Tag Archive: Uconn Huskies



I’m moving out of my beloved confort conference zone this post.  I’m going to put out there who I think is going to win the Big East and how I think each team will finish. Now, I’m warning you. It’s a little different than what the ESPN experts have to say. But, nobody really knows exactly how things are going to play out. I mean who really predicted that Uconn would win 10 straight games, all in tournament play, and walk away with the NCAA Tournament Title? I know I didn’t. After watching a game of Uconn’s in December last year I put up a post stating I wouldn’t be surprised if Uconn won it all. Don’t believe me? Check my older/beginning posts. 

Also, these predictions aren’t going to be as in depth as my Big Ten predications. That would take forever given the boat load of teams in the Big East.  Also, I’m doing this in hopes of hearing some comments and sparking a little more conversation on my blog. I want to hear what others think….that’s part of why I write!  Without further ado here’s my Big East predictions!

  1. Syracuse Orangemen
  2. Cincinnati Bearcats
  3. Connecticut Huskies (Uconn)
  4. Louisville Cardinals
  5. Marquette Golden Eagles
  6. Pittsburgh Panthers
  7. Georgetown Hoyas
  8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  9. West Virginia Mountaineers
  10. St. John’s Red Storm
  11. Villanova Wildcats
  12. Depaul Blue Demons
  13. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
  14. Seton Hall Pirates
  15. South Florida Bulls
  16. Providence Friars

This is how I feel the Big East will play out in the 2011-2012 regular season.  If you have any questions at all as to why I put a team where they’re at leave a comment and I’ll answer for you!

Thanks for reading everybody!

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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.


We are the Champions by Queen

It was an ugly National Championship to say the least.  Possibly the worst title game in the history of the tournament.  However, I give credit to both teams.  Needless to say neither team brought their A game…or even their B game (I would say B- game is accurate).  You can’t take away from the kids for their effort and heart for the game.

My heart goes out to the Butler players and faithful.  I can’t imagine making it back to back National Championship games and lose.  That must be heartbreaking.  Unfortunately I have to make a few comments on this game.

Butler finishes as the NCAA men's basketball Runner Up for the second year in a row

It’s obvious that Butler shot terribly (18.8% to be exact).  When you shoot that bad you’re not going to win.  At first the shots just weren’t falling. Then they started taking bad shots and forcing up unbalanced shots.  It was just a bad night for the Bulldogs and it was really hard to watch. After praising Butler for their toughness and composure they came out and once down by 6 in the second half they almost seemed nervous, scared, and anything but poised. If you look at Butler’s effort though without a scoreboard you wouldn’t think there was that much of a difference in the score.  Uconn only scored 53 points.  If you would have told me that before the game I would have said Butler would be your 2011 National Champions. I think it’s fair to say Butler’s effort and hustle were there, their shots just didn’t fall tonight.

Kemba capped off an amazing season by scoring a game high 16 points during the National Championship

You must give Uconn credit.  They played a good game and they made more shots than Butler (not hard considering Butler shot 18.8%).  You can’t ignore the fact that Uconn’s extended ball pressure, length, and consistent lucky bounce of the ball frustrated Butler.  Uconn came out and pressured the ball about 10 feet in from the half court line.  This forced Butler out of their half court offense and really forced them from getting into any type of rhythm offensively. Uconn’s length also gave Butler problems.  You could tell that Butler was confused and sometimes panicked taking dumb shots whenever they got an inch of light to shoot.  Tonight was Uconn’s night all around.  They got a lot of bounces that were very lucky and that helps with gaining momentum and putting points on the board, which seemed so much more important tonight because scoring was so scarce tonight.

To add on to the crappy play going on the referees were also terrible.  Tonight they didn’t cost anybody a game and they were pretty consistent.  In this instant their consistency was just crappy.  I personally felt like the refs were calling very ticky tacky fouls throughout the game but at the same time letting obvious fouls go uncalled.

