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.

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