Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky

16
Mar
10

March Madness!

Ok, so first of all, I must apologize. This is my first blog post in sixteen days … which is just plain awful. So I’m going to throw you a bone and toss a peek into my bracket (for those of you that are competing against me in various pools, consider this a present 😉

Oh and before people start ripping apart my bracket, I’ll just say, for the record, I cannot remember the last time I LOST any bracket that I was entered in …. EVER. Last year, in one of my pools, we bet a case of beer each to the winner…needless to say I was set for the rest of the semester! 🙂

Sweet Sixteen Sleeper teams:

  • Siena
  • Baylor
  • Temple
  • Houston

First Round Upsets

  • Purdue
  • Cal
  • Oklahoma State

Final Four

  • Syracuse
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Villanova

National Champions

  • Syracuse (over Kentucky)

I know, I know, I know, I KNOW! Everyone and their mom has Kansas. I KNOW. I know about Collins and Morningstar. I KNOW how good Kansas is. But, just because Kansas was arguably the best team in the country for most of the year, that really doesn’t mean anything. (Ahem, Kind of like LOUISVILLE from last year) They should coast to the Final Four, what kills me though is how everyone takes the overall number 1 seed every year, it falls in the same category of people who take each number 1 seed to get to the Final Four. That’s a pic my 7-year-old cousin could make. It’s called March Madness for a REASON….anything goes! 🙂

Am I letting my status as a Syracuse Alumni letting me go down the wrong path? Maybe. Last year, I had them out in the Sweet 16 to UNC…and that was right. Here’s the thing, I’ve been watching Syracuse all year, and when they’re great, they’re UNSTOPPABLE. The problem is, they haven’t been that great lately, losing to Louisville..AGAIN and going out in their first game of the Big East tournament. I wouldn’t count this team out though. They are the only team in the country that shoot above 50% in the field, They have 10 wins against top-ranked teams, and aside from Louisville, Pitt and Georgetown (who beat us the THIRD time they played us)…no one seems to have an answer for them.  Don’t get me wrong, they have to play GOOD. (Esp with a Kansas match up in the Final Four), but I think they can do it. They have to put together a great run, but so does EVERYONE else. It is not, in my opinion, far-fetched to think that Syracuse can put together six wins and become the National Champions.

Few other notes:

  • The Kansas Bandwagon is pretty full, if anyone wants to get original with their pics
  • The Kentucky Wildcats are ridiculously young, this might play into things
  • West Virginia IS overrated. Good team, but overrated
  • Not as overrated as Duke though. Sorry, standing out in the ACC this year is like a master’s student acing a fifth grader’s spelling test.
  • Vermont beat Syracuse in the first round in 2005 and AO will not play for the first weekend of the tournament…this makes me nervous. Still confident but nervous.
  • I don’t understand people who fill out a variety of brackets, you should have the stones to make one bracket, be confident enough in your pics and submit that bracket to every pool (hence why I win all the time ;))

What does YOUR bracket say? Who are YOUR sleeper teams? Who you got winning it all? More importantly, WHY?

Talk to me people! 🙂 It’s good to be back!!

–Sam

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28
Feb
10

We embarrassed Nova so bad, I say we give them the gas money to get home

How good does Syracuse look. No seriously, HOW GOOD DO THEY LOOK?! Syracuse University, is looking damn good. Even great. I’d go so far as to say that, last night, Syracuse looked like a National Championship team. This is huge. Why you ask? Because although Syracuse has been solid all season, they have always had their weaknesses: playing from behind, foul shooting and focusing too much on getting ‘style’ points rather than just getting the damn ball in the bucket. There have been plenty of heart stopping games this season in which Syracuse barely squeaked out the W. (I think about the DePaul game that I was present at)

Otto!

The loss to Louisville on Valentine’s Day was the true test to this SU team. Would they let the loss affect their psyche? Their next test was a strong, albeit spotty, Georgetown team in Georgetown. Yes, they blew a huge lead, but they ultimately hung on to win the game, a win that, in my opinion, was crucial to the team’s destiny for the rest of the year. They let Providence hang in there the following  Tuesday, but again, ultimately won.

