Tag Archive: march madness


Lucky Number…..12?


The title of this post explains itself. If you’ve been following the NCAA March Madness Tournament so far you’re well aware of the notorious 12-5 seed upsets in the round of 64!  This season three of 12 seeds have upset 5 seeds. I admit, I’m rather surprised. It’s not a surprise that at least one 12 seed usually pulls off an upset in the round of 64, it happens almost every year since the tournament expanded to 64 teams (now the tournament has been expanded to 68 with four play-in games to kick off the tournament). 

I’ll start this by stating that I saw the Harvard > Cincinnati upset coming. As soon as I saw the bracket I looked at my roommate, who doesn’t care at all about college basketball or even sports in general, and said, “Harvard is going to upset Cincinnati in the “first” round. I’m calling it now”. 

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Now, I haven’t been able to watch as much college basketball as I’d like. I live in Marine Corps barracks and share a lounge with 300+ Marines so it’s tough getting to the TV in time to catch a game. Last year at this time I was in bootcamp getting slayed as we call it lol.  Basically, I had very, very little to go off with this prediction.  So, why did I call this upset so quickly? Harvard is obviously a roster filled with intelligent players. Typically, and I say typically, intelligence practices discipline.  From what I caught from the few minutes of watching the UC Bearcats was a group of sloppy, at times, and undisciplined team. I felt with Harvard’s great shooters and discipline to take good shots they would be able to handle their own. I literally know nothing about either team other than those few opinions.  That’s how I based that decision. 

Harvard will be facing Michigan St. in the third round.  I personally enjoy watching Big Ten basketball. The style and toughness is my thought of how basketball should be played.  Though Harvard may stay hot I feel their hopes for a Cinderella story will end here.  Tom Izzo is a great coach and the Spartans have been playing extremely consistent, high caliber basketball lately.  Sorry Harvard, but I don’t see brains beating brawn here…..and no, I’m not saying Michigan St. is stupid. They’re far from it with great coaching from Tom Izzo. 

 

How about North Dakota St.! I did not see that coming at all! One of the few Oklahoma games I watched this season was against my beloved Jayhawks and they played extremely well.  I thought they were a pretty tough team. They play a tough schedule and posted a 20 win season.  I honestly thought they could handle the mid-major Bison of North Dakota State.  I should’ve considered how consistent mid-major schools are starting to draw attention to themselves.  The Bison have now won 26 games on the season. I don’t care what conference you play in that’s impressive.  Though I didn’t see the Bison winning this game I’m not all that surprised. They played well, really well in fact.

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The Bison will be playing 4th seed San Diego St. in the third round. The Bison are tough, they have great size and terrific athletic ability. I’m going with the Bison advancing to the Sweet Sixteen!

 

The third 12 seed to pull off the upset is Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks.  I didn’t completely agree with VCU getting a 5 seed so even though I picked VCU to win I’m not surprised by this so called “upset”.  This upset win brings the Lumberjacks to a 32 win season.  That’s pretty dang impressive at any level.  To be that consistent and doing what it takes to win games is hard to overlook.  I went back and forth with this pick and after flipping a quarter I picked VCU.  I was unable to watch this game due to work responsibilities so I don’t know what Stephen F. Austin is all about.  However, their 32 W’s are eye catching to say the least. 

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I don’t know enough, and even if I did it’s March Madness; anything can happen, to make a “good” pick on their upcoming game against UCLA.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see! As always don’t be surprised if they pull off another upset and solidify their spot in the ever sought after Sweet Sixteen!

 

I simply wanted to write about the lucky number that is 12 in this years tournament.  Give some of these smaller schools some recognition for their outstanding play and success thus far.  They deserve it! Hope y’all enjoyed this post and as always feel free to start a discussion in the comments section below! I look forward to hearing from anyone and everyone!

 

Bucket List: pt. 1


Good morning everyone! It’s been over 2 years since I last posted, but I’m ready to get back into doing what I Love and that’s writing about college basketball. Yes, I realize March Madness is right around the corner and I’ve literally missed writing about the entire regular season. But, I can’t think of a better time to pick back up!

In case any of you are wondering it’s been a wild 2 years. Last January (2013) I left for Marine Corps bootcamp, followed by combat training, and eventually landed in California.  (due to security and force preservation reasons I shouldn’t post my whereabouts here, if you really care it’s not that hard to find out lol) Since joining I’ve been pretty busy with my job, but I want to write while the opportunities are here! Before that I was working two jobs and sleeping literally 2-4 hours a day. I didn’t have much time to write….hahaha?

