Muhammad Ali’s Rumble In Jungle Shoes

May 17, 2013

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Today I pick out another boxing item, although this is not a sportscard. These are the shoes that were worn by Muhammad Ali in his historic “Rumble in the Jungle” fight against George Foreman in Zaire in 1974.

It’s gotta be the shoes

Apologies to Marz Blackman – but hey….how could you prove these are actually the shoes that the “Greatest” wore during this fight?

Well it really is that easy.

First off, they have been photo-matched and video-matched by world-renowned boxing expert Craig Hamilton. This is essentially comparing the footage of the fight and markings on the footwear in questions and seeing if all of those stars align. More importantly however, these set of tires have the provenance of originating directly from Drew “Bundini” Brown. Brown was Ali’s longtime assistant trainer and friend. If Drew says they are good, well then ….obviously they are good.

These high toppers are no Chuck Taylors

Written in blue ink along the top interior portion of the right shoe, in what we believe to be the hand of Bundini Brown, is the notation “Ali-George Foreman – Oct 29, 1974.” (The fight took place in Zaire on October 29, 1974, but because of the time difference, it was viewed live in the United States on October 30, 1974.) A similar blue-ink notation, again in what we believe to be the hand of Bundini Brown, appears along the top interior portion of the left shoe and reads “Ali-Foreman – Oct 29, 1974.” Each shoe has been signed by Muhammad Ali in black marker on the outside of the shoe- As expected the shoes displays heavy wear, including numerous scuff marks, which could be from the fight itself, or being thrown around in luggage on the Pan-Am flight back from Africa . It would have been normal for the trainer or manager to get some of the items after the fight because let’s face it, Heavyweight Champion of the World, new fight, all new gear. So the old stuff would be packed away for safe keeping as a memento of a big win.

Goodman’s Epiphany

I guess this item is cool on a different level as I remember watching Ali and Howard Cosell on ABC as a youngster always sharing their friendly banter. I also remember a few of the “prime time” fights for Ali against various opponents in my youth. My would at time when they had Ali on the television repeat the chants of the fight crowd that night which was “Ali Bomaye!” in a very rhythmic fashion.

It is only after reading the REA catalog that I actually now know that that phrase means – Ali Kill Him!

This item started with a $10,000 opening price…pretty hefty actually, and currently has been bid up to $40,000. It is obviously one of the most important and documented items from Ali’s career and one of his most important, historic and popular fights.

Stay tuned for the last installment.

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Robert Edward Auctions: 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth

May 14, 2013

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English: 1933 Goudey baseball card of Babe Rut...

Example of 1933 Goudey #144 – Babe Ruth. The REA card is signed by Ruth.

This card is a BABE!As promised a beautiful card of a great hitter (wink wink)

This would be none other than Babe Ruth.

BUT….

This is not just ANY George Herman Ruth card….

This is an item that I have never seen the likes of…or at least don’t remember seeing. I am sure there are others out there, but this is a 1933 Goudey Gum card of Babe Ruth, bearing a signature of the Bambino himself. It is boldly signed across the front of card #144 in the set, which is also considered one of Ruth’s most iconic cards from any issue.

There is more than one Babe Ruth in this set (there are actually 4 different Ruth cards) but this one is considered one of his most popular, regardless of year of manufacture or issuing company. The card does have some minor wear on the corners and some light creasing. If it was PSA graded on condition alone, it would likely grade a PSA 2-3. It is the signature however that makes this one what it is….valuable.

Here is an excerpt from the REA catalog on this item:

This is one of only a small number of Babe Ruth signed 1933 Goudey cards we have ever seen (robably fewer than 10) and the first we have handled since 1999. Ruth has inscribed the card in black fountain pen across his image. “Sincerely Babe Ruth” with both the salutation and the signature grading a 7/8. The combination of Ruth’s signature and this particular card makes it not only one of the most elusive Ruth-signed items in the hobby, but one of the most prized and ideal-for-display as well

This one started at $2500 with the opening bid, and now stands at $13,000 with about a week to go on the auction. Will this one hit the $20K mark?

Stay tuned for this and other exciting items from the REA auction!