So sets the stage for last night’s game, in which the #4 Syracuse Orange took on the #8 Villanova Wildcats. Villanova is a good team. They have cooled off recently, with losses in the BIG EAST, but Villanova is always a threat. They have had our number the past few years and no one thought that this was going to be an easy game. I thought that it would be a tough battle, going right down to the wire, with Syracuse winning by four…at the most.

Boy was I wrong.

Syracuse embarrassed Villanova. The final score, 95-77, isn’t even indicative of how dominating the Syracuse performance was. After trailing in the first half, SU went on a 20-6 run to end the half up by 10. Not a typo, a 20-6 run. As a second half team, Syracuse came out and brought their A-game, completely and utterly destroying the WildCats. Rautins was passing the ball around like candy, Onuako was MAKING FREE THROWS, Johnson was cream-cheesing threes. Villanova was flustered, called for traveling at every opportunity  and were turning over the ball like they were in 7th grade gym class. No seriously, Villanova played like a bunch of middle schoolers last night. And I don’t think that it’s because Villanova is bad…I think it’s because Syracuse is THAT GOOD. Six Syracuse players had double digits last night. Wes Johnson had a double-double. Syracuse had 23 offensive rebounds. Rautins had 8 assists. Basically, Syracuse was unstoppable. They have depth that is almost unmatched in the entire country (maybe Kansas can compete on that level though) I’d actually feel a little bad for Villanova, if they weren’t Villanova.

de-nied!

So Ladies and Gentleman, Syracuse is your new #1 team come Monday. If they aren’t, we got come crazy BCS stuff going on here. Kansas and Kentucky lost. Syracuse’s win puts them over Purdue to clinch the number one spot. Don’t get me wrong, Purdue is a good team, they’re ALWAYS a good team, but they aren’t good like Syracuse. With the win last night, Syracuse improved it’s mark to 8-0 when facing ranked teams. Six of these wins were against top ten ranked opponents. As I stated earlier, Syracuse demolishing Villanova isn’t because ‘Nova is bad, it’s because Syracuse is good. Let’s look at the list of wins Syracuse has chalked up: Florida, West Virginia, Memphis, Georgetown (twice), UNC, Cal, Villanova, UConn, Notre Dame. While some of these teams are now disappointments (*cough UNC*), they weren’t at the time. They were ranked by TPTB, so they’re all legitimate wins. The loss to Pitt is understandable, as Pitt is always a force to be reckoned with, and the loss to Louisville was somewhat expected since we were playing so loose.

Purdue on the other hand…not so much. Listen, it’s not their fault that they play in the Big Ten, but they shouldn’t get a free pass to the number one spot. Purdue’s impressive wins on the season include: Tennessee, West Virginia, Ohio State and Illinois. Losses are Ohio State, Wisconsin and a thumping taken by Northwestern. Northwestern is the one that kills them the most, as Northwestern truly does, suck. Even if they beat #14 Michigan State today, it’s still not enough to move them up to number one. What kills them is splitting with OSU, if they won both, they’d definitely be in the running. Oh, and their star, Hummel, tore his ACL. So another set back for the Boilermakers.

Hummel tearing his ACL 😦

Basically, call me crazy, but I think embarrassing Villanova is gonna stand for more than beating a top 25 team. Anyone that says differently must not have seen the game last night. Syracuse played with fire, heart and they were absolutely STUNNING last night. Anyone that says Purdue should be #1 if they win today, is thinking with their heart and not their head. They just don’t have the resume that Syracuse does. They are a great team, and should have success in the tourney, but please, give me a break on the #1 ranking. That’s like me saying if Kansas won yesterday, SU should be #1. They shouldn’t be, they should have vaulted up to #2. (Not that that matters now) So here’s how I have the top five on Monday…let’s see if I’m close come Monday:

1) Syracuse Orange

2) Purdue Boilermakers (if they win)

3) Kansas Jayhawks

4) Duke Blue Devils

5) Kentucky Wild Cats

*I think if Purdue loses, you bump everyone up and then add K-State at #5. (I also would not be surprised if Kansas was #2 on Monday, for the same schedule reasons)

So what do you think? Who will be number 1 on Monday? Does Purdue legitimately have a shot at it? Where does Nova end up? (I’m betting #10), Where does Tennessee come into the picture?!. Does this change any of your brackets? Who am I overlooking?