This first post isn’t going to jump right in with my thoughts on the upcoming conference tournaments and who I think will win and why like I usually write about. Honestly, I haven’t had the opportunity to watch that many games up to this point.  So, I thought to get the wheels rolling again I’d start a sporadic, yet personal series of stadiums (campuses) I really want to visit and watch a game. Heck, I’ll even throw in the opponent of the home team I’d like to watch, just for kicks.

1. Allen Fieldhouse (The Phog)

This stadium is at the top of my list.  Not only does this stadium hold many interesting and historic values and stories but the atmosphere created by the fans, especially the student section, is remarkable.  If you’ve read any of my past posts you’ll know I’m a Kansas Jayhawks fan. No, I’m not from Kansas, but I became a fan at a young age because I liked their mascot. I was kid, what did I have to go off of?

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The Phog was opened in 1955 and Kansas’ already rich history has grown substantially in Phog Allen Fieldhouse. ESPN has rated The Phog as the loudest college basketball stadium in college basketball. Who wouldn’t want to witness that? The “Home-court” advantage the Kansas Jayhawks feed off of is hard to ignore.  Kansas is the second most winning-est team in college basketball, behind Kentucky.  Kansas also holds some of the longest home winning streaks in the nation.

Phog Allen Fieldhouse is dedicated to Dr. Forrest C. “Phog” Allen.  Allen coached the Jayhawks in the early 1900’s for 39 years.  Allen also played for the Jayhawks under James Naismith, aka the creator of basketball and the only KU head coach with a losing record, Ironic? Being the history nerd that I am I would love to visit this arena and learn everything I could about it and the tradition that continues to collect outstanding high school recruits such as Andrew Wiggins, and posts impressive season after impressive season.

If I had the choice of who I could watch Kansas play in Phog Allen I’d definitely have to go with the Texas Longhorns. Kansas has a few rivalries to talk about. Such as, Kansas St. and Missouri (If you still call Missouri a rivalry after leaving the Big 12).  The Texas vs. Kansas games are always a must watch for me.  Some of the best games I’ve ever watched were between these two teams and I can’t think of any other team I’d want to watch play against the Jayhawks in Phog Allen.  There would be almost too much rich history in one building to handle, but it would be an experience of a lifetime!

I’m keeping this post short and sweet. Don’t want to get too lengthy and lose potential followers! Plus, this is simply a bucket list of places I want to see college basketball played.  I enjoy interaction with my readers so I’d really like to hear from all of you! Leave a comment on where you’d like to see a game and who the home team would be playing if you could choose any team.  Thanks for reading and look for new posts to come soon!

Jacob Tucker


The 5’11” guard Jacob Tucker has been drafted….Just a few days too soon it seems (before the NBA draft).  It was anounced that Jacob Tucker was drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters. 

Jacob Tucker the High Flyer

Tucker won the 2011  NCAA Slam Dunk Contest.  Not only was he one of the shortest contestants he was THE only Division III contestant.  Tucker’s name was learned after he added a video of himself and his dunking skills on youtube in March 2011.  The short guard with “mad hops” didn’t dissapoint during the contest and took away the first place prize and bragging rights. 

Tucker played for the Illinois College Blueboys. The Blueboys are in the Midwest Conference at the DIII level. (I actually played football in the same conference).  I had the pleasure of not only watching this star but I also had the chance to talk smack to him while shooting free throws and such, but it didn’t really do much nor help much! Tucker, 5’11”, averaged 14.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, and 1.8 steals this past season at IC as a senior.  He also scored well over 1,000 points in his four year career with the Illinois College Blueboys.

Jacob is one of six players that were drafted by the Globetrotters this year.  When asked his thoughts about this amazing opportunity Tucker responded, “It’s definitely an honor because everybody knows who (the Globetrotters) are and I know all the good things they do besides just playing basketball. I’ve always wanted to be a part of something like that. I just need to look into the details of it before I agree to anything.”


Joey Rodriguez needs to keep playing hot if VCU wants to see themselves in the National Championship game

The 11th seeded VCU Rams and 8th seeded Butler Bulldogs seems to be the game to watch on Saturday.  In a recent post I discussed why I think the Uconn/UK game should be the game to watch.  However, I do not want to discredit or downplay this match up.  I think it’s going to be a very exciting game especially if VCU can keep up the way they have been playing these past few weeks.  I also think Butler is very well coached and very disciplined.  Here are my thoughts on the game.

