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Ohio State had a roller coaster 2013-14 season which ended in a loss to Dayton in the second round of the Ncaa Tournament. Ohio State is now without point guard Aaron Craft who just played his final season of eligibility because he is a senior, Ohio State’s junior shooting guard Laquinton Ross has declared for the Nba Draft, the Buckeyes will lose Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Amedeo Della Valle will leave the buckeyes to play in Europe. These four players are a big piece of the team that needs to be replaced. Thad Matta and the buckeyes have already begun the rebuilding process who has already added a few pieces to the puzzle adding 7’0 Center transfer from Virginia Tech and  Anthony Lee a 6’9 tranfer from Temple University. Five star point guard D’Angelo Russel has commited to Ohio State University and will be key to the Buckeyes success in the future.

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The NCAA Basketball title game between Kentucky and Connecticut was a close game.   Connecticut got off to great start, and at one point lead the Wildcats 30 to 15.     Kentucky would cut the deficit 35 to 31 at halftime, but the second half was a different story.    Kentucky would miss too many second half free throws, but Connecticut would make 10 for 10 the whole game.   That would Connecticut a 60 to 54 win, and their fourth national title.

Shabazz Napier, who led the Huskies to this amazing tournament run scored 22 points in the National Title game was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player.   This capped an amazing season for the Huskies who barred from last year’s tournament due to academic issues.   They came back in this year’s  tournament as the seventh seed in the East region to win the National Title.  The Connecticut Huskies wound up from going from the dog pound to being the top dogs in Arlington, Texas.

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Like Michael Sam came out to his teammates at the University of Missouri in college football.   Derrick Gordon did the same thing at the University of Massachusetts in college basketball.   Gordon who is a sophomore guard had to hide from his teammates from who he really was.   When Gordon came out he became a different person, and started to get calls from people who are struggling to come out of the closet.  Hopefully in the future an athlete coming out will not be a big story.

 

Tattoos are something to think long and hard over if you are serious about getting one. You have to make sure it does not look dumb, it has a purpose, and is not down and outright ridiculous and silly. In the case of a Kentucky basketball fan, all of those definitely pertain to him. The Kentucky basketball fan got a premature tattoo with the Wildcats logo along with the words “2014 Nati9nal Champions” (the ’9′ was in place of the letter ‘o’ to represent with what would have been Kentucky’s 9th national championship had they beaten UConn).

 

 

     This sums it all up pretty nicely

 

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College Basketball National Title game is set for Monday night between Kentucky vs. Connecticut. The Huskies surprised the number one Florida Gators. They were led by Shabazz Napier, and played great defense against the Gators. Kentucky had a back and forth game against the Wisconsin Badgers on a Aaron Harrison shot late in the game. Kentucky led by a great freshman class has the chance to win the National Title for the 2nd time in three years.    I expect the game to real close and maybe go down to the wire, but Kentucky has too much talent to be denied the chance to cut down the nets.    Kentucky will win by six points and John Calipari will have 2nd national title as a coach.

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When practice started in October there was a lot of talk about how John Calipari was trying to repeat his 2012 success at Kentucky with his 2014 team.  That 2012 team was led by freshmen Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones and Marquis Teague and won the national title.  This year’s edition is led by Julius Randle, Andrew and Aaron Harrison and James Young finds itself in the Final Four, but it wasn’t an easy ride.

The Kentucky season has been a roller coaster which seems a little funny to say for a team that is 28-10.  During the pre-season and the non-conference portion of the schedule the hype for the expectations for the team were extremely high after a 13-3 start with the three losses coming at the hands of nationally-ranked Michigan State, Baylor and North Carolina by an average of just 4.6 points.

When SEC play began expectations and excitement for the team was tempered a bit when they were swept by Arkansas and lost to LSU and South Carolina.  Talk then turned to the fact that the 2012 team had veteran leadership in Darius Miller and Doron Lamb that the 2014 team doesn’t have.  Jarrod Paulson is the only upperclassman to be in the top 10 on the team in minutes at just 8.7 minutes per game.  The other nine consists of seven freshmen and just two sophomores in Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress.

After a 61-60 loss to Florida in the SEC title game and defeating three of last season’s Final Four participants, #1 seed and undefeated Wichita State and 2013 title-game combatants Louisville and Michigan the thought that this team could repeat the success of 2012.

The freshmen on this team seem to be gelling at the right time.   Randle, Young and the Harrisons are growing up into more than freshmen right in front of the eyes of the college basketball world.  The growth could be seen in their 75-72 win over Michigan in the Midwest Regional final that saw the Wildcats play seven freshmen, with just Poythress being the only non-first-year player to see the floor.  Big man Cauley-Stein missed the game due to injury but that allowed freshman Marcus Lee to play a season-high 15 minutes (he had played a total of 16 minutes since Feb. 4th) and contribute 10 points and a season-high eight rebounds in the game that saw Aaron Harrison hit a game-winning three pointer with 2.3 seconds to play.

There have been may peaks and valleys in Kentucky’s season.  Just like a roller coaster they are at the peak of a climb and with two more wins they will all be screaming at the top of the lungs as the ride comes to an end.

Read More at College Hoops Haven

The Final Four is set up for this coming weekend in Arlington, Texas and all four teams have traveled a long and winding road.

