Monday, December 31, 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville--Happy New Year Edition

Ohio State’s Aaron Craft is averaging a career-best 8.9 points per game but shooting a career-low 36.0 percent from the field through 11 games. Even worse is the fact that in OSU's two losses -- at Duke and to Kansas at home -- Craft is a combined 5-of-24 from the field.
Kentucky has a positive assist/turnover ratio, is shooting 49% from the field and outrebounding its opponents.
Perhaps overlooked in Arizona’s overtime win over San Diego State was just eight turnovers for Arizona.
In Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett, Arizona has three potential first round draft picks. And, Nick Johnson is gluing it all together.
UNC played defense against UNLV---sure didn’t see that coming. UNC did force 17 turnovers, but got outrebounded, including 14-10 on the offensive boards. Give UNLV credit for making it a two possession game---they had a bit of a disadvantage traveling three time zones just to play in front of 21,000 antagonistic fans…thems the breaks. A most exciting game in any event.
I think this season’s VCU team is better than the 2010 model. They are creating turnovers at an incredible rate.
How do you manage to grab 21 offensive rebounds and force 25 turnovers and only score 57 points? If you are Syracuse, you shoot 37,5% from the field and go 12 of 28 from the foul line against 2-13 Alcorn State. I still say Syracuse is overrated.
Illinois scored 81 points, but gave up 79, while forcing 20 turnovers to 5-7 Auburn---now, that’s a problem. Illinois had to make 13-of-18 free throws in the final four and a half minutes to pull it out. Illinois---another overrated team. They are maybe the sixth or seventh best team in the Big-10.
I hope the three threes Florida’s Kenny Boynton had in the second half mean that he has shaken his slump that saw him hit just four of his last 32 3-point attempts.
Love the nickname for Evansville---The Aces. Ace Troy Taylor had a triple-double Saturday in a loss to Creighton…10/10/10 assists, plus two steals.
Now how do you remain tied with North Carolina Central with six minutes left while shooting 60% and hitting 22-of-27 from the foul line? Ask Marquette who turned it over 20 times at home.
BYU’s Tyler Haws had a big day Vs. Virginia Tech…42 points (29 in first half when he went 9-13). He hit on six of eight 3-point attempts. His dad hit 40 for BYU in 1989. BYU held the ACC’s leading scorer, Erick Green to 12 on 4-of17 shooting.
Virginia Tech is down to seven scholarship players and went 14 deep in the game. You don’t win many D1 games playing seven walk-ons.
To me, Louisville’s Russ Smith is looking like an All-American.
Louisville’s defense is as impressive as any in Division I.
Even when they were down by 17, I thought Kentucky still had the most talent on the floor. Ryan Harrow played 39 minutes without a turnover…and scored17 on 8-of-15 shooting. With all that talent, they still don’t have a true scorer in the post, no backcourt depth and still lack a leader on the floor.
Loved Oregon State’s ultimate choke job…blowing a 19-point lead at home against 5-8 Towson. Towson’s Jerrelle Benimon had a 20/21 double-double---the first 20/20 in D1 this season. Towson was 1-31 last season. That’s a brutal loss.
Another pretty bad loss goes to Cal at home. A well-coached, depleted Harvard team beat them.
How about Valpo hanging in there and defeating Murray State at Murray State? Valpo forced 17 turnovers and won the battle of the boards 38-25.
The #1 Stanford women entered Saturday with an 82-game home winning streak. They loss to #2 UConn and the 35 points Stanford scored were the fewest by a No. 1-ranked team against a No. 2-ranked team in women's Division I history.
Cincinnati is never going to be a dominant low-post scoring team. Their bigs may be functional enough to get by in the Big East. And, they have the player with my favorite name---Cashmere Wright.
Undefeated Wyoming plays in arguably the most balanced league in the country…The Mountain West. UNLV, San Diego State, New Mexico, Colorado State, Boise Sate and Nevada. Wyoming has no easy games in conference play.
Louisville allows a mere 0.802 adjusted points per possession.