Talk to me people 🙂

–Sam

14
Feb
10

Sports Digest 2.14.10

Happy Valentines Day Everyone! 🙂

Vancouver Olympics

What a start to these Olympic games! So many great stories already and I love seeing sports that only pop up on the radar every 4 years.

Simon Ammann is back folks! Forget him? Switzerland’s ski jumper burst onto the scene at Salt Lake in 2002 and grabbed two gold medals in the sport. After an absence in the Torino games, Ammann captures a gold in the normal hill event yesterday, bringing his total to 3 gold medals. Not too shabby. What’s so enjoyable about Ammann is his enthusiasm and joy for the sport. His frantic and excited interview after medaling mirrored his interviews in 2002. It’s nice to see his enthusiasm for the sport never faded in his through his trials in the past eight years

Unbelievable.

Apolo Ohno is the bomb. Seriously. Anyone that reads this blog, even semi-regularly, knows that my Valentine Ohno and I go way back. While I’ve always admired his athletic ability in addition to his dashing good looks; I think that last night, Ohno’s athletic ability definitely took over. In the 1500 preliminary round, Ohno sat in last place and, with two laps to go, passed the ENTIRE field in about 2 seconds and won by about a quarter lap. I have NEVER seen anything like that in sports. (I can’t find the video ANYWHERE to include in here! If someone has it please let me know! :)) Make sure, if you didn’t see that AWESOME display of athleticism, that you do.

After coming in second in the semi’s, Ohno earned the silver medal in the 1500 event. (After two Koreans trip and fall with a quarter lap to go … sports are so fun when they’re unpredicatable!) This medal ties Ohno with Bonnie Blair as the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time. It’s well deserved. Check out the craziness of the final race here : NBC Olympics

Side note: BIG Congrats to Bronze medalist, American JR Celski. JR had a severe injury in September (some reports said he almost died on the ice) when a skate cut his thigh. It’s amazing to see him bounce back five months later for Olympic glory. A lot of people are saying that Celski is the heir apparent to Ohno. Whether or not that’s true, these two definitely have a great mentor/mentee relationship.

Ohno & Celski

Hannah Kearney wins the US’s first gold medal of the games in Women’s Freestyle Moguls. Kearney, who wasn’t supposed to win, had a near flawless final run to capture the prize. Holler for the first US winner being a woman and holler for how awesome the sport is! 🙂

Gold medalist Kearney

College Basketball

Syracuse is tipping off right now in the dome vs. Louisville (i miss it so much!) Hopefully they can play tight and will still be on their current run when they Face-off against Georgetown on Thursday. I still think Kansas is the best team in the country (obviously) but I’m not quite sold on Kentucky yet. While I know Kentucky is a good team, I don’t see how they leap-frogged Syracuse for the #2 spot. In fact, at 24-1, Syracuse not only has the best record in the country, but also has the best shooting percent. So I’m not quite sure why they’re hanging back at #3.

Daytona 500

I’m not a huge NASCAR fan. My family leaves the knowledge of that sport to my older brother, Chris and his wife, Alicia (@alicamflynn) are the staples here. So while I can’t comment whose going to win, I am going to say that Danica Patrick crashed yesterday and that’s all I was hoping for.

NBA

Everything about the All-Star break is lame. Props for trying though!

MLB

PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT IN THREE DAYS!!! HOLLER! 🙂

What’s your favorite sports story of the Olympics so far? What am I missing? Do you think Kentucky deserves its ranking? Anyone been to any NBA All-Star events ever? Talk to me people, and Happy Valentines Day! 😀

-Sam

11
Feb
10

Sports Digest 2.11.10

Lots of stuff happening this week. Before the Vancouver Olympics start on Friday, and monopolize a ton of sports coverage, let’s discuss some of sports biggest stories.

