Archive for Pittsburgh

Caps-ital Punishment…

Posted in NHL with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2009 by sportsguru09

Wow, 6-2….really? Yep. Pittsburgh, led by Sid the Kid, absolutely thrashed the Caps last night in D.C. in front of a sold out crowd in the Verizon Center. mag_080502_34th_and_Madison_NHL_PlayoffsFrom early on, the game wasn’t much of one. After taking a 4-0 lead through almost two periods, the ‘Pens shut the crowd out of the game and minimized any production of Alex the Great around the net.

It was so bad for the ‘Caps that Varlamov, their young and coming goalie who’s been a pleasant surprise during these playoffs, was pulled after giving up some easy goals through two periods. He was replaced by Jose Theodore, who consequently gave up two more goals of his own. PD3_0060As a Caps fan, this was utterly embarassing. No heart, no will, no luck, and certainly no breaks out on the ice. It was domination from the first time the puck dropped on the ice. There was little Ovi could do to get his squad back in the game. As the Caps just sat and watched Pittsburgh put on a show, led by Crosby’s two goals, it again will sting another year for each player on the Washington bench after this miserable performance in a Game 7, especially against the much-hated Penguins.

But hey, there’s always next year, right Caps fans? Heck no, it hurts right now. I hate that stupid expression…

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East Region Breakdown and Analysis…

Posted in College Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2009 by sportsguru09

2009 NCAA Tournament East Region Bracket Seeding
1 – Pittsburgh, 2 – Duke, 3 – Villanova, 4 – Xavier,
5 – Florida State, 6 – UCLA, 7 – Texas, 8 – Oklahoma State,
9 – Tennessee, 10 – Minnesota, 11 – VCU, 12 – Wisconsin,
13 – Portland St., 14 – American, 15 – Binghamton, 16 – E. Tenn St.

On the night of March 19th, these teams will begin their journey on their way to a potential National Championship run in Detroit on April 6th. Compared to the other regions in the tournament and the opportunity for the #1 seed (in this case, Pittsburgh) to make it to the Final Four, I rank the East Region as the #1 TOUGHEST bracket out of the field.

Finally, my boys’ bracket. And yes, now I will be bias, “ridiculous” as many of you like to call me, and idealistic. LET’S GO DUKE, LET’S GO DUKE! Obviously, I have my regional winner as Duke here. Yea yea yea, I know you think I’m stupid, but hey, at least I’ve been realistic and honest about the rest of the regionals right?!? Anyways, this will be a tough stretch of games for anyone to get out of the region and make it to Detroit for the final four. The “popular” pick out of the East is Pittsburgh. pittlogo They have been “big” all year long and have really dominated a lot of teams they have played. As many analysts say, Pittsburgh is a team full of “men.” And you can agree with this…just take a look at Sam Young. The guy looks like he’s 40. Either way, DeJuan Blair is arguably the most dominant inside presence in the country. Averaging almost 20 points and 20 rebounds a game, ESPECIALLY in Big East play is absolutely nuts. What a beast…I like them to do their part and eventually lose to my Dukies in the Elite 8. In the 8-9 game, I like Tennesse’s fast paced offense against a bigger OK State team who has not been that impressive all year but did just enough to get into the tournament. Now, in the 5-12 game, I am not calling an upset. I really like Florida State and Toney Douglas out of the ACC. fsulogoThey’ve been playing great as of late and really pushed Duke in the ACC championship in Hot-lanta. Their size and Douglas’ leadership gives them a major edge in the tourney. Wisconsin’s typically slow and methodical play will be overmatched by a much more aggressive Seminole squad. In the 4-13, I like Xavier here based solely on experience in the tourney. They are well coached and have great guard play.