Unbeatens remaining: 3.
espn2 is the place to be for New Year’s Eve. At noon, #8 Cincinnati @ Pitt; 2 PM, #19 Michigan State @ #11 Minnesota; 4 PM, #5 Indiana @ Iowa; 6 PM #13 Gonzaga at #22 Oklahoma State; at 8, Harvard at St Mary’s.
Not so fast: This is the fourth time since 2003 that both the Duke men’s (12-0) and women’s (11-0) teams have started off at least 10-0 together.
One more thing: As the season heads into conference play, my Final Four picks: Kansas, Louisville, Michigan and Duke.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville--Christmas Break Edition

Cincinnati leads the nation in two-point defense…no opponent has made 50% of its twos in any game thus far.
New Mexico was 40% from two last night, but was tough enough to earn a quality road victory over Cincinnati…very impressive. And, it is always a treat and a wonderful learning experience when Bob Knight is doing the color commentary.

When I do not have a rooting interest in a game, I cheer for the team with the fewest tattoos.
More on Kansas defense---they held Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas to just four two-point shots. It was the third time in the past 14 months that KU has held OSU to less than a point per possession.
USC has a woeful record to date. However, you have to admire their schedule so far…Illinois, Texas, Marquette, Minnesota, New Mexico, Long Beach State, Nebraska and San Diego State. That’s pretty gutsy for a rebuilding program.
Miami played the Diamondhead Classic with basically seven players with Reggie Johnson out with an injury and Durand Scott playing on a bad ankle. Still, the Canes should have beaten Indiana State. Miami missed all their threes and shot just 33.8% from the field. Indiana State sank six treys and went 17-18 from the line. Bad loss for The U.
In UCLA’s last five games, Larry Drew has dished out 45 assists and only committed 10 turnovers…didn’t see that coming when watching him at UNC.
Creighton point forward Grant Gibbs has 36 assists and only four turnovers in the past five games. That’s an assist to turnover ratio of nine to one if you’re scoring at home. Simply amazing. Doesn’t hurt to have Doug McDermott to pass to.
This season UNC has more wings than Hooters…and not a great one in the mix, just role players,
Pitt’s freshman guard, James Robinson, has passed out 27 assists and committed just four turnovers in the last five games.
Rutgers soph Myles Mack’s numbers: 10 games, 15.9 ppg while shooting 60.2% from the field, 52.4% from three-point range and 96.2 from the line.
My favorite name for a coach this year goes to Bruiser Flint of Drexel…it’s no Keno Davis, but pretty good never-the-less.
Fun with numbers. In the 64 years since the AP started ranking teams. The eventual national champ was ranked #1 at some point 34 times…16 other eventual champs peaked at #2. In all, 60 of the 64 champions were ranked in the Top 10 at some time. The four teams that won it all without making the Top 10 are California (1959) (peaked at 11); 2003 Syracuse spent half the season unranked; 1984 Villanova peaked at 14 and was unranked the final four weeks of the season; 1983 NC State peaked at #15 and missed eight straight polls. 12 teams went wire-to-wire as #1---seven won the national title (four of those were UCLA)---four other teams lost in the finals, and one lost in the Final Four.
Unbeatens remaining: 4.
Winless remaining: 4.
Not so fast: Don’t look now, but Iowa is 11-2.
One more thing: I am looking forward to #7 Missouri at UCLA (10 PM on espn2) and Baylor at #13 Gonzaga (8 PM on espn2) tonight.
On Saturday: #2 UConn Women @ #1 Stanford (4 PM, ESPN-U); Santa Clara at #1 Duke, noon, espn2; Kentucky @ #4 Louisville, 4 PM, CBS; #20 UNLV @ UNC, 2 PM, espn2 {UNLV’s freshman Anthony Bennett will be worth the price of admission}.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville--Merry Christmas Edition

When Wagner and SMU faced off on Friday, it was a battle between the youngest (Bashir Mason) and oldest (Larry Brown) head coaches in the country.
