasn’t that close) and then beat a solid Oklahoma team by 30. My pre-tourney pick, Tennessee, survived two subpar performances against American and Butler to reach the Sweet 16. The Vols game with the Bulldogs Sunday was really, really ugly. The two teams combined for 50 fouls and 34 turnovers, and there could have been more of both. The most disappointing performance of the region was Notre Dame’s second round 41-point performance after shooting the lights out against George Mason on Friday.


Midwest Region–Like everyone else, I absolutely love Stephen Curry. Dell’s kid scored 70 points over the weekend, including 55 in the two second-halves in which he played. I especially love him because I picked Davidson to advance to the Sweet 16. But that was more of an admonishment of the Georgetown Hoyas and the definition of weak sauce, Roy Hibbert. Seriously, people talk about this guy like he’s a clear-cut lottery pick. Meanwhile, he went scoreless in a Big East tourney game and scored 6 points and grabbed 1 rebound while committing 5 fouls in 16 minutes…….against Davidson. Yeah, he’s sure to tear up the NBA. In other Midwest Region play, Wisconsin had two solid wins and could topple Kansas this weekend; however, I don’t see anyone beating the Jayhawks.

South Region–Memphis coach John Calipari continues to bristle whenever the media mentions his team’s free throw shooting woes, saying its not a big deal. Although its entirely possible the Tigers could survive the tourney and become the worst free throw shooting team to ever win the title, I think Calipari’s continued sensitivity about the subject is obviously an effort to deflect attention away from a glaring weakness. Yesterday, Mississippi State was a bad bounce off the backboard from tying Memphis at the end of regulation after trailing 73-65 with 49 seconds left. How did this happen? The Tigers went 15-of-32 from the line, including 6-of-12 in the last minute. I could entertain the argument that Memphis is the least likely team to make the Final Four out of this region, behind Michigan State (a troublesome matchup for Memphis), Stanford (survived a scare and has the offensive post presence to really challenge Joey Dorsey), and Texas (a strong two seed who survived its own late scare to beat the Hurricanes of Miami). I would also like to give a shout out to the Pitt Panthers, who completely shit the bed against a big Ten team after winning the Big East tournament and getting my hopes up for a run at a Final Four appearance and a $410 return on a $50 “investment”.

West Region–All of the fun is being had out west, as UCLA monster-fucked poor Mississippi Valley State and then squeaked by Texas A&M to reach the Sweet 16. Meanwhile, Western Kentucky and San Diego verified what half of us were thinking when the brackets came out: “Why the fuck does UCLA get such an easy run?”……this thought also may have manifested itself with “How the hell does UConn get a 4 seed and Drake get a 5 seed?”. But the best part of this region…..nay, the whole tourney, was the Blue Devil beating at the hands of West Virginia after lucking out on Thursday against Belmont. Lets look at this, now: while consistently being a solid regular season team, Duke has been horrible in the tournament lately. Since the 2001-02 season, Duke has advanced past the round of 16 once, and that was in 2004 when they lost in the Final Four. I think its time to start calling Duke the chokers that they are.

The Real Tourney Breakdown–HHY

March 19, 2008


So, the time is here……tomorrow morning, while I’m stuck at work, three or four games will tip off and the drought between the Super Bowl and March Madness will finally be over. Thank god.

I’m not saying that the NBA didn’t offer some solid action, or that NFL free agency wasn’t intriguing (Brandon Lloyd…….yes!). But March Madness, especially the first four days, are special. 64 teams get whittled down to 16, and of the 48 teams that lose either their first or second round games, at least a few will be pretty surprising.

So, after yesterday’s half-hearted, fully-perverted look at the tournament, here is the real analysis you expect from hardawayhatesyou. I have incldued pick for the winner of each region, a dark horse (6 seed or lower that could make some noise), and the region MOP.

East Region
Indiana-Arkansas and Notre Dame-George Mason highlight the first round matchups in this bracket, which holds–in my opinion–the two best teams in the country right now (North Carolina and Tennessee). I don’t expect any first round upsets here, but I am predicting Oklahoma to trip up Louisville in round two. The regional final will pit the Tar Heels against the Volunteers, and my orange-shirted friends will win a virtual road game in Charlotte en route to the Final Four. Pick–Tennessee, Dark Horse–Oklahoma, Region MOP–Tyler Smith, Tennessee

Midwest Region
Clemson-Villanova and USC-Kansas State are the most intriguing first round games here, as the latter matchup pits OJ Mayo against Michael Beasley. If you haven’t heard, those guys are freshmen and they are pretty decent. They might get drafted next year. This region’s two seed, Georgetown, is the softest of the top eight teams, in my opinion. My first major upset prediction is that Davidson, winners of 22 straight, will beat the Hoyas to advance to the Sweet 16 after toppling Gonzaga. In the end, I see highly-talented Kansas beating boringly effective Wisconsin for the regional title. Pick–Kansas, Dark Horse–Davidson, Regional MOP–Mario Chalmers, Kansas

South Region
The South Region may be the deepest in the bracket, as number one seed Memphis has lost one game all year; two seed Texas has beaten two number one seeds in this tournament (UCLA and Kansas); three seed Stanford is a bad call or two away from being the champions of arguably the best conference in the country; and four seed Pitt is perhaps the hottest team in the country right now. Not to mention an always tournament-tough Michigan State team and an 11 seed, Kentucky, that can beat anyone in the bracket. I expect Pitt to get past Memphis in the round of 16 only to lose to the red-hot Longhorns in the regional final. Pick–Texas, Dark Horse–Kentucky, Regional MOP–DJ Augustin, Texas

