Potential Upsets for Round 1 of the NCAA Tournament

Written by :
Published on : March 16, 2017

 

While the weather across much of the Midwest and Northeastern parts of the country would suggest otherwise, spring is just around the corner here in the United States and that can only mean one thing—March Madness has arrived.

 

A couple of storylines take center stage in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Defending champion Villanova looks to become just the 3rd back-to-back champ in the past 25 years, Northwestern makes its NCAA Tournament debut after making the tourney for the first time in their history, and possibly the feel good story of the tournament, Michigan battles on after quite the scare when their team plane heading to Washington D.C. for the Big Ten Tournament slid off the runway. Michigan went on to win the conference tournament and isn’t a team anybody wants to see right now.

 

But of course, as always with the NCAA Tournament, new storylines seem to be born every round, and upsets can come from anywhere, just ask Michigan State. So as you take a final look at your bracket, desperate to find that Cinderella that’s going to keep your bracket from being busted during the opening weekend, take a look at these potential underdogs that can make you look like a true Bracketologist.

 

For starters, with all the magic that is March Madness, it’s hard to define what is and what isn’t an upset, who is or who isn’t a Cinderella. For the sake of this article, nothing under an 11-seed will qualify as an upset so if you want to boast around the office about how you predicted a 9 or a 10-seed winning on opening weekend, save it.

 

Here are my 5 most likely big upsets for Round 1 (Thursday and Fridays games).

 

5. (#13) East Tennessee State over (#4) Florida

 

The Gators are the last team to win back-to-back NCAA Championships when they did it in the early 2000’s, and are set to face the defending champs Villanova in the Sweet 16, should both teams make it that far. However, both teams would be wise to not look ahead to that potential matchup as they both have a tough road to the Sweet 16. For Florida, they better not look beyond even their first game as East Tennessee State is looking to steal one. The Gators are without their big man in the middle (John Egbunu) which takes away a dynamic shot blocker. On the other side, East Tennessee State has the ability to shut down the paint defensively and they have a big-time scorer in T.J. Cromer.

 

Upset confidence points: 3/10

 

4. (#12) Florida Gulf Coast over (#5) Florida State

 

Who doesn’t remember when Florida Gulf Coast shocked the world by defeating 2-seed Georgetown in 2013, introducing us all to “Dunk City?” After making the tournament last year as well, Florida Gulf Coast is becoming even more of a household name this time of year and are set for a very interesting all-Florida matchup against Florida State in Orlando. Oh how the selection committee has a way of putting these regions together. Florida State was a team I loved going into the season, as I expected them to be major players in the ACC. After tying for 2nd place in the conference, the Seminoles lost a close game to eventual conference tournament champion, Duke in the ACC Tournament. The dynamic duo of Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Dwayne Bacon can light up the gym but the Seminoles all too often get their lights knocked out when the spotlight is on.

 

Upset confidence points: 4/10

 

3. (#12) UNC Wilmington over (#5) Virginia

 

A year ago, UNC Wilmington almost pulled off a major upset when they gave Duke all it could handle before the Blue Devils eventually pulled out an opening round win. One year later, UNC Wilmington is looking for redemption against another ACC foe. Coach Tony Bennett has built a fantastic program at Virginia in recent years centered around defense. The Cavaliers are not flashy and may even have a tendency to put you to sleep, but for the past few years it has gotten results. UNC Wilmington is the exact opposite as they get up and down the floor quickly. This is your classic “something has to give” matchup as two very opposite styles try to get their opponent to play to their pace. UNC Wilmington protects the ball well, and attacks the offensive glass. Second chance points for the Seahawks and Virginia’s inability to match offensively I think is the difference.

 

Upset confidence points 5/10

 

2. (#11) Rhode Island over (#6) Creighton

 

A couple of smaller schools match up here in the Midwest Region on Friday afternoon with the Rhode Island Rams and the Creighton Blue Jays. For both teams, they entered the season with very lofty expectations and both had disappointing finishes. For Rhode Island, a preseason ranking was followed by a shaky of 10-6, but they wound up winning 14 of their final 17 games. On the contrary, the Blue Jays got off to an incredible 18-1 start but limped to the finish line going 7-8 down the stretch. The downfall seemed to begin when point guard Maurice Watson (who at the time led the NCAA with 8.8 assists per game) went down with a torn ACL. Sometimes in March, it’s all about who enters the Big Dance with more momentum and the Blue Jays seem to have the momentum of a flightless bird.

 

Upset confidence points: 6/10

 

1. (#12) Middle Tennessee State over (#5) Minnesota

 

With possibly the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history under their belts after defeating 2-seed Michigan State last year, the Blue Raiders are out to show the world they aren’t a fluke. While they flew under the radar a bit last year, Middle Tennessee State probably has a better team this year and won’t be satisfied with just a first round victory this time around. Giddy Potts and Reggie Upshaw were enough to knock off the Spartans last year but the addition of JaCorey Williams gives them the realistic possibility of making a Sweet 16 run. Minnesota has enjoyed quite a turnaround this year as the Golden Gophers went from an 8-23 season last year, and having only 2 conference wins to finishing 4th in the Big Ten this year with a 23-8 record overall. Richard Pitino has a very talented young team led by point guard Nate Mason who has big game ability. Minnesota however does not have a ton of depth and the Red Raiders will look to expose that by getting the Golden Gophers into foul trouble. Expect to see Middle Tennessee State wreck another Big Ten team’s season, and avoid seeing them wreck your bracket again. Go with Middle Tennessee State.

 

Upset confidence points 7/10

 

So there you have it. Five big games to watch that have the potential to either make or break your bracket. Tread carefully, but if you’re looking for a little more spice or sizzle for your bracket, needing to find some upsets to shake things up, then look no further. A 12-seed over a 5-seed is almost a gimme as is the popular 11-seed over a 6-seed. This year I see a great chance to have as many as three 5-seeds fall. When the dust settles I think the cream will rise to the top and the Final Four won’t be anything too surprising but the opening weekend could be one to remember. Good luck and enjoy the dance.

 

 

 


Showdown in Columbus

Written by :
Published on : November 22, 2016

 

 

It’s finally almost here. The moment everyone in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Columbus, Ohio have been waiting for. The moment college football fans across the country have waited for. The Game, the name given to the annual matchup of the University of Michigan Wolverines and the Ohio State Buckeyes, is just days away. Many people consider this the best rivalry in college football, if not all of sports. The first meeting of these two storied college football programs occurred on October 16, 1897 with Michigan winning by a score of 34-0. The teams have now met a total of 111 times and the Wolverines lead the series with a record of 58-47-6.

