Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Delmon vs. Denard - or random bastardization of data

There's Delmon Young missing another catch.

This post doesn't have much of a point. I've had a couple of gin & tonics (WWWWWW, please note--no fruit juice) and I'm getting fired up that the Twins might have a defense that lives up to the hype this year. A good defense does not include Delmon...

After reading this post at USS Mariner about when, if ever, Ken Griffey Jr. should play in the outfield instead of the plus-defender Endy Chavez, I thought about the LF situation for the Twins--Delmon vs. Denard.

Instead of recreating the wheel, and owing to the fact that Dave and DMZ at USS Mariner are smarter than me, I'm just going to borrow their data. Follow the link if you want the details, but all MLB teams fell between 1,463 and 1,732 fly balls last year and 27% of those went to LF.

Since the Twins have three extreme fly ball pitchers, I'm going to estimate 1,700 for them this season. Twins pitchers gave up 183 HRs in 2008, so let's go with 180 this year--1,520 catchable fly balls for the outfielders. 27% of that total gives Twins left fielders 410 opportunities.

Again borrowing from USS Mariner, a really good defensive LF will get to 80-85% of chances and a bad one will be around or below 70%. Obviously Delmon isn't the good defensive outfielder of the two...

Over the course of the season, using a 70/80 split translates to Denard creating an additional 41 outs with his glove. USS Mariner says that each flyball out is 0.9 runs prevented.

Using that calculation, Denard's defense is worth about 37 runs compared to Delmonstrosity's rollerskating in LF.

I'm finally getting to my point--what kind of offense can Delmon provide to make up the 37 runs he gives up in the field?

That's about the difference between Delmon and Ryan Braun last year.

Granted, that's an extreme example since LF isn't going to be an either/or situation. Both players are going to see time in the field.

But despite a less-than-Spantastic spring for Denard, I don't see Delmon being that much better at the plate, even if he's platooned. I'm just hoping the Twins can minimize Delmon's damage in the field; keeping him off the field for Baker and Slowey starts is a good, easy way to do that.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Twins rotation outlook

Damn, the baseball season is finally almost here...it feels like Spring Training has been going for months. The Twins hype machine is fully operational though, someone on the radio broadcast said the team has a good chance of having multiple 20-game winners this season. The last guy to do it was Santana, who only managed to do it once despite being the best pitcher in baseball his last three years with the team. Seems a little hyperbolic to me, but let's take a look at the fortunately-Livan-free rotation from top to bottom.

Scott Baker
Key 2008 stats
3.45 ERA
4.25 xFIP
7.4 K/9
2.2 BB/9

Positives: Nearly every meaningful category improved in his second full season in the rotation. Held left-handed hitters in check. Only turns 27 this season. Pitched well enough to get Bert to shut up about keeping the ball down.

Red flags: Gives up a ton of fly balls, how many fly over the fence is variable and could cause an ERA spike. Stranded an above-average number of baserunners last year, that's tough to duplicate.

Useless Sidler Projection (USP): Pitches like a #1/2 starter and could be a fringe All-Star, but won't match last year's ERA.

Kevin Slowey
Key 2008 stats
3.99 ERA
4.14 xFIP
1.15 WHIP
6.9 K/9
1.3 BB/9

Positives: Began to show the promise his killer minor league stats suggested. Posted some of the best control numbers in the league while picking up 0.55 K/9 compared to 2007.

Red flags: Lefties combined to hit like Justin Morneau against him. HR rate was a little low, and like Baker, Slowey gives up a lot of fly balls.

USP: Bill James' projection system is a big fan of Slowey, and so am I. Slowey will be the best starter this year and put up better numbers than last year.

Francisco Liriano
Key 2008 stats
3.91 ERA
4.40 xFIP
1.39 WHIP
7.9 K/9
3.8 BB/9

Positives: It was a tale of two seasons for Liriano, and the second half--a 2.74 ERA speaks for itself. He's been a ground ball machine in Spring Training and the infield defense should be improved this season with Crede-Punto-Casilla providing + defense at their positions.

Red flags: He has control issues. Still learning how to pitch after Tommy John surgery.

USP: I might take that Slowey prediction back...a healthy, confident Liriano is the best starter in the division.

Nick Blackburn
Key 2008 stats
4.05 ERA
4.55 xFIP
1.36 WHIP
4.47 K/9
1.8 BB/9

Positives: Solid debut, awesome sideburns. Great control, solid groundball rate. HR rate well above his minor league performance. No extreme platoon splits. Improved infield defense will help him, too.

Red flags: Doesn't strike out many batters. 4.68 ERA after the All-Star break. Reminds me of Carlos Silva, performance could vary wildly throughout career.

USP: Won't match last year's ERA but will still be a reliable starter, especially for someone in the #4 starter slot.

Glen Perkins
4.41 ERA
5.05 xFIP
1.47 WHIP
4.41 K/9
2.3 BB/9

Positives: Much-improved walk rate compared to his minor league track record. Right-handed hitters performed worse than LH hitters.

Red flags: Horrible away from the Dome. LH hitters weren't phased by him throwing with his left hand, RH hitters knocked the crap out of the ball when they got a hit. High number of stranded runners. Doesn't strike out many hitters but lacks great control or a high groundball rate to make up for it.

USP: Perkins plants one foot in the bullpen by putting up a ~5.00 ERA this season. One of the many solid AAA arms in the Twins system will be pushing for the #5 spot by the All-Star break.

Wow, I didn't realize I was so optimistic about the Twins rotation this season. I'm not going to look around at other rosters, but I don't think many teams can match the Twins' 1-3 starters. With a potentially-improved defense behind them, the pitchers could lead the way to a big improvement in the team's run prevention (#16 last year). I think they'll need it, since the offense will be hard-pressed to match last year's performance...more on that later.

Weekend Review

Well I'm stupid. I could put myself in the WHO SUCKED column, seeing as I'm pretty much in the bottom 10% of bracket guessers this year, but I'm not going to. Instead I'm going to tell you to be careful about overthinking when it comes to these stupid things, because in my original bracket I had UCONN, Villanova, and UNC (along with Louisville) all in the final four, and talked myself out of it. I hate myself so much sometimes I have to cut myself to feel. At least UND lost. Suck it car in front of me this morning with the customized Sioux license plate "GR8 SK8". And also Super Sioux Fan.


1. Villanova. It pains me, quite literally pains me to put them here, but it's hard to argue with a 3 seed heading to the final four, and they've done it in very impressive fashion too. They followed up a second round depantsing of UCLA last weekend with a stomping of Duke like Duke was that Kentucky guy and they were Christian Laettner on Thursday, and then a great win over Pitt to get into the final four. I don't really think they're a threat to win the whole thing, but stranger things have happened. They have a ton of weapons and just one major liability (Scottie Reynolds), but the man who really makes things happen for the Wildcats is Dante Cunningham. I only remembered him as a side note to the good Nova team of a couple of years ago with Allan Ray, Lowery, Foye, and that white guy, but it turns out he was Nova's leading scorer this year. And, after watching him for three rounds now, the guy is really, really good.

2. Goran Suton and Durrell Summers. On a night where the defense of the Spartans was the real star, these two clowns really stepped up when the usual offensive catalyst of the team, Kalin Lucas, had an off night to get Michigan State the win and the trip to the final four. I figured if Lucas was off and the Spartans still won, it would be the most feared man in the Big Ten, Chris Allen, who went off, but he sucked too (2pts on 1-5 shooting) as did the highly overrated Raymar Morgan (0 pts, 4 fouls). Luckily, Suton was there in the first half, scoring 17 of the teams 30 points, hitting from outside (3-3 on threes), mid-range, and in the paint and generally looking like the second coming of Jamie Feick. When Suton cooled off in the second half, Summers took over and did his Allen impersonation, scoring 10 second half points including 8 during a quick 17-7 run by Sparty that put them up 15 with just five minutes to play. I don't think they can get it done against UCONN, but I've been saying that for three rounds now and also I'm an idiiot.

3. North Carolina. I guess the Heels wanted to remind everybody why they were the consensus pick to win the championship at the beginning of the season. They made sure neither of their games were ever in doubt this weekend, destroying my sleeper who I swear I still think is good Gonzaga by 20 and then Oklahoma by 12 in a game that wasn't anywhere near that close. Ty Lawson is playing incredible ball right now, even making a jump shot here and there, and if he can keep playing at that level I don't know that anybody can beat the Heels. And wow, turned out his foot was miraculously just fine. Watch that turn into a big story line this week. Yawn.

4. UCONN. I suppose if I'm going to highlight three of the four final four teams I may as well hit the fourth, although for whatever reason the Huskies impressed me least this weeekend. I'm not exactly sure why, maybe it's because Purdue just looked so damn awful in their first game, but the win over Missouri is definitely impressive. Fun fact about that game - the Tigers missed a layup at the buzzer that would have cut the margin to 5, and the spread was 5.5. Would have been fun to be in a Vegas Sportsbook for that one.

5. Tiger Woods. What more is there to say about this dude? Yet another comeback victory, this time without the fake injury dramatics, and this time at Bay Hill at the Arnold Palmer invitational. He was down five strokes going into the final round yesterday to Sean O'Hair, and ended up winning on a 15-foot birdie putt on 18 to put him ahead by one, winning his first tournament since his "dramatic" win at the US Open last year and "real not faked" knee surgery. Woods put some serious pressure on O'Hair right out of the gate by birdying two of the first three holes, and O'Hair responded poorly (more on that later), but give credit where it's due. Woods saved several pars from the sand, and made a whole assload of long putts to first get him back in the game, and then take the lead, and then - after giving the lead away - taking it back for the win. I quite seriously think he has a shot at all four majors this year.


