Sports Outside the Beltway

2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2nd round- March 20th

This post will remain at the top of the blog for the rest of today. To see newer posts, scroll down.

As results come in today, I will update this post. I’ll also include any related tournament news here.

St. Mary’s defeats Villanova 75-68
Tennessee beats Ohio 83-68
Butler beats Murray State 54-52
Stunner- Northern Iowa beats Kansas 69-67
Baylor beats Old Dominion 76-68
Kentucky beat Wake Forest 90-60
Kansas State beats BYU 84-72
Washington beats New Mexico 82-64


2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament- March 18th

This post will remain at the top of the blog for the rest of today. To see newer posts, scroll down.

As results come in today, I will update this post. I’ll also include any related tournament news here.

1st result- Old Dominion defeats Notre Dame 51-50
1st overtime game- BYU beats Florida 99-92 in double OT
Close call- #2 seed Villanova beats Robert Morris 73-70 in overtime.
First big upset- #13 Murray State beats Vanderbilt 66-65
Baylor beats Sam Houston St. 68-59
Kansas State beats North Texas State 82-62
St. Mary’s beats Richmond 80-71
Butler beats UTEP 77-59
Kentucky beats East Tennessee St. 100-71
Ohio beats Georgetown 97-83
Washington beats Marquette 80-78
Northern Iowa beats UNLV 69-66
#1 Kansas beats Lehigh 90-74
New Mexico beats Montana 62-57
Wake Forest beats Texas 81-80


2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball predictions

Here are my selections-

2010 predictions1

2010 predictions2

So you heard it here first. Duke and Ohio State in the finals.

Note- Starting tomorrow I will have a sticky post at the top of the blog featuring that day’s results. Feel free to make your own predictions in the comment.


2010 NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracket

Well here it is-

2010 bracket

I don’t have to say. Later in the week, I’ll take a shot at predicting the outcome.


2010 NFL Draft to include record tying 53 non-seniors

The 2008 NFL Draft also saw the same amount of under classmen. In 2009 the total was 46. From AP-

The expected heavy influx of non-seniors applying for this year’s NFL draft did not happen despite looming labor unrest in the league.

Although a record-tying 53 players declared for early entry, that number released Tuesday by the NFL was short of most projections.

“I think that the colleges have really done a good job of telling these young men how it is to their advantage to stay in school,” said NFL draft consultant Gil Brandt, who helped build the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. “I thought there would be more and I was surprised.”

Six All-Americans did apply for the draft: defensive backs Eric Berry of Tennessee and Joe Haden of Florida; defensive end Derrick Morgan of Georgia Tech; tight end Aaron Hernandez of Florida; linebacker Rolando McClain of Alabama; and wide receiver Golden Tate of Notre Dame.

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, also declared for April’s draft, along with Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead; Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen; Southern California running back Joe McKnight; Cal running back Jahvid Best; Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap; and Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman.

Fresno State tailback Ryan Mathews, the nation’s leading rusher, applied. So did tackles Bryan Bulaga of Iowa and Anthony Davis of Rutgers, who are projected to go high in the draft.

I remember when Herschel Walker came out of school(U of Georgia) early and all the controversy it caused. A Herschel Walker today wouldn’t risk a potential big payday in the NFL either.

What I don’t get is how some experts expected the total of non-seniors to be around 100 or a 100% increase from last year. Maybe I’ll find an article that list the college players who stuck it out. A free college education should be valued. One day your sports playing days will end and what will you do for money then? Look at Bernie Kosar who left the University of Miami early for the NFL. Right now he is bankruptcy court.

The entire list of college underclassman declaring for this year’s NFL draft is below the fold.


Crystal Ball Time

My annual sports predictions for the upcoming year. Due to some unknown reason, I skipped doing this a year ago. What matters is I came back, right?

