Half of Elite Eight Set; Tubby Out…Who Is Likely In?

March 23, 2007

Dr. Dick recovered nicely in his Bracket, surging from the 16th percentile to the 43rd (per Yahoo!) as result of picking ALL 4 WINNERS last night.  As I mentioned last time, one goal of filling out a bracket is to nail the Final Four. In addition to The Ohiuo State University and UCLA, two of my FF play tonight, FLA & G’town.  Wish me luck!

In the “Other March Madness”, it has  been quite a week on the Coaching Carousel.  Tuuby Smith…out; Big Ten golden boy Steve Alford…out.  When I heard Tubby (don’t you love that his name is Tubby?) was on the move to Minnesota, the first name that popped to mind was Mark Few.  Built/sustained a great program at a remote outpost…has patiently passed on pursuing other high profile positions…younger coach, yet has plenty of head coaching experience.  If there were odds on the KY hiring I’d make Few the fave.

That’s it for now…Dr. Dick

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March Carnage

March 20, 2007

For Dr. Dick  the fun of making picks in the NCAA is twofold: trying to isolate upsets in the early rounds and picking the Final Four.  Well, the results are in on the first category…and it was ugly!  While I took solace in selecting Winthrop as a first round winner (as far back as December!), the balance of the first two rounds was a depressing exercise in favorite-picking.  As described by ESPN.com bracket-man Joe Lunardi, this is an historically chalky Sweet 16:
“How historic? Just one prior tourney in this era (1989) has given us a lower Sweet 16 “seed score” (the sum of the seeds of the remaining teams) — and this is just the second time since 1985 that we’ve been without a double-digit seed in the regional semifinals.”

As a result, in the Yahoo! pool, my selections rank in the 16th percentile…as I said: UGLY.  But on the second metric of Final Four selections, I’m still alive with G’town, FLA, UCLA and The Ohio State University (albeit barely!).

I’ll be releasing my selections for the next round tomorrow, although I have a hard time believing anyone will be interested, given  my performance thus far.

Until next time…Dr. Dick

Thursday Afternoon Update

March 15, 2007

Well, we should call this a Public Service Anouncement, designed to enhance your self-esteem. I am 4-3 on the day, with NONE of my upset choices coming close. I had wins on MD, G’town, The ‘Ville and TX A&M…losses toButler, Wazzu and BC…also getting killed with my GW pick (43-18, just before the half). Looks like a 4-4 start…abysmal.

An entertainment note: Be sure to read the always hilariuos and occasionally insightful Sports Guy’s Running Diary, updated throughout the day. I should add he claims to be 7-0. Big !@#$%^&*ing deal…all the higher seeds won.

I’ve got to work tonight, so TiVo to the rescue. I’l be watching late night and post for your enjoyment.

Dr. Dick

Thursday Early Games

March 15, 2007

I hit on  MD, The ‘Ville, missed on Bobby Knight over Al Skinner.

  • Happy that the Basketball Gods crushed Stanford in an embarassing defeat.
  • Watched the first half of the Davidson/MD game.  Love the style Davidson plays, particularly the way they advance the ball quickly to the corners and then kick for trailing triple asttempts.  Although I (correctly) picked MD it wasimpossible not to root for the Davidsons.
  • The TT loss does not hurt too bad, as I have G’town emerging from that pod all the way to the Finals.
  • Gearing up now for the Oral Roberts stunner over Wazzu that I hope is coming.

I’ll check in later…Dr. Dick

Predictions for Sweet Sixteen and Beyond

March 15, 2007

Sweet Sixteen:

  1. FLA
  2. ODU
  3. Winthop Eagles, BABY!
  4. WI
  5. KS
  6. Salukis
  7. Dukies
  8. UCLA
  9. UNC
  10. TX
  11. GW
  12. G’town
  13. The Ohio State University
  14. UVA
  15. The ‘Ville
  16. Memphis

The Elite Eight:

  1.  FLA
  2. WI
  3. KS
  4. UCLA
  5. TX
  6. G’town
  7. The Ohio State University
  8. Memphis

Final Four:

  1. FLA
  2. UCLA
  3. G’town
  4. The Ohio State University

Champion:UCLA over G’town, 66-64.

Wish me luck…Dr. Dick

March Madness, First Round, West – The Toughest Bracket

March 13, 2007

In my humble judgement, the toughest bracket; The RPI Rankings support this notion. The West has 10 of the Top 32 RPI teams; we would expect 8 (representing 1/4 of 32). Of the ESPN “experts” only Vitale rates the West the toughest bracket. We’ll see how it works out. I put RPI Ranking in parentheses to show power in this bracket.

  1. Kansas (#11) over Play-in Winner, faces tough second rounder.
  2. UCLA (#3) over Weber St.: Despite two late losses UCLA gets to stay in Cali until Final 4.
  3. Pitt (#5) over Wright State. Pitt staggered down the stretch may be susceptible in second round.
  4. S Illinois (#6) over Holy Cross. Would have liked to pick the Sports Guy’s alma mater, but I can’t.
  5. VA Tech (#32) over Illinois (#29). More Big Ten fodder.
  6. Duke (#15) 0ver VCU
  7. Indiana (#28) loses to Gonzaga. Sure hope I am right about the Big 10.
  8. Kentucky Cats (#13) lose to ‘Nova Cats (#19). How can Villanova be a #9 seed with a Sagarin Predictor of 15 and an RPI of 19? Should have been a #6 seed…now they’ll have to prove it!

By Thursday I’ll get a full bracket completed and posted. For now enjoy all four Regions and Dr. Dick’s Picks.