1. Arizona. I suppose it's a little bit rough to pick on a twelve seed that managed to get to the sweet 16, but what about if they were a team that pretty much underachieved all year and then got a cherry path to the round of 16? Like Arizona, I mean. Getting Utah as their #5 was very fortunate for them, since the Utes are not a very athletic team and that's Arizona's strength, and then to get lucky enough to have Cleveland State beat Wake in the first round was a huge boost - Wake would have won by 20. Keep in mind that Zona didn't just lose to Louisville, they lost 103-64. So you know, that's a 39 point loss. For a team with Nic Wise, Jordan Hill, and Chase Budinger. Unfortunately, even with that kind of firepower you still have to play defense once you play a good team, and letting Louisville shoot 58% is not playing defense, except maybe in the Pac 10 - which sucks.

2. Duke. Holy crapoly did Duke ever suck against Villanova. We can even just go ahead and ignore the fact that they lost 77-54, and instead just concentrate on the fact that your precious little Blue Devils shot 26.7% for the game, including 18.5% from three. Gerald Henderson was 1-14. Jon Scheyer was 3-18. Kyle Singler was 5-13. When you only have three scorers, and those three dingleberries account for 60% of the teams scoring and are the only three averaging more than 9 per game, and those three happen to suck, you're pretty much screwed. Oh, and getting outrebounded 46-32 doesn't help. So freaking glad I picked these idiots to make the final four. God I suck. You know who else sucks? Duke. Fun fact: Duke hasn't beaten a team seeded better than fifth since 2001.

3. Terrence Williams. Williams played great for the Cardinals in their blowout 103-64 win over Arizona, but in the biggest game of the year for Louisville, he really didn't come to play, shooting just 1-7 for a total of five points, and finishing below his season average in both rebounds and assists as well. Louisville as a team didn't exactly play well anyway, shooting just 38% and getting out rebounded 35-26 against Michigan State. Interestingly, the Cardinals previous three opponents in the tournament were ranked 134th, 79th, and 145th in defensive efficiency, and then suddenly they get Michigan State who was ranked 10th, and you could see they had trouble handling a team defense that solid. Their only other matchup this year against a top 10 defensive team was against UCONN, and they dropped that one too.

4. Willie Warren. A lot of people, myself included, said Warren would be the real key to how far the Sooners would make it in the tournament. Blake Griffin is pretty clearly the best player in the country, but he's pretty much surrounded by idiots like Fro-Hawk and Long Sleeve T-Shirt Guy. Warren is the one other player on the team who can do some damage, and he clearly declined that option this weekend. He started out by scoring just six points in their sweet 16 round win over the Cuse, also turning it over five times (to go with five assists). The Sooners still managed to win that one because they have Blake Griffin, but Carolina was too much for him to do alone as Warren decided once again not to show up. He ended up with 18 points on 6-16 shooting, but at one point he was 1-9, and scored most of his points while the Sooners were well out of it already. He's going to be a good player down the road, but this was not Warren's finest weekend.

5. Sean O'Hair. He led pretty much the entire week at Bay Hill, and came into Sunday's final round with a five stroke lead over his closest competitor, El Tigre, but then proceeded to give a clinic on how not to play with a five stroke lead. He played tight, he played passively, he played weak, and generally tried to just play caretaker with his lead, and it most definitely didn't work out for him as Tiger won in the end thanks to O'Hair's round of +3 compared to Tigers -3. He came out completely passive, hitting irons to the middle of the green rather than going anywhere near the flag, giving him little chance for birdies, and hit several long putts well short, as if he was afraid to knock it too far passed the hole - even missing one of the four footers he left himself to end up with a bogie. He also had a nice easy 7-iron from the fairway on 16 that he somehow managed to knock in the water, giving Tiger his first lead of the tournament. Tiger made the shots he needed to and O'Hair didn't, but it was more his style of play than anything else that doomed him yesterday.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Movie Live Blog: Trip McNeeley's Haunted House

Sitting here on Saturday night watching the Nova/Pitt game, and for whatever reason, Mrs. W is stoked to quite stoked about some dorky movie that is about to come on Lifetime called Nora Robert's Midnight Bayou. I have no idea why, as to the best of my knowledge she has never read a Nora Roberts' book, nor does she have a thing for Jerry O'Connell, the star of this no-doubt cinematic masterpiece. Unfortunately, since I have been forcing an awful lot of basketball watching around the house the last couple of weeks, I'm being made to watch this. The best way to deal with that pain, is to share it with you. Let's rock and roll.

- No summary on IMDB, but the plot summary on the TV Guide says, "Mysterious events plague a man after he moves in a new house that - supposedly - is haunted." So doesn't that pretty much tell us right there that the house isn't actually haunted? I wonder what the summary for The Sixth Sense is, "A creepy little boy who can see dead people works with a - supposedly - non-dead detective to help souls rest."

- Good game here. Nova up 71-69 with a minute and a half left to go. Big travel on DeJuan Blair here, who takes about four steps/shuffles of the pivot foot - which reminds me, check this out (seriously this is awesome, I beg of you to take the time to watch it:

- Nice shot Levance. Jesus you seriously couldn't suck any worse. I'm sure a career 35% three point shooter hoisting a pro distance three is really the best shot when you're down three with 30 seconds left. Also, whoever the announcer is just tried to compare this Villanova team to the 1985 team. Easy, big fella.

- And all of a sudden Villanova is way more dumber than Fields. That looked like something the Gophers would do.

- Scottie Reynolds still sucks, but that was pretty cool. Or, as Snacks texted me, "Scottie Reynolds that bitch" - and he has Nova winning this game. But I don't want to talk about brackets. Really I don't (I had Nova initially before talking myself out of it). But please notice how Reynolds had two guys open for layups but just took it himself anyway. Dick.

- It's movie time now, and we aren't wasting any time as within the first twenty seconds Jerry O'Connell has already seen a ghost nun and tried to go into Forrest Gump's house that was haunted and repelled him with the power of the wind. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

- Just got an email here from someone named Tommy from Sarasota, FL, "Will you be drinking tonight?" Thanks for the question, Tommy, and thanks for reading. To answer you, yes, I will be drinking. I have some beer, and also, since I'm out of regular vodka, some vanilla vodka may be making an appearance. As if I wasn't gay enough already.

- Wait, that was a flashback - but nothing really happened, so that's weird. But ok. We're in New Orleans, present day (officially post-Kartrina). I hope there's Voodoo in this movie somewhere. I dig Voodoo. Go rent The Serpent and the Rainbow. But first rent King of Kong, then go rent the other one.

- You know is horrible at basketball? Eric Devendorf. Let me ask you a question, would this team of allegedly good players score any points, ever?

PG - Levance Fields
SG - Scottie Reynolds
SF - Eric Devendorf
PF - Raymar Morgan
C - BJ Mullens

Seriously. Could this team beat like, Iowa or Seton Hall? I say no.

- And that'll do it. Approximately eight minutes into the movie, and Mrs. W pulls the plug - and I must say it was looking like a good call. That movie was shaping up to be even worse than it sounded. So we're going to watch Gone Baby Gone instead. Have a pleasant evening.

[EDIT TO ADD: I just opened up a peanut shell and there were three nuts inside. This is epic.]

Friday, March 27, 2009


I was going to use this space to write about the games last night, but they were so lame I didn't even finish watching the two late night destructions. The only game that was close was when stupid Pitt came back to beat Xavier thanks to little chubmonster LeVance Fields hitting a shot that had no business going in. I really never thought I would root for Villanova (I was actually pulling for Duke last night) but I hope they destroy Pitt. I really, really hate that program, they're like the Wisconsin of the East.

Instead, I want to make an announcement that Old Man W knocked over all 10 pins twelve times in a row in his bowling league last night, giving him the ole perfecto, a 300 game (not on Wii, the real bowling). Not that it's anything special, as that gives him five of them in his illustrious career, which I assume is some kind of world record. He also once beat Pete (or Dick, can't remember) Weber in a tournament once. Probably should have turned pro.

Congratulations Old Man.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hello my Friends - Again (also with Sweet 16 picks)

Hello. I'd love to lie to you and tell you I'm not drunk right now, but that would be lying. And don't you, constant reader, deserve better? I think you do. So you deserve to know that I'm drunk to quite drunk right now. Please pay zero attention to what may follow.

- If it seems like the spelling here is good to quite good, thank firefox and their built in spellcheck. Also, if you're not using firefox, you're not really living.

- My new favorite "guy" at the hotel bar was the guy who I heard saying to someone on the phone, "I can't wait for that Spartans game. Yeah, I'm so amped up. They play at nine. No, I don't know who they're playing." I swear to god that's verbatim.

- Have you ever heard of Gaby Sanchez, 1b, florida? I hadn't really either, but then I did some digging and this guy could be huge. He was stuck behind Mike Jacobs last year. You can say who all you want, but Jacobs hit 32 homers for the Marlins last year. The rest of his stats were pretty underwhelming, but still, it's tough to take a guy like that out of the lineup. Well, Sanchez could be a real stud this year. Last year at AA he hit .314/.404/.513 with 17 homers and 17 steals, following up a year at A+ ball where he hit .279/.369/.433 with 9 homers and six steals. Not overwhelming numbers, but solid, and for a kid who is just 24 a 1-1 walk to strikeout ratio with some power is very impressive. Remember the name. Also I just picked him in the 25th round of a fantasy draft, and I have no idea if he's starting the year in the majors or not. Remember him anyway.