Connecticut VS Florida   Connecticut are led by Shabazz Napier were able to pull off a few upset especially in the East Regional Final over Michigan State.   Florida has been 30 game winning streak and finished with a perfect regular season  in the SEC.   Connecticut handled the Gators their last loss in December.  I see the Gators getting to the National Title game.

Kentucky VS Wisconsin    The Badgers are a great defensive team and will give the Wildcats fits.    Kentucky has another great recruiting class, but had a lot of difficulty earlier in the season.    They have come on strong during the tournament, and they have a better overall team so the Wildcats will have the rematch with the Florida Gators on Monday night.

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Northwestern_WildcatsNow that the National Labor Relation Board approved the Northwestern football team having a union. The university should not challenging the ruling, but should work with the players. The university should help out with the paying for medical coverage, meals, and spending money for the basic necessaries. The NCAA is making 10 Billion dollars from the basketball tournament especially from this weekend Final Four In Arlington, Texas. It would not hurt for colleges for to pay these athletes at least $10,000 as well as the regular scholarship. This is a complicated issue because other athletes in other sports want to get paid, and the Title IX ramification in dealing with female athletes.

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Everything these days has a sponsor.  Everywhere you look a logo is plastered somewhere or an event is now called the XYZ Open presented by ABC.  Perhaps this year the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament should be sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters.  There are a plethora of sibling storylines coming out of the second week of the tournament.

The most high profile of these storylines is on the sidelines with brothers Sean and Archie Miller as they take their teams into the Sweet 16.    Sean leads #1 Arizona into Anaheim for a matchup with #4 San Diego State and younger brother Archie heads a somewhat surprising #11 Dayton team into a matchup of double-digit seeds when they face #10 Stanford in Memphis tomorrow.    The elder Miller began his career as a point guard at the University of Pittsburgh in the late 1980s.  He then paid his coaching dues at Wisconsin, Miami (OH), N.C. State as well as his alma mater before moving onto Xavier.  At Xavier he served as an assistant under Thad Matta for three seasons before taking over when Matta left for Ohio State.  Miller was then promoted to head coach where he guided the Musketeers for five years leading them to four NCAA Tournaments and an Elite Eight appearance in 2008.  He then took his current job at Arizona taking over for the legendary Lute Olson.  Now in his 5th year at Arizona Miller has the Wildcats positioned as a national title contender.

Younger brother Archie played collegiately at N.C. State and served as an assistant there as well as at Western Kentucky, Arizona State, Ohio State and under his brother at Arizona before becoming the head man at Dayton in 2011.  In his first season Dayton made the NIT and now Miller has the Flyers in the Sweet 16 since 1983-84 when they made the Elite Eight.

On the floor there are a pair of twin brothers that have found their way to the Sweet 16.  First at UCLA, senior forwards Travis and David Wear will help the Bruins take on #1 Florida in Memphis tomorrow and freshmen Aaron and Andrew Harrison and #8 Kentucky, after defeating previously unbeaten Wichita State will do battle with in-state rival #4 Louisville in Indianapolis on Friday.

The Wear brothers, California natives began their college careers at North Carolina in 2009 before transferring to UCLA after one season.  In their final season the Wears, who are averaging a combined 13.5 points and seven rebounds have finally been able to experience victory in the NCAA Tournament after losing their first game last season.

Aaron Harrison along with twin brother Andrew were considered top recruits  coming out of high school and both ended up at Kentucky  in a star-studded recruiting class.  With such a young team the Wildcats struggled at times to live up to the hype.  They certainly did however in a 78-76 win over #1 Wichita State in one of the best NCAA Tournament games in recent memory.  The Harrison brothers combined for 39 points in the win.  The Pecan Grove, Texas natives have stepped up their play averaging a combined 32 points in the tournament.

The final storyline comes from a player on the court, Dayton’s Devin Oliver and a fan in the stands, his sister Miya.  Miya, who has down syndrome has been Oliver’s biggest fan and he hers.  She can be seen at nearly all Flyer games cheering as loud as she can for her brother.   She says that Devin, who is averaging 11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds for the Flyers, has taught her how to play basketball, a sport she competes in for the Special Olympics and Devin says Miya’s passion is so wonderful because it is so genuine.  So as Dayton prepares to take on Stanford in Memphis tomorrow you can bet the UD cheering section will be led by Oliver’s biggest fan.

The bond between siblings will be very prevalent as the Sweet 16 kicks off tomorrow.  Who knows if any of them will make it to Dallas and the Final Four but someone should get Big Brothers Big Sisters on the phone, this has marketing genius written all over it.

Read More at College Hoops Haven

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Could VCU’s Shaka Smart be the next head coach at Marquette?  Some think it is likely, which is surprising considering Smart passed on openings at Illinois and UCLA among others.

The Golden Eagles have an opening because long-time coach Buzz Williams left for Virginia Tech.

Reached for comment SID Scott Day declined to comment saying, “we have no comment at this time.”  Read that however you like, perhaps it says a lot.

We have been unable to reach Marquette for comment.

Stay tuned.