March Madness, First Round, Midwest

March 13, 2007

Deconstructing the First Round, Midwest Edition…

  1. Florida over Jackson State
  2. Wisconson over TAMU CC
  3. Oregon over Miami (OH), as a Duck Alum I’m rooting hard for Oregon, but have little faith in Coach Kent’s Xs and Os.  Gifted a 3 seed on one week of hot shooting.
  4. Maryland over Davidson
  5. Butler loses to ODU: Another bad job by the committee having lesser conference foes battle one another.
  6. ND loses to Winthrop:  I’ve been popping off about the Eagles for months…not wild about ND as the opponent, but I have to stick to my guns.
  7. UNLV loses to GA Tech:  Unlucky draw for Rebs
  8. ‘Zona over Purdue:  I mentioned my lack of respect for the Big Ten earlier.

Three lower seeds projected to defeat 5,6 and 7 seeds; if this works out I’ll look real good.

Only the West remains…stay tuned.

March Madness, First Round, South

March 13, 2007

Continuing with First Round prognostications:

  1. Ohio State over Central Connecticut State
  2. Memphis over N. Texas
  3. Texas A&M over Penn
  4. UVA over Albany, although I was tempted
  5. TN over Long Beach, again tempted, but could not pull the trigger
  6. Louisville over Stanford, Stanford should not have been in, so I’m hoping the Hoop Gods strike them down.
  7.  Nevada loses to Creighton:  Why match these teams in the first round…let ”em play BCS teams, rather than knock one another out!
  8. BYU loses to Xavier:  Cougs not all that good.

Has the look of a chalk bracket; 7/10 and 8/9 games are evenly matched.  Feels like The Ohio State University should roll through this weak bracket.

Stay tuned for more educated guesses…

March Madness, First Round, East

March 13, 2007

Well, the time has come to embarass myself in this forum by posting my First Round predictions.  We’ll see how they work out…

East

  1.  UNC over E KY
  2. G’town over Belmont
  3. WSU loses to #14 Oral Roberts:  WSU seeded to high!
  4. TX over NM
  5. USC over Arkansas
  6. Vandy loses to #11 GW:  Vandy toppled by A10 school.
  7. BC loses to #10 Texas Tech: Knight vs Skinner?  C’mon!
  8. Marquette over Mich Stat: Avoid Big 10, other than Buckeyes.

Summary:  A couple of “upset” selections could leave me vulnerable.  Stay tuned for other regions.

February SADness, March Madness

March 6, 2007

A neighbor of mine complains from time to time about suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Mrs. Dick sometimes tells the story of how Dr. Dick suffered “depression” when we went through our first winter in Oregon, which she attributes to the perpetual cloudiness that plagues the Northwest during the winter months (alternative hypothesis: the rigors of Oregon’s Ph.D. program).

In a related story I could NOT get my motor started to post here the last few weeks.  But February’s SADness gives way to March Madness – so I’m Back!!!

Had a great Saturday watching dueling games at my folks house: Villanova vs Syracuse with a spot off “The Bubble” at stake and Winthrop vs VMI with an auto bid a stake.  My Dad and brother are ‘Nova grads, so I had a strong rooting interest.  In addition, I touted Withrop in the December 15th post here at The Splog:

“Have you heard of Winthrop?  Likely not.  They play in the Big South and have a 3-3 record.  Not too impressive on the surface.  But the three losses were at North Carolina (73-66), at Maryland (71-60) and at Wisconson (82-79).  In the USAtoday/ESPN Coaches Poll those opponents are ranked third, twenty-eighth and seventh, respectively.  And each of the losses was on the road.  As a result, Sagarin’s Pure Point ranking for the Winthrop Eagles is #41.  So watch for the Eagles come Tournament time.”

Well, with their bid hanging in the balance as they eked out an 84-81 victory.  (Truth in reporting: a buddy, Paul Molinari, is an assistant at Winthrop).  So now we can wait for the Brackets to come out Sunday to see who the Eagles’ opponent in the first round is.  Based on the ESPN RPI estimates those losses to Carolina (#3), Wisconson (#4) and Maryland (#10) look even stronger today than they did in December.  Their only other loss was to (RPI #18) Texas A&M.

Winthrop’s RPI is #69, in large part dragged down by the quality of their Big South opponents.  This week they landed in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25.  It will be interesting to see where they are seeded.  My best guess is #11.
As for the ‘Nova Cats, they were also victorious, likely securing a bid.  Fifth -year senior Curtis Sumpter was tremendous.  In my post-game phone call with my brother – the most knowledgable hoops observers I know – he said Sumpter is one of his all-time favorite Nova players.  I’d have to agree.  Plagued by knee injuries, he was a better player than Foye, Ray or Lowery – all of whom were drafted last year.  Whether Sumpter ever regains the health to compete at that level remains to be seen.  But either way he was a TREMENDOUS college star.

The ‘Cats seeding will be impacted by their performance in the Big East Tourney, but at the end of the regular season their RPI stands at #18.

In other ‘Nova news, Yahoo! Sports reports:
Monday, Mar 5, 2007 11:43 am EST


Philadelphia 76ers consultant and former head coach
Larry Brown seems interested in getting Jay Wright
away from Villanova. Brown has started attending
Villanova's practices and games, home and away. The
Villanova coach would be perfect for some of what ails
the 76ers. As Villanova's coach and a Philly guy,
Wright has built solid links with the city's
basketball traditionalists.

They need a coach with youth, personality, passion and
a knack for handling the media. Wright's got it all.
He's also got a seven-year contract extension at
Villanova that he signed last February.

Here is hoping Coach Wright stays the course at ‘Nova – he’s truly one of the great coaches in the NCAA.  He could rise to the level of Calhoun, Massimino, Pitino, Boeheim, Thompson, Carneseca as one of the greats in Big East history.

That’s it for now…Dr. Dick