Kansas has 20 wins against top-10 teams under coach Bill Self since the 2003-04 season…just three have come on the road.
Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke teams are 209-31 when ranked #1 in the AP poll.
Texas has not allowed any opponent a point-per-possession.
Illinois State leads the nation in two-point shooting percentage.
Could the domino effect of the Catholic 7's departure from the Big East send Cincinnati scrambling back to Conference USA.
Twice this season, UVA has held opponents below 40 for the game. Old Dominion (nine straight losses) scored 43 second-half points on the way to a two-point victory. Go figure!
Kansas just suffocated Ohio State in the half-court. OSU shot under 30% from the floor. Jeff Withey picked up another double-double.
Temple’s Khalif Wyatt went 15 for 15 from the foul line in Temple’s upset of Syracuse.
C.J. Leslie’s line for NC State’s win over St. Bonnie: 10-13 from the floor, 13-18 from the line, eight rebounds. On the flip side, Richard Howell picked up five fouls in just 12 minutes…that’s hard to do, especially for a senior.
Duke’s defense does not give up many easy baskets…they allow only 8.7 assists per game, ranking sixth in the category.
In Marquette’s 84-80 win over LSU, the teams combined to go 36-38 from the line. Remarkable. Marquette blew a 21 point first half lead…LSU tied it up a few times in the second half.
Loyola of Illinois was 7-23 last year…so far this season, they have gone 8-3.
USC has lost seven of their last eight games.
When those threes don’t fall, Illinois is in big trouble…as Missouri learned in the Braggin’ Rights Game. 43.5% of shot attempts by Illinois are from beyond the arc. Missouri’s Phil Pressey was 1-17 from the field, missing his first 15 attempts…still managed 12 points and 11 assists.
Florida’s Kenny Boyton is becoming the invisible man…he is 4-32 from three in his past four games. Florida treads water without his contributions.
South Dakota State’s upset of New Mexico (at The Pit) was all the more remarkable when you consider how they got the Albuquerque. Due to snowstorms canceling flights…SDSU took a bus from Nashville to Albuquerque…and then dropped New Mexico from the unbeaten ranks. The bus ride home will be enjoyable.
Don’t know what loss was worse over the weekend…Mercer upsetting Alabama---Wofford over Xavier---Southern over Texas A&M.
Texas looked pretty solid in their loss at Michigan State. Christmas vacation, and the student sections were full…just great support.
Kentucky looks better each time out. No matter who they play, UK has the best talent on the court. Teams that should not beat them, are staying competitive for a shorter and shorter time each game.
Unbeatens remaining: 5.
Winless remaining:
Not so fast: Four Top-10 teams lost on Saturday.
One more thing: The Kansas State victory over Florida was K-State’s first win against a non-conference Top-10 team in 51 years. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Curmudgeon in the Wry 539

Saturday, December 22, 2012---950 Words---Average Reading Time: 3 Minutes, 5 Seconds. (A pointless waste of time---time frittered away)
Offending readers and hindering productivity one issue at a time since 2001.
Continuing to call them as I see them.
Virtually free of original ideas. 
Warning: Contains unsound bites from the apple of life.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
Being wrong is the risk you run by thinking and acting.
A Grumpy Old Man Production.         
If you want this in a different language…move to a country that speaks it!
Gluten Free.
Why waste your time anywhere else.
Providing snap judgments and overreactions.
Don’t forget to floss.
Under rated: Kay Starr.
Rave: Without question and without exception, I will watch any film with Ida Lupino in it. No actress was more noir than she was. Not just a talented actress and a “hot number” as the cops in “The Hard Way” referred to her…she was among the first females to produce and direct in Hollywood.
Rant: Speaking of welfare, I don't think anyone on welfare should make more than the lowest paid American worker. The reason is obvious.
Quote: “Imagine ‘The Hobbit’ taking in that much money at the box office with absolutely no one in attendance having a date.”—Dennis Miller.