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Robert Edward Auctions – 1948 Leaf Rocky Graziano

May 9, 2013

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REA Auction Spotlight – Day #2 – Lot 1563- Rocky Graziano Leaf Boxing Card.  #50 in the set – Highest Graded.

It may not grab the headlines of say a Mickey Mantle Rookie, or an elusive and million dollar Honus Wagner (which coincidentally a PSA 1 Example is also being offered in the current REA Auction)  – But this card is considered THE CARD for boxing card collecting enthusiasts.

Just a handful of 1948 Leaf Rocky Graziano cards have survived – no one is exactly sure why this is such a rare card.  Was it pulled early from production at Leaf?  Did Graziano have some sort of contract dispute for the use of his likeness on a sportscard?  Was it simply some sort of “sample” used by gum and candy sales reps to give away to local confectionery and sundries owners to show what they product from Leaf would look like?  No one knows…but what it known, is that it is the rarest and one of the most valuable if not THE most valuable boxing card in existence.

The number of Rocky Graziano Leaf cards in existence is up for debate.  Some put the number as low as 10.  Other think more like 20.  One thing is for sure, they are not easy to locate and they rarely come up for auction.

This is graded by SGC who is one of the leading grading companies, particularly of pre-WWII cards.  This is the highest graded example that SGC has ever graded.  PSA has graded one Graziano a graded of PSA 5 ( which would be deemed to be a bit better) and that card sold in the REA 2011 auction for a whopping $41,125.

The bidding started on this one at $5000 and is up to  $19,000 with just a few days of bidding remaining.  This is an interesting card to put a value on.  Boxing collecting is obviously not as wide-spread as collecting baseball cards – or the other “big” sports of basketball, football and even hockey.

When one gets into pricing in this stratosphere, you only get the serious bidders taking place.  I am sure a few of these are already locked up in high end collections that will not come up for sale any time soon, which makes keeping an eye on this one all the more interesting.

Remember to check out the REA auction site and get your free catalog – you can even do this after the end of the auction – if you want to learn more about this and other fantastic sports collectibles.

Stay tuned tomorrow for another article highlighting another fabulous item which is sure to be a beautiful big hitter!

Robert Edward Auctions: 1912 Boston Garter Cards

May 8, 2013

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As promised I will cover 5 items from the Robert Edward Auctions 2013 auction. With the number of unique, rare, expensive and highly collectible items, picking just 5 is near impossible. I am sure if anyone went through the catalog, they would have their own favorites, but here are mine.

Lot #5 – Panel of 4 1912 Boston Garter Cards.

I collected baseball cards when I was a kid, and drifted into golf cards more in my college days. I had never seen nor heard of these sort of cards, as someone growing up in the Midwest, these would have Never been available for sale in Nebraska back in the early 1900’s.

Even a single sample card from the 1912 Boston Garter set would be an extraordinary centerpiece in even advanced collections. These do occasionally hit the large auction houses from time to time, and sell for crazy money.

According to REA auction “. In all our years, we have had the good fortune to offer exactly three examples at auction (Mathewson in 2004, an example of Bescher in 2007, and an Eddie Collins in 2012). Presented is one of the greatest prizes in all of card collecting: the only uncut panel of four H813 1912 Boston Garter cards known to exist, featuring the following four cards: Frank Chance (HOF), Fred Clarke (HOF), Hal Chase, and Bob Bescher.”

The 1912 Boston Garters are quite unique in that each features a player in the dugout, without pants, in the midst of getting dressed, proudly displaying his Boston-brand garters – through an open window you can see scenes of the ballpark in the background. Lastly in case you are not sure who your half- dressed player is, their name is displayed on their suitcase next to them getting dressed. Classic.

These are very colorful oversized cabinet like cards (which are basically 4” by 8” each so the panel would be 16” by 8”) and the lithograph artwork screams turn of the century. This items is ultra-rare in that only 20-30 examples of singles cards are basically known, and never before has an “uncut” panel featuring multiple players shown up in any collecting circles.

Apparently this item was dug out of the attic in a find by iconic dealer of vintage baseball cards – The Mr. Mint, Alan Rosen. Rosen has been the self -proclaimed face of the hobby for many years appearing on numerous television shows, morning news broadcasts, and even has written a book or two. Rosen has had some incredible “finds” in his career, and this would surely rate as one of the most unbelievable in terms of rarity and uniqueness.

