Posts Tagged ‘BIG EAST

17
Mar
11

March Madness!!!

The day has finally come folks–the culmination of a season’s worth of college basketball trials and tribulations begin today. There has been A LOT going on in sports lately (the NFL is officially locked out, the Bulls are on fiya, baseball is around the corner, Serena Williams almost died, lacrosse season is in full swing and Sidney Crosby skated for the first time since his concussion to name a few) and we know we have a good Sports Digest in us for later this week. But we won’t delay in what is the most important–March Madness, which, if you haven’t picked up on, kicks off today 😀 I for one, couldn’t be more ecstatic (especially since I don’t work on Friday and can be glued to the madness and importantly, the Syracuse game!)

I usually fare pretty well in my bracket selections and am confident in this group of winners (I would be lying though if I said I wasn’t nervous about that pesky SouthEast bracket.) So below, before tip-off I’m inking my picks in the blogosphere. For those of you that don’t know, I fill out one bracket every year. ONE. and I enter it in every pool, for fun, for money, for beer etc. So believe it or not, there is a method to my madness–and I smell a crazy year of upsets.  So here goes:

My theory this year is that the Big East tends to disappoint in the tourney–they always seem to take it out of each other in the Big East tournament and it wouldn’t be March Madness without a few Cinderellas.  So before you ask, I’m taking Penn State and Talor Battle over Temple (Let’s Go State!), Utah State over K-State and Richmond over Vandy in the first round Crazy? Maybe. But there’s just something SO annoying about people taking all four one seeds to the Final Four.

Elite Eight

OSU, Washington, Texas, San Diego State, Kansas, Texas A&M, Old Dominion, BYU

 Old Dominion (Or Butler, 50/50 on that one) will take out Pitt in the second round. Pitt is a perennial choke artist and I expect them to over look their second round opponent. I’m taking Washington in a shocking second round upset over UNC. I think BYU will have a difficult road but will make it to far, given the fact that I expect these strong lower-seeded teams to make a statement and knock out some power houses.

Final Four:

BYU, Texas, OSU, Kansas

It may be insane to take BYU this far, especially with the loss of a key player, but as I mentioned, the team will have some help from a few Cinderella stories, as well as time to regroup and focus on opponents.

National Champion

Kansas

Yes, OSU is the favorite, but Kansas is steady and hasn’t forgotten the loss to UNI and Faroukmanesh last year. They will enter the tourney with additional focus and drive and are poised to win another championship.

What are your first round upsets? Whose your final four? What is your method of picking brackets?

Buckle up folks, it’s going to be a wild ride! 🙂

–Sam

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17
Jan
11

Sports Digest 1.17.2011

A little over two weeks into the new year and I am in sports glory–play-off football is great, college basketball is in full swing, the NHL is chugging along and the Australian open is underway. The Steelers are in their 4th AFC Championship game in the past 7 years, Chicago is electric with the NFC Championship game and a huge Blackhawks game this weekend,  Being on this sports cloud-nine–why not dish up our first sports digest of the year?

Syracuse Orange vs. Pitt Panthers

Everyone knows this is going to be a good game. Tonight, you have the unbeaten #3 ranked Orange against perennial Big East powerhouse #5 Pitt. As much as I love the Orange, and as good as they are looking (#1 seed come tourney time) they always struggle against the Panthers, losing the last four meetings. I don’t think that this is going to change tonight–I think that Syracuse has a mental block against Pitt..they just don’t bring their A-game until it’s too late. Add in the loss of lead scorer Kris Joseph for the game tonight and I think it spells extra trouble. Hope I’m wrong and we pull off the W  (as Pitt is the only team from the ‘Burgh that I actively root against, and just can’t stand) but the odds aren’t looking good. That’s alright though, we’ll rebound to beat Villanova on Saturday at the Dome with in front of a record crowd.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Right before the NFL Championship game the NHL’s national game of the week is a rematch of the Stanley Cup last year. The Flyers have had a pretty dominant season and currently hold the #1 power ranking. The Hawks have had a lethargic start to the season but are finally finding their mojo. With a tough game Saturday vs. the Red Wings, look for the Hawks to turn the tide on a national stage and upend the Flyers on home ice.