Read More at College Hoops Haven

 

*This list is not in any particular*

 

    John Wooden

John Wooden aka “The Wizard of Westwood”- Wooden would go on to win 10 National Championships, including seven in a row! Wooden would go on to be inducted into in 1961 to the Basketball Hall of Fame, and eventually go on to be inducted into the the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, and posted a career coaching of 664 wins and 162 losses. (a winning percentage of 804)

 

 Tom Izzo

Even though he has just one National Championship, when it comes time for the NCAA Tournament, Tom Izzo is very dangerous and no team should take him or the Michigan State Spartans lightly!  Izzo has taken the Spartans to six final fours, seven regular seven Big Ten Championships, four Big Ten Tournament champions,and 17 appearances in the NCAA Tournament

 

 Mike Krzyzewski

 

When you think of Duke basketball, you automatically think of Mike Krzyzewski. NCAA tournament appearances 30 times, four National Championships and is the the only coach to ever to reach the 900 career milestone in wins all with one team! In addition he has coached team USA to two Gold Medals. Lets not forget after Mercer defeated Duke in the field of 64 and went over to their locker room to congratulate the Bears on a job well done! Coach K is without a doubt a person with a lot of class.

 

 

 Rick Pitino

 

He may have not had the best coaching career in the NBA, but Rick Pitino has had a lot of success at the college level. Pitino has coached two different teams to National Championships, Kentucky and Louisville respectively and the only coach to do so. He has also been the only coach to lead three different teams to the Final Four. (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville)

 

 Billy Donovan

Florida had been namely known for its football program, but Billy Donovan the head coach of the Gators basketball team has put them on the map. Donovan led the Gators to back-to-back National Champions in 2006 & 2007. This was the first time a school had one back to back National Championships since Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils did so in 1991 & 1992

 

 Jim Calhoun

Jim Calhoun is one of the only three coaches in NCAA history to win 3 National Championships. Calhoun also led Connecticut to of four Final Fours, 10 Big East regular season championships, and 7 Big East Tournaments Championships. Calhoun finished his coaching career with 866 wins, and was inducted into the the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005, as well as the College Basketball Hall of Fame the following year

 

 Roy Williams

While at Kansas, Roy Williams made the Championship game and failed twice in both of those game. As the old cliche goes “Third times a charm” well that happened to be the case with Williams. In the 2004-05 seas0n he lead the North Carolina Tar Heels to its first National Championship in 12 years. (1993). After finally getting that burden of his back, four years later in the 2008-09 season, he lead the Tar Heels to another National Championship. As a Tar Heels fan, I have seen on numerous occasions him getting in the game himself and would and still does, gets excited whenever his team was stepping up and more or less will showed a lot of passion! Williams was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

 

 

 

Dean Smith

North Carolina’s basketball court after one of the greatest coaches of all time, Dean Smith! Smith lead the Tar Heels to two National Champions and 11 Final Fours. Smith was named the National Coach of the Year four times (1977, 1979, 1982, 1993) Dean’s success was not only limited with North Carolina, he also led the 1976 U.S. Olympics Men’ Basketball game to a Gold Medal! Smith has the most NCAA tournament appearances as a coach and has the second most Final Four berth, with John Wooden had 12.

 

Jim Boeheim

Not only is Jim Boeheim the coach of the Syracuse Orange, but it happens to be his Alma Mater as well! Since 1976, Boeheim has an astounding  total of 948 wins since being named head coach! In 2010, Boeheim had many accolades, such as the Big East Coach of the Year, Naismith College, College Coach of the Year,  AP Coach of the Year, NABC Coach of the Year, Henry Iba Award, The Sporting News Coach of the Year, and the 2010 Big East Coach of the Year!

 

 

Lute Olson

During the 1997 , Lute Olson led his Arizona Wildcats to a National Championship. On top of that, Olson led the Wildcats to three victories against #1 seeds en-route  to their National Title. Olson also took the Wildcats to five Final Fours, won the Pac 1o (now Pac 12) tournament four times and 11 regular season championships. Before he came to Arizona, Olson also led the Iowa Hawkeyes to a Final Four appearance in the 1979-80 season!

 

 

Adolph Rupp

I would be a fool if I did not have Adolph Rupp on this list!n Rupp led the Kentucky Wildcats to 876 wins, 3 National Champions and a NIT Championship! Rupp would also led the Wildcats to six Final Fours, was named National Coach of the Year five times as well as a seven time SEC Coach of the Year!

 

 

Bobby Knight

One of my favorite coaches of all time is Bobby Knight due to his numerous antics he displayed which left me in tears due to laughter. One quote he used was one of the best I ever heard, “When my time on earth is gone, and my activities here are past, I want they bury me upside and my critics can kiss my ass!” That aside, Knight captured three National Championships, including an undefeated season in 1975-1976. Also, just like Mike Krzyzewski, Knight has two Olympics Gold Medals as Team USA’s head coach.

 

 

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The majority of America has their March Madness Bracket busted due to losses such as Duke being defeated by Mercer, North Dakota State coming out on top over Oklahoma, and Harvard, Dayton, and S.F. Austin winning the rest of their games. There remains however (allegedly) one perfect bracket!  Twitter user  https://twitter.com/Brad_Binder  His bracket remains unblemished after the round of 64. Perhaps just as impressive, Binder said he did not analyze any of this and that it just took him five minutes to fill out this bracket! I would love to see this guy win Warren Buffet’s billion dollars, but some of his picks start to become a bit of stretch afterwards. Nevertheless pretty impressive, and if he can keep this going the whole country will be rooting him on and hoping he pulls through and come out on top!

