Advertisements

NCAA Basketball

This tag is associated with 7 posts

NCAA Basketball: Anatomy of Two Superstars

This week we saw the NCAA basketball champion be crowned for the Men’s and Women’s tournament. While there were some upsets as usual in the Men’s NCAA tournament, the Women’s NCAA tournament was straight forward. The question though is was either tournament more exciting or less exciting this year?

The reason that I asked this question is because it was a pretty much foregone conclusion from the first game of March Madness; who was going to win both tournaments.Kentucky was picked by many to win the Men’s NCAA Tournament and Baylor was the favorite to win the Women’s NCAA Tournament. Both teams were clearly more talented than any other team they faced. Both teams also had the best player in the NCAA. Anthony Davis, who would have made the jump straight to the NBA if it was allowed, is clearly a man among boys. His talent level is through the roof, Davis has redefined the art of the block in college basketball. Similarly, Britney Griner has done the same for Women’s college basketball. To see a woman dunk with the same authority as her male counterparts is simply amazing.

Anthony Davis and Britney Griner are the best players in college basketball

The problem with amazing players who are truly on a higher level than their teammates or the opponents is we know when they play what the outcome will be. The team they play on will win every time or a very high percentage of the time. We start to watch the game to see what how that player will help his team win the game and not because we think their team will lose. Occasionally, that player’s team will have a rough patch where another team will threaten their greatness. It does not take long for the player to kick their game-play up a notch and make us realize how good they really are.

Anthony Davis and Britney Griner while fun to watch I believe made the every game predictable in outcome. No one could truly challenge either of their teams. The only question was how long the opposing team could keep up before the game was out of reach. Even in both of Kentucky’s and Baylor’s championship games this truth held firm.

 Will Anthony Davis and Britney Griner return next year to dominate March Madness again?

I am not trying to take anything away from two great players. I am just saying that the excitement was not the same this year because the favorite going into the tournament was clearly a few levels above the competition. If Anthony Davis stays which is not likely, next year Kentucky will cut down the net again at the end of the season. The likelihood of Britney Griner returning is much greater and Baylor will once again dominate the Women NCAA tournament.

With all that being said congratulations to Kentucky and Baylor for a great year. Both teams deserved to be declared the Champion of their perspective tourneys. Maybe next year another team will rise up to truly challengeKentuckyand Baylor for the crown. Seniors will graduate, a new freshman class will come in, and juniors will rise to become the new seniors as every NCAA team will try to prove they have what it takes to be a champion. Only time will tell which, if any teams have truly made a leap big enough to come out on top.

Advertisements

Sports News: Celebration and Disbelief

Well since Tuesday of this week as the sports world turns so do new stories always seem to pop up. One of the most significant stories in sports right is that the Duke Blue Devils Coach Mike Krzyzewski, reached the accomplishment of 903 wins. 903 wins gives Coach K, as some call him, the most wins in NCAA basketball history. Coach K passed Bobby Knight who had 902 wins and held the record for many years. Everyone thought it would be nearly impossible to exceed 902 wins. Coach K has in fact done the impossible and not only passed 902 wins but also will keep adding to his total. For 37 years Coach K developed the Duke Blue Devils basketball team into a winning program. Coach K has become an icon on the Duke Campus. The Duke Basketball program just will not be the same, once Mike Kryzewski does finally decide to retire. Thankfully, it looks like that day is far away and we will get to see Coach K orchestrate some more victories and maybe win some more NCAA Basketball championships. Even if some of my readers are not Duke Blue Devils fans, anyone has to appreciate what Coach K has done and brings to each NCAA college basketball game he coaches.

