Thursday, March 31, 2005

Golf and alcoholism

Ok, so I know the title would make you think the post is about John Daly, I'm sorry to say it isn't. I'm also sorry to say this post isn't about the new cast of the surreal life which will have Jose Conseco AND Bronson Pinchot. It's Balki vs. Balco!!! However, all of this silliness take a backseat to the Cuervo. That's right, I busted it out. If you've been to this site more than once, there's a good chance you know what I speak of. Man-on-man action.

Here's the situation: I've been trying to set a date for the cuervo and been trying to due the first weekend in June, June 3-5. However, there's been some inquiry into changing it. Here's the deal, I need feedback. What is better, June 3-5 or June 10-12? All votes will be counted. Also, I want everyone to e-mail me the list of awards they've won each year. My demands continue...I want no fewer than 12 participants this year. Therefore, those of you who douche out each year...Scott I'm looking directly at're coming this year and I don't care how many basketball pools you're in. It's just over 2 months away and I need to get some plans in order by the end of april. So, if you're reading this, odds are, you're invited. Check that, you are invited...unless you're that 12 year old girl who I got into a comment war with on ebloggy. You're way too old to be invited.

In other news, my first attempt at clothing design was foiled by those damn Norwegians. Also, who said nerds weren't scary. Don't mess with my +9 rage and 10 sided dice!! Nothing quite like being sliced to death by jagged cyber-irony. BOO YEAH!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Hoops Malone Post #2

My most sincere apologies for not posting for so long after what many media members are calling the Greatest Weekend of College Basketball Ever. I'm still recovering from the fantastic shooting and precipitous collapse of our beloved Fighting Pittsnogles. I'm not exaggerating in the least when I tell you that Jeff and I, while sitting at a BW-3 with televisions literally surrounding us, were generally unaware of the first 10 minutes of the Illinois-Arizona game, due to our complete despondence after West Virginia's loss. Our depression was palpable, which is odd considering that we have absolutely no affiliation with the Mountaineers ... but not so odd when you consider their fantastic playing style and the prominent presence of a big, tattoo'd West Virginia native named Pittsnogle. I felt so bad for those kids, a bunch of guys that basically no one (short of the MWB and our rabid band of 4 loyal readers) believed in, a bunch of guys who came this close to shocking the world and making the Final Four. At the moment, I don't think it's an understatement to say that I have an unnatural man-love for John Beilein. God bless him. If he brings that offense back again next year (but, uh, drops the 1-3-1), this blizog might have to become Mountaineer Central.

*Sigh* Great season, guys. We here at Midwest Bias were rooting for you, even if no one else was.

Bonus WV note: Brian Murphy's Page 2 columns are generally pretty hit-or-miss, but yesterday he invented a term that I'm going to try like the Dickens to incorporate into my personal lexicon: "Pittsnoglian." I encourage you to do the same.

Bonus WV note, Part Deux: In the Sports Guy's ongoing quest to piss me off in every way possible, in the last few weeks he has run numerous columns about how much college basketball sucks compared to his beloved NBA, and how boring the first weekend of the tournament was, and how his favorite part of watching the tourney is predicting which players will make good pros, and blah blah blah. Whatever, I'm used to it. But disrespecting John Beilein's Fighting Pittsnogles is where I draw the line. I understand that he, for some inexplicable reason, is really, REALLY rooting for Louisville (which makes no sense due to the Pitino connection), what with the constant mentions of how he's gambling on them every game, but the bizarre claim yesterday that Gus Johnson "couldn't have been rooting any harder for West Virginia" on Saturday? Huh-WHA? And then there was his snide remark that they "finally" went cold in OT, "ending a 2 1/2 game streak of hot shooting," combined with this little gem he threw out on Thursday afternoon: "Texas Tech big over a WVU team that shot their wad on Saturday. Absolutely go against them." Mr. Simmons continues to approach "Satan" status in my book.

Other lingering thoughts after this weekend:

No one will ever, EVER convince me that Allen Ray travelled. Even when Bill Raftery was counting a phantom step ("One ... two ... three! Yep, that's a travel." WHAT!?), I was throwing things. That was NOT a travel. NOT. A. Travel.

And I didn't see it, but that info Dids posted about Roy Williams made my blood boil. I've loathed that man since he lobbied to get the rules changed after Wisconsin and MSU both made the Final Four in 2000. Needless to say, he and his Tar Fucks are the anti-Pittsnogles. Go to hell, Roy. And take Billy "Fudge" Packer with you. If you can get him out of your ass, that is.

(Speaking of that last sentence, has Pedro Gomez crawled out of Barry Bonds's colon yet? Any sign of him? No wonder Barry's ... so ... tired. Just tired. Can you get my son in the shot? Thanks. I'm just tired. Tired of everything. Tired.)

Back to tourney shtuff, I have to say that MSU's chances against Carolina can best be summed up by the following sentence: The Tar Heels gave up 82 points, in a regulation 40-minute game with no overtimes, to Wisconsin. A Wisconsin team that had scored over 65 points precisely once in their previous 10 games. Wisconsin. Yeah.

Oh, and the less said about that Pat Forde piece, the better. However, since Nips brought it up, the more said about the Bobby Fischer piece, the better! Please, everyone tell me you got to watch that. Absorbing, disorienting, hilarious, disturbing ... that thing ran the gamut.

Back to MSU: what a helluva weekend for the Men of Sparta. They were so obviously superior to Duke that the Blue Devils were fairly lucky to even be within a few scores most of the second half. And Paul Davis made Shelden Williams look pretty pedestrian. Where the hell has this been all year? Oh, that's right: the Spartans play in the Big Ten, where "defense" isn't a dirty word and offense actually consists of passing AND shooting. Strange how things work out that way. And that Kentucky game ... I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. Everything was perfect. I didn't think you could overturn the Sparks 3, not on the evidence presented. And the Spartans proved a lot of people wrong and pulled out an important, close game. Bravo.

Just to let you know, I had "Wednesday" in the pool for "when will the media start claiming that Sparks was fouled on that 3-pointer?" So imagine my surprise when it was the FIRST THING I heard on Monday morning when I got in my car, when Mike & Mike went so far as to say that Michigan State was LUCKY that the officials had to review the foot/line issue, because it drew attention away from the "fact" (apparently) that Sparks was fouled by Torbert. Come on. Torbert never left his feet, and was actually spinning away from Sparks when Sparks shot. Combined with the magnnitude, the stakes, and the fact that Sparks clearly initiated the contact, and you're left with the undeniable conclusion that calling a foul on that shot and possibly giving Kentucky a 4-point play to get to the Final Four would have been the worst call in basketball history ... or at least since the travel called on Allen Ray a mere 41 hours earlier.

Illinois had better be thanking their lucky fucking stars that they've gotten to essentially play 4 home games thus far. I don't care what anybody says, they've looked imposibly shaky several times so far. And Arizona doesn't roll over and piss in the air like that if the game isn't, for all intents and purposes, an Illinois home game.

Sadly for all of us, no one clotheslined Salim Stoudamire into the basket support on Thursday OR Saturday. After watching him trash-talking and cheap-shotting dorky little Utah State guys for 40 minutes, I know we were all rooting for it. Bummer.

