Archive for Missouri Tigers

NCAA Tournament Round 1 Reactions

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2010 by sportsguru09

Wow, what a first round…one of the best in recent memory. I can officially say that my 2010 NCAA Tournament bracket is officially crushed. I have 0% chance of winning any kind of tournament pick’em challenge and will be succumbed to another victory by my wife in our head-to-head pick’em bracket. Oh well, same story, different year. But hey, the Dukies won right? All is well and they will hopefully continue their hot shooting Sunday night (5:30 PM) against Cal.

Here are a few thoughts and reactions from Round 1:

1. Really Georgetown? A double-digit loss to Ohio University? Come on, how inconsistent can you be. With Chris Wright and Eugene Monroe, you were viewed as a guaranteed first-round winner and a common Elite 8 or Final Four pick among the nation. Instead, you laid the biggest egg of the tournament so far. Ohio bruised you up and down the court, running circles around your big men and beating Wright and Freeman to the basket every single possession. With so much promise, JTIII’s Hoyas did so little. Another year, another underachieving tournament performance. Forget picking you next year, you ruined my 2010 bracket. Thanks a lot.

2. Ah, the local boys. Old Dominion beating a much better Notre Dame was a COMPLETE shocker. Now listen, I know I live in the Hampton Roads area and should be rooting for them, but did anyone honestly look at both teams and view ODU as the better team? And of course, just like G’Town, I picked Notre Dame to make a decent run and bow down to Duke in the South regional Elite 8 matchup next week. I guess I learned my lesson once again to always root for the home team, whether you like them or not. Now, the Monarchs match up against an up and running Baylor team in the bottom half of the Southern Region Saturday evening. For Duke’s sake, I’ll be the biggest ODU fan on the planet today, whether anyone else likes it or not. Who knows? Could ODU run the table? Could they be the next George Mason? Well, why not?

3. Buzzer beaters, the best thing in sports. Congrats to Murray State beating an overrated Vanderbilt with a game-winning thriller to walk into Round 2. Listen, we all look forward to the tournament every year. But honestly, it’s mostly for the close games and hopefully an array of buzzer beaters and game winning shots. Even when our own teams play, we secretly root for a game winning shot, though on the outside and for our nerves’ sake, we hope for an early half blowout. Murray State was our first Cinderella bracket buster so lots of props for them. Watch out for them to oust Butler in Round 2…let the Madness continue.

4. The ACC vs. the Big East. And who thought the Big East was overrated? I DID. They have finally been exposed for the frauds that they are. Yes, they beat up on each other in their own conference, but out of conference, the Big East took losses from teams like William and Mary, South Florida, and Loyola Marymount. I agree that the Big East is deep, but that doesn’t mean that they are good. To be honest, Villanova deserved to lose but got an early Christmas present from some of the worst referees I have ever seen. Was the game fixed? Maybe so….don’t be surprised if we find that out in a year or two once someone comes clean. But anyways, how about the ACC, huh? Wake Forest took care of Texas, Duke and Maryland dominated, and Georgia Tech took care of business.. Can’t wait to see what happens when they match up with fraudulent members of the big East. Expect Syracuse and Villanova to struggle in Round 2. Don’t be surprised if Al-Farouq Aminu leads the Demon Deacons past the Wildcats and ousts the first #1 seed of the tournament. Simply, the ACC is finally proving that IT IS the BEST conference in College Basketball, hands down.

5. One word: UPSETS.

6. The worst refereeing anyone has ever seen?

7. Year of the Mid-Major.

8. Congrats NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, well done. Much improved from last year.

9. DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA

10. Coach K, most NCAA Tourney wins ever.

Stay tuned for Round 2 reactions….GO BLUE DEVILS!

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To Be A Wildcat or Not To Be…That Is The Question…

Posted in College Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2009 by sportsguru09

Behind Door #1: 8 Years, $35M at College Basketball’s Mecca

Behind Door #2: Another year, no love and another overrated team in a pathetic conference

Mr. John Calipari, which do you choose?

The answer is simple… GO TO KENTUCKY. What better way to prove yourself? Move to Lexington, become a jockey for their thoroughbred basketball players, and restore the tradition and prowless that Kentucky hasn’t seen since the Pitino era. To boot, you get $35M to do so. Sounds like a winner to me, but hey, I’ve been wrong before.

Calipari has taken an above average Memphis Tiger team to the NCAA Tournament multiple times in his career there starting in 2000. Just last year his team was in the Championship Game, only to blow a late lead and lose to Kansas in Overtime. This year, Missouri exposed them for what they really were in the Sweet 16…overrated and untested…and knocked them out early, much earlier than so-called bracketologists predicted. 100111All in all, however, that’s neither here nor there in this debate. Now, let’s shine light on Calipari’s current predicament: coach Kentucky or continue at Memphis? We’ll strictly stay with pros and cons, don’t worry folks.

