Saturday, March 31, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---Final Four Tip Off Edition

It's remarkable, but Tyshawn Taylor has not made a single three-pointer during this tournament. That's 0-for-17 and counting. In fact, Taylor has never made a three-pointer in a dome in his entire career.Of the 33 titles contested since seeding the field began in 1979, 17 were won by #1 seeds (51.5%)

Anthony Davis has put up some remarkable numbers this season, but this one might the most remarkable of all: One. That's the number of times he has fouled out. In fact, there have only been three occasions when Davis committed as many as four fouls -- and none since Dec. 10 in the loss to Indiana.

During the NCAA tournament, Louisville has committed 15 fewer turnovers than their opponents.

Louisville made just 31.7 percent of their three-point attempts during the season, which was ranked 14th in the Big East and 272nd in the country. During the NCAA tournament, they have made 39 percent.

The Kentucky/Louisville match-up is the first in-state pairing in the Final Four since Penn State/LaSalle in 1954.

For the Duke women, next season looks promising. Their top six scorers return (five had double digit averages). And, they bring in the fifth rated recruiting class, including a pair of McDonald All-Americans.

In every quadrant of the Sweet Sixteen, the higher ranked defensive team won.

Not so fast: Didjaknow that Duke and UNC have never met in the NCAA Tournament?

One more thing: From his Skyped press conference to his NBA announcement, UNC’s Harrison Barnes has never shown much in the way of humility. The NBA, however, has a habit of teaching it to everyone except for a highly select few. He’ll get his share soon enough.

I have been noodling around with the Leader Board methodology…trying to figure out a better way.

Currently, there are fewer points available per round as we go deeper into the tournament. Some how that seems off kilter.

There should be a greater reward for advancing correctly. The latter rounds ought to be worth as much as the early one.

To do that, a more geometric progression of points-per-game (ppg) seems the way to go.

So, next year I thought each round should be worth a total of 32 points…making the games worth 1,2,4,8,16 and 32 if you have the champion.

Currently, the points available per round decrease after the second round. Total-points-possible rise from 120 to 192.

As you can see, not much changes in the standings, but the payoff for better results in the Sweet Sixteen and beyond will be deservedly higher. I think you’ll still need to have the ultimate winner to win the blue ribbon.

What’s your take?

This year, the winner gets a copy of “The Last Great Game: Duke vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds That Changed Basketball” by Gene Wojciechowski.











Monday, March 26, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---Final Four Set Edition

When the final horn sounded in St. Louis, Eddie took over the lead from Tony by a point (69-68) and Carl has 65. The maximum possible in the final three games: Eddie 85, Carl 81 and Tony 73.

Kansas and Kentucky both beat the spread.

The Westwood One/Dial Global Sports Radio broadcast of the Kentucky/Baylor game was a treat. The delay was just about one second, so the action on the screen and play-by-play went off pretty much without a hitch.

As an analyst, Coach John Thompson Jr. shows what a difference a pro makes as opposed to an abject amateur like Clark Kellogg.

Coach JT Jr. is barely a silly millimeter behind Coach Knight in my book. I learned a lot listening to his remarks.

A priceless one was his comment on the difference between a blow and a rest. “A blow is when I take out a player who has played well and hard and needs a break. A rest is when I’m mad at a player and I cover him with a blanket because he’s sitting for a long time.”

I loved his summation on how a team advances in the Tournament, “It’s not necessarily the best team that wins; it’s the team that’s playing best that game.”

In the opening minutes, when Baylor’s Quincy Acey drew his flagrant one foul, Coach JT Jr. wondered why the refs had to check the monitor by saying, “Even Ray Charles could see that one.”

That’s an old chestnut that always brings a grin to my face---so I am the last person on the face of the earth to take offense.

Imagine if Bobby Knight or another white announcer had made that comment. The professional liberals and race hustlers from Jackson to Sharpton to PMSNBC to Media Matters would be screaming for a firing or a trip to the stockade in the public square a la Don Imus.

In the game, Kentucky was faster, quicker, smarter, more aggressive and more athletic. They were bad news for the Bears. Kentucky goes marching in to New Orleans.

Was the crowd for the final ten minutes of the Kansas victory over UNC great or what?

Earlier in the week (it’s spring break in Central Florida) I was behind a college kid wearing a Kansas tee shirt at Publix. I asked him how he thought the team would do. He just looked at me and said, “Rock, chalk, Jayhawk.”