And Todd and I talked about this on Sunday, so I'll share it with you: if the Illini had lost that 'Zona game, we'd be putting the blame squarely on Bruce Weber's shoulders. I mean, I know that Stoudamire had a great game against Oak State a couple days earlier, but that strategy of paying extra attention to Stoudamire -- so much so that at times it appeared that the plan was to double-team the kid any time he was past halfcourt with the ball in his hands -- was absolutely killing the Illini because of all the wide-open looks Arizona was getting. And these weren't "wide-open 3"-type looks. They were "wide-open dunk"-type looks. Maybe I'm crazy, but given the choice between A.) taking my chances guarding straight-up and maybe letting Stoudamire shoot 50% from 3, and B.) holding Stoudamire in check but letting everyone else on the team shoot 75-80%, well, I'd personally go with the former. Like I said, maybe I'm crazy.

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Nips and I tore through chicken wings, tore through $2 Miller Lites, tore through the NTN trivia (with help from Kristin, as we won 7 out of 10 games played, including our last 4), and tore through each others' assholes as we watched the action on Saturday in the C-Bus. Wish everyone reading this could have been there.

XOXO *snuggles*

Saturday, March 26, 2005

ACC Bias

If anyone else out there watched and more importantly listened to the UNC/Nova game, they know what I'm talking about. With 2 minutes left, and villanova down eight, Bill Raftery was already into his closing remarks about how UNC had a tough test and beat a good team. Even with the ball and down three in the closing seconds, he never considered that nova had a chance. Then there was the pinnacle...the mystery traveling call. Watching the replay, I count the steps...1...2..jump off the second step...makes the shot. Somehow as Raftery watches it, he started counted the same step I did, he says....1....2....3....but there was no third step. WHAT??!?!?! He just created something that didn't happen. In fact, after the game he approached Roy Williams and told him, "it was clearly traveling." No one asked Billy if it was or not, but he was telling everyone it was the right call. I've been angry before by broadcasters, but I wanted someone to physically harm him.

Last time I checked, Roy Williams is considered one of the premier coaches in college basketball. I've never really agreed with it, but I've let it slide. No more. In the press conference following last night's "win" over 'nova he said this coaching masterpiece, "Villanova would really run the clock on offensive possessions. I know a couple of times they would get the rebound and run another 30 seconds and we'd play defense for a over a minute straight." At this point, I thought he was going to praise 'nova for hard work or good offense, but this is what he said next, "In all my years of coaching, I've never understood why anyone would do that." He was being serious. My chair was in my TV and guns were purchased.

After all that, I thought I'd go onto and at least find and article praising the big 10 for getting 3 to the elite 8. Wrong. All I found was how lucky Wisconsin is for getting to play 3 double digit seeds and how duke was tired and msu should have won. Then I found this piece. If anyone ever wonders how UNC is so liked and favored, that article will answer it all.

Whatever, I'll just predict today's elite 8 games.
Illinois vs. Arizona
Everyone and their brother is trying to talk themselves into Arizona winning this game. I couldn't be happier. Sure Salim can shoot and Loren Woods part deux has a great mid-range game, but so does the Noise. Also, someone on Arizona has to play defense, which they won't do. Unless Zona shoots around 60% (again) for the game, they have no chance. If they shoot around 40%, expect the Illini to win by 20. That very well could happen.
Illinois: 86 Arizona: 70

Louisville vs. WVU
I think the loyal readers of this site are the only ones who want W. Virg to win this game. This game is basically a less talented UNC vs. a slightly more up-pace wisconsin. Should be interesting. If the great Gansey is shooting well, and they play a slow guy on Pittsnogle, WVU is in the final four. If UL is drilling threes against the 1-3-1, then WVU is in trouble. I'd have to think they'd come out of that zone if it happens. Watch me be wrong.
WVU: 68 UL: 66

Ok, that's never gonna happen. But I can dream right? PITTSNOGLE!!

Friday, March 25, 2005

I'm heading back to the C-Bus for the weekend, and we're about to leave, so this is gonna have to be short. But for you completists out there, I'm giving my thoughts on tonight's matchups.

Michigan State vs. Duke, 7:10 pm

I really thought MSU had a good shot in this one. Until I found out that a ton of people feel that way. The Spartans are a chic underdog pick, as a lot of national prognosticators are catching on to the fact that MSU gave Duke all they wanted and more earlier this season in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. But the thing I have a problem with is people saying that MSU's depth will be the difference. People talk about how this Duke team "only plays 6 or 7 guys," apparently failing to realize that Duke's been like that ever since Brand, Avery, and Maggette left early after the '99 season. Hell, the 2001 national-champion only went 6 deep most of the time. But if those 6 players are, you know, REALLY fucking good and really well-conditioned, then it doesn't make much of a difference. Yeah, it's nice to be able to go 10 or 11 deep, but when it comes right down to it, only five get to be on the floor at a time.

The thing I like about MSU though, is that it seems like Izzo really REALLY REALLY wants this game. It hasn't gotten to Bob Knight-"I'm sick and fuckin' tired of losin' to PURDUE!"-level yet, but it seems like he'd sell a testicle to win this game. I like the fire. But can his oft-maligned players get it done for him? Here's believing that they won't.

Duke 72, Michigan State 69

NC State vs. Wisconsin, 7:30 pm

I'm not sure if the media could hate this game any more than they do. Everyone loved UConn and Kansas, and now these two teams are facing off in the round of 16. Hey, at least Todd and I got to listen to John Thompson openly rooting for Bucknell on Westwood One on our respective ways out of town last Sunday. Good times.

(By the way, that "greatest region of all-time" bullshit sure worked out, huh? Keep believing in your fraudulent "powerhouse" teams, Dickshot V. You need to get O'Hoolix to help you.)

So ... this game. Can the Badgers guard Julius Hodge? Will the Wisconsin guards keep shooting well? Will anyone be watching the game (the MSU-Duke matchup will be broadcast in 93% of the country)? I think the Wolfpack are more talented, but I think Wisky is much better in close games. This should be a back-and-forth, down-to-the-wire game that ends up somewhere in the neighborhood of...

N.C. State 61, Wisconsin 58

Utah vs. Kentucky, 9:40 pm


Utah can't keep winning, can they? Please, tell me they can't.

Oh, and today, I think the media realized for the first time that there's a possibility of another Duke-Kentucky regional final game. Boy, there's gonna be some railing for that to happen.

Still, I couldn't care less about this game.

Kentucky 72, Utah 60

Villanova vs. North Carolina, 10:00 pm

As I said last post, this matchup between the two best-looking uniforms left in the field was infinitely more interesting before 'Nova big man Curtis Sumpter got hurt. They're gonna have to find someone to replace his 15 and 8 per game. And Allen "Don't call me 'Ray Allen'" Ray has better get his head out of his ass and start shooting the ball better. Overall, smur...poo.

North Carolina 82, Villanova 66

Over the shoulder Oberholser

Has anyone else noticed ESPN classic doing more and more live events. With college basketball "retro-night" and now "Live at 17" for the TPC at sawgrass, it seems espn classic is slowing fading out. They seem to be showing less and less "classic" sporting events and doing more gimmicky stuff. Even when they do show things, it seems to be a retarded amount of boxing and bullshit no one cares about. I hope this isn't a some type of MTV migration towards "shows" and away from what they're supposed to be about. They already have one with cheap seats. Unless they get some new writers I hope that goes away soon with all the boxing and racing too.