Back on the NFL front we have more Tim Tebow news. This week the coach of the Denver Broncos, John Fox, slammed Tebow.  John Fox stated, “Do whatever the hell it takes,” he laughed. “I mean what the hell? You don’t get points for style in this league. Let me tell you something: My man is really good in this offense. You know what I mean? If we were trying to run a regular offense, he’d be screwed.” Wow John, way to support your starting quarterback there buddy! Coach Fox should have just said “Tim Tebow is not a real NFL quarterback. He should have quit after college, but since I am forced to play him, I will run a college offense because this guy cannot even begin to be good enough to run a real NFL offense.” However, Coach Fox was not the only one that wanted to take shots at Tebow this week. Darelle Revis of the New York Jets, whom the Denver Broncos play this week, had something to say too. Darelle Revis said, “We can’t fall asleep back there in the secondary,” Revis said. “It can get boring, especially when a team just keeps running the ball, series after series, play after play.” I guess I can see where Revis is coming from. Revis is a cover guy and what’s the point of being a great cover corner if the majority of plays called are run plays. On the other hand, Darelle Revis is supposed to be a professional. No matter what offense the other team is running, Revis should be prepared to defend against any offensive scheme. Darelle Revis needs to let his play do the talking.

In other quick hits, I cannot understand why teams keep kicking to Devin Hester, the kick returner for the Chicgo Bears. On Sunday, Hester returned another kick back to the opposing teams endzone. This time the victim was the Detroit Lions who decided that this would be a good move. The young Detroit Lions learned why every ball should be kicked to the opposite side of the field Devin Hester is on. Devin Hester returned the kick for 82 yards, proving he is the best return man in NFL history.  I am excited about quite a few games this weekend but one team I have lost  all excitement to watch is the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are playing at such a high level that the majority of the teams do not stand any chance of winning. This week will be no different as the game against theTampa Bay Buccaneers will be over by halftime. Just an everyday occurrence in Packer nation, they win, the other team loses, enough said. The NBA lockout is still in effect, games have been cancelled all the way up to December 15 so far. It is still looking like there is no end in sight to the lockout. In addition, there is a good chance the games on Christmas day are going to be cancelled too.  I guess the only way people might see some NBA action this year is if they go out and buy NBA 2k12 and play the games on the favorite video game system. At least on the video game, a lockout is not an option and the games always are played on time.

That is all the news I have for this week. I am geared up for another great weekend in sports and some great NFL games on Thanksgiving Day. The second half of the NFL football season is in full swing. We can finally see which teams are real contenders and which ones are pretenders. The holiday season is here; let the surprises begin

The Sweet 16 is Upon Us!

The weekend was eventful! NCAA March Madness was in full effect. Again, it was a weekend of surprises. We found out who was a true contender and who was just pretending. We found out which teams had heart and which teams let the pressure get to them. The refs again had a significant part in who moved forward and who was left behind. Now we have the Sweet 16. The 16 best teams in college basketball are going to compete for the chance to play another day and make the elite 8. We can examine the five most interesting matchups

First, there is Ohio State and Kentucky. Ohio State looks like a team on a mission as they have blown out their last two opponents. I expect the same when Ohio State plays Kentucky. Ohio State just has too much firepower. Many thought that there was no clear number one in this tourney but look at what Ohio State did to George Mason this weekend as the Buckeyes won 98-66. I clearly don’t remember seeing a George Mason highlight but I remember seeing many of Ohio State’s highlights, about 40 of them. Ohio State has clearly switched gears to overdrive and is playing on another level this NCAA tournament. I expect Kentucky to put up more of a fight but the result will be the same.

Then there is Kansas playing Richmond. Richmond has surprised everyone in this tourney by making the sweet 16. I have to admit I love seeing the Richmond fans dressed up like Spider-man. However, as much as I like Richmond, I do not believe they can take down Kansas. With the double forward tandem of Markieff and Marcus Morris leading the way, Kansas will take down Richmond. Kansas will put an end to the Spiders being amazing once again. The Jayhawks will reach the elite 8 like they should have done last season when they were a #1 seed.

The most interesting game has to be VCU and FSU. The two lower seeds look care of business over the weekend VCU defeating Purdue 94-76 and FSU defeating Notre Dame 71-57. Looking at the two teams even though both have done an amazing job of making the sweet 16, VCU will be the victor in this game. While I believe FSU has found someone to lean on in Bernard James, the play of James will not be enough to will FSU to victory. VCU is playing their best ball all season and now they have actually discovered defense. VCU could very well make it all the way to the Final Four.

