Monday, March 25, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville---Sweet Sixteen Set Edition

The close of games Sunday offers a respite. Your life is no longer tethered to CBS or truTV or TNT or TBS. Eventually, when you get your life back in order, you will do the inevitable: Look ahead to the Sweet 16.
A tornado cut my power yesterday, but I saw the OSU/Iowa State game at the Y. I heard some of Kansas/UNC on Sirius driving home to assess the damage.
Cable did not resume until this afternoon. The power returned in time for the final 2:37 of the FGCU victory on the computer.
I got to see Duke/Creighton from the tip, but missed way too much of yesterday’s action.
Today power went out again from 10-2.

With time on my hands, I sat outside and went over the math for the first four days.
Many adjustments were made. You guys are not doing your homework and demerits are in order.
Thom benefited mightily from my errors, picking up 18 points. Jay, Eddie and Carl lost between 5-11. The loss certainly didn’t result in Carl losing his firm grasp on first place.
Before the tornado my neighbor had a huge oak that should have been removed long ago. It bordered my property…and was a constant worry for me.Yesterday that particular worry ceased. The tree now covers their pool and back yard.
It easily could have come my way.
The cleanup, repairs and tree removal are going to cost beaucoup more than taking the tree out years ago would have.
The Lord was looking out for me…once again.
The Sweet Sixteen has a pretty worthy assortment of teamsseeds, styles, experience, coaches and unlikely heroes are a true mixed beg.
All five Mountain West teams have hit the road.
Florida teams are 6-0. Who knew!
Be certain to check my math…let me know where I goofed it up.
Not so fast: Iowa State is the only team to have two vowels at the start of their name.
One more thing: Florida Gulf Coast has been in Division One for 591 days.
You made it to the end -- celebrate by watching some basketball.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville--Leader Board, Round of 64 Edition

There is one benefit when your bracket (as is mine) is FUBAR. You can cheer for the team you want, not the team you picked. I was loudly cheering for Florida Gulf Coast and Iona last night.
With an 11-5 performance TK zoomed to the top of the leader board. TK, Hardy and Thom are the only guys to post double-digit correct picks both days. Smooth moves!
Today and Sunday your correct picks are worth two-times-the-seed. Christian with Oregon (10-seed) moving on and Hardy with Ole Miss {12-seed} getting to the Sweet 16 have the most gain if those picks come through.

A few thoughts about Florida Gulf Coast.
This program could become a Gonzaga-like story if the coach decides to become a lifer at FGCU…and the University commits to the program.
They already have that Gonzaga “play anyone, anywhere” mentality. It paid off vs. Georgetown. No matter what happens on Sunday against San Diego State, they have achieved a reward for boldness.
Watching them on the court, I saw the Duke three-man weave, the Kansas swing-around passing game and at least three Princeton back-door cuts executed to perfection.
Andy Enfield can coach. FGCU is on record saying their goal is to become the largest university in Florida. The pieces of the puzzle are there. It will be interesting to watch the progress of these guys.
Crowd shots showing Andy Enfield’s supermodel wife, Amanda Marcum won’t hurt a bit.
FGCU had the stat of the night: every player on the team is older than the University.
By the way, none of us were prescient enough to pick La Salle or FGCU. Only Hardy had Ole Miss. Eddie, Thom, Hardy, TK and Terry had Minnesota.
Duke had to work very hard for a victory for a team shooting 58%. Four starters played between 32-35 minutes. That could take a toll on Seth Curry’s gimpy leg on just one day of rest. 31 minutes off the bench.
Creighton had to work even harder to squeeze by the relentless defensive effort of Cincy. Four Blue Jay starters were on the court for 36-38 minutes. Just 24 minutes off the bench. Cincy took 22 (52%) more shots than Creighton…yet only had four more offensive rebounds.
The Florida teams are 3-0 so far.
Be certain to check my math…let me know where I goofed it up.
Not so fast: Raise your hand if you have seen one promo for a Tru-TV show that you would watch after the Tournament.
One more thing: The Boss Button on the NCAA March Madness Live web site is just spectacular.