I'm not known for watching the news much. But everywhere I turn lately someone is debating this ugly bedridden woman in Florida. The reason I bring it up is two fold. First, I can't believe it's getting this much attention. WHO FUCKING CARES?!?! There is a busload of people leaving from kernerktin to go down there to "support" her. I'm not making that up. She doesn't even know anyone is even there. There are so many more worthwhile causes to protest. What is the best thing these supporters could accomplish? That she live a miserable life until God stops punishing her and takes sympathy on her to die. Because don't forgot, God is involved, see here, which means all the weirdos show up. . Let's face it, this "cause" is just some lame distraction so people are diverted from real issues like college basketball. Once a decision is made people will forget about Terri "Hawaii" Schiavo within 3 weeks and focus on a sick dog in Oregon or whatever. Oh yeah, the other reason was I wanted to call her Hawaii Schiavo. At least they aren't talking about soccer.

So, WVU and Texas Tech played last night in one of the weirdest final minutes of a game I've ever seen. TT had about 14 tip-in chances followed by a premature whistle by a ref which he then pretended didn't happen and ruled that the WVU player actually did save the ball and called timeout. I heard that whistle and I know everyone else did too. However, it was never mentioned again. It must have been banished to the land of wind and ghosts, who knows. Then TT just decided not to foul for 20 seconds and basically end the game. Weird. Meanwhile, Ok St. and Arizona played and didn't even seem concerned the clock was running out. Also, Arizona winning was the best thing possible for Illinoise.

Since Fu did it yesterday, I'll do it today. Predictions on tonight's games.

UNC vs. 'Nova
No Sumpter means no problem for UNC. Wait, that's what everyone is saying. Rule #1, ignore conventional wisdom. I thought Fu knew that. Milly Villynova still has 3 very good guards that play excellent D and shoot the 3. UNC might still win, but I'm not as convinced as everyone else. I'm going to buck the trend as 'Nova gets back on D and keeps the score manageable.
Villanova: 78 UNC: 73

Wisconsin vs. NC State
I have no idea what to make of this game. Wisky is playing its third straight double digit seed and Bo Ryan has never lost to a team he was seeded higher than. I really wanna go with the big 10 in this one, but the badgers simply forget to score sometimes. However, the pack do the same. I'm just rambling. I'll say it's a race to 60 and whoever gets their first wins.
NC State: 62 Badgers: 59

Duke vs. MSU
The spartans can't beat Duke. I'm not sure why, but they can't. Why will this time be different, guh, it won't. Sidenote: Whoever wins this game is in the final four
Duke: 80 MSU: 70

Kentucky vs. Utah
I can't believe this game exists. These to emerge out of what might be the worst half bracket in NCAA history. Utah vs Utep and Cincy vs. Iowa were two of the most poorly played tourney games I remember. In fact, utep and iowa might be the worst at-large tourney teams ever. UK has looked terrible and the Utes aren't very good. The guard play sucks. I guess go with the best player and pick his team. Therefore Bogota is enough to take Utah (yes, really) to the elite 8. Ugh.
Utah: 71 Kentucky: 70

Thursday, March 24, 2005


All right, all right. Nipples doesn't appreciate "reruns." That's okay. He wants some talk about the sweet sixteen games. Even better. Here are Jack Fu's possibly-stupid, undoubtedly-disjointed thoughts about tonight's games:

Actually, first of all, to answer Jeffy's question: yes, tonight's set of games, with the exception of what looks to be a fantastic Duke-MSU matchup tomorrow night, seem to be vastly more intriguing than Friday's. If Curtis Sumpter hadn't broken his friggin' leg against Florida on Sunday, then the Villanova-UNC matchup would look much better and help out Friday's cause considerably. But, as it stands, if given the choice between missing tonight's games or tomorrow's ... I would miss tomorrow's, and I wouldn't even think twice about it.

Now, onto tonight's games...

Louisville vs. Washington, 7:10 pm

This game is getting an assload of press, billed as the "premiere" matchup of the sweet sixteen. Gee, I wonder why that is. The probable 92-90 game will get ten times the hype of the probable 60-58 game. That's just the way it is. Doesn't mean I have to accept it, but I recognize that that's the way it is. Washington was a controversial 1-seed, but the legitimate ass-whoopin' they put on Cinderella Jr. Pacific really turned a lot of people around. And Louisville, after easily dispatching of Everybody's "Dark Horse" Georgia Tech, is now getting the ol' collective fellatio from the media.

I think Mr. Big Ten Wonk, of the superb Big Ten blog ... Big Ten Wonk, put my feelings about the media folk all jumping onto Louisville's nuts this week much more elegantly and succinctly than I can: "Louisville is tough, yes, and Wonk himself went on the record in the aftermath of Selection Sunday as saying the Cardinals were under-seeded. That being said, isn't the hype getting just a tad out of hand for a team that really never did shake Louisiana-Lafayette in the first round and that needed Darius Washington to miss two of his free throws to escape with a win against Memphis in the C-USA final?" Yes sir. It is. Still...

Lousiville 86, Washington 78

Wisconsin-Milwaukee vs. Illinois, 7:30 pm

Conventional wisdom says that this is the worst possible matchup for Bruce Pearl's Fighting ... Animals ... from Milwaukee. Generally, I feel that conventional wisdom is idiotic, but I have to say that I agree in this instance. Illinois guard tandem (wait, no: Trio. Tri-dem? Tand-io?) should eat the UWM press alive, and James Augustine, whenever the game gets into the halfcourt, should be able to eat alive the smaller ... Animals, who I've read don't have a starter over 6'7". In short, UWM has been getting by on made threes (23-for-45 in their two games) and forced turnovers (41 through two games). I have a sneaky feeling that Illinois will be able to limit the ... PANTHERS! AHA! ... output in those two categories. In short, UWM faced about the best draw they possibly could have, in facing a stupid SEC team and a BC team that couldn't handle the ball because they had no guard play. If you notice, neither of those descriptions apply to the Illini.

Illinois 83, UWM 65

West Virginia vs. Texas Tech, 9:40 pm

Dids and I adopted the Mountaineers as our own during championship week, and I have a hunch that we're not giving up on them yet. Any team that runs their offense that high, looks that much for backdoor cuts, and prominently features an ugly native-West-Virginian whose appearance leads you to believe his name couldn't be anything but "Pittsnogle," automatically gets "MWB Favorite" status. I love this team. And I want you to love them too. And we should all be rooting against a Final Four featuring Bob Knight. A week of his psychotic media manipulation and corporate whoring would just about make my grundle get all Pittsnogle'd up. And not in the good way.

I have no feelings or analysis that are in any way worthwhile regarding Texas Tech, so this one is straight from the heart:

Texas Tech 73, West Virginia 70

(That's right, I'm resorting to the old Reverse Jinx. Gansey! Pittsnogle! Carebear! Go get 'em!)

Arizona vs. Oklahoma State, 10:00 pm

I mean, I guess on paper this looks like a helluvan intriguing game. But there's no way I can be fully absorbed by it until someone gives a well-timed clothesline to Salim Stoudamire. What an asscock. After watching him strutting around, trash-talking and cheap-shotting dorky Utah State players, Stoudamire officially became enemy #1 in the MWB's book. Fuck him. I hate him.

Oops, pizza's here. Gotta go. Uhhhhhh...

Okie State 7,973,021, Ari-fucking-zona -30

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

In Celebration...

Once upon a time, the immature musings of Dids and I were housed over at a site called eBloggy (no, I'm not linking to it, because it's SHIT). As any loyal reader is undoubtedly aware, about two months ago, eBloggy decided to die. That, and the ridiculously long time it took those jackasses to start everything back up, is what precipitated our move to these cozier surroundings.