I’ll come out and say it now. Butler wins.  This is why.  VCU has admitted that they have nothing to lose so they’re going to run around and press the whole time and take quick shots if they want to. That my friends is undisciplined basketball.  Yeah maybe it worked for them to get to this point but lets look at who they have played since the field of 64.  Georgetown, not the most disciplined team.  The press got to them.  Purdue, played like crap and VCU was on fire. Good win for them.  FSU.  Not the most prolific scoring team to begin with. FSU is known for their defense. VCU made 1 more shot than FSU to win that game.  Then came Kansas, whose infamously known for being upset in the tournament.  Another good win for them. And now they face Butler.  Butler will undoubtedly be the most disciplined team they have faced thus far in the tournament.  Butler moves the ball with a goal in mind every time down the floor, to get GREAT shots.  They know in order for them to win they need to play as a team and to play disciplined. They do that on both ends of the floor.

Howard's hustle, leadership, and solid defense will be necessary for Butler to make it back to the Title game

Butler also plays very good solid man-to-man defense.  As of late VCU as been lighting it up from all areas on the floor, except when Kansas locked them up and pressured the ball during the second half of the Elite 8 game.  I feel that if Butler can keep good ball pressure, which they will do because Brad Stevens is a smart coach, VCU will not hit as many shots as they have.

Though Shaka Smart is a great coach I think Brad Stevens is better.  I think this game will come down to two things.  1) being disciplined and 2) coaching.  I think Butler wins both of those categories and will see themselves in their second straight National Championship game.  Setting up a match up with the Uconn Huskies!


Painter decided to stay at Purdue. He signed a contract through the 2018-19 season. Other terms were not disclosed.

After a few days of anticipation for Purdue fans Matt Painter has finally made his decision to stay in West Lafayette as Purdue’s mens basketball coach. Purdue and Matt Painter agreed to a contract extension through the 2018-19 season, with $2.3 million guaranteed each year plus incentives for performance.

Painter gave the Purdue faithful a scare after meeting with Missouri AD Mike Alden to discuss the commitment of the Athletic Department towards it’s mens basketball program. According to the Kansas City Star Missouri was offering Painter a 7 year $2 million contract.  Purdue then countered with another offer making their intentions clear that they wanted Painter to stay in West Lafayette.

Purdue didn’t help the situation for fans by releasing news that they contacted Greg Lansing of Indiana State. However, I think Purdue was playing the same game Painter was in a way.  They made it known that they wanted Painter (Painter obviously was playing the market for more money) but Purdue also made it clear that they would move on without him.  I think Purdue’s Athletic Director and other Athletic Department Officials played this right.  They made a statement making it clear they “WANTED” Painter but didn’t “NEED” Painter.

Some reports and rumors claimed that Painter would leave for more money and a greater commitment towards winning a National Championship from the Missouri Athletic Department.  I’m sure many fans, I know one for sure, that may be angry with Painter for even considering leaving Purdue.

Purdue fans have something to cheer about knowing that their coach Matt Painter is in West Lafayette until 2018-19.

I’ve thought about loyalties and staying faithful to a program but let’s get real. Painter was making $1.3 million a year. A sound living.  But, there’s more to it. You have to think about other resources being given to Painter and his staff.  Another blog I read made a good point.  I can’t remember exactly how he stated this but it went something like this.  Let’s say a Purdue assistant (who is predominantly in charge of recruiting) is getting paid $90k and is providing for his family and has to travel as much as they do.  Some would say 90K is a lot of money and I would agree.  But traveling costs a lot of money.  If another program comes and offers this same assistant to do the same exact job(s) and pays them $150k, what would you do?

I’m pretty sure any honest American would take the pay raise.  I know I would.  All in all I’m not mad at Painter.  Personally, I think he wants what is best for himself, his assistants, his players, and the Purdue basketball program.  To get that he needed a high level of commitment from the Athletic Department and when terms are released I think we’ll hear something about that too.

Purdue has already started with a higher level of commitment towards athletics.  They are currently in the process of constructing facilities that are top notch for their athletes.  The best news of all to come of this is that Robbie Hummel will definitely be back for next season.  Purdue fans can still be excited and confident about their basketball program.


Coach Matt Painter is 137-63 in his 6 seasons at Purdue, which may be over shortly.

****It’s been reported by espn.com that Painter met with Missouri AD Mike Alden and other Missouri officials who flew to Orlando to meet with Painter who is currently on vacation.

