Friday, March 21, 2014

32 Left

        Big Sky representative Weber State went up 7-0 on top seeded Arizona, at one point leading by 8 points. However Arizona went on a 30-10 run to end the 1st half and if you have half a brain there was no way Arizona was going to lose. Honestly was shocked that Weber State wound up losing by 9 points, thanks to a late offensive flurry. Arizona coach Sean Miller gave Weber State its due come post game and was quite candid with his disappointment in his teams performance. At least Weber showed me fight and didn't give up. Arizona will be playing Gonzaga on Sunday. Gonzaga survived the foulfest with Oklahoma State beating the pokes, 85-77. The refs, wound up calling a tournament tying 61 fouls in what was an unwatchable "game." Yet I watched and heard perhaps a career mistake from play by play man Andrew Catalon. When Gonzaga big man Przemek Karnowski was fouled, Catalon goes on to say that perhaps Ok.State's strategy was "hack a polack" noting his poor free throw percentage. Surprised to hear it, partner in the booth Mike Gminski said "Easy now" to which Catalon apologized and then went on to describe Karnowski's Polish basketball ties. This will get anyone in trouble but to me it wasn't as offensive as the officiating. Perhaps one of the worst officiated games I've witnessed but then I look no further than to the Nebraska Baylor game played a few hours prior. Even worse. Nebraska committed 31 fouls to Baylor's 16. The crossing guards went to the line 48 times, Nebraska 16.  I'm sure this was one of the reasons Nebraska head coach Tim Myles was heated and got t'd up twice. But this is no way to focus on a great day of action. Not here on Modblog.
       The most exciting game today was between VCU and the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin. In an eerily similar brain cramp to Oklahoma last night albeit a cramp of a different variety, VCU fouled a 3 point shot that SFA made, resulting in a 4 point play. This allowed SFA take VCU to overtime, eventually winning the game. All you Mercer-Duke game fans can say that Mercer was a lower seed, "it was Duke!", the game was played in Raleigh, but this game between VCU and SFA simply was more exciting. I wasn't that surprised with Mercer beating Duke. If you read Modblog, you should notice that I have been keeping tabs on the Atlantic Sun conference and as shocking as the Mercer win was, the SFA win was that times ten. Moving along, what's with this praise for Coach K acting classy in the loss? Last I checked Coach K is Hall of Famer. Would you expect anything less? Enough of the fake shock realizing Coach K is a decent guy. UNC played in an exciting game against Providence, negating Bryce Cotton's impressive 36 point performance beating the Friars 79-77. Coastal Carolina kept it close for awhile, led at the half even but eventually lost to 1 seed Virginia.
       New Mexico lost again in the opener. Nothing against Stanford but for as much Mountain West basketball I follow, the Lobos played crumby. Sad really. I thought that last year's early exit to Harvard would still be lingering and New Mexico would find a way to overcome another loss in an opener. The Cardinal had other ideas and Johnny Dawkins gets his first tournament win as head coach. Speaking of the Mountain West, last week in the Mountain West Tournament there was a rather strange "administrative technical foul" given to Nevada when they played Boise State. In the scorer's book, Nevada had mis numbered one of its players resulting in the technical. You'd think that  programs would a.) know better  b.) take notice. Apparently not. This happened Thursday with Cincinatti. But in the category of "can you get any more serious?!?!," Kansas State probably topped it last night. I know this rule but for all of you who don't, while a team is in pre game shoot-around, NCAA rules prohibit players from dunking anytime after the 20:00 mark. If caught dunking after 20:00 the other team will shoot free throws prior to tip. Kansas State was caught dunking after the 20:00 mark(by a walk-on no less) and Kentucky shot 2 free throws before the tip. Kentucky wound up winning a game that seemed forever to end. This is why I like going to games early, like with 40:00 minutes left before tip-off. Case and point was this year witnessing a show put on by Florida Gulf Coast in Spartanburg S.C. The Gators weren't as impressive in their warmups in Columbia.
       Iowa State, despite running on all cylinders beating NC Central, have lost matchup nightmare Georges Niang for the rest of the year. Devastating hit to their run. Not that they can't do it but not exactly what Hilton magic was wishing for. Broken foot, ouch.  What doesn't hurt, is my Final Four remains intact. Creighton and Memphis survived tonight. I have Florida and Louisville as well. In closing it's interesting to note all flaws of the NCAA. For instance SDSU coach Steve Fisher going off in Thursday nights post game press conference or this tweet from Sports Illustrated writer Joan Niesen:

                                                     March Madness Indeed!