Why do I mention this? Because eBloggy has finally gotten our archives back up, and we've added a link to those old posts over on the right. Take a peek and see how it all started. I have to warn you, though, that the template over there is hideous, and that in any of my original posts where I typed the thing out in Word before pasting onto the site (i.e., all of my posts), all of the quotation marks and hyphens have been replaced by question marks. Yes, it makes for annoying reading. Still, we recommend that you browse, if you hadn't before.

So, in honor and celebration of the return of The Old Midwest Bias, this post will be a "MWB Classic" of sorts. It's kind of like ESPN Classic, except without the funny hairstyles, short shorts, and Dick Schaap. So, because I feel like it, we're gonna re-run the first two posts ever on the MWB. Um, not counting "Stupid Boban Head." They're about last year's first couple episodes of the World Series of Poker. Enjoy. Please.

Okay, 'Zilla. Chew on this.

I feel like we would be remiss if we failed to talk about the premiere of the 2004 World Series of Poker on ESPN last night. Sadly, I was at the movies last night, and missed the first hour of coverage (some small buy-in, No Rimit Hold 'Em tourney), so maybe you can fill me in and share some of your thoughts on The Goofy Englishman Who Fell Ass-backwards into His First Gold Bracelet. I, alas, can not.

I did, however, catch the second hour, the final table of a low-limit 7-card stud tourney. This being my first foray into this year's WSOP coverage, I came in with numerous burning questions, not the least of which was "Will anything in this year's first night of coverage come close to matching the comedy gold provided by Robert Varkonyi in last year's first episode?" Between the "Varkonyi 2000" and "I knew it. I knew it was Aces, I knew it," not to mention all of his goofy mannerisms and, let's face it here, his general appearance, the guy had the "unintentionally hilarious dork" market cornered, swiping the title from Todd, at least for one night. My hopes were not particularly high that I would be treated to a similar display of weak card play and inept social skills.

Needless to say, I was not happy to turn on my TV and see Lon McEachern and Norm Chad staring back at me for the second year in a row. On the very first hand, McHoofleck uttered the words that I'm sure are now a part of a vast, nefarious plot to slowly drive me insane: "(So-and-so) raises it to 5000 chips" (or something like that). For the love of God, no one at the table has 5000 chips sitting in front of them. No one even has 1000 chips at this point either. Someone - well, pretty much all of them - has at least $5000 DOLLARS worth of chips, but no one has such an astronomical number of chips themselves! The chips have VALUES, Lon! They're WORTH MONEY! Four minutes into the telecast, and I was already shouting at my TV. This was either a great start or an awful one - I haven't quite made up my mind yet.

However, I was glad to see Ted Forrest sitting there at the final table. I've been a big fan of Ted's ever since he so thoroughly impressed me with his seemingly-infallible bullshit detector against the Completely Insane Alan Goehring in last year's WPT championship. So I was borderline-giddy to see him play again. "Borderline" giddy quickly became "flat-out" giddy when I got a closer look at Ted - or, to be more specific, when I caught a glimpse of the cheesy, cheesy mullet he's currently cultivating. Five more months at the rate he's going and we're seriously in Steve Perry territory. Good lord. When you think about it, though, it seems to be a perfect look for him at the tables. He's combining the appearance of a crappy 80s movie villain with the gambling sensibilities of Marge Simpson at a slot machine. All he needs is the pornstache. And maybe a blue tanktop. Plus, ever since Scotty Nguyen decided to lop off his greasy mullet early last year, we've been practically mulletless at the TV tables, and that just will not do. I won't stand for it, Todd won't stand for it, and I'm sure the American public won't stand for it either!

That's all I got for now. Talk to me, Dids.

-Jack Fu

Whats Up? W-SOP? Word.

I was happy to see that ESPN had a counter until it began yesterday. I was comforted by knowing how long until I got to see Norman Chad and his non-earlobes talk about something stupid. Which he did...repeatly. But the highlights were still Ted Forrest's wicked mullet and Men the Master being wasted. He wasn't quite Extra-Crispy Mark wasted, but still pretty tanked.

It was different seeing 7-card stud being played as a no limit game, made things kinda weird. I'll stick to no limit hold 'em. DAT'S NO RIMIT BABY!!! But with that terrible British guy winning the first event, somehow it evened out. When you don't know the difference between a spade and club, you probably have no right to be at a WSOP final table. However, he was and he won. Whatever.

The best part of the first hour was me walking back into the room and seeing Chris Ferguson holding a banana, not saying anything, and then the screen went to a graphic saying, "THE NUTS". No explanation followed. Which in some ways makes it even better. While I still had my mental picture of Fergy working on that banana until it nut flushed, they started talking about Dutch Boyd and his "crew" that want to take over poker. That got me thinking, they need a rival gang. It should be led by Ferguson and his posse of Bible Characters.

Chris "Jesus" Ferguson
John "The Baptist" Hennigan
Annie "Jezebel" Duke
Scotty "I'm a 60 pounds of irritating asian" Nguyen
Robert "Version 2.0" Varkonyi

I'll think of more later, but those were all bible characters. Anyway, it needs to be WWE style where for no reason players join groups, leave groups, or turn on the group. Varkonyi has to be involved bc he has a poker coach aka his manager that can be accused of cheating for him. Then one of Dutch Boyd's goons cracks him with a folding chair, and Moneymaker's dad continues cattle mating calls in the background. While Varkonyi is distracted, Dutch "Cajun Gum" Boyd reaches over and steals some of his chips. Then it's a free for "all in." Until it's all broken up by the ever present posse of random dealers, and normchality (just go with it) is restored. Lon does his best Jim Ross, "It's MAYHEM, somebody stop that wild man!!" Give them all intro music and I'm bruised and juicy just thinking about it.

-The Diddy

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


So, the other night, after watching the Golden Grizzzzz battle and scrape for the right to get their asses waxed by North Carolina, I started wondering something. And I just wanted to get a feel for what Dids and both of our loyal readers think about the following question:

Do you think a 16-seed will ever beat a 1-seed in the NCAA tournament?

There are two basic arguments on this subject:
Those who argue that it will happen basically hang their hat on the law of averages. The argument, for the most part, goes "I mean, it's gotta happen sooner or later, right?" There are a few examples of teams coming close: Princeton falling to Georgetown by 1 in 1989; Murray State taking Michigan State into overtime the next year; Purdue sneaking by Western Carolina 73-71 in 1996; and, just three years ago, Holy Cross, despite eventually falling by 11, giving Kansas all they wanted and more. I mean ... I mean ... it's gotta happen sooner or later, right?

The counter argument is generally as follows:
16-seeds are farther away from the big boys now than they were back then. In 1989, Princeton was a 16-seed. Nowadays, the Ivy League champ is generally gonna be an 11- or 12-seed, and a 13 at worst. Same for the Ohio Valley Conference, the MAC, and the Missouri Valley, where most of the best true mid-majors are. These days, the 16-seeds are sub-.500 conference tourney winners and teams from the friggin' SWAC and shit. Do you really think one of those teams is gonna sneak up on a 1-seed, a team that probably features 2, possibly 3 future NBA players?

In short, yes. I generally adhere to the first argument. One of these years, there's gonna be a weak, Purdue-in-'96-like 1-seed, and they're gonna run into a decent team that the committee underseeded, one that plays a tough zone defense and all of a sudden gets hot from 3 for a game. An injury to a star player on the 1-seed would also help immensely. The one thing that could really be a monkey wrench in a situation like that would be if the refs get scared and decide to pull a "Game 3, Lakers/Wolves, 2003" on the underdog.

So I open it up to y'all. Do you think a 16 will ever upset a 1? If not, why not? If so, then please describe the kind of circumstances that could lead to such a monumental upset. Script it for me.