 

To fans of these teams, this game is all that matters. The entire season is a tune-up for The Game. Even when one team is not very good, this ends up being one of the toughest games on either’s schedule. But every now and then, the stakes get raised to epic proportions. And this is one of those times.

 

Ohio State is sitting at #2 in the College Football Playoff standings. Michigan is #3. Both teams have 10-1 records and have looked dominate for most of the season. While the Buckeyes struggled against the Michigan State Spartans last week, and Michigan had issues against Indiana, there is no doubt that both of these teams are among the best in the country. They have top defenses and their offenses have the ability to break a big play at any given moment. For the first time in a long time this game will have national championship implications. The winner will likely be headed to the Big Ten Championship and the College Football Playoff. Let’s take a look at some things to keep an eye out for in The Game.

 

Home-field Horseshoe Advantage

 The Buckeye crowd will be going wild.

 

This the game will be played in Columbus, Ohio at the Horseshoe. For Michigan, it will be their second big rivalry game of the season played on the road. But this one will be way bigger than when they met Michigan State in East Lansing last month. Mostly because the Ohio State Buckeyes are a far, far better team than this year’s Spartans are. The Horseshoe is an extremely hard place to win for teams not named the Buckeyes. In fact, Ohio State has lost just once on its home field in the last two years. That’s a big challenge for Michigan and it’s world-beating defense.

 

The crowd will be going crazy and that will make things very difficult for the Michigan offense. Especially when you consider that QB Wilton Speight may not yet be ready to return to the field after suffering a shoulder injury two weeks ago in the loss to Iowa. If Michigan is forced to roll out John O’Korn again, who struggled in his debut last week against Indiana, it could be a long day. Whoever starts at QB for the Michigan offense is going to need to have nerves of steel in order to shake off that loud and aggressive OSU Crowd at the Horseshoe.

 

Jabrill Peppers

 Jabrill is going to need to bring his A-game.

 

One of the most dynamic players in the country, Jabrill Peppers, does it all for the Wolverines. He has played 12 positions for Michigan this season and has seen the field with every unit on the team. He makes his living on defense as a linebacker but also happens to be perhaps the most dangerous kick returner in the country. He also routinely gets time with the offense as both a running back and wildcat quarterback. Last week at Indiana, Peppers didn’t play any offensive snaps until the game was already in hand, but you can bet that they were just resting him up for this week’s game against the Buckeyes.

 

Look for Jabrill Peppers to be on the field in his normal capacity as a sure-tackling, QB rushing linebacker, but also keep an eye out for some new and inventive ways that he might get involved on the offensive side of the ball. The coaches at Michigan are sure to have some tricks up their sleeve with Peppers this week. This is the game everyone has been looking forward to all year so there has to be some plays that they have been saving for this game specifically. Perhaps Jabrill will complete his first pass of the season, or perhaps he will catch a touchdown pass? Either way, look for one of the most exciting players in the country to go off, or die trying come Saturday.

 

Coaching Battle

 Battle of the titans.

 

When the University of Michigan hired Jim Harbaugh as the 20th head coach in the school’s history, we just knew that there would be some showdowns with Ohio State like this one. We just didn’t know we would get it so soon. In only his second year as head coach in Ann Arbor, Harbaugh has already turned the Wolverines around and pulled them out of the depths of despair that characterized the Rich Rodriguez/Brady Hoke era at Michigan. Along with Urban Meyer (and Mark Dantonio), Harbaugh represents the cream of the crop in college football coaching and coaching in the Big 10. So it’s safe to say that us fans are in for a big treat this weekend.

 

This matchup of football coaching titans is sure to produce some memorable moments. With proven QB JT Barrett running Urban Meyers’ offense and a Michigan defensive line that makes life miserable for QBs and routinely knocks them out of games altogether, this will be a hard fought battle. Contests like this are why Jim Harbaugh came to Michigan in the first place. To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best and that’s what Ohio State has been consistently since the turn of the century. Both teams have shown signs of weakness recently, but you better believe these two head coaches will have their guys ready to play. Get ready for the most exciting game of chess you’ve ever witnessed.

 

Those are some of the bigger points of The Game to look out for this year. On Saturday November 26th, a year’s worth of hard work and preparation for both teams will come to a head. Look for this year’s edition of Michigan vs Ohio State to be one of the most exciting meetings in recent memory. Whatever the outcome, it’s us fans who will be the real winners.

 

 


Is Jabrill Peppers the second coming?

Written by :
Published on : August 13, 2016

 

 

After just one season as head coach of the University of Michigan Wolverines, Jim Harbaugh has already achieved god-like status for fans of the team. That might be a little over the top but that’s just the way it seems in Ann Arbor and all across the maize and blue nation. The khaki-clad assassin changed the culture of the football program immediately by winning games and making the team a desirable destination for the nation’s top high school athletes.

 

So if Harbaugh, who is one of the most exciting coaches in all of football, is our new god, then what does that make the team’s most exciting and electrifying player? Is Jabrill Peppers the messiah? Is he the second coming? There may not be a new religion founded in his honor (or maybe there will), but this guy could blossom into the best player to wear maize and blue in decades. If he can stay healthy and continue to grow as a player, he could make what Charles Woodson did for the team look like child’s play.

 

 What’s the word for someone who is more than a triple-threat?

 

Stories out of Wolverines’ training camp are that Jabrill Peppers is ready to explode this coming season. The world already knows that this kid has tons of talent, but with the way people are talking he could be the most electrifying player in the country once games begin this fall. The 20-year-old redshirt sophomore has already shown what he could do last season when he was consistently the most dangerous player on the field, regardless of which position he was playing. For his efforts he won the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year award in the Big 10.

 

You don’t have to watch the game tape for very long to realize what an impact Peppers has on every single snap of the game. As a safety/cornerback last season, it was evident that in addition to his freakish physical abilities, he had a high level of understanding of the game. His coverage skills are more than adequate, as shown by his 10 pass breakups in 2015. But his skills as a tackler are what make him such an asset to the Wolverines’ defense. Once he sets his sights on an opposing runner his ability to track and tackle are as good as it gets, and if he gets the chance to really tee off on an opposing offensive player he lays the lumber with the best of ’em in college football. I’m talking SportsCenter Top 10 style hits.

 

 

This year he has made the switch to more of a hybrid linebacker/safety type position in Don Brown’s defense. He will still spend time in coverage but will also have more of a chance to showcase his tackling skill as he plays closer to the line of scrimmage and strikes fear into the hearts of opposing offenses in the Big 10. With the rock solid defensive line that Michigan is sporting this season, look for Jabrill to have free reign up and down the line of scrimmage as the big boys up front occupy the other teams’ offensive lines. With that kind of freedom, watch him to rack up tackles for loss in 2016.