 

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2001973-this-is-the-only-perfect-ncaa-tournament-bracket-left?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=programming-national2

 

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East

1.Virginia vs. 16. Coastal Carolina

Virginia is 8th in field goal percentage defense (38.5%) and Coastal Carolina shoots 43.8% 197th in the country.

8. Memphis vs. 9. George Washington

George Washington shoots the 3 at 36.9% while Memphis is 28th best at defending it at 30.8%

5. Cincinnati vs. 12. Harvard

Harvard shoots at 46.7% and Cincinnati at just 42.7%

4. Michigan State vs. 13. Delaware

Michigan State gives up 65.3 points per game and Delaware scores 79.5

6. North Carolina vs. 11. Providence

Providence commits 11.6 turnovers per game and North Carolina averages 15.6 assist a game.

3.Iowa State vs. 14. North Carolina Central

Iowa State is 6th in the country in scoring at 82.9 and North Carolina Central is 7th in defense at 58.5 points per game.

7. Connecticut vs. 10. St. Joseph’s

Connecticut shoots 44.8% and St. Joseph’s is 33rd in defensive rebounding at 26.1 a game

2. Villanova vs. 15. Milwaukee

Villanova scores 78.5 points per game and Milwaukee allows 70.5

 

West

1.Arizona vs.  16. Weber State

Arizona is 5th in points allowed at 58.1 and Weber State is 20th in field goal percentage at 48.1%

8. Gonzaga vs. 9. Oklahoma State

Gonzaga is 5th in the country in field goal at 49.8% and Oklahoma State is 16th in the country in points per game at 80.3

5. Oklahoma vs.  12. North Dakota State

Oklahoma scores 82.2 a game and gives up 75.9. North Dakota State is the top shooting team in the country 50.9%

4. San Diego State vs. 13. New Mexico State

New Mexico State is 7th in the country in blocks with 6.3 and San Diego State has 5.2

6. Baylor vs.  11. Nebraska

Nebraska struggles rebounding with 33.4 and Baylor is 24th at 38.7 a game

3.Creighton vs. 14. Louisiana

Both teams like to score, Louisiana at 81.4 and Creighton at 79.5 points a game

7. Oregon vs. 10. BYU

Both teams score a ton (top 11) of points but also give them up.  BYU allows 77 and Oregon gives up 74.

2. Wisconsin vs. 15. American

American is 7th in field goal percentage at 49.5% but scores just 63.9 points and Wisconsin gives up 64.6.

Midwest

1.Wichita State vs. 16. Cal Poly

Cal Poly is 319th in field goal percentage at  41% and Wichita State is 11th in the country in points allowed at 59.6

8. Kentucky vs. 9. Kansas State

Kentucky has a huge rebounding edge 41.3 to Kansas State’s 36

5. St. Louis vs. 12. N.C. State

Where St. Louis has the edge is on defense.  Both teams average about 70 points per game but the Billikens give up just 61.2 while N.C. State surrenders 69.2

4. Louisville vs. 13. Manhattan

Louisville is 2nd in the country in steals at 10.1 and Manhattan commits 14.2 turnovers per game.

6. Massachusetts vs. 11. Tennessee

These two teams match up well with UMass 23rd in defensive rebounds per game (26.4) and Tennessee 20th in total rebounding at 38.8 per game

3. Duke vs. 14. Mercer

Mercer is 25th in defensive rebounding at 26.3 and duke is 272nd at just 22.5

7. Texas vs. 10. Arizona State

Arizona State is 1th in defensive rebounding with 27.2 and Texas is 4th in rebounding at 41.8

2. Michigan vs. 15. Wofford

Both teams struggle to rebound, Wofford at 33.3 and Michigan at an even worse 31.9

South

1. Florida vs. 16. Albany

Albany is 287th in scoring at 66 a game and Florida gives up just 57.9 3rd in the country.

8. Colorado vs. 9. Pittsburgh

Colorado shoots 43.7% and Pittsburgh allows just 62.4 points per game

5. VCU vs. 12. Stephen F. Austin

VCU is first in the country in steals at 11 and Stephen F. Austin allows 62.6 points per game.

4. UCLA vs. 13. Tulsa

UCLA averages 9.4 steals per game and Tulsa turns the ball over 11.5 times a game.

6. Ohio State vs. 11. Dayton

Dayton shoots 46.6% from the field and Ohio State is 159th in defensive rebounding at 24 per game.

3. Syracuse vs. 14. Western Michigan

Western Michigan shoots just 33.2% from 3-point land and 46.6% overall and Syracuse struggles defensive rebounding with just 22.1 per game

7. New Mexico vs. 10. Stanford

Both teams are not very good offensive rebounding teams, Stanford grabs 9.67 a game and New Mexico is at 10.64

2. Kansas vs. 15. Eastern Kentucky

Kansas allows teams to shoot 35.9% from 3-point range and Eastern Kentucky shoots it at 39% from 3.

