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

Apology To Creighton Fans

March 16, 2012

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GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 16:  Grant Gibbs #10 of...

Many of you likely read my article from Tuesday proclaiming that Alabama was going to beat Creighton. In case you missed it – you can find it here.

Living in Nebraska, I have caught a lot of heat for this stance. I had various friendly wagers of soda on the line at work, even a lunch or two. I was even mentioned at a meeting today for my “hatred” of the Blue Jays. I clarified the issue immediately that I do not in fact hate Creighton at all…I just dislike them vehemently.

With all that said, I apologize to all fans in Blue Jay Nation about my slighted article. Yes I was completely wrong. You are not over-rated. The three impressive wins on your slate of games beating three NCAA teams speak to the outstanding strength of your basketball schedule. Never mind that those three teams all lost their initial games and are at home, like me, watching basketball for the rest of the tournament.

I proudly wore a Crimson polo shirt to the office today, stated “Roll Tide” whenever possible and even whistled the Alabama fight song a time or two today.

Like many folks I have filled out a number of brackets, but just for on-line contests that allow you to win something. I have done the local newspaper. The local news station. The big national outlets. A few at some local restaurants. We even have one at the office but I let my 6 year old fill it out as I figure his odds of winning are better than me.

Overall on most of the brackets I have filled out I am doing well. I am perfect on one, and was 15-1 in two brackets and 14-2 two and 13-3 on a couple of others. I had West Virginia winning on all accounts but one bracket and obviously lost that game. UNLV cost me on a couple as well.

LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 21:  Anthony Davis #23...

I can add a loss to all brackets today —- as I had Bama winning in ALL of my entries. I said Creighton was over-rated and I made my picks with that in mind. I try to back up what I say. It would have been foolish to say they were over-rated and then go ahead and pick them to advance.

Go Big or Go Home. Bama is going home and it is an “L” on all of my sheets of integrity. I also had Texas on one or two (what the heck was I thinking with that…you all know I love the republic!) and unless Florida State wakes up late in the game, I am in big big trouble there as well.

Good thing my wife is a North Carolina Tar Heel fan. I can let Mrs. Goodman do all the cheering for me on Sunday.

Until next week, when I can tell everyone about the rest of my poor picks…..Go Wildcats!

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Day 1 Of the NCAA Tournament

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After one day of the NCAA tournament, I stand at 13-3.  That’s not great, since “chalk” picks would have gone 14-2.

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 27:  Head coach Shaka ...

My best pick was #12 VCU over #5 Wichita State.  (Note: numbers used in this article are seeds, and not rankings).  Personally, I didn’t even consider this to be an upset.  This is a team that made a Final Four run last year.  Regardless of player turnover, coach Shaka Smart  remains with the team.  I’m not yet anointing VCU as this decade’s Gonzaga, but I’d like to point out the fact that Smart is 10-1 all-time in post-season tournaments.  In addition to the success last year, he led the 2010 team to the CBI tournament championship.  Sure, the CBI is a far less prestigious tournament, but it would seem that Smart does well with the one-and-done philosophy of tournament play.  Whether Smart can continue to turn down opportunities to earn more money at other schools remains to be seen – but it would be nice to see him stick around VCU and turn them into a perennial power.

My worst pick was Davidson over Louisville.  Even worse, I picked Davidson to advance to the Sweet 16.  One of these years, I’m going to do a chalk bracket, I swear.

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 15:  Royce White #30 of...

UConn became the first defending champ to get bounced in the first round since UCLA in 1996.  My Iowa State Cyclones roared out to a 22 point lead early in the game and fended off some late charges by the Huskies.  Iowa State now faces #1 overall seed Kentucky.  However, if the team can manage to play as well as they did early in last night’s game, I think they have a chance to win the game an advance.  I do have the concerns that Royce White may have punched his ticket to the NBA and will leave after this year.  I’d really prefer that he return for at least another year.  The 6’8″ power forward led the Cyclones in five statistical categories and is quick to exploit mismatches.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08:  Fab Melo #51 of the ...

The biggest story of the day was #1 seed Syracuse needing a second half rally to beat 16 seed UNC Asheville.  Although coach Jim Boeheim didn’t thing that the Orange were the beneficiaries of any luck in the game, I would disagree.  This is a game that was hotly contested in the final minute, and could easily have gone either way – especially if a controversial call had gone UNC Asheville’s way.  I initially had Syracuse as a Final Four team in my bracket, but pulled them back to be just a Sweet 16 team upon the news that Fab Melo would not be allowed to play in any tournament games.  I think this was a wise decision.