Butler will do it again! Butler always seems to make some noise during tourney time and this time will be no different when Butler plays Wisconsin. Butler does not back down from any challenge. Matt Howard is a closer like no other when in the Big Game. Last year Butler leaned on Howard and this year will be the same as they make the elite 8.

The last game I think is one of the most interesting is the San Diego State versus UCONN game. I believe this game will be won in the last few seconds but this game has an X-factor. That X-factor is Kemba Walker. When it comes to crunch time if the game is close Kemba Walker will be the one that pushes UCONN through the threshold for the win. San Diego State is a well coached team but when it comes down to it The Aztecs do not have anything to counteract how good Kemba Walker truly is.

These are definitely the most intriguing games coming up this weekend. I am looking forward to see who makes the Elite 8. This has been one of the most exciting NCAA Basketball Tournaments to date. In addition, the excitement is not over! More last second finishes are coming and I cannot wait to experience the next thrill March Madness will bring!

March Madness! It’s Fantastic!

Yesterday was the day! That’s right the March Madness games officially started. What A day in college basketball! Some things were expected and some were very unexpected. Last year mostly everything went according to plan. Most of the right teams advanced. The NCAA people responsible for seeding did a pretty good job. This year well throw all your plans out the window, tear up your brackets, and just know that no one could have seen all this drama coming.

Let’s start with the expected. Jimmer Fredette did his thing with 32 points and 7 assists, BYU of course won 74-66! Kemba Walker was under his season average with 18 points but he had 12 assists and pulled down 8 rebounds. UCONN advanced easily over Bucknell with a score of 81-52. Pitt looked like a team on a mission as they overpowered UNC Asheville winning 74-51. Kansas State defeated Utah State taking it back old school style and draining free throw after free throw (11-14) to win the game with a 73-68 victory. San Diego State comfortably showed why they are a number 2 seed and should be a number 1 seed as they  defeated  University of Northern Colorado in a 68-50 victory. Temple advanced over Penn State by a score of 66-64 on a late shot made by Juan Fernandez. The UCLA Bruins had to fight and claw to eek out a win over Michigan State. Michigan’s State Kalin Lucas missed a last second half court shot. The Bruins are now moving on after winning 78-76.

Now the unexpected… Clemson was close to taking down West Virginia but no cigar for them as at the end of the game Dalton “I like salt with my” Pepper had 3 steals in 40 seconds to seal the deal for West Virginia in a 84-76 victory. Kentucky squeaked by Ivy Leaguer Princeton with the help of Brandon Knight (who was 0-7 in shooting at that point) looked like his namesake saving the day with the winning layup to seal the deal to the tune of 59-57.

Butler did it once again and advanced over Old Dominion on the clutch play of Matt Howard as they have done many times before as he scored the winning basket achieving victory in a 60-58 game. It seems like no matter where they seed Butler, the team always seems to win one or two games in the NCAA tournament each year.

I am not sure which of the next three games is more of an upset. The first game I speak of is Morehead State and Louisville. If we look at this game, on the bracket it’s a 13 seed Morehead State vs. Louisville a 4 seed. No one could of predicted Morehead State to come out with some fire in their eyes and a bunch of heart. They played Louisville down to the wire, which gave Morehead State the opportunity for the upset. Then Morehead State on a well timed 3 pointer by Demonte Harper and defeated Louisville 62-61.

Then later in the day, the Richmond Spiders faced Vanderbilt. Every year there is always a 12 seed defeating a 5 seed at some point. This year Richmond was ranked 12th and Vanderbilt was ranked 5th. Most people look at the seeds and think Vanderbilt should win this game easily. Not so fast! Richmond led by Kevin Anderson and his 25 points (16 in the second half) came to play. A late shot by Kevin Anderson put Richmond up by 3. After each team fouling the other which extended 20 seconds into like 15 minutes. Vanderbilt had one more chance at a half court shot and it was not even close. Vanderbilt went down to Richmond by the score of 69-66.