According to REA – cards are in an uncut “accordion style” strip (that naturally folds along the lines provided) actually raises some interesting questions. Some of the very few known 1912 Boston Garters cards appear to have very rough edges, as if they were torn apart as opposed to cut. Perhaps those cards were long ago (in 1912) torn along the fold lines from uncut strips exactly like this one?”

The back of each card has an advertisement for Boston Garters but otherwise there are no numbers to the cards, which is common on an issue such as this that is just trade cards.

One of the more unique items I have seen in this or any other catalog…and also very valuable.

The reserve on this lot in the auction was set at $50,000. Currently the bidding has hit $150,000 and we still have 10 days of bidding to go.

Makes you want to head home and start looking through your grandparents boxes of unmentionables and socks…..

Stay tuned tomorrow for one of the rarest boxing cards to hit auction.

Robert Edward Auctions – 2013

May 6, 2013

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The biggest and in my opinion the best sports memorabilia auction is just around the corner. Robert Edward Auctions does one auction a year and it’s the premiere auction in the business in this bloggers opinion. Both Kosmo and I have written about this auction in past years and I will do so again this week, but with a slightly different twist.

Even though I have recently moved into a new house, I was excited to get not one, but TWO REA catalogs sent to my new residence. They had my old address in their system, and that one got forwarded to my new address. Fearing that they did not have my new address, I called REA and their customer service is great. They sent me out another one.

Both the one the USPS forwarded and the new one got there on the same day. Each weighing in at 6 lbs. a piece. One of my co-workers gladly accepted my “extra” to take home to show his kids and dream that their 97 Donruss cards would be worth the likes of Babe Ruth and Joe Jackson someday.

You can view the auction on-line, which might save a tree…but the catalog is really the best…AND you can get one free. Just follow this link and then hit “request a catalog” button.

You have to remember – this is an auction house so the write ups on the items will be flowery as they are trying to maximizing bids, but it is a full color catalog with lots and lots of photos. I have collected each and every one of these, and they take up a prominent space on my bookshelf.

I have made the massive effort of reading the entire thing word for word, and page by page…Honestly I have skipped over a few of the autographed baseballs and World Series Press pins…..but I am currently on about page 600…and still have a long ways to go.

REA takes a 18.5% cut of the action….so this is partially why they have such a great catalog. This is well in line with other large auction houses and frankly no one does it better in terms of presentation, or the build-up hype. They do one auction a year, and they do it well, and many collectors can’t wait for that catalog to hit their porch.

I am not a paid advocate of Robert Edward Auctions, no do I receive any benefit of typing this blog supporting what I see to be their fine efforts in putting together a first class auction. If you want to see some really cool in depth analysis, check back on this blog for the next few days.

This week I will write an article about 5 different items from the catalog that are of interest to me and I will begin this on Tuesday, with a total of 5 items being represented and talked about.

I am a big golf fan but don’t expect it to be all golf cards….and I am sure I will hit on a couple of things that most people have never seen nor heard of in the collecting world….that is because REA seems to always have it all.

But don’t just look for these write ups, be sure to check out the entire auction and catalog.

Until Tomorrow….go and order a catalog!

 

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2013 NFL Draft

April 25, 2013

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Being Force Fed?

The 2013 NFL Draft begins tonight in prime time. The real question is, do we all tune into the draft because we are frenzied fans of NFL teams, or because television (namely ESPN and the NFL Network) have crammed this down our throats and but on a multi-day productions that is more pomp and circumstance then actual business?

Borrrrrring!

I have a hard time getting excited for the auction this year, no big name profile players are looking to go early in the draft. From a fan perspective, Offensive and Defensive Tackles look to be the cream of this class. (yawn) These are vital parts to any football team that is trying to build for the future, but is makes for the same excitement as watching infomercials for the sham-wow.

Geno Smith is slated to perhaps be the first quarterback taken, likely going to the Browns at pick #6. But, Geno Smith to me is not a guy to build a team around. He had glimpses of greatness and looked dynamite in action in some games early in the year, and was even listed near the top of the Heisman list – then he played some teams with good defensive schemes and he looked less than pedestrian.

