Monday, March 31, 2008

It's still real to me, dag-nabbit!

By Rick Morris

This was published a day early, so I don't think it's Wade Keller's idea of an April Fool's Day joke. Bitter Indy Guy has risen up in all his glory to unleash a bitter rant on Vince McMahon for booking Floyd Mayweather to win the match against The Big Show at WrestleMania 24.

"[Did] Vince McMahon ever consider the fact that the people who bought tickets to WrestleMania might actually be wrestling fans and that they just might want to see a wrestler win? Did anyone notice that Big Show was being heartily cheered when he was thrashing Mayweather?"

Wow. The people actually cheered for the wrestler pushed as the babyface and booed the heel. Stop the f'ing presses.

I wonder if Bitter Indy Guy expressed similar outrage at the WWE's sham of a "wellness policy" or any other one of the countless crimes against decency perpetrated by Vinny Mac in his quarter-century atop the business. No, that's a stupid question, of course he didn't. "BIG's" priority in life is defending the image of pro wrestling against those from other industries who want to come in and get their hand raised.

As the old saying goes, the biggest marks are the ones behind the curtain.

For infinitely more sane and comprehensive coverage of the show, check out our good buddy Russ Cohen at Wrestleology.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

WrestleMania 24 review

By Rick Morris

This was a tremendous show, one of the most entertaining WrestleManias ever. Great moments were interspersed all throughout the four hours, continuing the trend of recent years ended. Ever since the first post-boom WrestleMania of this decade (18), the company has taken advantage of their depth of "names" by trying to present several super-attractive matches on each show. They succeeded more than at any other time this decade.

^ JBL defeated Finlay in a Belfast Brawl match. Excellent brawl to open the show with several STIFF shots from each man. Hornswaggle made his return by accompanying Finlay at the outset. Finlay did a dive to the outside at one point, only to have JBL swing a garbage can lid right into his head. The "Clothesline from Hades" gave JBL a surprising clean win, surprising in the sense that the match seemed to be built toward the "Finlay family" getting revenge after a month of JBL's cruelties. This was a super-stiff match and both guys are going to be sore tomorrow. (3 stars)

^ C.M. Punk wins the Money In the Bank Match. This was probably the best of the "Midcard Spotfest-Mania" matches in its four years of existence. There were several insane spots: John Morrison moonsaulting out of the ring onto several participants HOLDING A LADDER, Carlito giving Chris Jericho a backstabber off a ladder and the worst of them all, Sheldon Benjamin getting pitched off a ladder and landing flat on his back on a ladder stretched out from the ring to the apron. Benjamin never got up from that and could well be seriously injured. Matt Hardy made the obligatory run-in when MVP was about to win and Punk & Carlito did a nice spot jumping onto ladders that their competitors were climbing. In the end, Punk got Y2J tied up in the ladder once he fell backward and Punk claimed the prize. (3 3/4 stars)

The Hall of Fame inductees were then recognized, with Ric Flair's family standing in for him.

A backstage skit with Snoop Dog and Festus then aired, with Santino angrily approaching Snoop, who then reached around to ring a bell to get Festus to chase Santino. Mick Foley then popped up for a cameo with a sock with bling-bling on it.

^ Batista defeated You-Mang-A in the "brand supremacy" match. This was a fairly basic match, nothing horrible or special about it. (2 1/4 stars)

Highlights of the battle royal that only aired on earlier tonight were shown, as Kane emerged the winner.

^ Kane defeated Chavo Guerrero for the ECW Title. This one was short and sweet. Kane snuck into the ring behind Chavo and chokeslammed him when he turned around. Just like that, Chavo's run on top of ECW is done. (not applicable for star rating)

^ Shawn Michaels defeated Ric Flair in a "Career Threatening Match." Purely in terms of raw emotion, this match would have to be in anyone's all-time top five. They pulled out all the stops. Relatively early, Michaels missed a moonsault outside the ring in a planned spot -- well, I'm guessing the ringside table not falling apart as it should and likely breaking several of Shawn's ribs was not planned, but the spot itself was. Minutes later, Michaels tried another one and Flair botched the catch, causing HBK's knee to bounce harshly off the ground. There was a tremendous back-and-forth in the ring, with several false finishes. Michaels hesitated the first time he went for the superkick, allowing Flair to hit the figure-four leglock. Flair kicked out of another superkick and almost won several times with the figure-four or some rollup nearfalls. Flair actually hit a flying bodypress tonight as well. These two pulled out all the stops and were only hampered by their limitations: age in the case of Flair and Michaels suffering as a result of the first moonsault. In the end, Michaels mouthed, "I love you. I'm sorry," right before he swiftly hit another superkick and covered Flair for "Little Naitch" Charles Robinson's final three-count. Just like that, Ric Flair's career as an active wrestler ended. Michaels embraced Flair quickly, then left the ring, allowing Flair an extended exit. Flair, his family at ringside and many fans in the stadium were crying. Quite coincidentally, I had a piece of dust fly in each of my eyes at the moment, giving the illusion to the naked eye of manly tears welling up in there. (4 1/2 stars)

^ Beth Phoenix and Melina won the BunnyMania match. Against all odds, Maria had The Glamazon beaten, but Santino Marella broke up the three-count and Phoenix got the duke. Afterwards, Snoop Dogg clotheslined a gloating Santino, who had also been punched earlier by Jerry Lawler. (1/2 star)

