Tag Archive: UCLA Bruins


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!

 


Over 300 Arizona, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, UCLA, and Purdue football and basketball players have notified the NCAA  that they want some of the pie generated from NCAA DI, school, and conference TV contract revenue.  These student athletes signed a petition informing the NCAA they would appreciate it if the NCAA, “realizes its mission to educate and protect us with integrity” (ESPN, Petition seeks slice of college TV money pg. 1).  Basically the players are asking through this petition that the NCAA forces schools to cover ALL expenses for ALL Division I athletes not covered by scholarships or grants.  Student-Athletes are faced with added expenses to meet needs of academic requirements. Such as tuition, student fees, room and board, campus parking fees, calculators, and other materials such as scan disks.

Ithaca College and the players’ association conducted a research in 2010 that found student-athletes on “full scholarships” actually end up paying $2,951 annually.  That’s terrible! <—–yes that’s sarcasm.  I’m pretty open and will let you know as a former DIII athlete (Beloit College) I owe well over $50k.  Given it costs a little over $42k a year at Beloit.  Yeah, I was given a lot of help as you can tell.  But, to only have to pay approximately $3,000 a year would have been awesome!

The players have issued a solution to cover this, so called, debt.  The NCAA will put aside an undisclosed amount into an “Educational Lock Box”.  What this means is that both the NCAA and college presidents would set aside money gained in TV revenue each year.  When student-athletes would exhaust their NCAA eligibility but not earn their degree yet they would receive an allotment to cover all educational costs.  Or, if they use up their eligibility and graduate they’d simply be handed that allotment of money with no strings attached.

It’s important to keep in mind that college athletes are amateurs, not professionals.  Which shouldn’t be hard to do with the Miami Hurricanes and Ohio State Buckeye scandals being investigated and all over the news recently.  Amateurism is the main argument against the players solution to the NCAA.  BUT! The Pac-12 just made 12 year agreements with both FOX and ESPN.  These TV deals will bring the Pac-12 $3 billion in revenue.  Also, remember that without these student-athletes there would be no college (specifically DI) football and basketball to watch!

Should NCAA Student Athletes be paid?

The NCAA president Mark Emmert is recommending that the colleges themselves will produce an extra $2,000 to cover scholarship shortfall.  This solution would benefit ALL DI student-athletes as opposed to the “Educational Lock Box” solution which would only cover and pay DI football and basketball players.  This solution was combated by Purdue’s Athletic Director Morgan Burke. Burke stated, “depending upon the number of student-athletes, could approximate $1 million a year.” Burke also made it clear that less than two dozen of the 300 DI schools turned an annual profit last year.  He, as well as many others, question how each school would come up to fund this.  Keep in mind that this fund would be supported and funded by the schools, not the NCAA.  Also, each school has the option to opt in or out of this solution.

LSU’s chancellor Micheal Martin said, “I think institutions like us could clearly afford it, I’m not sure all can.” This would not only give certain conferences, but also certain schools, a distinct advantage when it comes to recruiting top notch recruits, believes Boise State’s president Robert Kustra.

Personally, I think it would be okay to pay these student-athletes to cover additional costs of education.  Obviously, if the school is handing out checks they need to monitor somehow and in someway to see if the student-athletes are using those checks for the intended purpose.  However, I’d like DI athletes to put themselves in the shoes of a DIII athlete.  DIII athletes don’t get to fly all over America to play.  We don’t get to miss classes with excuses of “playing” a game for the school. We don’t even receive any athletic scholarship money at all.  We only receive grants, academic scholarships, and need based assistance. To be  honest once again I’m not sure what these players are complaining about.  They have a good deal but I understand that should receive some additional benefits from all the additional revenue they produce for their schools!

I’d be glad to hear what all of you think and your opinions on whether or not student-athletes should be paid!

 


One of the most surprising news threads of the college basketball off season would have to be all of the early declarations to the NBA draft.  With the possibility of an NBA owners/players lockout you would think most if not all non-seniors would stay at their respective schools.  In this post I’m going to run down the list of people that I’ve heard that have declared for the draft (with or without signing an agent) and why I think they should go for the NBA or stay in school.

The Morris Twins have declared for the 2011 NBA Draft

1) Markieff and Marcus Morris.  The junior twin forwards for Kansas have been a force during their time as Kansas Jayhawks.  This past season they seemed to be unstoppable all the while leading Kansas to a 35-3 record losing to the VCU Rams in the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament.  Although posting 35 wins in a season is remarkable some Jayhawk faithful feel letdown as they had hopes winning the National Championship this year.  Personally, I think the twins have something to prove. I think they’ve underachieved during their time at Kansas and have really disappointed their fans by not bringing them a Final Four appearance during their stay at Kansas. They owe something to the Kansas faithful and to themselves.