Personally, I thought the biggest surprise in the Thursday session was the Pac 12 getting a win from Colorado.  The Pac 12 was a very mediocre (bad) conference this year, and was fortunate to get two teams into the 68 team field (Cal was bounced in the opening round).

Personally, I don’t find it that surprising that some of the teams from smaller schools play well in the tournaments.  The standard mantra from the analysts is that it’s all about having a team peak at tournament time.  For teams that come from one-bid conference, they are in the tournament because they won their conference tournament.  That’s the definition of peaking. 

OK, day 2 is about to begin.  Enjoy!

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Breaking Down My Bracket

March 14, 2012

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I’m a big sports fan, although I’m not into basketball as much as baseball.  Furthermore, I really haven’t had much of a chance to see many games this year, or follow much of the news.  This essentially means that your bracket is probably better than mine.  Nonetheless, I’ll thrust my bracket upon you.

South Region

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 08:  Head coach Fred H...

First round winners: Kentucky, Iowa State, VCU, Indiana, UNLV, Baylor, Notre Dame, and Duke.  This is all chalk, so no real explanations for my picks.  I’d love to see Western Kentucky –  a team with a losing record – be the first team to upend a #1 seed … but it’s not going to happen.

Second round winners: Iowa State, Indiana, Baylor, and Duke.  Iowa State is my alma mater, and this is a clear “homer” pick.  Having said that, the Cyclones beat Kansas and Baylor in the regular season, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that they could beat Kentucky – although playing them in Louisville is a tough draw.

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 09:  Brady Heslip #5 o...

Third round winners: Indiana and Baylor.  I can’t completely torch my bracket by taking the Cyclones out any further, so I have the Hoosiers knock them off at this point.  It feels dirty picking a Big 10 team to beat Iowa State.  Baylor over coach K?  I like Baylor, mostly because of how they have rebuilt the program after Dave Bliss burned it to the ground.  If you don’t remember the Bliss era at Baylor, look it up sometime when you’re feeling too happy.  It will definitely take your mood down a notch or three.

Regional champ: Baylor.  The Bears finished the Big 12 conference season with a 12-6 record – but four of those losses were to Kansas and Missouri.  Those teams seem to have Baylor’s number – but I’m betting the bears will fare better against outside competition.

West Region

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 22:  Head coach Steve ...

First round winners: Michigan State, Saint Louis, New Mexico, Davidson, Murray State, Marquette, Virginia, Missouri.  There we go – some first round upsets sneak into my bracket.  I remember when Davidson make their run a few years back with Steph Curry.  What stuck out on my mind was that the college did laundry for the students, so that they could focus on their studies (granted, this means they’d unleash a group of 22 year olds that can’t do laundry …)  That’s quirky, and I like quirky.  I always pick some 9-8 and 10-7 upsets, so Saint Louis and Virginia shouldn’t be shockers.  Saint Louis in particular is an apt pick, because the Billiken is a strange little creature.

Second round winners: Michigan State, Davidson, Murray State, Missouri.  New Mexico coach Steve Alford was previously the coach at the University of Iowa.  He’s not very well like in the state.  Although I’m a fan of Iowa State and not Iowa, the stories I’ve heard about him don’t paint a good picture.  Thus, I have no qualms picking his team to go down in flames.  Murray State’s an upsets according to the seeds (6 over 3), but Murray State is actually ranked higher than Marquette in the coaches poll (and is one spot behind them in the AP poll. 

MOREHEAD, KY - JANUARY 18:  Steve Prohm the he...

Third round winners: Michigan State and Murray State.  Davidson’s run ends in the third round.  I have the utmost respect for Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, one of the greats in the game.  Why Murray State over Mizzou.  Well, first of all, I hate Mizzou.  Second, the disconnect between the voters and the selection committee bothers me.  I realize that these are different groups of people, but one of the groups is clearly wrong.  You can’t be the #9 team in the nation (coaches poll) and also be the #6 seed (which means at least 20 teams are seeded higher).  One of these things is wrong.