Both parties left in different cars according to a source close to the Kansas City Star.  The source also stated, “The ball is in his court, Purdue has come up with more money. They don’t want to lose him”.  Matt Painter will take at least 1 more day to make a decision.

Once again coaching changes and signings are making headlines and their own March Madness.  Something that really hits close to home is Matt Painter and his future with Purdue.  According to stltoday.com Matt Painter has agreed to meet with the Missouri Tigers. Painter has agreed to meet to discuss the seriousness and commitment level of Missouri’s Athletic Department support towards the mens basketball program.

The Tigers are in search of a new coach after Mike Anderson left early last week to take the vacancy at Arkansas.  Missouri offered Anderson a contract extension of 7 years and about $2 million a year.  Currently Painter makes $1.3 million, which makes Missouri appealing or even leverage for Painter to get Purdue to give him more money.

Reported by stltoday.com a decision will be made by Wednesday (March 30, 2011) and apparently it’s better than a 50% chance that Painter will take the offer.  Personally I’m not too concerned with a 50% chance.  Maybe that’s just my youth and inexperience with how contract offers work.

But, according to a close source with Purdue’s Athletic Department, Purdue’s AD Morgan Burke has met with Indiana State’s head coach Greg Lansing.  This news worries me.  This means that the possibility of Matt Painter leaving has increased.  Why else would Purdue start looking for a new coach?

If Matt Painter does leave I say we wait until the NCAA tournament ends.  That way, we could send a very inviting proposal to Shaka Smart, VCU’s head coach who recently beat Purdue by 18 during the first weekend of the tournament.  That would be my pick to take over for Painter.  Just a thought though.  Heck, I would even try and go after Brad Stevens of Butler. Even though he says he will not leave Butler, you have to take a shot. I also wouldn’t mind Steve Lavin at all.  And I have to ask now that I know how to add polls.  Who would you like or think should take over Purdue’s head coaching job if Painter does leave?


Richmond University and their coach Chris Mooney settled on a contract extension through the 2020-2021 season.  This 10 year extension is the 3rd straight season Mooney has been offered an extension at Richmond.  Sources say Richmond wanted to get a deal done quickly in anticipation of Mooney being given offers from power conference schools.  Richmond had the right to be worried about this.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Chris Mooney's contract extension through the 2020-2021 season is a huge step for Richmond's program

Last year Coach Mooney led the Spiders to a school record 26 win season.  That win total was surpassed by their 29 victories and trip to the Sweet 16 where they were defeated by the Kansas Jayhawks 77-57.  Both Mooney and Richmond are excited about where the program is headed and are happy with the deal that’s been made.

Amidst all the chaos happening during the rest of the tournament coaching changes also are college basketball fans attention grabbers.  Tennessee signed Missouri State’s coach Cuonzo Martin earlier today and now Richmond makes a move to solidify who they believe is the best fit for them for their Men’s College Basketball Head Coaching position.

With the way this past season has played out with Both Butler and VCU as mid-major teams making the Final Four this signing could be a major step for other non-power conferences.  Maybe the little guys won’t be so little in years to come which will be something for College Basketball fans everywhere to look out for!


Cuonzo led Missouri State to a 61-41 record including the regular season Missouri Valley Conference Championship and won MVC Coach of the Year honors

The Tennessee Volunteers announced today that they have hired Missouri State coach Cuonzo Martin.  Tennessee’s Athletic Director stated, “Cuonzo is among the most promising young coaches in the game, and we are excited about the coaching ability, toughness and energy that he brings to our program”.

Martin coached 3 seasons at Missouri State.  His first season he won just 11 games out of 31.  The next season his squad won 24 games and this past season he led Missouri State to 26 wins and the regular season Missouri Valley Conference title.  Cuonzo also coached as an assistant under Gene Keady at his Alma Mater, Purdue University, before coaching at Missouri State. Martin was also the Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year this season.

Cuonzo played at Purdue from 1991-1995 where he ranks 4th in 3-pointers made w/ 179

During his career at Purdue Cuonzo was known for his defensive presence and outstanding ability to hit perimeter jump shots.  He left Purdue 4th all time in 3-pointers made with 179.  Cuonzo then continued his career in the NBA and was drafted 57th in the second round where he shot 60% from beyond the arc.

Cuonzo Martin makes the 5th Division I coach to have played or coached under Gene Keady.  The other four coaches are Bruce Weber (Illinois), Steve Lavin (St. John’s), Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt), and Matt Painter (Purdue).