Read More at College Hoops Haven

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EAST

 

Best 2nd round game:

#7 Connecticut vs. #10 Saint Joseph’s.  The Huskies led by All-American guard Shabazz Napier take on one of the hotter teams in the country in Saint Joseph’s.  The Hawks led by Langston Galloway and big man Halil Kanacevic took out VCU in the Atlantic 10 final.

Best potential 3rd round game:

#1 Virginia vs. #8 Memphis.  The top-seeded Cavaliers calling card is defense, they are the #1 defensive team in the country.  A potential 3rd round match up with the athletic  Memphis Tigers could be an interesting dichotomy of styles.

 

Most dangerous double-digit seed:

In the East the most dangerous double-digit seed has to be the 3-time defending Ivy League champs Harvard.  The #12 Crimson have experience having defeated New Mexico in the 2nd round last season and a large majority of that squad returns including point guard Siyani Chambers.

 

Dream Regional Final:

#3 Iowa State vs. #4 Michigan State.  The typical heavy banging Big Ten team in Michigan State against Fred Hoiberg’s high-octane offense for a trip to the Final Four would be fun.  Guard Keith Appling facing off against stat-stuffer DeAndre Kane of the Cyclones is just one intriguing in-game match up.

 

WEST

Best 2nd round game:

#8 Gonzaga vs. #9 Oklahoma State.  The Zags while not as dangerous in past years are a tough match up for the Cowboys because of their ability to dominate in the frontcourt with the likes of Sam Dower.  Oklahoma State, despite falling to Kansas in the Big 12 tournament has found a bit of a groove since star Marcus Smart returned from suspension.

Best potential 3rd round game:

#7 Oregon vs. #2 Wisconsin.  Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin team has a little more offense than in past years, but if they meet up with Oregon how they handle the stretch ability of Mike Moser and Jason Calliste.  Another game with teams that want to play at different tempos.

 

Most dangerous double-digit seed:

I’m going to go with the 12th seeded North Dakota State Bison.  NDSU will be in their game for because of their top-ten field goal percentage and forward Marshall Bjorklund who led the country in that category last season.  The Summit League Player of the Year Taylor Huff can really score and that duo could spell trouble for Oklahoma.

 

Dream Regional Final:

#1 Arizona vs. #3 Creighton.   The Top Cats trying to get to the Final Four going against a team led by the guy who is now 5th all-time in scoring in his collegiate swan song, Doug McDermott.

 

 

MIDWEST

Best 2nd round game:

#3 Duke vs. #14 Mercer.  We all know what the Blue Devils have in terms of talent on the court and on the bench but Mercer comes from the same conference as Florida Gulf Coast and guard Langston Hall can really score and the Bears think they are capable of repeating FGCU’s success.

Best potential 3rd round game:

#1 Wichita State vs. #8 Kentucky.  The undefeated Shockers will potentially get a shot at one of the sports blue bloods.  The Wildcats are young but super talented and the Wichita State detractors want to know what they will do against elite competition, here’s their chance.

 

Most dangerous double-digit seed:

Don’t sleep on #10 Arizona State led by point guard Jahii Carson who has the ability to score with anyone in the country and big man Jordan Bachynski.

 

Dream Regional Final:

#2 Michigan vs. # 4 Louisville.  Different teams but a potential national championship game rematch looms for the Cardinals and the Wolverines.

 

 

 

SOUTH

Best 2nd round game:

#5 VCU vs. #12 Stephen F. Austin.  Shaka Smart’s havoc that has taken the Rams to a Final Four appearance will take on one of the nation’s best defensive teams and hottest teams in the country in the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin out of the Southland Conference.  The Lumberjacks are 31-2 and have won 28 in a row.

Best potential 3rd round game:

#2 Kansas vs. #7 New Mexico.  The Jayhawks are young and talented but without freshman big man Joel Embiid who may not play due to back issues they may have trouble with the New Mexico frontcourt of Alex Kirk and All-Mountain West forward Cameron Bairstow.  Add to that duo guard Kendall Williams who can torch the nets, Kansas is going to have to battle to make it out of the first weekend.

 

Most dangerous double-digit seed:

Like I said above #12 Stephen F. Austin can really defend and having won28 straight the Lumberjacks have a chance to throw a bit of a wrench into the South Region.

 

Dream Regional Final:

#1 Florida vs. #3 Syracuse.  This year’s edition of the Gators rely less on the 3-point shot than they have in the past and a meeting with the best zone defense in the country in Syracuse would be fun to watch.  How would Florida attack the zone?  Attack the seams or shoot their way out of it?

Read More at College Hoops Haven

Since the NCAA Basketball Tournament are out, and I have made several brackets. They are a lot good teams that can make the Final Four and win it all Wichita State are the first team to go into the Tournament undefeated since UNLV did in 1991. Florida who went perfect in SEC this season and won their Tournament. Louisville are the defending National Champions, Arizona which been at the top of the rankings for the whole season. Michigan State won the Big 10 Tournament. Virginia who won there first ACC Title since 1976, but here are the teams who will be in the Final Four in Dallas.

