Monthly Archives: March 2013

I Do Believe I Told You So

I told you Wichita State was going to win.  I told you!

(I also told you two other teams were going to win, and, well, you’ll see in a minute how that went.)

WSU went up 20 points on Ohio State last night, then nearly proceeded to foul and turn the ball over enough to bring the Buckeyes back within a bucket before a late three gave the Shockers some breathing room.

I think I now believe, moving forward, that a team should never, ever call off the proverbial dogs.  I don’t care if you’re up by 10, 20, or 40, keep playing.  It may sound unsportsmanlike, but when you cross the sideline/foul line/touch line and walk onto the field of play, you’re signing up for whatever happens.

This is not to say that you should leave your starters in a 30-point game in the last five minutes.  I just mean that if you play a style that means you shoot in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock, and you play tight defense and run the floor, don’t slow it down to burn clock and not be jerks when you’re up 25.  Too many strange things can happen.

So coaches: don’t take your foot off the gas.  You certainly can, and should, change drivers, but don’t take your foot off the gas.

* * *

CIT: I have dominated this event all month, to the tune of a .750 winning percentage.  So of course I go 0-2 on Semifinal Saturday.  Of course.  The championship game is set for Tuesday.  Hint: I’m picking Weber State over East Carolina.

NCAA: I already mentioned that my pick came through.  I’m proud of myself.

Seeing as I’m within two games of .500, I’m going to pick both of today’s games.  If I miss both, then the dream is dead.  If I hit one, I’ll need to go 3-for-3 in Atlanta to have a winning record, 2-for-2 to get to .500.  Needless to say, if I win them both, I can play it safe and have a good shot at being at least even-steven.

The picks: Florida -3 (lead pipe lock) and Louisville -4.  Not super confident in either one of them, but they’re the best options.

NIT: 17-11

CBI: 8-6

CIT: 21-9

Irrelevant Postseason Total: 46-26

Lead Pipe Locks: 8-3

NCAA Spread Picks: 9-11-1

Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting

That’s the only way to describe the Marquette-Syracuse game tonight.  It’s going to be a fight.  Nice to have one last Big East game before the conference breaks up.  However, the fact that two rivals ill play for a spot in the Final Four on Georgetown’s home court does not sit well with me.

In tonight’s other regional final, do not sleep on Wichita State.  Ohio State has shown in its last two games that its not all that great, and I told the guys at the bowling alley on Thursday night that my “crazy prediction” was that whoever won the Wichita State-La Salle game had a really good chance to beat Ohio State.

* * *

CIT: Semifinals tonight.  I’m taking Evansville on the road, and Northern Iowa at home.  I feel like the home court will make the difference between UNI and Weber State, who are clearly the best teams left in the draw.  Terrible matchups put out there by the CIT folks.

NCAA: Well, Florida Gulf Coast just squeaked in with a cover, while Duke covered easily.  Kansas, however, blew a 14-point lead, and my lock of the day.  Awful.  Just awful.

Tonight, I’ll back Wichita State +5 AND I will make them my lead pipe lock.  Even if Ohio State wins, it will probably be on a basket with less than a second left.  I have no idea what’s going to happen in the other game, so I’ll stay away.

NIT: 17-11

CBI: 8-6

CIT: 21-7

Irrelevant Postseason Total: 46-24

Lead Pipe Locks: 7-3

NCAA Spread Picks: 8-11-1

Don’t Let Me Down

Gee, thanks, La Salle.  I put some faith in you and it ruined your mojo.

I feel like last night’s egg-laying by everyone’s second-favorite “Cinderella” can be attributed to the three days off between games.  If you think about it, the Explorers played Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, with the last two games being tight, thrilling finishes.  There is a certain amount of momentum and energy that comes from that, and even though you have rest, you lose a bit of your edge.  It’s why teams that got the dreaded double bye in the Big East Tournament often lost to teams playing for a second (or third) straight day.  You go out, you get a feel for the tournament, win a game, and move on to the next day.  Then, when you’re out there playing a little freer and looser, the other team is still working the kinks out.

I’d be willing to bet that La Salle was buoyed by playing so many games in quick succession, and the downtime made it tough for them to restart the batteries, so to speak.

And don’t talk to me about fatigue and “oh, these kids are tired!”  They’re basketball players; you give them a day off, and what do they do?  They go to the gym and shoot.  They’d play every day if you let them.

* * *

All right, I know I said I was picking a quarter of the games now, but I’m in danger of finishing under .500, and I need to make up ground, so I’m going to pick as many games as I feel like.  My blog, my rules, so shut up.

NCAA: I really, really like Kansas -2 over Michigan as a lead pipe lock.  I feel like that line should be higher, but as we’ve learned, I have no idea what I’m talking about.  I also like Duke -2 and Florida Gulf Coast +14.  WHO IS WAGERING AGAINST FGCU?  Whoever it is, they’re not the kind of person you want to be friends with, because they hate fun.

NIT: 17-11

CBI: 8-6

CIT: 21-7

Irrelevant Postseason Total: 46-24

Lead Pipe Locks: 7-2

NCAA Spread Picks: 6-10-1

You Get In, You Get Done, and Then You Get Gone

Nothing really to write about today, but no time to think of something, either, as I have to get my pick in for tonight’s games.  The pick, after a brief recap:

NIT: Virginia crapped the bed at home, but Baylor held serve and my upset pick of BYU crushed Southern Miss.  Yay?  The semifinals are next Tuesday.

CBI: George Mason was a winner, but in other bed crappage news, Wright State honked its opportunity and lost to Santa Clara.  The championship series begins on Monday night.

CIT: Weber got it done.  Semifinals on Saturday.

NCAA: Oh, the real tournament is back!  Just one pick tonight because there are only four games.  Tonight, I like La Salle +5 against Wichita State.  This will probably be a close game, so five points seems like a lot.

Since there is just one pick, there is no lock for tonight.  It seems redundant; of course it’s my most confident pick of the night.  It’s also a kick in the pants if it loses, because then it feels like a double loss.  One loss is bad enough, thank you.

NIT: 17-11

CBI: 8-6

CIT: 21-7

Irrelevant Postseason Total: 46-24

Lead Pipe Locks: 7-2

NCAA Spread Picks: 6-9-1

A Celebration to Last Throughout the Years

When does a draw feel like a win?  When you’re the U.S. soccer team and you get a point in World Cup qualifying down in Mexico, that’s when.  I won’t bore you with the details (you can read analysis about the match here), but suffice to say it was a huge result for the USMNT.

(And, almost more importantly, a borderline disastrous one for Mexico.  It’s always nice to see a rival squirm.)

I’m making my triumphant return to Quizzo tonight, which means I need to get some work done, so let’s go straight to the picks, shall we?

* * *

NIT: Maryland was the first team into the NIT semifinals with a one-point win over Alabama.  At least I got something right on my bracket.  Tonight, I’ll take Virginia, BYU (upset!), and Baylor.

CBI: The semifinals are tonight.  I’m taking the home teams, George Mason and Wright State.  By George, it’s the Wright thing to do.  Yeah, I wrote it.  So what?

CIT: Again, got just one right, but it was my lock, Northern Iowa.  Tonight, I will give lead pipe lock status to Weber State at home against Oral Roberts.

NIT: 15-10

CBI: 7-5

CIT: 20-7

Irrelevant Postseason Total: 42-22

Lead Pipe Locks: 6-2

NCAA Spread Picks: 6-9-1

Down Mexico Way

Tonight, the United States Men’s National Team (we’re talking about soccer; deal with it) heads to Mexico for it’s quadrennial road World Cup qualifier at Estadio Azteca.  The USMNT has never won a qualifier in Mexico; the U.S. is 0-13-1, with most of those matches at Azteca.

To put that in perspective, in soccer, you get three points for a win and one for a draw.  Which means that out of a possible 42 points on the table in Mexico, the USMNT has earned exactly one.  That’s not good.

I’ll be honest; despite being a soccer fan (to the point that I often call it “football” without even realizing it), and despite rooting for my country, I don’t know a ton about the guys on the National Team right now.  Injuries and the squad choices of manager Jurgen Klinsmann have shuffled things for the Stars and Stripes, but tonight’s match should tell a lot about what the squad has going forward.  I can’t tell you if it will be a good match, but I know that either way, it will certainly be an important one.

* * *

Lots of crappy college basketball postseason action tonight and tomorrow.  Let’s dig in.

NIT: Last night, I picked all three home teams, and all three home teams won.  Tonight, Maryland goes to Alabama.  I picked the Terrapins to win the whole thing, so why jump off the bandwagon now?  Maryland for the win.

CBI: Bad news: I went 1-for-4.  SERIOUSLY.  HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?  Over the long haul, a coin should get 2-of-4.  Good news: that one was George Mason, my lock of the night.  Yes, it went to overtime, but it still counts.  Never a doubt!!

CIT: Oral Roberts was a winner.  Three of the quarterfinals are tonight; I will take Loyola (Md.), Canisius, and Northern Iowa (lead pipe lock).

NIT: 14-10

CBI: 7-5

CIT: 19-5

Irrelevant Postseason Total: 40-20

Lead Pipe Locks: 5-2

NCAA Spread Picks: 6-9-1

Just Another Manic Monday

It’s officially spring.  Has been, for a couple days.


Cinderella got to stick around the ball for a little while longer last night as Florida Gulf Coast moved into the Sweet 16.  Good for them, but let’s be real: the “first 15-seed to reach the Sweet 16” is criminally underseeded.  You mean to tell me they aren’t as good as Harvard?  Or Montana?  And yet those teams were seeded one and two lines, respectively, ahead of FGCU.  P.S., those teams were also summarily routed out of the tournament already.

It’s about time we ditched the RPI, the strength of schedule, and all the other numbers, and forced the selection committee to actually WATCH BASKETBALL GAMES.  I defy you to watch that team and tell me they should be a 15-seed.  You can’t do it, because they’re not.

* * *

NIT: Virginia got it done.  Woo, Hoos!  Tonight I will take Southern Miss, Providence, and BYU.  Home teams, baby.

CBI: The quarterfinals have arrived!!!  I’M SO (not) PUMPED!!!  Give me Purdue, Richmond, Wyoming, and the Atlantic 10’s newest member, George Mason, as my lead pipe lock.

CIT: Kent State lost, blowing up my whole CIT bracket.  Oral Roberts, I’m counting on you tonight.

NCAA: Whoa!  Two covers!!  Whooooaaaa!!  FGCU beat San Diego State outright, as I thought they might, and after a slow start, Kansas ran away from North Carolina.  No NCAA games until Thursday.

NIT: 11-10

CBI: 6-2

CIT: 18-5

Irrelevant Postseason Total: 35-17

Lead Pipe Locks: 4-2

NCAA Spread Picks: 6-9-1

Shock Me Like an Electric Eel

How ’bout it, Wichita State?

People are making jokes about WSU living up to its nickname of the “Shockers” by beating Gonzaga.  But is it really a shock?  These same folks were saying it was a knock on Gonzaga that they got to 31-2 by beating inferior competition, and that the Bulldogs’ #1 seed wasn’t justified.

Well, after struggling with 16-seed Southern on Thursday and losing to nine-seed Wichita State yesterday, I think we can say that while the record and poll ranking said top seed, the truth is that Gonzaga was more like a three-seed.

* * *

Long day today, so I’m getting this out of the way now.  Quick and painless.  Except, you know, for the actual picks.

NIT: Stanford lost.  Of course.  I’ll take Virginia over St. John’s today at 11:00 AM ON A SUNDAY?  Jeez.

CIT: The streak ended, as Rider no-showed in a loss at East Carolina.  I got my other five picks right though, including my lock of the day.  I may be the foremost expert in the nation on the CIT.  I don’t know if that’s a compliment.  Today, I’ll take Kent State on the road at Loyola (Md.) because they were my pick to win the whole tournament, so I figure a win here would be helpful.

NCAA: VCU got wrecked, and Butler lost by two for a dreaded push.  I don’t particularly like any of the lines today, so give me Florida Gulf Coast +7 and Kansas -6 (lead pipe lock).

Records to date:

NIT: 10-10

CBI: 6-2

CIT: 18-4

Irrelevant Postseason Total: 34-16

Lead Pipe Locks: 3-2

NCAA Spread Picks: 4-9-1

Shot Through the Heart, and You’re to Blame

I won’t discuss it – at all, ever – but suffice to say last night was the worst night of the NCAA Tournament of my life.  If you’ve been reading this blog, you know why.  If you don’t, well, you can figure it out.

At least I have my successful predictions to hang my hat on, right?  Oh, wait.

Whatever.  I’m gonna make my picks and then go back to figuratively lighting myself on fire.

* * *

NIT: Iowa won, but Arizona State didn’t.  Mostly because they gave up SIXTY POINTS in the second half.  That ain’t gonna get it done.  Today, it’s Stanford at Alabama.  I’m going to take the upset and pick Stanford on the road.  Then again, the SEC sucks, so maybe it’s not an upset.

CIT: Back in action with six contests.  Whoa, buddy!  Knowing absolutely nothing about most of these teams, I’ll take Evansville, Rider, Canisius, Bradley, Northern Iowa (lead pipe lock), and Weber State.

NCAA: Miami crushed Pacific (I don’t know how they were only 13-point favorites; if I gambled for real, I could have quit my job on that game) and Iowa State, despite being a one-point dog, cruised past Notre Dame.  I lost with Colorado, and unfortunately, despite Kansas winning, they didn’t do so by nearly enough to cover the 21-point spread.  Another 2-2 day.

Just two picks for the second (third? whatever) round days.  Today I’ll take VCU +4 and Butler +2.

Records to date:

NIT: 10-9

CBI: 6-2

CIT: 13-3

Irrelevant Postseason Total: 29-14

Lead Pipe Locks: 2-2

NCAA Spread Picks: 4-8

Gotta Get Down on Friday

We had our first big upset on Thursday night – well, in some places, Friday morning – as 14th-seeded Harvard knocked off 3rd-seeded New Mexico.  That shows you the dangers of the tournament format; no one would argue that Harvard had a better season than New Mexico.  However, a team that has no real chance at winning the whole tournament will move on, while a potential Final Four contender is left to wonder what might have been.

I’ve been growing disenchanted lately with the idea of playoffs in general; at some point, I will write at length on the topic.  That will not be today, because I’d much rather being making predictions.

Yesterday’s picks started out well; Memphis squeaked out a cover and Oregon cruised to a surprisingly easy win.  I even came close to hitting with South Dakota State before UNLV crapped the proverbial bed for me.  Thanks guys.

In the NIT, Maryland survived and advanced to the quarterfinals, giving me a win in that game and pushing me over .500 in the tournament.  Baby steps, folks.

In the NIT tonight, I like Arizona State and Iowa.

As for the NCAA Tournament, my four picks are: Miami -13, Colorado +2, Iowa State +1, and Kansas -21 (lead pipe lock).

Records to date:

NIT: 9-8

CBI: 6-2

CIT: 13-3

Irrelevant Postseason Total: 28-13

Lead Pipe Locks: 2-1

NCAA Spread Picks: 2-6