Regional champ: Murray State.  Hey, why not?  Regardless of how weak Murray State’s conference is, the fact remains that they won 30 of 31 games.  That’s incredibly difficult to do – at some point, you just run into a team that is on a hot streak and you fall short.  I’ll bring the whole ranking vs. seeding debate to a head by pushing Murray State into the Final Four.

East Region

LOUISVILLE, KY - FEBRUARY 13: Kris Joseph #32 ...

First round winners: Syracuse, Kansas State, Harvard, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Florida State, Gonzaga, Ohio State.  The big upset here is Harvard over Vanderbilt.  However, a 12 usually beats a 5, and why not pick a 12 that has a sterling reputation for academics.  After all, that’s the whole reason for colleges.

Second round winners: Syracuse, Wisconsin, Florida State, Gonazaga.  I push Gonzaga forward based on the strength of their coach.  The rest of my picks here are chalk.

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 07:  Head coach Mark Few...

Third round winners: Wisconsin and Gonzaga.  Syracuse will not have the services of Fab Melo for the tournament.  I think they can get by UNC Asheville and Kansas State without him, but I think Wisconsin comes away with the win.  I like the Zags, and their coach, Mark Few.  I know almost nothing about Florida State, so Gonzaga is basically my default pick here.

Regional champ: Wisconsin.  Seems like they always peak at tourney time.

Midwest Region

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 12:  Harrison Barnes #4...

First round winners: North Carolina, Creighton, Temple, Ohio, San Siego State, Georgetown, St. Mary’s, Kansas.  The only upset here is Ohio over Michigan.  The main reason for this is the animosity between the two states (yes, I realize that this Ohio and not Ohio State).

Second round winners: North Carolina, Temple, Georgetown, Kansas.  All chalk here … boring picks in this region so far.

LAWRENCE, KS - JANUARY 29:  Josh Selby #32 of ...

Third round winners: North Carolina and Kansas.  Yawn … very predictable.  Two of the better programs in the country, headed by coaches with length post-season resumes.

Regional Champ: North Carolina.  First of all, I despise Kansas basketball.  Second, North Carolina star Harrison Barnes is an Iowa kid, so I have to root for him to succeed.  I wish he had stayed in-state (in town, actually) and played for Iowa State, but kids need to make their own choices, so I’m OK with his decision and wish him success.

Final Four

WACO, TX - OCTOBER 24: The Baylor Bears mascot...

OK, it’s the end of the road for Murray State, as they lose to Baylor.  On the other side of the bracket, Harrison Barnes powers North Carolina to the finals with a win over Wisconsin.

In the championship game, Baylor caps off a tremendous academic year with the national title.  Add in the football team’s great season and a possible (likely?) championship on the women’s side, and the roar of the Bears can be heard from afar.

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NCAA Tourney Snubs?

March 13, 2012

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OMAHA, NE - FEBRUARY 01: Doug McDermott #3 of ...

The Conference Tournaments are all done….the seedings are all done…..we are all filling out our brackets….

And many fans are whining.

As always there are many teams on the outside looking in.

Washington Huskies fans are complaining as they missed out on the field of 64..errrr 68. The regular season Pac 12 champs were left off the list by the NCAA. Why?

First off the league as a whole was HORRIBLE this year. They were 0-12 against ranked opponents and 9-43 against teams in the RPI’s top 50. Yikes!

Colorado, which earned the automatic berth by winning the Conference tournament, is an 11 seed. California, the only other team in from the Pac 12 is in a play in game against fellow 12 seed South Florida but did have the advantage of having the highest RPI in the conference which is likely what got them in over the Huskies.

Washington finished first in the Pac-12 with a 14-4 in the conference and was 21-10 overall. However, they went 0-5 against RPI top 50 teams and per the NCAA wasn’t even close to getting an at-large bid. This year for the first time in history, the NCAA Selection committee released the seedings from 1 to 68 and ALSO listed the first six teams left out of making the field of 68 teams. The Huskies were not among the 6 so called “close by not quite” teams on the list.

Drexel finished with an outstanding record of 27-6. On paper this looks like a lock. The . The Dragons won the Colonial Athletic Association regular season championship and won 19 consecutive games before losing to VCU in the CAA final. The Dragons strength of schedule, ranked 248, likely kept them outside looking in.