Overall, I thought this tournament was awful.  Yeah Cinderella stories are great and upsets are exciting.  But, in the end I think tonight showed that the two best teams didn’t make the Final game.  I do think both teams deserved to be there but I feel as if an Ohio State vs. Kansas game would have been much more entertaining. Not to mention that over 100 points would have been scored.  In this case there’s a lot to learn from and there’s always next year!

 

The Final Countdown!


Uconn is going to need Kemba's leadership and last second heroics just one more time tonight in the National Championship game

The day has finally come! The National Championship game tonight between The Butler Bulldogs and Uconn Huskies.  I was unable to watch the Final Four games because I had a fraternity thing I had to be at.  I’m also supposed to be playing in an intramural basketball game tonight…yeah right! I picked these two teams to win to set up this match up last week.  I explained why I thought they were going to be successful and I plan to make my prediction for tonight’s soon to be National Champion.

I like both of these teams.  Both teams are in the championship for a reason.  Butler got off to a slow start at the beginning of the season but have really shown up ready to play and have taken care of business every night come tournament time.  Uconn is on one of the most exciting runs I’ve ever heard of.  They have won 10 straight games all coming during the Big East tournament and now the NCAA tournament.  I think tonight’s match up will be a great one to watch.

I’ll start with Uconn.  Uconn, as mentioned above, is on an incredible 10 game winning streak.  I like Kemba Walker and the way he can win games with last second shots.  The only thing that really worries,and not all that much,  me for Uconn is how many games they’ve played in the last couple of weeks.  Yeah they’ve had some time off and time to recuperate but, from what I’ve been told by respected sources Uconn seemed a little tired against Kentucky in the Final Four.  I wasn’t concerned about that earlier in the tournament and here’s why.  They’re a bunch of 18-22 college students! I’m a college student and I played varsity football for 4 years.  I knew how to prepare my body for competition and these athletes have many more resources than I ever could have dreamed of.  Still this is only a minor concern.  With Jim Calhoun’s coaching ability, Walker’s ability to hit big shots, and Jeremy Lamb stepping up I think Uconn will be difficult to beat tonight.

Howard's hustle and playmaking will be much needed in tonight's National Championship game

Surprisingly I like Butler tonight.  There’s something special going on in that Butler locker room.  This team has NCAA tournament experience and the hunger to keep winning.  Not only that, they have one of the most intelligent young coaches in the game today.  Brad Stevens has a very close relationship with his players, I mean for goodness sakes they only have 8 players on the squad!  He knows how to get his guys ready to play and how to keep them composed. You can see that his players want to win just as much for Coach as they do for themselves.  I’ve played for a coach I respected and loved and it’s totally different than playing for a coach you could give to squats over a toilet about.  You play harder, you’re focused, and you hustle much more.  Like I said, there’s something special going on in that locker room.  Let’s not forget to mention Butler making their second straight appearance in the National Championship game. They lost last years championship game by only a few inches! They have that hunger, that passion, and the fuel needed to win a National Championship. I’ve mentioned Butler’s composure and I think they’re late game execution shows that.  Winning close games is in the Bulldogs’ blood. I also think Shelvin Mack will have another big game to help propel Butler to their first National Championship!

Regardless of who wins tonight it should be a very good game.  Both teams are deserving to be where they are and both deserve to be the National Championship.


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!


There’s a lot of excitement and anticipation building up for this weekends games.  Everyone wants to see the game between VCU and Butler and most forget that Uconn and Kentucky are still even in the tournament.  Unfortunately Jim Calhoun and his Huskies are being put in the shadow this weekend.  His star Kemba Walker has earned himself as much attention as his heart could ever desire with the way he has played this season.  His last second heroics have made him a finalist for the Naismith Award (National Player of the Year).

Kemba looks to stay hot during the Huskies run to the National Championship

Fortunately for John Calipari him and his team are also in the shadow because of the other Final Four game.  I find it strange that Calipari’s last two Final Four appearances have been wiped from the record books for NCAA violations.  Could this be his third strike? Only time will tell and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.  Regardless of whether or not each team deserves to be in this game because of codes of ethics or what not it’s sad to say that most viewers (besides Uconn and UK faithful) of the Final Four this weekend are only watching simply to see who will play the winner of the VCU/Butler game, which coincidentally is played before the Uconn/UK game.