Tavon Austin – one of Smith’s targets and an electric special team player, is also looking like one of the first “non-lineman” taken off the board. Many mock drafts have him in the top 10, with a few I have looked at having him go to the Bills at #8.

One of the more interesting developments for me (which tells you how unexciting the big name promise is in this draft) is that two Tight Ends might be taken in the first round. As more teams try to find the next Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham,- they will likely look toward Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz could both come off the board in the first round.

Hook, line and Mantei

Everyone thinks I am wrong in the work place, but I think Mantei Teo is going to be a huge bust in the NFL. He has had too much baggage with the whole fake girlfriend episode. Granted he had to endure the media circus, but it does not change the fact that he is a player that was super over-hyped because of the fact that he played for Notre Dame. He put up nice statistics and highlights playing against the sub-par schedule that the Golden Domers faced most of the year. When it came to the title game, and facing real competition against Alabama. He looked slow, missed on many plays badly, and flat out looked horrible.

One game does not define a career, but I am in the belief this exposes him for who he really is. A good player on a decent team, that was way over-rated and will be very average against better competition. Not sure that warrants a high draft pick in the first round. OR it just means that this draft is really that bad.

End of Another Husker Streak?

Cheerleaders

Not as much to cheer for in Lincoln these days

On the topic of bad draft. Nebraska has had no fewer than 3 players drafted for 44 consecutive years as part of the NFL draft. Read that again…..44 Consecutive years. This is an incredible streak. Many streaks ended for the Huskers under the tutelage of Bill Callahan. But this is a streak that even most ardent Husker fans likely don’t know about.This could be the year that this streak is broken. Husker fans should appreciate the coaching job that Bo Pelini really has pulled off last year….winning 10 games and their division in the B1G 10 with basically little talent that is worthy of the NFL draft.

Until Next Time, Stay Classy Oshkosh, Wisconsin

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Controversy At The Masters

April 16, 2013

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This was one of the crazier Masters of recent memory.

Controversy #1

Tianlang Guan started off the controversy of the week. The 14 year old Amateur from China, was penalized for slow play. This is the first time ever a participant has been penalized for slow play in the Masters, and the first time on a tour event since 2010. Hopes were high in Guans’ home country of China – which is a phoenix rising from the ashes for the future of golf. (my cousin is there working on golf course design literally as we speak).

On Thursday while trying to make the cut, Guan was paired with Ben Crenshaw and the seeming old man from Italy, Matteo Manassero, who is also a young up and coming golfer on the world scene – mainly on the European Tour. The dominoes all started falling on hole #10, when the group was told they were out of position. For you “non” golf followers, this means get your act together and pick up the pace.

Again they were warned on Hole #12, and Guan was put on the clock. This effectively means you have 40 seconds or less to play your shot, once arriving at your golf ball.

He was warned that he was exceeding the time limit of being on the clock, and received an official warning on Hole #13. He was again warned on hole #16, and finally after exceeding his allowable time on his 2nd shot on hole #17 by what was quoted as “a considerable margin” he was informed that he would be penalized one shot for slow play.

Crenshaw and Manassero both admitted they could have likely stressed the significance of the situation a bit more to him, but they also agreed that there was no question he played very deliberate at times.

Crenshaw and Manessero, both veterans know how to work the system. You get warned, they bring an official over to time you, you pick up the pace of play, and then the official leaves….once that happens you dust back off the tortoise pace and continue on your way with your sun dial 6 ½ hour round that is made for television.

Problem is, Guan is just 14, this is his first big stage event, and hey we are playing Augusta National here…..I am sure he wanted to take a little extra time while playing certain shots. The problem is, he was not well versed enough to know when to kick it into second gear and get the transmission out of idle.

Controversy #2

Where would we all be in golf without Eldrick Tont Woods?

Round #2, right in position where he wants to be, lays up on 15. In a great position, Lets a lob wedge fly….right at the flagstick

WHACK!

Back into the water.

Tiger takes a drop, hits another shot, and gets it in the cup for a bogey. If he misses the flagstick, his golf ball likely ends up mere feet away from the cup and most assuredly would have resulted in a birdie.

And then there is the invention of HDTV.

An anonymous person “calls” in and reports a possible rules infraction of an incorrect drop. It appears that Tiger had mis-applied the drop based on rule 26-1. This applies to a yellow staked water hazard, where you have three options.