Monday, March 14, 2005

blog readers unite

Ok, so I created another pick 'em for the tourney. This one will be on yahoo. Any reader should and must join. I'm aware that means there will only be about 4. I'll beat you all anyway. SQUISH!!

League info
Group ID#: 77152
Password: boban

Remember's yahoo.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Like Joe Lunardi, except ... not

So if Joe Lunardi, as a "bracketologist," tries to guess who’s going to make the tournament and what their seeds will be, what does that make us, idiots who are trying to figure out how far teams will go in said tourney? Bracketrists? Opthobracketists? I don’t know.

As some of you may or may not be aware, this post was previously created at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Thursday the 10th. If I may be so bold, it was the greatest post in the history of everything ever. It was roughly 2.5 times the size of Dids’s guide. I don’t mean to be immodest, but it was less a post and more a divine re-telling, as if the breath of God was flowing through this blog, if only for one post. The post wouldn’t have looked a hint out of place if it were carved on stone tablets. In retrospect, it should have been. Because blogger ate the entire thing. I got the dreaded "page can not be displayed" screen, and when I went "back," all the writing was gone. After a day or so of contemplating hari kari or seppuku, I decided to soldier on ahead and try, if only in vain, to recreate that magic, that zing, that je ne sais quois, which the original post had in spades and Todds and nut flushes. I probably failed miserably. Still, because we here at the MWB love you and appreciate your loyalty and companionship, not to mention the great sex, I put it forth for all of you to see. No, not that. The post. Sicko.

So, as you are all probably aware by now, Dids and I are throwing out these little plans for helping fill out brackets like a not-moron. Think of them like study guides. While Todd’s was more along the line of "things to look for in teams," and while a portion of mine is certainly devoted to that, I shockingly took a more research-based, nerdy approach. Mine is organized into a few vague and easy-to-follow steps, followed by reasons for taking that particular step and tidbits to help you make your decisions about how to attack them.

Now, to start with, it bears iterating that winning NCAA tournament pools takes about 25% analysis and 75% luck. Dids and I can give you no advice on how to be lucky (advice on how to get lucky, on the other hand, consists solely of this: 1. go to Evan’s doorstep, and 2. enter Evan’s apartment, preferably while saying some sort of double-entendre, one that works on exactly two levels. You’ll be fighting him off like the dickens. If you want to, that is), we can give you some advice on how to screw up, uh, less. Probably. Maybe. If our plans work, maybe they can make you a little money. If they don’t, you’re welcome to laugh at us and call us idiots. Because, I mean, let’s face it, we are. Well, Todd is. So, culled from various other sources, from which I liberally stole, I present unto you:


1. Pick out your final four teams

You know, upsets are what make watching the tournament fun, but when we're talking about actually filling out a good bracket, the final four is where the points is at, and you’re rarely going to see legitimate surprises here. I’m talking Southern Illinois-level surprises, not Georgia Tech-level surprises. Because of that, the final four is a place to get kind of conservative. I’m not saying go with the chalk, necessarily, but years like 2000 - when two 8-seeds made the final four – are few and far between. And, generally, 1- and 2-seeds get to the final four an awful lot.

So, the way I see it, your best bet is to pool together the top 8 seeds in the tournament (the top-2 in each region), and put two or three of those 8 teams in the final four. So you’ve got a final four of 2 or 3 teams, none of whom is lower than a 2-seed. Now, there has never been a final four consisting entirely of 1- and 2-seeds, and someone gets hot every year and makes a big, somewhat-unexpected run deep into the tourney. So, fill the remaining spot(s) from the remaining region(s) with a team or two who is seeded 3-through-6. If you’re following me, that means if you have filled three final four spots with 1- or 2-seeds, then take one team seeded 3-6 from the remaining region. If you’ve taken two 1- or 2-seeds, take two 3-through-6-seeds to fill out the final four.

Bizarre tourney fact: Only once in the last twelve years has the combined sum of the four seed-numbers in the final four exceeded 11.

2. Fill in your title game and national champion

Once again, for all the madness that goes on, there are going to be great teams here, teams that you probably thought had a good shot of getting to the final four before the tourney even started. And, as with the previous step, you really have to go with your gut when filling in this part of the bracket. Still, it's important - how you fare on that Saturday and Monday of the tournament go a long way in determining how good your bracket looks on Tuesday morning. Also, when filling this part out, you should bear in mind the "general guidelines" for picking teams, listed below.

Bizarre Tourney Fact: Thirteen of the last fifteen national champs have been either a 1- or 2-seed.

Bizarre Tourney Fact: Not since 1979 have two teams met in the title game having never been there before.

3. Fill in the rest of your bracket

You can do this backward or forward, but make sure you have your final four teams actually, you know, getting there. To help with this part, I've inserted a Dids-esque section of general guidelines and tips for picking the early rounds (note that these should also be kept in mind when filling out the last 2 rounds as well, in terms of matchups):

UPSETS ARE OVERRATED - Yes, we all love them. They're the funnest parts of the tourney to watch, and when you correctly pick one, you feel like Al Frickin' Einstein. But upsets don't win you pools - barring some bizarre scoring system in your pool - so you have to go easy on them, and pick and choose them wisely (note that this is mainly for the early part of the tournament: picking a 3-seed to beat a 2-seed in the sweet sixteen is NOT an upset). One national writer put it better than I can: after describing how fantastic he felt to correctly pick Kent State to the elite eight in 2002, he said "but for every Kent State on my resume, there are about 40 Michigan States, a #10-seed I thought would make a deep run in that same 2002 tourney, but ended up being out of the tournament by 2:30 on the first day." It happens all too often. Kids, be careful out there.

STILL, UPSETS ALWAYS HAPPEN - I'm not saying don't pick any. Because only once in the last 20 years have at least two 12- or higher seeds failed to advance to the second round, and that was in weird-ass 2000, when there were only 3 "upsets" in the first round, and they were by two 10-seeds and an 11. In fact, the vast majority of the time, there will be at least three first-round upsets by teams seeded 12- or higher. Speaking of those 12s, as we all know, they're a great starting place when you're hunting for possible upsets. Since 1989, at least one 12-seed has won its first round game in every year but one (the aforementioned 2000, when black was white, up was down, and Mark Vershaw was playing in the final four). Having the bias toward the midwest that everyone here cultivates, we are aware of the power of the MAC. They're great for potential upsets: since 1995, the MAC is 7-6 in first round games.

"But you said this was about the first couple rounds," you say? Okay, what about double-digit-seeds winning second round games? This always happens (every season but one in the last 20 years), but they're extremely tough to pick out. A great place to start: 10-seeds. They're often underachieving-but-dangerous major conference teams, and they have a remarkable success rate: twelve of them have made the sweet sixteen since 1997, including at least one in every single tournament. On the other hand, 7-, 8-, and 9-seeds have just ten sweet sixteen appearances combined during that same span. And those pesky 12-seeds rear their beautiful, gorgeous heads again in the recent history, as at least one has made the sweet sixteen in four of the last six tourneys.

THEM'S THE ONES - In nine of the last 13 tourneys, a 1-seed has emerged with the trophy. You’d be stupid not to pick one to win it this year.

BUT NOT THE #1 – However, only three teams in the past 22 years finished the regular season ranked #1 in the polls and then went on to win the title. So don’t automatically pencil Illinois into the champion slot quite yet. Still, though: 9 out of 13. If you don’t pick a 1-seed to win it all, you’d better have a VERY good reason for it. Like...