I have a few thoughts on this game though.  I’m actually looking forward to what the experts are calling the “Goliath” match up.  Not to take away from Butler or VCU but I think this will be a better basketball game. I could be wrong though, as I have been many times in my life.  But, I think watching a combined seed total of 7 (UK=4, Uconn=3) will be much more enjoyable than watching the 11 seed VCU face up against the 8 seed Butler.  Colin Cowherd of sportsnation put it like this, and on this rare occasion I agree with him, “Everybody says they love the Cinderella story but, the day after the game ratings are terrible”.

As for the Uconn and Kentucky game, I think it’s going to be awesome.  I thought Kentucky was going to be beat easily against Ohio State and their bigs played one hell of a game.  Though VCU has been surprising I’m just as surprised by Kentucky.  I didn’t think the SEC this year was worth a darn but here are the Wildcats ready to battle the Huskies.

Even though Calipari figuratively has two Final Four appearances Jim Calhoun has much more tournament experience.  I think Calhoun’s experience mixed with Kemba’s dominance aided by freshman Jeremy Lamb will be unstoppable.  Uconn is currently on a 9 game winning streak.  What’s more surprising than that is all these wins have come during the Big East tourney and the NCAA tourney.  Against quality teams.  The NCAA tournament isn’t necessarily about whose the best team in the nation. It’s about whose the hottest team in the nation and right now I think it’s no doubt that Uconn is the hottest team (though some would argue VCU is).  I see the Huskies continuing their winning streak and making it to the National Championship game.

 


I’ve decided to fool around and try to enhance my page even further by seeing just what I can do with this site.  So, without further adieu here’s my first poll. Enjoy!

 

 


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.


My Sweet 16 analysis has basically turned into my Final Four predictions.  You may have guessed it from the title but, I think Uconn is going to make the Final Four from the West Region.  And here’s why:

Uconn is coach by Jim Calhoun.  You cannot argue that Calhoun isn’t a great coach. He’s been in the tournament multiple times and has won a national championship.  The point is Calhoun knows how to coach in big games and in close games.  Plus it always helps to have one of the Player of the Year nominees on your squad.

Kemba is in contention for the Naismith Award (Player of the Year). His moves will be needed to lead the Huskies to a hopeful Final Four run.

I’ve said it all year that I like Kemba Walker.  Personally I can’t think of another player that I’ve ever seen.  He’s the all around player that can take over games and put the team on his back.  Kemba is 1st on his team in points (23.5) and assists (4.3) per game and second in rebounds per game (5.3).  To me that’s amazing.  It’s really good for a guard to be in the top 2 for points and assists but when you’re guard can also get up there in rebounds too your ball club will be given an advantage.  Walker has that uncanny ability to find the ball.  I remember watching the Pittsburgh vs. Uconn game on the Dec. 27th 2010 and even though Uconn lost I knew Uconn was going to be a Final Four team.  I just remember Kemba Walker making plays that no other player was making at the time (Jared Sullinger was making post player plays like none other, can’t compare the two).  Personally, I think Kemba is damn near impossible to stop and nobody can stop him besides himself at the college level.

Not only have the Huskies been through the brutal Big East schedule this season but they managed to win the Big East Tournament.  All 9 of Uconn’s losses came during Big East play (regular season obviously).  The Huskies are currently on a 7 game winning streak including 4 wins against teams ranked in the top 25! If that’s not being hot at the right time I’m not really sure what is.

I can’t forget to mention the fact that I don’t think San Diego State is very good.  Giving them a 2 seed was very very generous by the Selection Committee and they had a close game from a Temple Owls team I hadn’t heard too much about. I know it’s March and should expect close games but I thought they played sloppy against Temple.  I’m still not convinced SDSU is an Elite 8 or Final Four team.  I like Uconn in this match up, I think the Huskies will win big!