Harvard, Fraschilla, and Wroblicky

       Second round action debuted yesterday and didn't disappoint. It marked the first time 4 overtime games were played in the same day. Insane action, questionable decisions, and Harvard. Harvard, of course hinders me again. I am zero for three with the Crimson. In 2012 had them beating Vanderbilt, last year no way were they beating the Lobos sans Brandyn Curry, and of course yesterday they beat Cincinatti. Not so much surprise but more of a what the heck from the Bearcats. What I did find out was that Brandyn Curry from Harvard, despite hailing from North Carolina is not related to Dell. Also found out that Matt Fraschilla, freshman for the Crimson was indeed the son of Big 12's favorite spokesman, Fran. But the family ties extend to Oklahoma Sooners basketball. James Fraschilla is a sophomore on the Oklahoma team. Not to my surprise, Oklahoma lost to North Dakota State. The Bison feature good match ups on the front line with good ball handling big men. If San Diego State plays the way they did last night, North Dakota State should win. I'm probably the biggest proponent of Mountain West hoops but they continue to underwhelm in the big dance. Why should I be surprised if the Lobos lose today?
       Dayton got the last laugh beating the Buckeyes by one point in an exciting game. Texas escaped the Sun Devils in a wild finish. Speaking of Texas. no fan of SMU but the Mustangs, St. John's, or any other team on the bubble probably would have given better effort than Colorado yesterday. Pittsburgh is damn good but the Buffs effort yesterday was abysmal, joke worthy of their 9 seed.  Saint Louis somehow escaped with the win over NC State. Majerus lives. Albany kept it damn close with Florida. Louisville played a very intense Manhattan squad but somehow managed to advance. My favorite moment this side of the Sim Bhullar was courtesy of American University senior center Tony Wroblicky. I was unaware of his one handed free throws. This leads me to Florida Gators commit Zach Hodskins. If you think Wroblicky was good one handed, Zach will be a walk on.

                              Well, it's about time a 16 seed beats a 1. Let's Go Weber State!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

No Deonte Burton but Josh Adams was pretty good

I have to say I didn't expect as close a game Wyoming provided yesterday. However this dunk from Josh Adams was pretty sick, especially when you're not expecting it.

Weber State Basketball NCAA Birth Please

                            Weber State Basketball is rich in history, tradition, and winning.
       Lately, however the Wildcats seem unable to get that BIG win. Coach Randy Rahe has done a very good job since taking over the program in the 2006-07. In his first season, the 'Cats went 20-12, going 11-5 in Big Sky play, winning the Big Sky regular season and tournament. That team went onto the NCAA tournament where they were handled by UCLA in a 70-42 loss. In 2007-08, the 'Cats went 18-14 losing in the Big Sky semis. However the next two seasons Weber State locked home floor for the Big Sky tournament in Ogden. Promptly losing in the semis in 2009 and in 2010, a heartbreaker to Montana by one point in the championship game. The 2011 Wildcats went 20-14 but lost in the Big Sky semis.  In 2012 and 2013, granted not having home court advantage the Wildcats managed to lose the Big Sky title game, both times to Montana. Weber State has had five 20 win seasons, including a 30 win season last year yet has not advanced to the NCAA's since 2007. To date under Coach Rahe's helm, Weber State has gone 167-86 dominating the Big Sky, with only one conference tournament championship(one NCAA appearance) to show.
        Maybe just maybe, starting tonight against Northern Colorado, the Wildcats will change their losing ways. Even in last years incredible 30 win run, the Wildcats lost to East Carolina at home, at the buzzer for the CIT title. At least Montana has found its way out of this years Big Sky tournament. It's not as if Weber State needs to find a new offense or defense, they just need to find a way to win in a big spot. It's been sometime since a court storm at the Dee (this pic from '03),

SO let it begin tonight Wildcats.....please.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

12 Tickets Punched

       12 teams have advanced to the round of 68. Quite surprised to see Robert Morris and Florida Gulf Coast lose on their home floors. Also surprised to see Belmont lose, although not on their home floor, lose to Eastern Kentucky in Nashville. So the 12 teams punched in are Harvard(Ivy, only conference to not have a tournament), Eastern Kentucky(Ohio Valley),  Coastal Carolina(Big South), Mercer(Atlantic Sun), Wichita State(Missouri Valley), Delaware(Colonial), Manhattan(Metro Atlantic Athletic), Wofford(Southern), UW-Milwaukee(Horizon), Mt. St. Mary's(Northeast), North Dakota State(Summit), and Gonzaga(West Coast). Also surprised to see Vermont and Davidson not advance to at least
their respective conference tournament title games. That's why they play them right. Going forward, these next few days will be information overload for me. Have fun with the madness!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Deonte Burton Dunk of the Year

       This has to be the dunk of the year courtesy of Nevada Wolfpack 6-1 guard Deonte Burton

       Or this one at UNLV?

         I have to share this one from a few years ago from Deonte as well at New Mexico State
Now that I have finally figured out how to post videos on modblog, this will enhance your viewing.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Atlantic Sun Championship Preview


       This years Atlantic Sun Championship game will be a rematch of last years title game between the Mercer Bears and the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles. However this years game will be played at the home of Americas Cinderella at Alico arena in Fort Myers Florida. Interesting to note that when modblog took off, it was with the Atlantic Sun Championship. FGCU became the first 15 seed to advance to the sweet 16 in the history of the NCAA tournament. Looking back at my blog about last years A-Sun championship I had the nerve to write that perhaps Sherwood Brown was too much of a showman. Very funny. Look where that took him and "Dunk City." Needless to say, the rest was history. Sunday afternoons game will be a highly anticipated rematch with a birth to the NCAA tournament. I've seen Mercer play twice this year and Florida Gulf Coast twice on television, one time in person. I have to question Mercer. Will they embrace the role of underdog? Will FGCU embrace the role of "Dunk City" in front of their home fans? For Mercer, a senior laden team struggled at home to finally beat the Spartans of SC Upstate last night, taking 2 overtime sessions. I'm not particularly fond of Mercer Coach Bob Hoffman. I don't agree with his whining and sideline antics. In the previous matchup with FGCU I observed his actions on the sidelines, which I think were a liability to the Mercer Bears. My opinion aside of Coach Hoffman, this game already has me pumped up. I remember last year's game and FGCU ripping it from Mercer on their home floor. That has to still be on the minds of the Mercer Bears. Although I wouldn't be surprised to Mercer win, I like FGCU. Why? Because I saw them play at SC Upstate. Chase Fieler was in foul trouble, he eventually fouled out but Dunk City found a way to win on the road. Also Brett Comer is a solid point guard  despite what you hear or read. I'll take him. Should be a great game, Sunday at 2pm.
       Speaking of sideline antics, Frank Martin of South Carolina has been suspended the final SEC game of the year for his swearing at players Tuesday night in the game against Florida. Despite not seeing it on TV, I was there and it really is eerie to see in person. Not that I disagree with what he says or does I'm frankly surprised it took him this long to get a suspension on the grounds for what he was suspended for. I remember listening to a radio broadcast of South Carolina in December and listening to Frank Martin question his players manhood in an equally profanity laced tirade. So, why all of a sudden now? Fishy.
       So Weber State locks up home court with the Big Sky and loses at Portland State last night. I will have a separate blog entry for Weber State. Cool, home court. Will you win the Big Sky tournament please?!?!?!
       Last night, with the Mercer game playing on the radio in the background and the Hawaii/UCSB game on TV, I saw Hawaii coach Gib Arnold get t'd up and a fan from the UCSB stands runs onto the floor and gets in Gibs face. At that moment, I thought, lunatic. But then I thought it was funny. God forbid right. Guilty. Thankfully nothing bad happened with the incident but as the game went to halftime here is what a very (visibly) pissed off Sean Farnham said, "he's lucky he wasn't at a football game. if i saw him i'd have speared him." Way to be Sean. Another unidentified babbling dolt goes, "who knows if this guy had a weapon, if he was under the influence of drugs. under the influence of alcohol"...this guy gives insight I never knew existed. What's more disturbing is the fake phony self righteous "outrage" these talking heads profess. Had to vent. It's as if people forget what happened when the crowd threw beer at Ron Artest.
       BTW the Mercer band playing "Together in the Sand" by NOFX. Read the lyrics. Now imagine if someone that did became offended and declared that song never to be played by bands. To be passive aggressive, we're not that far away. Still a good tune nonetheless and was the first I have heard. Rick Cameron, the play by play voice for the Mercer Bears is pretty good. A good listen indeed.
       Hey USC won it's 2nd Pac-12 conference game this year, 1st on the road defeating Washington State. The Trojans now improve to 11-19 on the year. Memphis hosts SMU at noon. Will Memphis play like they can? I hope so. I was a bit ticked off at the inept SMU crowd on Wednesday night. So Louisville is running clock at the end of the game, which is over 82-71 but some SMU player goes ahead and steals the ball. Fine. So, Louisville tracks the ball down after the SMU missed layup, pushes up floor for a dunk putting the Cards up 84-71 with 3 seconds left and the SMU crowd is booing. Wait a second, that's what happens when you steal the ball on a team that is running out the clock. Moody Tragic. And how about this: UConn sweeps Memphis, Memphis sweeps Louisville, Louisville sweeps SMU, and SMU sweeps UConn. The AAC circle of life. HA!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Upstate to Columbia, South Carolina Basketball