You made it to the end -- celebrate by watching some basketball.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

KVD's 2013 Bracket

Welcome to Bracketville--Bracket Deadline Edition

All sports are unpredictable. If they weren’t, who would watch?
Certainly nobody would fill out brackets if the outcomes were simple to deduce.
Tomorrow begins the bracket busting…a soul-crushing day. Some team you inked in for a long run will take an L.
As much knowledge as we accumulate over the 30-plus game season, it’s still difficult to separate the signal from the static.
At this time of year, touch-fouls, lane violations, blocks and charges become matters of national outrage.
To win six Tournament games, a team needs to either play better than their average season performance or get a few breaks. Doing both is better.
Everyone has the identical info to fill out a bracket {or three}. Throw in the hunches, the biases, the guesses and the second thoughts---and everybody has an equal chance to be really, really wrong. Good thing my motto is: often wrong, never in doubt. This time of year more than ever.
There is always much discussion about the buzzer-beater. Why not more talk about the players on the defensive end that prevent them?
Iona’s Momo Jones has reached 30 or more points six times.
Ohio State has won eight in a row.
I wish the NCAA would leave the distinct floors of the venues intact. The generic courts are a bore.
Arizona is dead last in the Pac-12 (276th in the nation) in 3-point percentage defense. Belmont is 18th at shooting threes {38.6%} and 12th in made threes. My concern for Belmont is playing at the Salt Lake City altitude---hope they have a deep bench, as they like to run and push the pace.
The 7-10 games seem as evenly matched as the 8-9 games this Tournament.
Florida did not win a game this season by fewer than ten points.
Over the last five Tournaments, the top four seeds ended their tourney with a single digit loss in 41 of 80 games.
Much is made of Florida going 0-6 in games decided by single digits. Is losing by double digits better? By the way, Indiana went 7-5 in single-digit games and Louisville 6-6.
Not so fast: Turns out Creighton’s Doug McDermott is really the best player from Harrison Barnes’ high school.
One more thing: MTSU’s loss last night does not mean they didn’t deserve a bid. Saint Mary’s is a very good team. Matthew Dellavedova is an extraordinary floor leader.
You made it to the end -- celebrate by watching some basketball.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville---Fill in Your Bracket Edition

Brackets received from Tony, Dale, Eddie and Carl…so the game’s afoot.
Send yours in…The Jay Bilas book “Toughness” goes to the winner.
This hasn’t been the kind of year where the best team always wins.
Louisville’s Luke Hancock hit 57% of his threes over the past eight games.
Louisville’s Russ Smith is capable of keep both teams in the game.
Louisville is the best defensive team in the nation. In fact, they are the best defensive team in the 11-year history of the efficiency ratings.
35 programs have won the Tournament in its 75-year history.
Most wins this season vs. 1-13 seeds: Kansas 13, New Mexico 11, Louisville 10; Duke, Wisconsin and Indiana each have nine.
UNC is 2-8 vs. 1-13 seeds.
Syracuse has lost five of their last eight games.
Notre Dame’s Mike Brey is 2-5 in his five trips to the Dance.
Minnesota was 3-7 in their final ten games.
Memphis misses lots of free throws and commits lots of turnovers.
Michigan: 6-6 in their last dozen. The last team they beat away from home was Illinois in January.
Seems like another lifetime that Arizona was 14-0. Since that start, they are 11-7---beating just one NCAA Tournament team {Colorado}.
Liberty has the most losses of the 68 in the field…with 20.
Longest winning streak entering Tournament play is Davidson with 17.
Fastest team: Northwestern State with 73.5 possessions per game.
Slowest team: Pitt’s 60.2 possessions per game.
Lon Kruger becomes the first coach to bring five colleges to the Tournament---Florida, Kansas State, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma.
Kansas has the longest consecutive trips to the Dance with 24…Duke (18), Michigan State {16}, Gonzaga [14] and Wisconsin {14} round out the top five.
California, North Carolina and Pennsylvania are the states with the most bids---five apiece.
Kansas has three Division One colleges---they all made it.
Indiana, Michigan and Gonzaga score the most per 100 possessions. 123.2, 120.6, 119.8 respectively.
Best defenses per 100 possessions: Louisville (81), Florida (83.4) and Wisconsin (83.6).
Ten coaches in the South Region have made a Final Four.
Seven of the teams in the Midwest bracket are in the Top-20.
#1-seeds have more national titles {19} than the rest of the seeds combined [15].
Georgetown and Miami are the least efficient 2-seeds…Pacific and Iona are the most efficient 15-seeds.
The Big Ten has not produced a Champion since Michigan State in 2000.
Forbes has again come out with its list of the most valuable college basketball teams. Louisville, as it did last year, tops the list. The Cardinals are estimated to be worth $38.5 million. The Cardinals are followed by Kansas ($32.9 million), North Carolina ($32.8 million), Kentucky ($32.1 million) and Ohio State ($23.1 million) at fifth, where the drop-off really takes effect.
Duke is all the way at No. 11.
Not so fast: Of the 68 schools, 52 are Nike schools. 13 are Adidas and have the tacky uniforms. Under Armour has three.
One more thing: Not one team from Texas made the field of 68…the same number as Alaska.
You made it to the end -- celebrate by watching some basketball.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville--Bracket Posted Edition