Now, at the bottom of the bracket, look for Duke to take care of business against Binghamton and Texas to down Minnesota. In a major upset, I like the stubborn and experienced squad from VCU to take UCLA to the buzzer and pull out the win. UCLA, like the rest of the Pac-10, has not been that impressive to watch all year long and honestly they’re just not that good. Not like last year anyways….man do they miss Kevin Love. However, after VCU pulls the upset, I like Scottie Reynolds and his Wildcats to take care of business in their games, including a first round punisher against American, and meet Duke (who will then beat Texas) in the Sweet 16. I like Florida State to overmatch Xavier simply in size and move on to face Pitt in the Sweet 16. This will be a bruiser of big guys and slow play, but I like Pittsburgh again here. So, your Elite 8 matchup is Duke vs. Pittsburgh. Many would call this David vs. Goliath. Duke looks to have no chance because of no inside presence. But, it looks a lot better on paper when you compare the two. Duke is more high-scoring, has a better defense, and if they actually hit shots, they’d stand a chance to pull out the victory. Coach K’s experience has to be an advantage at some point right? Then would be the perfect time……LET’S GO DUKE!

Ok folks, get out your brackets…

2009 EAST REGION PREDICTIONS

Sleeper teams to win at least one game: VCU, Florida State, and Tennessee

Most intriguing team to watch: Florida State (can they compete as well outside of the ACC?)

Biggest regional upset: VCU to upset UCLA in the 1st Round

1st Round Winners: Duke, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Florida State, Xavier, VCU, Villanova, Texas, Duke

2nd Round Winners: Duke, Pittsburgh, Florida State, VCU

East Region Sweet 16 Winners: Duke and Pittsburgh

East Region Elite 8 Winner: Duke Blue Devils

OUT OF THE EAST REGION, Duke WILL REPRESENT THE FIELD IN DETROIT AT THE FINAL FOUR

Absolute bedlam in the NCAA…

Posted in College Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2009 by sportsguru09

6 Overtimes, 3 ½ hours?!?!?!?! Upsets galore, OT thrillers, and buzzer beaters: just another glimpse into how great the 2009 NCAA tournament will be. Yesterday’s college hoops action included two top seeds in the Big East going down, Oklahoma (#1 seed) losing a close one, and Kansas (also a #1 seed) biting the bullet and falling short against a stubborn Baylor team. And the top seeds in the ACC have yet to even play! PS, no one cares about the Pac 10 anyways, they’re non-competitive. Though I don’t support the necessity of having individual conference tournaments to place a potential other “Big Dancer” in the March Madness mix, because of the fact that they still do exist, let’s go ahead and root for the dramaticbasketball. Boy did our wishes come true last night. What will go down in NCAA history as one of the greatest heavyweight fights ever, Syracuse and UConn took exhaustion to a new level. Jonny Flynn, Syracuse’s star guard, played 67 out of 70 minutes. That’s the definition of stamina and perseverance. The game even saw bench scrubs getting minutes late and racking up statistics for the first all season. Over 200 shots were taken, 60+ fouls were committed, and just to add spice to the night, multiple layups that could’ve won the game were missed. Madison Square Garden turned into Hollywood last night….what a show.

March Madness is here folks. I can’t believe we still have to wait until Sunday night to get the bracket posted and pick our winners. O well….but in the meantime, let’s talk about what makes the NCAA tourney better than all the rest in professional or college sports. Yes, the Super Bowl, World Series, and Daytona 500 are exciting, but do they really compete in a sports lover’s heart with the intrigue and excitement created by March Madness? It’s not even close. If I had to give up watching any Finals series or championship games except for just one, I would without hesitation choose to watch the NCAA tourney for the rest of my life. The drama, the despair, the elation……all in one tournament! The best part is: no matter what the year, there’s always buzzer beaters and NOTHING can top those. Remnants of Bryce Drew, Jim Valvano, and Christian Laettner fill the halls of NCAA tourney history. ncaa-logoNot even great catches or comebacks in the Super Bowl are better than half-court swishes, a full length drive down the court for a game winning layup, or bad free throw shooters actually hitting free throws with little or no time left to lead their team to victory. These moments are priceless and best of all, they are created by kids who’ve worked their tail off (on the court and in the classroom) and have a REAL PRIDE AND PASSION for the game of basketball. This isn’t the NBA where every player is typically overpaid, hot dogs-it, and bores the audience to sleep. Truthfully, the heck with the NBA. March Madness is a time where athletes’ hearts are poured out, teams become families, and future all-stars make a name for themselves in the most dramatic of moments. All for the love of the game….aren’t we missing that these days? The NCAA Tournament is two thumbs up in my book. The NCAA Tournament is finally upon us folks…are you ready?!?