       Division 1 men's basketball is very entertaining. A few weeks back I was in Spartanburg South Carolina home to SC Upstate at Hodge Gymnasium. I found out Hodge is the smallest capacity gym in D1 at 818. I thought NJIT was the smallest gym but no, that honor belongs to humble Hodge. Up at Hodge I went to see Florida Gulf Coast because they rocked the D1 men's basketball world last March. They didn't disappoint and wound up with a big road win for their Atlantic Sun title hopes. So going down to Columbia tonight to see South Carolina play host to the No.1 Florida Gators I didn't know what to expect and afterwards wasn't disappointed.

       18,000 seat Colonial Life Arena wasn't filled to capacity but most of the seats were filled. Carolina had just beat No.17 Kentucky on Saturday and the fans were primed for another upset. Although their were many Gator faithful in attendance, Gamecock pride was rampant and at the end of the first half #1 Florida was leading 28-26. The ol'ball coach(Steve Spurrier) came out during halftime riled the crowd, made a few jabs at Clemson, and Conor Shaw made an appearance thanking the crowd for his time as Carolina quarterback. Electric the atmosphere. Fans primed. The Gamecocks came to play. Another upset right. My brother and I were in for a show. After Carolinas Brenton Williams made a 4 point play and hit another 3 point shot the Gamecocks came back with a mini run of their own cutting the Gator lead to 39-35. That was as close as they would get because billy ball came back roaring. I think they went on a 23-5 run blowing the game open. Carolina got careless and despite my brother and I thinking the Gators had relied too much on the 3 point shot Michael Frazier II went record books knocking in 11 triples finishing the game with 37 points. It was as if the Gators vacuumed the place. South Carolina just got blitzed and it happened very fast very quick. Next thing you know the number one team in the nation was acting like the number one team in the nation. It did get funny at the end with the Carolina crowd throwing stuff onto the floor and chanting "Georgia Southern". The final score, Florida 72 South Carolina 46.
       Colonial Life isn't as intimate as Hodge. But the Gamecocks have a band. Love the college band, a vital piece to the college hoops experience. In closing obviously the Gators are good and it was cool to see how good they can be when they want to. The Gamecocks got gassed in the second and the Gators took that proverbial bait. Also, got to say what up to New Jersey Nets legend and former Gamecock Anthony Johnson. Unfortunately didn't get a chance to get the photo opp because it was "Bo Time" and he returned to his seat at the start of the 2nd half with some Bojangles.