THE PROHIBITIVE FAVORITE WINS MORE OFTEN THAN YOU THINK - Yes, UConn was a 2-seed last year, but they were picked to win the whole thing by more than 50% of the entrants in last year's tournament challenge. And guess what? They won. Past prohibitive favorites that proved to be worth the adulation include Maryland in 2002, Duke in 2001, and Michigan State in 2000.

DON'T PICK OAKLAND, OR... - Don’t read too much into the conference tournaments. It’s moderately fashionable in the media to say that teams who win their conference tourneys are coming in to the big dance "hot" or "on a roll," and it’s equally trendy to question the mental state of teams that lost early in their conference tourney. Resist the urge to follow suit. I learned this lesson in 1991, when Duke was obliterated by 30 in their conference title game, then beat the holy hell out of their first four NCAA tourney opponents, eventually upsetting UNLV and winning it all. I mean, just look at Maryland last year: they got hot and won the ACC tourney, then went into the tournament and almost lost their first round game to friggin' UTEP. Further cementing this idea is the fact that, although UConn won it all last year after winning the Big East conference championship, five of the other six top conference tourney champions didn’t even make it to the sweet sixteen. Getting “hot” in the conference tournament doesn't necessarily mean you’ll stay hot.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN TEAMS - These apply both to scouting early-round upsets AND to selecting teams you think can make final four runs and/or win it all. The most positive indicators include:

  • Consistency - Recent play is nice, but you want to find teams that consistently played good competition and performed well in those games. Equally as important in this regard is a lack of glaringly bad losses. Avoid hitching your wagon to those "they could beat anybody, but dammit, they could lose to anybody, too" teams. Suspicious teams: Pitt, Boston College, Georgia Tech
  • Playing away from home - Try to steer clear of teams that were fantastic at home, but struggled on the road and at neutral-court sites. There are no home games in the NCAA tournament. Teams'll have to play on unfamiliar courts, sleep in hotel rooms, and deal with hostile fans ... not to mention the fact that they won't be getting the home cookin' they're accustomed to from the refs. Your job is to find teams that performed well under these conditions during the season. Suspicious teams: Wisconsin, Kansas
  • Experience - Less talented, but more experienced teams tend to beat more talented, but less experienced teams, especially in March. And although I don't mean "experience" in the "age" sense exclusively (experience in front of big crowds or on national T.V. is also immensely useful), teams full of juniors and seniors are historically the ones that pull upsets and/or advance far in the tourney. That's just the way it is.

DON'T PICK TEXAS TECH - Bobby Knight hasn't seen the sweet sixteen since 1994. Think this will be the year he breaks the streak? Don't count on it.

PICK THREE OF THE FOUR 1-SEEDS TO GET TO THE ELITE EIGHT - Quite simply, they tend to get there. Last year was a mild aberration, as only two made it there. But in 2003 all four 1-seeds saw the round of 8, to go along with three in 2002, four in 2001, one in 2000, three in 1999, and three in 1998. Of course, use your best judgment, especially if one of the other guidelines conflict with this one.

WATCH CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK - There's no better way to get a feel for smaller-conference teams that could serve as potential upset picks than to watch Championship Week on ESPN. No amount of stats you look up can substitute for watching a team play and getting a feel for their style, what they do well, and what their weaknesses are. In 2001, while watching the Big West championship, Dids told me that Utah State was either going to beat whoever they played in the first round, or come damn close. Unfortunately for us, they drew Ohio State. And yes, they beat us, in overtime.

IGNORE DICKIE V. AND DIGGER PHELPS AND ANDY KATZ - These people are idiots. Vitale is a Duke and ACC slapdick, a thumbs-up from Digger is practically a death omen, and Andy Katz is Andy Katz. On Thursday, when Digger said he thought OSU would make some noise in the Big Ten tournament, I felt a chill down my spine, and immediately assumed we'd lose to lowly Penn State. It goes without saying that we, you know, almost did. Yuck. Stay away from these jackasses. Clark Kellogg and Jay Bilas, however, can generally be trusted (Bilas's unnatural love for North Carolina aside, of course).

MY VAGINA'S CONFERENCE IS POWERFUL - Fun Facts to know and tell: In the past six tourneys, one conference has put two teams in the final four. In four of the last five tourneys, one conference has has put three teams in the elite eight. In eight of the last ten tourneys, one conference has put four teams in the sweet sixteen. For some reason, one conference always seems to whip ass in the tourney. If you feel confident about it, it's not a bad idea to pick a bad-ass conference and ride them through the tournament. (And if you don't get the joke of that title ... then you just can't be my friend. Okay, maybe.)

IF YOU JUST CAN'T DECIDE WHO'LL WIN A PARTICULAR GAME - It never hurts to steal a few economics-like strategies. To wit:

  • Buck conventional wisdom - If everyone thinks one team (let’s say Boston College) has no shot of making it past the second round, then what will it hurt to be the only guy in your pool who picks them to go a round or two past that? If you get lucky, that can lead to a big payoff for you. This method is especially useful if picking them to go that far doesn’t conflict with advancing any of your final four teams.
  • When in doubt, go with the team you like less - If the game involves a team you're actually rooting for, this will help you avoid the dreaded double-whammy. If it onvolves a team you loathe, then at least you can prosper from their success. Or, if they lose, you might feel like you jinxed them. Always a good feeling.
  • When there's a guaruntee, go with an upset - This can best be illustrated by an example from last year. Let's say you were 100% certain that Wake was going to make the sweet sixteen, regardless of who they played in the second round. Well, why not go for the upset in the game opposite, then, and take Manhattan over Florida? If you think whoever wins that game is gonna lose to Wake anyway, then it hurts nothing to put the Jaspers forward. Incidentally, such a strategy would have paid off in that example last year. I hate myself for not doing it.
  • Look at the freee throw stats - It's not a bullshit econ offshoot, but lots of close tourney games come down to free throws. It's a good idea t avoid teams that shoot them poorly, or have primary ballhandlers who shoot them poorly. Prime example: Kansas's Keith Langford, shooting 61% from the line. Yikes.
  • Look at the coaches - Again, non-econ-related, but important. Just imagine one of those splitscreen shots, with each panel showing one of the two coaches involved in the game. Would you be able to look at that if you picked Duke to get upset? Would you be able to look at that splitscreen and think "I picked this douche who looks like a used car salesman to beat Coach K"? I mean, without vomiting? Me neither.

STUPID STATS ABOUT THE TOURNEY - Duke, Marquette, Syracuse, and Stanford are the only non-state named schools to make the final four since 1992 (so if you're final four is Wake Forest, Gonzaga, Stanford, and Duke, you probably want to go back and fix that); an 8-seed has won a national title, but no 7-seed has EVER made the final four; since the tourney expanded to 64 teams in 1985, 2-seeds are only 18-19 in elite eight games, and 9-seeds are 47-33 against 8-seeds; there has never been a final four in which the names of all the teams began with a vowel.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MATCHUPS - The importance of this can not be overstated. Nothing is bigger than the draw teams get. A mediocre team can advance because they faced a weak draw, and a great team can bow out early because they got stuck playing a better team. Last year, I was all ready to put a fantastic Wisky team in the elite eight almost automatically. Then the brackets came out, and I saw that the Badgers were not only criminally placed at a 6-seed, but, consequently, that they would have to face a damn good Pitt team in the second round, a Pitt team that did all the same things as Wisky, but did them a little bit better. So I chucked my ealrier plan and correctly picked that fantastic Badger team to lose in the second round. Matchups are everything in March.