- Speaking of baseball stats, I had an interesting discussion on them with Dawg and Snake in Chicago last weekend. They were under the impression that OPS+, the jesus of statistics, was subjective in someway. They thought the fact that it takes ballpark into account was some guys guess of how many more runs and what not were scored in a given park.

I'm not here to scorn those dipshits, I'm here to educate. No, there is no subjectivity to OPS+. It is simply taking a players SLG + OPB, and comparing to the league average - where the league average is adjusted not only for the "average" of the league, but also for what players do in certain parks, based on that parks comparison to a league average. Is it perfect? Of course not, there are all kinds of variables you can't account for, but it's so much better than using batting average, which brings in all kinds of luck - which OPS minimizes as much as possible.

There is no subjectivity, and there is less randomness than batting average. Please, I beg of you, read up on it. Learn what it really means. And also stop being so stupid and thinking that batting average is superior as an evaluator to on base percentage, when one fluctuates so much from year to year based on luck and the other is fairly consistent. Please. Please, Dawger, please. Bear - back me up here.

- Patrick Mills is very good at basketball.

= Speaking of baseball, I'm sure nobody watch the final of the World Baseball Classic (or any of the games, actually) but stupid Japan won for a stupid second straight time. Their closer, whose name I'm too lazy to look up but I will assume it's something like Chiang Kai-Shek, looked really, really good. I'm fully expecting to see Kai-Shek over in the US in a year or two - but definitely not on the Twins, that would cost money.

- Today's post is brought to you by Bridget Regan:

- And also whoever this girl is:

Who, it would seem, hearts baseball.

- If you're wondering what happened to Luis Flores, the basketball jesus, formerly of the college of Manhattan, he is currently dominating and is an absolute Arriel McDonald of the Israel league, which I think is where McDonald was before anyway so I guess he's the next Arriel Mcdonald. Yeah, that's right. 18 points per game while his team wins the championship? MVP baby, MVP.

- I was going to write about something else, but since I went down to get more beer now I can't remember, and Snacks texted me that I should preview the sweet 16 games. It seems appropriate, since they start tomorrrow, I think, so here you go.

- Louisville vs. Arizona. Wow, really. This is a game? This is going to be a slaughter. I've clearly underestimated Zona in their first two games, but that's because they actually suck. Yet, they still managed to beat Utah and Cleveland State. What do those two teams have in common? Not athletic. You know who is athletic? Yep, the ville. This one is going to be a slaughter. Need more? I'm sure you do, queer. Well how about the Ville ranking #2 in defensive efficiency while Arizona is #119. Yeah, that aught to do it. Louisville 83, Arizona 65.

- Kansas vs. Michigan State. You know who I want to win? Michigan State. Because they're in the big ten and also because I'm pretty sure Cole Aldrich likes the cock. I can't prove it, but I'm suspect. Look, Kansas is basically a two man team with your guy Aldrich and Sherron Collins. They have plenty of nice complementary guys (Taylor is actually looking pretty good) but don't you think Kalin Lucas and/or Travis Walton - the worst shooter since Jacque Vaughn - can keep him in check? And the eighty hundred big guys MSU trots out can handle Aldrich? Michigan State 71, Kansas 68.

- UCONN vs. Purdue. On one hand, I really like Purdue these days. Since Hummel came back, they've playing some great ball. Also JaJuan Johnson (the college KG) is probably the best player in college ball. On the other hand, UCONN is really very, very good at the hoops. AJ Price may be playing the best ball of anybody right now. And how do the Boilers deal with Thabeet? Conventional wisdom says KG can't handle him, but I'm a believer. KG dominates Thabeet, somehow the Boiler guards slow down Price. My head says UCONN, but my heart says Purdue. Boilers 70, UCONN 66.

- Memphis vs. Missouri. I cannot wait to watch this game. Even though this year Memphis actually plays a pretty average paced game, can you really see them sticking too it against an uptempo team like Mizzou? I can't. And let's not pretend Calipari is a real good game coach here. The dude is great at recruiting, skirting the rules, and managing egos (except apparently in the NBA) but his game skills are lacking. Add in the fact that the Memphis point guard is a freshman, and this is going to turn into a track meet, which favors Mizzou. Missouri 88, Memphis 80.

- Pitt vs. Xavier. The Mustketeers are the kind of team who has been in this position before, and always seems to exceed expectations. Pitt is the kind of team that chokes every year. Plus, I heard from a very reliable, confidential source that LaVance Fields was caught making out with Carl Krauser last night, and the team is in turmoil. Plus, DeJuan Blair got caught taking roids. Xavier 72, Pitt 66.

- Villanova vs. Duke. Pardon my french, but this game is gays central. I'm assuming I don't have to tell you how gay Duke is as a program, but if you're one of those weirdos who likes them and consistently mispronounces Laettner I can't help you. Villanova is gay because in all honesty Scottie Reynolds might be the worst college basketball player who people love not named Curry. Also if you think curry could be good in the pros you should probably go to the gas station and buy a lighter and light yourself on fire. Watching nova against UCLA, they just shredded them. How much of that was Nova people not named Reynolds since he sucked all game, and how much was the soft Pac-10? You know who else is soft? Again? Duke. Kyle Singler is their only good "post" player and he's more of a Rickert. This is more a Big East vs. soft defense pick than anything else. Villanova 83, Duke 72.

- North Carolina vs. Gonzaga. I bet you love UNC. I'd bet anything you do. Everybody does. Plus they have that whole stupid story about Lawson going for them. Wrong again Liberal media. Guess who was the team you wanted to make out with for about ten years and always disappointed but lost twenty pounds and got a boob job (to steal a Simmons bit)? Zags baby. Inside, outside, offense, defense, this team haas got it all. I beg of you to pay atttention to Austin Daye. Gonzaga 90, UNC 71.

- Syracuse vs. Oklahoma. Toughest game to pick. You know the Sooners will toss it in to Griffin all day long, and although the Cuse are deep, the have no one single individual who can handle Griffin. Good news - Jimmy Boeheim is a hell of a coach and will find a way. Syracuse 90, Oklahoma 86.

So that will do it. I'm sure I had a lot more to say but damn beer. I will leave you with the latest picture of wonderbaby, since I am pretty sure that's the only reason you show up here anyway. I asked her to pose for DWG, and I'm pretty sure this look says, "Holy crap, you are all idiots."

Pretty accurate, no?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hello My Friends

Yep, traveling once again, and once again I'm in the great state of New Jersey. Since I have nothing better to do, let me fill you on some of my random, no doubt profound, thoughts.

- I'd like to start with a little story from the airport this morning. After I cleared security and was putting my shoes back on - with little to no foot odor - some other doofus gets through and walks up to his two friends. One of these said friends, an even bigger doofus - with bluetooth headset - says to doofus #1, "so you cleared waivers" and then looked around for a laugh. His friends ignored him. He said it again. Still nothing. Then he goes, "Hey Tommy. Tommy. Hey Tommy. Hey. Hey Tommy" like a little kid. When "Tommy" finally said, "what?", he goes, "So you cleared waivers, huh?" and his friends looked at him like a retard (I tried to pay attention, he didn't actually seem special in any identifiable way.) It was awesome. Yet, strangely familiar.

- Pretty good flight though. I got upgraded to first class (again) and accidentally got a little drunk (I ordered a screwdriver and two cranberry & vodkas, and each time they would bring me a glass with ice and full of the juice, and then a little airplane sized bottle of Skyy vodka. I thought the juice was just juice, but instead of that, it was actually an already mixed drink which I didn't figure out until the end. So I had six drinks instead of three. Still trying to figure out of this was a positive or a negative. The real good news is that I had an empty row for myself. There's nothing worse than having some guy start talking to you. One time I was reading a book on Quantum Physics, and the guy started telling me that he was a science teacher in Utah (ALERT! ALERT!) and then told me that what he really loves about science is how it shows how God really loves building blocks and how everything is ordered. I asked him how he reconciles that belief with Quantum Theory and the inherent randomness at the level, and he started telling me about how an atom is made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Hi. I'm reading a Quantum Theory book. I'm pretty sure I get it. At that point I just pulled the same move that Snake pulled when I gave him the upgrade on our way home from Chicago when some guy started talking soccer with him - smile and put on the headphones.

- Speaking of God, there are a shitload of God stations on the radio out here. I was trying to find something to listen to and found at least four or five, including one that wanted us all to know, "The economy will never recover as long as abortion is legal." I'm pretty sure that would only make things worse, but since that is an issue I have no wish to delve into in this forum, instead I will just say that stridently religious people are loony tunes.

- Enough of that garbage. I'm much more interested in what the holy hell is going on with Joe Mauer's back. Since this apparently isn't related to his December 22nd kidney surgery, we'll ignore that for now. The most recent update I can find is from March 18th, and its says that although Mauer is experiencing back pain that won't allow him to play, it's "not a surgical issue." So, like, I don't get it. It seems nobody really knows what's going on, but it seems that letting your all-star, two-time batting champion and most important player on the team just linger is not a major issue. The only diagnosis I've found is that he has an inflamed sacroiliac joint in his lower back. What's that you ask? It's lower back pain. Yep, that's it. You know what the treatment is? Ice and Ibuprofen. The real Jesus resurrected from the dead, but the baby Jesus sits out two months with a backache. Maybe it's time for a new nickname. All I know is if Wendell the black running back can keep playing with a busted up knee after a simple shot of the Bud Kilmer juice, Mauer has no excuse for missing months upon months of baseball. Can't he just DH?

