The Basketblog

Celebrating the love of the Game.

My picks in review

ESPN’s bracketology got all the picks right this year…I missed one.  Darn.  I had Illinois State in rather than Oregon.  Lunardi got 29 of the 65 seeds correct; I had…32.  Ta-da.  I was within one seed on 59 of my 65 picks; he was within one seed on 54 of his picks.  That is all I have to say.

March 17, 2008 Posted by | Basketball, NCAA, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Championship Week Saturday

Which was the most crazy performance today?  Coppin State becoming the first 20-loss team to ever make the tournament?  Illinois being the first 10-seed to ever make it past the second round of the big ten tournament, let alone the championship game?  Georgia beating two tournament teams in one day to get to within one game of .500?  Or Boise State’s triple overtime defeat of New Mexico State?

Oh yeah, there were some other good games too…UNC vs. Virginia Tech…Wisconsin vs. Michigan St….Clemson vs. Duke…Kansas vs. Texas A&M…UCLA vs. Stanford…Temple vs. St. Joseph’s…Miss. Valley St. vs. Jackson St….  I know I’m repeating myself, but this March is already better than last March.  Now tomorrow we have a legitimate shot at Illinois and Georgia becoming the lowest-seeded “power conference” teams in the tournament ever and a Texas/Kansas game that would be great anyway but now has the added weight of a possible #1 seed to the winner.  Losses by Duke, Georgetown, and Tennessee in one day made that possibility happen.

Tomorrow’s games should be fantastic.  North Carolina is playing for a possible #1 overall, and Clemson is competing for perhaps a #3 seed.  Georgia and Illinois are playing for highly improbable tournament bids while Wisconsin and Arkansas seem to have little to gain and only want to avoid losing seeds.  The game of the day is, of course, Kansas and Texas.  I’m not convinced the winner gets a #1 seed, but there is a very good chance.

I’m working on some numbers tonight.  Tomorrow during the day I will post a complete prediction list of tournament teams and seeds.

March 15, 2008 Posted by | ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, NCAA, Pac-10, SEC, WAC | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who played their way out today?

I expected to be blogging tonight about bubble teams losing and hurting their chances or about small-conference favorites losing and taking away a bubble spot. You know–the things that have been happening all week.

None of that happened today though. Arkansas and St. Joseph’s both won, basically ensuring they’ll be in. Virginia Tech and Temple won, keeping themselves alive. Kent State, Memphis, UNLV, and BYU all won, protecting the bubble.

That’s not to say today was any less exciting. Today was one of the most exciting days of basketball I’ve seen since…March of 2006. Tornadoes screwing up the SEC tournament, close games in all tournaments, great buzzer-beaters…even the Big Ten had exciting games after Wisconsin/Michigan ended.

Continue reading

March 15, 2008 Posted by | Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, CUSA, NCAA, SEC | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

March 2008

I’m on spring break; the NCAA season is winding down. I think it’s time to bring back the basketblog.

Like last year, I plan to pick all 65 tournament teams and seeds and do so more accurately than the “experts.” I picked not only all the teams in last year but picked all their seeds. Both I did more accurately than Joe Lunardi, who is getting paid to do nothing but predict the brackets. If I do that again, what are the odds of someone paying me to do that? Right now we only differ on two teams so I don’t have much room to make up on him. He has Oregon in and Villanova out, I’d switch the two. I think the “mid majors” are weaker this year than they have been recently, so it’s basically going to be the best teams from the best conferences getting in. Not much room to differ.

I ought to be posting about every day there are games the rest of the month, especially this first week when I’m off school. Coming tonight: There are several big games tonight that will affect which bubble teams get into the tournament. I’ll give a full update on which teams helped themselves and which put themselves in jeopardy.

March 14, 2008 Posted by | NCAA | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NBA Officials

If there’s anything to bring me back from a long hiatus, it’s a good scandal. Or, in this case, a very bad one.

I’m a little late on this one, so I have no new opinions to share with you. Read these articles. My first thought when I heard the news was, “Heh, that’s not surprising.” Then, like the articles mention, I started wondering who it was. There was no surprise for me. I thought maybe I was just cynical because I played and now semi-coach in a league with poor officials. Surely most NBA fans trusted their officials. After all, they’re the best officials in the world, right?

Maybe not. Maybe I was right in calling the NBA the “most corrupt professional sports league” (in the US anyway) . So what if baseball and football allow their players to cheat? At least of both teams are cheating, neither has an advantage. When the officials cheat, one team gets a clear advantage and the league becomes corrupt. When the officials are bad, one team tends to get an advantage and the league becomes corrupt. I’ve seen high school games decided by the refs before, but I always thought maybe I was imagining that in the NBA some teams could be advantaged by the officials.