Gonzaga is always seeded with a low number and then they always end up winning. Today was no exception. Gonzaga crashed the boards and proved once again they are tired of being seeded low with a victory 86-71 over St. Johns.

Other games were played as well but no shockers or even close endings. Wisconsin, Florida, and Cincinnati all advanced without much trouble. Well that is all that happened yesterday in the World of NCAA basketball. It was exciting! It was shocking! It was truly satisfying and I am ready for more! Bring on day2!

March Madness is Here!

Well it’s here. It is finally upon us. Some have waited all year long for this day to arrive. They have planned what they would do and how they would do it. Other people have even taken off work to enjoy this time of year. That’s right its March Madness time!

The teams have been set! The seeds have been chosen! The Last Championship games have been played! Who will win the tourney? How many upsets will there be? No one can tell. This year there is no true favorite to bring home the glory. Duke is not as good as they were last year. Kansas is good but not so dominant; Even North Carolina is a maybe to go all the way and may even lose in the earlier rounds. I know my readers are wondering what to expect.

Well expect some upsets, expect some number one seeds to fall. Expect some bad calls by the refs. That is all part of the fun of March Madness. Can Harrison Barnes take North Carolina all the way to the Final Four? Doubtful. Is Kemba Walker as good as advertised? Yes every bit! Kemba has averaged 23.5 points per game over the year and during the Big East tournament, he averaged 26+ points a game. He is playing his best basketball of the year is easily the reason UCONN was so successful in their Championship Week. On the other hand, have you heard of a kid named Jimmer Fredrette from BYU? Fredrette had a 52 point game the over New Mexico in the Mountain West tournament semi-finals and he has not stopped being nothing short of sensational since then. 

All the experts are saying Ohio State is the number one team in the country and they have a good chance to go all the way. All the predictions mean nothing, its rare that the team predicted to win the whole NCAA tournament actually does accomplish the task. The games start Thursday and I am more than ready to experience all the highs and lo’s of the tournament. I am ready for some fantastic finishes. I am ready for the Cinderella team to make it to the Elite 8. Moreover, sideline commentary by Dick Vitale just feels so right at this time of year. March Madness is officially here and its going to be one wild ride. Get ready! Get those brackets out! Cancel all your weekend plans! The games are on and the best ones have yet to come.

Good Call! Bad Call!

A great deal of people watch sports and most people have a favorite sport. Whether it is hockey, football, baseball, or basketball. We generally love to see two teams really compete down to the wire. Very few people love to watch a blowout, where one team is completely overmatched. We cheer, we get excited, we even cry when our team loses. While the players and coaches affect the game directly, another group of people can do the same.

 

We have all gotten mad at this group of people during one game or another. The group I speak of is referees. That’s right the refs are sometimes the saviors and sometimes they are the most hated individual in the game. We have to repsect them though because referees are the rules caretakers.

 

My readers are probably wondering why I am on this subject. Well its because right now is when March Madness starts for college basketball and soon after there will be the NBA playoffs as well. This is the time of year that referees can truly prove their worth or fail miserably. The referees can make the crucial foul call that can send someone to the free throw line to win the game. The referees are the ones that make sure the players are not traveling or going back court after they have crossed half court line. The referees even control instant replay and watch the game clock. March Madness has not even officially started yet but Championship Week is going on and we have already had an infraction of the last statement.

 

Watching the Rutgers and St. Johns game, yesterday the referees “took a vacation” in the last 30 seconds of the game as St John’s was leading by two points. First they failed to make an “over the back” call when the St. John’s player was clearly hanging on the back of the Rutger’s player to get the ball. St John’s scores and takes the lead as a result of the play. Most people watching the game were thinking, “Well maybe they just missed that call, or they are letting them play it out.” Then Rutgers throws the ball in with 5. 5 seconds left and the ball is thrown to a player who is just across the half court line. When the Rutger’s player goes up to get the ball, two St. Johns players basically mug the player. A foul should of been called but again we have a no call! St John’s recovers the ball and the St John’s player throws the ball up in the air as he steps out of bouds. In addition, when the St. John’s player steps out of bounds there is still 1.7 seconds on the clock. This would usually mean that Rutgers gets the ball with some time left on the clock. Not yesterday, the referees call the game over and never even review if time was required to be added back to the game clock.