The Sophomore Williams will forego his next two seasons at Arizona

2) Derrick Williams.  This kid had one of the best all around performances during this year’s NCAA tournament.  Not to mention the outstanding season he had.  Williams was named the Pac-10 player of the year as a sophomore while posting 19.5 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game.  I like this kid.  Many people I talk to don’t like him claiming, “he got way too many calls his way during the tournament”.  My argument to that is didn’t Micheal Jordan get a lot of calls, I recall so.  Doesn’t Kobe Bryant get a lot of calls his way, I know for a fact so.  The same goes with Lebron James and all the big time names throughout the NBA and Collegiate levels.  The point is when you’re good like these players listed you’re going to get calls. Simply because you put yourself in a position to make plays and when that happens you’re going to get some help.  I think Derrick should leave for the NBA draft. Honestly, I do not feel like he has much more to accomplish at Arizona.  He has already won Pac-10 POY honors and I do not see Arizona has a National Title contender in the next 2 years.  He will go as a lottery pick and make some very good money.  Why not go?

Lee has made the decison to leave early by hiring an agent for the NBA Draft

3) Malcolm Lee.  I didn’t get the opportunity to watch Lee too much during this past season.  From what I’ve read and know about the kid it’s obvious that he has a very solid skill set.  I don’t always like to base my thought’s and opinions on numbers and like to watch players to see what I think but, I’m not too impressed with Lee’s 13.1 points per game and only contributing 2 assists per game.  BUT, then I remember who he played with.  Tyler Honeycutt and Reeves Nelson.  Honeycutt averaged 12.8 points/game while Nelson contributed a team high 13.9 points/game.  Two other players contributed both 9.1 and 10.9 points/game.  That’s good team basketball and means that everybody could score, as a coach you have to love that.  As for his decision to enter the draft, I would stay if I was him.  With there being so many unknowns about the immediate future of the NBA and some of the questions he has to be asking himself I think it’s a no brainer to stay in school and finish out his collegiate career and earn his degree. This way he could work on his jump shot and his perimeter shot as well as his basketball IQ, which seems to be some of the question marks NBA scouts have.

Mack has yet to sign an agent for the NBA Draft

4) Shelvin Mack. Unlike the others listed above Mack has yet to sign an agent. This means he has the option to opt out of the draft and remain eligible for his senior season at Butler.  To me this is a fantastic decision.  I think Mack and his fellow teammates have accomplished more than they could ever dream of.  Mack has made it to back to back National Championship games, unfortunately falling short both times.  Shelvin averaged 16 points per game and shot just around 40% from the field this past season.  I think Mack would make a great fit in the NBA. He has decent size for a guard at 6ft. 3in. and 215lbs.  However, Mack has made it clear by not signing an agent that he could come back.  Shelvin is a smart player and person.  He knows the of the questionable future of the NBA and wants to know how high he will get drafted before he makes a decision.  At this point in his career I think the only thing for Mack to do at the collegiate level is to work on his game or move on to the next level.  Either decision for Mack will be a good one.  However, I look for him to actually stay at Butler and get his degree while leading Butler back to the NCAA tournament.

Singleton won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in this 2010-2011 season

5) Chris Singleton.  The Florida State Junior Forward has led the Seminoles to 3 straight NCAA tournament appearances and won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award. Singleton has great length and is an awesome defender.  The same for Derrick Williams I think Singleton has nothing else to prove at Florida State and I don’t see the Seminoles as a National Championship Contender in the next few years.  I think Singleton is ready for the NBA and should leave school for the NBA.

6) Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones. These two freshman helped John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats to their first Final Four appearance since 1998. Brandon Knight averaged 17.3 points/game and Jones had 15.7 points/game.  The two freshman

The two standout freshman have yet to decied whether or not to enter the draft

accomplished more in 1 year than many senior classes across the country accomplish in their 4 years at their programs.  Honestly I think it’s probably a good idea for these two guys to stay in school just in case the NBA locks out.  Their skill sets are solid enough to go in the late first round and early second round of the draft.  It’s just a safe decision to stay in school for one more season and possibly make another trip to the Final Four, which I think is a good possibility.  As of right now neither of these two guys have declared for the draft.  But, Calipari has said he thinks both kids should leave for the draft and doesn’t think they should come back to school.

Kyrie joins a stud freshman class that could leave early for the NBA

7) Kyrie Irving. I think Kyrie proved he was one of the best freshman this year.  If he would have been healthy the entire season I could see the logic in him leaving for the draft. However, I think it would be a more intelligent decision to stay and get another year of experience while questions of an NBA lockout fly around.  I like Irving’s athleticism and his basketball IQ.  I think the decision to stay would benefit both Duke and Kyrie.  However, he’s already signed an agent and there’s no way he’ll back.  I think this is an interesting move and I think Kyrie will go in the early in the first round.

Kemba Walker was the most exciting player during the 2010-2011 season

8) Kemba Walker.  No brainer, go to the NBA.  In my eyes I think he should have won Player of the Year (the Naismith Award) and he won the Big East Player of the Year.  And let’s not forget to mention the National Championship he now has under his belt.  He made so many last second shots to win games and had the most successful season of any player at the Division I level.  Also, He’s graduating in May. So, he has a few awards, a National Title, and will have his degree within the next few weeks.  It’s a no brainer that he should leave for the NBA.

With the chance of an NBA lockout I think things should be interesting for Shelvin Mack, Terrence Jones, and Brandon Knight especially.  I look forward to hearing the decisions these young men make.

1st Round Predictions!


I have a few thoughts on this Thursday’s match ups.  I think the nation will be shocked by what they will see and even more shocked by my predictions and upsets I have picked. All these games I have on my bracket (I only have one bracket. I hate people who have a billion brackets filled out.  Your bound to be successful in one pool if you fill out 10 brackets, amateurs).

East Region: 1st Round

The Sycamores have the ability to shoot lights out from behind the arc. Don't be surprised if they pull off the 1st round upset

  • Obviously I have Ohio State advancing.
  • George Mason/Villanova is a tough pick but I’m going with George Mason
  • West Virginia over the play team (Clemson/UAB)
  • Kentucky over Princeton
  • I have Xavier over Marquette
  • Indiana St. over Syracuse ( I know I’m crazy but, I have a feeling ISU will shoot well against the zone. That’s  just me though)
  • Washington over Georgia big time
  • North Carolina over Long Island

West Region: 1st Round

Oakland has shown their ability to put up points in bunches. Look for the high scoring Golden Grizzlies to show up the low scoring Longhorns of Texas

  • Duke over Hampton, of course
  • Michigan over The Vols
  • Arizona over Memphis
  • Oakland > Texas.  Call me crazy but Texas has been struggling to score and the boys from Oakland have experience and can put points on the board. They put up 100+ twice this season including once in their conference tourney
  • Mizzou bests Cincy
  • Uconn pounds Bucknell
  • Penn St pulls out the shocker
  • San Diego State gets past Northern Colorado

Southwest Region: 1st Round

Kelsey Barlow has been suspended for the remainder of the season. His lockdown D could be missed in the backcourt when Lewis Jackson needs a breather

  • Kansas over Boston (Kansas has a crappy track record against teams that start with “B”. Does Bucknell or Bradley ring a bell?) However, I think the Jayhawks have this one
  • Illinois over UNLV
  • Vandy over Richmond, this was a tough one to pick too
  • Louisville > Morehead St. Gotta love the in state match up though!
  • Georgetown over play in (USC/VCU)
  • Purdue over St. Peter’s (Although losing Kelsey Barlow for the season hurts I think Purdue has enough guard depth, offensively, to still make a run)
  • Texas A&M over Florida St. I have no clue on this one. Simply went with the higher seed on this one
  • Notre Dame over Akron

Southeast Region: 1st Round

The Aggies won 30 games this season. Look for them to come out confident against the inconsistent kansas State Wildcats

  • Pitt over NC-Ashville
  • Butler ousts Old Dominion
  • Utah St pulls out a thriller against Kansas St ( I don’t care who you play you don’t win 30 games by accident.  I see Utah St. shocking the nation only in the new 2nd round, field of 64)
  • Wisconsin over Belmont. Bo Ryan will have his guys ready to go
  • St. John’s I feel will clobber Gonzaga
  • BYU escapes a close one against Wofford
  • Michigan State surprises everybody by actually showing up to play and beating UCLA
  • Florida wins it’s only game of the tournament against UC-Santa Barbara

I’ve mentioned in a reply to a comment that I’ve received that I’m unhappy and strongly disagree with some of the seedings.  Some of the match ups will be interesting and I see a lot of potential upsets.  The above mentioned upsets may sound ridiculous but how many people picked George Mason to make the run they made a few years back? They may be unlikely and I realize this.  However, anything can happen and if I call these games correctly I look like a genius and if not who really cares. I could care less either way.

I would like to hear all of your thoughts and points of views.  Especially if you think some different upsets may happen I’d be very interested in hearing your reasons of why.  Leave a comment and let everyone else know your opinion.

Thanks everybody for reading!