You must remember this: most upsets won’t really be upsets.
The NCAA Tournament is about the only major sporting event in which general interest falls off the closer it gets to the finals. After the first week’s wild times of buzzer-beaters, broken brackets and upsets, casual fans fall away in droves.
Attached is a completed bracket based on the rankings from ESPN’s BPI metric {explained here: }.
Not much different from “Your Mother’s Bracket”---picking each matchup based on seeding.
It will be interesting to see how these turn out.
Tomorrow I’ll do a bracket using the KenPom rankings.

Southern's 2-point defense holds opponents to 40.4 percent shooting from inside the 3-point line. Only Kansas plays better defense from inside 21 feet.
Northwestern State averages 72.9 possessions per game, the most in college basketball.
Is UNLV over seeded at a #5?
It is very difficult to stay hot from beyond the three-point line for three or four games against good defenses. Beware of teams that take a high percentage of threes.
Valpo is the most experienced team in the field. They start five seniors, and their entire rotation consists of upperclassmen.
Not so fast: Florida lost to every Tournament team they played away from Gainesville, except Middle Tennessee State.
One more thing: Arizona doesn’t have a point guard and doesn’t defend the 3 well. Belmont has Kerron Johnson and Ian Clark.
You made it to the end -- celebrate by watching some basketball.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville---It's Selection Sunday Edition

I have watched countless hours of college basketball and read incalculable articles throughout the season---but, in my mind, the preeminent quote occurred late last night. “Don’t play the clock. Play basketball,” came from Bill Walton. Oh how I wish a few coaches would buy in.
The ACC, Big 10, SEC and Atlantic-10 have their conference championship game on Selection Sunday.
Much as I relish the opportunity to watch college basketball, I’m not a fan of this scheduling.
I think it puts those teams playing on Sunday at a disadvantage---especially if they play in the Thursday/Saturday rounds.
I’d like to see those eight teams guaranteed a Friday/Sunday schedule.
Plus, the winners get no time to celebrate.
Louisville and Kansas sure looked Final Four ready to me. Helluva comeback for the Cardinals.
Louisville has 14 victories away from home…Kansas has a dozen Top-50 wins.
Should Miami win the ACC Tournament this afternoon, the Canes would set another record. They would be the first non-North Carolina team in the 59 years of the ACC Tournament to win the ACC regular season outright and the tournament.
In losing unceremoniously to an average Maryland team, Duke displayed their fatal flaws for all to see. The Blue Devils cannot rebound---Maryland was +10 on the night.
All season long Tournament bound teams have consistently outrebounded Duke: Minnesota +3, VCU +7, Louisville +5, Ohio State +3, Temple +1, Davidson +1, UVA +11, Miami +8 and +13. Oy vey!
Duke has a -1.0 rebound margin---that is #220 out of 345 teams. That number includes the creampuff games played to start the season.
Duke seems to raise the white flag when the opponents have adults in the paint.
No matter the record, no matter the stats, to me, Duke still looks like the classic #3 or #4-seed ready to be upset.
Duke shot 16% from three---Duke’s worst 3-point shooting game since 1989.
In the second halves of the three Big 12 Tournament games, Kansas shot 64% (52 of 81) and was 15 of 22 from the arc.
Albany shoots 73.5% from the line and 36.5% from the three.
In the MEAC Championship Final North Carolina A&T held off Morgan State despite scoring only four points in the last 3:57. But, then, Morgan State scored only three.
Akron has one of the best 2-point percentage defenses in the country. The Zips hold opponents to 42% shooting inside the 3-point line, one of the 10 best rates in the nation.
New Mexico State is ranked in the top 20 nationally in fewest fouls committed per game…top 15 in blocked shots. They are #3 in the nation in free-throw rate, and they get almost a quarter of their points off foul shots.
Pacific shoots 39.1% from behind the arc---13th in the country. Interestingly, no one on the team attempted more than 83 3-pointers -- yet there are four players who made at least 40 percent of them.
Montana hits 77% of its foul shots…#7 in the country…getting nearly 23 percent of their points from the foul line.
Not so fast: All five starters for New Mexico are expected to return next season.
One more thing: You might be bored by the way Wisconsin plays, but they win a lot. Don’t let boring break your bracket.