- Speaking of injuries, it looks like Ty Lawson is the latest one to pull the Tiger Woods aka the Michael Jordan, and overplay his injury/illness when things aren't going well only to be miraculously cured if things go his way. One of the lead stories on ESPN right now is that Lawson will play for the Heels on Friday against Gonzaga. Really? Well I'd god damned hope so. He just played 31 minutes on Saturday in a win against LSU, and although there was a shot of him on the sidelines with his shoe off whining like he was Joe Mauer, you better believe when he was in there running around his shots were somehow miraculously falling and when he found the trampoline in the floor like they used to have in rock and jock and managed to dunk, he was jumping around celebrating like a slave who made it to the north. Old....Man.....River...(dammit I can't find the actual clip, but if you can it's hilarious). What was my point? Oh yeah, you watch on Friday. If things are going well for him and the Heels, he'll be fine. But if he's missing shots or turning it over, look out for the waterworks - just like Tiger in the US Open.

- Ok, my co-worker just called and she just arrived, so I have to go meet her in the hotel bar for a drink. While I'm gone, I want you to ponder this: "That Travis Busch, he do be hustlin'"

- Back. Some assface in the bar is a dick. I asked them to change the channel from some stupid Primetime show called "What would you do" to the NIT game, and before the bartender gets any further than the guide, dickhead guy is like, "Aw man, you're changing it? We was watching that" and yes he said was. So they don't change it. Keep in mind it's a show about how people react to situations, and yet there was no volume or subtitles. So I watch this dink the whole time I'm in bar, ignoring my co-worker but I'm pretty sure I didn't miss anything - and he doesn't look at the tv the whole time. Not even once. He was too busy making googly-eyes at his boyfriend. So I missed Penn State knocking off Florida. I'm sure it was thrilling.

- I got it. The baby Tracy McGrady. That dude is hurt constantly, and I'm pretty sure I read somewhere half the time it's because he's just being a whiner. Perfect for Mauer.

- Well, well, it looks like America's boyfriend who is really a douche but America is too close to see it but all America's real friends (me) can see he's a douche and no matter what we do America won't break up with him, Stephen Curry, blew it once again. This time in the prestigious NIT. The Currys lost to St. Mary's, with Curry going for 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. And once again, that's all you'll hear about. Nobody will mention the 11-27 shooting or the six turnovers, it's all about the fantasy stats. I'm not going to rehash it for the millionth time, because obviously America won't listen, but go here and scroll down to the Davidson section and re-read up on his stats versus good teams. I'll wait, it's the first entry in the WHO SUCKED section. I seriously hope he doesn't turn pro so I can watch this trainwreck of a relationship again. He'll suck against good teams and just when America is starting to question their love, he'll go off and have a huge night against Furman and it'll be first love all over again. Great guy, America, you sure can pick winners. Curry and Favre. Really top notch. You're dead to me.

- Speaking of the NIT and meltdowns, which I think is where I started that whole Curry thing but I can't remember for sure, Auburn just completely blew it against Baylor. Baylor was up like 7 with 2 minutes left, and thanks to a few three pointers and a couple of forced turnovers, they got the ball back down one with 16 seconds left because Baylor is a bunch of idiots who refused to make the NCAA tournament despite having the talent to win the whole thing. So they get fouled, need one to tie and two to take the lead with 9 seconds left. Miss both. Lose.

- I want to quick mention a book I'm highly recommending, When March went Mad by Seth Davis of CBS and SI fame. The good people over at Press Box Publicity were kind enough to send me an early review copy of the book, and in all seriousness I loved it. I finished it up on the way to Chicago, and plan to have a review next week. It chronicles the 1978-1979 college basketball season following Magic Johnson and the Spartans and Larry Bird and Indiana State, climaxing with their championship matchup that changed college basketball. It also does a great job of following the peripheral players and coaches as well. If you liked the John Feinstein college basketball books (Season on the Brink, The Last Amateurs, a March to Madness) or like basketball in general, pick it up. Full review coming next week.

- - Oh crap, here's something awesome. I just saw that America's boyfriends little brother, Seth Curry, is transferring from Liberty. I don't know why, and nobody knows where yet, but I can only hope he goes to a big school so he can be exposed for the fraud that his whole family (except Dell) is. Seth led all freshmen this year by averaging 20.2 points per game, but I'd assume it's because Dell taught his kids to just shoot constantly - hopefully none of them is a crip or a blood. I did check the stats just to be sure, and he shot 42% from the floor and 35% from three with a 1-1 Assist/Turnover ratio, so it's pretty much more of the same. Plus, does anybody really like anybody named Seth? I mean, really?

- I think that's pretty much it for tonight. Hasta Manana.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend Review

Hello all, back from Chicago and we all made it home alive. It was an excellent weekend that involved watching Dayton beat West Virginia at a Dayton bar and realizing all Dayton fans are idiots like the guy who usually sits next to us at Williams, playing Yahtzee for three hours at the bar, a lot of discussion of westerns, trainwrecks, boxcars, and other deviant behaviors, some excellent wings, several threatening text messages from Mama Dawger, a Madden draft, Dawger passing out at the bar by 9pm the first night, me losing two elite 8 teams in the first round, Bogart going 5-0 on his $100 bets but still barely breaking even due to his inability to get an OVER/UNDER right, and playing Madden on a 12 foot TV.

I won't spend much time breaking it down, but I do want to relay one specific story, however, and it's the way the trip kicked off. Dawger and Snake came to the airport together, although Dawger was on a different flight than Snake and I. I was surprised when I saw Dawg because I thought he was flying Southwest, and they fly out of the Humphrey terminal. So I said, "Aren't you flying out of Humphrey?" and I get a look back like I'm an idiot and a "No, dummy." well guess what? Yep, he ended up having to run all the way to what he thought was his gate at Lindbergh because he waited too long to head down there, and then they told him he was supposed to fly out of Humphrey. This was about 10 minutes before his flight was scheduled to take off.

So he's got to run all the way to the shuttle, take the shuttle from terminal to terminal, and then get through security again and get to his gate. Naturally, that's impossible. So instead he had to pay to switch to a later flight. Then, when Bogart picked up Snake and I at the airport, we decided not to wait around for Dawger to finally show, so he had to take a cab to Bogart's mansion. He pretty much spent somewhere in the ballpark of $100, all because he's an idiot. Good stuff.

On to the sports,


1. The Big East. Seven teams invited to the tournament, five in the sweet 16 with a sixth (Marquette) who took a third-seeded Missouri team right down to the wire without it's possibly best player. Every said the Big East was the best conference, and that put a lot of pressure on the teams to play up to that standard. They certainly have. Although unlikely, because Syracuse would have to beat not only Oklahoma but also likely North Carolina, we could be heading for an all-Big East Final Four. Louisville, UCONN, and Pitt have the inside track, but Villanova could also surprise.

2. Cole Aldrich. Just in case you didn't already feel enough pain every time you hear his name mentioned, Aldrich got to play in the Metrodome for the first two rounds and put on a show in front of the home crowd. He had a good game in the Jayhawks ten point win over North Dakota State with 23 points and 13 rebounds, and then followed that up with a dominating 13 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 blocks in a stomping of Dayton to put Kansas in the sweet sixteen. It was just the sixth triple double in NCAA Tournament history since steals, blocks, and assists became official stats in 1986, and the first since Dwayne Wade in 2003. Interestingly, both of the last two were at the metrodome, both had Snacks and Old Man W in attendance, and both I went out of town instead of going to the game in person.

3. Blake Griffin. I don't know if you noticed or not, but this guy is really, really, good. Seriously, it's like watching old footage of Wilt Chamberlain dominated poor slow white guys when you watch Griffin play. His combination of size, strength, athleticism, pimpitude, and speed is rarely seen, and if he's not the first overall pick in the NBA draft it'll automatically become the worst pick ever. Griffin put up 28 points and 13 rebounds in the Sooners' opening round win over poor little Morgan State, and he then followed it up with 33 points and 17 rebounds in their surprisingly tough 73-63 win over Michigan. He's so good, the over/under line for his total rebounds was set at 14.5 for the Michigan game. Crazy Papa Griffin (have you seen this guy? Yikes) must be so proud - until he looks over at older brother Tito Griffin.

4. Orlando Mendez-Valdez. Enough of the big guys, let's talk point guards. One of the most impressive guys we watched over the weekend was Mendez-Valdez, aka Taco Hawk aka Magic Taco, the point guard for Western Kentucky who almost single-handedly knocked Gonzaga out of the tournament. He had a good game in the first round upset of Illinois, going for 11 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, but then torched Gonzaga in round 2 with 25 points (including 7-10 on three pointers) and 7 assists to just one turnover. Unfortunately the Hilltoppers couldn't quite pull off a second upset, as Jeremy Pargo hit a leaner at the end to finish WKU's run, and Taco Hawk's career, with the Bulldgos pulling it out 83-81. Godspeed Magic Taco. We hardly knew you, but you will be missed.

5. A.J. Price. Watching UCONN destroy Chattanooga 103-47 and then Texas A&M 92-66 one thing is clear; the rest of the country is damn lucky Jerome Dyson got hurt. Even without him, the Huskies might be the favorite to win the whole thing, and point guard AJ Price is a big reason. He lit up Chattanooga for 20 in just 27 minutes, and then followed it up by hitting A&M for 27 points and 8 assists. UCONN will have a very tough elite 8 game against either Missouri or Memphis (assuming they beat Purdue) but if I had to pick all over again, they would be my choice to win - which pretty much guarantees a Purdue upset.