The Demise of the Patriots

There are few things I enjoy more than watching the Patriots get outplayed. And that’s exactly what happened yesterday. After a shaky first quarter, Mark Sanchez settled down and maintained the tempo of the game and the Jets just, for lack of a better term, laid the smackdown on the Patriots. They got lazy in the fourth quarter and started playing too conservatively, and showed no modicum of class during their on-field celebrations but they got the job done. And I’m pretty sure I saw Tom Brady cry during the game, which just added to my joy. Hard to believe, as Adam Schefter put it, that Tom Brady has now lost three consecutive play-off games. Looking back, it all started going “south” when they lost the Super Bowl in the last seconds to the Giants–(or has it been since his knee injury?) Will Tom ever get another ring? Hard to say, but none of it diminishes that he (in my opinion) is the best QB to play the game..as much as I HATE to admit it. So we’ll have to wait another eight months (or longer) to discuss his Bieber haircut.

The Steelers NOT beating themselves

I’m STILL pumped about that Steelers win on Saturday. The team showed so much resolve coming back to dominate the second half–allowing the Ravens a TOTAL of 28 yards throughout the end of the game. Yes, they had their heads up their asses in the first half, and they won’t be able to play like that again and expect to move on but the determination of the steel curtain defense, as well as some AWESOME play by my boy Big Ben solidified the W. You can say what you want, but Ben Roethlisberger is a top 3 QB in the league (in my opinion two) He has the same number of playoff wins as Peyton Manning (9) with six years less experience. He plays hard, he scrambles, he takes control of the offense, he’s tough and he delivers. As long as there’s time on the clock, if the ball is in Ben’s hands, I honestly think we have a shot to win. Off-field drama aside, I don’t know that there’s another QB I’d take if I could have my pick–Brady gets frazzled–doesn’t seem like Ben does. He’s a great leader and he makes things happen. I like our chances on Sunday.

Are you on as much as a sports high as we have been this week? What’s been the highlight for you?

Let’s us know … we’re always up for a chat 🙂

23
Dec
10

BCS Bowl Fever!!

Happy Holidays Everyone!! 🙂 I hope everyone has a great holiday season and a happy new year. For me, there really isn’t a better time of year for sports–the NFL playoff puzzle is in full swing, college basketball has begun, bowl games are right around the corner, Sidney Crosby is dominating the NHL and I manage to catch a few Bulls games or two.

In the excitement of this time of year, we’ve included our second annual BCS Bowl Fever post–in which we lock in our choices for all the BCS (and one PSU) games.  Laur and I are in different time zones right now and prepping for the holiday season, so let’s hope Santa delivers her bowl picks before January 1st!

Outback Bowl-Florida vs. Penn State-January 1st- (1pm-ABC)

Shocker! I’m going to take the Nittany Lions on this one–well, because I have to. Factor in that it’s going to be Urban Meyer’s last game (or so he says) and the speculation of it possibly being JoePa’s last game (Gruden as a replacement? I LOVE this rumor!) and I give the edge to the Lions. McGloin has turned into a pretty decent quarterback (as long as those “moxie” sayings are NOT in the mix), Royster had a great second half of the season and the defense is fairly reliable. I think if the team knows this is JoePa’s last game then, for sure they can rally and put together 60 minutes of solid football to knock off the gators.

Joe Pa ❀

ï»żï»żï»żï»żï»żï»żCotton Bowl – Alabama vs. Michigan State-January 1st (1pm ESPN)

Gotta go with ‘Bama on this one. As much as I have formed a disdain for this team–(the “McElroy hasn’t lost since middle school stat was by far the most irritating of the year) ‘Bama is no push over. Couple that with the fact that Michigan State just isn’t that good of a team. They really aren’t–they stood out in a depleted Big Ten this year, but chalked up a loss to Iowa and didn’t have to play perrenial powerhouse Ohio State. I expect them to easily be overtaken by the former National Champ ‘Bama on this one.

Rose Bowl —TCU vs. Wisconsin–January 1st (5pm, ESPN)

I love that the BCS put TCU in this game–unlike the schlubbing from last year in which the BCS put two Cinderella darlings against each other–this is TCU’s chance to prove their worth on the second biggest stage of the bowl season. Wisconsin won’t go down without a fight–an impressive win at Ohio State and an eeked out victory over Iowa works in their favor leading their steady march to a Big Ten Championship. This should prove to be an exciting game and I think that TCU will excel on the big stage and notch a W which will prep them nicely for a transfer to The Big East in 2012.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl — UConn vs. Oklahoma— January 1st (8:30pm-ESPN)

I’m taking Oklahoma in what is the most lopsided BCS match-up of the year. Enough said.