You made it to the end -- celebrate by watching some basketball.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Curmudgeon in the Wry 540

Saturday, March 16, 2013---842 Words---Average Reading Time: 2 Minutes, 41 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.
Rave: Eve Arden.
On the Hi Fi: Bud Powell’s “Swingin’ with Bud.”
Under rated: George Brent.
Truism: Listening to good advice requires a lot more wisdom than giving it.
Rave: Spell check.
Hmmm: Whoever predicted the next Pope would be Catholic turned out to be right.
Didjaknow: After petroleum, coffee is the second most traded product in the world.
Truism: There are only two tempos to music---up or not.
Stupid is as stupid does: Democrat Representative Maxine Waters told a press conference "over 170 million jobs will be lost". There are 134 million people currently working in America. Anyone who takes this woman seriously ought to have his or her head examined. And remember, being good at stupid doesn’t count.
Rant: Whenever I do not have a particular rooting interest in a college basketball game, I cheer for the team with the fewest tattoos.
Truism: When you have a “Yes” leave the room because the only thing that can happen next is for “No” to show up.
Hmmm: Why Do Filthy Insects Spend So Much Time Grooming?
Full disclosure: Dining trends that make no sense to me: food trucks and cupcakes.
Quote: "I'll do many things for my profession and my country, but I will not take Jay Carney seriously."—George Will, Washington Post.
Truism: We are what we remember.
Didjaknow: Only two countries in the world allow a private businessman to pay a bond to secure a prisoner’s release---the USA and the Philippines.
You Know You’re Old: If you remember grapes with seeds.
Quote: “Charlie Rangel reminds me of Cesar Romero if he were completely, utterly and totally full of shit.”—Dennis Miller.

Rant: Great-looking young women asking pointless questions of inarticulate athletes after the game is over.
Truism: It's a hell of a lot easier to figure out what you did wrong rather than what you did right.
Irony Alert: Clark Kent with an iPhone.
Bumper Sticker of the Week: "Don't Bro Me If You Don't Know Me" 
Department of Redundancy Department: And also, same exact, VIN number, brief summary, basic fundamentals, exact same.
Rant: Remember when only sailors, carnies and dockworkers had tattoos.
Hmmm: Why have I not heard anyone on either side of the issue, mention how many lives are saved by guns?
Truism: It’s better to have a plan, than not have a plan; but at the same time, no plan survives contact with reality.
You Know You’re Old: If you remember when Charles Chips came in a big can, and were delivered to your home.
Rant: Do you think the reason so many judges’ views of criminals seem the opposite of policemen’s view is that judges see the criminals on their best behavior…police see them as they are in their natural environment?
Truism: The real truth is probably much easier to handle than whatever it is you imagine it to be.
Rave: ESPN3.
Rant: Did Lance Armstrong use the same writers as Tiger Woods for his apology and I wonder who the person was that told them both they needn’t bother with sincerity?
Quote: “But nothing is easier than to disarm peaceful, law-abiding people. And nothing is harder than to disarm people who are neither — especially in a country with hundreds of millions of guns already out there that are not going to rust away for centuries.”---Thomas Sowell.
Rant: One liberal talking point for Hagel as Secretary of Defense is that he is a wounded combat vet. Benedict Arnold was a wounded combat vet.
Riddle me this: When someone dies, why does most of what he saved over a lifetime get turned over to politicians, rather than the heirs?
Truism: Ambiguity succeeds where honesty dares not venture.
You Know You’re Old: If you remember Duz and Lux.
Rant: Is it just me, or are the Progressive Insurance TV spots getting increasingly more annoying? Same for Five-Hour Energy.
Quote: “Florida is the kind of a place where you’ll never suffer from an irony deficiency.”—Craig Pittman.
Truism: At seventeen, hangovers last only about ten minutes.
One Final Thought: Very few men could pull off a pith helmet…Clark Gable is the head of that class.
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, March 15, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville---More Conference Tournaments Edition