PS – Good luck filling out your brackets next week. You have as about as much chance of picking all the games perfectly as I do actually winning the trip to ESPN studios by eating Cheez-Its and looking inside the box…..

Does it pay to be in a brutal conference?

Posted in College Basketball with tags , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2009 by sportsguru09

Many people say that towards the end of every college basketball season, teams who already know that they are going to the Big Dance get great pre-NCAA tourney warm-ups by fighting amongst themselves for their respective conference tournament titles. Teams play each other once again, get banged up, run themselves ragged, then allegedly waltz into the tournament, get bumped to the NIT (the JV to the Varsity’s NCAA Tournament), or get their plane tickets home to watch the rest of the season from the couch……wait a second…..waltz into the NCAA tournament? You must be joking. 300_66316 Has anyone ever heard of the Big East and the ACC? Do people know they exist? These are arguably…wait, they ARE the toughest, let alone most competitive two conferences in all of college basketball. Each conference goes at least six or seven teams deep in the number of teams who could possibly get an at-large big to the Big Dance. I mean, just take 2008-2009 for example. In the ACC, Florida State, Maryland, UVA, and NC State have all won games against Duke, North Carolina, or Wake Forest. Yet, their records indicate that they should lose by 40 points. At home or on the road, any team can honestly beat any team at one time. Look at the Big East. Louisville loses to UConn, then beats Georgetown by 30 points. Same situation for all of those teams. Each conference has teams like Providence, Clemson, Florida State, Syracuse, and Notre Dame that all are talented teams but play in an absolutely grueling conference against the nation’s elite. If they played in any other conference, including the Pac-10 which is a non-competitive joke, they would win the regular season outright. Now, you might say that if they were elite, then they would win these games against other dominant college programs. This may be true, but what about when it comes to their conference tournaments? A team like UConn, North Carolina, Duke, or Pittsburgh who is already going dancin’ must now win 3,4, or 5 more games to claim a tournament championship…..before the ONLY MEANINGFUL tournament starts! They get taken to the wire by teams with false hope of dancin, players get hurt, teams are exhausted, and for what? To say that you’re an elite team? WHO CARES, YOU’VE ALREADY PROVEN IT! That’s what the NCAA tournament is there for: to take those elite teams and determine which one is the best. march-madness-on-demandWhat do you get in the meantime if you don’t win your conference tournament? A few brutal, hard-nosed games against teams playing for nothing or for little hope, teams with nothing to lose, and an even tougher journey going into the NCAA tournament with trying to have a team 100% healthy, composed, and ready to run at full strength. To me, the NCAA has missed out on this subject. Based on how the regular season goes, give the regular season champs an automatic bid, then go through the same process to pick the remaining tournament teams based on record. Why does it make sense for a mid-major with a losing regular season record to win their conference tournament, get a big in the Big Dance, then lose in the opening round by 30 or 40 points? It does no good for the game, and those teams usually just get embarrassed. And for all those mid-majors out there, a team like Georgia in 2008, going 4-12 in conference play, conference tourneys can steal a bid for your conference. Why even have a conference tourney? To give false hope and to skew the NCAA tourney performance of the nation’s elite? It just doesn’t benefit anyone….except for a lonely mid-major or bogus major conference squad that gets less than a Cinderella’s chance of actually making a name for themselves in the NCAA tournament. Keep dreamin NCAA….what a waste of time