The Cry of the Blue Jay

Since I am writing for a blog and can be biased as I want to be…I will take that liberty today. As you all know I am a loyal Nebraska Cornhuskers fan. What most of you won’t know is that I have been attending most home basketball games since 1975 as my father has been a season ticket holder since that time.

Nebraska is the only Division I football program in the state.

However, when the boys move from the gridiron to the hardwood – – things change.

Up the road a short piece there is a bigger town…maybe you have all heard of it…It is called Omaha. Some Lincolnites would argue that at times, Omaha seems like it is its own sovereign nation and not really a part of Nebraska.

That could not be a more true statement when it comes to Creighton Blue Jay Basketball.

Creighton Basketball fans snub their noses and turn their backs in general on the Nebraska Basketball team. It is a heated rivalry, and if I sound a little bitter and full of resentment regarding the Creighton program then you are reading exactly what I am trying to convey.

Head Coach Greg McDermott is complaining that the Missouri Valley Tournament Champions and holder of the automatic NCAA berth out of the MVC got overlooked being just an 8 seed. The Blue Jays were a top 20 team early in the year, and the coach’s son Doug is on many “watch lists” as he is a great talent.

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 12:  Harrison Barnes #4...

McDermott argues that the NCAA selection committee had a “story line agenda” in wanting to match up former teammates at Ames High School, Doug McDermott and Harrison Barnes of North Carolina in a possible 1 vs. 8 seed 2nd round match.

The office banter has been at an all-time high. Cries out outrage. What was the NCAA seeking? Is the team as concerned as their fan base? Are they worried more about their seeding the in tournament than they are about playing their first round game?

Alabama – their opponent is missing one of their better players but has undoubtedly played a MUCH tougher schedule throughout the year and should be battle tested and ready. I think Bama handles them and then fans of the “other” basketball team in Nebraska will be whining even louder. I am predicting a one and done for Creighton.

Of course, I could be wrong…this is March Madness after all. Here is hoping I am not eating Blue Jay come this weekend.

Until Next Time…ROLL TIDE!

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Can Butler Do It?

April 4, 2011

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NCAAs

Last year, Butler came tantalizingly close to winning the national title when Gordon Hayward’s three point shot at the buzzer missed.  The Bulldogs lost 61-59, star Gordon Hayward left early for the NBA draft, and everyone thought that the chance for a mid-major to win a title had evaporated.

Butler came into this year’s tournament as a #8 seed.  In spite of the absence of Hayward, they have made their way through the jungle and into the NCAA Finals once again.  Is this the year that we can finally say the Butler did it?  I certainly hope so.

Butler coach Brad Stevens is a year younger than me … and is sure to be wooed by some bigger programs with fat pocketbooks.  Will Stevens be tempted by the money?  It’s worth noting that Stevens got his start in coaching when he quit his good paying job in the “real world” for an unpaid gig at Butler.  Bulldog for life?  Maybe.

The UConn men are the forgotten team in the final – the dynastic program led by an iconic coach.  How ironic would it be for Jim Calhoun to win another title the day after the dominant UConn women’s program tasted defeat for the second time this year?

Cricket

On Saturday, India won their second ever World Cricket Cup and the first since 1983.  India beat Sri Lanka by 6 wickets, scoring 277 runs to Sri Lanka’s 274. I have a lot of friends of Indian descent, and really need to learn more about the sport, which has a slight resemblance to baseball.

Baseball

Speaking of baseball … my Rockies faced some bad news on three consecutive days.  On Friday, Ubaldo Jimenez got roughed up and the Rockies lost in extra innings.  The culprit was a split cuticle which force Ubaldo to alter his grip on the ball.  On Saturday, Jorge de la Rose shut down the Diamondbacks, but developed a blister on his finger.  Both pitcher received an extra day to recover when Sunday’s game was snowed out, pushing their next start back by a day.

One of my favorite players is former Rockies star Matt Holliday, now with the Cardinals.  Happy, as I refer to him, wasn’t so happy on Friday.  Holliday was experiencing discomfort and went to the hospital – and came out missing an appendix.  The Cardinals are hoping to avoid placing Holliday on the disabled list.  It hasn’t been good few months for projected NL division leaders, with the Cardinals losing Adam Wainwright for the season and now Holliday for an unknown number of games and the Phillies starting the season without second baseball Chase Utley.  To make things even worse, Holliday is on my fantasy team.