1 Cleveland beats the LA Lakers for the NBA Championship
2 Indianapolis defeats Arizona in the Super Bowl Crystall ball
3 San Jose defeats Washington for the Stanley Cup
4 St. Louis beats the Los Angeles Angels in the World Series
5 Tiger Woods returns to golf, wins at least one tournament but no major championships. That is a risky prediction in light of the fact that Tiger has won majors on 3 of this year’s host courses.(Augusta National, Pebble Beach, St. Andrews)
6 Phil Mickelson wins the US Open
7 Michelle Wie wins at least two tournaments, one of which is a major championship
8 Ji Yai Shin is LPGA player of the year
9 A non-Korean golfer will be LPGA rookie of the year
10 Yu-Na Kim wins figure skating gold at the 2010 Olympics
11 The Miami Dolphins don’t make this year’s playoffs but have a winning 2010 season
12 The Miami Heat make the playoffs but lose in the 1st round
13 The Florida Marlins have a winning record but don’t make the playoffs
14 Urban Meyer doesn’t return as coach of the Florida Gators
15 Joe Paterno announces his retirement after the 2010 Penn State season is complete
16 The Florida Panthers don’t make the playoffs
17 The Florida Panthers trade Goalie Tomas Vokoun
18 Manny Pacquiao loses to Floyd Mayweather
19 Kansas defeats Purdue for the NCAA Basketball Championship
20 Texas defeats Alabama in the BCS Championship game
21 Army has a winning football season and gets a bowl invitation
22 Washington Redskins fire Coach Jim Zorn
23 Serena Williams wins at Wimbledon
24 Versus and Directv finally settle their dispute
25 A North American horse racing track closes its doors.
26 Sebastian Vettel wins the Formula World Drivers Championship
27 New York Rangers fire Coach John Tortorella
28 The New Jersey Nets don’t finish with the worst record in NBA history
29 Connecticut defeats Tennessee for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship
30 At least half these predictions are wrong

We’ll come back on December 31st 2010 and see how I did.


Are you ready for some bowling?

No I’m not talking about some middle aged man propelling a ball at some objects at the end of a lane, but the games that climax every college football season. Bowl season officially starts this Saturday, here are the matchups for all the college football fanatics out there.

Dec 20
Eaglebank Bowl- Wake Forest vs Navy
New Mexico Bowl- Colorado State vs Fresno St
MAGICJACK ST. PETERSBURG BOWL- Memphis vs. South Florida
PIONEER LAS VEGAS BOWL- Brigham Young vs Arizona
Dec 21
Dec 23
Dec 24
SHERATON HAWAII BOWL- Hawaii vs Notre Dame
Dec 26
MOTOR CITY BOWL- Florida Atlantic vs. Central Michigan
Saturday, December 27
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL- West Virginia vs. North Carolina
Champs Sports Bowl- Wisconsin vs. Florida State
Emerald Bowl- Miami (FL) vs. California
December 28
Independence Bowl- Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech
PAPAJOHNS.COM BOWL- North Carolina State vs. Rutgers
Valero Alamo Bowl- Missouri vs. No. 23 Northwestern
Tuesday, December 30
PACIFIC LIFE HOLIDAY BOWL- Oklahoma State vs. No. 17 Oregon
Texas Bowl- Western Michigan vs. Rice
Wednesday, December 31
Sun Bowl- Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh
GAYLORD HOTELS MUSIC CITY BOWL- Boston College vs. Vanderbilt
Insight Bowl- Kansas vs. Minnesota
CHICK-FIL-A BOWL- LSU vs. Georgia Tech
Thursday, January 1
OUTBACK BOWL- South Carolina vs. Iowa
CAPITAL ONE BOWL- Georgia vs. Michigan State
Gator Bowl- Nebraska vs. Clemson
Rose Bowl- Penn State vs. USC
Fedex Orange Bowl- Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
Friday, January 2
Cotton Bowl- Mississippi vs. Texas Tech
AUTOZONE LIBERTY BOWL- Kentucky vs. East Carolina
January 3
INTERNATIONAL BOWL- Buffalo vs. Connecticut
January 5
TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL- Ohio State vs. Texas
January 6
GMAC Bowl- Ball State vs. Tulsa*
January 8

That’s 34 games, 68 schools spread over a period of 20 days for those of you keeping score at home. An ample supply of college football for any fanatics out there.

A few notes

*- There are a few bowl games remaining without corporate names in their title. Gator, Sun, Texas, Independence. Were these games unable to find sponsors?
*- Will Oklahoma St. and Oregon combine for 70 pts or more in the Holiday Bowl? This annually has been of the most high scoring affairs.
*- Oh how has the Orange Bowl dropped. A game that featured early triumphs of Joe Paterno led Penn State, Nebraska and Oklahoma in their glory days, the first major bowl appearance of Florida State, and the all time classic 84 battle between Nebraska and Miami, has Cincinnati and Virginia Tech playing this year. I’m sure they are talented football teams, but how many people are drooling to see them play in a prime-time network slot?
*- Arizona and BYU meet in a bowl 30 years after the former left the WAC conference for the higher profile Pac Eight(Now Ten, Arizona State joined also)
*- Vanderbilt makes a rare bowl appearance. Congratulations to Commodore fans, but this is a sign of how bowls are grown way out of proportion. 6-6 college teams get bids. When I was growing up I could remember Florida State going without a bowl in 1978 even though they finished the season 8-3.