PROS:

1 – $$$$$$$$$$$$…Can anyone else spell cash?!?! John Calipari has been offered an 8-year, $35M deal to move to Kentucky and coach the Wildcats
2 – Getting to coach at one of, if not the most, prestine and richest basketball schools in the country and of all time
3 – Calipari will be a motivational blessing with a great reputation among Wildcat fans with what he’s done at Memphis over the last 9 years
4 – You get to follow Billy Gillespie who clearly had no idea what he was doing with a young, talented 2009 Wildcat group
5 – His coaching legacy will now live in the same place as Rick Pitino and Adolf Rupp…that’s pretty good company if we’re talking college basketball
6 – Calipari can leave behind the criticism and the “under-appreciation” he got while coaching Memphis who plays in an overall weak and shallow conference. He will be able to truly prove himself in a high calibar conference with lots of talent and physical play and a high level of competition
7 – I heard the Kentucky Derby’s pretty sweet to attend in person…
8 – Mr. Memphis will be able to develop a young, talented set of ballplayers, including Jody Meeks, who could make a run at Player of the Year during the 2009-2010 season
9 – $$$$$$$$…Did anyone mention money?!?!ncb_ap_calipari_200

CONS:

1 – Calipari will be taking over a set of players who are unproven and will have to live up to Wildcat standards (i.e. Pitino and Rupp) of performance over the course of their and his career
2 – By leaving the Tigers, Memphis will likely lose recruits and Calipari’s abandonment will likely leave a bitter taste in the Tigers’ mouth. They will have to start all over. But who knows, this may not even be a concern of his.
3 – Calipari will no longer be able to cakewalk through a pushover conference and literally guarantee himself recruits and a conference title each basketball season going forward. With Memphis, regular season and tournament championships were literally locked up before the year even started and a high seed in the Big Dance usually followed suit.
4 – He won’t be getting paid as much unless he regotiates his contract…which could get ugly…it usually does…
5 – He’s already married so he won’t be able to “shmooze” with any of the ladies in Lexington…we all know they’re reputation…heard of Ashley Judd?

Clearly, the odds favor the pro here. It looks pretty clear-cut as to what Calipari should do. But to sum it all up, we’ll just use the wise words of Jerry Maguire to pave the way for Mr. Calipari and his decision…SHOOOOOOW ME THE MONEY

Saturday’s Elite 8 Predictions and Thoughts…

Posted in College Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2009 by sportsguru09

After last night’s chalk results, the NCAA Tournament is on to the Elite 8. Tonight, we’ll see Villanova-Pitt and Missouri-UConn. Below is my analysis on each game and my prediction as to who will make it to Detroit and represent in the Final Four….

Villanova vs. Pittsburgh

In the late night matchup, Pitt faces off against another Run ‘n Gun type squad and will have their hands full with Jay Wright’s Villanova Wildcats. If they think they’re going to cakewalk to the Final Four as everyone once thought they would, think again. Pitt hasn’t impressed me yet so tonight they better show me something, especially Lavance Fields. Show the nation that you can lead your team and not rely on DeJuan Blair and Sam Young each time down the floor. Pitt’s tournament journey has been far from easy so far as each one of their games has been relatively close and down to the wire. Shoot, Pitt even struggled to knock out East Tennessee State. Tonight should be no different though. I think they’ll do just enough, once again, to take down the ‘Cats and move on to Detroit.

Though Villanova is hot right now, I think their “gas” finally runs out later this evening.

Courtesy of rushthecourt.net

Courtesy of rushthecourt.net

After watching them dismantle my Dukies the other night, I have been more than impressed by what Scottie Reynolds and Dante Cunningham have done on both ends of the floor. Nova’s hawk style defense has been shutting opponents down from 3-point land and has made it tough for anyone to establish a balanced offense. However, they haven’t seen size like Pittsburgh and I think that because Nova has a smaller team, they will get largely out-rebounded and be hurt by second chance points. Look for the ‘Cats to shut down Lavance Fields but not be able to contain DeJuan Blair and/or Sam Young. One of them is bound to go off tonight. It won’t be of any surprise to see Blair or Young put up a monster double-double. Though I do give the guard play advantage to Villanova, I just don’t think it will be enough. I see the ‘Cats racking up fouls inside the paint and giving Pitt the opportunity to cash in at the free throw line. It will be competitively close on the scoreboard the entire game, but Pitt pulls it out in the end. Congrats Jamie Dixon….see you in the Motor City.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 78, Villanova 73

Missouri vs. Connecticut

UConn-Missouri…intriguing. No one knows a lot about the Missouri Tigers but they have been the dark horse in this stage in the tournament, without a doubt. Where did they come from? Who cares, they’re lights out. UConn, however, has done its job and taken care of business each round with Thabeet leading the charge and A.J. Price following close behind…like everyone thought they would. Tonight, UConn will match up against Mizzou’s pressure defense and fast-break offense and will hope to slow the game down enough to take over and move on. I think this game stays close for a while but UConn pulls away in the second half when the Tigers finally struggle to shoot it….

Look for Thabeet, assuming he stays out of foul trouble, to have a big night against the Tigers’ less-than-big-men down in the paint. Thabeet should take full advantage of size differential and he’ll likely get four or five dunks/layups being so close to the basket.

Courtesy of usatoday.com

Courtesy of usatoday.com

On the other end, Mizzou will have to rely on the three point shot…look for them to be hesitant to drive to the hoop because of UConn’s monster in the middle. I give Missouri a chance here, but just a little one. They might surprise everyone by leading at half time but look for UConn to continue to go inside and if Mizzou doubles down, UConn will take advantage of open looks from behind the arc. If I had to guess, Thabeet will likely go for 22 points and 11 rebounds, doing it all for the Huskies. Huskies roll late and Jim Calhoun gets another ticket to the Final Four…

Prediction: Connecticut 82, Missouri 71