A Giants fan is in critical condition after being savagely beaten by two men outside Dodger stadium following Thursday’s opening day game between the two teams.  Seriously … it’s a game.  Any time you’re thinking about slugging someone, take a step back and think about what you enjoyed about the game as a kid.

Drafts, Tourneys, and Tiger (Oh My!)

March 29, 2011

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Opening Day for Baseball is later this week. Hard to be in the mood here in the midwest for baseball since it has been snowing and we have had temperatures in the low 30’s . Wonder if the Twins are re-thinking that new outdoor stadium at all this year with record snowfalls in the Minneapolis area this winter. We are not out of the woods just yet.

Speaking of Woods, Tiger Woods showed a brief glimpse of old Tiger on Friday last week carding a nice round at the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational and getting back into contention. He promptly got back out of contention on Saturday and on Sunday, no one it seemed wanted to win the tournament. Martin Laird from Scotland took the title and an automatic invite to the Masters with the win after he had squandered a 3 shot lead late in the round, only to see everyone else mail it in even worse.

Since I mentioned worse, do you ever remember a year that was worse for number one seeds in the NCAA basketball tournament? None of them make it to the final four, which is not a totally big deal. What is a big deal is who did make it in….Only 2 people out of over 5 million in the ESPN on-line bracket pool had these final four teams all picked correctly. Butler, Kentucky, Virginia Commonwealth and Connecticut. I am guessing it is two households that either have kids at VCU and Butler or one spouse went to one of those schools and got married to someone that went to the other.

On the topic of Big Deals, the NFL lockout continues. Now we are approaching draft time, and teams are “encouraging” some of the players to not attend the draft. C’mon owners, this is a dream day for most of these guys and it is not like you get to get paraded across the stage and be in the spotlight again. You only get drafted once. Can’t we just agree to all get along for the three days of the draft and not make these rookie players feel uncomfortable.

Regarding handshakes and spotlights, kudos to Gonzaga women’s basketball star Courtney Vander Sloot who became the first NCAA basketball player to score 2000 points AND dish out 1000 assists in a career. That is some big time playing.

Until Next week, stay classy Shaka Smart!

How’s Your Bracket Doing?

March 21, 2011

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The first weekend of the NCAA tournament is over, and what havoc the upsets have wrought!  Three of the regions have at least one seed 8th or lower still alive, and the wacky Southwest region has the 10, 11, and 12 seeds still alive – ensuring that a 10 seed or worse will make it to the elite 8.

Virginia Commonwealth won three games in a span three games in a span of six days, beating USC in the play-in game (now known as a “first round” game) before beating #6 seed Georgetown and finally thrashing #3 seed Purdue 94-76 on Sunday.  The Rams face the Seminoles of Florida State (10 seed) in the next round.

Michigan made tournament history in their first round game, becoming the first team to ever win a tournament game without making a single free throw.  It’s not as bad as it sounds, though – the Wolverines only attempted one free throw.

I went out on a limb this year and picked a lot of upsets in my bracket.  Unfortunately, I picked the upsets that didn’t happen, while missing the ones that did.  While I correctly picked Butler to make it to the Sweet 16, I also predicted that Belmont and Bucknell would still be dancing.  Akron and Princeton also let me down, failing to win their games against Notre Dame and Kentucky.

Overall, my bracket is in horrible shape – but it can still be saved.  I have San Diego State cutting down the nets on April 4.  If that happens, I can stll emerge victorious.  Aztec Nation, I am one of you!

Disappointing sports weekend for the state of Iowa

While none of the men’s teams from Iowa made the NCAA tournament, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, and Iowa all made the field for the women’s tournament.  Unfortunately, they were all wiped out in the first round.  I forgot that the ISU women’s game was on ESPN2 until halfway through the second half.  I switched over the game, only to see Marist in full control.

At the NCAA wrestling tournament, Iowa State’s Jonathan Reader won a title in an otherwise disappointing weekend for the Cyclones.  The only bright spot was the fact that arch-rival Iowa was thwarted in their quest to win a third straight national title, as the Hawkeyes finished behind Penn State and Lehigh.  Even that silver lining had a cloud, as Penn State was lead by former Iowa State wrestler and coach Cael Sanderson.  The Nittany Lions won their first title in more than 50 years.