Enough said!

Kansas certainly did just that in final 3:07.

That was a helluva finish in a very exciting ball game. The first half was really entertaining.

Carolina was just 2-of-17 from 3-point range. The Tar Heels shot just 22.6 percent overall in the second half.

The second half was nail-biting time. Just a lot of fun, especially for those of us with Kansas going to the Final Four.

KU’s game against Ohio State on Saturday will mark the second time the Jayhawks and Buckeyes have played this season. Kansas won the first meeting 78-67 in Lawrence, but OSU’s forward Jared Sullinger didn't play because of back spasms.

KU’s Thomas Robinson has averaged 12.5 rebounds during the tournament.

Not so fast: Meanwhile, back at the ESPN Tournament Challenge, just 0.4% of the brackets had all four correct in their Final Four…9.3% of us have three correct. I’m number 1,045,641 out of 6.45 million. That’s a big helping of humble pie to go.

One more thing: I thought it was impossible to have a uniform uglier than the neon green monstrosities Baylor wore in their first three games. However, the repulsive black ones with neon-greenish-yellow set a new standard in tacky bad taste.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---Odds and Ends Edition

Didjaknow that Jeff Withey of Kansas has considerably more blocks than does UNC’s John Henson (126-100). They’re both pikers compared to UK’s Anthony Robinson, who has 169 and Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng has 123. Guess we’ll see a lot of action in the paint in the next five games.

Oddly enough OSU’s Jared Sullinger is no shotblocker – he’s only blocked 55 in two years.

Michigan could lose up to seven players before next year, counting seniors.

UConn has just one recruit coming in.

The last time the ACC had four teams in the Sweet Sixteen (as the Big 10 and Big East did this year) was 1995.

One thing to keep an eye on today: against NC State, Kansas went eight deep with their starters all pulling at least 31 minutes and point guard Tayshaun Taylor pulling 37.

Against Ohio, UNC’s starters went 40, 38, 40, 41 and 32. The 40 belonged to Tyler Zeller; the 32 was Stilman White.

Justin Watts, PJ Hairston and James Michael McAdoo still provide a credible bench for UNC, but that’s a lot of minutes.

Another thing to keep an on today: Baylor has the size to compete with the UK big boys---Anthony Jones is 6-10, Perry Jones III is 6-11, Quincy Miller is 6-9 and Quincy Acy is 6-7. Guards Brady Heslip and Pierre Jackson are 6-2 and 5-10 respectively.

Kentucky has the edge in talent, but it may not be as big an edge as many people think. And while Kentucky has the better coach, the key player is not Davis but rather Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. This kid is on a different level competitively. Baylor has a reasonable shot at competing with Davis if only through numbers, but they will have a much tougher time controlling Kidd-Gilchrist. He’s just a wonderful basketball player.

Only 2 percent of ESPN’s 6.45 million Tournament Challenge brackets got both Louisville and Ohio State to reach the Final Four.

The Vegas line for today says Kentucky by 8 and Kansas by 2.

In the Women’s NCAA Tournament, Duke has out-scored their three opponents by 76 points on their way to the Elite Eight. Now, the rubber meets the road when they meet Stanford tomorrow. Duke is very good, but not great---Stanford is great. Duke’s core is freshmen and sophomores---the next two years, they should reach greatness.

Not so fast: A surprising fact about Kentucky is that they really aren’t that deep, with seven players getting virtually all the minutes, though six of them average double figures.

One more thing: Must see TV…UNC/KU--- Tyler Zeller has been a beast. Kendall Marshall might play. Jeff Withey nearly broke an NCAA tournament record for blocked shots against NC State. Thomas Robinson is a star. Need any more reasons?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---On to The Elite Eight Edition


Tony went a perfect four-for-four and leads the field. Hardy is two behind, with Carl and Eddie trailing by three. Tony has UNC, Eddie has the Jayhawks and Carl and Hardy have Kentucky.

Kidd-Gilchrist is a warrior for Kentucky...7-15, ten of ten from the line is pretty clutch. He may be the toughest match-up left in the tournament. Would you rather have Kidd-Gilchrist or UNC's Harrison Barnes on your team?

Indiana was better than I thought.

Barnes basically choked on two late shots in regulations was just 3-16 on the night.

Marshall or no Marshall, you hav
e to give those kids from Ohio major respect. UNC keeps throwing out a court full of McDonald's All Americans at them...and still need overtime to advance.

