Tag Archives: UCLA Bruins

Let the Madness Begin

And here we are, ladies and gentlemen.  March Madness.

I have a bunch of hoopservations about the college game, none of which is worthy of more than four or five sentences.  Thus, here is a potpourri of mini hoopservations:

1a.  For starters, this is not the site to come to for upset picks based on super-duper-insider info and fantastic scouting reports.  If you want that kind of analysis, keep surfing the ‘net and you’ll find it without too much trouble.  I’ve never seen St. Peter’s play.  Or Indiana State.  Or Belmont.  In fact, I thought Belmont was a horse race, not a college.

1b.  Great, I just offended all of my readers from Belmont.  When you only have eight loyal readers, you can’t afford to offend anyone, but I just did.  No wonder I’m having so much trouble attracting new readers.

2.  BYU, at one point this season, looked like a legit contender.  Then it suspended one of its best players for having sex with his girlfriend.  I have plenty of opinions about this, but they’d certainly offend some people and, well, I just can’t afford to offend anyone at this point.

3.  Is it too early to declare the expansion to 68 teams a failure?  If not, what additional information do we need before we are able to determine that the expansion was a bad idea?

4.  Jeff Capel got fired this week.  Not the biggest story out there, I know, but I think it’s interesting because of what it says about the way we perceive college coaches.  When Capel made VCU competitive, he was a hot young candidate for a job at a bigger program.   He took the job at Oklahoma, and did quite well, when he had Blake Griffin.  Since losing Griffin, he hasn’t done so well.  Funny how that works.  Take a step back and look at this: when he makes a team like VCU competitive, people think he’s a coaching prodigy.  When he recruits Blake Griffin, people think the praise was worthwhile.  Then when he loses Griffin and stops winning, people think he doesn’t even deserve to keep his job.  How about some perspective, folks?

5.  Last year, I hoopserved that tournament upsets, contrary to popular belief, generally did not involve a team with five underrated upperclassmen beating a team with five overrated underclassmen.  Rather, they generally involved a lower-seeded team having a star who carried it to a win.  (Here, if you’re interested.) In light of that, I looked at the list of this year’s leading scorers, and note that teams to keep an eye on are Penn St. (Talor Battle averages 20.1 ppg), Wofford (Noah Dalman averages 20 ppg),and BU (John Holland averages 19.2 ppg).  If you’re kind of into this angle, but you’re more interested in rebounds than points, I note that the list of leading rebounders includes Nikola Vucevic from USC (10.2 rpg) and Keith Benson from Oakland (10.1 rpg).

6.  It’s interesting that people can see what they want in this tournament.  Those who are down on the game will see that the top eight seeds are about as weak as the top eight seeds have been in a while.  Florida?  Notre Dame?  They’ll also see that the tournament is wide open, essentially because there is a lot of mediocrity, and very few teams that have potential for greatness.  Those who are not down on the game will see a lot to like about this tournament.  For starters, the defending national champion returns multiple critical starters, and heads into the tournament as a #1 seed.  And, they will see a bunch of potentially great matchups.  UCLA-Michigan State in Round 1?!? Seriously?  Plus, a potential matchup of St. John’s, the revitalized school from NYC, and BYU, the school that kicked a player off of its team for violating the school’s Honor Code — an Honor Code that, as I understand things, does not allow students to drink caffeine.  Like I said, I’m not going to comment on BYU’s decision, but you don’t need my commentary to see that St. John’s / BYU would be an interesting clash.  Looking down the road, a potential Ohio State / Syracuse matchup would be awesome.  Another run from Butler would be thrilling.  And, don’t forget, Kemba Walker might just grab the whole bracket by the throat and not let go.

I don’t know about you, but I’m psyched.

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Go Thunder

I think the Oklahoma City Thunder is my favorite team in the NBA. Am I the first person outside of the state of Oklahoma to ever utter that sentence?

(By the way, is it even a proper sentence? If the Celtics were my favorite team, I’d say the Celtics ARE my favorite team, not that the Celtics IS my favorite team. So, do I say that the Thunder IS my favorite team, or the Thunder ARE my favorite team? Oh, wait, I forgot… this is a blog for people who like basketball, not for dorks who waste time thinking about boring grammar questions. I should save my moronic grammar musings for my next blog that nobody is going to read: grammarvations.com)

Anyway, I’m all about the Thunder. There are a bunch of things about that team that I like:
1. They have a quiet, unassuming star. And he’s young. And he’s getting better. And his nickname is Durantula.
2. They built their team through the draft. I’m not sure why I find this so appealing, but I like that the main guys on the Thunder have been on the Thunder, I mean the Sonics, I mean the Sonics / Thunder for their whole careers. Nick Collison was drafted by Seattle, and never played for anyone else. Same with Jeff Green (actually, he was traded to the Sonics, but he never played for a different pro team). And Kevin Durant. And Russell Westbrook. And James Harden. This team didn’t get good just by signing one star and trading for another. This team was built methodically. Each draft pick complemented the others, and, collectively, they constitute an actual team.
3. They’re young, and, yet, accomplished. This team has multiple guys who played well for premier college teams. Durant was the Player of the Year at Texas. Harden was an All-American at Arizona State. Collison was an All-American on a Kansas team that went to the Final game. Russell Westbrook started for a UCLA team that went to the Final Four and Green started for a Georgetown team that did, too.

They have Serge Ibaka. That has to count for something.

These guys seem like good dudes, they’re young, and they’re good. Ever since the Knicks dissed my boy Ewing I’ve been a free-agent fan. I think I found my squad.

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