College Basketball

I’m really not sure what to make of this Syracuse team. Don’t get me wrong they look GOOD. Really good. AT 24-1, they are off to the best start in school history. Andy Rautins has become and INCREDIBLE leader for the Orange. It’s been awesome to see this Canadian, second-generation SU player transform from 3-point shooter to such a force to be reckoned with. He’s hardly recognizable playing his heart out on defense, setting up to take charges, being a spot-on free throw shooter and assisting his way through games. Wes Johnson and Kris Joseph regularly put up double digits. Onuaku is playing well. Scoop and Triche are growing into their own. The team is GREAT.

Rautins, sans Faux-Hawk

…they just can’t put together a solid 40 minutes of basketball, and THAT worries me. They were down 12 to Georgetown, down 18 to DePaul and lost at 10 point lead to UConn last night. I have said in the past that if we face a better team, we won’t be able to get away with that. On the flip side though, Syracuse ALWAYS manages to find a way to win. They get scrappy, they play tough, they shut it down at the last second. So it’s hard to vote against them. I’m excited for this team, I want them to be Final Four bound and I think they can do it. It will be very interesting to see SU vs. Georgetown and SU vs. Villanova, they add W’s in those contests and its hard to argue that you’re not looking at a National Championship team.

Also, what’s the deal with UNC? If you would have told me that Hansborough would make such a huge difference (i mean unc is 2-7 in the ACC this year) I’d say you were crazy.

Yes Tyler, UNC is THAT bad

Kansas is also looking really good. Would LOVE to se a KU-SU matchup for the championship. Wall’s starting to crack over at Kentucky … keep your eye on him. I’m already tired of the ESPN story about if Wall and Calipari get along. Calipari is the coach, he should push Wall to be his best and Wall should respect that. End of coach/athlete relationship. As long as that’s going on, who cares if they’re drinking buddies?

To the windowssss....to the (John) Wall!

Side note: Pitino, you tried to the whole NBA thing a few years ago. You almost lost your damn mind. Stick to college hoops. Some colleges just can’t make the transition (*future post alert!*) Oh, and I don’t believe for one second that there’s no truth the rumors that you’re looking to save the FOUR WIN NETS. It’s a trap-job. Don’t do it.

NHL

Hockey, I will miss you these two weeks. I understand the importance of letting your players duke it out for an olympic gold-medal. It will be really cool to see NHL teammates facing off on opposing sides. It does suck that there will be an interruption to league play, especially when it was getting SO good. The Washington Capitals 14-game win streak was JUST ended by the Ottawa senators. (With a league best 89 points though, I don’t think they’re too worried), Mark Cuban is talking about buying the Dallas Stars, and how ’bout those Penguins?! 😉 (Note: for the love of God, please don’t get Cuban involved in the NHL!)  This season has delivered really exciting hockey. We’ll anxiously be awaiting your return!

MLB

34 Days ’til Pitcher & Catcher’s report! Holler! 😀

Geovany, my boo

College Lacrosse

  • Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse is set to get under-way next week. Look for perennial powerhouse  and defending 2-time NCAA champion Syracuse to make some serious waves. (Don’t count out Virginia though…they’re tough and SU has to play them on the road this year!)

10-Time NCAA Champions

  • On the women’s side,  you can’t help but feel that Northwestern is going to go for all the marbles again. This year, they are defending their FIVE CONSECUTIVE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS. I don’t even know who can uproot them SU is ranked #4 , but has lost their All-Star and all time BIG EAST scorer, Katie Rowan. Georgetown is always a really strong program as well. (*future post alert–NU is playing Georgetown here in Chi in March!)

The Unstoppable Wildcats!

Who do you like in college basketball? Do you think any team this year can upend Women’s Lacrosse champs Northwestern? What’s your favorite NHL story? Early predictions on World-Series bound teams?