Discover Orange Bowl –Stanford vs. Virginia Tech — January 3rd (8pm ESPN)

This should be a good match-up, but I’m going to have to take Stanford. Virginia Tech put together a nice little season after a really rough start to the year (JMU anyone?) but I think the PAC-10 offensive style of play will lead the charge here. Add in that Stanford is more than likely ridiculously salty about not being invited to the Rose Bowl and you have all the necessary ingredients for a Hokie beatdown.

Allstate Sugar Bowl –Ohio State vs. Arkansas–January 4 (8:30pm ESPN)

This is going to be a GOOD game–but I’m giving the edge to Arkansas. Ryan Mallet has been a great leader for the team and has matured into a solid quarterback since leaving an ineffective for his talents offense in Ann Arbor. Ohio State is no stranger to nationally televised bowl games–but has a history of choking. Both offenses can be explosive–so it’s all going to come down to defense but I think the Razorbacks are going to scratch out a win–the perfect way to end an almost storybook like season for the Arkansas program.

Tostitos BCS Championship Game–Oregon vs. Auburn–January 10th (8:30pm ESPN)

Before the analysis, I just want to say how thrilled I am that the usual suspect (Florida, Bama, OSU) are NOT a part of this game. I’m a huge fan of  BCS shake-ups..and while both of these teams have undoubtedly earned the right to play for the national championship I don’t think anyone would have placed these two in the title game back in September.

That being said..I’m REALLY looking forward to this game 🙂  This is going to be a shoot out folks, the game features 2 of the top 7 offenses in college football. Auburn has undoubtedly, had the more impressive road to its national championship appearance and Hesiman winner Cam Newton has had a ridiculously impressive season.. but I think the Duck’s 15th ranked scoring defense will be the deciding factor in this one. Look for an exciting game with the Ducks quacking their way to a BCS title.

Offensive Powerhouses

What are your predictions for the above games? You know we love a healthy debate here on Chicks Dig Sports…Let’s hear it! 🙂

Happy Holidays!

–Sam

30
Jan
10

A Reminder Why I Love Sports: Syracuse vs. DePaul 1.30.10

I know that I love sports. Sometimes it’s important to be reminded WHY though. It’s because of the drama. It’s because of the unpredictability of any game. It’s because of experiences like I had today at the Syracuse/DePaul college basketball game. There are so many awesome aspects about the game. I snapped a few pics …(blurry) that I will post, but I must have said twenty times coming out of the stadium “God, I love sports”

I went to the game with my ex-roomate, Kevin. We lived together at graduate school and  graduated from the Newhouse school at Syracuse University (I in public relations, he in Broadcast Journalism) in May of 2009. I think it’s important to distinguish this because, we are not casual fans. We are alums. We have Syracuse in our blood…especially the basketball program. So we made plans to hike the 15 miles outside the city of Chicago to Rosemont where DePaul plays. Let’s talk about this for a second, I think it cuts an athletic program at its knees to not be accessible to its fans by not having sporting facilities on, or really close to, campus. For students of DePaul, they have to take a college sponsored bus 15 miles outside the city or drive. No public transportation goes to the Rosemont Center. If the students choose to drive, then they are charged $11 to park. (I would not be going, especially as a poor college student) I think that athletics are vital to a college’s culture and, more importantly, it’s vital to a team to have a rabid and supportive fan base. It seems to me that DePaul almost out of its way to discourage a student presence at sporting events. But I digress…..

Kevin and I (SU Class of '09)

At No.4 (soon to be #3 thanks to a Kentucky loss), Syracuse was heavily favored to beat DePaul.We bought floor seats an hour before the game and headed in. The first thing I noticed was how many Syracuse fans were there. I’ve always heard that Syracuse travels REALLY well, but I never got a chance to experience it first hand. I want to emphasize here the amount of Syracuse fans. During the game, the “Let’s Go OR-ANGE” cheers were louder than the “Go Demons Go” (or whatever they say) There were people ordering ‘dome dogs’ at the concession stands, yelling ‘O’ in the Star Spangled Banner and standing until Syracuse scored their first point. The Rosemont was a mini-dome. With a 50-50 crowd, Syracuse had, what I assumed to be another awesome advantage.

this guy cracked me up the whole game

DePaul started strong and jumped out to an early lead. (a lead they would hold until 3 minutes left in the second half) As an avid Syracuse fan, I know that Syracuse is slow to start out of the gate. I mean we are the DEFINITION of a second half team. I started to worry with ten minutes left in the first half, when DePaul was winning 33-17. Syracuse needs to address this problem and fast, many teams WON’T let you make a comeback, no matter how hard you try. DePaul did its damndest to make sure that didn’t happen. They just fell a little short. Other teams, especially Final Four caliber teams, won’t be so forgiving in the future. I was more encouraged at the half time score…35-31. In the last ten minutes of the half, we were able to limit their scoring to ONE basket. Not bad, if I do say so myself. At half time I was feeling confident that, since we are such a second half time, we had dodged a pretty big bullet and were poised to control the second half handily.