1. Play the ball from the drop area – decided against this one, he did not like the angle to the green.

2. Drop the ball, keeping the point where it last crossed the hazard between the hole and the drop spot, with no limit as far back as you can go. Problem here is that the ricochet off the flagstick would make that line much more to the left side of the fairway from where Tiger’s drop took place.

3. Return to the original spot and take a drop as nearly as possible to the original spot from which the ball was last played. – This is what he admittedly did….except….

Tiger freely admitted in a post round interview that he intentionally went back an extra 2 yards.

The Masters Golf Tournament Rules committee reviewed the tape and determined that he had breached the rule, but then imposed a relatively unknown and seldom used rule. This being put in place a few years ago after a similar call in incident disqualified a golfer for signing an incorrect scorecard, after it was deemed –again by a call-in viewer – that a rule had been broken.

There will be a lot of debate if Tiger should have gotten this ruling, or should have been DQ’d. I for one think he should have told the Masters Committee, “thanks for the favorable ruling, but, I need to disqualify myself based on what I see in the footage”

Of course I don’t expect a guy chasing 18 Majors to remove himself from competition in one, but it would have been the right and proper thing to do. In a tournament filled with history, integrity and honor, this would have been the most honorable out.

Instead he played well, but missed a lot of chances, and finished 4 strokes back and tied for 4th place.

Congratulations!

The overlooked story is that Adam Scott, in spite of making absolutely nothing with the long putter until #18 and then again on the 2nd playoff hole at #10 to win the coveted Green Jacket, take home his first major championship, and get the monkey and critics of his inability to win a big one, off of his back.

Likewise, props to Angel Cabrera, who gutted it out down the stretch and hit the best approach of the day on #18 to about 3 feet to set up the tying birdie and force a playoff. Cabrera lost the tournament in my mind when he forced the issue on #13. He hit an iron out of the pine straw and into Rae’s Creek when he really could have hit a lay-up shot and still played an easy wedge into the green and set up a likely birdie opportunity. He had the lead by 2 strokes at the time….and likely did not need to make this play.

But we will never know for sure.

Until next time…Stay Classy Adelaide, Australia.

 

The Curse of Goodman

April 2, 2013

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The Curse of Goodman?

In last week’s article, I made a number of predictions about various NCAA Basketball teams on both the Men’s and Women’s side of the tournament.

I did not mention all the teams nor all of the games….but the few teams I did mention did not fare well at all.

Here is a quick recap.

  • Ohio State – LOSS
  • La Salle – LOSS
  • Baylor Women – LOSS

I did mention that Indiana was over-rated in my opinion, and they were shown the door. So far, I have not cursed Louisville…although they did have a player go down with one of the most freakish basketball injuries I have ever seen in my entire lifetime of watching games on the Hardwood. Fortunately Kevin Ware has had successful surgery and appears to be doing quite well.

No more picks for now.

Substantial Cash Reward?

When news of this hit the first thing I thought of was Darth Vader, speaking to the bounty hunters in the Empire Strikes back. It appears that there may be some explaining to do by the head of Pac – 12 Officiating.

The story was reported by Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com. According to “anonymous source” (one can ascertain it is a referee that was part of this meeting that is going officially off the record) Pac-12 coordinator of basketball officials – Ed Rush – who also happens to be a former NBA referee – told a group of referees a few weeks ago on the Thursday of the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas that he would give them $5,000 or a trip to Cancun if they called a technical foul on Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller. The words that are quoted being used are either “rang him up” or “ran him” meaning to charge Coach Miller with a technical foul or toss him out of the game. Rush then reiterated during a Friday morning meeting, according to one referee in attendance, that officials should take similar action against Miller if he did anything on Friday in the Pac-12 semifinals against UCLA.

As it so happened, referee Michael Irving — who sources confirmed was in the room with Rush on Friday — hit Miller with a technical late in Friday’s game…and UCLA ultimately won 66-64.

Did I mention that the technical foul was called exceedingly quick? Did I mention that Miller had not been called for a “T” all year prior to this point? Did I mention that he did not use any profanity? Trust me, if you are a remote lip reader at all and have watched the NCAA tournament, you have seen plenty of profanity and also excessive whining done by a number of so called “prominent coaches”. Tom Izzo, Mike Kryzezewki, most notably come to mind.