1. The Pac 10. Honest to god, I didn't watch nearly enough Pac 10 games this year because if I had realized they played this piss poor of defense I would never had picked even one team to advance. Watching UCLA give up layup after layup to Villanova was like watching team of retarded fourth graders play the globetrotters. Also had a chance to watch Arizona State against Syracuse, and they were just as bad. Ugly. The Pac had six invites, and only the team that probably shouldn't have gotten one, Arizona, made it out of the weekend.

Cal was seeded higher than Maryland but let the Terps shoot 49% and lost. UCLA beat VCU thanks to them having zero idea what to do down 1 with ten seconds left and the ball, but then got the absolute shit kicked out of them by Nova, giving up 46% shooting which should have been higher but towards the end the Wildcats just started chucking up anything for fun. Washington was one of only two teams seeded #4 or better to not make it out of the weekend, thanks to a loss to Purdue, and even though USC and Arizona St won their first games and were then expected to lose their second, the way these guys play out west is soft and weak. Really wish I had known that before I put ASU and UCLA in the sweet 16.

2. James Harden. Speaking of Arizona State, other than their piss poor girl style defense, they also had no chance of winning thanks to James Harden, likely a top five pick in the NBA draft who refused to show up this weekend. They won their first round game over Temple despite Harden, who shot just 1-8 and scored only 9 points. They were then bounced by an infinitely better Syracuse team, with Harden once again not showing up, going just 2-10 and scoring just 10 points. Unacceptable, especially since he led his team with 20.1ppg in the regular season, and shot over 50%. Even more troubling is that Harden scored 10 points or less six times this season and three of those are in the Sun Devils last three games. Maybe he's a choker, or maybe he's broken, but if I'm going to draft him into the NBA, I'm very nervous.

3. Wake Forest. The only top four team to lose in the first round, the former #1 ranked Demon Deacons not only got beat by Cleveland State, but they straight up got their asses beat, losing 84-69 in a game that honestly probably wasn't that close, ending the year on a 2-game losing streak after losing in their first game of the ACC tournament as well. How ugly was it? Wake's 18 turnovers weren't even the worst part, nor were the 7 by Jeff Teague alone. Wake's defense was the truly awful part, allowing Cleveland State to shoot 48% from the floor, when they shot just 43% for the season, and turning them over just 10 times when they averaged 14 per game during the season. Even worse, the 84 points the Vikings scored was their highest total this season. With Teague, Al-Faroque Aminu, and Josh Johnson all possibly going pro, who knows what direction the program is heading.

4. The State of Utah. Three NCAA bids for the six Utah D-I teams, which should have been four if Weber State hadn't choked in the Big Sky Tournament, and zero wins, zero teams advancing. Utah State looked like absolute garbage other than a little run towards the end when it was pretty much too late, losing to Marquette while refusing to make a shot and not giving it to the Big Ginger enough. Utah, although catching a bit of a bad break by getting the best of the 12 seeds, was still a favorite and probably shouldn't have let Arizona shoot 55%, and BYU was a favorite over Texas A&M (8 over a 9) but got rolled 79-66, losing to the Aggies in the first round for the second year in a row. I'd also like to point out once again that the state of Utah has six division I basketball programs, and Minnesota still has just the one for some reason.

5. Clemson. It wouldn't have been too hard to just include the ACC here, since Wake (see above), Clemson, Florida State, and Boston College all managed to disappoint with first round losses, but Maryland's nice win and the success of UNC and Duke will keep them from being labeled a disappointment - at least for now. Clemson, however, is most definitely a disappointment and continues to come up short, year-after-year. This year, the 7th seeded Tigers, who started 16-0 and at one point were ranked 10th in the country, lost to who we know is a pretty bad Michigan team to end their season early. This season is similar to last year, when they Tigers started 12-1 and were ranked as highly as #15, then limped to a 5 seed and lost to Villanova in the first round. Which was similar to the previous season, when they started 17-0, were ranked 14th, and then crashed and missed the NCAA tournament altogether. Which was similar to the previous season when they started 11-0 and didn't make the tournament. Seriously, I think it's time to just stop taking them seriously.

That's it for now. I head to New Jersey for two nights tomorrow, so I'm sure I'll be back writing one if not both of them. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Announcement: from henceforth snake will

Announcement: from henceforth snake will be known as ferris. Also dawger will be known as 'pass out at the bar at 9pm'

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It Was a Good Run

I'll have a more thorough breakdown of the season at some point down the road - or not, what the hell do I know - but for now, I'll just say it was a pretty good season.

Can't really complain about the loss tonight, since the goal of the year was to get into the tournament and they did, and anything on top of that would have been gravy. I think the loss is a little easier to swallow because in general I think the Gophers played pretty well against Texas. But that's what happens in the tournament - you just run into better teams.

They had some issues, most of which plagued them all season long - not getting back on defense, a poor night keeping the other team off the offensive glass, an occasionally stagnant offense, poor shooting, and giving up too many open three pointers (hello AJ Abrams) - but overall the future is bright for next season, and I'm not going to do any complaining tonight - although it would have been nice to keep the final margin in the single digits.

All-in-all, I'm strangely calm about this, and overall just very happy how the season ended up - despite some very frustrating times earlier in the year.

Tomorrow morning I head to Chicago with Snake and Dawger to hang with big daddy Bogart. There may be blogging, and their will definitely be drinking.

Let's Set the Mood

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gophers vs. Texas Preview - They Can Win This

When the brackets came out, after I got over my intense wave of relief at seeing Minnesota called, I realized the matchup for the Gophers was about as good as I could have hoped for. Even though this team almost made the Final Four last year, they are a far, far cry from last year's team. It might seem odd, seeing as the only player they lost off of last year's team is DJ Augustine, but it also makes sense. Augustine was that good, and may have been the best point guard in the country last year, and they haven't been able to replace that.

They tried to convert A.J. Abrams, one of the best shooters in the country, into a point guard and that experiment failed miserably. The 5-11 Abrams averaged just 1.4 assists per game this season (season high = 4) to go against 1.3 turnovers. He is still an extremely dangerous shooter, and hit just 39% from three this season but that was mainly due to defense that were absolutely keyed on him. He has one of the quickest releases in the country, and if the Gophers give him an inch he can get his shot off. If he's hot and getting looks, you can pack this one up early.

The only true point guard on the roster is 6-0 Turkish import Dogus Balbay. Balbay has done a nice job in his 20 minutes a game, putting up the best assist to turnover ratio on the team at 2.7-1.0, with just over 3 assists per game. He is also not a major offensive threat (and doesn't shoot threes) with just 3 points per game and only breaking double figures three times.

The third of three guards Texas usually starts is Justin Mason, a 6-2 combo guard who is also more of a shooting guard than a true point. Mason has done a good job, averaging 4.2 assists to go against 2.0 turnovers, but is not much of a scoring threat, putting up just 6 points per game and is not a three point threat. He does most of his damage getting into the paint, but hasn't done much damage lately, scoring in double figures just once since January.

In the paint, the Longhorns have a couple of very good, and very different big men, led by 6-7 small forward Damion James. He as an absolute beast who put up 15 points and 9 rebounds a game and carried the team at times. He can also step out and hit the three if you let him, although he's certainly not a great shooter. James is the guy who scares me more than even Abrams. An athletic, do-everything small forward? Damian Johnson will have an excellent opportunity to showcase his defense here in front of a national audience. If he can shut him down, and I think he can, the Gophers can win.

The other forward is a gigantic beast of a whale of a man, Dexter Pittman, who stands at 6-10 and 298 pounds, and that's after losing 70 pounds since getting on campus. Pittman has gone from 7 minutes, 3 points and 2.5 rebounds per game lasts year to 16 minutes, 10 points, and 5 rebounds per game this year. Perhaps the best news for the Gophers is that he can play just those 16 minutes due to his Oliver Milleresque frame and conditioning.

Off the bench, the Longhorns turn to former starter Gary Johnson and Rick Rickert clone Connor Atchley. Johnson is the team's third leading scorer behind Abrams and James at 10.5 ppg, and is another tweener type who is a good rebounder for his size at 5.6 per game at 6-6. He reminds me a lot of James, and is capable of having a big game - hit lit up Michigan State for 20. Finally, we come to Atchley, he of the clan of 6-10 guys who love the three point line and hate the paint. Sampson and Iverson struggle to guard bigger guys who live on the perimeter, but luckily Atchley has seemingly lost his shot and would struggle to beat Al Nolen in Horse this year, as his three point percentage has dropped from 41% last year to just 29% this year.

As an overall team, Texas's strengths are their defense (29th in D-efficiency) particularly defending the two (30th nationally), and their rebounding (fourth in Big 12 in overall rebounding and 21st nationally in offensive rebounding). Their biggest weakness is their outside shooting. Abrams is the only good shooter on the team, and most of their players don't even bother to look to shoot out there. Point guard play is also suspect.

The Gophers can win this game by going with a tough man-to-man, applying high pressure. If they try to use a zone, they are going to get killed. Mason and James are way too good at penetrating a zone (think the opposite of the Gopher guards/forwards) and that will lead to easy baskets inside as well as open shots for Abrams. Play a man-to-man with Nolen on Mason, Westbrook on Abrams (assuming L-Dub brings out the effort for the tournament), DJ on DJ, and Iverson or Sampson on Pittman. You are probably going to have to go with either Iverson or Sampson and not both, because Texas is small and quick and I don't think the advantage you gain with the Twin Towers on offense negates the problems you will have on defense, so expect Devoe or Hoffarber to get the start at a third guard and the Balbay assignment. Keeping Tejas off the offensive boards is going to be huge.