 

So Jabrill Peppers is a top notch defender, but everybody knows that defenders don’t win Heisman Trophies. You know who does, though? Guys who play both offense and defense, or even better, guys who play, offense, defense and return kicks. That’s right, just like the last defender to win the Heisman, Charles Woodson, Jabrill Peppers makes plays on all sides of the ball. And he makes it look good.

 

 If he shows up like we think he will, this Heisman race might be no-contest.

 

There really isn’t any reason that Jabrill Peppers shouldn’t be on the field for  every meaningful offensive snap this season. Even if he’s slightly gassed, you can throw him out there as decoy and defenses must account for his presence on the field. The Wolverines can you use him as a receiver, running back or wildcat QB, and he has the athleticism and speed to take it to the house on any given play. He clocked in at 4.34 seconds in a 40-yard dash that he ran in June. The fact that he is able to play so many different positions and be the best player on the field no matter where you put him is extraordinary.

 

It’s because of the fact that he is consistently the best player on the field, regardless of position, that coach Harbaugh said that they envision him to playing up to 100 plays per game. That’s bananas. Should he see that much time on the field every game then ESPN has rightly labeled him as the #9 player in the country, and we should expect his TD numbers to skyrocket. And if that happens we will be seeing his name in the Heisman discussion by the end of September. This kid might not be the second coming of Jesus Christ in cleats, but he might just be the next coming of the Heisman Trophy in Michigan, and maybe even the College Football Playoff and beyond.

 

 


Lou Holtz: Trump Supporter, Xenophobe, Crazy Old Kook

Written by :
Published on : July 21, 2016

 

 

 

I never really thought I could dislike Lou Holtz more than I already do. Sure, his endless ranting about how great Notre Dame is every year annoyed the hell out of me, but he seemed like just another harmless old man whose whits had dulled with age. Well yesterday that crazy old kook proved me wrong. Lou Holtz appeared at the Republican National Convention and man has he been on a roll.

 

He started his appearance off with some light hearted immigrant bashing. He’s that racist grandpa that we’re all embarrassed about but don’t have the heart to tell to shut up in front of company. While speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Republican National Coalition for Life, a pro-life group, he referenced the immigrant “invasion” to his beloved, white-washed, United States of America. Reich Chancellor Holtz stated that “I don’t want to become you. I don’t want to speak your language, I don’t want to celebrate your holidays, I sure as hell don’t want to cheer for your soccer team.” To which the crown responded with raucous applause. Apparently they really hate Cinco de Mayo and the World Cup.

 

 “Trump will get these damn kids and mexicans off my lawn!”

 

What Lou Holtz was really saying is that he thinks that people of other cultures need to come here and learn english and completely forget their identity. Weird considering he is best known as the coach of a school whose entire mascot and identity is co-opted from one of the original hated immigrant groups, the Irish. And whose full name, Notre Dame du Loc, is French. But we can’t really expect this senile, daffy duck impersonator to remember little details like that, can we? Let me go out on a limb and say that not one single immigrant group wants Holtz to speak their language, besides he would sound pretty ridiculous trying to speak spanish. graccccccciiaasssshhhh.

 

Old man Holtz was also seen on his front porch yelling at some neighborhood children and threatening them with a garden hose. After that he was spotted walking around the floor of the convention holding a bottle of Crown Royal. So this is all starting to make sense. Anyone from the midwest has seen some angry old asshole who gets shitfaced on whiskey and then starts blaming minorities for all the problems in their life. Head on over to any hole-in-the-wall local bar in the rust belt and it’s probably happening right now.

 


 

Lou Holtz has obviously been hitting the cough syrup a little hard, so it’s understandable that he started lamenting the growing political correctness in our society. I mean what kind of country do we live in when you have to be held accountable for the racist, xenophobic trash that you spew in public, am I right?

 

Never mind that while Holtz was coaching at Arkansas, he appeared in campaign ads for former Senator Jesse Helms, a staunch opponent of the Civil Rights Act. I’m sure Holtz is a really sweet, well adjusted man. That’s why Donald Trump should be so thrilled to have his endorsement as the next President of the United States. Let’s take a look at Holtz giving Trump his stamp of approval back in May.

 

 

That’s right people, after having stayed in Trump hotels and played on his golf courses, Lou Holtz is certain that Donald Trump is fit to be the next President. What the fuck kind of logic is that? I enjoyed watching OJ Simpson highlights, that doesn’t mean I would want him to marry my daughter. If that wasn’t enough, Holtz went on to echo Mitt Romney’s “47 percent statement,” that pretty much doomed that campaign. Genius. If you’re like me, you should hope that Lou Holtz becomes an integral part of the Donald Trump campaign, because this guy is solid gold.

 

I’m kidding of course. While I am by no means a Donald Trump supporter, and would love to see this racist old clown help torpedo the campaign, I don’t think I can handle much more of this guy. Let’s all hope that Lou Holtz shuts up and goes away. And let’s thank whatever higher power there might be out there that he is no longer on on tv every Saturday.

 

 


Recap: Villanova wins the National Championship

Written by :
Published on : April 5, 2016

 

It’s all over. The confetti has fallen and the nets have been cut down. The Villanova Wildcats are your 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champs. They defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels 77-74 in regulation. It was an epic game that came down to the last few possessions. Let’s rewind the tape and see exactly how it all happened.

 

Villanova’s D came to play

This swarming unit was all over UNC from the opening tip. They forced turnovers and contested every shot. They really made life hell for the Tar Heel offense which is accustom to working the ball into the paint where they usually dominate. Not in this game. The passing lanes were clogged and North Carolina struggled to get consistent looks down the stretch. Coach Jay Wright should be proud of his team’s stellar defense.

 

 

The guards led the way

Senior Ryan Arcidiacono was a leader all tourney and he showed up big on Monday with 16 points. More importantly, he provided a calming presence in those wild last seconds as UNC stormed back. He also smartly passed the ball to Kris Jenkins who nailed the game-winning three. Arcidiacono could have taken the shot himself but Jenkins was open. This buzzer beater will go down in history as one of the all time best.

 

Marcus Paige is a beast

The only reason Nova was tied with UNC was because guard Marcus Paige was draining threes. His last shot was insane. He jumped, made a ball fake and then forced it up. It tied the game at 74 with only 4.7 seconds left. He led all scorers with 21 points, plus had another 5 rebounds and 6 assists. This game could have easily been out of hand but Paige’s heroics keep things super dramatic. Keep your eye on this dude.