The Ohio/UNC game was one of those where I was cheering against my bracket picks.

Even with those eyesore uniforms, Baylor may have the athletes capable of competing with Kentuck
y. They escaped Xavier due a fast start---they hung on. In single-elimination, that's
all that counts.

Foul trouble, depth and inside scoring doomed NC State. Jeff Withey of Kansas stepped up (or should I say, jumped up) and blocked ten attempts.

Even with three of their most productive players (Wood, Howell and Brown), going 7-34, State hung in there with heart and passion until the final seconds.

Two most interesting and potentially entertaining games on tap today...neither one subjecting us to Clark Kellogg.

The four games today and tomorrow are worth four points each.




Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---Tee Shirt Edition

I’ll miss Robbie Hummel…he personifies all that is great about college basketball.
Wisconsin finds a way to make plays late, they come up with hustle plays, especially loose rebounds, and they consistently have big-shot takers and -- more important -- makers.
The first half of the Murray State-Marquette contest might have been the most entertaining of any of the first-weekend games. Both teams were exhibiting terrific effort at a high-paced clip. I was exhausted just watching.
The more games he plays, the more Jae Crowder shows he was the clear choice for Big East Player of the Year.

Does VCU ever play a dull postseason game?
The No. 13-seeded Ohio Bobcats — became the first such seed to make a Sweet 16 since Bradley in 2006.
UNC has lost three guards to injury this season---backup point guard Leslie McDonald to an ACL before the season began, Dexter Strickland in January, and now Kendall Marshall. Them’s the breaks…but it is a shame for Marshall. I can’t feel sorry for Roy Williams, however.
Not one buzzer-beater attempt went in the first two rounds. Zero overtime games as well.
There were lots of near misses as 21 games were decided by two possessions or less…so, the big picture was still incredible.
The last time an ACC team scored as few points (45) as Virginia did in their first round loss to Florida was before the shot clock and the three-point shot…1985.
As you watch Carolina games, watch Harrison Barnes. Notice how he is almost always the second to the play, unless he’s shooting. Rebounds, loose balls, block-outs, etc. are not his forte.
25 percent of the Sweet 16 is comprised of schools from the state of Ohio.
Only three of the 16 schools remaining actually won their conference tournaments. Two of them (Michigan State and Louisville) will play each other in the Sweet 16.
Six of the Sweet Sixteen won their regular-season titles.
Eight of the Top10 teams in RPI are in the Sweet Sixteen. MIA are Duke (5) and Missouri (10).
The lowest-RPI team to win a tournament game was # 189 Western Kentucky.
For just the fifth time this century, the football national champion (Alabama) also made the NCAA Tournament.
The Big Ten (Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana) and Big East (Syracuse, Marquette, Cincinnati, Louisville) comprise 50 percent of the Sweet 16.
There are only three schools left that rank in the top 10 of offensive and defensive efficiency at KenPom.com. They are Kentucky (No. 2 in offense, No. 9 in defense), Ohio State (No. 6 in offense, No. 1 in defense) and Michigan State (No. 8 in offense, No. 3 in defense).
The good news is that Clark Kellogg will not be on any of the Thursday games. The bad new: he’ll be doing the Kentucky/Indiana game---but that should be the lead game on the Westwood One radio Network.
Not so fast: Among the first 32 tournament games played in the round of 64, 10 were won by the higher seed.
One more thing: People who've spent hours gaming out their brackets, saw them instantly shredded. You almost have this unstoppable urge to root against yourself. So when you wake up to the cold light of morning and the ugliness that is your hopelessly busted bracket, know this: Nobody has ever had this much fun in a losing effort.
Did you see this Tee Shirt from the UNC Bookstore?








You gotta love the Tobacco road rivalry. It's fair game and good for UNC. If I can wear this tee, they can have their moment as well.



Monday, March 19, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---Sweet Sixteen Set Edition

Tony remains in the lead going into the Sweet Sixteen, with Hardy trailing by two points and Eddie and Chuck just another point behind. Tony has more Elite Eight teams alive, so his chances look pretty good. Sweet Sixteen games are worth three points each and the weekend games are worth four, so anything can happen.

Most of the 48 games in the past four days were most competitive...and many a surprise to be sure.

Kendall Marshall's wrist injury could be the biggest news of the weekend. His value to UNC in immeasurable. I cannot understand why Roy Williams kept him on the floor when the game was in the bag.

It took poise, discipline and resilience for NC State to beat Georgetown in a great game.

Ohio is a whole lot better than most people expected.

The Indiana/Kentucky rematch is set.

Baylor and Xavier features two teams who under achieved this year...with redemption for the victor.

Syracuse and Wisconsin will be interesting. Wisconsin, like Vandy shoots a ton of threes. If the fall in on the Orange Zone then Bo Ryan takes his team to the Elite Eight.

Cincinnati and Ohio State, an intrastate battle won't be easy, but I see OSU advancing.

Michigan State will take a methodical approach focused on rebounding and discipline against Louisville and Rick Pitino, who has always preferred a frenetic pace. A most interesting match-up.

How do you pick between Marquette and Florida? This one will be a dandy.

UNC, with or without Marshall will have to contend with Ohio's terrific guard play...but UNC has a big advantage in the front court.

Kansas and NC State would have seemed a mismatch on paper a couple of weeks ago. However, one can see State's confidence growing with every play. They'll play Kansas tough.

Double click on the leader board to increase readability---always check my arithmetic.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---Eight Teams Ready for the Sweet Sixteen Edition

With a perfect 8-0, Tony takes the lead. Amazing day for TB.

Even in defeat, Murray State, Vandy, VCU, New Mexico and Gonzaga proved they belonged in games that went down to the wire.

Iowa State was gallant in defeat. At the 15 minute mark of the second half, Kentucky was up by just two points. In the blink of an eye (five minutes) UK was up by 18. Just awesome.

Some very intriguing match-ups today: NCSU/Georgetown should be a dog fight...cagey Hoyas vs. the athletic Wolfpack.

Creighton may just run with UNC. They've got three-point sharpshooters against an iffy UNC defense...if they fall. Don't forget, Vermont out-rebounded UNC on Friday.

Florida will be tested by Norfolk State, the Gators should prevail.

FSU is a difficult match-up for anyone. It takes a while to get used to them, so I think FSO makes the Sweet Sixteen.

Vegas says: Georgetown by 4.5, UNC by 8.5, Florida by 14, Kansas by 8 and Florida State by 2.5.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---The Round of 32 Begins Edition

It was fast and furious yesterday.

Chuck was a genius with a 12-4 day and Jay is atop the leader board as we head into the round of 32 amid many a busted bracket.

Some great match-ups today.

I think Colorado/Baylor will be very entertaining.

Murray State/Marquette should be electric.

Vandy/Wisconsin---Wisconsin cannot score; Vandy can. Should be fun.

The Zags vs. OSU will be a real contrast in styles. Appointment TV.

It will be interesting to see how Iowa State does against Kentucky.

Lots to look forward to.

I love the State Farm commercial with Coach Knight.

Ditto for the Buick Verano “tour bus” TV spot.

Not so fast: For me, there is a positive on having a demolished bracket. I can now cheer for who I like, not who I picked. So go Gators, Marquette, Vandy, Kansas, Gonzaga and UK.

One more thing: Duke’s loss to Lehigh was a microcosm of the season. Lehigh exposed every weakness in Duke’s game. Ryan Kelly may have made a difference, but thems the breaks.

It was a good call to hold him out, as his health is the most important consideration.

During the ACC Tournament, Miles Plumlee had a profound evaluation of this team, “They do as little as possible to win.” That about says it all.

With no recruits of note in the classes of ’12, ’13 and ’14 I wouldn’t look for improvement in the near term.

Double click on the Leader Board to enlarge it---and do check my math.








Monday, March 12, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---Working the Brackets Edition

Virginia is down to seven players, and has lost five of their last eight.

With Drexel out, we lose the finest nickname in this year’s college game---coach Bruiser Flint.

Of the 68 teams in, my guess is that around 60 will be over coached---some to the point of paralysis.

Six conference champions are in the west bracket.

The lowest RPI teams included are #52 Virginia, #53 South Florida and #56 West Virginia.

Best team nickname goes to “The Beach”---Long Beach State.

Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan has gone for 30 or more points four times this season.

Iona point guard, Scott Machado has ten double-doubles this year.

BYU (#1) and Missouri (#2) have appeared in more tournaments without reaching a Final Four than any other team.

St. Bonaventure center Andrew Nicholson switched majors from chemistry to physics…not only brainy, but he scored 70 points and grabbed 30 rebounds in three games at the Atlantic Ten Tournament.

Vandy’s John Jenkins made 126 3-pointers and shot the three at an unreal 45.3%---the perfect answer for the Syracuse zone.

UNLV has gone 5-6 since February 1---including losses to a pair of teams that did not make the dance.

Georgetown has only seven top-50 wins and is 9-8 against the top-100.

Wichita State was 8-4 vs. Top-100 and Creighton was 8-3.

Creighton has four regulars who made better than 40% of their 3-pointers.

Florida averages 1.16 points per possession (ppp) which is fourth-highest in D1; UVA allows 0.88 ppp, second lowest in D1.

The last time Gonzaga did not win the WCC regular-season or tournament title was 1997.

All five ACC teams begin play on Friday.

For me, the 8/9 first-round games are the toughest 8/9 I can recall. UConn, Southern Mississippi and Memphis are most mercurial. Alabama and Creighton are polar opposites.

Florida, in 2006, was the last time the championship was the first in school history.

Not so fast: There were 9.22 quintillion possible brackets (9.22 followed by 16 zeros) in the field of 64. With 68, multiply that number by 16.

One more thing: You’re working on your brackets. You know the picks you haven’t made yet are doomed, but you don’t care. It is all possibility and unpredictability and the greatest game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey sports could ever produce.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---Fill Out Your Bracket Edition

Selection Sunday has given us the match-ups…and away we go. Attached is a blank bracket you can use to send me your picks by noon on Thursday…or you attach a scan of one the many “printable brackets” from ESPN, NCAA.com, CBS, Sporting news or your local paper. For our purposes, everyone gets a pass on the play-in games, and scoring starts at the 64.

I am looking forward to Thursday and beyond…except for the Chinese water torture that the CBS announcers subject me to.

The ESPN and Raycom announcers and analysts are so far superior to the dreck that CBS throws out.

In the studio, I do think that Greg Gumbel is an excellent ringmaster, surrounded by an articulate and well-prepared Seth Davis and an amusing Charles Barkley (to me, the Yogi Berra of basketball analysts). Greg Anthony is just terrible…and what’s with foolish ear rings…you’re a grown man, for goodness sakes. Kenny Smith is amateurish and it shows---but he is learning.

Clark Kellogg is the most repulsive analyst in college basketball (a real puker)…the Chris Berman of college hoops. Is there anyone doing play-by-play more boring, phony and tedious than Jim Nantz?

With so many games the first couple of days, a bunch will be called by crews from ESPN and Raycom. Really, can Clark Kellogg even hold the microphone for Jay Bilas, Coach Knight or Mike Gminski? That’s a rhetorical question.

Hubert Davis and Len Elmore are also excellent analysts on ESPN, even if they did play for UNC and Maryland respectively.

Louisville got their players healthy at the right time.

The conference Championship games were spectacular. Raise your hand if you bet the Vandy, FSU, Michigan Sate, Louisville, Colorado, St. Bonaventure pick-six.

There are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 possible brackets. That's the number nine follow by eighteen zeros. That’s over 9.2 quintillion. If all the people on earth filled out one bracket per second, it would take over 43 years to fill out every possible bracket.

Early big stumpers for me: Indiana/New Mexico State, Xavier/Notre Dame, Memphis/St. Louis, Wisconsin/Montana, Cinci/Texas, Temple/Cal, SDSU/NCSU, Georgetown/Belmont.

One more thing: I already miss Billy Packer.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---Championship Week Edition

Florida State beat all four North Carolina schools for the first time this season.

Going into this year’s ACC Tournament, Duke is 33-3 in the ACC tourney since 1999…they have won three straight tournament titles.

The 24 point halftime lead that UNC put on Duke in their second game this year was the largest deficit Duke has ever faced at intermission at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Five times this season both teams have attempted at least 40 free throws.

The scads of empty seats at Conference Championship Tournament are a drag. Beyond the six power conferences, the leagues should do what the Horizon League does and reward the highest seed with a home-court site.

The Albuquerque and Portland sites in the NCAA Tournament will not have top seeds. That could make them the most wide open of any of the eight opening weekend venues. They could be ripe for upsets.

According to Andrew Clark, author of “Bracketeering” the most important stat to utilize when constructing your bracket is Scoring Margin. “The higher the scoring margin, the more balanced the team is.”

The second most important is Created Possession Margin. The formula is Rebound Margin plus Turnover Margin, and he considers a margin of five is the benchmark for a meaningful advantage.