 

The kicker to all this bad refereeing is that the game was a championship game, which the winner automatically gets a bid into the NCAA basketball tournament. Will we ever know if Rutgers would of made a game winning shot? It could have been a shocker victory with a last second three point shot. Similarly, Rutgers could of tied the game with a two point shot to take the game into overtime. The Rutgers players, coaches and fans were all robbed of ever experiencing what the game should have been. They were all denied a chance to see if their team would persevere by bad referee “no” calls. I can understand someone making a mistake in a game or even two or three mistakes over the course of the game, but not all in a matter of a few seconds. 

 

One of the referees should have seen that something was in error and make the right call. One of the referees should of at least have been watching the time so the correct amount of time was left on the clock. Alas, none of the above happened and we have a game that ended too soon.

 

What should be the penalty for such bad job performance on a national stage with so much at stake? Someone will probably lose their job, if not the whole officiating crew. With two collegiate programs affected, not to mention the fans, I am sure at least one person will suffer consequences, if not more. If the media was not involved this debacle would probably just slide by and out of view. Once the media is involved though, some sort of action is required. Let’s hope the NCAA makes the right choice and takes steps to assure such bad officiating will not happen again, especially during the NCAA tournament. It would be a shame to crown a national champion if a similar situation happens to the opposing team. We need referees to enforce the rules of the game and I appreciate what they do. However, my request is similar to what a coach tells his players “Get your heads in the game!” Today was a clear indication the referees heads were somewhere else or at least their eyes were.

BYU Forward Brandon Davies Suspended!

The world of sports has been turned upside down by a number of events this year with everything going on in professional sports with looming lockouts for the NBA and the NFL. We would think that college sports would be left alone and out of the things that boggle the mind. Well that was the case until recently. BYU has suspended Brandon Davies for the rest of the season.

 If you have not heard and are wondering why, I will tell you first he did not break any laws. He did not fail any drug test or get caught using steroids. Nope he broke the ever infamous BYU “Honor Code”. When I heard this I was said “Hmm the Honor Code, are we in boy scouts?” Did he forget to help an old lady across the street? Did he fail to participate in a “Code Red” like in the movie “A Few Good Men”? Maybe he just was late for a meeting.

Well BYU is not telling but the penalty seems harsh for breaking a code that is specific to the school. I understand about having rules and enforcing them on the team when broken. However, usually when a team rule is broken, maybe the player sits for a period or even the first half of the game. I have never heard of someone being suspended for the season for violating a rule. This seems like the school is just trying to make an example out of someone rather than truly enforcing a rule.

Now the other argument is that each player knows the full “Honor Code” and knows what the consequences are. There could indeed be more to the story. I also know that the Marines have a code, which they follow, and a violation of that code comes with   harsh consequences as well. The difference is in the Marines, marines depend on one another other to survive true combat. Marines are also paid to protect our country as a job and livelihood. Higher expectations come with a military title than being a player on a collegiate sports team.

Basketball is a game with no life threatening circumstances and college is a time of learning. Coaches and school should be helping to teach students how to become a better person. I do not believe that such a harsh penalty will teach Brandon Davies anything but that in life sometimes people are treated unfairly. To put this into real perspective Ben Roethlisberger aka “Big Ben” was on trial for being accused of breaking a law, and was suspended for 6 games. He was given an option to come back after 4 games, if he could be on good behavior, and prove he had changed. Big Ben was able accomplish this goal and come back after 4 games. Brandon Davies does not even get a chance to redeem himself and gain his “honor” back.

If the code is really about honor, should he not someone get a chance to prove they can be honorable once again? Is the transgression against the code so great that the penalty even transcends people who are actually accused of breaking a law? Maybe BYU should reexamine if the penalties fit the code violation. Seems like the BYU “Honor Code” should be known as,” We do not care about our players as long we prove our point” code. Brandon Davies should have an opportunity to return to the team because in this case the penalty did not fit the unnamed violation.

Advertisements

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: