Tag Archives: mbb

my very own sweet sixteen party.

In Focus...Rick Pitino's top-seeded Louisville Cardinals will play the No. 12 seed Oregon Ducks Thursday night in Indianapolis.

In Focus…Rick Pitino’s top-seeded Louisville Cardinals will play the No. 12 seed Oregon Ducks Thursday night in Indianapolis.

We started with 68 on Tuesday, and now we’re down to the Sweet Sixteen™. Now that the field is set, I have the itinerary of games for next weekend’s Midwest Regional games for which I’ll be the PA announcer at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Game 1
(1) Louisville Cardinals vs.
(12) Oregon Ducks
Friday, 29 March 2013 | Tip-off: 7:15 p.m. EDT
Television: CBS

Game 2
(3) Michigan State Spartans vs.
(2) Duke Blue Devils
Friday, 29 March 2013 | Tip-off: 9:45 p.m. EDT
Television: CBS

Game 3
Louisville/Oregon vs.
Michigan State/Duke
Sunday, 31 March 2013 | Tip-off: TBD
Television: TBD

Am I nervous? Not yet. I’m excited. This regional features college basketball royalty: Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino and Tom Izzo. I’m most looking forward to the Duke-Michigan State game. That will be like a championship game all by itself. The game will also feature a kid from my hometown of Bay City, Michigan, freshman Matt Costello. Not sure if he’ll get in the game or not, but it’s kinda cool.

I expect these games to be well attended. Louisville fans will make the short trip from Kentucky, no doubt. Sparty fans and Duke fans travel well, too. I have no idea how many Oregon fans will make the trip, but their Ducks should give Louisville a run for their money.

Prior to this weekend, the largest event I’ve ever worked was in front of 4,000 – 5,000 people over at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Lucas Oil Stadium will be set up to hold 45,000 for these games. That is a HUGE crowd!

But I’m not nervous…yet. 🙂

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march madness forecast: cloudy, with a chance of shocking upsets.

We’ve still got five games involving Top 25 teams to play on Sunday. But the March Madness™ brackets are starting to take shape.

The Four Tops
Gonzaga and Duke both won convincingly last night. Unless Duke suffers a major collapse in the ACC championship tournament they have probably done enough to earn a top seed. The Zags won their opening round game against Loyola Marymount. That should be enough for them. The remaining two top seeds are up for grabs. Kansas could’ve cemented it yesterday, but Baylor had other plans. Now at least five teams are vying for the last two No. 1 seeds: Georgetown, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville and Michigan.

The current No. 1 forecast is:
* East Region No. 1—Duke
* Midwest Region No. 1—Indiana/Michigan
* South Region—Georgetown, Kansas, Louisville
* West Region—Gonzaga

Although, if I’m Georgetown, I think I’d rather be a No. 2 in the East than a No. 1 in any other region.

Only Game That Counts
Indiana at Michigan. Whomever wins will likely be rewarded with more than just a share of the (or outright) B1G regular season championship. The winner will probably get the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region. The loser still has a chance at a No. 1 seed, depending on their postseason conference tournament performance.

We’re No. 2!
Thanks to 1-1 weeks from most Top Ten teams, Michigan State is looking like a solid No. 2 seed right now. Oklahoma State and (potentially) Ohio State could make their cases for No. 2 seeds as well. Okie State knocked off Kansas State, so they’re all but a lock if you ask me. The Buckeyes made a strong statement by knocking off the Hoosiers at home. A win over Illinois puts them in the conversation.

Stay Tuned
The picture will be in focus by Monday morning.

EDITED: 5:03 A.M. EST
Just received clarification that Georgetown cannot play in the East Region at all, due to being the host school of the regional finals. That means their best hope for a No. 1 seed is the South Region. Right now, I’d slot them ahead of both Kansas and Louisville for the NO. 1 seed. I still think Indiana or Michigan will earn the No. 1 seed in the Midwest. Let’s say they face one another again for the B1G tournament championship. Is that enough to reward both schools No. 1 seeds? Hmm…

That means the

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marching to march: zags top the charts…for now.

Junior forward Kelly Olynyk's 17.7 ppg led the Zags to No. 1 for the first time ever.

Junior forward Kelly Olynyk’s 17.7 ppg led the Zags to No. 1 for the first time ever.

If history is a guide, the final week of the NCAA men’s basketball regular season will be an unpredictable, wild ride. It will likely produce a new No. 1 team and could be the difference between a top seed for some, while being the bubble that bursts for others.

New No. 1…for Now
In fairness to Gonzaga, they’ve taken care of business. Undefeated in the the WCC and only two losses on the season, the Zags will claim their first No. 1 ranking in school history. But it won’t last. With their season done, Gonzaga will watch as every other team plays out their regular seasons.

Road Warriors Weary
There’s no place like home; especially for the Top Ten. At home, the Top Ten went 8-0 last week. On the road? 5-6. Who suffered the most embarrassing road loss? No. 4 Michigan. Losing at Penn State was embarrassing. But beating No. 9 Michigan State at home atoned for it.

The Four Tops
* Gonzaga — West Region
* Indiana — Midwest Region
* Duke — East Region
* ??? — South Region

The Zags are a lock for the West Region. Kansas, Michigan, Miami, Georgetown and even Louisville will make their cases for that fourth No. 1 seed in The Big Dance™. Stay tuned.

Shaka to the System
Right on cue, here comes Shaka Smart and his VCU Rams. By virtue of pistol-whipping Butler last week, VCU should move into the Top 25 and be poised to make another run at the Final Four.

Worst Week Ever
After winless weeks, Arizona and Syracuse will fall to the middle of the pack and, likely, losing a grip on No. 2 seeds.

Cadet Kelly
Duke senior forward Ryan Kelly picked a fine time to get back into the mix. His 36 points lifted the Blue Devils over No. 5 Miami; just in time for the postseason. For Coach K, Kelly’s return gives Duke another double-digit scoring threat. The real test for Duke will be its season-ending game at North Carolina.

Bubblelicious
Minnesota’s upset victory over No. 1 Indiana may have been the signature win to punch their ticket to the Big Dance™. Even though Illinois has an identical 8-8 conference record and also beat Indiana, they’re still on the bubble with two difficult road games to close out the season. They may need a good showing in the conference tournament to punch their ticket.

UConn is in the same boat as the Illini. They’re 3-3 against ranked teams and lack any sense of consistency. They are truly middle-of-the-pack. Out in the Mountain West, here come the Runnin’ Rebels, making their case. After a 2-0 week and in a tie for second place in the MWC, UNLV is one step closer to a potential No. 5 seed.

So Who’s No. 1?
This is a difficult week to predict. I have about 45 percent confidence in my selections.

1. Gonzaga (29-2/16-0)— All that’s left is their conference tourney, which won’t hurt their shot at the No. 1 seed in the West Region.
2. Indiana (24-4/13-3)—Losing has consequences. But if the Hoosiers win out, they’ll be the consensus No. 1 again.
3. Kansas (25-4/13-3)—Just as losing has consequences, so does winning. The Jayhawks had a good week.
4. Duke (25-4/12-4)—The Miami win atones for the Virginia loss. But they have to close out their season at Carolina. Good luck.
5. Georgetown (23-4/13-3)—The Hoyas are gaining momentum.
6. Michigan (24-5/11-5)—A win over Indiana would all but give the Wolverines a line on a No. 1 seed.
7. Miami (Fl) (23-5/14-2)—A No. 1 seed isn’t out of reach, but a No. 2 is all but locked.
8. Louisville (24-5/12-4)—A strong finish at home earns a No. 2 seed or better (depending on circumstances).
9. Kansas State (24-5/13-3)—The March 9 game at Okie St. is the battle for Big 12 second place.
10. Florida (23-5/13-3)—The Gators have one job this week: knock Kentucky’s ass to the NIT. Don’t let us down, Florida.

The Rest of the Field
I’m taking a shot at the entire Top 25 this week. Here goes:

11. Michigan State (22-7/11-5)—Road loss to Michigan hurt; down to a No. 3 or 4 seed.
12. New Mexico (25-4/12-2)—Could be a troublemaker in the tournament.
13. Oklahoma State (22-6/12-4)—Regardless of the K-State game, Okie St. is for real.
14. Ohio State (21-7/11-5)—A win over Indiana salvages an otherwise disappointing season.
15. St. Louis (23-5/12-2)—The Billikens could be the mid major who crashes the Final Four this year.
16. Arizona (23-6/11-6)—No one fell harder, faster than the Wildcats…
17. Syracuse (22-7/10-6)—…except for Syracuse. Hello, No. 4 seed.
18. Wisconsin (20-9/11-5)—Losing to Purdue hurt, but they’re still in the Dance.
19. Marquette (21-7/12-4)—Big wins over Syracuse and Notre Dame raised their stock.
20. Memphis (25-4/14-1)—Just when I started believing in the Tigers. They could still hold a No. 4 seed.
21. Louisiana Tech (26-3/16-0)—Difficult to determine how good they are, playing in a weak WAC.
22. PIttsburgh (23-7/11-6)—The Big East has too damn many teams.
23. Oregon (23-6/12-4)—They’re leading a rather mediocre Pac-12.
24. VCU (23-6/11-3)—They did something even Indiana couldn’t do, beat the hell out of Butler.
25. North Carolina (21-8/11-5)—In my mind, the Tar Heels didn’t earn this ranking. More like: it fell off the back of a turnip truck.

Gone Baby Gone
Butler and Notre Dame. Despite getting blown out by VCU, Butler will still be a tough out in the tournament. Notre Dame? They’re schizophrenic anymore. Could be a Sweet Sixteen team or be one-and-done.

Honorable Mention
UNLV. I thought about slotting the Runnin’ Rebels at No. 25 instead of North Carolina. The only difference is Carolina plays in a stronger conference. The Rebs could end up ranked next week, though. Not sure what sort of tournament team they’ll be, yet.

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does anybody want to be no. 1?

Plenty of drama was already on the schedule for tomorrow’s slate of NCAA men’s basketball games. Thanks to losses this week by No. 1 Indiana, No. 3 Duke and No. 4 Michigan, Saturday’s become a crucible. In all likelihood, we’ll have a new No. 1 team come Monday, and it’ll probably be Gonzaga. Why? Because they beat BYU last night, 70-65 on the road and wrap up their season at home against Portland; a team the beat by 22 points earlier this year. Despite my predilections, there’s no question Gonzaga has a decent resume…unless you count their 1-2 record vs. ranked opponents (yeah, I went there again).

But even more significant than Gonzaga’s win, Duke lost on the road at Virginia last night, 73-68. Every major, Top 5 team bailed out Indiana after losing to Minnesota.

Duke’s home game vs. No. 5 Miami could be the difference between a No. 1 ranking and a No. 5 or 6 ranking. Beat the Hurricanes and the Blue Devils might leapfrog over Gonzaga. A Duke loss would push them out of the No. 1 seed conversation. For now.

If current No. 1 Indiana beats Iowa at home, the Hoosiers should stay in the Top 5. But that depends on the outcome of the Michigan/Michigan State game. A Michigan win erases some of the damage of the Penn State loss. Enough to keep them in the Top 5? Too soon to tell.

Kansas and Georgetown will make a case to move ahead of teams like Michigan and Duke if they win at home against West Virginia and Rutgers, respectively.

A few factors the voters will weigh:
* How damaging are the losses for IU, Duke and Michigan?
* How significant is Gonzaga’s win over BYU?
* Can high does Miami jump if they beat Duke?

The AP voters have a love affair with Miami, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get some No. 1 votes if they beat Duke. But if Gonzaga wins tomorrow, they’re No. 1.

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the marshall plan: penn state stuns the maize & blue.

This is what it felt like for No. 4 Michigan tonight.

This is what it felt like for No. 4 Michigan tonight.

That’s why they play ’em. There isn’t a soul on the planet who would’ve picked Penn State to beat No. 4 Michigan tonight. Not. A. Soul. But they did, 84-78, thanks in large part to junior guard Jermaine Marshall’s 25 points. It was Penn State’s first conference win of the season. It snapped a 14-game losing streak.

Ann Arbor cheered when the Hoosiers lost last night. Tonight? Loved ones are hiding Michigan fans’ belts and shoelaces. As they say, that’s why they play ’em.

B1G Sigh of Relief for Hoosiers
The loss gives No. 1 Indiana a little breathing room heading into the final three games of the season, including a the season ender at Ann Arbor. It’s still a critical game for both teams, but the one B1G program that stands to make the greatest strides over the next 10 days is Wisconsin. They’ve already beaten Indiana, Michigan and Ohio State. Their March 7 rematch against Michigan State could be a chance to win the regular season championship.

But nothing is set in stone yet. As they say, that’s why they play ’em.

Miami Sets the Table
Miami’s easy 76-58 win over Virginia Tech tonight sets up a major showdown with Duke on Sunday. Depending on Gonzaga’s final two regular season games and Indiana’s Sunday game vs. Iowa, the Hurricanes or Blue Devils could launch into the No. 2 spot. Or higher.

The Battle of Michigan
The in-state battle between Michigan State and Michigan (at Ann Arbor) Sunday takes on a different level of importance. For Michigan, it’s about redemption + a chance to move back into second place. For State, a win sets up an epic battle with Wisconsin for second place. Realistically, the top seed is gone for both the Spartans and Wolverines. They’re now playing for a No. 2 seed.

You’re Still the 1
Both Duke and Miami can still earn top seeds in the NCAA National Championship Tournament. I doubt both will fall to No. 2 seeds. Right now, the top four seeds will be a battle between:
* Indiana
* Gonzaga
* Duke
* Miami
* Kansas

That can change by Monday morning, but for now, they’re in the driver’s seat. For my money, Gonzaga is a weak No. 1 seed, compared to the rest of the field. A part of me believes the selection committee will drop them to a No. 2 seed the minute the Zags have trouble. Depending on the rest of their seasons, Georgetown and Florida could challenge for a No. 1 seed, but the Gators really threw up on themselves with the loss to Tennessee.

Yep—wait for it—that’s why they play ’em.

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