 

 

Booth off the bench

Phil Booth finished with 20 of Villanova’s 77 points, all while coming off the bench. He was the leading scorer for the Wildcats when no starter had more than 16 points. He continually hit clutch shots, made all 6 of his free throws and both of his three point attempts. It seemed like every time Carolina hit a big bucket, Phil Booth answered the call. There is no victory without Booth. He may just have secured a spot on someone’s starting five.

 

Nova refused to lose

Down 34-39 at the half, it seemed like the popular narrative was playing out. The #1 seed Tar Heels had a lead and were playing their game. Coach Roy Williams was 20 minutes from his third championship. But Nova would not go away. Their defense locked in and suddenly things started to turn. UNC couldn’t get a pass inside and the Wildcats were swarming. Mikal Bridges was especially great in those end moments.

 

 

This is Villanova’s first title since 1985 and these guys truly earned it. They played a killer tournament and ended on the highest possible note. This team was a Marcus Paige away from winning by 10 and I’m sure they never wanted it to be that close but I’m positive that Kris Jenkins and other Villanova Wildcats wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

Sorry Jordan.

 

 


Get to know the Final Four

Written by :
Published on : March 31, 2016

 

 

 

What a quality tournament so far. We’ve seen big upsets, buzzer beaters, double overtime and everything in between. Now only four teams remain. My bracket is pretty busted. I only have 1 Final Four team correct but I have them winning it all so I may still finish in a reasonable place. But this isn’t about me, let’s get to know the squads who have braved the tourney so far. These are your Final Four of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

 

Syracuse

orange final four

 

They are a 10 seed in the Final Four. That has never happened before. Just for that reason they should win. So hats off to the ultimate cinderella team. I’m pulling for the Orange. It’s so rare what they are attempting. Make that history. People always say that the tournament is about momentum, if that is true then head coach Jim Boeheim should be getting ready to party. Boeheim has had a great career (won the title in 2003) and this would be just gravy for one of college’s best coaches.

 

North Carolina

 

My bracket pick to win it all. The only 1 seed left alive. Coach Roy Williams has the Tar Heels firing on all cylinders. No one wants to play this crew. Historically, 1 seeds have done super well in the tourney. No other seed has more championships. As the only 1 seed, UNC, must be considered the overall favorite moving forward. The math is in their favor. And if I know anything about basketball it’s that math is a big part of it. North Carolina has five national titles. That’s a lot of trophies. Duke also has five. With only Kentucky (8) and UCLA (11) sporting more.

 

Villanova

Villanova

 

This 2 seed shocked Kansas, who many picked it win it all. Maybe Highlander rules apply and now Nova has all the Jayhawks’ power. If that’s true then Villa may go Super-Nova on anyone left in their path to a title. Villanova has only ever won the tournament once and that was back in 1985. The first year the bracket was expanded to 64 teams. The Wildcats are still playing in March Madness because their defense has been stout. They force turnovers and those possessions lead to easy baskets.

 

Oklahoma

Oklahoma-Sooners

 

Another 2 seed. Is it too soon to call this the Sooners year? They are playing at such a high level and have been so fun to watch. They handled a solid Oregon team and looked in complete control. Oklahoma has never won a national championship. They were runners up in 1947 (lost to Holy Cross) and 1988 (lost to Kansas) so it would be great to see this lineup bring some hardware back to Norman, OK.

 

So I like all the teams. Sue me. Oh god, please don’t do that. I’m so broke and so is my bracket. Have mercy. Jokes aside, all four of these programs look strong and poised for a big win. It’s truly hard to discount any of these schools. I can see them all cutting down the nets come April 4th. Sit back and enjoy what will be some great college hoops.

 

 

Madness.

 

 


How to Deal with a Busted Bracket

Written by :
Published on : March 21, 2016

 

 

 

Michigan State lost and now everyone’s bracket sucks. I know, I hear you. I had Sparty in my Final Four. We aren’t even that far into the tourney and most folks seem so down about their chances. Well, I’m here to say: keep your chin up. Nobody saw State losing, so we are all affected. Many had them winning it all. That’s a little more rough. Here is some advice for those of you suffering heartache over your busted bracket.

 

It’s not over

Who knows what’s going to happen. There could still be some craziness and your terrible bracket may swing back into shape. So don’t tear it up just yet. Wait it out ’till it is actually done before you start crying and moaning. And generally speaking, don’t be so quick to get to the self-pity phase. That’s not a place you need to spend any extra time in. Trust me.

 

Downplay it

 

If you are mathematically dead-in-the-water then stop looking at your ranking in the office pool. Just enjoy the remaining games and don’t give in to the victim narrative of the sore loser. If someone asks “hows your bracket?” then downplay your initial excitement. Hit them with a “not my year” and move on. Speak anymore about your sad bracket and you must pay your friend at least $40/hour as a therapist. If you are going to weep, please do so in absolute solitude. Thanks, from everyone with eyes and ears.

 

Study

Use the loss to learn and grow. So next time your co-worker mentions the latest bracket busting upset you can fire back with an impressive stat. This shows off your knowledge even if you didn’t nail every pick and your status as college hoops guru can still be intact. This step is key. A chimp can pick a perfect bracket but the students of the game will always have an advantage. P.S. the chimp has Kansas beating UNC in the championship. Stupid, lucky genius.

 

Yale-hoops

 

Pick a new pony

You can’t start over but you can jump bandwagons. Maybe you were riding Michigan State but they are out. So pick a new horse. Now you love Duke or Indiana or Oregon and they were always your second choice. The one you should have never second guessed. But you can tell everyone, I always knew Blank was going to have a great tournament. Don’t you sound smart.

 

 

There is a lot of great college basketball yet to be played and don’t let your shitty picking skills ruin it. So just chill and dig the super fun drama that is March Madness. Remember, no tears unless they are of joy.

 

 

Hands up, you’re busted!

 

 


ESPN Airs “Fantastic Lies” Documenting The Duke Lacrosse Case

Written by :
Published on : March 17, 2016

 

Sunday night, ESPN aired “Fantastic Lies” which documented the infamous Duke Lacrosse rape case and the controversy surrounding it. First, let me say that it was that it was probably the best ESPN 30 for 30 I’ve ever watched. Given its sensitive subject matter, I’m surprised that ESPN even decided to produce it but I’m so glad that they did.

 

Growing up playing lacrosse and being a (former) DII lacrosse player, this a story I’m very familiar with. Ten years ago, when this story broke, lacrosse was even more of a niche sport than it is now. When people thought of lacrosse, they thought of an affluent, preppy white kid from New England who went to boarding school.

 

Here’s some reference:

 

 

And that was very much the case back then. So college lacrosse players, who most of the general public viewed as spoiled white kids from rich areas, didn’t have the best rep going into the scandal. Obviously, when the media got wind of this, everyone lost their minds. In the eyes of the public (and professors at Duke) the whole team was guilty.

