The other matchups:
North Carolina @ Indiana - has the ring of a marquee matchup to it, but with Indiana installed as the favorite to win the National Championship by Vegas (it's true) and UNC basically gutted from last year this is going to be a 10+ point spread.
NC State @ Michigan - One of the three top matchups (along with Gophers/FSU and Duke/Ohio State), and a really good test for an NC State team that is suddenly finding itself the ACC favorite (even more so if Amile Jefferson picks them today/tomorrow).
Maryland @ Northwestern - The Terps lost most of their talent from an already poor team, while Northwestern's window has probably closed on that elusive first NCAA bid. Even so, the Wildcats should walk here.
Iowa @ Virginia Tech - Va Tech is going to be super terrible this year, but this is actually a pretty perfect match-up for an Iowa team trying to reach up and grab mediocrity. This game will go along way towards telling us if they're there yet or still a year away.
Nebraska @ Wake Forest - yeah nobody cares
Ohio State @ Duke - This will be billed as the top matchup and not without reason. Having the game at Cameron evens the odds a bit, because OSU would roll if this was played in Columbus - and might anyway
Virginia @ Wisconsin - You ready to hear about what a great match-up this is and then be bored to sleep within the first five minutes? This one might not break 70 total points.
Michigan State @ Miami - Really interesting match-up here. The Spartans are probably better talent-wise but will still be working on playing without Draymond Green, while Miami has a nice core group of Durand Scott, Reggie Johnson, Kenny Kadji, and Shane Larkin back from last year's team that almost made the NCAA Tournament. I think at home the Canes might sneak this one out.
Purdue @ Clemson - I have no idea what to make of Purdue this year since the whole team from two years ago is gone. Clemson's losing it's entire starting back court who just happened to be their top two scorers. Call this a toss up.
Georgia Tech @ Illinois - The Illini were horrid last year and now bring in a new coach. Getting Georgia Tech at home is the kind of major opponent they need - shitty, but still a major conference team.
Boston College @ Penn State - oh my god, gross.
If I had to pick it right now, I'd go Florida State, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Wake, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Miami, Purdue, Illinois, and BC. That's 7-4, Big 10.
- One other college hooops note, I was going to do a little writing on Julius Mays, the guard who graduated from Wright State but still has a year of eligibility so was looking to do that thing where you pick a school you want to go to and then find a grad program they have that your current school doesn't offer so you can just transfer and play right away who was considering both Illinois and Purdue. He would be a pretty important piece considering the lack of guards the Illini and Boilers are both currently sporting due to his 14 points per game and also because Julius Mays is a pretty sweet basketball name. Kentucky, however, was also interested in Mr. Mays and because Kentucky is awesome and the Big 10 sucks, Mays will be a Wildcat next year so I guess there's not much more to say about that, is there? These things will happen when you can't motivate yourself to post more than once a week because the Twins have punched you in the nuts.
- Speaking of the Twins, yuck. The worst part of this is that when your team totally sucks you should at least be able to look forward to watching the future start playing, but who on this team is even the future? Scott Diamond, suddenly, and Brian Dozier? Maybe? There's suddenly no third basemen at all. I mean there's nothing now that Valencia is apparently a total flop and Luke Hughes was traded or released or whatever. We're looking at a solid 3 years or so of crappy old free agents before Miguel Sano is ready, assuming he sticks at third and doesn't get moved to the outfield. Will it be Kevin Kouzmanoff next year? Or Mark Teahen? Maybe Ty Wigginton (that's who I'd put my money on)? You can be sure that no matter what, he's going to be old and suck. But at least Sano is keeping things interesting while we wait. Big thanks for Snacks for emailing me this:
Oh hell yes. So anyway I don't really know what to make out of Scott Diamond or Brian Dozier, but at least so far they don't make me want to put myself into a coma until the end of baseball season so they got that going for them. Considering Dozier is hitting just .250 and doesn't walk (with so-so pop) and Diamond has looked good in his two starts but is doing it with a ridiculously low BABIP I'm pretty much clearly grasping at straws, but I think straws is all we got. Like a homeless clown at a chocolate milk collection.Sano stood in the batter’s box awhile to watch his homer against relief pitcher Carmine Giardiana. He trotted the bases, but virtually stopped a few feet before touching the plate, taking off his batting helmet as Kernels catcher Abel Baker barked at him.