Talk to me people 🙂

–Sam

16
Jan
10

Sports Digest 1.16.10

Lots of awesome sporting events this weekend! Here is a preview! 🙂

NFL

So,  my NFL picks last week weren’t in much better shape than my BCS bowl picks but I  DID get my upset special correct. So here is a quick breakdown of who I ‘THINK’ will take it this week, although I’m fully aware that, because I pick these teams, they have a bigger probability of LOSING 🙂

  • Jets vs. Chargers-I’m going with the Chargers on this one. After their usual tepid start, the team is on FIRE and are winners of 11 straight. While I’m not a full believer in Phillip Rivers (he’s a jag too), I think the Chargers are a perrenial powerhouse. I am a HUGE fan of LT, not just because of his athletic ability, but also how he carries himself as a person. As for the Jets, it’s clear that the defense is carrying this team, but props to Mark Sanchez who turned in a solid effort last week against the Bengals (Everyone else finally on the ‘Palmer sucks’ bandwagon?’) I just don’t see him being able to stop the Chargers. I don’t think the Chargers are going to win the Superbowl–> they’ll run into Indy next week, but they won’t go out to the Jets either. But it’s been a fantastic end to a shaky rookie season by Sanchez where he notched his all important first playoff win.
  • Ravens vs. Colts– For many of the same reasons above, I pick the Colts. Ravens on a hot streak but it will end when they run into a team that is just all around better. Then I can breathe a sigh of relief because, as a Steelers fan, I hate the Ravens and I want nothing more than to see them lose. Especially when their motto is ‘Purple Power’…gag me.
  • Cardinals vs. Saints — This is my *Upset special* for the week folks. The Saints are awesome…and I WANT them to win, but they’ve been playing like dirt the last three weeks, with all of their starters IN. I’m not exactly sure what has been going on with them, but it’s almost like only one team needed to beat them and now every team can. The Cardinals have an AWFUL defense (yea they made that LAST play last week, but no one talked about how Aaron Rodgers had the nastiest face mask call I’ve seen in ten years and no one called it) but they also have Kurt Warner, and I think we all know not to ever count Kurt Warner out. Also, with some more legitimate rumors that this is Warner’s last season, I think the motivational factor for the Cards is at an all time high. So I’d hate to see it happen but I think it will, since the Saints are in this unbelievable funk.
  • Cowboys vs. Minnesota — after careful consideration, I’m NOT jumping on the Cowboys bandwagon. Ok, they beat up the Eagles three times this year, a team their familiar with. Romo seems to have broken his December/January streak, but we’re talking about Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson here. Brett Favre, as much as I hate to admit it, is still freaking awesome. He threw for 33 touchdowns this year and over 3,000 yards, add in Adrian Peterson and his PHENOMENAL year and you have the two best offensive weapons in the game…on one team. (Chris Johnson and Brees/Manning are all excellent, but they are on three different teams) No matter what anyone says, Romo and Barber are NOT the duo to take out the Vikings. I know there’s been some drama with Favre and Childress (seriously tho, after awhile, doesn’t everyone notice that the common equation in ALL of these tifts over the past couple years is Favre) but expect that to fall by the way-side. Vikings will win this one, but I expect the Cowboys to put up a decent fight

College Basketball

No. 5 ‘Cuse vs N0.9 WVU –today at noon. I think Syracuse will handle this one well. In my opinion, WVU ALWAYS seems to have a higher ranking than they deserve. They don’t seem able to put together a solid 40 minutes of basketball and always end up in the middle of the pack in the BIG EAST, (which makes them better than most of the teams in the US) So I’m saying ‘cuse take its.

Side Note: HOW DID KANSAS FALL ONLY FALL FROM NO.1 TO NO.3 AFTER LOSING TO NO. 15 TENNESSEE?! We got ourselves a ‘USC/BCS’ situation here…and I don’t like it.

What do YOU think about the NFL playoffs? What CBB do you like? Tune in tomorrow for my Australian Open preview (just in time!)

-Sam




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