Warm Ups

Syracuse opened the second half with an 8-3 run. The defense started to look alive, but it seemed like it might be too little to late, as DePaul’s Walker was KILLING our team. I mean killing us. Walker, scored 21 points for the Blue Demons..all from beyond the arc. I mean BEYOND the arc..a good two or three feet on each one, which happened to be nothing but net EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. He was KILLING us. (Rautins on the other hand was 2-8 and was taking some pretty awful shots. He’s a ball player though and its fun to watch him play HARD. He has developed into an AWESOME leader for the Orange :)) Wes Johnson, delivered a SICK slam. So sick that I couldn’t believe what I saw. (Check it out here)  

Scoop Jardine, who was fairly silent the whole game, delivered the go-ahead layup with three minutes and some change left of the clock.Let’s fast forward everything else. Syracuse is up by 2, there’s 9 seconds on the clock and DePaul has the ball. THIS IS WHAT SPORTS ARE MADE OF. THESE ARE THE MOMENTS THAT MAKE THEM SO GREAT. I sat and reveled in EVERY SINGLE PERSON standing up at the EXACT same time to watch the end of this game. To hear how passionate all of the fans were. and TO HONESTLY NOT KNOW HOW THE GAME WAS GOING TO TURN OUT. To hold your breath for 9 seconds. To cross your fingers and pray for the ending you want. The drama in sports is unmatchable. There was a time out before this play, I turned to Kevin and said ‘this game was worth every penny’ …whether we won or not. In case your wondering, DePaul’s Walker shoots a 3-pointer and misses at the buzzer. Syracuse wins 59-57.

I immediately turned around and told the DePaul fans behind me that it was a hell of game and they can’t be disappointed with the loss. They really can’t. I think this win is awesome for a number of reasons: 1) It wakes Syracuse up. They cannot overlook ANYONE in the Big East 2) It tests Syracuse’s resolve. They saw how hard it was to comeback against an unranked team…they won’t be able to do it against ranked teams 3) It lends some cred to the DePaul program. A program that has been under some turmoil lately with a coaching changes and a reputation for losing. They deserve attention after this game.

Side note: Kris Joseph doesn’t seem to get as much attention as other players, but he’s friggin AWESOME. He contributed 15 points today and he is the best free throw shooter on the team.

There is no high like when your team wins a hard fought battle. I will never forget this Syracuse win, especially since they trailed by as much as 18 at one point. I’ll be talking about this game for the rest of my life. What other source of entertainment can do that to you? 🙂

Did you watch the game on Saturday? Fellow Orange…what’s your favorite part of Syracuse basketball? What do you attribute the closeness of this game to? Talk to me people 🙂

04
Jan
10

New Year’s Hangover

Three days into ’10 and my head is about to explode with everything that has been going on in the past couple days with sports. Since I have a tendency to be longwinded bear with me folks.

NFL/Pittsburgh Steelers

I’d like to start by saying that I’m really bummed about the Steelers not making the playoffs. Like REALLY bummed. The post season isn’t the post season without my boys. It seems like this is the first time I can remember them not being in the playoffs–and then I’m reminded that this exact same thing happened a few years ago. The Steelers followed up their 2006 Superbowl Champion season by missing the playoffs. I’m ok with this pattern, if and only if they continue it and I can look forward to a Championship in 2012. This Pittsburgh Steeler team is such a disappointment. Not because they started the season 6-2, not because they lost 5 games in a row, not because we only won 2 division games this year. (That’s right…TWO). They are a disappointment to me because I did not see much heart from them all season long. Or at least until it was too late. With only 16 games in a season, a football team has to go out on the field and bring a solid effort. We simply did not do that in many games this year. I keep flashing back to the Steelers/Browns game where the Steelers decided they didn’t want to play. Because it was too cold. Of course they didn’t actually say this but their actions did. I didn’t see any hustle, I saw dropped passes from Ward (who had an unusually subpar season) and don’t even get me started on the defense. Our defense struggled all year without our leader Troy Polamalu (damn Madden curse) and they played uninspired. Add in the fact that there was internal bickering between Roethlisberger and Ward, Jeff Reed’s drunken shenanigans and the lack of leadership on the team and the season was abysmal.