On offense, Texas is mostly man-to-man, which helps the Gophers, although it wouldn't shock me to see them go zone based on the issues the Gophers have had. The strategy and keys are the same: get the ball inside, don't rely on the three pointer, and take care of the ball. Same things we've been seeing all season long, and based on the team's play in the Big Ten tournament I'm cautiously optimistic. I'm also still cautiously waiting for Hoffarber to heat up - he seems to thrive in big games. Another concern is Westbrook going into F You Mode early when it's not needed, and digging the Gophers a hole.

In the end, I think the Gophers can shut down Texas effectively. They match up well with the Texas offense, which is predicated on the penetration of James and Mason and I think Johnson and Nolen can control that. But you have to score points to win in the NCAA tournament, and going against a top flight defense like Texas I don't think the Gophers have the firepower to get it done in the end.

Texas 63, Minnesota 55.

Here's What's Going to Happen: East Region


#1 Pitt over #16 East Tennessee State. Should be the closest thing to a competitive 16/1 or 15/2 game, with the Bucs being able to hang at least a little bit with Pitt.

#9 Tennessee over #8 Oklahoma State. Should be a pretty competitive game, since Tennessee and Oklahoma State have almost identical Ken Pom ratings, and watching the two teams you can see how closely matched they will be. As Snacks said, will the good Tennessee show up (the one who swept Florida and South Carolina and beat Marquette, Georgetown, and Siena) or the bad one (who lost to Miss State, Ole Miss, and Alabama). Actually looking at the Volunteer resume, I think they are much better than a 9 seed, and I also think Ok State is an ok team who got hot at the end of the year.

#5 Florida State over #12 Wisconsin. Florida State has come a long way since they lost to Northwestern earlier this year, and they managed to ride senior point guard Toney Douglas to a very impressive 10-6 record in the ACC this year. They turn the ball over way too much, which is worrisome, but Wisconsin doesn't create turnovers at all - and they suck.

#4 Xavier over #13 Portland State. You want to know how confused I am about Xavier? The first pass through this bracket I had them in the final four. On a subsequent pass later (and I've gone through this one a whole bunch of times) I had them losing this game right here. I still think the could lose this one, but Portland State is the worst defensive team in the NCAA tournament, so I can't possibly make this pick.

#6 UCLA over #11 VCU. Really, everybody? Really? We're all picking VCU here because of a game they won two years ago? The same VCU team that lost to Vanderbilt? And East Carolina? And was one of UNC-Wilmington's seven wins this year (RIP Brent Blizzard)? Really? I think UCLA will be fine here - Collison shuts down Maynor.

#3 Villanova over #14 American. American might be able to give Nova a run here, especially if the shots aren't falling for the Wildcats and Scottie Reynolds since American shoots quite well from three themselves. And it's a good matchup for the Patriots since their complete lack of an inside presence won't hurt against Villanova and their lack of an inside presence.

#7 Texas over #10 Minnesota. More on this later today

#2 Duke over #15 Binghampton. Duke is top 17 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Binghampton is top 159 in both. Even if I didn't think Duke was actually good this year - and I do - this is an easy blowout call.


#1 Pitt over #9 Tennessee. In a normal year, I'd say an athletic, offensive type team would have a chance against a Pitt team, but this Tennessee team is incredibly sloppy, and incredibly bad defensively. And whoever is going to take this Pitt team down is going to have to have some size, and not just height but bulk, in order to slow them down, and is going to need a game changer at guard - too bad the Vols are loaded with wing players instead.

#5 Florida State over #4 Xavier. If I considered Xavier losing to Portland State, I definitely don't think they can handle a Florida State team. FSU's defense is just way too tough for a pretty bland Xavier offense, and I don't think the Musketeers have any chance at slowing down Douglas. X also relied on their superior size to wear down teams in the A-10, and won't be able to count on that against the Seminoles.

#6 UCLA over #3 Villanova. It makes me nervous taking a team that is horrible at defending the three pointer (UCLA) over a team that relies so much on the three-pointer in Villanova, but I can't possibly bring myself to allow Villanova and that Stephen Curry-esque chucker Scottie Reynolds to advance any further.

#2 Duke over #7 Texas. The only real concern here for Duke is containing Oliver Miller Lite, Dexter Pittman. He's got size the Dukies can only match with Brian Zoubek, who only plays 12 minutes a game. He'll have to come up big, but other than that Texas is a horrible shooting team and Duke plays very good perimeter defense, so that should take of the Horns.


#5 Florida State over #1 Pitt. Of course, my bracket goes completely up in smoke if FSU can't get passed Florida in the first round, which is a legit concern, but assuming this matchup happens I think it's a great chance for the Seminoles. Pitt's strengths are it's size and inside players to go along with an overrated point guard in Levance Fields. FSU is one of the biggest teams in the NCAA, and can match Pitt's size and skill, and Toney will destroy Fields. Even the biggest weakness of FSU, their propensity to turn the ball over, is masked here because for all the press about Pitt's defense they don't cause turnovers.

#2 Duke over #6 UCLA. Remember what I said about UCLA not being able to defend the three-pointer?


#2 Duke over #5 Florida State. It pains me to put Duke in the final four, and through various incarnations of this bracket I've had every seed from one through six in at various points, but when it all shakes out, I think everything points to Duke. If Pitt manages to get passed Florida State, I think they will steam roll Duke, but that's not how I have it picked. God what an awful bracket. Not a final four worthy team in the bunch.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Here's What's Going to Happen: South Bracket


#1 North Carolina over #16 Radford. Second biggest margin of victory in the whole tournament.

#9 Butler over #8 LSU. Seems odd that LSU would be favored over Butler, but I suppose with Butler losing in the Horizon tournament it makes some sense. One interesting fun fact I found is that Butler relies on making free throws a lot in order to score their points. If LSU can keep from fouling them, they might take this one.

#12 Western Kentucky over #5 Illinois. I have a feeling this is going to be a popular pick after WKU's run to the sweet 16 last year, but I have to go ahead and make it as well. The Illinois offense is just way too unpredictable, and can go for far too long periods of time for them to make a run in the tournament, and it wouldn't be shocking for them to go dead on offense right away in the first round, especially with Chester Frazier banged up. WKU isn't a particularly great defensive squad, but I don't know that you have to be to shut down the crapass Illini.

#4 Gonzaga over #13 Akron. I almost took the Zips here, really I did. They play very good defense, and are one of the best in the country at turning their opponents over. Unfortunately, I can't get past my love for Gonzaga this year. I think they are absolutely one of the best teams in the country this year. Austin Daye might be one of my favorite players and he and Heytveldt for a great tandem in the paint (and outside it) when Heytveldt isn't high, and both Heytveldt and Bouldin shoot over 50% from the field - and Bouldin is a guard. With Pargo running things, the Bulldogs could go far.

#6 Arizona State over #11 Temple. Rich Harden and Jeff Pendergaph are absolutely one of the best NBA Jam style tandems in the country. Temple has some weirdo named Christmas.

#3 Syracuse over #14 Stephen F. Austin. Shouldn't be an issue for the Orange, and I stress shouldn't be. There are a couple of reasons things could get dicey, however. SFA is one of the slowest teams in the country, and also one of the best defensively, holding opponents to just 28% shooting from three and 42% from two. Those are awesome numbers. If they can keep the Orange from scoring, they aren't the most disciplined team in the world and could implode. Of course, those gaudy defensive numbers come from a team with a Strength of Schedule that was 219th in the country, but hey, it could happen.

#10 Michigan over #7 Clemson. Doesn't Clemson seem like the kind of team that would choke here? And doesn't Manny Harris seem like exactly the type of player to raise his game on the big stage?

#2 Oklahoma over #15 Morgan State. This will be the biggest margin of victory in the entire tournament.


#1 North Carolina over #9 Butler. Butler is cute, really they are, but they aren't nearly as good as last year and will be exposed in a huge way by the juggernaut that is the Tar Heels. Of course, if Lawson can't play or something, this gets a whole lot more interesting.

#4 Gonzaga over #12 Western Kentucky. As I said above, I love the Zags this year.

#6 Arizona State over #3 Syracuse. This is going to be a barn burner. I've gone back and forth on this one about ten times, and I just can't make up my mind. Right now, I'm feeling Arizona State will be able to take it, based simply on how good James Harden is.

#2 Oklahoma over #10 Michigan. The Wolverines have zero answer for stupid Blake Griffin. Not even a little bit.


#4 Gonzaga over #1 North Carolina. Seriously, I really like Gonzaga this year. I also don't like the matchup for the Heels, who I pretty much had in my final four all season long until about five minutes ago. Just looking at numbers, North Carolina relies heavily on the two-point shot over the three pointer, and the Bulldogs are awesome at defending the two - their only defensive weakness lies in defending the three which is not going to be a major factor. Neither team turns it over, and both offenses are incredibly efficient. UNC relies on the free throw line to get a ton of it's points (if you watched Hansbrough you know this), but Gonzaga is one of the best at not fouling. As long as the Bulldogs can keep them off the o-boards, they can win. I think they do it. Look out for Austin "All" Day baby.

#2 Oklahoma over #6 Arizona State. Griffin and the Sooners face a good post man here for the first time, but he's also all kinds of the wrong matchup for the Sun Devils. Jeff Pendergaph is a skilled big man, but he doesn't have the strength or size to handle Griffin. I know I keep emphasizing Blake, but seriously, he's pretty much the whole team.


#4 Gonzaga over #2 Oklahoma. The Sooners finally run into a team that can deal with Griffin in the Bulldgos and Josh Heytveldt. If Gonzaga has a defensive weakness, it's quick guards with some size, and Willie Warren will end up being the key to this game more so than Griffin. I think Pargo can handle him, and I think the Zags finally break through and make their elusive first final four appearance.