 

Given today’s society, this would’ve been 10x worse if it had happened now. The scary thing is most people don’t even know what happened. I guarantee if you asked 10 people if they knew about this case all 10 would say yes. If you asked those same 10 people if they were proven innocent or guilty, I bet the majority would say guilty. That’s the sad part. People were so quick to condemn these kids because of who they were and where they came from. The accusations stuck in our minds, not the facts.

 

I don’t want to go into the nitty-gritty of the case, I’ll leave that job to ESPN because they do an excellent job of telling it.

 

For anyone who is familiar with this case or not, this is a real must-watch. I’m sure ESPN will air it again sometime this week, so be sure to watch.

 

Duke lacrosse has done a good job of putting this whole situation behind them and moving on to big things like this:

 

DukeLacrosse1

 

And like this:

 

DukeLacrosse2

 

 

 


SBS Guide to Bracketology

Written by :
Published on : March 16, 2016

 

A few days ago was Selection Sunday. That means the teams and seeding are chosen for one of the most competitive tournaments in sports. The NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament AKA March Madness is once again ready to roll. Millions will fill out brackets trying to guess all the upsets and blowouts. This is the art of Bracketology. It can get pretty tricky picking all the winners, so ScoreBoredSports put together a little manual to help everyone who needs some last second advice. This is the SBS Guide to Bracketology.

 

Find the upsets

All four #1 seeds almost never make it to the Final Four. That means there is going to be an upset somewhere. Figure this out and you are already ahead of the curve. Each year we have have a Cinderella story, the issue is trying to identify it. Worst case scenario is you discover the new hot team only to find ESPN has done a feature on your favorite underdog. Bummer. Either way, find that underrated squad and push them into your Elite Eight. This small move may win you the whole damn thing if it comes down to you and another player who has the same projected champion.

 

 

Ride the favorites

If you know nothing about college hoops then pick an all time favorite like Duke, UNC, or Kentucky. And hope you get lucky. Fingers crossed. In most cases, the top seeded team will win. This can’t happen every time or else March would be seriously boring. But generally speaking, select the squad with the best record. This will keep you competitive with the gamblers and serious analysts. Within this advice is the concept that you must follow trends. The tourney is all about energy and momentum. Find that hot team then double down and bet the farm. Also, most fantasy groups allow more than one bracket per person, so by all means, follow your gut. Or a hunch or the prediction of a mall-psychic. And cover all your bases.

 

Be bold

Don’t be scared of making a risky move. These are the things that will win you the top prize. There will always be a crazy twist that no one seeing coming. Roll the dice and just maybe you can get ahead of the curve. Correctly pick the 9th seed to reach the Final Four and you will be sitting pretty in any office pool. But know this, play it safe and you will for sure lose. Someone will have the the same shitty bracket as you but they will have picked something bold which gives them a chance to pull ahead. While you wallow in the middle with the other “Participation Trophy” holders.

 

There isn’t much time. Fill out those brackets (hopefully more than one) but be sure to pick a few underdogs, follow the hot hand but favor this year’s best. I feel like too often folks pick winners based on history. That’s a mislead. Last year’s team isn’t here. I’ll go with the crew that’s only lost three games all season.

 

 

When in doubt, just copy Obama’s answers.

 

 


Champ and Chump Week 13

Written by :
Published on : December 12, 2015

 

 

It’s that time again ladies and gentlemen. Time to see who got their names in the paper and whose stat sheet became crumpled up paper. We had some championship performances as eight NCAA teams took home conference titles, where I correctly predicted seven of the games. But enough about my success, let’s see this week’s Champ and Chump.

 

Champ: Christian McCaffery

32 carries for 207 yards and 1 TD, 4 catches for 105 yards and 1 TD, an 11-yard touchdown pass, and 150 return yards.

Christian and his new hardware

 

As a sophomore, McCaffrey led the Cardinals to the PAC 12 Championship and helped them clinch a spot in the Rose Bowl. The son of former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, Christian is paving his own road as one of the best. He literally can do it all as Stanford’s “Mr Everything.” Earlier this year he broke the NCAA record for all purpose yards in a game and has earned himself a spot on the Heisman Trophy ballot. While it will be hard to beat Alabama running back Derrick Henry, I think McCaffrey just may be the most exciting player in college football.

 

Honorable Mention:

Blake Bottles and Allen Robinson- Blake finished 24-36, 322 yards with 5 touchdowns and no turnovers while Allen finished with 10 catches, 153 yards and 3 touchdowns in a win over the Tennessee Titans.

 

Cam Newton- The Panthers remain undefeated, led by MVP candidate Cam Newton. He finished with 380 total yards and 5 touchdowns in a come from behind win against the Saints 41-38.

 

Chump: Detroit Lions/Jim Caldwell

Another heartbreaker for Detroit

 

Looking for their first season sweep of the Green Bay Packers since 1991, the Detroit Lions were just seconds away from keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. However, as time expired Aaron Rodgers heaved the ball as high and as far as he could. Turned out to be just enough as Packers’ tight end Richard Rodgers brought down the ball without a Lion defender all that close to him. On the previous play, Detroit tackled Rodgers around the Green Bay 30-yard line after a couple laterals only to have a face mask penalty called on Detroit. A free 15 yards, and one more shot at a miracle, Green Bay made the Lions pay for it and added another chapter to Detroit’s seemingly never-ending tragedy as a franchise.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

ACC Championship refs- I hate to be one to criticize refs and say they cost a team the game but here is another prime example where they absolutely may have. North Carolina had scored a touchdown to get within 8 points with just over a minute left. They recovered the ensuing onside kick only to have the refs flag them for offsides. No North Carolina player was actually offside, nor was it close.

 

Special teams in the Dallas/Washington MNF game- The first 58+ minutes of this game saw a combined 18 points on 6 field goals only to have 17 points scored in the final 90 seconds or so. First, DeSean Jackson runs backwards 20 yards on a punt before fumbling, which leads to an easy touchdown. Then on the kickoff, a Dallas player face masks a non-ball carrier after a 40 yard return. Washington ties the game back up, only to kickoff and allow Dallas to return the ball some 40+ yards and line up for a game winning field goal.

 

 

 

 


A Tale of Two Seasons: Why Iowa Can Beat Michigan State on Saturday

Written by :
Published on : December 2, 2015

 

 

I don’t know what’s more improbable – that Michigan State beat Michigan with 10 seconds left on the clock in Ann Arbor back on October 17th or that Iowa is even in this conversation to begin with. But here we are. The 12-0 Iowa Hawkeyes play the 11-1 Michigan State Spartans on Saturday for the Big Ten Championship and a (more-than-probable) spot in the College Football Playoffs on New Year’s Eve. The hype, or lack thereof, surrounding both teams as the season began could not be more different. And the end results could not be more similar. But I’m going to tell you why Iowa can win the game. Let’s start at the beginning.