Sano glared at the Kernels dugout after finally touching the plate, with Kernels players continuing to give him significant grief. He took a step toward Baker, and the dugouts began to empty, with umpires Fernando Rodriguez and Paul Clemons, as well as both teams’ coaching staffs, doing a good job of squelching what could have been an ugly scene.
- I didn't really like Bryce Harper from day one since he sounded like kind of a douche, but I've done a 180 on him because apparently the mainstream media (more like Lame stream, amiright?) is way too all over hoping this kid fails and makes a fool of himself. Over the weekend I saw a few different headlines and they were all like "Harper injures self in clubhouse tantrum" or "Harper may miss time after embarrassing spaz out" or something of that variety. So I read them because, at that time, I wasn't a fan and was hoping it would be really bad (with apologies to Bryce's dad, who was maybe the second best Twins' catcher ever), but holy shit are people stupid. After going 0-5 with 3 strikeouts he hit the wall with his bat, which ricocheted and hit him in the head. First of all, who hasn't done something similar like hitting the wall with your bat? Secondly, when do you think the last time this kid went 0-5 with 3 ks was? I'm going to guess never, which will probably torque you off a bit, and hitting something with a bat has got to be nearly as common place as getting crabs from a "fan" when you're a major leaguer (or minors even, from what I hear Brendan Donnelly).
Between this retarded witch hunt and Harper's attitude after getting intentionally beaned by Cole Hamels - all he did was trot to first with no looks, no attitude, no nothing - I'm starting to become a fan. Then you add him to the best pitcher in world history in Stephen Strasburg, one of my personal faves in Gio Gonzalez, the underrated Jordan Zimmerman, a bunch of young players who some of at least have to workout, and yet another future star in minor leaguer Anthony Rendon and I'm suddenly a Nationals fan. May even have to get a hat. But they also have Jayson Werth, so I really can't be that much of a fan. F that guy.
- Apparently Josh Hamilton is over how he killed that guy because in case the Twins have made you turn off baseball for good this year he's destroying everything that gets thrown near him. I find it semi-fascinating because I am fascinated easily but also because he's such a unique player. Without getting bogged down in the nitty gritty stat world, he's aggressive as hell and swings at anything. He swings at the highest percentage of pitches of anyone in the majors, and the rest of the guys on the list are either shitty hackers (Clint Barmes, Delmon Young), strikeout machines without the power (Alfonso Soriano, Chris Davis), or solid, but not power, hitters (Starlin Castro, Brandon Phillips). Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera are #11 and #14 on the list and are near his production levels, but they do it because they make contact a lot with all those swings (85% and 83%) while Hamilton is at just 67%. In fact, that 67% is the fourth worst in the majors behind human fan machines Yeonis Cespedes, Adam Dunn, and Carlos Gonzalez. So he swings at way too many pitches and misses way too many of them, yet he's leading the majors in basically everything.
So how is he doing this? Obviously by crushing the ball when he does make contact, but it's not by hitting line drives where he's around league average, it's that when he gets the ball in the air it's flying over the fence. Nearly half of the flyballs he's hit this year have been home runs, tops in the league (Matt Kemp is the only other player even close to Hamilton), more than double his usual percentage, and a number nobody has approached like, ever (or since 2002 when this data became available). He's also hitting .407 on balls in play, but the numbers say that should be around .330 even on this hot streak. So I got some news for ya - Hamilton is going to go down in a big way, whether it's simple regression, injury, gets a hankerin' to chase the dragon again, or finally gets charged for murdering that guy with a baseball. If you have him in fantasy, trade him. Or just watch him burn.