Congratulations to the UConn Huskies, winner of their fourth national championship Monday night with a 60-54 victory over Big Blue Nation and the Kentucky Wildcats in Arlington Texas.
Following a season where the Huskies were ineligible for post-season play due to APR/Academic issues, the upperclassman who stayed with the program earned their second title in four years, and brought a sense of redemption to UConn. Led by UConn alumni Kevin Ollie, who inherited the program following Jim Calhoun’s retirement, the Huskies went from a team that struggled in their opener against St. Joseph’s to knocking off the “team of destiny” from Lexington.
Calipari’s starters are expected to announce for the NBA in the coming days, similar to the squad that won the title for UK in 2012. Rumors are also swirling that Calipari himself may be headed to The League, as the future coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. If you’ve followed Calipari’s career and are a WildKat fan, you’ve got to hope beyond hope that he stays, as programs he leaves tend to have visits from the NCAA soon thereafter.
So, congrats to the Huskies, who look to see their undefeated women’s team double dip on Tuesday night when they face the also undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Should Coach Auriemma’s team win, it will be the second time that both titles have ended in Connecticut in the same year… no other team has even done it once.
Fear not, UK faithful- The Yankees’ season just began and the Miami Heat look solid this year as well. And then you get to live vicariously through the successes of your SEC brethern… the same ones who hate you all during hoops season.
In our Yahoo! Challenge, Ryan had it all sewn up on Saturday, correctly picking Kentucky and Florida in the Final Four. Huge kudos also go to Kris, who had the most correct picks, but not the most points per our scoring system. Ryan wins the great prize package from The Buckeye Room, Fresh Brewed Tees, and Mekka Don, and you’ll be hopefully reading his thoughts in this space in the near future.
This year’s tBBC Bragging Rights go to Ken, who blew the rest of us out of the water at… wait for it… 21st place. Proud. Your humble correspondent finished in dead last, right behind a staffer who was too busy with his dissertation to spend more than a few minutes filling out his bracket.
Huge thanks go to our friend Bacon Ninja for keeping me from having the lowest score of the people I talk to regularly. Oh, and that 8 year old that finished in the running for our bowl challenge? Ninth place.
Thanks again for participating, and look for our next contest sometime in mid-August as we get ready for the 2014-15 season to kick off. Remember, we’ll be livechatting the Ohio State spring game this Saturday afternoon… see you then!
Since it’s April Fool’s Day, it totally makes sense to look at the clown show that is most of our brackets.
There’s a real possibility that the “Conference full of fans who like to prove they can spell three letter words” will have the only two teams with a basketball pulse in the finals on Monday; be prepared for a lot of reciprocal couch burning from Vanderbilt and Missouri backers.
Even worse? A Bo Ryan team may cut down the nets when it’s all over. Insert Tom Crean “that doesn’t mean they’ve won” joke here.
In the Yahoo! group, we’ve got a two way tie at the top, with Hunter and Kris right up there with 77 points.
However, there are a lot of points still on the table, and at least two former champions have the possibility of winning it all yet again. But, if Florida doesn’t win it all… all bets are off.
Ken is leading our tBBC in house competition… and that’s all that matters. Let’s pay no attention to the names at the very bottom of the list, shall we??
Stay tuned this weekend for our last livechats of the hoops season… See you then!
Well, the past four days certainly lived up to the “Madness” legacy, didn’t they?
Indianapolis hosts Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan, and Louisville… That’s got to be a scalper’s dream scenario, right?
Huge upsets, surprise teams moving on to the next round, and favorites being pushed to the wire across all of the regions.
And yet, there’s still that one guy who will have his final four all still alive that will want to talk about it for the next four days… man, I hate that guy. <is actually that guy>
Let’s take a quick look at our Yahoo! contest to see how
awfully amazingly each of our participants are doing thus far. Also, this will hopefully make Kevin stop emailing me to rub it in.
Yup, our graphic whiz Kevin Dearth was in first place until Sunday’s games… but today, Grant stands atop the leader board (I’m not giving you lots of money, but will buy you dinner when you’re out here next). As an interesting note- the 8 year old that won our Bowl Picks contest is only sitting four points behind the leader. So… yeah.
Charles had an amazing first round and early second round for tBBC Staff Bragging Rights, and still is on top of our insider’s bracket, even if he’s fallen behind his initial glory. Jason’s the only reason that your humble correspondent isn’t dead last… thanks, bro!
Even though the Buckeyes aren’t moving on this coming weekend, we’ll be still watching closely to see what happens next. Stay tuned to tBBC for weekend livechats and all your Scarlet and Gray updates.
Our Bracket Breakdown gets a little close to home…
The South Region is of some interest to us since that is Ohio State’s “Region”. It also has a few other top-rated teams such as Florida, Kansas, UCLA and Syracuse. Whoever emerges from this Region has a legitimate chance to be in the Finals and possibly win it all.
Rather than go through game-by-game in the Region, I’ll focus on five (5) topics; 1) the team likely to win region, 2) the region’s Cinderella team, 3) team most likely to be upset, 4) who is region’s unheralded player and 5) my Elite 8 picks. Envelopes, please…
Regional Favorite: Florida is my choice to win this Region. The Gators haven’t lost a game since December 2nd, and it’s unlikely they lose this week, until possibly the Finals. They are a well-balanced team, play decently on offense, but are a top notch defensive team. In their last 14 games, dating back to February 1st, they have allowed less than 60 points in 7 of them. A capable offense and a tough defense will carry this team to the Final Four.
Cinderella: The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks could be wearing the Glass Slipper, at least until midnight. They aren’t rated well (RPI 55, SOS 315) but they come in as the #12 seed against VCU and the Rams are only a 6 point favorite. They have a decent defense and are efficient of on offense (1.16 PPP). And, a #11/#12 seed moving on is not unheard of; just ask VCU. Read More
Have you filled out your brackets and entered tBBC’s annual bracket challenge? If not, what are you waiting on? Get on it.
We head West for the second of our four region previews in preparation for the greatest weekend in sports. After our first preview of the loaded Midwest region, the West is a bit less exciting as on paper it is probably the easiest of the four regions, challenged only by the East.
Favorite – Arizona had to be thrilled about their draw in this one. Not only is the West the easiest of the regions, the Wildcats will also get to avoid a lot of travel as they never play more than 471 miles from their campus and fans will have easy access to direct flights that last no more than an hour and a half for the first two weekends; no other team’s fans will have it that easy. Travel will be even easier for the team as getting out of the first weekend means just a fairly short drive up the coast from San Diego to Los Angeles.
It’s not just the short travel and large fan support that the Wildcats will get that makes them the favorite in the region; Arizona put together an impressive season, finishing in second place in the RPI with a 30-4 record while playing the nation’s fourth hardest schedule. The Wildcats won their first 21 games of the season in a stretch that included wins over San Diego State (4 seed in the West), Duke (3 seed in the Midwest), Michigan (2 seed in the Midwest), and UCLA (4 seed in the South), among others. The loss of Brandon Ashley to injury hurt the Wildcats, they’ve gone 9-4 without him, but this team still has offensive weapons. The key to Arizona’s success has been a stifling defense that has limited opponents to 58.1 points per game on 38% shooting; this defense doesn’t seem to have lost a beat following Ashley’s injury.
Tuesday and Wednesday we’ll be giving you our insight into each reason, looking for the stories that you may not have read elsewhere.
The Midwest Region is a tough Region, not that any Region will be easy, but this one is particularly top-loaded. In this Region are Wichita State (ranked #2 AP and the only undefeated team in the nation), Louisville (#5), Duke (#7), TTUN (#8), St. Louis (#18) along with UMass and Kentucky. Four teams in the AP Top Ten and another in the Top Twenty. All of the other Regions have two Top Ten teams each.
This Region is a bit odd; it has the most Top Ten teams and it also has three of the four play-in game winners playing as well. So, it seems to me, this Region is comparatively very good at the top, then comparatively not-that-good in the middle seeds and below. For example, the play-in game for the #11 seed involves Iowa (20-12) vs Tennessee (21-12). Frankly, if you’re good enough to “play” into the #11 seed, something is amiss with the selection process. If you have to play yourself in to the field of 64, then you go to the back of the line at a #16 seed. /steps off soapbox. Read More