4. FORGET YOUR BRACKETS THE MOMENT THE TOURNAMENT STARTS. Do NOT be the guy who gets pissed off because an awesome upset fucked up his bracket. I don't give a shit if you have Illinois winning the whole thing - if they're losing to Oakland at 9:45 p.m. on Thursday night, you are goddamn well gonna be rooting for the upset. Upsets are what make the tournament fantastic, and the joy of watching a phenomenal upset that culminated with an improbable buzzer-beater will last far longer than a sigh of relief that your tourney favorite survived a scare and your bracket is still intact. Root for the goddamn upset. THIS IS NOT NEGOTIABLE.

There you have it. Hope you enjoyed. Oh, and as a sidenote, there's a pretty cool site devoted to college hoops, and Dids and I have joined their bracket challenge for bloggers. Cheer us on. Fu-out.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Blanket! Blanket, you can FLY!

So, I know it was Dids who promised to keep us all updated on the Trial of the Century - Jacko Edition. But I just read this and it was too damn good to pass up. Apparently the teenage cancer survivor took the stand on Thursday, saying that Jacko masturbated him "at least twice" after nights of "heavy drinking." It bears mentioning that the kid on question was 13 at the time. Anywho, in the article, the kid explains that the first incident happened in February of 2003 after Jacko "foisted wine and hard liquor" on the 13-year old. His description of the event forms the basis for one of the funniest paragraphs I’ve read in quite some time. Just ... just read it:

"Michael started talking to me about masturbation," he said. "He told me that if men don't masturbate they might get to a level where they might rape a girl ... He said that once he was looking over a balcony and he saw a boy who didn't masturbate who had sex with a dog."

Honestly, do you even have to add jokes to that?

I know what you’re thinking: it can’t get any hotter than that. But the article goes on to specify how Jacko tried to spice up the molestation with some play-acting in their second encounter: "the boy said Jackson ‘gave me another little audition, like he was the principal of the school and if a girl said I had done something bad. I was the student who got in trouble.’" Yeah, yeah, and I’ll be the pizza delivery guy, but you don’t have any money...

Further testimony from the child revealed that Jacko often gave him alcohol such as rum, vodka, and, in a delightful little twist, wine concealed in a can of Diet Coke - which Jacko described as "Jesus Juice" - despite, DESPITE the fact that the kid had lost a kidney to cancer and repeatedly told the His Wacko-ness that alcohol was, you know, really bad for him. And then there’s also the pornography and the bribery, standard stuff that we’ve heard before.

But to answer the question I know you’re all asking: no, there was no mention of George Lopez in this article.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The vacation is over...let the vacation begin

I managed to survive a week in vegas despite 2 days of rain, prime rib from the san remo, and mikiel who hit more 4 and 5 card 21s than should be allowed. He was trying to be funny about it, but since no one could understand his Russian, it just made it more irritating. Basically he was me if I was a Russian dealer at a shitty casino. That reminds me, if R. Kelly was a blackjack dealer, would he have to stay on 13? Seems like he should.

As Fu previously mentioned, it's tourney preview time. Now according to Fu, he's looking up the data and doing a more statistical approach to these generalities. I'm going to do a more gut-feel approach. Granted, once the bracket appears on Sunday, we'll take a closer look, but this should be a good starter. Here's a few things that teams may or may not possess and how important they are.

Size: You don't have to be a big team to do well in the tourney. A lot of teams/players play bigger than a certain height. Look at ryan sidney, Fu's favorite player, he was an effective 6-2 power forward. The problem is that size is usually correlated with rebounding, and that's not always true.
Importance: 1 of 5

Guard play: Probably the most important part of any team. It's especially important for teams who want to go deep in the tournament. Normally, for a team to make it to the final four they need three things from their guards.
1 - Ball handling. Ability to handle pressure and make good decisions
2 - Free throw shooting. The 2 starting guards must be good from the foul line or at least one must be excellent.
3 - Scoring. One guard must be one of the primary scores on the team and one of the go-to guys.
Importance: 5 of 5
Teams it helps: Duke, Illinois, Syracuse, Wake
Teams it hurts: Boston College, Utah

Athleticism: One of the most overrated aspects to a basketball team. While each team probably needs one or two athletic players, the whole team doesn't need to be and can sometimes hurt. Think LSU vs. Wisky from a few years back. However, a wild-card athletic player usually does come in handy.
Importance: 2 of 5
Teams it helps: Ok. St, Kentucky, Gonzaga
Teams it hurts: Kansas, Alabama, UNC

Experience: Probably the hardest thing to quantify. I'd say playing in a major conference is usually enough experience for any player even if they're freshman. It really only comes into play when looking for early round upsets. Teams with juniors and seniors from the small conferences or tourney experience within the previous two seasons is a major help to knock off a high seed.
Importance: ?

Post Scoring: Generally not that important unless the offense is run through a post player. If a teams main player is a post player, it almost always hurts the team. It's much easier to keep the ball away from a non-ball handler. It's even more of a factor if the guards can't extend the defense. However, no post scoring is even worse than being too reliant on it.
Importance: 3 of 5
Teams that run through a post player: Wisconsin
Teams that rely too much on inside scoring: Utah, Pitt, BC, 'Nova
Teams with too little post scoring: Illinois, Wake

Defense: Yes and yes. A team may be able to win a couple of games without it, but don't expect deep penetration or an upset team to win without it. I'd guess a couple of the better measurements for defense are opponent's FG% and, of course, PPG against
Importance: 4 of 5
Teams it helps: Pitt, BC, Ok St.
Teams it hurts: Kansas, UNC, Arizona

Rebounding: The main thing here is to not allow easy points off of offensive rebounds. Anyone with a +5pg rebounding edge is plenty good at it.
Importance: 3 of 5

Outside Scoring: If a team gets hot from outside, you can't beat them. Often, it's hard to predict when it'll happen. Relying on perimeter shooting will let valpo's beat ole miss, but it's not going to help anyone make it deep in the tourney.
Importance: 2 of 5 to contenders, 4 of 5 for an upset
Teams it helps: Illinois, UConn, BC, Pitt, Gonzaga, Wisky
Teams it hurts: Duke

Balance: I'm of the believe that being having too much balanced scoring can hurt in close games. A team needs defined roles in the tight ones. However, a team can't rely solely on one or two players. It's without a doubt a hard thing to accomplish. A team needs defined roles with balance. It's tricky, but any team that makes it deep has it. Teams that rely too much on certain players will lose when they play poorly.
Importance: 4 of 5
Teams it helps: Illinois, UConn, BC, Zags, Syracuse
Teams it hurts: Arizona, Duke

Matchups: No matter how much you like or dislike a team, the matchups are the most important factor. A crappy team can go far and a good team can lose early if the selection committee is unkind to them. (See St. Joe's and Wisky last year) Once the brackets come out, take a look then and see what there is.
Importance: 10,000 of 5
People it hurts: Me - I never listen to my own advice

Other factors:
Gaudy home record: Road wins are important
Staying close: Don't just look at wins and losses. Teams who were never blown out will play everyone close.
National Coverage: Seems who played well for a big crowd should be able to do so again in the tourney

What to look for:
The hot team that the media loves: Every year there's the 4 or 5 seed that the retarded media loves and thinks will come in to the tourney smoking. This year's team: Villanova. Be leary of them.
Lower seeds: Look at all the 10, 11, and 12 seeds. Think of the 4 craziest teams that could make the sweet sixteen. Pick 2 of them to get there.
High seeds: College basketball is more balanced than ever. Expect about half of the 1,2, and 3 seeded teams to be out after the second round.
Under the radar: There's good teams that get little pub that always make it far. This year will be no exception. Look out for Washington, Louisville, and Charlotte
People you shouldn't listen to: Old media types. Dick and Digger. Do not listen to them. They are retarded. Trust me.
Roy Williams and Bill Self: Their teams will lose.
Other people you shouldn't listen to: Me. I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Also, I hate the earthlink pop-up blocker. Even when I tell it not to block pop-ups and exit the program, it still does it. Therefore, you get no spell check.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Coming soon to the MWB

Just to let both of our loyal readers know, Dids and I - seeing as how it's championship week and all - will be posting our keys to filling out a tournament bracket. Just some general guidelines, along with some notes on interesting aspects of the NCAA tournament. We'll each be concocting our own formulas, and will each post them without seeing the other's. We'll see if he and I know anything, anything at all, about figuring out an NCAA bracket. So keep your eyes on the MWB the next few days. Good times will (hopefully) be had by all...