See, I’m upset with you Pittsburgh. I love you, but I’m really freaking upset with you. YOUR FANS DESERVE BETTER THAN THAT. We are with you and we love you, whether you win or lose…there are no fair weather fans in the steel city, but we deserved better than the performance you gave us this season. I can take it if you try your hearts out and get beat, but what I can’t take is a lack of effort overall…and there was a slump this season where you didn’t care and damn it, we ALWAYS care. We ALWAYS care how you’re doing. You’re “the town of Pittsburgh’s heart and soul” and I just feel like you forgot that somewhere along the way this year.

So, we love, we forgive you and we’re freaking excited for you to address these problems and kick some ass next year boys. On the upside…there were some INCREDIBLE highlights to the Pittsburgh Steeler season including: Roethlisberger throwing over 4,000 yards this season and 503 yards in a single game, the emergence of Mike Wallace (Holla!) Who is going to be AWESOME for us, Rashard Mendenhall finally growing into his own and mowing down the competition like he was still at Illinois and, let us not forget, Dennis Dixon getting his moment to shine in prime time. So we love you Pittsburgh, and a 9-7 record isn’t horrible…it’s just not good enough to get you into the playoffs. I’m already ANXIOUSLY awaiting next season…is it August yet?! 😉

Syracuse Orange

Ok. Syracuse. I should have known. The BIG EAST is the toughest collegiate basketball division and it is pretty much impossible to go undefeated. And Pitt is always solid, I said in a previous post that, although they had lost two games, there was no reason to doubt their toughness. We are not in any danger having lost by ten points. at home. Seriously, because when you make the NCAA tournament, you won’t be playing at home anyway (even though the Carrier Dome is a site for the playoffs!) What I’m alarmed about though, my dear boys, is ability for the team to unravel fairly quickly. Syracuse, you were 1-for-13 on three pointers. ONE FOR THIRTEEN. That says to me two things: Rautins was off (hate it when that happens!) and you’re taking stupid shots. 1 for 13 is maybe 2%?! Pitt’s always a freaking good contender, and so what if we drop to No. 10 when the new rankings come out.  As of right now, you’re 13-1. The season is really long and no one goes undefeated. Let’s just work on playing ‘HORSE’ in your off-time with three point shots. *Side note, the SU Women’s basketball team was also handed their first defeat on Saturday at the hands of Georgetown (Blech!) The women are 12-1, the best start in school history. I’m sure they’ll bounce back in no time.

BCS Bowls

As we all know by now, I’m proving to be pretty awful at picking these BCS bowls. I currently stand at 1-3 (if you count the OSU/Ole Miss game where I flipped a coin) As I mentioned in my previous post, I apologized to my lions for thinking they would succumb to the SEC. But here is what I learned from a few of the other games.

Rose Bowl:

Terrell Pryor, as much as I HATE to admit it, really seems like he’s a force to be reckoned with. and I really hate to admit it.

Sugar Bowl:

Florida has no class to be running up the score like that. It’s almost like they forgot that a few weeks ago, they were the center of a ridiculously embarrassing lopsided win. One that stopped them from the national championship. Good Riddance Tebow. The next time I’ll see you cry is on draft day (Props to @rockatalic for coining that)

Outback Bowl:

Auburn has really gotten bad over the past couple years and Northwestern has a TON of heart and throws a butt-load of interceptions.

Alamo Bowl:

Maybe Leach ISN’T the secret ingredient to keep the Red-Raiders winning. Then again, they were playing against Michigan State.

Liberty Bowl:

East Carolina’s kicker should drop out of school. Seriously. With that many missed kicks, the school should go the ‘Glee’ route and hire the gay show-choir kid to be the kicker on the team so his dad doesn’t catch on to the fact that he’s gay. I feel bad for the kid, honestly, but he should probably get out of dodge. The south is CRAZY about football. (and not that Arkansas’ kicker was much better….but didn’t blow the game TWICE)

What was your favorite sporting event of the weekend? Did you enjoy this gluttony of 24/7 sports the past couple days? Talk to me people 🙂 And check back tomorrow for my NFL match-ups/playoffs.

–Sam




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