Get your baseball geek on

A friend of mine has developed a baseball simulation engine.  You pick a pitcher and a hitter, and he’ll spit out the results of a full season’s worth of plate appearances.  The app is now available as a web app and on Facebook, and will soon be available for Android.  More details from the mouth of the developer:

AtBatSim puts advanced simulation into the hands of baseball fans. Simulate at-bats between an MLB pitcher and hitter of your choice. While you’re watching a game, try out the simulator to get the inside track on what might happen next.

Sabermetric research has shown that pitchers have limited influence on what happens when a hitter puts a ball in play. This simulator puts an average defense on the field, and lets them react to hit balls. Fast players beat out more ground balls and stretch outfield hits into doubles and triples more often. You can simulate 700 plate appearances in seconds and get one detailed play as an example.

AtBatSim is available on the web http://www.atbatsim.com and as a Facebook app at http://apps.facebook.com/atbatsim/ . AtBatSim is targeting a release of an Android App by Opening Day 2011.

You can help by trying it out and offering feedback so the ratings and simulator improve over time…and of course by spreading the word on Facebook and telling your friends and co-workers about it.

Obama’s Bracket-gate and Japan’s Katrina

March 17, 2011

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You would think that a woman who named her children Liam, Sean and Brendan would write something about St. Patrick’s Day or the Irish heritage of our leaders … but there is something more pressing I have to write about.

Obama, take note. When things are more important than what you want to do, you do the important things first.

With the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, as a world leader, our leader should be, oh, I don’t know, leading? But what was he doing? Filling out his NCAA March Madness Brackets on ESPN. Really? Really? Come on.

Now, I’m not anti-sports by any means. I’m planning on being in a few brackets myself. But for the “Leader” to take time to appear on ESPN and fill out his brackets? I don’t care if it was scheduled before the disaster in Japan. There are things you do and don’t do when a disaster like the one in Japan strikes.

As Josiah Charles Stamp said, “It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.” Come on, Obama. Lead. Don’t focus on picking your sweet sixteen. That’s not leading. That’s dodging.

Speaking of Japan, I think Americans need to take note. The comparisons between the response to the earthquake and tsunami and Hurricane Katrina have been made. They’ve actually called this Japan’s Katrina. But I think the Japanese are handling this A LOT better than those effected by Katrina are handling it.

The Japanese had NO warning of the earthquake and tsunami. Those in New Orleans had DAYS of notice of the hurricane approaching.

People in Japan are helping each other. People in New Orleans were shooting each other.

There has been NO looting. There has been NO destruction of rescue centers. In New Orleans? Looting. Cases of rape, public urination and destruction of the Super Dome.

Japanese people are waiting, patiently in line, for food and water. New Orleans? People were shouting “Where’s the Government?” and using their pre-paid Visa cards for strip clubs. Some people are STILL living in FEMA trailers.

Come on, Americans. We’re the Country known for pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We need to take a look at how the Japanese are handling this situation and, God forbid if another natural disaster occurs in the United States we should follow suit.

It’s not all Americans I’m talking about. I live in Iowa. The last few years we’ve suffered through floods and natural disasters of our own. Are we having fundraisers for our disaster? Is the news broadcasting tornadoes five years later? No. Because we can take care of ourselves and our neighbors WITHOUT the Government handing us EVERYTHING.

Some may say, “Well, the Japanese live on fault lines, they should expect an earthquake.” Okay, sure. But New Orleans is a bowl surrounded by soup. What do you expect is going to happen?

I’m impressed at how the Japanese people are dealing with this disaster … and the disaster continues with the nuclear reactors melting down. And yet? Calm.

I know some people are probably thinking, “this white girl from Iowa is racist.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. Not everything comes down to race. It does come down to personal responsibility. Be responsible for yourself and your family. Only you can control your actions and reactions. You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to events that happen to you.

So, I say, take responsibility for your actions. Obama? Be a President. Sure, you can fill out your brackets but do it AFTER you’ve commented on the situations in the world and AFTER you’ve discussed your plans to help those in need. Don’t have enough time? Don’t go on National TV with your brackets. Responsibility.

If a natural disaster occurs, I ask my fellow Americans to follow the Japanese’s example of civility, responsibility and calmness. We are an advanced nation, as is Japan. We should act as such.

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