West Region
It seems to be the consensus that UCLA is going to walk through this region, and I tend to agree. Two seed Duke has no inside presence and would probably be a four or five seed if they weren’t Duke; three seed Xavier, while talented, hasn’t been tested by many big-time opponents; and the next three seeds include UConn (lost in first round of conference tourney), Drake (mid-level power but untested), and Purdue (young team that lost to Illinois in its last game). I don’t see how anyone but the Bruins win the West, but look for West Virginia-Arizona and Xavier-Georgia to be interesting first round games. Pick–UCLA, Dark Horse–Arizona, Regional MOP–Darren Collison, UCLA

Breaking it Down the Only Way I Know How

March 18, 2008

There are roughly 10 million blogs on these here interwebs; approximately 5 million of those will have some sort of breakdown of the upcoming NCAA tournament. Some will go with a serious, statistically based breakdown of each team, game, or region. Some will take a more comedic approach to their analysis. Some of these might even succeed at making their readers chuckle once or twice.

Me? I’m not that talented of a writer. But I do enjoy looking at beautiful women. So I’ve decided to compare some of the tournament’s favorites to the female celebrity they most resemble.

East Region
North Carolina: pre-pregnancy Jessica Alba–As the number one overall seed, the Tar Heels are the consensus best team in the country. In that same vain, you cannot find a heterosexual male on the planet who doesn’t think that Jessica Alba is smoking hot. However, not that many people are picking UNC to go all the way; hence, not many guys would tell you Jessica Alba is the hottest woman alive.
Tennessee: Christina Aguilera–The Volunteers play a fast, up-tempo, pressurized, “in-your-face” type of game. They are also very athletic and deep. X-Tina’s sluttiness is equally “in-your-face” and she is very athletic. She could also be deep. I don’t know. The Vols are a sexy pick in the brackets, as would Christina be in the hot chick tournament.
Notre Dame: Ashlee Simpson–The Irish have two solid players, but to be honest, when tested on the road and in big games, they have not come through. Ashlee is definitely cute, but she’s not good looking enough or talented enough to be considered in the same league as other women.
Indiana: Lindsay Lohan–With all of the controversy surrounding the Hoosiers and ex-coach Kelvin Sampson, its any wonder they haven’t completely fell apart. However, they are the most talented team in the Big Ten and if they can get their act together, could definitely make some noise in the brackets. Lindsay is out from under her crazy coach mother, and is escaping from the controversy surrounding her to show off her many talents.

Midwest Region
Kansas: Laetitia Casta–The Jayhawks are almost always a top seed in the tournament, and this year is no different, as perhaps Bill Self’s most talented team tries to take him to his first Final Four. Casta has been around forever, and despite being ridiculously hot, no one ever mentions her as one of the hottest women in the world anymore.
GeorgetownKerry Washington–Yeah, thats right…..I picked a black chick for Georgetown. So what? That doesn’t make me a racist.
Wisconsin: Kirsten Dunst–The Badgers are boring but oddly effective. Kirsten Dunst is the most unattractive chick that a lot of guys think is hot in the history of the world. Seriously, I don’t get it……much like I don’t get how the Badgers are a top ten team in the country. (Also, the pic linked here is the only one of KD in the last ten years that can be classified as ‘hot’)
Davidson: Michelle Lombardo–Davidson seems to be the popular sleeper this year, and I agree. I think they have as good a chance as any double-digit seed to make the Sweet 16. Michelle is my new favorite hot chick that no one really knows about. In fact, look for her on Friday.

South Region
Memphis: Kim Kardashian–The Tigers are a great team. They only have one loss all year, and that was to the number one team in the country at that time. They could easily win the title, but they have one major flaw: free throw shooting. Kim K has ridiculous curves, a beautiful face, and seems to have no problem with taping herself having sex. However, she also has one major flaw……she may have been peed on by a third-rate R&B singer.
Texas: Scarlett Johannsen–The Longorns, and Scarlett, are a very solid pick with people in the know. They are playing well right now; she is looking good right now. The Horns have a recent history of hoops success; Scarlett has a recent history of being successful in making me erect.
Stanford: Rachel McAdams–The Cardinal are a few tough breaks away from being the best team in the Pac-10 and a probable number one seed. They are one of the scariest teams in the tournament and will be respected by everyone they play. McAdams is one big forehead away from being the hottest chick to come out of ‘Mean Girls’ and is thought of very highly by hot chick analysts/perverts everywhere.
Pittsburgh: Katherine Heigl–The Panthers are a very trendy pick after winning the Big East tournament, and are definitely capable of winning the region and advancing to the Final Four. However, simply put, they are not that good. Katherine is one of the hottest actresses out there right now, starring in one of the highest-rated shows on network TV and some very popular films of late. But when you really look at her……she’s not that hot.
Kentucky: Ashley Judd–Just because she would want it that way.

West Region
UCLA: Jessica Biel–Everyone agrees that the Bruins are a very good team who should ride its experience and talent all the way through the region and into the Final Four. Those same people agree that Jessica Biel is ridiculously hot and will ride her unreal ass and sick body throughout a fine career.
Duke: Paris Hilton–The Blue Devils are one-dimensional, overrated, get too much publicity, and everyone hates them. Paris is all of these things, except for the one-dimensional part……she’s still looking for a dimension.
Xavier: Diora Baird–Casual fans might say ‘Who?’ or ‘How can a virtual unknown get that high of a seed?’. Those who truly follow the game know how balanced and highly talented Xavier/Diora are.
Purdue: Hayden Panettiere–Very talented, but much too young to make noise in the tournament.

So, there you go. Feel free to come up with your own in the comments.