I wish the best of luck to Cuonzo Martin and the Tennessee Volunteers. I see a start to a beautiful relationship.


This tournament has been nothing short of ridiculous.  I’m not very old but I don’t remember ever seeing so many upsets not only during the tournament but during the regular season.  Which makes me wonder.  It’s the game of college basketball becoming watered down or are the players becoming that much better? Making the game much more competitive? I’ll go with the latter.

Personally, I’m not  a fan of this year’s tournament.  I also think it’s fair to say that Ohio State was the most consistent and dominant team and was eliminated in the Sweet 16.  Pittsburgh could also be argued to be the best team in the nation winning the Big East outright which was considered the best conference this season in basketball.  These two teams are no longer in the field of 5 (Kentucky and UNC are currently playing for the 4th spot in Houston).  I’m all about upsets but not this many. Seriously who wanted to watch Richmond vs. Morehead State? Or even 11 seed VCU vs. 10 seed Florida State in the Sweet 16? I’m all for Cinderella teams but not 4 Cinderella teams.

Another thing that has made this tournament less enjoyable is the pathetic excuse of refereeing.  I know it’s a tough job but let’s get real here.  These are supposed to be professionals.  I’ve seen so many missed or bad calls this tournament to make up a lifetime.  I know that if I make that many mistakes I’m fired and no longer have a job. I like to watch good basketball and solid refereeing is a huge part of a good basketball game.  Crappy refereeing = crappy/sloppy basketball from one team making the games usually lopsided.  Overall, the calling of these games has been less than acceptable.

After the second round (field of 64) I knew not to be surprised by who won and who lost. Yeah all these upsets are good for ratings and possibly for the game but, I’m having a hard time accepting that the way the tournament has played out.

Anyway, Congrats to Uconn, Butler, and VCU for making it to the Final Four and congrats to whoever wins between Kentucky and North Carolina.


Ohio State has hands down been the most consistent and dominating team all season.  Only slipping up to two tough Big Ten teams during the regular season.  Both losses were on the road at Wisconsin and at Purdue.  However, when they played these two teams at home both margins of victories were 20+ points.  That’s impressive.

David Lighty and Jon Diebler have had the hot shooting hands since the Big Ten tournament.  With Aaron Craft at the point distributing the ball to these two guys and Jared Sullinger Ohio State is a force to be reckoned with.  There’s not much that hasn’t been said about the Buckeyes this year and I have to agree with all that’s been said.  I dogged these guys late in December saying they would fall off once Big Ten play started but they shut me up quickly.  I have nothing but respect for this team.

Sullinger (0) and Buford (44) are the Buckeyes two leading scorers this season

Sullinger is leading the team with 17.2 ppg as a true freshman on the Big Ten regular season Champion team and the Big Ten Conference tournament Championship team.  The kid is a monster.  Just like Kansas he has a great supporting cast in William Buford, second on the team in scoring averaging 14.4 ppg.  I’ve already mentioned the likes of Jon Diebler and the hot hand of David Lighty.  These guys can score and shoot lights out on any given night.  I don’t have the numbers and couldn’t find them but I would guess they have the best shooting percentage of any team remaining during tournament play.

Not only can these guys score but they get after it on the defensive end.  Good old fashioned Big Ten basketball.  You have to love it.  They’re scrappy and in your face.  Their hardwork and focus is a complement to their talent.  I’ve always lived by the saying that, “Hardwork beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”.  Well good luck beating talent that does work hard.  Thad Matta has gotten his team to hit on every cylinder so far in this year’s tournament (all year for that matter) and I expect them to continue to do so.  I don’t see Kentucky being able to pull of the upset but they’ll give the bordering Buckeyes a good game.  To be honest I don’t see Marquette or UNC giving Ohio State much of a fight either. Once Ohio State gets by Kentucky it should be an easy Elite 8 game to advance to the Final Four.

Something to keep in mind.  Back in December I heard some “experts” talking about how Sullinger has given his word that he’ll play at least 2 seasons at Ohio State.  If he gets to the title game and even wins a national championship it could be the end of a beautiful relationship between Sullinger and the Buckeyes.  Just something to keep in mind.

To wrap it up I have my Final Four looking like this.  Ohio State meets the Uconn Huskies  in Houston while the Kansas Jayhawks face off with the Butler Bulldogs! There you have it folks.  I hope my picks have peaked your interest and I thank you for reading my posts!

–Ryan K.