ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Friday, March 21, 2008

Saturday's NCAA picks

Two for today

Finished 2-0 on Friday to raise my NCAA picks to 3-1. That included Villanova to win its game outright.

Satuday should be a great day of basketball. Here are two quick picks for today:

Stanford over Marquette: I have to like Stanford in this one. I think they'll make a lot of noise in this tournament and breezed in their opener. Look for the Cardinal to rule Marquette.

I also like Pitt to knock off Michigan State. With Drew Nietzel in a major shooting slump the Spartans are facing an uphill challenge here.

UCLA also looks good.

San Diego snaps Calhoun's streak

No Price, no hope

Lightly-regarded San Diego knocks UConn out of the NCAA tournament. In the long run it was the injury to A.J. that spelled doom for the Huskies.
Let's face it, Craig Austrie killed the Huskies when he penetrated the lane three times late in the game and in overtime and was rejected all three times.
If Price was in the game, he would have had the ball at crunch time but instead Calhoun called Austrie's number and he was miserable. Jerome Dyson made some nice plays to put the Huskies in overtime and give them the lead late in overtime but you had the feeling that San Diego would score.
This was not one of Calhoun's best coaching jobs and San Diego outworked the Huskies all day long and then hit the big shots.

Now it's three weeks of the love-fest for the UConn women and the only interesting game will be the championship.
I don't even expect Rutgers to make it to the regional final. They're too banged up and have no depth.

Anyway, the Huskies were not going to win this tournament and to say that bracket has opened up wide for UCLA isn't really fair for the Bruins. UConn was not going to beat them. San Diego can't play any better than it did tonight so I expect it to lose to Western Kentucky.

Of the teams I picked that could win this tournament before it started, they're all still alive including my sleepers Washington State and Davidson. Curry was amazing for Davidson today and leads the tourney with 40 points.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Friday's NCAA picks

Duke still alive

The Blue Devils got lucky Thursday. Belmont just didn't execute at all in the final minute. Not only didn't they stop Duke from getting to the basket on its final possession but Belmont didn't get a good shot off.
I was surprised its coach didn't use a timeout after Duke took the lead.

Friday's best bets
Went 1-1 on my picks on Thursday.

Today I like Davidson to defeat Gonzaga. Now Davidson's the lower seed and they're the favorite. That tells you a lot about this game. Davidson also features Stephen Curry, the son of Dell Curry who can score in bunches.
Davidson is one of my sleepers in this tournament.

I also like Villanova to put a scare into Clemson and perhaps even pull off the upset. The Big East is off to a great start to the tournament.

There were very few upsets on Thursday and if it wasn't for Belmont it would have been a very forgettable day. Pitt looked great and Washington State, whom I've been touting for a long time was also dominant. The Notre Dame-Washington State game will be a classic.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thursday's picks

If you're headed to Vegas

OK, I know some of you out there like to hop on a plane (or make a phone call) and win some cash on the NCAA tournament.

If you do, here are my best bets for Thursday.
I like Notre Dame to hammer George Mason and Temple to at least keep it close against Michigan State. I wouldn't be surprised if the Owls win this one.

If you're headed to Vegas throw a dime on each for me.

NCAA, Here we go

NCAA ready to tip off

As the tournament is about to tip off let's look at the list of teams that can actually win the whole thing.
I've got a realistic list, which does not include UConn, and a quick look at them. It's something I've done over the past few years and the winner has always been on the list.

East (top 4 seeds)

North Carolina - The Tar Heels are the No. 1 seed but this is a tough region. They'll have their work cut out for them here.
Washington State - Here's my sleeper to win the whole tournament. Sure, a No. 4 seed isn't that much a sleeper but I haven't heard anyone from Joe Lunardi to the sleepy Bobby Knight (someone give him a cup of coffee) who's picked this team. Remember early in the season that this team was ranked around No. 3 in the country. They're a veteran team and well-coached.
Louisville - Pitino's got a realistic chance here. Such a tough region.
Tennessee - really don't like Bruce Pearl but he's got players and deserves to be listed.

Midwest (Only 3, 2 are sleepers)

Kansas - They're deep and can really score. Will they defend? Will they choke again?
Villanova - Another sleeper here. The 12 seed has plenty of talent and is well-coached.
Davidson - They've won 20 in a row already. Here's a sleeper with a chance but I would tell you that any of the teams listed in the East could win this bracket easily.

South (4, it's wide open)

Memphis - Sure they can't shot free throws but if they're up by 20 points, who cares?
Pittsburgh - They showed how tough they were in the Big East Tournament. They'll make some noise.
Stanford - The Lopez twins will be household names soon. These guys are good.
Texas - D.J. Augustine quickly made everyone forget about Kevin Durant.

West (3 and my pick)

UCLA - The Bruins may just win one for John Wooden. He's 97, been in the hospital and this team is playing the best in the country right now.
West Virginia - Another sleeper but the bottom of this bracket is weak.
Duke - Just because you know they'll get all the calls the Blue Devils have got a legitimate shot.

There they are. I see 14 teams with a chance to win this thing and I've got to go with UCLA to beat UNC in the final.

I'll keep you posted. Good luck with your brackets.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Let the Craziness Begin

NCAA men's tournament gets under way

OK, so the NCAA won't let us use the word M@dness during the tournament. It seems that CBS and the NCAA have got exclusive rights to just about every phrase we've grown up with.
Maybe they should stop worrying about how they can suck the last dollar out of their fanbase and fix the college football postseason.
But I digress.
Pretty soon, if Billy Packer says it, it will go right into the Bible.
And talk about hypocrisy, we were, weren't we? The NCAA has a tournament bracket challenge on its web site. Somewhere Rick Neuheisel is shaking his head.

Anyway I'll take you through the Big Dance, oops, the college basketball tournament daily with observations and picks in this blog.

Here are the odds to win the tournament. Sure, you'll see places where some teams are 1 trillion-to-one to win the event, but if you really want to bet you'll never get those odds at real sports books.
Here are they are from one site, in alphabetical order:

American 2000/1
Arizona 80/1
Arkansas 150/1
Austin Peay 1000/1
Baylor 150/1
Belmont 1500/1
Boise State 750/1
Butler 125/1
BYU 200/1
Cal State Fullerton 1500/1
Clemson 40/1
Connecticut 40/1
Coppin State 2500/1
Cornell 750/1
Davidson 150/1
Drake 80/1
Duke 14/1
George Mason 500/1
Georgetown 14/1
Georgia 250/1
Gonzaga 125/1
Indiana 100/1
Kansas 5/1
Kansas State 75/1
Kent State 200/1
Kentucky 150/1
Louisville 18/1
Marquette 55/1
Memphis 6/1
Miami Florida 100/1
Michigan State 50/1
Mississippi State 80/1
Mississippi Valley State 2500/1
Mount St. Mary's 2500/1
North Carolina 4/1
Notre Dame 60/1
Oklahoma 150/1
Oral Roberts 500/1
Oregon 150/1
Pittsburgh 30/1
Portland State 2500/1
Purdue 70/1
Saint Joseph's 250/1
Saint Mary's 150/1
San Diego 500/1
Siena 500/1
South Alabama 200/1
Stanford 25/1
Temple 500/1
Tennessee 18/1
Texas 14/1
Texas A&M 200/1
Texas Arlington 2000/1
UCLA 4/1
UMBC 2000/1
UNLV 250/1
USC 45/1
Vanderbilt 50/1
Villanova 250/1
Washington State 40/1
Western Kentucky 500/1
West Virgnia 125/1
Winthrop 500/1
Wisconsin 25/1
Xavier 35/1

Playdown game

No team wants to play in the dreaded No. 64-65 game on Tuesday night but Mount St. Mary's and Coppin State drew the short straw. The Mount is favored by 7 points in the contest and should win the game but these games are usually close.
Mount St. Mary's is not unfamiliar to area fans. The Mount knocked out Quinnipiac in the first round of the Northeast Conference tournament and later won the NEC title at Sacred Heart.
They've gotten healthier as the season has progressed and are a deep team with Jean Cajou coming off the bench to lead the team in scoring down the stretch. They won't scare North Carolina but should get a chance to play in the tournament proper.

I'll go through my picks sure to tarnish your office pool tomorrow.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Who's the state's best high school basketball player?

Who's the MVP?

The Register will announce its high school basketball player of the year soon.

Who do you think deserves the honor?

Let me know and I'll post the results.

Is it Allan Chaney of New London, B.J. Monteiro of Crosby, Tevin Baskin of Trinity Catholic or someone else.

Let me know what you think.

Hawks take flight

It's a toss-up

Expect a nail-biter when Hartford plays at Maryland Baltimore County for the America East title today.

The winner gets an automatic bid into the NCAA field. Hartford, led by Joe Zeglinski looks like a No. 16 seed if it makes the field. The Hawks are just 18-15 heading into today’s game and just 4-12 on the road.
But, finishing 10-6 in the conference Hartford earned the No. 2 seed. Hartford lost at Quinnipiac and defeated Yale in West Hartford earlier in the year. The two teams met twice during the season with both teams winning at home by one point.
Zeglinski leads the Hawks at 16.2 ppg. He is an explosive scorer and just a sophomore with a bright future in the conference. Warren McLendon has played well since moving to the bench for Hartford and is second on the team in scoring at 12.3 ppg.
Maryland Baltimore County won the regular season title at 23-8 overall and 13-3 in the conference. The Retrievers are led by Ray Barbosa at 16.8 ppg. but two other starters average nearly 15 points.