Rant: Speaking of terminally long movies like “The Hobbit,” why does Hollywood think more is better? "Les Miserables" (157 minutes), "Django Unchained" (165 minutes), “Skyfall” (143 minutes) and "Zero Dark Thirty" (157 minutes)…give me a break. Not that I go to the movies any more.
Hmmm: Is there anything more dangerous than the earnestly well-intentioned?
Rant: “Ironically, Dimocrats, the fiercely pro choice party, reserve free choice for aborting a fetus, while denying it for such matters as choosing your child’s school or joining a union.”—Charles Krauthammer.
Quote: “Show me a man or woman who cannot stand mysteries and I will show you a fool, a clever fool perhaps, but a fool all the same.”---Raymond Chandler.
Truism: Nothing is fool proof to a sufficiently talented fool.
Rant: Alternate possession instead of jump balls.
Truism: It is difficult to read an Elmore Leonard novel and not realize that we are all having fun…reader and writer alike.
Quoting Ben Stein: “He (obama) can tell the most whopping lies, see them exposed as lies, and then blithely go forward to make the nation believe that he didn’t do anything wrong and that’s all someone else’s fault.”
“The man is amazing. I wonder---if he cannot feel shame and embarrassment over his lies and failures---what he can feel. That thought scares me. It’s discouraging.”
Rave: Mia Rizzo is becoming my favorite character on “Vegas.” “Vegas” is my favorite new network show. It's the Vegas I visited in 1967 and 1968.
TV Timeout: Speaking of favorite TV shows, I officially hate Oliva Riley on “Burn Notice.” Easily the most despicable adversary for Michael Westen created by Matt Nix in six seasons.
More Burn: What do you suppose Michael traded for everyone’s freedom?
Rimshot: If not for Venetian blinds, it would be curtains for us all.
Truism: No one is listening until you make a mistake.
Quote: "In major-college basketball, nine out of 10 schools break the rules. The other one is in last place."-- Jerry Tarkanian
Rave: Things not worth economizing on: toilet paper, Kleenex, fresh fruit and chocolate.
Rant: Don’t know which I dislike more: looking my age or feeling my age.
Factoid: An acronym is an acronym only when you can pronounce it as a word, such as OPEC, scuba, NATO. If it does not form a word, and is read as letters, it is not an acronym, rather it is a pronounced abbreviation: YMCA, NFL, PMSNBC.
Truism: Forward this newsy letter to five of your friends, and in 24 hours, nothing will happen.
Rule one: Never wear a white shirt to an Italian restaurant.
Useless factoid: There are 18 different animal shapes in the Animal Crackers cookie zoo!
Quote: "I'm learning more and more about less and less. Pretty soon, I'll know everything about nothing." So says Spenser about midway through “School Days” by Roberts B. Parker.
Hmmm: Why do the bartenders in westerns never give change?
Rave: Elizabeth Taylor was never more beautiful than she was as Rebecca in 1952’s “Ivanhoe.”
Quote: “A bore is a person who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company.”---John D. MacDonald in The Turquoise Lament.”
Truism: As long as there are exams, there will be prayer in public schools.
Rant: Those sideline reporters who stick a microphone in the face of a coach with a question that has no answer.
Idle thought: In case you were wondering, no, I am not particularly interested in how your Fantasy League team is doing.
Truism: The farther you go, the more likely it is you left the coffee maker on.
Hmmm: Whatever happened to all those Rubik’s Cubes?
Rant: Jamie Foxx should consider visiting the Wizard of Oz and asking for a brain.
Factoid: Since 1920, when Agatha Christie published “The Mysterious Affairs at Styles”, two billion of her books have been sold, a number surpassed only by the Bible and Shakespeare's plays.
Rant: Finding a grocery store clerk who knows how to pack a paper bag correctly is a real challenge these days…it is another dying art.
Truism: People will collect anything.
One Final Thought: Jayne Mansfield had a 160 IQ and played the violin.
If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you can’t, thank the teacher’s union.