Here's What's Going to Happen: West Region

Before I get started here, can I tell you something? I really hate Saint Patrick's day, I mean REALLY hate it. A bunch of morons run around like idiots. I was in a big seminar thing today with probably 100 people or so, and at least 75% of them were wearing green. What the hell? It's so stupid. Why do we even care about Ireland? And don't even get me started on all the amateur rookie drinker types who get bombed off their ass and have no idea how to act because they're morons. Did you know that the biggest Irish bar in Denver actually closes on St. Patricks Day? Despite all the money they could make, people are such morons that they close to avoid the idiocy. And did you know they have parades for this garbage? In both Minneapolis and St. Paul? Ugh, why? Seriously, look down at what you're wearing right now. If you have anything green on please find the nearest wall and run into head first, really fast.

Ugh. Let's move on.


#1 UCONN over #16 Chattanooga. And it will be ugly.

#8 BYU over #9 Texas A&M. Not a big believer in the Aggies this year. And in doing my bracket, it seems I'm not very big on the Big 12 as a whole, even though KenPom has them as the fourth best conference, ahead of the Big Ten - who I am also not very high on. BYU is in the top 25 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, and are very, very good at shooting the basketball. Good enough for me.

#5 Purdue over #12 Northern Iowa. At first glance, I thought the Boilers got lucky in getting what I think is the worst #12 seed in the bracket, and who I consider the third best Missouri Valley team. Then I started thinking. Hummel is back, they were predicted to win the Big Ten preseason but had some struggles with his injury, and now that they are all together again, they won the Big Ten tournament. Plus they have the college KG.

#4 Washington over #13 Mississippi State. Like Washington here. Even though Miss State has maybe the best defensive player in the country in Jarvis Varnardo, overall the team is pretty bad and only got here by winning a weak SEC tournament. Not enough firepower or overall defense to hang.

#11 Utah State over #6 Marquette. Like you're surprised. Marquette just isn't the same team without James and have struggled against good teams with their only win in their last six without him over St Johns. They also struggle against bigger teams, and that's what the Aggies are. They still have plenty of firepower and Utah State can play some pretty awful defense at times, so this could go the other way, but I'm picking my second favorite team here.

#3 Missouri over #14 Cornell. I like Cornell, really I do, and I think there are some good teams they could beat but for the second year in a row they get a terrible matchup. Last year they couldn't deal with Stanford's twin towers, this year they won't be able to handle the uptempo style and athleticism Missouri brings.

#7 Cal over #10 Maryland. I know Snacks is in love with greasy haired foreigner Greivis Vasquez, but I don't trust the Terrapins despite their three top 10 wins. They also have a ton of bad losses. And you know what they say about guard play in the tournament and Cal has a couple of studs.

#2 Memphis over #15 CS-Northridge. CSN might actually be able to give Memphis a game for a half, but that's it.


#1 UCONN over #8 BYU. This will be closer than you think, but superior talent wins out.

#5 Purdue over #4 Washington. I changed this one a couple of times, but I can't get over the fact that I think Purdue has underachieved all year and is ripe for a run with Hummel back. And I like the Huskies, but they just haven't impressed. They didn't really beat anybody outside the conference.

#3 Missouri over #11 Utah State. Similar to Cornell, I just don't think Utah State can keep up with a much more athletic Missouri team who will be able to shut down their perimeter game. Add in a very good offense for the Tigers going against a pretty poor USU defense, and this one will probably be a blowout.

#2 Memphis over #7 Cal. I expect the Bruins to give Memphis a hell of a game, and it wouldn't shock me to see them pull this one out. Memphis has done it with defense all year, but the last time they played a team with a backcourt as good as Cal's was way back in December when they played Syracuse - and they lost. I still think the Tigers pull it out in the end, as Cal's defense is just bad enough to keep them out of the sweet sixteen.


#1 UCONN over #5 Purdue. And here's where it ends for the Boilers. I have no idea not only how they will handle the size of the Huskies, but also how they will handle the quickness. They score, they rebound, they play great defense, and they get excellent guard play from AJ Price and company.

#3 Missouri over #2 Memphis. I've changed this one out a whole bunch of times, but I just can't get away from how good Missouri turned out to be this year. A top 20 offense and a top 10 defense at a pace that many teams can't handle, they not only won the Big 12 tournament, but also beat both Kansas and Oklahoma in the past month and a half. Their only real weakness is stopping the opponents offensive rebounding, and Memphis is good here with Dozier and Taggert so this could be the difference, but I think Missouri is the better team.


#1 UCONN over #3 Missouri. This will be a fun game. The teams matchup well, and Missouri can handle the Huskies' size, but in the end it will come down to guard play, and Price, Walker, and Austrie have the collection of mediocre bits over at Mizzou outclassed. One thing to watch is UCONN doesn't create many turnovers on defense, and if they don't disrupt Missouri on the offensive end this could end up going the other way.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Here's What's Going to Happen: Midwest Region

Before I get started with this, I just want to say I fully expect this tournament to be one of the most unpredictable in years, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see zero #1 seeds in the Final Four - well, it would surprise me, but not shock me. That being said, I'm sure my picks will suck hard, but so will yours jackass.


#1 Louisville over #16 Alabama St/Morehead St: Naturally.

#8 Ohio State over #9 Siena: It seems weird to me to be picking the Buckeyes here after I pimped Siena all year, but I don't feel right picking the Saints. They had a good year, but not a great one, and although they played a whole bunch of good teams, they never beat anybody, although they did play Kansas tough. They aren't a good defensive team, which hurts in the NCAAs, but they do have good guard play, which helps. I just think Ohio State is starting to peak at the right time, and their guards can handle Siena's.

#5 Utah over #12 Arizona. Picking Arizona is the trendy upset pick this year, but I'm not buying it. While I really think Budinger, Wise, and Hill are really an excellent trio for Arizona, there's a reason why they were #62 in the RPI while Utah is #9, and they are #39 on KenPom while Utah is #25. Need more? How about Arizona is 132nd in defensive efficiency - just seven tournament teams are worse. They also allow opponents to shoot almost 36% from three, one of the worse marks in the country. Utah, yep, you guessed it; white boys shoot 38%, one of the better marks in the country. So go ahead and pick your trendy upset - you'll be wrong.

#4 Wake Forest over #13 Cleveland State. There are two schools of thought here. The first is that Wake Forest, who was once ranked as the #1 team in the country, is much better than a four seed and is a sleeper final four contender. The other is that Cleveland State and their super slow tempo and solid defense will be troubling for a team like Wake, who is a bit overrated thanks to their hot start and is horrible at taking care of the ball (200th in turnover %) and whose best player and point guard sports a 1-1 Ast/TO ratio. I am closer to camp #2 than camp #1, but I can't quite pull the trigger on an upset here.

#6 West Virginia over #11 Dayton. I really like West Virginia this year, despite Huggy Bear's track record of early round flameouts. And as much as I liked the A-10 this year, there's no way I can pick Dayton to beat the #8 team in the country according to KenPom. Oh, yeah, WVU is the #8 team in the country using Ken's ratings. I KNEW they were that good.

#3 Kansas over #14 North Dakota State. Give it up Bison fans, give it up. You're going to get destroyed. Almost a home game? What do you think it will be for Kansas? Do you really think Sherron Collins will let precious little gnome/elf/leprechaun Ben Woodside go off? Can those weak little girly armed sissy boys NDSU calls forwards handle Aldrich? Give me a break, nerds.

#7 BC over #10 USC. Looking at stats, I should probably be picking USC here. They are better defensively, and even though the Trojans turn it over way too much, BC doesn't force any turnovers. So the Trojans should probably be the pick. But how can I pick against big-game Tyrese Rice, as a senior in his last chance to shine? I looked, and in his junior and senior seasons he always played well in big games. This is another chance.

#2 Michigan State over #15 Robert Morris. Meh. Robert Morris isn't good enough to make this even remotely interesting.


#1 Louisville over #8 Ohio State. Ohio State might be peaking at the right time, but so is Louisville, and the Cards are infinitely better than the Buckeyes. Yes, infinitely. Seriously, there isn't a single position where the Bucks have an advantage, except possibly backup center. Even OSU's best player, Evan Turner, can't compare to Earl Clark or Terrence Williams - whichever one you want to call the small forward.

#4 Wake over #5 Utah. Probably the toughest pick for me of the entire bracket. I really don't think Wake is that bad, and I think Utah is better than most think. Plus, Wake's strength is their athleticism, and Utah hasn't had much trouble with athletic teams (beat LSU and hung right with Cal). However Wake is better than either of those teams. And Wake's weakness is turnovers, but Utah sucks at forcing them. In the end, the matchup just favors Wake too much and hurts Utah, but I think overall Utah is every bit as good as Wake.

#6 West Virginia over #3 Kansas. There's no doubt Kansas has been super impressive this year, especially with all the talent they lost from last year's team. However, I think it's been a bit of a mirage due to the Big Twelve being down this year. The only good teams the Jayhawks beat in non-conference were Washington and Tennessee, a couple of pretty overrated teams themselves. This could go the other way if they can't stop Aldrich, but I'm going with the Mountaineers.

#2 Michigan State over #7 BC. I mentioned that it was tough to bet against Tyrese Rice, but when he has to go up against Kalin Lucas it's actually not that tough at all.