Another article to read. I was stunned to find that I never posted anything about Game 3 of the Suns/Spurs series. If I recall correctly, I was actually too ticked off at the time to write anything about it. That article mentions that the worst no-call was not Donaghy’s fault, but it fails to mention that the worst call was made by Donaghy. Remember the foul drawn by Ginobili that was called a couple seconds late by the official in the worst position? I remember complaining loudly (to myself) that someone else should have overruled him on it. There are already a ton of videos on Youtube claiming to be proof that Donaghy bet on some particular game, and most of them are probably crap. This one, however, is worth a look (note, however, that not all the calls were made by Donaghy):

I’m somewhat of a Suns fan myself, so I can guess how they feel about this. They could argue that they were legitimately screwed in Game 5, they were screwed by Nash’s injury in Game 1, and now they can argue that they were screwed in Game 3 as well. A win in any of those games, and the series would have gone to Game 7 in Phoenix. Even if it’s never proven whether he bet on this game, this situation is bad for Phoenix and bad for the NBA. I know I’m going to question the officials every time there’s a questionable game, and now I know I won’t be the only one.

July 25, 2007 Posted by | NBA, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’d like to issue a public apology

To the San Antonio Spurs. When I picked the Nuggets to knock you out, I did not realize that you were the best team in the league. I did not realize that you were great at all of the following:

Inside defense
Perimeter defense
Inside scoring
Perimeter scoring
Team defense
Passing
Hustle plays

I also did not realize that your point guard would be #3 in the playoffs in points in the paint, that your power forward would be #2, and that your coach could outcoach anyone in the league in his sleep right now. You’re well on your way to beating four of the hottest teams in the league without going to seven games in any of the four series.

Maybe you needed a little luck in getting Amare and Borris suspended for a game, but you were still 3-2 in games that those two played. Carmelo and Allen? Carlos and Deron? Tim and Tony are better than either combo, and their supporting cast is far greater.

It took me three series, but I finally caught on. If the great duos of the Jazz and Nuggets couldn’t touch you, and the great trio of the Suns couldn’t touch you, how is Cleveland’s one-man team going to win a game against you? They won’t.

June 10, 2007 Posted by | Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

About the top-two picks going to the Northwest

I’m going to break my fast from posting for this. Ironically, I’ve been in Seattle and Portland the last few days.

At first I agreed with the thoughts that having Oden and Durant both going to the Northwest would be bad for the league because of the time difference. But as I thought about it, I don’t think that will be the case.

Does anyone ever complain that it’s bad for the league that Phoenix games start late? The Lakers are one of the glamorous teams in the league, but they play in the Pacific Time Zone. Golden State was the great story of the playoffs, but they play in the Pacific Time Zone. A few years ago the Sacramento Kings were the most fun team in the league to watch, but they were in the Pacific Time Zone. There has been talk of moving a franchise to Las Vegas, which is in the Pacific Time Zone. Why does the Pacific Time Zone not matter in any of those cases? Perhaps the reason that the biggest NBA markets are in the East is that the tv schedule favors them. Maybe the West will become so stacked that the NBA will change the schedule, which will in turn make the Western teams more popular. Maybe the Western teams aren’t as good for tv ratings, but the Kings, Warriors, Jazz, Suns, and Mavericks (in the Central Time Zone, but stick with me) have some of the best fans in the league. I think that giving the best players to the best fans will help the league more than giving the best players to the biggest markets.

May 24, 2007 Posted by | Golden State Warriors, LA Lakers, NBA, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Seattle Supersonics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NBA Playoffs: May 9

Well, it’s pretty clear that this is going to be one heck of a series. Golden State has been great at home in the playoffs, as my esteemed colleague hoops has said. However, what he failed to note is that Utah’s home court has been even greater. They have now outscored their opponents at home by a combined score of 516-463 in five games compared to Golden State’s 323-276.

What he also failed to note is that Utah is a very, very good team. Now that Kirilenko is playing up to his old abilities, they may be, top to bottom, the best team in the league. Deron Williams has become a top-5 point guard, Derek Fisher is a tough guard with a lot of experience, Kirilenko is perhaps the best all-around player in the league, Boozer is becoming a star, and Okur is the best shooting big guy in the league. Every player coming off their bench can play–Ronnie Brewer and Dee Brown don’t play much, but they’ve both shown the ability to make some key plays in this series. In Williams, Millsap, Brown, and Brewer they have perhaps the best young corps of players in the league. The only thing that keeps them from being an elite team is their lack of a superstar. Dallas has Nowitski, San Antonio has Duncan, Phoenix has Nash, Houston has McGrady; but Boozer isn’t quite a superstar.

If Boozer could develop into a superstar, we could be talking about Utah as a contender for many years. He’s been getting 24/12 so far in the playoffs. If he can continue that throughout the playoffs, they can compete against either San Antonio or Phoenix–they are that good.

Here are some of my other thoughts from tonight: Continue reading

May 9, 2007 Posted by | Big Ten, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, NBA, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Game recap

Well, I was either fishing or cleaning fish during the Chicago/Detroit game, but I saw the score and the final 5 minutes or so and know that I didn’t miss much. Yes, I’ve probably missed my prediction on this series. Uh-oh!!