If you are reading it in English, thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---Diamondhead Classic Edition

Of Jim Boeheim's 900 wins, 164 (18.2%) have come against relatively weak nonconference opponents from New York state, including 26 each over Colgate and Cornell and another 20 over Canisius.
Gonzaga freshman center Przemek Karnowski is shooting 38.9 percent (14-for-36) from the foul line. Who does he think he's playing for, the Lakers?
With three freshmen in the starting lineup, Iowa defeated in-state rivals Iowa State and Northern Iowa in back-to-back contests.
NC State had four players score at least 16 points en route to an 88-79 win over Stanford. They shot 56.1 percent from the field, and also got to the free-throw line 27 times.
Wyoming moved to 11-0 with its home win over Denver. The Cowboys only have one game left before 2013 – a home date with UC Santa Barbara.
The last three Kansas wins have come by an average of 31 points, and it's not as if the opponents were patsies. Colorado and Belmont will contend for NCAA tournament berths. Richmond was 9-2 before being shellacked Tuesday evening.
On Wednesday Cornell was within two points of Duke with five minutes remaining in the first half. In the next 15 minutes Duke outscored the Big Red 48-8.
Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas needed 21 shots to score 21 points in what should have been an easy home win for Ohio State over Winthrop on Tuesday night.
Next time you're listening to a color analyst call a game, ask yourself: Is he just reacting to what he sees, or did he prepare? The ones who prepare are the ones worth listening to. Color Clark Kellogg unprepared.
Duke is the only University whose Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams are undefeated.
If Miami’s Kenny Kadji could score in the post with his back to the basket, he would get 20 a game. And if Reggie Johnson could drop 30 pounds, he'd be a lottery pick.
Is it time to contemplate an NCAA tournament without North Carolina?
UNC is a team of role players without a star. Their core of McAdoo, Bullock and Hairston are all high volume shooters…and their shots have yet to fall. In losses to Texas, Butler and Indiana, UNC is shooting 11-49 from three.
I think there are too many technical fouls called against players for hanging on the rim.
Unless it's a really egregious act of showmanship, we should err on the side of safety.
There are a number of freshmen having terrific seasons. Anthony Bennett, UNLV -- 19.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 54.7 FG pct (all in just 26 minutes per game)…Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State -- 12.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 5.2 APG, 2.6 SPG…Ben McLemore, Kansas -- 15.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.3 APG…Archie Goodwin, Kentucky -- 15.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.4 APG…Nerlens Noel, Kentucky – 10.7 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 3.9 BPG, 2.8 SPG. These guys are getting the ink.
Don’t overlook Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon. -- 12.7 PPG, 2.7 APG, 3.6 RPG. Sulaimon is getting it done against the nation’s elite. With 17 points against Ohio State and 14 against Louisville, he’s a big reason that the Blue Devils are unbeaten and No. 1 in the nation. He doesn’t have the flashiest numbers, but Sulaimon is third on Duke in points, rebounds, assists and steals.
Looking ahead: Baylor's next three games are BYU, Gonzaga and Texas.
Bucknell is off to its best start in 105 years (11-1).
Michigan’s Trey Burke’s line: 18 points and seven assists per game.
The Diamond Head Classic is this weekend with the finals on Christmas Day. I am picking Miami in an upset over Arizona in the semis and taking the crown.
Saturday’s game in Kansas City against Kansas State is the second stern road test for Florida in seven days after Billy Donovan’s team suffered a narrow defeat last Saturday at Arizona. Florida has the ability to score from every position on the floor.
A couple of other early Christmas gifts in weekend hoops: #7 Kansas at #9 Ohio State; Illinois Vs. Missouri in St. Louis; Murray State @ Dayton.
Miami has now won six straight, including five since Durand Scott returned from suspension, and the senior guard leads the team in scoring (15.6 per game).
Unbeatens remaining: 8. Unchanged.
Winless remaining: 4. Two fewer.
Not so fast: Don't look now but Georgia Tech is 7-2.