I’m with Jay Bilas on conference tournament size. Make them all three-day affairs by bringing in the top eight teams in each league.
Freshman Ben McLemore of Kansas in unquestionably one of college basketball’s most exciting players---arguably among the very best.
He shoots 50.7% from the field, 43.7% from three and an astounding 86.7% from the foul line. Again, the kid is a freshman.
What amazed me is that in twelve of the 32 games played by Kansas, he has taken less than ten shots.
If anyone should be more aggressive shooting it’s McLemore. He scores 22.4% of the Kansas total. He averages just four foul shots a game.
As a comparison: Louisville’s Russ Smith, Duke’s Seth Curry and Creighton’s Doug McDermott have shot fewer than ten shots a games just four times each. Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas, only twice. The nation’s leading scorer, Erick Green of Virginia Tech has shot in excess of ten every game.
Colorado State has the highest rebound margin (12.6) in the nation
Those Addias special uniforms are loader than a Megadeath concert, in extremely bad taste and have no redeeming social value. Even the home whites are atrocious. They are even worse on TV than they are in print.
Gonzaga’s Mike Hart has committed a miniscule eight turnovers in 552 minutes on the floor. Think about that one for a while.
He received zero scholarship offers coming out of high school…including Division II and III.
Hart showed up at a practice and became a walk-on for the Zags. He started 18 games this season.

The ACC Tournament is the third oldest, celebrating its 60th birthday this season.
Everyone is tired of hearing that Duke is undefeated with Ryan Kelly in the lineup. Doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Doesn’t mean it isn’t important.
Duke has five players who have scored at least 27 points in a game this season. First time in the Mike Krzyzewski’s stewardship.

Boston College has zero junior or senior scholarship players. That they gave senior-laden Miami all they could handle in the ACC quarterfinals was no surprise to me.
Coach Steve Donahue has kids who buy into his system and all have an exceptional work ethic. This is a highly disciplined and motivated team. They’ll be a huge factor in the ACC next year and for years to come.
Miami worked for this victory…not much rest for the starters.
Kenny Kadji picked up another double-double. Shane Larkin was brilliant on both offense and defense for the Canes.
Jim Larranaga is every ACC fan’s second favorite coach.
A pair of huge upsets in the MEAC Tournament. Norfolk State (16-0 in conference) and North Carolina Central (15-1) were the #1 and #2 seeds. Both lost in their opening games. Then the #3 and #4 seeds were eliminated. We’re looking at a weak 16-seed from the MEAC.
Bucknell set a new conference record with 28 wins. Mike Muscala is a future pro. They are the very worst at it in Division I at creating turnovers, making teams cough it up only 5.5 percent of the time. However, their turnover rate is the second lowest in the country.
For a while there I thought Iowa State hated the basket as they threw 19 three-point bricks at the backboard. Finally…at the under eight timeout they admitted it wasn’t working and gave the ball to Will Clyburn. Smooth move! Game, set, match.
Not so fast: Notre Dame has no seniors.
One more thing: No Florida starter played more than 27 minutes in their rout of LSU. They’re well rested.
You made it to the end -- celebrate by watching some basketball.