Louisville will beat Wichita State in the Midwest regional Final. Arizona will beat Wisconsin in the West regional Final. Florida will beat Kansas in the South regional Final. Michigan State will beat Villanova in the East regional Final.

In the National Semifinals in Dallas on April 5th Arizona will beat Louisville and Florida will beat Michigan State. On April 7th Florida will beat Arizona to win their 3rd National title, but in March Madness anything can happen and usual will.

 

Check out my 2014 March Madness picks! Let me know what you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Who do you have winning it all?

 

 

 

 

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The NCAA Tournament is famous for upsets, teams out of nowhere beating powerhouses like Duke and Kansas. The famous upset from last year was the FGCU Eagles beating the 2 seeded Georgetown in the second round of the tournament; they would go on to beat San Diego State but then lose to the Florida gators. FGCU was the first ever 15 seed to go to the Sweet Sixteen. Here are some teams that could bust your bracket just like FGCU.

North Dakota State-- The Bison are dangerous. This is a team that went 12-2 in a decent Summit League and has won nine games in a row. The fact that they are on a run is not why I think they will beat Oklahoma. They will beat the Sooners because Oklahoma is not a great team. The Sooners are overrated and are not a team I can see going far. The Sooners are a team that has success against good teams, but loses games they should win. After losing to a hot Baylor team the Sooners are very lucky to get a 5 seed. The Bison and Sooners are heading in total different directions which is why people should watch out for the North Dakota State Bison.

Oklahoma State- The Cowboys are dangerous! At 21-12, which could be a lot better if Marcus Smart didnt get suspended,  the Cowboys could give Arizona a very tough game in the round of 32. As a 9 seed, the Cowboys will face Gonzaga first which is a very winnable game. I personally have Oklahoma State in the Elite 8 in both of my brackets. The Cowboys can score a lot of points; they averaged 80 points per game which is 3rd in the Big-12. If the Cowboys can get past Gonzaga they can give Arizona a run for their money.

Harvard- Harvard, coming off winning the Ivy League is a team very capable of beating Cincinnati. The Crimson last year won a game in the tournament and are looking to bust some more brackets this year. The Crimson went 26-4 this season and 13-1 in the Ivy League with their only loss coming to their rival Yale. This team is full of seniors that love to spread the ball around and truly doesn’t care who scores–they just want to win. I could see The Crimson taking down Cincinnati.

Providence- The Friars battled their way through the Big East tournament to win the Big East championship. This team is hot after winning three straight while the Tarheels have lost two straight. The Friars are a dangerous team and are looking to send North carolina home early. After winning the Big East tournament, the Friars are confident and ready for any team. They are very capable of beating North Carolina after beating a very good Creighton squad. Watch the Friars,because they want to ruin your bracket

Filed under: College Basketball Tagged: Harvard Crimson, March Madness, North Dakota State Bison, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Providence Friars

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During the 2013 BCS National Championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Sportscaster Brent Musburger made interesting comment’s about Alabama quaterback A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend. With the camera panning to Katherine Webb, Musberger awed at her beauty and then made a remark that got a few eyebrows raising

“Now when you’re a quarterback at Alabama, you see that lovely lady there? She does go to Auburn I want to admit that, but she’s also Miss Alabama and that’s A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend, okay.”

Musburger then acknowledged McCarron’s mother who was sitting to the right of Webb, and then continued to gush over her looks

“Wow I’ll tell you,  you quarterbacks, you get all the good looking women, what a beautiful woman! Whoa!”

 

 

 

 

Musberger received some heat for his remarks and was heavily criticized by many in the media. Flash forward to over a year later, Musberger has seemingly caught himself in bit of a pickle yet once again over remarks towards young female college students!

During a Big 12 basketball game between Kansas and Iowa State, the cameras again panned to another young female, one who was taking a “selfie” with her phone, Musberger states “Take a look at our sixth man of the game brought you by Motel 6, and I am pleased with this selection! Oh yeah why not a “selfie”?!?! The fans of Iowa State, the sixth man of the game”

 

 

Musburger again is putting the sports world into a frenzy and has ESPN once more walking on eggshells. My advice for ESPN if they are worried for any more future potential comments about beautiful young women by Musburger, take him to the nearest veterinary to have him neutered.

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As the Big Ten tournament kicks off Thursday afternoon, six teams have a good shot at bringing home the hardware, two teams are playing for one of the last at-large births, and the four remaining teams have to win the tournament title to make the big dance.

Michigan is the number 1 seed in the tournament; they are the Big Ten regular season champs and will be going after a tournament title to go along with their regular season title. Lead by Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas, Michigan has been one of the hottest teams in the nation since the start of conference play. Michigan has a good shot at winning the tournament title and I have them as a 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Wisconsin has been one of the nation’s best teams this year, they have had one of the country’s toughest schedules from top to bottom. They went undefeated in a brutal non conference schedule, and their only six losses have been in the nation’s premiere basketball conference. If Wisconsin can win the tournament title, I have them as the last number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Michigan State is the number 3 seed in the Big Ten tournament and have a a shot at cutting down the nets. Tom Izzo has a veteran team that is well coached and disciplined, and their seniors would love to go out with a Big Ten tournament title. If Michigan State can win the Big Ten tournament or win a game or two, I have them as a 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA tournament; if they lose in the quarterfinals I have them dropping to a #4 seed in the NCAA tournament.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers have been a surprise team in the Big Ten after starting out 0 and 4 in conference play. They finished out winning 11 of their last 14 conference games, and earning a first round bye in the Big Ten tournament. Nebraska has good team chemistry; they play unselfishly and they have proven they can beat anyone. They have the talent to win their first ever Big Ten title in the tournament or regular season. If Nebraska can win the tournament I have them as a 5 seed in the NCAA tournament. If they don’t win it, I have them as a 6 or 7 seed.