One more thing: Seventeen points, 13 rebounds and four blocks for Jeff Withey in Kansas' win over Richmond, if you’re scoring at home.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville--Twas the Week Before Christmas Edition

Butler is just so damn smart and tough. By any standard, they were very impressive against Indiana. Butler is usually tougher at the end than the other team. If you can’t go into the last few minutes with a reasonable lead, they’re very likely to gut you before you know what happened. At the end Butler just out-smarted, out-resolved and out-toughed Indiana.
As usual, that moron Clark Kellogg, was totally inept when declared, “Butler doesn’t have a chance” after Indiana tied it at the end of regulation.
Florida’s lack of discipline and execution down the stretch of both halves, helped hand Arizona a win. Florida allowed an 11-point lead with under a minute and a half left in the first half, dwindle to three at the break in the span of three Arizona possessions. Then the Gators somehow outdid themselves, blowing a six-point lead in the final 1:01 of the second half with a final five possessions of turnover, turnover, turnover, missed front end of a 1-and-1, long airball heave. Ouch!
The atmosphere at McKale Center was beyond intense…those fans were spectacular.
Arizona finished…Arizona was the closer. Gonzaga last week, Florida this week…give Arizona credit. I guess it is just too easy for me to under rate any team from the Pac 12. The Pac 12 did not experience a win of this magnitude all last season.
Still, I think Florida is going to the Final Four.
We’ll see how for real Arizona is at The Diamondhead Classic. Miami, San Diego State and Ole Miss will be suiting up for that one as well.
With freshman Chris Obekpa, the #2 shot blocker in the nation, St. John’s will never be completely out of a game.
Think Kansas is Final Four material as well. Kansas is crushing opponents. The Big 12 being rather weak this year, Kansas needs to do well when they take on Ohio State on the road Saturday. Travis Releford’s vast improvement since the start of the season is a major reason the Jayhawks are dominating. Of course, Jeff Withey and Ben McLemore don’t hurt.
Michigan’s Trey Burke is truly fun to watch…he’s got a lot of moxie, and just the right amount of hot dog.
Mike Krzyzewski has had the No. 1-ranked team in the AP Poll for 104 weeks during his career, the highest number among active coaches. North Carolina's Roy Williams ranks second with 57 weeks at No. 1. 
Duke’s 123 total weeks at #1 is second to the 134 of UCLA.
Duke has finished at #1 seven times…Kentucky (9) and UCLA (8) have the most finishes at #1.
Duke also beat three Top-10 teams in 2011. Duke has beaten at least one Top-10 opponent in 15 of the last 18 seasons.
Miami starts four seniors. And, sophomore point guard, Shane Larkin is no Forrest Gump…averaging 15.3 PPG, shooting a most impressive 51.9% from 3-point range, and dishing our 3.9 assists per game.
Louisville was down 25-9 at Memphis before turning it around to win by nine. Russ Smith was 12-for-12 from the line.
Fordham closed with a 17-4 run in final 3:01 to overtake Princeton.
I believe the best sporting event every year, without question, is March Madness.
Every football bowl game except one is nothing more than a glorified exhibition.
In defeats Vs VCU, Minnesota and Louisville, Memphis has averaged 20.6 turnovers, allowed their opponents to shoot 47% from the field, and attempt an average of 33 foul shots. Ouch! Memphis shot 51.8% from the field Saturday and still lost to Louisville.
East Carolina scored 61 second-half points Vs UNC -- the most for a foe in the Roy Williams era -- and cut an 18-point lead to as little as four. UNC won by a mere six points. Their defense can be exploited.
Creighton’s ten-point win at California was a big deal. Cal never led. Doug McDermott finished with 34 points on 10-for-10 shooting from the foul line and 4-for-7 from three-point range. He also had nine rebounds. Not a bad day at the office.
Boston College was 2-22 from three in an overtime victory over New Hampshire…both threes came in overtime.
Both Arizona’s football and basketball teams had one-point victories on Saturday.
Gonzaga is 3-0 Vs the Big 12 this season…and has two more games against Big 12 teams left.