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Wait a minute ... Matt Sylvester scored 25?!?

Above: No, seriously. Matt Sylvester.

What else is there to say? The madness of March has begun in earnest...

Above: I don't feel the slightest bit dirty about how much I enjoyed this article.

The most shocking thing? The bizarre emergence of Sylvester, the most disappointing Buckeye hoops recruit in years this side of Brandon Fuss-Cheatham. Coming into yesterday's game, I strongly, honestly felt that losing those two next year was gonna be a classic case of addition by subtraction. By 2:10 p.m., I had realized 2 things: 1.) Matt Sylvester is a junior, and 2.) he has honestly developed into a not-half-bad secondary scoring option behind Terence Dials.

Thanks to Illinois's interesting strategic maneuver of using small forward Roger Powell on Dials - thus leaving F/C James Augustine on the 6'7" Sylvester, a quicker, ballhandling forward - Sylvester ran wild, especially in the second half. It was truly on odd experience to see OSU with a legitimate go-to guy in Dials, and it was even weirder to see them with an honest-to-God, viable second option if Dials was covered. We haven't had a real, quality go-to guy since Michael Redd was here (although arguments can be made that Brian Brown in '02 and Brent Darby in '03 were more than solid), and it's nice to have confidence in our scoring at the end of games again.

So Sylvester was playing a great game all game. And then came the shot. Sure, I thought it was taken a little quickly, but that's why Thad Matta is a fantastic coach and I'm just a jackass sitting at a computer. What matters is that Sylvester lined up the shot, stroked it with confidence, and buried it. He has always had the confidence to take the reins of the offense, and it was often to his - and the team's - detriment. But he was eating Augustine and the Illini alive yesterday in the last few minutes. Trust me, I was just as shocked as everyone else.

So the Bucks can wrap up a 20-win season with a win in Chicago against Penn State on Thursday. Not a bad first season for Matta. Only losing Stockman and Fuss-Cheatham (and not Sylvester, apparently) next year, the future looks exciting in the C-Bus.

Above: Look at you! You want to kiss me! YES!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Only if they can get Gene Hackman to coach...

Well, Gary Bettman is making it clear that he wants the NHL to start up again in the fall. With or without the players. When are the players and union head Bob Goodenow gonna realize that they have no leverage here? If the NHL comes back, using replacement players, do Goodenow and the player reps really think there will be the same kind of public outcry there was when scabs took the field during the 1987 NFL strike?

They really need to realize that, for the vast majority of Americans, hockey is a game of convenience. We watch it if it is on (and mostly, if nothing else is on), and we largely forget about it when it's not. This is not a strong, popular sport that the public will go to bat for; it's largely a time-waster, a substitute, an "I'll watch this 'til the Pistons game comes back on" kind of thing.

Because of this, A.) nobody gives a shit about the strike, and B.) the owners are clearly the ones with their heads screwed on right in all this, because they realize that the astronomical spending has got to stop. Several owners have come out and said that they'll probably make more this year with no hockey than they did last year with a team that pulled in a decent number of fans. The players need to wake the hell up, see that they haven't got a single friggin' chip left to bluff with, and agree to management's proposals. Or they'll be killing the golden goose that allows them to make the amount of money they do for playing a sport whose TV ratings rival those of arena football.

In other news, did anyone else watch Indiana take it up the ass from the refs at the end of last night's game at Wisconsin? Good lord. I mean, I hate Indiana, and generally want them to lose, but even I was quite literally speechless watching the end of that game last night. I haven't seen a home team get quite that much home cooking in a Big Ten game since Bob Knight was still in the league. I'm not entirely sure how the officials could make some of those calls on one end and comletely and utterly swallow their whistles at the other end and somehow manage to keep a straight face. What a blatant, blatant screw-job. It passed the point of being funny, and then it passed the point of being embarrassing, and then it just became ridiculous. I was actually, physically squirming in my chair as Hoosiers were getting fouls called on them left and right for looking at Mike Wilkinson funny. What a horrid, horrid display from that toupe-wearing SOB Hightower and his cronies...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Do any of you ever find yourselves wondering just what exactly Dids does with his free time? Or why he mysteriously disappears to Stark County for hours on end for no good reason? Well, wonder no more...

That fake limp isn't fooling anyone!!!!

Bubble Trouble

I read everyone's comments, and I have decided to make a couple changes. I re-looked at ND and decided they should be right on the edge, but still out. Wichita St. lost again (5 losses in 6 games), so I'm giving them the heave out of the field. Everyone else moves up one. If ND beats rutgers and wins one in the Big East tourney, that would make them the last team in. That's due to them beating Indiana head-to-head.

I just got a look at the most recent (Feb 28th) bracket on I generally think it's the best one. However, I'm not sure what's going on this year with them. I compared it to mine and there were a couple of differences. First off, they have 6 current conf. leaders in by virtue of winning the conf. (Utah, So Ill, Miami (OH), St. Joes, Nevada, and Pacific) They have left out Wichita St, which I have decided now is also out. Also, one of my "lock" teams isn't in there field of 65: George Washington. I have a hard time leaving them out. No losses outside the RPI 150, only 2 non-conf losses were at wake and at west virginia, wins over mich. state, maryland, and two over dayton. The rpi isn't that good at 61 and 18-6 overall. To me, that's a lock. Here's the interesting stuff, by including those teams as conf. winners and taking GW out, it opens up 7 spots for at-large teams. Here's who collegerpi filled it with...

Notre Dame - I think they'll probably make it now
G-town - ok, I had them in my last four out anyway
UTEP - uhhhh
Iowa St. - c'mon
Buffalo - why does everyone like this team?
Akron - wow
Kent St. - lots of MAC love, I guess

If you're going to put Iowa St. and Kent St in, how could you leave Indiana out? Even more so, what have those teams done better than GW?? Arg. Maybe collegerpi loves it's own rpi a bit too much. I'm not sure, but those teams seem a bit crazy. Another "lock" team of mine I went back and looked at was St. Mary's. A really good rpi and a win over gonzaga. But honestly, the rest of the resume is very, very weak. I'll be curious to see what happens to them.

Jimmie Dykes did a pre-game report last night on espnews. In it, he questioned whether or not UNC is clearly the 2nd best team in the country. THANK YOU MR. DYKES!!! He claimed that the media has decided they're good and refuse to admit otherwise. I couldn't agree more. He said it was crap that wake beat carolina yet they're still ranked below them. Yes and yes. I would except carolina to be exposed in the tourney as a fraud. Kansas too. Eat it media.