A couple of red flags he points out: greater than 18 fouls per game; teams that take 1/3 or more of their attempted field goals from beyond the arc.

Look for teams that shoot better than 45% from the field, better than 36% on threes and 72% on the foul line.

One more thing: Five of the last six title teams have won their conference tourney.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---Conference Tournaments Are In Action Edition

Tonight’s UConn/Notre Dame game for the Big East’s Women’s Championship is about as good as it gets.

The ACC’s regular-season attendance declined for the fourth consecutive year in 2011-12, with the average home crowd falling to 9,632.

That’s a modest 2.4-percent dip from last season. In many cases, crowds were much smaller than the tickets-sold numbers schools released to save face.

Moreover, attendance has dropped 13.8 percent from 2005-06, the ACC’s first season with its current 12 teams.

Duke’s Ryan Kelly will miss this weekend's ACC Tournament in Atlanta after suffering a right foot sprain on Tuesday during practice. The Blue Devils’ post season could easily become 1-2 with a loss in the second round of the NCAA’s. With neither Kelly nor Josh Hairston available, Virginia Tech should now be able to handle Duke on Friday night.

With UConn’s win today, Coach Calhoun's 34th career win the Big East tournament, passed Georgetown's John Thompson for sole possession of second place behind the 46 of Syracuse's Jim Boeheim.

I am quite happy that Belmont, the favorite in the Atlantic Sun, rallied from a 13-point deficit in the conference tournament final to secure its second automatic bid in a row and fifth since 2006. It was the Bruins' last run in the Atlantic Sun. Next season Belmont joins the Ohio Valley. I am a huge fan of Coach Byrd.

I am looking forward to seeing St. Mary’s Matthew Dellavedova in the tournament.

One more thing: I installed the “watch ESPN” app to my iPad…and it’s a smash. I watched the end of Pitt’s victory over St. John’s at Starbucks and it worked like a charm. Along with the NCAA March Madness app, you can be portable for the Conference Tournaments and the NCAA Tournament. Both apps are freebies, so the price is right.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Welcome to Bracketville---Conference Tournament Week Edition

UConn has now gone three years in a row without a winning record in the Big East.

Florida State averages 16.5 turnovers per game…only one team (Long Island University-Brooklyn) commits more and has a winning record. Even with their stingy defense, that could haunt them in March.

Teams that live by the three-point shot have a treacherous road in March. If that’s your core offense and you shoot 27.3% you are Florida and lose to Kentucky by 15 or you are Duke and get blown out by 18 by UNC after shooting 28.6% from beyond the arc. Both Duke and Florida lost those games at home on Senior Day.

Florida and Duke fans must hope their team faces a team with a zone defense. I thing either team could have success against Syracuse.

The rule that says players cannot dunk during warm-ups when the officials are on the floor is about as stupid as it gets.

Maine missed all 17 of its 3-point attempts in an America East quarterfinal loss, becoming the first team to attempt that many threes without a make in a conference tournament game since 2005.

Utah’s Jason Washburn lead all scorers with 26 points, even though his team lost to Oregon by 46-points. In fact, Utah scored just 14 points in the first half.

Amazingly, Air Force had 22 assists on 23 made baskets in a ten-point loss to Colorado State.

One more thing: In November I said that Duke was a Sweet Sixteen team at best. In the past four months they have done nothing to change my mind.

They are a good team. However, they are a team composed of complementary players in search of a leader to complement.

I think Duke’s big men have held their own this year (all though Ryan Kelly has disappeared a couple of times)---but the perimeter players almost always have a height disadvantage (and they are not projected to grow in the next ten days).

The Duke won/loss record is remarkable considering how many times they have been on the wrong side of the all-important match-up situation…especially the guards.

Now, I do think that Duke has a huge “X-Factor” in Andre Dawkins. When he is hot, he can carry the team. He has been the most inconsistent Blue Devil this season, so I do not figure to see him go on a six game 20+ points streak in the next month.

You don’t go far in March with a freshman leader unless you are Kentucky. Austin Rivers has some nice moves, but he’s still a skinny kid who will be bullied in March---nationally ranked at #610 in Effective Shooting Percentage.

You advance in March with point guard excellence, power forward/center supremacy and senior leadership (again Kentucky gets a bye in the senior leadership category)…three characteristics not found in Durham this season.

What we all do know is that they will be well prepared, well coached and give a maximum effort---and have the fewest tattoos on the floor.

Curmudgeon in the Wry 521

Sunday, March 04, 2012---833 Words---Average Reading Time: 2 Minutes, 46 Seconds. (A pointless waste of time---time frittered away)



Offending readers and hindering productivity one issue at a time since 2001.

Continuing to call them as I see them.

Virtually free of original ideas.

Warning: Contains unsound bites from the apple of life.

Often wrong…never in doubt.

Being wrong is the risk you run by thinking and acting.

A Grumpy Old Man Production.

If you want this in a different language…move to a country that speaks it!

Gluten Free.

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Rave: Virginia Mayo

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Reading: “The Gentlemen’s Hour” by Don Winslow. Great read so far. Here’s a line to whet your reading appetite. “He already has the camera---it came with the basic Private Investigator Starter Kit along with the cynicism, a manual of one-liners, and a saxophone soundtrack.”

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On the Hi Fi: “Blue Pacific” by Michael Franks.

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Under rated: Ann Blythe.

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I miss: Johnny Unitas, William Powell, Benny Carter

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Rave: For my dough, “Goodfellas” is the best mob movie…not “The Godfather.”

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Rant: It’s going to be a slow, slow day before I see the silent movie “The Artist.”

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Dontjaknow: We’re all in the Twilight Zone when “The Fonz” is doing TV ads for reverse mortgages.

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Didjaknow: Naomi Judd had a bit part in 1973’s “American Graffiti.”

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Truism: Jeremy Lin sure is handling his fame a lot better than most of those gangsters he plays with.

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Rant: You know the world is a different place with the news that Kodak, founded in 1880…no longer will make cameras.

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Hmmm: I am old enough to remember when the collected wisdom of the world resided with barbers and taxi drivers…not bloggers.

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Quote: “A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend.”—Anon.

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Didjaknow: Of all the classic sleuths created by American writers, only Charlie Chan has appeared in more films than S.S. Van Dine’s Philo Vance.

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Truism: David Letterman is no Johnny Carson…not even close.

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Didjaknow: Since 1998, only two teams that lost in the Super Bowl have won a playoff game the following season.

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Rant: If you are scoring at home, gas was $1.86 per gallon when Chairman obama was sworn in.

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Irony alert: The food stamp program, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever.

Meanwhile, the National Park Service, also part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, asks us "Please Do Not Feed the Animals" because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.

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Rave: “Unforgettable” and “Person of Interest” are two shows that got my attention from day one…and get better and better with each episode. Great to see Elias reemerging in the “Person of Interest” story line.

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Hmmm: Why is it that if liberals like it, it’s subsidized; if they don’t, it’s prohibited?

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Factoid: The top 3% of taxpayers pay more income tax the rest of the 97%.

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Hmmm: Just two businesses refer to their customers as “users”---drugs and the Internet.

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Quote: “Nothing’s on the level when the world is round.”—Great line from the Wallace Stroby crime novel, “Cold Shot to the Heart.”

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Rave: Opening lines in books have been discussed, dissected and their importance in hooking readers emphasized since before the quill pen. This, the closing paragraph from Wallace Stroby’s “Cold Shot to the Heart” will have me first in line when the sequel is published:

“Stars were coming out, flickers of cold and distant light. Nothing behind her now. Nothing but night ahead. But she had a name, a suitcase full of cash, a car and a gun. It was a start.”

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Hmmm: Steve Jobs claimed the only time you need a power point presentation is when you don’t know what you’re talking about.

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Just asking: Has anyone ever apologized to America for anything?

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Rave: New seasons start up on USA Network for “In Plain Sight” and “Barely Legal” on Friday, March 16th.

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Rant: Could there possibly be a more nauseating TV spots than the ones for Old Spice Body Spray?

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Rave: The UPS TV spot featuring UConn Women’s Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma and logistics is truly convincing and wears well.

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Truism: Most people’s auto loans are underwater the minute they drive off the lot. Is Chairman obama going to bail them out as well?

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Damn: I thought michelle obama's "Let's Move" campaign was a request to obama to get out of the White House.

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One last thing: Sorry to see Fuller Brush go Chapter 11. They make a superior product. I still have a brush from them that I bought from one of their “Fuller-Brush-Men” in 1970. It is indestructible. Needless to say, it doesn’t get quite the workout today as it did 42 years ago.

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If you can read this, thank a teacher.

If you can’t, thank the teacher’s union.

If you are reading it in English, thank a Veteran.

That is all.

As you were.