Gonzaga, Butler, Belmont, VCU, Davidson don’t hide from anybody.
Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim will get to the 900-win mark this week. He will become the first one---quite possibly the only one who will ever get there---to do it at the same school, the school that also happens to be his alma mater.
Looking ahead. Kansas (8-1) at Ohio State (8-1), Saturday 4 p.m., CBS (Two Top-10 Teams). Xavier Vs. Cincinnati, 7 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN2. Missouri (8-1) Vs. Illinois (11-0) in St. Louis for “The Braggin’ Rights Game,” Saturday 6 p.m. ESPN2. Murray State (7-1) at Dayton (8-2), noon Saturday. Stanford @ NC State, Tuesday, 9 PM, espn2. UNC @ Texas, Wednesday, 9 PM, espn2.
SAT/GPA match-up of the week: Cornell at Duke, Wednesday, 7PM, ESPNU
Unbeatens remaining: 8.
Winless remaining: 6
Florida’s toughest remaining game is probably the regular season ending game at Kentucky.
With the broken bone in the foot of Virginia Tech’s Marshall Wood, the Hokies are down to seven scholarship players.
Seems Northwestern has the type of curse their neighbors, the Cubs, have. They have to go the rest of the season without their best player, Drew Crawford---out with a shoulder injury.
Not so fast: Memphis has yet to beat a ranked opponent so far during Josh Pastner’s tenure.
One more thing: No post player got an offensive rebound for UNC in their game with East Carolina.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---Finally Some Games Edition

Marquette has won four of their last five.
Anyone that tells you they predicted Duke would be 9-0 at this point in the season is either 1) lacking objectivity or 2) not being truthful.
Duke is 3-0 Vs Top-5 teams. The rest of the country is 0-36.
Going into their game with #1 Indiana, Butler is on a four game winning streak.
UNC continues to have a subpar defense. UAB was not the only team to exploit it.
Pitt’s offensive and defensive efficiency numbers grade them out to a Top-10 team.
Florida and Arizona are tied for 8th in points per possession (1.17) going into Saturday’s big game. Duke is 15th.
Offensive rebound percentage has the Gators at #9…Arizona #11. Duke is a woeful 257.
Arizona assists on 65% of their baskets (#16)---Florida is #165 with 54.5%. Duke is #60.
Florida and Arizona are among the best at keeping the opposition off the boards. Overall Florida is #6 and Arizona is #2…Florida is outstanding at keeping teams off the foul line.
Strength of Schedule is a different story---Florida’s is #83, Arizona is #241 and Duke is #4 (the highest among the power conferences).
My dough is on Florida on Saturday night…and I think they will beat the 3½-point spread.  
At 52.7%, Gonzaga is #1 in FG Percentage. Duke is 31st.
Illinois is #2 in 3-Point FG Percentage (40.9%). Duke is #150.
The Big Ten is even better than I thought it would be. Put Minnesota and Illinois on my surprise list.
Even bigger surprise…Wichita State losing to Tennessee last night…didn’t see that one coming.
Bloomington South High School girls' basketball team beat Arlington High School 107-2 on Tuesday night in Indianapolis.
Oklahoma's leading scorer, 6-8 senior forward Romero Osby, has made just as many free throws (33) as field goals this season.
Syracuse is ranked 217th in the country in three-point percentage (31.8) and 212th in free throw percentage (67.2).
Kansas is keeping the ball after 73.8 percent of Jeff Withey's blocks…an insanely good number. With Anthony Davis' blocks last season, Kentucky kept the ball 58.4 percent of the time, and that was considered great.
Michigan State is playing a lot of three-guard-offense thus far.
UNC’s free throw percentage is just 61.7%
UCF’s Keith Clanton had one of the most efficient scoring games in recent memory as UCF beat Bethune-Cookman. He went 14-for-15 from the field to finish with 30 points and 13 rebounds.
If you’re scoring at home, Creighton's Doug McDermott has made 17 of his last 24 attempts from three-point range.
