Posted on: July 27, 2008 5:14 pm

WNBA skirmish, OkC NBA team naming...

Ok, so not only has it been a while since I got anything on here, the first time i got a few hundred words in and lost the content.
   After a bracket busting march, that made amatuers of many of us who thought we had some kind of insight to share with others, needless to say, i didn't feel quite up to the task of prognosticating.  But for some of us there is a need to share when a unique insight or point of view comes to mind.
On the subject of basketball, the recent fracas in the WNBA made me pause for a few reasons.  Partly due to an interesting op-ed on it by Ryan White, in a, as of late, much improved Oregonian sports section.  As much as I avidly follow my teams in mens basketball, love the fundamental game and have actually helped out with scouting and stat keeping for friends and relatives who work as high school women's basketball coaches, I must guiltily admit that i've found it hard to get excited about women's college ball and WNBA.  But even compared with the women's tournament, which is practically eclipsed by the men's tourney, is easier to follow and get excited about than the WNBA.  Perhaps it is the seasonal nature of the american sports fandom universe, or the cross-advertising (title IX) nature that college sports has tried to adopt.  There are many other arguments of people's inability to embrace professional women's sports and bad advertising/marketing, but however you cut it, there are quite a few basketball fans out there who would patronize this sport at least marginally, whether that be just watching or going to occasional games.  But I digress, the real point is about the scrap that happened in auburn hills.  I realize that there are many legitamate reasons to be concerned about a fight: it's not professional, it's not good role modeling, it's dangerous for causing injuries (which it did).  But let's scale back and realize that this was one incident.  Whatever happened to sexual equality, the NBA usually has at least one noteworthy fight a season, which though the NBA does hand out suspensions for, realizes what it does for publicity; if you want what the NBA has, see what happens when adding a little bit of their formula.  The old PR mantra 'any publicity is good publicity' comes to mind.  After all, violence and strife are what engages a waning interest, just look at the news.      
     On the subject of basketball, the supposed final name choices for the ex-Seattle SuperSonics have surfaced: Barons, Bison, Energy, Marshalls, Thunder and Wind.  Since Outlaws, Horse-thieves and Tycoons are out of the mix, let me propose an amended version of one of the already suggested names, the Robber-Barons, or perhaps we could all just call them that if it does end up being the winner.  Let me clear the air, I'm not just another bitter northwest basketball fan who feels like the NBA made a half-assed attempt at keeping the franchise where it was, things weren't working out well in the emerald city for one reason or another.  Let us even ignore the rediculousness of having a "northwest" league that includes portland, salt lake city, denver, mineapolis and oklahoma city (what is this, the NFL?).  The real question is what clay bennett's motivation was in moving to OKC, was it because the Hornets played there for a season, he feels the lower midwest needs a team, or is it becuase he's from there?  Kansas City was once long ago an NBA franchise and Vegas (which is at least within a time zone of the geographical northwest) has also shown interest in an NBA team.  My point is merely that after Mr. Bennett made claims in 2006 that he had a respect for history and would try to keep the team in Seattle seems like he went to an auction, bought a prized commodity and is taking it home with him, whether or not it's good for the league.
    To my Cubbie bretheren, suffering much since the all-star game, look at the bright side, our pitching is good and with the lineup the cubbies have it's just a matter of time till the league leading offense makes it back to form.

'Til later days, don't let 'em tell ya you don't know the game.
Posted on: March 18, 2008 8:36 pm

madness: don't suffer from it, love it!

           Well, Mike Wilbon and others might see this season (and tournament field) as an exercise in mediocrity, with the parity between the bottom and the top as a display of the lack of true dominance by any one team, especially those below a 2 seed and above a 14.  But do we really wanna watch another year where the only thing in question is which number 1 (or maybe no. 2) will win the whole thing, with a negligible amount of upsets?  Answer (and this would be the mulligan on a test like the SATs): NO!
Before I get into why this parity is a good thing, I have to refute Wilbon.  There are dominant teams, which should be able to run the table, at least to the regional finals, if they can execute their games:  UCLA, Kansas, UNC, Tennessee and Georgetown.

This is one of the most exciting fields I can remember- even when wichita state and George Mason made their runs two years ago, it was a total surprise (it wasn't the kind of field of parity and excitement this year has produced).

There are so many match-ups that have me salivating I can barely contain myself.  And please don't be offended by my possible match-ups these are merely the one's that I have in most of my brackets.  And I am ignoring the 8 v. 9 match-ups because i don't have to tell you those are gonna be some good games

       1ST ROUND:
   No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 George Mason: If either team dominates the boards, anything can happen.
   No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 St. Joe's: St. Joe's have shown their ability to baffle "better" teams; and nothing against OU, who has looked stellar at times, but they've also shown they can drop the ball in big games.

      2ND ROUND (possible match-ups):
   No. 3 Louisville vs. St. Joe's: Again, St. Joe's has shown they can be clutch at times and Louisville has had a... inconsistent record in the tourney recently under Rick Pitino.
   No. 2 Tenn. vs. No. 7 Butler:  All i can say is: Butler is a 7 seed?  I'm sure Bruce Pearl said the same thing when he saw the brackets.  Bound to be one hell of a game, barring collapse by either in the first round.  The committee sure didn't make it easy on the Vols, but you gotta win your conf. tourney if you wanna have easy street in the big dance.

       1ST ROUND:
   No. 5 Clemson vs. No. 12 Villanova: Not to say that 'Nova deserved a better seeding, but their ability to be clutch at times (See St. Joe's), Scottie Reynolds' surefire spark and the Tigers' inability to plug the important free-throws (Oliver Purnell will be on them all week about that, we'll see if it has an effect), has the makings of a close, great game.
   No. 6 USC vs. No. 11 Kansas State:  Two words- Mayo & Beasley.  There's alot more to it but man, oh man.
   No. 7 Gonzaga vs. No. 10 Davidson:  The initiator of mid-major dominance in the modern era vs. the up and comer mid-major.  Does Few still have some tricks in his bag?  We'll see.
      2ND ROUND:
  Winner of Vandy v. Sienna vs. winner of Clemson v. 'Nova:  Well doesn't that just say it all.  And the winner is... um, well, with that much parity in a 4 team bracket I don't even know where to start (most of the 5 v. 12, 4 v. 13's are that way this year-hell yes!)
  No. 3 Wisconsin vs. USC:  Badgers' aren't happy with a 3 seed after winning the Big 10 regular season and tournament, let's see if Bo Ryan can stop the streak of collapses in recent tourneys (see Pitino)

       1ST ROUND:
   No. 5 Michigan State vs. No. 12 Temple: Izzo is good in the tournament, but the spartans were inconsistent this year.  Pageing Drew Neitzel: Will you be a hero?
   No. 6 Marquette vs. No. 11 Kentucky:   Gillespie wants to prove he deserved the bid over Arizona State, Dayton, ect., get a win.
   No. 3 Stanford vs. No. 14 Cornell: How good is the Ivy league?  Don't expect too much against the twin towers, but stranger things have happened.
  No. 7 Miami vs. No. 10 St. Mary's:  Should be very, very interesting.
        2ND ROUND:
  Oregon vs. Memphis: Again a dominant team whose functional flaw to becoming a champion is weak free-throw shooting

  Michigan State (or Temple) vs. Pitt.: hmmmmmmmm.


West Region

      1ST ROUND

    No. 3 Xavier vs. No. 14 Georgia:  Nobody thought the dawgs were this good, and what a hot streak to be a fourteen seed.  If Xavier can weather Georgia's excitment, the musketeers will pull through the emotional storm of a team who is playing on borrowed time.

  No. 7 West Virginia vs. No. 10 Arizona:  Two teams who looked like they were hurting not so long ago.  WVU's Alexander is a force to be recconed with.  Even with stellar (finally uninjured) backcourt play with Bayless and the rest of the guards, 'Zona's bigs will have to step up in a big way, but very winnable for either club. 


Category: NCAAB
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