Ohio State finished out the regular season with a win over Michigan State on senior day. One thing Thad Matta knows how to do is get his team to play their best in tournament play. All of Ohio State’s losses have been in the nations top conference–the Big Ten. Ohio State will be going after another tournament title, lead by Aaron Craft. Ohio State is a very dangerous team. Both Craft and Smith would love to go out with another tournament title under their belts. If Ohio State can win the tournament I have them as a 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, If the don’t win it I have them as a 5,6, or 7 seed.

Iowa is the #6 seed in the Big Ten tournament, and they’ve had a very good season. They are a veteran team that is very talented; they play as one and have good team chemistry. Iowa is hungry for a tournament title as it has been almost nine years since their last tournament title. Iowa has a shot at winning the Big Ten tournament, but have a brutal road to the championship game. If they win the Big Ten tournament I have them as a possible 4 seed or a lock for a 5 seed; if they don’t win it I have them as 6 or 7 seed.

Minnesota has the 7 seed in the Big Ten tournament. They have the talent to do some damage in the tournament . Minnesota is also on the bubble for one of the last at-large bids remaining in the big dance; if Minnesota can win a game or two in the Big Ten tournament they are a sure lock in the NCAA tournament. Minnesota has a chance to win the Big Ten tournament title; they are playing for everything and have a NCAA tournament bid to lose. Look for Minnesota to play their best basketball of the season, and if they can win the tournament title look for them to be a 8 seed. If they make the tournament as a at-large team look for them as a 9 or 10.

The Fighting Illini have been an up and down team this year, looking impressive and looking young and inexperienced at the same time. They are the 8 seed in the Big Ten tourney and have to almost win the Big ten tournament to make the NCAA tournament. This team has the talent to upset somebody in the Big Ten tournament; when they are playing well they can play with anyone in the conference. Either way, I think Illinois is going to the post season, most likely the NIT if not the NCAA tourney.

Indiana has been a bit of a disappointment this year, however still have a decent chance of making a deep Big Ten tournament run.  They beat some of the top teams in the conference and have a chance at winning the Big Ten tourney; as the 9 seed this would be very difficult but in a conference where everyone has beaten each other it’s possible this year. I see Indiana as a NIT team, CBI or CIT team. If they get the Big Ten’s NIT bid I think they can win it.

Penn State has improved a lot from last season and is heading in the right direction as a program. They are the 10 seed in the Big Ten tournament, and the only way for them to get into the NCAA tournament is for them to win the Big Ten tourney title, a task that will be very difficult. I think Penn State is a year or two away from being a conference contender.

The Northwestern Wildcats have a first year head coach who has a young roster. They won a third of their conference games and have played very well at times, but they are the 11 seed in the Big Ten tourney. The only way for them to go dancing is for them to win the Big Ten tournament title. I think Northwestern is a year away from making their first ever NCAA birth; they have a top 25 recruiting class coming into next season. I predict Northwestern to be a NCAA tournament regular in a couple years.

Purdue is in the mist of rebuilding. They have the 12 and last seed in the Big Ten Tourney, making it the only way for them to make the NCAA tournament is to win the Big Ten tournament. However Purdue will be much improved next season.

My favorite to win the Big Ten tournament title is Wisconsin. They are hungry for a tournament title in which they haven’t won in over a decade; they are also playing for a number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. My surprise team is Illinois. I think they have the potential to make a deep Big Ten tourney run. The teams that have nothing to lose are Penn State, Northwestern, and Purdue. Hello NIT is either Indiana or Illinois. If Illinois does not make a surprise run in the Big Ten tourney, I think they will get the NIT bid over Indiana, but both teams have a good shot at winning the NIT either way. The Big Ten tournament will be very fun to watch and will be full of excitement.

Filed under: College Basketball Tagged: Aaron Craft, Big Ten Tournament, Michigan, Michigan State, NCAA Tournament, NIT, Ohio State, Wisconsin

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Conference tournaments are now upon us.  Here is a quick primer of what is on tap over the next couple of days.

Monday March 3

Patriot League-Opening Round

#7 Colgate (12-17, 6-12) vs. #10 Navy (9-20, 4-14) 7pm

The winner of this tilt gets to travel to #2 American for the quarterfinals.  The two teams split the season series each winning at home. Colgate dominated in a 63-41 win while Navy exacted some revenge 71-61 on Feb. 15.  Both teams are led by forwards; Colgate’s Murphy Burnatowski averages 14.5 points and 4.3 rebounds.  He likes to play on the perimeter with nearly half his field goal attempts coming from behind the line.  Navy’s Worth Smith leads his team in scoring and rebounding at 11.9 and 5.5 respectively.