It is my humble opinion that bowl season has gotten out of hand. Someone may say what’s the big deal? If someone wants to start a bowl game and there are two schools willing to play in it, does their records matter. A good football isn’t only a contest between stars at big name schools.

All true, but how much public money is spent on these affairs? Many of the teams are state universities who get funded by taxpayers. Then there is the game itself where police have to be taken from other tasks to work the day or night of the game or paid over-time.

With the economic downturn right now, you have to wonder if there will be less bowls in the near future. That would depend on how long a deal a corporate sponsor signed on for. I wonder how many fans of some schools plan to make a bowl trip. Are there 1,000 or more FAU Owls willing to journey from Florida to Michigan in December to watch the team play? Even if I were a Owl fan and had money, I’d stay home.

Enjoy the games.


NFL Draft 2008 – Round 1 #20 – Tampa Bay Buccanneers- CB Aqib Talib

NFL Draft 2008 Logo The Bucs are on the clock.

Most of the linemen are gone but almost all the skill position players are still on the board. Do they take a quarterback here or trust one of the dozen they have now?

The pick is in: Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas

Scouts, Inc.: 23rd

Strengths: Possesses outstanding combination of height, bulks and natural athleticism. Has long arms and very good leaping ability. He displays fine all-around ball skills (at CB, WR and RS). Is naturally instinctive. Spends most of his time in man-coverage  both in tight press and off with a 7-to-10 yard cushion. Is not afraid of a physical challenge and possesses the size to match-up one-on-one versus bigger receivers on an island. Does an excellent job of disengaging from blocks. Productive versus the run and is a decent tackler. Versatile athlete with the potential to play multiple roles for the NFL team that drafts him. While it’s rare to see a two-way player at the next level, he has flashed the big-play ability to potentially contribute as a return specialist and occasionally on offense. Very durable athlete.

Weaknesses: Gambles too much in coverage. Generally plays fast but does not possess elite recovery speed. Thinks he can recover better than he actually does, which leads to too many big plays allowed (See: vs. Nebraska WR Maurice Purify in 2007). Footwork needs lots of polishing. For example; Kansas CB’s use an open-hip stance with inside foot dropped when working in off-coverage. He comes out of that stance high and struggles to break on the ball in front of him quickly enough. Makes a lot of plays in run-support but doesn’t love to mix it up. Lacks power as a hitter and more of a drag-down tackler.

Overall: After redshirting his first year in Lawrence, Talib played 11 games (nine starts) and turned in 54 tackles, two interceptions and eight pass break-ups in 2005. He started all 10 games in 2006, leading the nation in pass break-ups per game (2.8) and the Big 12 in interceptions (six). As a junior, Talib developed into an all-around force and capped his season with MVP honors at the Orange Bowl. He finished 2006 with five interceptions (two for touchdowns), 13 pass break-ups and 66 tackles on defense. He added eight receptions for 182 yards and four TDs on offense (after scoring on a 42-yard reception as a sophomore). Talib also returned two punts for 21 yards. Talib is undisciplined in coverage at times and his footwork needs some polishing. As a result, he’s not as consistent as teams’ would like from a first-round cornerback. However, his combination of size, athletic ability, instincts and ball skills is very good. In addition to his talent as a cover corner, he has shown the ability to contribute in the return game and as a wide receiver on offense. Talib should be one of the first-five cornerbacks selected in the 2008 class.

Rick Gosselin: 22nd

Mel Kiper: 14th

Talib is a great talent with some “character” problems, notably marijuana use. Ricky Williams notwithstanding, that’s not a reason to pass on a great corner.


On KU vs. Memphis

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that my bracket was terrible–I had Texas beating Memphis to advance to the Final Four, which just goes to show what I know. But I’m going to throw myself on the mercy of the court because I simply didn’t have much time to follow basketball this year, so my pro-KU, pro-Big 12 prejudices dominated my thinking about the brackets.

I’ve gotten caught up in a hurry so that I can fully savor tonight’s game.

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, all I heard about in the media was about how there was simply no way that Kansas could beat UNC. After all, they had a high speed offense led by Tyler Hansbrough that had been shutting down defenses all year.