 

When Iowa started the season, it was an ugly time for Hawkeyes football. They were destroyed by Tennessee on January 2nd in the TaxSlayer Bowl and then, frustrated fans who were desperate for change, responded by giving Iowa the smallest crowd they’d had in years at the home opener against Illinois State. They even cheered a failed fake field goal attempt because at least coach Kirk Ferentz was trying something. On the other hand, Michigan State was the preseason #5 in the nation and an early 31-28 marquee win against #7 Oregon in Week 2 already had sportswriters and analysts talking about the Playoffs and the national title hopes for the Spartans. They were supposed to cruise until they faced Michigan in October. Then they’d have this ultimate showdown with Ohio State in late November for the Big Ten East title. Never mind that Connor Cook hadn’t really played well yet. Never mind that this wasn’t the same Oregon team that Heisman-winner Marcus Mariota led to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game back in January. Everyone had already decided that Iowa was an afterthought in the West and Michigan State was the real deal in the East. That’s how we started.

 

Head Coach Kirk Ferentz and a lot of empty seats for the home opener.

 

It wasn’t until a 62-16 blowout of North Texas on September 26th that anyone began to notice Iowa at all. They’d found a solid running back in Jordan Canzeri, who tied a school record with four touchdowns in the game. Quarterback C.J. Beathard had also looked solid all season to that point. And Desmond King looked like a real play maker on defense and special teams. On the other hand, #2 MSU looked pretty bad in its win against Central Michigan. The game exposed their lack of a run game, Cook was still inconsistent at quarterback and injuries were mounting for the team. Just in time for October and Big Ten play.

 

By mid October, Michigan State was 6-0, but had two more ugly wins against Purdue and Rutgers. Sure, they were dealing with injuries. And their mantra was that since they were ranked so highly everybody was gunning for them, but they’d been completely underwhelming since the Oregon win and it was clear that this team was not as good as last season’s. Analysts argued that it would be a cause for concern against Michigan the following week. On the other hand, with wins against Wisconsin and Illinois, Iowa was on the brink of controlling the Big Ten West. They received their first ranking (#22) of the season and Jordan Canzeri managed 256 yards (the 3rd most in Iowa history) against Illinois, which continued his season-long praise. The “surprisingly resurgent” Hawkeyes were now bowl eligible and a win over Northwestern could put them in the driver’s seat.

 

Illinois couldn’t touch Jordan Canzeri.

 

The aforementioned INSANE and unforgettable ending of the Michigan State-Michigan game and the Twitter explosion that followed put the national college football spotlight back on Michigan State. Even though they’d only won this game and the previous two by a combined 14 points. Everyone forgot about their games against Central Michigan and Purdue and Rutgers. Now all that mattered was the Oregon win in September and the (literally) show-stopping finish against Big Brother. It’s even possible that nobody managed to notice Iowa lost Canzeri to injury, but still managed to get four rushing touchdowns out of his replacement, Akrum Wadley, in their dominant win against #20 Northwestern to become the clear favorites in the West. Really, nobody cared, nationally. The MSU finish truly was one of the craziest endings in NCAA football history. Everyone outside of Ann Arbor loved it. And without a convincing win in October and without a running game, the Spartans were back in the Playoff talks and Connor Cook was once again a sleeper choice for the Heisman.

 

As we entered November, both teams were undefeated with costly injuries and ugly wins. Iowa’s defense and forced turnovers kept them in the games and moved them into the top 10 for the first time. Their win over Indiana on November 7th had analysts talking about a clear path to the Big Ten West title, controlling their own destiny and, for the first time, actual Playoff talk. That was all with Jordan Canzeri still hurt and C.J. Beathard’s mobility slowed down with a groin injury. Not that it stopped him from diving over a pile of Indiana defenders to score a touchdown. But obviously the CFP committee wasn’t aware of any of that because they cited a lack of “offensive explosiveness” in their decision to place Iowa at #9 in the first CFP rankings. The very same day that Playoffs talk began with the Hawkeyes, the Spartans’ Playoff hopes took a huge hit with their ‘controversial’ loss at Nebraska. What everyone was ready to deem a magical season for MSU had actually and secretly been anything but. Nobody had noticed they barely beat Purdue and Rutgers. And that their win against Indiana wasn’t impressive. And then there was the miracle against Michigan. But it’s possible that playing the underdog is exactly where Michigan State needed to be in the long run.

 

Michigan State Kicker, Michael Geiger celebrates the last second, game-clinching field goal against OSU.

 

Without Connor Cook, Michigan State upset #3 Ohio State with a last-second kick by Michael Geiger, whose windmill celebration was actually kind of awesome. And the Buckeyes seemingly imploded after the game. Ezekiel Elliott and Cardale Jones said they were leaving the team after the season. Analysts called OSU the most overrated team in the country, saying they hadn’t been challenged all season long, hadn’t played a ranked opponent and that it took everyone until late November to realize the reigning national champions weren’t really that good. But the fact was that now the Spartans were in total control of the Big Ten East and right back in the Playoff hunt. And once again, everyone forgot about all their squeaker wins and their loss to Nebraska.

 

In the meantime, Iowa had already clinched the Big Ten West with a victory over Purdue. They’d never been 10-0 before in school history. Now they were 11-0. They’d scored over 30 points in 5 straight Big Ten games, which they’d also never done before. They’d already tied records from 2002 and 2009 for most wins in a season. And Beathard, who now looked healthy, was 12-0 as a starter for Iowa, which is something only Cam Newton, Darron Thomas and Jameis Winston had done in a Power 5 Conference since 2010. Oh, and also Jordan Canzeri was back.

 

Smith #4 and Beathard #6 celebrate the Purdue win and an 11-0 record.

 

On the final weekend of the regular season, Iowa clinched its undefeated regular season with a cold and ugly 28-20 win at Nebraska. Which was the team that, if I recall correctly, beat Michigan State on the same turf three weeks prior. It probably won’t convince any of the critics who totally do not want Iowa (the only other undefeated team besides #1 Clemson) to be in the Playoff picture. But it’s Iowa’s first perfect regular season in 93 years and their first team ever to win 12 games in a season at all. The next day, Michigan State blew out Penn State to clinch the Big Ten East in their best win of the season. And now the two teams are finally set to play each other in the championship and the virtual play-in for the Playoff.
Michigan State has loved playing underdog all season. They did it against Michigan. They did it against Ohio State. But they won’t be doing it against Iowa, where they are pretty heavy favorites. In fact, Paul Finebaum of ESPN gave the Hawkeyes “zero chance” to win the game. And Michigan State already thinks they can win it all, alluding to how Ohio State shocked everyone in the Playoffs last year. Sure, they’re “playing their best football” and “hitting their stride at the right time” and Connor Cook is back from injury. And so is their O line. But 12-0 Iowa is not 7-4 Penn State.

 

I know Iowa isn’t flashy. But they’ve won games on both sides of the ball. They’ve never trailed in the 4th quarter all season. They’re 4th in the country in turnover margin, meaning they don’t make many mistakes. And they tend to capitalize when the other teams do. And in games against mutual opponents (Maryland, Indiana, Purdue and Nebraska), Iowa scored as many points as Michigan State, while giving up fewer on defense. Plus they fucking beat Nebraska. “Football’s not gynmastics,” as Ferentz said last week and both teams know well. Iowa and Michigan State both have ugly wins. And neither team was supposed to be here in the first place. But while Sparty has thrived on being underdogs, it’s been Iowa that’s had to constantly prove people wrong. Starting with their own fans. And I’d like to see them prove people wrong again on Saturday.

 

Seriously, Iowa can win this.

 

 


From Michigan to Ohio State: An Ode to My Favorite Rival

Written by :
Published on : November 27, 2015

 

 

Dear Ohio State,

 

 

It’s that time of year again where our respective student bodies cram into stadiums, bars, and living rooms across the nation. The air is peppered with smells of pizza, hot dogs, and the ever-present stale aroma of weeks old Natty Light. Ah yes, The Game, as it so condescendingly known to our lesser rivals, is upon us. No longer must we shake our fists to the sky and threaten each other from afar as if we were easily provoked world leaders on the brink of war. Now we get to meet face to face. Finally, our frustrations and joys from an entire year of football can be honed into three plus hours of drama right in the heart of our nation. Will we return to work with our shoulders hung low, or will we breathe new life once again as the victors for another 364?

 

Man-drinking-water

         Not actual photo of ScoreBoredSports office life

 

Aside from all of the animosity, however, it is also a time to be thankful. With Thanksgiving still close behind in the rear-view mirror, one can almost forget the things that we should be thankful for. So, Ohio State, while I savor the month’s worth of Thanksgiving leftovers scattered across my refrigerator like buried treasure, I would like to reach out my turkey-leg free hand and say that I am thankful for you. I know fellow Wolverines, I know. This doesn’t seem right and, frankly, writing it out on the page gives me pause but I have to acknowledge what the famed school down south brings to the table. For it is their presence on the other side of those hallowed sidelines that makes this rivalry worth it. Red vs. Blue. Woody vs. Bo. Slytherin vs. Gryffindor. No matter which way you slice it, we were meant for each other from the very start. By the way, that start in 1897 resulted in a 34-0 shellacking from Michigan, but I digress.

 

Draco-vs-Harry-draco-malfoy-vs-harry-potter-7684972-1023-584

                                                    Ohio State vs. Michigan

 

Just think about all of the memories we have shared together. Who could forget Desmond Howard’s famed Heisman pose? Or what about the legendary #1 vs. #2 match up in 2006 where the Buckeyes barely escaped and advanced to the National Championship game? And you DEFINITELY can’t give thanks and remember all the good times without being reminded that we once thought these two jokers were good enough to coach our teams. But what truly makes the stories even better is the fans. Every Michigan and Ohio State fan has a story or experience related to The Game. I can tell you about the joy I felt rushing the field when Michigan finally won in 2011. I didn’t care that it was a supposed “off year” for Ohio State. I’ll never forget feeling the Michigan field underneath my sneakers. On the flip side, I can also tell you what it was like to hear the echoed silence of the Big House when Ohio State obliterated us during my freshman year. At that point (2008) we were pretty used to losing but that didn’t make it hurt any less.

 

This upcoming Saturday is just the next chapter in our story. Today, we find ourselves both coached by madmen. Men who represent their alma maters with an intensity and dedication to detail that will make the game itself into a massively televised chess match. We have the spirits of Bo and Woody back, with all the bells and whistles of old. We have our old rankings back. We have the fire of the greatest rivalry in football burning as bright as it has in years. We have pride, bowl games, and, yes, maybe even playoffs on the line. That is, of course, assuming that Christian Hackenburg plays like the 1st round QB a lot of us hope he is because a certain SOMEONE couldn’t beat Michigan State without their QB but, again, I digress.

 

635738806334487915-DFP-0613-drew-main-1-1-D1B2HRRK-L627366010

                        Don’t let the smiles fool you. They’re both clinically insane.

 

See you Saturday Ohio State. I’m happy that it’s you guys I get to hate.

 

 


NCAA Men’s Basketball 2015 Conference Predictions

Written by :
Published on : November 17, 2015

 

With the 2015-16 college hoops season about to begin, I found that it would be suitable to unveil my predictions for conference champs and players of the year. Some of my thoughts are safe and some are bold. Feel free to judge away, I’m only human. Without further ado, here’s the top 11 conferences and how they’ll finish.

 

 

AAC

The Huskies will be up to their usual tricks.

 

Champs: UCONN
POY: Sterling Gibbs, UCONN, G, Sr
Runners up: Tulsa; James Woodard, Tulsa, G, Sr

 

ACC

Coach K always has his team ready to compete for a conference championship.

 

Champs: Duke
POY: Marcus Paige, UNC, G, Sr
Runners up: UNC; Malcolm Brogden, Virginia, G, Sr

 

A10

Davidson will surprise some people this year, and they’ll be led by Jack Gibbs.

 

Champs: Davidson
POY: Jack Gibbs, Davidson, G, Jr
Runners up: Dayton; E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island, G, Jr

 

Big East

Mikal Bridges and the Wildcats will be reaching for a Big East title this year.

 

Champs: Villanova
POY: Kris Dunn, Providence, G, Jr
Runners up: Butler; Henry Ellenson, Marquette, G, Fr

 

B10

Melo Trimble and Maryland will overcome the Spartans to win the B10 championship and POY award.

 

Champs: Maryland
POY: Melo Trimble, Maryland, G, So
Runners up: Michigan State; Caris Lavert, Michigan, G, Sr

 

B12

Kansas will be looking for that #1 spot.

 

Champs: Kansas
POY: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma, G, Sr
Runners up: Oklahoma; George’s Jiang, Iowa State, F, Sr

 

MVC

VanVleet will lead the Shockers to glory this year.

 

Champs: Wichita State
POY: Fred VanVleet, Wichita State,  G, Sr
Runners up: Northern Iowa; Ron Baker, Wichita State, G, Sr

 

MW

Boise State came away with the win last night and will win the conference.

 

Champs: Boise State
POY: Anthony Drmic, Boise State, G/F, Sr
Runners up: San Diego State; Winston Shepard, San Diego State, F, Sr

 

PAC12

The Cal Bears will reach the top spot in the Pac 12 by year’s end.

 

Champs: California
POY: Gary Payton III, Oregon State, G, Sr
Runners up: Arizona; Jakob Poeltl, Utah, C, So

 

SEC

Once again, John Calipari will have Kentucky looking very good,

 

Champs: Kentucky
POY: Ben Simmons, LSU, F, Fr
Runners up: LSU; Daniel House, Texas A&M, G/F, Sr

 

WCC

Kyle Wiltjer shouldn’t be surprised when Zags wins the conference and he wins POY.

 

Champs: Gonzaga
POY: Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga, F, Sr
Runners up: BYU; Kyle Collinsworth, BYU, G/F, Sr

 

 

Well, there you have it. Some of these decisions (Gonzaga, Wichita State, Kentucky) were no brainers. On the other hand, other calls(Cal, Davidson, Boise State) are a little against the grain. However, these are my predictions…so…make your own if you disagree.

 

 


SBS Tailgate Event: USC vs Arizona on Nov 7th

Written by :
Published on : November 6, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come join the SBS crew for an epic day of tailgating at the USC game this Saturday November 7th. We will be in Lot 6 all day giving away swag and partying. Most importantly, we are teaming up with our friends at Calabama to bring you FREE food! That’s right, they will be grilling up delicious creations for the hungry Trojan and Wildcat fans. So come visit us for a drink, a snack and to talk a little football. Never know, we may just meet our newest writer.

 

tailgate USC

 

What:

Sports related fun of an epic caliber. Free food, drinks, merch and good times. Why sit at home and watch the game when you can hang out in a parking lot with us?

 

Who:

This event is being co-hosted by your friends, the SBS crew, and our dear friend, Cara, from Calabama and Honey Sugar’s Kitchen. Cara is a diehard Alabama fan who mixes fresh and seasonal California flavors with Southern cooking to make truly unforgettable eats. I can’t wait to see what she is cooking up. I know, whatever it is, it’ll be bomb. Look for Calabama sauces in stores soon.

 

11887024_909400922475498_577401684_n
Cara Haltiwanger @Calabama on Instagram

Where:

The USC game tailgate. Lot 6 off Martin Luther King Blvd and Figueroa St. Los Angeles, California 90037. Look for the ScoreBoredSports and Calabama banners on our tents. Or follow your nose to our grill. If somehow you are still lost then starting screaming “Bruno, Bruno, BRUNO!!!” and I’ll come find you myself.

 

When:

This Saturday, November 7th. Starting at 2:30pm and going till we can’t go anymore. Game starts at 7:30pm. Lock this into your calendar now. If anyone needs help getting off work or lying to a loved one, then I am more than happy to make a fake call on your behalf. Just show up and hand me the ringing phone and I’ll lie my pants off so you can stay and have fun.

 

 

You shouldn’t need any more convincing than that. Cool. See you there. Also, can you bring an iPhone 4S charger? I’m sure I’ll forget mine.

 

For live updates on the day, please follow us on twitter @ScoreBored_SBS

 

 

 

 


Five Teams that may surprise the College Hoops Nation come March

Written by :
Published on : October 27, 2015

 

With so many new faces being added to rosters in the offseason, it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict an outcome for a team in the whirlwind that is a college basketball season.  Experts will take their best shot at telling you which squads will be dancing in the spring.  No matter how accurate they may be, there are always a few sleepers that come out of nowhere and play their way into contention.  Here are five teams that have a very good chance to be one of the aforementioned sleepers, and shake up the world of college hoops.

 

1. Auburn

Bruce Pearl and the boys

 

In only his second year as HC, Bruce Pearl has the Tigers well on their way to ascending out of the basement of the SEC.  He has put together a very talented incoming freshman class, (led by 6’9 Finley Prep, VA forward Horace Spencer).  Throw in 2 returning starters, 2 immediate impact transfers, a high scoring JUCO transfer, and this team has ‘scary’ depth.  There’s more of a feeling that this team will be something special in the future, but if all the puzzle pieces fit then the future is now.

 

2. Mississippi State

Malik Newman doing work for team USA

 

Sticking with the SEC theme because they are arguably the most improved conference from top to bottom. Expect 6, 7 or possibly 8 teams to get into the tournament. Add up new coach Ben Howland, with his 3 final four appearances, with the number one shooting guard and 5 star prospect Malik Newman, and your team becomes an immediate contender. They also have 4 seniors and 1 junior who collectively started 110 games last year. With Malik Newman being a probable one and done, look for the bulldogs to try and ride his shoulders all the way to March.

 

3. Tulsa

Everything is OK in Tulsa

 

This a team that returns all 5 starters after finishing 14-4 in the AAC and getting completely snubbed by the selection committee last year.  Nah, they won’t have a giant chip on their shoulders, (I don’t know if I need to clarify, but that was thick sarcasm).  This team has 9 seniors.  Ill say that again…They have 9 seniors. Unheard of in this day of college basketball.  These are also 9 seniors who know how to win and want to end on a high note.  Guard play is their strength with James Woodard as the top scoring threat. Do not be shocked when the Golden Hurricanes are still alive in March.

 

4. Northwestern

Wildcats

 

Will it finally happen?  Will Northwestern be celebrating on Selection Sunday?  The Big Ten is going to be stacked yet again, but the Wildcats, thanks to wonderful recruiting by Chris Collins, have the talent to compete. This team has 8 players who saw significant minutes last year.  The key, however, will be 6’10 senior transfer from Virginia Tech, Joey van Zegeren.  His experience, along with seniors Tre Demps and Alex Olah, should help gel with the younger players and create a team that could pull off a few surprises.

 

5. Oregon State

This is one Beaver who isn’t messing around

 

This could be the best Beaver team in history.  The key phrase of that statement is “could be”.  They finished 3 games over .500 a season ago and return all 5 starters.  One of those starters is All American candidate and Oregon State royalty Gary Payton II.  He is one of the most complete players in the country on both ends.  The PAC12 is stacked at the top, but the Beavers also have a highly touted recruiting class with 6’4 guard Stephen Thompson Jr. leading the way.  Making a postseason tournament seems definite. Making the NCAA tournament is within reach, and soon will be in the rearview mirror.

 

 


Support Us
Support ScoreBoredSports on patreon!

patreon-medium-button
Sponsors

Hide Error message here!

Forgot your password?

Error message here!

Error message here!

Hide Error message here!

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Error message here!

Back to log-in

Close