Over his last 143 minutes, Notre Dame’s Eric Atkins has dished out 33 assists and committed one turnover. That is not a typo.
Unbeatens remaining: 13. (One fewer since Monday.)
Winless teams remaining: 6. (Two fewer since Monday.)
Not so fast: The Sporting News will no longer publish a print edition. End of an era. I read my first copy of TSN in 1956. I remember being absolutely fascinated that I could see an entire week of box scores in one paper.
One more thing: Never pick against Kansas at Phog Allen Fieldhouse.

Curmudgeon in the Wry 538

Friday, December 14, 2012---731 Words---Average Reading Time: 2 Minutes, 18 Seconds. (A pointless waste of time---time frittered away)
Offending readers and hindering productivity one issue at a time since 2001.
Continuing to call them as I see them.
Virtually free of original ideas. 
Warning: Contains unsound bites from the apple of life.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
Being wrong is the risk you run by thinking and acting.
A Grumpy Old Man Production.         
If you want this in a different language…move to a country that speaks it!
Gluten Free.
Why waste your time anywhere else.
Rave: “The Durango Kid.” 
Reading: “Force of Nature” by C. J. Box---Perhaps the most under rated mystery/thriller writer extant.
On the Hi Fi: Blue Note Blend 2---A Starbucks Collection.
Under rated: Marcie Blane
Rave: “Suits” returns on USA Network on January 17th at 10PM.
Hmmm: Ever notice how many words with two consecutive vowels, especially those with a pairing of e and i, look odd no matter what order the vowels appear.
Pop quiz: Quick…name the only state whose first two letters are vowels.
Rave: Pfeffernusse.
Rant: No team with a 6-7 record should get to a bowl unless it is as a spectator.
Truism: Aristotle taught “All men by nature desire to know.” The mainstream media’s radio silence on Benghazi proves him wrong
Rim Shot: Anything unrelated to elephants is irrelephant.
Quote: "I find ‘Season's Greetings’ so insipid. It is barely one step up from ‘Dear Sir,’ isn't it? Have you ever in your life heard anyone say ‘Season's Greetings?’ I didn't think so. If you don't say something, please don't write it on a card." ---Frank Deford
Rave: I truly admire people who can use chopsticks.
Didjaknow: A $100 bill at the end of the 20th century would buy less than a $20 bill would buy in 1960.
Hmmm: If everyone had a smart phone, who would be left to honk when the light turned green?
Rant: In plain English, “quantitative easing,” means just printing more money.
Never forget: It is your credibility on the line when you give a recommendation.
Free advice: When the alternative is "now" or "never"---always choose "never."
Hmmm: Why do fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing?
Rave: No matter how great the vocalist, they all sounded better with the Basie Band behind them.
Just asking: Why do airlines call flights nonstop? Won't they all stop eventually?
Quote: "A centipede is an ant made to government specs." ---Anon.
More free advice: You need to ask the right questions to get the right answers.
Hmmm: If there was a crumb on the table and you cut it in half, would you have two crumbs or two halves of a crumb?
Quote: "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."---Sherlock Holmes.
Oh so true: No software you ever bought did anything with "just a click."
Quiz answer: Iowa.
Rant: At Wal-Mart, I wonder what the other 15 checkout lanes are used for.
Way Over Rated: Bryant Gumbel.
Rant: College football’s Bowl Championship Series is neither a series, nor a championship.
Hmmm: Do stairs go up or down?
Rant: Always be skeptical of people who say, "frankly," "candidly" or "to be honest." They are probably are none of those things.
Rimshot: A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, "I'll serve you, but don't start anything."
Quote: "When in doubt, have two men enter a room with guns." ---Raymond Chandler.
Rant: It is never permissible to dog-ear the page of a book.
Hmmm: Most doctors did not graduate near the head of their class.
Irony: Why are the commercials for cable companies on cable but not on regular television? Don't they want the people without cable to buy the cable?
If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you can’t, thank the teacher’s union.
If you are reading it in English, thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.