Since the Pac 12 Tournament was closely followed by the NCAA tournament, this likely did not get the steam that it should have right out of the gate. But it appears to be picking up more momentum and now more of the general public is wanting answers.

Pac 12 Commissioner Scott told CBSSports.com that a review of the matter concluded that Rush did indeed make these comments, that the comments were “in jest and the officials in the room realized they were not serious offers”, and that steps were taken to ensure that such an occurrence would not happen again.

If these statements are true, this represents collusion against one team and one coach. The Pac-12 should instantly fire Ed Roush, no questions asked. Referees are in place to try their best to uphold the integrity and rules of the game. This would be blatant disregard ethics, and the spirit of basketball or any other game for that matter, and simply cannot be tolerated – period – end of story.

How soon we forget the scandal that hit with NBA with Tim Donaghy just a short time ago. Fans constantly complain of officials deciding games. I am usually in the other side of the argument. My opinion is a foul is a foul, and travel is a travel, and it should not matter at what point in the game you are or how much time is left.

Call the rules of the game the way they are written.

Baseball Starts!

I will not proclaim to be a huge baseball fan, although I am a lifelong fan of the Boston Red Sox and also have once again jumped the shark and entered not one, but two fantasy baseball leagues and also a new-fangled baseball simulation league. Last night I already found myself tuning in to MLB Network to catch highlights. I am hopeful that my fantasy teams, and my Red Sox stay competitive and that I pay closer attention to baseball then I did in the past year.

Until Next Time, Stay Classy Kemmerer, Wyoming

March Madness Continues!

March 28, 2013

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Weekend #2 of March Madness starts tonight. Gone is the first week of play in games, followed by 32 more games, a bunch of missed days at the work place, long lunches and last minute entries to office pools.

This is also the week that most of the urologists take a week of vacation after performing so many vasectomies last week…..

B1G Rules!

All year long I have thought the B1G 10 was a bit on the over-rated side. I have watched most of these teams play in person, and was not overly impressed with anyone other than Ohio State. (I do coincidentally have “THE” making it a long way in the tourney) Upset wins by Minnesota in the first round, followed by Sweet 16 appearances by Indiana, Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State shows the conference has flexed their muscle.

I still think Indiana is really not as good as advertised, but the next round of games will really tell the story. Wisconsin is a team that many predicted would do much better than one and done.

In the NIT tourney, the Iowa Hawkeyes have also made a nice run and are headed to Madison Square Garden for the Final 4 of the NIT tourney. The Hawkeyes who had a 20+ win season, but had a poor strength of schedule and some horrible losses have changed their ways. A team known all year to lose the close one and let games slip away late, have found ways to win.

Planting Seeds

The biggest seed left is Florida Gulf Coast. This is the first #15 seed to ever make the round of 16. The Eagles have impressed and excited fans across the country with their high flying playground style of play. They play fellow sunshine state team – Florida in the next round. This will be a much bigger step up for FGCU, will the glass slipper still fit?

LaSalle was a #13 seed and is also in the round of 16. They get this far after winning three games, including the play in game win over Boise St, the upset of Kansas State in the round of 64 and by beating Mississippi, who knocked of Wisconsin. Now they get Wichita State, who disposed of Gonzaga. The Explorers have had the easiest time of it as a few notable teams and higher seeds have been knocked off on the way up the ladder. The Shockers out of the Missouri Valley, played second fiddle to Creighton but ultimately get the last laugh on against the boys from Omaha- as they remain in the round of 16, while Duke send the Blue Jays packing last weekend. Look for LaSalle to continue the dream and make the Elite 8.

Oregon is the only other double digit seed (#12) that is still around to play. Oregon likely was seeded to low, and they have shown that the ducks are a force to be reckoned with as they have beat Oklahoma State and St. Louis fairly easily. That all stops now as they play tournament overall #1, Louisville. Oregon will play them tough, but the only department they will win during this match-up is ugliest green uniforms.

I like Louisville, but secretly am rooting for Ohio State

And on the Women’s Side….

Normally in the Women’s NCCA tournament, the chalk is pretty much what you go with. That makes the local Huskers a good story. A #6 seed making the Sweet 16 on the women’s bracket does not happen very often. Matter of fact, only 4 #6 seeds advanced this far, with no seeds any higher than that making it. LSU, Oklahoma, Delaware and Nebraska keep the hopes alive for the “higher” seeds.

Nebraska is also the only remaining B1G 10 team remaining in the tournament. They play the Blue Devils this round who are 30-2. Like most years the teams left standing at the end are likely to include Notre Dame, Connecticut, Stanford and Baylor.

It is Baylor’s to lose.

Until next time, stay classy Fort Wayne, Indiana

End of NCAA Basketball Regular Season

March 12, 2013

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Basketball Post Season Musings

As we wind down the collegiate basketball season, there are a couple of big things to still play out. It is time to reflect on the win and loss record of your favorite team and look forward to post season tournaments, or other moves for your favorite squad…which might be a change of venue.

The high schoolers in my area have just wrapped up their state titles, and in Lincoln, Nebraska, that also brings an end to the Bob Devaney Sportscenter.

Smoke Em if you Got Em.

LIL' RED Nebraska Husker mascot

LIL’ RED

Affectionately called “The Bob” the Basketball arena is in fact a multi-use facility. It house the swimming and diving programs for the University of Nebraska, was home to some Olympians and NCAA titles for Gymnastics, and has one of the fastest and best indoor track facilities in the country.

These sports are not as mainstream for the fans, so it was also known as the basketball arena.

A little known fact is that the construction of the building was under a bunch of scrutiny from the get go. The building was built at a cost of under 14 million dollars (of course remember this was the early 70’s and that was a LOT more money then) Most all of the funding was provided by cigarette taxes in the State of Nebraska. Ironically the Devaney Center has always been a non-smoking facility.

Nebraska landscape 07-25-2012

Nebraska

The place was truly state of the art on the National level when it opened in 1976. Over the years the Bob hosted 3 different NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games ( in 1980-84 and 88) Many who had visited the Devaney Center did so after the heyday of Nebraska basketball, or as longtime fans call it….NeeBrasketball, after coach Danny Nee.

In 1986 Nee was hired to replace Moe Iba, the son of legendary basketball mind Henry “ Hank” Iba. Nee coached the Huskers from 1986 to 2000. In his tenure, Nebraska became a team to be reckoned with in the conference, as they went to 5 NCAA tournaments, and won the NIT tourney in 1996. There has not been as much success at Nebraska before or since the Nee years.

The crowds in those days, and even during the highlight of the Iba years often exceeded capacity by 1,000 or more. It was standing room only. The place was loud, and it was a great building to watch a game.

I should know, my dad has had season tickets since the place was built…and I have attended most every one of those 595 games over 37 years.

Bye Bye Birdie

Pope in Fatima

Introducing the new Big East commish

With the new Catholic 7 league…which will evidently use the Big East name, 7 schools DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, and Villanova have agreed to be in the new conference. There are a host of other schools that are hoping to be asked. Among those rumored to be are schools such as Butler, Xavier and, most likely, Creighton. It is also expected that Dayton and St. Louis would come into the party in 2014.

Suddenly my Blue Bird friends of a Creighton Feather talk about the Missouri Valley – , a conference they have been so proud of for so long, – as a second rate citizen. Sport talk radio in Omaha is already planning trips to the Big Apple, and is talking about the fantastic match ups on the basketball court.

This makes me realize how much Husker fans scorned the old Big XII, and how much they lauded the Big 10 when they were leaving just a couple of years ago. Of course the main difference is the Huskers were eating at the big kid’s table already.

Creighton has traditionally had some very good basketball teams over the years, and the Mo Valley is likely one of the more heralded mid-major conferences. But playing the likes of Evansville, Northern Iowa and Illinois State is a long way from playing Villanova, Georgetown, and Marquette night in and night out.

While you might enjoy seeing a much higher level of talent and athleticism coming to your arena 10 times a year, you also better forget the days of the 20 wins season. You won’t be rolling along as the league favorite any time soon with those teams on your league schedule.

Until Next time, get those pencils sharpened for Selection Sunday, and may your brackets be full of correct upset winners.

 

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