#1 Louisville over #4 Wake. Here's where I can finally pick against Wake, who should consider themselves fortunate for the draw they got. Remember how the Demon Deacons turn it over too much? Well, the Cardinals are the first team they are going to play who are good at forcing turnovers. Beyond that, they are the second best defensive team in the country according to defensive efficiency (behind Memphis-who played an easier schedule). The Deacs are a quality defensive unit themselves, but struggle against good offensive teams - which the Cards are.

#6 West Virginia over #2 Michigan State. Yep, that's right. Guess how many teams rank in the top 15 in both offensive and defensive efficiency? Two. Gonzaga and WVU, and Gonzaga has the added bonus of playing in a poor conference to pad their stats. And we aren't just stats-related here, believe it or not, the Mountaineers are a really good team. They get scoring from four players, with a healthy mix of inside and out. They're very athletic, but don't turn it over much. Although there's no seven footer here, they have good size including a 6-6 shooting guard. Everybody rebounds, and they do it really well, particularly on the offensive end. Remember this name: Devin Ebanks. He will be this year's Derrick Rose - but without the final four appearance, because...


#1 Louisville over #6 West Virginia. So pretty much everything I said about West Virginia applies to Louisville, except they're much better in every facet of the game. The biggest difference here will be the fact that WVU doesn't shoot the ball well, and Louisville is one of the best in the world at not letting people shoot the ball well. The opposite applies, but I can't take a Bobby Huggins team any further, especially when they run up against Rick Pitino. Louisville swept WVU in the regular season, but only by a total of nine points so expect this one to be a war, with the Cards pulling it out in the end.

Weekend Review

I'll be back over the next few days, and maybe even later today, to break down my picks region by region so you can steal them and win your office pools. For now, I'm going to go ahead and do a regular Weekend Review, but with a heavy NCAA tournament skew. I didn't figure out a way to fit this in, but I really don't understand why Arizona gets in over St. Mary's. Whatever. At least the Gophers are in and that's all that matters.


1. Gopher basketball. First of all for getting into the tournament. They may have faded down the stretch, and I still don't think the Louisville win was as impressive as it's now given credit for being, but at the start of the year I pegged a successful season as getting a bid to the tournament, and they did it. Not only that, but a #10 seed means they were about two spots better than hated Wisconsin, more on that later. The other awesome part is the matchup, because I think Texas is pretty bad this year. They were 22-11, and just 9-7 in a not very good Big 12 this year. They did beat UCLA and Villanova, but those were early in the season and the Longhorns faded towards the end, redeeming themselves a bit with a win over Oklahoma, but overall not a very impressive conference run. I'll have a more in depth matchup rundown later in a preview on Wednesday, but for now I'll just say that the Gophers can absolutely win this game.

2. USC. Obviously going into a conference tournament when you don't have a bid and then winning the whole thing is great, but the Trojans did it in impressive enough fashion that they likely would have been in even if they lost in the final, as shown by the committee giving them a 10 seed. After a fairly nondescript season that saw the Trojans go 9-9 in the Pac 10, they beat some very good teams in winning the Pac 10 tournament, knocking off three tournament bound teams in Cal, #15 UCLA, and then #23 Arizona State in the final. With a nice matchup - they play BC and then get Michigan State - the Trojans have a legit shot at the sweet 16. Demar Derozan and Taj Gibson are an excellent pair of weapons down low, and Daniel Hackett is an excellent scoring point guard. USC has battled themselves all year (Hackett and another guard almost got in a fight earlier this year) but if they can put it all behind them they could see themselves in the sweet 16.

3. Temple. They were probably good enough that they should have gotten an at-large, but probably didn't have the resume and needed to win the A-10 tournament to get in (although with an 11 seed they have made it anyway). And they did, beating top seed Xavier in the process and suddenly hot Duquesne in the final. Arizona State in the first round is a tough matchup for the Owls, but with Dionte Christmas averaging 19 a game, anything is possible (and if they win expect a slew of Christmas related puns). He's hot right now, scoring 20 against Xavier and 29 against Duquense in the A-10 final. I don't expect Temple to win, but it's going to be a hell of a game.

4. Utah State. Another team that might have gotten an invite either way, but probably needed to win their conference tournament to get in, the Aggies went ahead and did just that, beating Nevada by 10 on their home court to capture the WAC crown and get an 11 seed. I really like the matchup for Utah State against Marquette. The Eagles have been struggling since they lost point guard Dominic James for the year, and their weakness is against bigger and stronger teams. Utah State has some serious bulk and quality post players, so they will probably give the Eagles fits. They also some dead-eye three point shooters, so if Marquette doesn't play good perimeter defense they could get lit up. The Eagles have plenty of firepower on their own even without James, so this should be a pretty good first round matchup.

5. March Madness. It's been great so far, and now the big tournament gets going on Tuesday. I couldn't be happier.


1. The East Region. Ugh, what a nightmare. I have no idea who to take out of this region, and not in a good way. #1 seed is Pitt, and Pitt sucks due to the curse of Brandin Knight. They pretty much choke every year, and I hate them, so I clearly cannot pick the Panthers. The second seed is Duke, and anybody who picks Duke to make the final four is clearly a communist. The third seed is Villanova, and they have Scottie Reynolds who will clearly and obviously shoot them right out of the tournament. My three least favorite college hoops programs are seriously Pitt, Duke, and Villanova, and now they're the top three seeds in a region. I hate to say it, but I might end up having to put Xavier in the Final Four, and that will feel weird. But, I must do what I must do. Stay tuned.

2. The SEC. I knew it was a down year, but holy cow it's bad in SEC land right now. LSU managed a 13-3 regular season record, but still only snagged a eight seed. The only other at-large from the conference was Tennessee, and they got a nine seed. The teams were so awful that they let a pretty horrible Mississippi State team win their tournament and steal a bid from San Diego State, and still only managed a 13 seed. Neither South Carolina at 10-6 or Florida at 9-7 didn't get in, mainly because despite all those conference wins neither team had a win over a top 50 RPI team. There's a reason Ken Pomeroy has this as the worst of the power conferences. And the team with the two of the most impressive non-conference victories, Arkansas with wins over Oklahoma and Texas, somehow managed to go 2-14 in the conference.

3. Teams chasing a #1 seed. Going into the conference tournaments North Carolina, Louisville, Pitt, UCONN, Memphis, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Michigan State were all possible number 1 seeds. Then they almost all dropped the ball, with only Memphis and Louisville winning their conference tournaments, and nobody else even made the conference final. North Carolina lost to Florida State, Pitt to West Virginia, UCONN to Syracuse, Kansas to Baylor, Oklahoma to Oklahoma State, and Michigan State to Ohio State. With all the carnage, it didn't matter much as UCONN, Pitt, and UNC all still grabbed #1s thanks to the losses, and apparently Memphis wasn't quite in line to get a 1 seed since they got a 2 even after winning C-USA - although it is the top #2, so they were close.

4. Team USA. In the World Baseball Classic, the US beat the Netherlands 9-3 on Sunday to avoid elimination, but that can't possibly begin to redeem them for their stinker on Saturday. Against Puerto Rico, they got absolutely destroyed 11-1, with the game ending after just seven innings because of the ten rule (yes they have that), and embarrassment of epic proportions. Jake Peavy went out and got absolutely rocked, giving up six hits and six runs in just two innings of work to put the US behind right away, although it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway. Javier Vazquez (!) completely shut the US down, including holding the first four hitters in the lineup (Shane Victorino, Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, and Kevin Youkilis) to an 0-12 night. In relief, someone named Matt Thornton tried to close the door and attempted to pitch the seventh inning, but gave up four hits and four runs while recording just 2 outs to end the game thanks to the mercy rule. If the US can recover and end up winning this thing, all will be forgotten, but if they falter again you can bet this game will be the poster child for what went wrong.

5. Andy Glockner. SI.com's bubble watch writer, he managed to really tick Snacks off by saying the Gophers should be out of the tournament, and that Wisconsin was safely in. Clearly this all turned out to not be true, but here is an email exchange between Snacks and Glockner, that shows just how wacked Glockner really is. I have bolded my favorite parts.

First, Snacks writes to Glockner:
Mr. Glockner,

Are you kidding me? Please justify how Wisconsin is safe and Minnesota
is out. Minnesota has Wisconsin beat in almost every way - higher RPI,
better record against the top 50, better record against the top 100
AND they swept them. Oh, and Wisconsin beat no one in non-conference
and Minnesota beat Louisville. The only thing Wisconsin has is one
more league win (and they played Iowa twice, Minnesota only once).
There is honestly no justification for putting Wisconsin ahead of
Minnesota. Please look at the numbers and not just the name of the
team. Also, it is laughable to say that Minnesota and Penn State's
resumes couldn't be more the same. 30 spots in the RPI means nothing?
Please. I'd love to hear a response, I don't understand how you have a job doing this with these ridiculous decsions.


And Glockner's response, please pay attention to the ridiculousness:

You got me, man. I just throw darts. :)

I broke down the Big Ten bubble on Monday, after the regular season was complete. Wisconsin has played a much harder schedule overall, played a schedule that at the time was judged to be more difficult in the Big Ten (although including Indiana again seems to have changed that), finished ahead of Minnesota in the league standings (despite being swept, so they were three games better over the other 15 games), and had a better record against the "peer bubble teams" in the league and finished stronger down the stretch.

I'm not 100 percent comfortable with having Wisconsin as high in the bracket as they are, but I do think they're ahead of Penn State and Minnesota. I had them ahead going into the postseason and a win over Northwestern doesn't put Minnesota past them.

Now if you want to debate Minnesota vs. Penn State ...

It would appear they are willing to let pretty much anybody write anything these days. With Minnesota getting a 10 and Wisconsin a 12, it's pretty clear that Glockner is the new Pat Reusse.