Well, after reading that I did some stats looking, and determined that while it was true that UNC had a high powered offense, it’s also true that KU does too–only one that’s more balanced and doesn’t depend on a single player for execution. So that real battle, I decided was going to be on the defensive end. It didn’t take long to conclude that here KU had a monster advantage–UNC’s defense was, at the time, ranked only 17th in the nation, and its performance tended to be worse against top-25 teams. So I went around obnoxiously telling everyone I talked to the game about on Friday and Saturday (before the game) that KU’s defense was going to be the reason why KU would win it.

And, as it turns out, I was right.

Defense, however, is not Memphis’s weak point. They’ve got some great action and good shot blockers, and have been consistently performing well all year. Indeed, as every sports columnist in the country has noted–KU and Memphis boast similar offensive strategies. I agree–we should be looking at a fast-paced, high scoring game. In all probability. And in a fast-paced, high scoring game, I have to give a slight edge to the Jayhawks. The simple reason?

Depth. KU is balanced enough down the bench that will simply have the ability to out-rotate players over Memphis. In a fast paced game, that can make all the difference. It certainly made a big difference against UNC, who staged a pretty scary comeback but couldn’t make it stick because their players just. got. tired.

There is also, I admit, something nagging me in the back of my mind. As noted above, I do agree with sports pundrity that we’re likely to see a fast-paced, high scoring game–lots of intensity and crowd pleasing steals and alley oops.

But here’s the thing…

Bill Self likes to mix it up. He likes to focus on other team’s weaknesses and stab at them, like he did with weak side defense against UNC. KU and Memphis typically play with similar styles–fast pace, etc. But where KU almost stumbled in the tournament was against Davidson–who managed to slow down the tempo of the game and make it a grinding defensive and outside shooting battle. Seeing as how Memphis plays a similar game to KU, one can’t help but wonder if a slower game might cause them to stumble, too.

So here’s where that might come in–when it comes to the frontcourt and post, KU has an edge over Memphis. I can’t help but wonder if it might not be a bad strategy for KU to simply slow the game down by playing a zone, eschewing their three-guard setup in favor of a big man in the middle and keeping Memphis to the perimeter, creating a lower-scoring, outside shooting battle. That’s the kind of game Self liked to coach when he started at KU, and still does it occasionally. I don’t honestly expect to see that, but I won’t be too surprised if it happens, either.

In either case, I do think that if KU can keep their mistakes to a minimum, they have an edge over Memphis and will take the national title for the first time in 20 years. We’ll know for sure tonight.


Kansas Charges Babies to Watch Games

The University of Kansas will not let babies attend games with their parents unless they have their own ticket.

When Kansas football fans Owen and Lisa Foust headed to the Jayhawks’ season opener last Saturday, they bundled up 3-month-old daughter Kate to go along. But when they presented their tickets at the gate, they were told they would need an additional $35 ticket for Kate. “I just thought it was pretty tacky,” Owen Foust said. “It’s just a grab for money.”

Kansas actually began enforcing the babies-pay policy three or four years ago, said Kansas associate athletic director Jim Marchiony. “Everybody needs a ticket regardless of age,” Marchiony said. “The very small children come with backpacks and bottles and toys. … We’ve received numerous complaints over the years from people who are sitting next to those people — enough for us to know that even those sized children need the space.” And, Marchiony said, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has recommended that organizations require tickets for everyone at large events as a way to keep track of numbers.

The real question is why anyone would pay to see the University of Kansas play football to begin with.

In all fairness, KU is not the only team doing this.

Kate — and any child under 3 — would be able to get in free for a Kansas City Chiefs game. “It’s a question of the actual seat,” said Chiefs spokesman Bob Moore. “If there’s no one sitting in the seat, then there’s no reason to sell the seat.” Moore said he believed most professional football teams have the same policy.

Fans under 2 also can get in free to see the Missouri Tigers or Kansas State Wildcats play, and those under 1 don’t pay for tickets at Iowa State. “We just felt like a 1-year-old doesn’t take up that much room,” said Matt Johnson, director of ticket operations at Iowa State. “We get calls all the time saying: ‘Thanks for not making our 2-month-old pay.”‘

But Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas all charge for babies who are brought to games. “Our stadium is sold out on a season-ticket basis with a long waiting list,” said Keith Mann, spokesman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “Everyone has to have a ticket.” Making exceptions for babies “leads to too much decision-making at the gate,” said Kenny Mossman, athletic department spokesman at Oklahoma.

This is pretty funny, though:

The Fousts say the policy won’t dampen their Kansas spirit. “Kate will probably go to some games,” Owen Foust said. “And we certainly want Kate to be a KU graduate someday.”

That’s what a Kansas education will do for you, I guess . . .


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.