The GS/Utah game was one of the best NBA games I’ve seen all year. It probably comes right after the 2OT PHX/Dallas game a few months ago. After watching this game, I still like my pick of GS in 6. Heres why

1. I think that Utah did not like to play this style of basketball with GS. Jerry Sloan nearly admitted that in a post-game interview, but wouldn’t come out and actually say it. Its very similar to the SA/PHX game, except Tim Duncan openly admitted they didn’t like this style of play. One main reason that everyone said Utah would win (I used this as to why they could win) was because they would slow down or stop the GS transition game. Not they would keep up with it and play it with them. I can’t see Utah continuing to run this style all series and keep winning games. When you adjust your game to that of your opponents, its quite rare to come away with consistent wins.

2. The adjustments that Nellie is going to make. There were several things that I saw throughout the game that I think could have been done differently, both offensively and deffensively that could have exploited a few of Utah’s weaknesses. I’m more than sure if I saw them, Don Nelson saw them. He’ll get it fixed

3. Golden States ability to just keep fighting. No matter what the situation is, down 1 down 15 down 30, Golden State will give themselves a chance to win in the end. With these kind of runs and that much fight, I don’t think Utah is a good enough team to win 4 games at home that way. They nearly blew their first chance last night, but good ole Boozer grabbed 2 key offensive boards (see multiple blogs involving who wins games late and why. Also note that I told Von with 3 minutes left whoever gets OR and gets stops wins this game) which gave Utah more clock to burn and 4 more points. I believe they won by 4 points. I think that Golden State can put together enough runs to take a road win in game 2 or 5. When this happens, they will win game 6 at home.

People can feel free to come and congratulate me on my basketball knowledge when this happens, even though, yes, I picked Chicago.

May 8, 2007 Posted by | Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, NBA, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Conference Semis Preview

Well, its an hour into studying, and I have the notes that my professor posted on the internet nearly memorized. Those being the only notes that I have to study, I’m going to post for awhile and see if I still have them memorized when I’m done. On we go

1 Detroit vs. 5 Chicago

Chicago wins in 6

I could be stupid like a friend of mine, who will remain anonymous, and mulligan my pick after the shocking Game 1 loss, but I however, am not retarded. I don’t declare a series over based simply on Game 1. If you want to know any details on that series, see that blog I posted about it….or you can just wait and watch it all come true. heh

2 Cleveland vs. 6 New Jersey

Cleveland in 7

I couldn’t decide if I thought this series would go 5 or 7, because I couldn’t decide if New Jersey would steal one on the road. Then I remembered certain starter named Jason Kidd. Yes, he will….er…the nets will get one win on the road. I think the nets are to good to lose Game 6 at home, but Lebron is too good to lose Game 7 at home. However, we have all seen Lebron not only choke, but throw up in clutch situations *insert chuck yelling “Pass the ball! Pass the ball! Pass the ball! (repeat until play is over)*, so we know that NJ is capable of winning Game 7 on the road. I’m very not confidant about this series.

2 Phoenix vs 3 San Antonio

Phoenix wins in 7

Not much to say here that you would not have already read from Von. I continue to stick by my pick and am honestly even more confidant about this pick due to this stat here.

San Antonio 3-12 when their opponent scores over 100 points. Up until yesterdays game, they were 2-12, but they shattered Steve Nash’s nose and wouldnt let him play to squeak by with a win, lol. The suns average 110 points a game. Thats not only 100, thats solid over 100. The Spurs are not the type of team who likes to score 100 points a night. Tim Duncan himself admitted that in an interview after the game. “We’d rather play in the 90s, we’d rather play in the 80s,” he said. “That’s our type of game, but we’ve got a lot of guys who are shooting the ball really well. We’ve been moving the ball really well, and the points are going up on the board.” Your right, Timmy, but fortunately, Nash couldn’t play the last 2 minutes of the game….and you still only won by 5 points. Point being, you can’t count on the Spurs to score that many points all the time, and you can’t count on not having Nash in the game the last 1:30 all the time. Pheonix still wins this series.

5 Utah vs. 8 Golden State

Golden State wins in 6

This series is the one that interests me most. I’m not picking this series based on what I want to see, because I want to see it go to 7. Then Von and I could go watch Game 7. That’d be tight! But I also think that Golden State really can pull this off. Heres how…

Baron Davis. If this man continues is onslaught of basketball superiority, Williams and Fisher are not going to be stopping him. Some of the best defensive guards in the NBA didn’t do it, and we’ve seen how Utah has managed to falter down the stretch of the regular season, so can they keep playing well down the stretch of the post-season?

Transition Golden State can score in transition as good as anyone in the league. Carlos Boozer is a big man who can get back as good as any in the league and this could make the GS transition game a little more difficult, but I still think with Richardson and Jackson’s ability to run the floor, they should be able to get the job done.

Home court advantage. Yes, on paper, Utah has the home-court advantage, but I’m going to say right now that GS will not lose a game at home the entire rest of the season. I also think that they are good enough to steal one on the road. When they do this, they will win game 6 at home and win the series. If they are gonna steal one at home, tonights game will probably be it. If I was Kornheiser or Wilbon, I’d pick that game for my TV pick of the day.

Bottom line, this is going to be an outstanding series, but probably won’t be the best one we’ll see all year, simply because, if I’m right, Golden State will play Pheonix in the Western Conference Finals. Heh, this will be a basketball fans blessing from Heaven.

May 7, 2007 Posted by | Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, NBA, New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment