Friday, November 21, 2014

FLAMING HOT WEEK ONE TAEKS

Duke, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Gonzaga are good.

Probably

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Our First Bracketology

Turns out that I missed 1 team through my breakdowns' so I'm adding in Memphis since Kurlinski was on board with them.

1 seed vs 16 seed
Kentucky (SEC) vs Hartford(Aeast)/NWst(Sland)
Arizona (P12) vs Hampton(MEAC)/AlabamaST (SWAC)
Wisconsin (B1G) vs High Point (Bsouth)
Duke (ACC) vs C.Connecticut St (NEC)
2 seed vs 15 seed
Gonzaga (WCC) vs American (Pat)
Villanova (Beast) vs E.Washington (Bsky)
Texas (B12) vs Wofford (Socon)
Kansas vs Florida GC (Asun)
3 seed vs 14 seed
Virginia vs Oral Roberts (Summit)
Florida vs William&Mary (Colonial)
North Carolina vs Murray St (OVC)
Wichita St (Mvalley) vs Cleveland State (Horizon)
4 seed vs 13 seed
Michigan State vs UC-Irvine (Bwest)
Nebraska vs New Mexico St (WAC)
Louisville vs Western Michigan (MAC)
Iowa State vs Iona (MAAC)
5 seed vs 12 seed
Colorado vs Georgia State (Sbelt)
Ohio State vs Georgia/Illinois
VCU (A10) vs Miami/Northern Iowa
San Diego St (Mwest) vs Rhode Island
6 seed vs 11 seed
Pittsburgh vs UTEP
Stanford vs Boise State
Oklahoma vs Utah
SMU (AAC) vs Memphis
7 seed vs 10 seed
Georgetown vs Arkansas
Michigan vs Cincinnati
UCLA vs Minnesota
Dayton vs Louisiana Tech (Cusa)
8 seed vs 9 seed
Connecticut vs BYU
Harvard (Ivy) vs Xavier
Syracuse vs George Washington
Kansas State vs Iowa

Monday, November 10, 2014

More Preseason Predictions

Final Four:
Kentucky
Duke 
Gonzaga
Arizona

Champion:
Kentucky over Arizona

Underrated:
Syracuse
Michigan State
Oklahoma
Xavier

Overrated:
Nebraska
Iowa State
Florida
North Carolina

Player of the Year:
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville

Freshman of the Year:
Jahil Okafor, Duke

Preseason Predictions

Final Four:

Wisconsin

Kentucky

Duke

Texas

 

Champion:

Kentucky over Wisconsin

 

Underrated

Texas

Gonzaga

Nebraska

Miami

 

Overrated

Syracuse

Ohio State

Connecticut

Arkansas

 

POY

Montrezl Harrell

 

Freshman of the Year

Myles Turner

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Marquette: I Don't Know, A Season Preview

Marquette plays a scrimmage today against Wisconsin Lutheran. The starting lineup is Juan Anderson, Steve Taylor, Derrick Wilson, Matt Carlino & Sandy Cohen. I imagine the starting lineup will change a lot early in the season, similar to what our local NBA team has done. It's going to be a season of transition, discovery, tough times and hopefully by the end of the season, some promise.

The three seniors on the team are PG Derrick Wilson, SF Juan Anderson and transfer guard Matt Carlino. Wilson was a bit of a lighting rod for Marquette fans last year. A good defender, Wilson was a non-factor on offense as teams didn't have to respect him as a scoring option. He reportedly worked hard on his shot in the off-season but he'll have to prove he's a legit threat.

Carlino will be a high volume shooter and can run the offense if necessary. Carlino comes from BYU where his game was inconsistent. A highly touted recruit, he finishes his career at his 3rd school. Anderson is a good rebounder who will have his hands full being one of Marquette's big men.

Joining Anderson in the front court will be Steve Taylor, Jr., the junior from Chicago. More than anyone, Taylor needed a fresh start from the previous regime. Early reports indicate he looks real good. A favorite of the Marquette fans blogosphere, we should see what Taylor can do.

All four of last year's freshmen are back, including redshirt Duane Wilson. Wilson will play either guard spot. Swing JaJuan Johnson will see a lot more time. A touted recruit, he could benefit as much as anyone under the new coach. John Dawson returns to provide depth but my feeling is, he'll be the odd man out.

The best of the sophomores is Deonte Burton. Burton is an offensive weapon who needs to play stronger on the defensive end. He'll be a stat sheet stuffer and highlight machine. If he's not starting, he'll be one of the first off the bench. He'll have to play some inside given the lack of size on the team and foul trouble will be a concern.

The other newcomers besides Carlino  are sophomore transfer Luke Fischer and freshman Sandy Cohen. Cohen has been good in practice from reports. Lack of bulk will limit him but the future is bright. Fischer will be a much needed big man who will be eligible in late December.  

Of course, the biggest change is on the sideline. Steve Wojociehowski takes over and will play a style that might include an emphasis on scoring. In interviews, Wojo has hinted the team will pressure full court to help offset the height handicap the team has. They'll also look to run when given the opportunity. Of all of Coach K's former assistants, no one has been more touted than Wojo.

Expectations should be this could be the "worst" season in some year's record wise. Lack of height is a concern but so will sloppy play early, given the lack of experience.

I expect Matt Carlino to be a gunner and the lead scorer but what Marquette fans should focus on is how the sophomores do. Most importantly, do they improve as the season continues? If they do, it'll be a successful transition season.

If Taylor shows some Jae Crowder, Carlino channels an inner Bryce Cotton and Fischer can give them solid minutes once he's eligible, they could get themselves on the bubble. Most likely, a .500 season is the ceiling. But like I said, if we see growth from the youngsters like I suspect, then fans should be excited for next year.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Conference Preview #1

With 1 week to the season kicking off we hit the top conference the Bigger East than the Old Big East, the ACC. I fully expect the ACC to lead the college basketball world in bids and have a chance at 3-4 to be top 3 seeds. The bottom quarter of the league is beyond bad but outside of Boston College, they are looking up. I do hope Buzz Williams fails at Virginia Tech but am very interested in what Danny Manning at Wake Forest can do. They are trending upwards with that hire.

League Champion: Duke Is this the year they finally have a one and done player and do something? Jabari Parker, Kyrie Irving, and Austin Rivers weren’t able to do it but Jahlil Okafor is a different type of player. Parker was a stud but Okafor is being looked at to not only take over his scoring but also lock down the inside on defense. That’s something that’s been lacking since, gulp, Zoubek patrolled the interior. I do expect good things this year from Duke but I’m curious to see Quinn Cook. He’s the lone senior and has been prone to mental mistakes and poor shot selection. If he loses playing time to the other Freshman how will he handle it? That’s a big question

At-Large: Virginia Yep, I have them ahead of North Carolina. I know they lost Jon Harris but they have plenty of players to fill his shoes. Besides, the Cavaliers are not able the players, they are all about the system. There’s the Tony Bennett way, or no way. As long as these kids buy in this is a top tier team.

At-Large: North Carolina On paper they have more talent than Virginia and possible as more than Duke but it’s all in how they mesh as a team. With all the turmoil going on in the Athletic Department are they able to be focused on the season at hand? I have my questions with this group

At-Large: Louisville Russ Smith is gone but Montrezl Harrell is back and he will give Paige and Okafor a run for their money as player of the year. Pitino always works wonders and this year in the ACC will be no different. A solid 4-5 seed no problem.

At-Large: Pittsburgh Here’s where the break off occurs. The top 4 are in a group by themselves; the next 4 are more likely 9-11 seeds. Pittsburgh always seems to do it with smoke and mirrors. This year will be no different. They will grind out some wins with ugly old Big Ten like basketball. Jamie Dixon will be proud of himself.

At-Large: Syracuse The Orangemen had a tough time scoring last year and they lose their top 3 scorers. I expect more of the same but their zone defense will give the bottom half fits and they will have enough non-conference wins over Liberty, North Carolina A&T, and Maine to get in.

At-Large: Florida State Dominated by Juniors and Seniors this Florida State team has the means to creep up on some people. Leonard Hamilton has done a great job at FSU and I think he’ll be able to squeeze another bid out of this team. They are a little “short” at guard but can boast 3 Seven Footers in the middle

At-Large: Miami Jim Larrinaga does it again. I’m picking them to be the last team in the bracket. Transfers Sheldon McClellan and Angel Rodriguez help rebuild Miami from the Shane Larkin years and Miami gets back in .

Also Considered: North Carolina State, Clemson, Notre Dame

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Piling on Tom Crean

Shockingly, Brian didn't include Indiana in his B1G preview. They're not very good and on top of that, off court incidents have plagued the Hooisers for the past year.

The common refrain from Crean apologists is simple, if Indiana was winning, these issue wouldn't be so magnified. That's probably true. Unfortunately, stories are starting to come out that there are "coach issues" as well. That's not good. Those of us in SE Wisconsin know Crean can be a bit "intense".

I wondered at the beginning  of 2011 how much rope he had. I didn't fully grasp what a mess Kelvin Sampson had left. To Crean's credit, he rebuilt based on developing a sound foundation and didn't pursue a quick fix.

But like he said about taking the job, "This is Indiana." The off court stuff is unfortunate and worrisome but sometimes, this happens with college kids. It isn't good or excusable but it doesn't mean it can't be cleaned up. What is real, is the on-court struggles. It seemed Indiana was back two season ago, reaching number one and earning a 1-seed. Two years later, the Hooisers are projected behind Nebraska.

In his defense, Tom Crean's Marquette career saw a similar trajectory. They built towards a Final 4 and took a step back before becoming a tournament regular upon joining the Big East, a move many thought would be a struggle. But, "This is Indiana". Being a tournament regular should be the minimum.

The drumbeats have begun for his removal. The truth is, his contract is pretty cumbersome to simply fire him. It'll cost Indiana a lot of money and that might but Tom Crean some time. But, "This is Indiana". There's no reason for them not to be a Big Ten contender every season. How does he react and how does his team react? Both will go a long way in determining the future of Indiana basketball.