Hartford has an RPI of 181 while the Retrievers are 89th.

NCAA spot?

It’s all speculation at this point but Hartford could be forced to play in the dreaded 64-65 NCAA playdown game on Tuesday. Their opponent could be Mount St. Mary’s which has an RPI of 159 but rolled to the NEC title defeating state teams Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart as well as winning at Robert Morris.
The winner of that game would most likely face North Carolina.
Enjoy the ride Hawk fans.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Time to burst your bubble

Few holes to fill

Here is a look at the NCAA men’s field as Selection Sunday approaches.

Remember 65 teams make up the field.

THESE TEAMS ARE ALREADY IN THE FIELD AFTER WINNING CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS (12): Austin Peay, Belmont, Butler, Cornell (REGULAR SEASON WINNER), Davidson, Drake, George Mason, Oral Roberts, San Diego, Siena, Western Kentucky, Winthrop

THESE CONFERENCES WILL RECEIVE ONE-BID WITH TOURNAMENTS TO BE DECIDED THIS WEEK (9): America East, Big Sky, Big West, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Northeast, Patriot, Southland, Southwestern Athletic, Western Athletic. Note: Both Hartford and Sacred Heart are in title games.

Here is a look at the locks for the field: (32)
Clemson, Duke, North Carolina
Connecticut, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pitt, West Virginia
Indiana, Michigan State, Purdue, Wisconsin.
BIG 12
Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas.
Illinois State
Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington State
Kentucky, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

That leaves 12 teams fighting for their tournament lives. Syracuse has to be out after losing badly in the Big East tournament.

Villanova, Saint Mary’s, Baylor, Kent State, Arizona, Miami (Fla.), South Alabama, UNLV

Arkansas (20-10, 42nd in RPI) Arizona (18-13, 29th in RPI) Ohio State (19-12, 48th in RPI) Maryland (18-13, 71st in RPI)

Massachusetts (21-9, 41st in RPI) Arizona State (19-11, 75th in RPI) Oregon (18-12, 52nd in RPI) Texas A&M (22-9, 47th in RPI) Dayton (20-9, 32nd in RPI) Florida (21-10, 65th in RPI)

The final dozen spots will be decided in upcoming conference tournaments. Villanova looks to be in the bracket after knocking out Syracuse. Florida has work to do and I feel that Ohio State's win over Purdue will get them a berth. Maryland owns a win at North Carolina and that's huge as they will be the Las Vegas favorite to win the tournament.

Looking for a sleeper? I think Washington State will make some serious noise in the tournament.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Madness begins

Four in the hunt

We're down to four basketball teams with postseason hopes.

The UConn men's and women's teams begin Big East tourney play next week. Their NCAA tickets are already punched.
The Huskies' women team will get the No. 1 seed overall which means a spot at Bridgeport for a couple of games and then it's on to one of four sites at New Orleans, Spokane, Washington, Greensboro, N.C. or Oklahoma City, Okla. It will be mostly Greensboro.

The Quinnipiac women are three games away from its first NCAA bid. The Bobcats need two wins at LIU this weekend and then would get a chance to host the final on March 16. The road will be tough with potential matchups against host LIU and then a final against Sacred Heart or Robert Morris ahead.

The New Haven women's basketball team also heads to New York for the weekend. The Chargers will meet Bridgeport Saturday at Queens College at noon and if they win will play for the title on Sunday also at Queens College.

Both Quinnipiac and New Haven need to win the tournament to earn a berth in the NCAA as both coaches feel they will not receive at-large invitations.

We'll keep you posted.

The NEC women's postseason awards will be announced Friday night. Quinnipiac's Erin Kerner has a great chance to earn Player of the Year honors.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

NEC game on the internet

Bobcats need to do it on the road

Sorry it’s been a week since my last post but if you’ve been hit by this flu bug you know why I didn’t have the strength to punch the keyboard.

Anyway, tonight’s NEC game featuring Quinnipiac and Mount St. Mary’s will be streamed live On

You must be a member of the Bobcat Channel to receive a free stream. The video and audio feed will be made available to all current Bobcat Channel subscribers, in addition to a free stream for all Quinnipiac University students and faculty/staff.

The Bobcats can win this game and move on to Saturday against Robert Morris but that will be a difficult test for the young Quinnipiac team.

The end of the line for superstar DeMario Anderson seems like it is near and wasn’t that a shame that Anderson did not win the NEC player of the year. His choice as player of the year should have been unanimous. No one carried his team more than the senior swingman.

Well, back to the Tylenol, which in my mind is very overrated. It doesn’t help with this flu much at all.