#8 Loyola Maryland (11-18, 6-12) vs. #9 Lafayette (10-19, 6-12) 7:30pm

The winner of this game plays top-seeded Boston University in the quarterfinals.  Like the other match up, these teams split the season series, each winning at home.  Both of these teams have guards that lead them in both scoring and rebounding.  Lafayette’s Seth Hinrichs is a 6-7 shooting guard who averages 16.1 points and 6.1 rebounds.   He isn’t a volume shooter but is very efficient shooting over 48% from the field.  For the Greyhounds of Loyola Maryland 6-3 Dylon Cormier is there go-to guy.  He nets 21.2 points and 5.8 rebounds leading coach G.G. Smith’s squad.

March 4

Atlantic Sun-Quarterfinals

All four match ups are at 7pm and are hosted by the higher seed.

#2 Mercer (23-8, 14-4) vs. # Jacksonville (12-17, 8-10)

Ironically Mercer began and ended its Atlantic Sun season by playing the Dolphins and winning both games handily by an average of 25.5 points.  Senior point guard Langston Hall leads the team with 14.9 points and 5.5 assists while over have his shot attempts come from behind the arc.  Jacksonville, who can score, averaging 75.4 points per game have a hard time defending giving up 79.7 points.  For the Dolphins to have a chance they need a big game from Jarvis Haywood who averages a team-leading 16.6 points per game.

#1 Florida Gulf Coast (20-11, 14-4) vs. #8 Stetson (7-23, 5-13)

The darlings of last season’s NCAA Tournament are back as the A-Sun’s top seed and Dunk City is looking to repeat.  The Eagles swept both games from Stetson and return many of the names from last season.  Senior Chase Fieler and his 13.8 points and 7.4 rebounds is helped by three juniors; Bernard Thompson, Eric McKnight and Brett Comer who add 36.5 points, 12.2 rebounds and 7.1 assists.   On the other end of the floor the Hatters are balanced with 10 guys averaging double-figure minutes but just senior forward Willie Green is in double figures in points with 13.6

#3 South Carolina-Upstate (18-13, 11-7) vs. #6 North Florida (16-15, 10-8)

The Spartans won both games over North Florida with a pair of 11-point wins.  They are led by reigning conference Player of the Year senior Torrey Craig he averages 16.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists.  This year Craig has a little more help than in years past with senior Ricardo Glenn (13.2 pts, 8.0 rebs) and junior Ty Greene (14.6 pts, 3.0 rebs, 3.6 asts) having great seasons.  The Ospreys are led by a senior Travis Wallace who scores 12.3 points and grabs 7.4 rebounds and a freshman guard Dallas Moore who leads the team in scoring at 12.5 per game.

#4 East Tennessee State (17-14, 10-8) vs. #5 Lipscomb (15-14, 10-8)

As is to be expected in a 4/5 match up each team won close games at home.  Lipscomb won 82-80 and ETSU earned a 96-88 victory.  For a team that is top-50 in the nation in scoring they are balanced with five players in double figures led by Rahawn Rembert’s 16.8 and another at 9.2.  The Bison of Lipscomb are led by junior brothers Martin and Malcolm Smith who pour in 29.1 points between them and sophomore guard J.C. Hampton adds 14.7 points.

Horizon League-First Round (Hosted by higher seeds)

#5 Milwaukee (17-13, 7-9) vs. #8 Detroit (13-18, 6-10) 7pm

The teams split the season series with each team earning a road win.  Detroit won at Milwaukee by 19 then the Panthers returned the favor by winning by six at Detroit.  6-9 senior forward Kyle Kelm is a key guy for Milwaukee as he is 2nd on the team in both scoring (12.4) and rebounding (5.1) with fellow senior Aaron Jordan leading the team in scoring at 14.2 points.  The Titans are led by a pair of forwards. A familiar name, Juwan Howard, Jr. leads the team with 18.2 points and grabs 5.5 rebounds per game and Evan Bruinsma is 2nd with 12.5 points and leads the team in rebounding at 7.7.

#4 Valparaiso (17-14, 9-7) vs. #9 Illinois-Chicago (6-24, 1-15) 8:05pm

Valparaiso handled UIC easily during the season by sweeping the series by nearly 20 points per game.  The Crusaders are led by senior Lavonte Dority and his 16.2 points per game.  The only other player in double figures for Bryce Drew’s team is freshman Alec Peters who pours in 12 a contest.  Purdue transfer Kelsey Barlow is the player to watch for Detroit.  The senior leads the team in points (14.9) and assists (4.0).

#6 Oakland (12-19, 7-9) vs. #7 Youngstown State (15-16, 6-10) 7pm

The winner of this game will play #3 Wright State in the 2nd round.  The Golden Grizzlies swept Youngstown State and has the NCAA’s all-time leader in three-point field goals and attempts, senior Travis Bader.  Bader leads the team with 20.1 points and junior center Corey Petros averages 13.4 points and 8.2 rebounds.  The Penguins average over 76 points per game led by senior guard Kendrick Perry and his 20.9 points.  The diminutive 6-0 guard also dishes out 4.3 assists and his 4.2 rebounds is just outside the team’s top two.

 

 

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