^ Randy Orton retained the WWE Title by pinning John Cena in the three-way match. This match was decent, but nothing terribly memorable. Each wrestler got in several of their trademark spots and pinfall attempts were routinely broken up by the third wrestler in there. The finish came when HHH reversed the FU into a Pedigree and Orton came back in out of nowhere with the punt to HHH's head to steal the three-count on Cena. (2 3/4 stars)

^ Floyd Mayweather defeated The Big Show. This match exceeded the justifiably low expectations. Mayweather successfully worked the "stick and move" early on, frustrating Show. In perhaps the funniest moment of the night, Mayweather took a drink from one of his cornermen not in the standard fighter's water bottle, but in an ornate chalice! Show charged the corner, started beating up on Floyd's posse, and the mayhem was on. Mayweather got in a version of a sleeperhold on Show, but eventually the big man took over to the point that the fighter and his entourage tried to bail. Show chased them up the aisle, beat up the crew and took Mayweather back to the ring. Once there, Mayweather was able to use a chair to soften up Show before resorting to brass knuckles for the legal three-count in this "anything goes" match. Decent action at times (2 1/2 stars)

^ The Undertaker defeated Edge for the World Heavyweight Title. This match began at a slower pace and built tremendously. At one point, Edge took a sick bump outside the ring when Taker pushed him off the top turnbuckle, then later Edge just dumped Undertaker right onto some shocked fans in the front row. The progression of the match featured the old All-Japan pattern of repeated false finishes. Edge kicked out of a chokeslam and a Last Ride, then the Undertaker kicked out after Edge waffled him with a TV camera during a ref bump, then Edge survived a Tombstone. When Edge's lackeys interfered, Taker chokeslammed one on top of the other one outside the ring, allowing Edge to set up a spear that did not result in a three-count. Edge hit another spear, but then Undertaker reached up and locked on a modified sleeperhold that got Edge to tap out. It was an outstanding ending to an amazing night of wrestling. (4 stars)

Video Clips: Fun Timewasters

By Rick Morris

From time to time, we try to accommodate our Lounge content consumers who just want some fun, light entertainment. Hence this edition of our Video Clips series, entitled "Fun Timewasters."

These are simply some video clips that you can enjoy and consume in the form of good, mindless entertainment. On with the show!

Stephen Curry has been THE superstar of this year's NCAA hoops tournament. Here's a compilation of some of his more impressive plays:

Is this next one in poor taste? Possibly. But watching Hitler vent as a frustrated Dallas Cowboys' fan is some kind of funny!

In the last year, we have seen one of the all-time greatest TV commercials, a classic in its own time: the Peter Frampton Geico spot:

Howard Cosell and Muhammad Ali, nothing more needs to be said:

Here's a segment from the vaults of THE SPORTSWRITERS ON TV, the forerunner of all of the TV talking-head sports shows we see today:

Are you geeked for MLB Opening Day yet? You will be after you see this:

And last but not least, here are some clips from the "Bookie Mom" series online. If these clips don't have you laughing, you're probably a bit too morose to be a follower of The FDH Lounge!

The Super Bowl/To Catch a Predator:

The Coach K/Roy Williams feud:

The NFL Combine:

Making chalk picks:

How Bookie Mom collects from deadbeats:

SJP PO'd at World's Unsexiest Label

By Rick Morris

Sarah Jessica Parker is peeved that Maxim Magazine saw fit to drop the "Unsexiest Woman In the World designation on her. Now, while I am part of the apparent majority out there that is not wildly envious of hubby Mathew Broderick, I must agree with her that this label is harsh and excessive. Is the "Sex and the City" actress very overrated as a glamorous figure? Again, most of us males appear to be in agreement, but I don't see the need for this publication to bury her in such humiliating fashion.

Besides, the "title" isn't even accurate as long as Bea Arthur and Mae Young are still walking around.

WrestleMania 24 preview

By Rick Morris

Earlier plans to live-blog this momentous event were shelved when the joint SportsTalkNetwork/FDH viewing party was scrapped by STN President Paul Belfi in favor of viewing the event at Harpo's Sports Cafe. Now, Harpo's is one of the greatest sports-themed restaurants in the world and it's within about two miles of my home, so my disappointment at not being able to live-blog is tempered by the anticipation of enjoying some great Harpo's wings and taking in the specter of the mark fans who invariably overrun Harpo's for every PPV.

On to the predictions ...

^ Battle Royal to determine #1 contender to ECW Title: This three-brand battle royal, which was moved from the broadcast to an online-only venue, demonstrates precisely what an afterthought the ECW (World???) Title has become. My guess, for the record, is that Kane emerges and gets the title shot on the PPV against Chavo Guerrero.

^ ECW Title Match: Chavo Guerrero vs. ???: Again, I think Kane will be facing Chavo and my guess is that Chavo walks out with the title by some nefarious means, setting up a spring feud between these two that will continue. Regardless of who Chavo faces, I don't believe WWE is giving away a title change with no buildup tonight.

^ BunnyMania Lumberjack Match: Ashley & Maria vs. WWE Women's Champion Glamazon Beth Phoenix and Melina: There's a certain percentage of the card that is going to have to contain heel wins just to even out the emotional high-spots, and the women's match has often been a place to do just that. In a match that means very little, and is almost certainly meant to do nothing but highlight celebrity participation, Melina and The Glam get their hands raised.

^ Brand vs. Brand, Umaga vs. Batista: Both of these guys are fringe main-eventers at this point, but You-Mang-a is probably fated (due to not getting to show any interview skills in his role as a "savage from the islands") to remain in the upper-upper midcard while Batista is on his way back to the main events at some point. Umaga is bulletproof in his role, having jobbed repeatedly to John Cena, HHH and Jeff Hardy, so a loss won't hurt him here. Batista wins.

^ Belfast Brawl, Finlay vs. JBL: This is a tough one to pick. JBL has gotten almost all of the heat on Finlay throughout this feud, from the abrupt (and botched) transition from a looming Finlay/Hornswaggle vs. McMahons clash to this battle. JBL seems to need a win more, since he's likely to get some WWE Title shots on PPV this summer due to the scarcity of top-level heels on RAW, but I think Finlay gets the win that the storyline has been pointing to, likely with Hornswaggle making a surprise return to help him in the end.

^ Money In the Bank Ladder Match to claim match at WWE Title, World Title or ECW Title, John Morrison vs. Kennedy vs. Chris Jericho vs. MVP vs. Sheldon Benjamin vs. C.M. Punk vs. Carlito: In the fourth annual MidcardMania match, one of these contestants will be crowned a future main event player -- which is sad for Jericho, who had alternated between the mid-card (mostly) and main event (occasionally) for more than a half-decade, before coming back last winter as a heavily-pushed main-eventer and then sliding quickly back into the midcard. Kennedy won last year and would have become a main-eventer already had he not gotten injured. His year was fairly star-crossed overall, in some ways because of his own stupidity, but I think he's a good candidate to win -- not as good as MVP, though, who is showing signs of living up to the hype of his character and becoming a legitimate player. I see MVP winning and ascending to either the World Title or ECW Title in the next year.

^ The Biggest vs. The Best, The Big Show vs. Floyd "Money" Mayweather: This heavily -hyped match will produce some memorable moments, largely because of a style clash that is actually being embraced by the promotion as some kind of surreal theater of the absurd. Mayweather will clearly have to take some big bumps here, and the guessing is that Show will be poised for victory when a member of his "posse" cheats him out of victory. Remember, the only stipulation is that there must be a winner. Mayweather will "dip into his $20 million" to get a WWE wrestler to turn on Show, setting up a subsequent feud for TBS. The only relevant point when trying to guess the outcome of this match is that Floyd Mayweather didn't sign this contract to end up losing.

^ World Title Match, Edge vs. The Undertaker: "The Streak vs. The Title" is the centerpiece of the "Smackdown Main Event," as Edge (who is also undefeated at WrestleMania in singles matches) takes on the 15-0 Dead Man. I disagree strongly with my friend Belfi, who on his PRO WRESTLING INSIDER show on STN (Tuesday nights, 7-9 PM EDT) expressed the markish (yes, I said it!) sentiment that 'Taker should keep the streak going and that Edge "didn't need the win." The very point of building up equity like The Undertaker has been able to do is to transfer the cache of it to another star at some point. Edge is the best main-event heel the company has had in years, probably since "Fac-Gime Era HHH," and his character can benefit immensely from the rub here. As you can tell, this is the outcome I am the most likely to disagree with, as all signs are that 'Taker will go 16-0. I have no problem with them giving The Undertaker another decently-long title reign, I just disagree with starting it here as opposed to a month or two down the road.

^ WWE Title Match, Randy Orton vs. HHH vs. John Cena: Three years after it was initially envisioned, we're seeing Orton vs. HHH for the title at 'Mania. One year after it was initially envisioned, we're seeing HHH vs. Cena for the title in a WrestleMania 22 rematch. We're getting both of these scenarios in one match, plus the hottest part of the match in terms of feud qualities in Cena vs. Orton. This should be a fantastic match, with all participants motivated to live up to the atmosphere and deliver a 3 1/2 or 4-star match. In the end, I think HHH "gets his wins back," after having finished the main event of the last three 'Manias he participated in looking up at the lights. He may be taking a lighter schedule later in the year when his "second McMahon heir" is born, so this is a way to strike while the iron is hot with him before he has another hiatus or semi-hiatus. Cena will still be waiting in the wings as the heir apparent to the title and I expect him to be protected here with Orton doing the job. For the record, although I'm a huge critic of HHH's positioning of himself during large stretches earlier this decade, I think this is the right move to make as he is having the best solo face run of his career (thanks to no storylines this time involving "his dog").

^ Career Threatening Match, Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels: I'm listing this match last in the vain hope that the company will do the right thing and put it on last. Good luck following this emotional moment! I don't believe it's a 100% lock that this will be Flair's last match, as a fairly elaborate swerve could be underway, but I do think it's probable that they will go in the anticipated direction and that Michaels will lead one heck of a great match. My biggest problem with Flair having this match on this card was the notion that his retirement match should headline a card and I thought it was improbable at WrestleMania, but this storyline has been such a huge part of the overall event that some of my objections have faded. Michaels probably wins after "The Dirtiest Player In the Game" fights and claws for his life.

In the interest of helping people to remember the greatness of Ric Flair, who was probably the greatest wrestler of all time, here's the excellent tribute to him that the company aired this past week:

And here's some of his great mic work from back in the day:

If this is the end, thanks for the memories, Ric.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Goon Squad/7th Inning Slouch March 27

By Rick Morris

Tonight's Thursday night FDH lineup on* will feature outstanding editions of your favorite programs!

^ THE GOON SQUAD (7-8 PM EDT) will feature a multiplicity of topics, as STC hockey analyst Kyle O'Rourke and I break down the NCAA hockey brackets, Pat Roy's kid taking after his thug old man, "Mr. Hockey" turning 80 and the final stretch of the NHL playoff chase.

^ On SEVENTH INNING SLOUCH (8-9 PM EDT), Mike Ptak, Tony Mazur and I deliver our National League preview, checking out the Senior Circuit from top to bottom by forecasting the playoff teams and individual award winners. This baseball coverage leads into more analysis from a fantasy perspective on THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER (9-11 PM EDT).

* We are heeding a request to start utilizing the SportsTalkCleveland identity because it is the lead one the station for marketing purposes right now. At the same time, we wish to remind everyone of the reason that the SportsTalkNetwork identity has also been in play: the wide variety of programs on the station appealing to a national constituency, from nationally-based general sports programming to mixed martial arts to pro wrestling to the NHL, Major League Baseball, motorsports, extreme sports and fantasy sports. Whether you cheer for Cleveland sports teams or not, we appreciate having you in our audience and we serve you equally well.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

FDH Lounge News Nuggets

By Rick Morris

Our "News Nuggets" segment on our FDH LOUNGE program generally addresses minor topics, or sometimes wacky ones, in detail that is brief relative to our discussion of other matters. This "News Nuggets" column is going to be a bit different, as factors relating to the overall FDH family (primarily keeping our pimp hand strong during fantasy baseball season) have kept me from opining here as much as I would have liked over the past two weeks -- but I do want to put my two cents in on the following topics:

^ Eliot Spitzer -- what goes around ... ew, I'm not going to finish that sentence given some of the connotations some people could put there! But this jerkwad slimed Richard Grasso and others on Wall Street, preferring to hypocritically try to blackmail them using their alleged sexual misadventures as part of his grandstanding campaign to advance himself. Now I'm supposed to feel sorry for him now that he's got a "problem"? Nah. I do feel badly for his daughters and yes, for his wife, notwithstanding her decision to accompany him in front of the cameras instead of walking away like he deserved (BTW, may I say Mrs. Spit is looking fine for her age and I'm sure there'd be a long line of guys looking to cheer up this "Mrs. Robinson" if push comes to shove). Now he suffers more humiliation as we learn that he likes to keep his black socks on, uh, "during." Wow. Pardon me while I get some turpentine and try to scrub my brain of that mental image ... OK, I'm back now with one more note. Apparently Hollywood Wackjob Par Excellence Alec Baldwin worshiped this guy and thinks America's going in the crapper now that he's been marginalized. He also notes that prostitution is wrong because "every prostitute is someone's daughter." I'm actually touched that Baldwin took five minutes out of his busy schedule (which, ironically, seems to consist largely of working towards driving his own young daughter to a career "on the pole" by screaming at her about her alleged bovine tendencies) to break off that particular bit of Captain Obvious wisdom.

^ Planned Parenthood's real agenda is snuffing out black babies. The heck you say! The same folks who revere their founder, Fascist Racist Extraordinare Margaret Sanger? Evidently, things haven't changed much since Sanger was founding their little baby-skull-crushing enterprise:

"Margaret Sanger spoke of sterilizing those she designated as 'unfit,' a plan she said would be the 'salvation of American civilization.' And she also spike of those who were 'irresponsible and reckless,' among whom she included those " whose religious scruples prevent their exercising control over their numbers." She further contended that 'there is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.' That many Americans of African origin constituted a segment of Sanger considered 'unfit' cannot be easily refuted.

She wrote: 'We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten that idea out if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.'"

Whoopsie Margaret! All these years later one of your peons let the cat out of the bag about your extermination agenda. Sucks when that happens, eh?

"Donor: Wonderful. I want to specify that abortion to help a minority group - would that be possible?

Kersey (Planned Parenthood employee!!!): Absolutely.

Donor: Like the black community for example?

Kersey: Certainly.

Donor: OK, so the abortion -- I can give money specifically for a black baby, that would be the purpose.

Kersey: Absolutely. If you wanted to designate that you wanted your gift to be used to help (an) African-American woman in need, then we would certainly make sure that that gift was earmarked specifically for that purpose.

Donor: Great. Because I really face trouble with affirmative action, and I don't want my kids being disadvantaged, you know, against black kids. I just had a baby; I want to put it in his name, you know.

Kersey: Mmhmm, absolutely.

Donor: So that's definitely possible.

Kersey: Oh, always, always.

Donor: So I just wanna - can I put this in the name of my son?

Kersey: Absolutely.

Donor: Yeah, he's trying to get into colleges, and he's going to be applying, you know, he's just -- we're just really big -- he's really faced troubles with affirmative action.

Kersey: Mmhmm.

Donor: And we don't, you know, we just think, you know, the less black kids out there the better.

Kersey: (Laughs) Understandable, understandable. ... Um David, let me, if I may, just get some sort of specific general information so we can set this up the right way. You said you wanted to put it in your son's name, and you would like this designated specifically to assist (an) African-American woman who's looking to terminate a pregnancy.

Donor: Exactly, and yeah, I wanna protect my son, so he can get into college.

Kersey: All right. Excuse my hesitation, um, um, this is the first time I've had a donor call and make this kind of request, so I'm excited, and I wanna make sure I don't leave anything out."

Well, at least the media's been pretty quiet about it, ensuring that the populace remains in the dark about what a holocaust that "choice" really is.

^ The NCAA is officially more cynical than any politician anywhere. We see now what CBS gets for its 58 gajillion dollars for the NCAA hoops tournament. Mayo v. Beasley in Round One of the brackets? Bob Huggins facing his ancient rival Xavier for a shot at the Elite Eight? Georgetown happening to draw the little sister just up the road for the first round sacrificial lamb? A first round battle of very different sentimental favorites in Notre Dame and George Mason? This entire event is tainted by the fact that it is explicitly made-for-TV in the sense that logical matchups and fair seeding are going to be cast aside for whatever the puppets on the committee think is going to move the Nielson ratings. Say what you will about Vince McMahon, and I've buried him consistently, but at least he's honest about what his enterprise is.

^ Speaking of the tournament, Bobby Knight has yet to choke Digger Phelps out on camera. Fortunately, we've got two weeks to go ...

^ Winners win and losers make excuses. The Detroit Tigers have, predictably, signed their new young franchise player Miguel Cabrera to a megabucks deal that will keep him in town well into the next decade. Meanwhile, my Cleveland Indians are engaging in a season-long goodbye wave to C.C. Sabathia. And people wonder why I may sound bitter from time to time ...

^ So now Hugh Hewitt is pushing Mitt Romney for V.P. Who saw that coming? I'd watch my back if I was McCain, though, because if that ticket wins in November, good old Uncle Hughey is going to be perched in the crow's nest on Inauguration Day with a poison blowdart aimed right at JM's carotid artery.

^ Speaking of poison blowdarts, I wouldn't put my "thoat" anywhere within firing distance of Hillary these days if I was Bill Richardson. What a greasy, back-stabbing opportunist -- and surprise, he doesn't side with the Clintons!

^ Obama's pastor hates Whitey. Obama himself throws his grandma under the bus to make him look better by comparison. Whoever said campaigns teach us nothing about the candidates for office?

^ So now Steven Spielberg, Nancy Pelosi and other moral posturers are doing their full-blown "Mr. Mackey routine" at China: "Mmmmkay, genocide is bad, mmmmmkay?" Call me cynical if you must, but I can't see any of these buffoons standing up to an Islamic terrorist threatening our country in the same way -- or standing up for the rights of (those darn intolerant and judgmental!) Christians in the same way. But now that China is oppressing Buddhists -- conjuring up the image of helpless, peaceful fat bald guys rubbing their bellies as ChiCom tanks plow them over -- well, hey, now it's time to take a stand! Gimme a call the next time any of these assclowns raises a peep when a Jewish woman and her family gets blown to bits by a homicide bomber in Israel ...

Happy Easter from the FDH family

By Rick Morris

We at FDH Enterprises, LLC wish a most Happy Easter for you and yours. May this celebration of hope and rebirth be a happy one for all of our readers and content consumers.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Goon Squad/7th Inning Slouch March 20

By Rick Morris

Tonight’s FDH-produced block of programming on* begins with THE GOON SQUAD (7-8 PM EDT), when we will preview NCAA Selection Sunday as the race to the Frozen Four begins – then, we’ll break down the NHL Stanley Cup playoff race in detail and we’ll take a look at the NEXT proposed NHL outdoor game.

On SEVENTH INNING SLOUCH (8-9 PM EDT), we deliver our 2008 American League Preview, as we look inside each division and forecast what lies ahead this season (next week is our 2008 National League Preview).

The evening builds to a crescendo with THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER (9-11 PM EDT) with all of your baseball Draft Day preparation. Join us tonight on STC for the greatest sports coverage anywhere!

* We are heeding a request to start utilizing the SportsTalkCleveland identity because it is the lead one the station for marketing purposes right now. At the same time, we wish to remind everyone of the reason that the SportsTalkNetwork identity has also been in play: the wide variety of programs on the station appealing to a national constituency, from nationally-based general sports programming to mixed martial arts to pro wrestling to the NHL, Major League Baseball, motorsports, extreme sports and fantasy sports. Whether you cheer for Cleveland sports teams or not, we appreciate having you in our audience and we serve you equally well.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

One man's NCAA bracket

By Rick Morris

Last year, I posted an NCAA hoops bracket that turned out quite well for anyone who chose to use it. Here's my version for 2008, listing the winners by round (oh, and here's where you can find a bracket that you can fill in with these winners):


First Round
1. UNC
2. Tennessee
3. Louisville
4. Washington State
5. Notre Dame
7. Butler
8. Indiana
11. St. Joseph's

Second Round
1. UNC
2. Tennessee
3. Louisville
4. Washington State

Sweet 16
1. UNC
2. Tennessee

Elite 8
1. UNC


First Round
1. Kansas
2. Georgetown
3. Wisconsin
4. Vanderbilt
5. Clemson
6. USC
9. Kent State
10. Davidson

Second Round
1. Kansas
2. Georgetown
5. Clemson
6. USC

Sweet 16
2. Georgetown
5. Clemson

Elite 8
5. Clemson


First Round
1. Memphis
2. Texas
3. Stanford
4. Pittsburgh
5. Michigan State
8. Mississippi State
10. St. Mary's
11. Kentucky

Second Round
1. Memphis
2. Texas
3. Stanford
4. Pittsburgh

Sweet 16
2. Texas
4. Pittsburgh

Elite 8
2. Texas


First Round
2. Duke
3. Xavier
4. UConn
5. Drake
6. Purdue
7. West Virginia
8. BYU

Second Round
3. Xavier
4. UConn
7. West Virginia

Sweet 16
3. Xavier

Elite 8

1. UNC over 5. Clemson
1. UCLA over 2. Texas

1. UCLA 78, 1. UNC 73

Monday, March 17, 2008

How Good or Bad is Derek Anderson?

by Jason Jones

With Cleveland Browns fans excessively excited about the upcoming season, there are still some questions. My biggest question is, “How good, really, is Derek Anderson?” I have no doubt that the Derek Anderson I think I know is capable of leading the Browns into the playoffs. However, I do not think he is capable of winning a Super Bowl. I also do not believe the Cleveland Browns are a Super Bowl-contending team going into 2008. They are a serious playoff team. The idea that they can own Pittsburgh, beat New England, beat Indianapolis, and/or Jacksonville is still a far-fetched idea to me. Today, the NFL Network replayed the Browns vs. Bengals game from Week 2. I decided to Tivo the game then go back and analyze each and every offensive play (especially since there was next to no defense played in that game). I am going into this project with my eyes open and no bias. Most who know me or have read anything I’ve written on this subject are aware of my bias to Brady Quinn over Derek Anderson. This time, I will objectively look at DA’s best game to decide just how good he really is. Keep in mind I am watching an NFL Network Replay, which means we will only see the plays they deem worthy as to fit it into a nice 90 minute block. There may be some skips in time.

CIN-7 CLE-0, 7:57 1st Qtr

First Possession

7:57-J.Lewis 7 yd dive

6:52-J.Lewis 3 yd lt. guard

6:03-DA 28 yd pass to a flipped Edwards called incomplete (not DA’s fault) the announcer’s criticized the throw claiming it set up Edwards to get hurt.

5:51-J.Lewis HB Sweep 5 yds

5:12-DA sits in the pocket until he inexplicably fumbles the ball with no one touching him, then scrambles to his right and wildly throws the ball to a relatively open Jurevicious and misses him by 7 or 8 yards. The ball ended up just in front of the camera men. He didn’t even look at the 3 receivers he had wide open running intermediate routes.

5:02-39 yd FG attempt is good by Phil Dawson

CIN-7 CLE-3, 3.24 1st Qtr

Second Possession

3:24-DA throws over the middle 22yds to Kellen dropping it into a zone of a 4 yd radius for a 20 yd gain.

2:46-J.Lewis lt. counter for a 4 yd gain.

2:03-DA bootleg lt. throws on the run to Jurevicious in a closing window of defenders for a 13 yd gain.

1:20-DA steps up in the pocket and throws a bullet just before getting hit to Edwards (who had to lay way out to catch it) into a zone with a 7 yd radius. Edwards should not have had to dive for the ball; had he caught it in stride, he could’ve taken it to the endzone.

0:56-J.Lewis off rt. guard for a 3 yd gain.

0:18-DA short-hops this pass a good 6 yds. to Edwards on a very tightly-covered curl route. Terrible decision in double coverage when at no point was his receiver ever open.

0:13-DA throws this one directly to the linebacker 6 yards in front of Edwards never even looking at another option. It was read perfectly and should have been intercepted. Caleb Miller was clearly in view, while Edwards didn’t come into view until the last second.

0:09-39 FG attempt is good by Phil Dawson.

CIN-7 CLE-6, 14:36 2nd Qtr

Third Possession

14:36-DA hands to J.Cribbs in a make shift end around for a 9 yd gain.

13:07-DA throws over the middle to a streaking Kellen for a 20 yd gain. This ball was actually thrown really well, up top where only Kellen would be able to adjust to get it.

11:44-J.Lewis rt. stretch play for 3 yds.

11:03-DA throws to Jurevicious in the lt. corner of the endzone for a 17 yd touchdown. Another very nice throw. If Jurevicious was 2 inches shorter it would have been incomplete, but he put in front of the receiver so the DB would have to go through Jurevicious to get to it.

Let’s pause from the QB analysis for a Josh Cribbs moment…

7:33-Josh Cribbs receives the kick off in stride just rt. of the hash marks, cuts back toward the middle of the field, finds the first seam between two blocks at the 20. He watches the seam close at the 30, and proceeds to bounce outside to the left bypassing 6 Cincinnati defenders. He regains his balance passing a linebacker and turns up the speed and the field en route to splitting the kicker with only Leon Hall to beat. He lays a stiff arm on Hall and proceeds to drag Hall the better part of 15 yards. He is eventually knocked out of bounds at the 12 yard line. This kid is amazing. He sets up blocks like he is playing a Madden video game.

CIN-14 CLE-13, 7:20 2nd Qtr

Fourth Possession

7:20-J.Lewis runs off lt. guard for a 1 yd gain.

6:43-DA throws to his rt. to Edwards who didn’t have anyone within 8 yards of him in any direction. If Braylon Edwards is 6’3, DA threw it as if he were 13 feet tall. Just a terrible throw. It couldn’t have been a throw-away because Edwards was so very open.

6:37-DA on 3rd and 8 from the 9, throws to a wide-open Jurevicious just having a picnic all by himself in the back of the endzone. Joe had the entire endzone all to himself.

The next play of note as I fast forward through the Bengals offensive drive is the wide-open touchdown pass to Chad Johnson. Mr. Endzone Celebration spent the time to figure out that he was going to jump into the Dawg Pound, but didn’t take the time to find out which endzone they were in.

CIN-21 CLE-20, 2:48 2nd Qtr

Fifth Possession

2:48-DA throws to Edwards in the flat. Edwards had to wait for it for a couple seconds, but found a way to get an 8 yd gain out of it.

2:11-J.Lewis runs a HB Slam play off lt. tackle, then cuts inside a Jurevicious block and makes the first DB miss. He eventually gets knocked out at the CIN 48 for a 17 yard gain.

2:00-DA takes a 5 step drop while CIN blitzes the kitchen sink. He throws it across the middle to Kellen who had to dive outward to catch it for a 9 yd gain.

1:34-DA throws the ball high to Edwards who reaches out for it in triple coverage and tips it into the air. As Edwards fall behind all three CIN defenders, he turns his body just enough to catch the ball on his back. Miraculous. Color Commentator: “This ball SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN THROWN, what a concentration by Braylon Edwards”

1:11-DA throws another nice ball in perfect stride with Kellen between two DB’s; they never had a chance. Touchdown.

CIN-21 CLE-27 Halftime

Sixth Possession

15:00-DA steps back and fires one to Edwards separating from his defender. DA didn’t notice the other DB eyeballing him the whole way. Interception Dexter Jackson. Terrible read. He had good protection, had he waited one or two seconds Edwards would have been all alone 10 yards further down field.

CIN-24 CLE-27, 12:04 3rd Qtr

Seventh Possession

12:04-J.Lewis takes the handoff off rt. guard for a tough 4 yds.

11:17-DA locks in on Edwards and throws a strike to his outside shoulder and Edwards does the rest. With Jerry Rice-like precision Edwards toe taps the sideline for a beautiful reception. He still had to dive for it.

11:00-J.Lewis gets a solid 10 yds. on a lead draw play up the middle.

9:08-DA in shotgun, fires it just outside of Kellen who brings it in just past the first down marker for an 11 yd gain.

8:25-DA sets back, he could’ve had a beach chair out there, pump fakes short then lobs one to the endzone with Edwards in perfect stride leaving two DB’s in his dust to coast in for a touchdown. Not DA’s best ball in this game, but a very nice throw.

Chad Johnson finally gets into the Dawg Pound and apparently thought it would be more fun than it was. To think, arguably the most arrogant WR in the game thought he would just jump into a crowd of the most rabid fans and WOULDN’T get doused with whatever they had with them at the time? Interesting.

CIN-31 CLE-34, 6:04 3rd Qtr

Eighth Possession

The following is the case study example for anyone who thinks Jamal Lewis is old, slow, over the hill, or flat out doesn’t have it anymore.

6:04-From the 34 yd line (1st and 10) J.Lewis takes the handoff cuts from the guard to outside the lt. tackle, makes it through the seam of 3 Bengals and on to daylight. The rest is Lewis trucking for 66 yards and one short possession but one long Touchdown run (66 yards).

CIN-38 CLE-41, 13:07 4th Qtr

Ninth Possession

13:07-J.Lewis 3 yd dive play.

12:28-DA steps back and fires one hard down the middle of the field to a wide-open Steve Heiden with a cushion of 4 yds in any direction (albeit, 3 DB’s around him). The Color Commentator spent at least 30 seconds talking about how he was certain that play would be a short conservative run or pass. Yeah, conservative, if by conservative you mean a 30 yd. pass into loose triple coverage.

11:42-J.Lewis takes the handoff on a dive play and busts it up and over no less than 4 immediate tacklers for an 11 yd gain. (it was at this point during the live action of this game my mother called and said, “he looks a little like Jim Brown”).

10:54-DA bootlegs rt., finds L.Vickers at the last second, then Vickers puts a nasty spin move on the linebacker for a first down.

10:06-DA rolls back looks rt. then lt. and throws of his back foot to a WIDE OPEN Edwards who has to lay out like he was diving into a pool and proceeds to roll his way to another touchdown. refers to this one as the “keep it rollin” play.

CIN-38 CLE-48, 8:29 4th Qtr

Tenth Possession

8:29-J.Lewis does it again. On a delay with a great block from Vickers, he splits the seam and shakes in and out for a 48 yds. gain. No gas left in the tank my arsecheek!

7:56-DA looking very relaxed sends a pass over the middle that looks overthrown. DA wasn’t looking for Jurevicious though, it lands nicely in the falling arms of Kellen on the 5 yd. line.

5:54-DA drops back under pressure and lofts the ball out of the back of the endzone. With a second look, Winslow was covered and if he had thrown it low enough Edwards could have caught it on his curl route and fallen down shielding the ball from the two defenders close to him. The third read was Jurevicious basically running the baseline (basketball analogy) with the closest defender trailing a good 6 yds. behind him. A good QB would’ve seen that.

5:44-18 yd FG attempt is good by Phil Dawson

CIN-45 CLE-51, 3:36 4th Qtr

Eleventh Possession

3:36-J.Lewis cuts outside for a 3 yd gain. (the most yards rushing by a Brown is 34 years-Jim Brown 223-Nov 3, 1963)

3:24-DA throws one across the middle to a waiting Edwards who has to adjust his run after the catch and caves under 3 defenders for a first down.

2:00-J.Lewis runs up the middle for no gain.

CIN-45 CLE-51, 0:28 4th Qtr

Just for fun…

0:28-Carson Palmer steps back looking for Chad Johnson only to have Leigh Bodden catch the ball Willie Mays-style over his should and toe tapping the sideline shades of Braylon Edwards’ catch from earlier in the first half to end the game.

This was the second highest-scoring game in the history of the NFL. The idea was to take Derek Anderson’s best statistical performance and analyze just how good it was.

End of Game Stats:

Derek Anderson: 20/33 (60.6%), 328 yds passing, 9.9 avg per comp, 5 TD’s, 1 INT

Jamal Lewis: 27 carries, 216 yds, 8.0 yds per carry avg, 1 TD, long run of 66 yds.

Braylon Edwards: 8 receptions, 146 yds, 18.3 yds per rec, 2 TD’s, long rec of 37 yds

Kellen Winslow: 6 receptions, 100 yds, 16.7 yds per rec, 1 TD, long rec of 25 yds

Joe Jurevicious: 4 receptions, 44 yds, 11 yds per rec, 2 TD’s, long rec of 11 yds

Clearly, no one should knock 20/33 for 328 and 5 TD’s. The issue I am stuck on has nothing to do with what Anderson does, but what he doesn’t do. If reading this one time didn’t get the point across, read it again. Take note of how many times players are described as “diving” or “laying out." Note how many times the ball is not even close. Then take note of the descriptions of the big plays he did make. You will notice that a great deal, probably in the ball park of 80% the players he is throwing to are more responsible for making the plays. I am not completely down on Anderson. There were about 5 throws that he made, that I did not think he was capable of making going into this game. Every now and then Anderson will surprise you with a gem of a throw. As I mentioned early in this post, DA is good enough to take this team to the playoffs, he is not good enough to win a Super Bowl. Super Bowl winners don’t miss as badly as DA tends to miss. Yet, they make the plays that DA made in this game with much more precision and a higher frequency. Now for the angle almost no one wants to hear…Brady Quinn can make every throw from this game that DA made and at least half of the mistakes.

Example 1: 5:15 of the 1st Qtr. Quinn doesn’t fumble the ball all by himself with no contact by a defender. That one is nitpicky though, chalk that one up to bad things happen to just about anyone. Same play, when he eventually threw the ball, DA sent it via UPS to the cameraman, overthrowing Jurevicious. Now I could say that it is a hard throw to make. But later on, he completes a much more difficult pass to Jurevicious on the other side of the endzone.

Example 2: 6:03 of the 1st Qtr. Quinn generally doesn’t put his receivers in a position to get tagged and ultimately hurt. The only time he ever risked it was throwing to his now turned Cubs minor leaguer former Notre Dame teammate Jeff Samardjia. But he was huge, a young Joe Jurevicious.

Example 3: 0:18 of the 1st Qtr. Quinn is exquisite at putting the right touch and softness on his short and intermediate passes. With the exception of getting the first time jitters out, I cannot fathom a world where Quinn would short-hop a pass as poorly as DA did here. Edwards was running a curl route through the teeth of the secondary. Even if the throw wasn’t short hopped, chances are one of the 3 DB’s would’ve intercepted it.

Example 4: 0:13 of the 1st Qtr. A good QB rarely ever throws the ball directly to a defender because he has his blinders on for his target. Good QB’s on occasion will throw the ball directly to a spot that a defender is converging on. This example, the defender didn’t move on foot for about 6 seconds leading up to the throw. When the ball came, he didn’t have to move an inch to catch it. Luckily for us, he cannot catch.

Now these are only the mistakes in the 1st quarter. They continue throughout the game. In this instance, since CIN cannot play defense any better than we could in this game, they are mistakes that ultimately didn’t cost us the game. All you needed to read was Browns win 51-45 to get that. I ask you, what happens when Anderson is playing against the Steelers (Week 3 and 11), the Colts (Week 5), the Cowboys (Week 6), the Giants (Week 7), the Jaguars (Week 12), the Eagles (Week 14) --all of which have substantially better defenses than CIN. Granted, with the improvements on defense, he may not have to put up 51 points, but these are mistakes that could/will cost the game next season. I don’t want to sound like a pessimist, but I as a fan want as much improvement as anyone else. I am not suggesting that Quinn be given the job. However, I do hope the coaching staff look at the spot with an open mind. If DA justifiably wins the job, I’m OK with that. But if we go into a game and DA is struggling, I hope they don’t stick with him for loyalty's sake. Quinn is a much more headstrong QB, who is less likely to make risky mistakes.

All-in-all, I am ecstatic for next season. If DA starts and plays the entire season, I still believe the Browns are a playoff team. The only question is, “what happens once we get there?” This team should be realistically looking for a Super Bowl run in 2009-10, I just hope the QB position is figured out long-term by then.

Selection Sunday reflections

By Rick Morris

FDH presented its third annual fantasy brackets draft Sunday night and our lead NCAA brackets analyst Nate Noy was a participant. The following notes came out of our conversation as he broke down the committee's decisions:

^ Nate and I both agree: the K-State/USC first-round matchup is the biggest "show biz" decision in NCAA history. Any time the poobahs at the NCAA ever try to convince people that their moves are made purely based on where teams deserve to be slotted, give them a four-word rebuttal: "Michael. Beasley. O.J. Mayo." You could probably put this game on pay-per-view and make some nice coin. I plan to be watching this one, but then again the idiot affiliate in my hometown will once again choose to show something with more "local appeal." Nate sees USC winning this game and making a strong run, while FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones sees Kansas State using this game as a steppingstone for their own drive forward.

^ The seeding of St. Joe's was a shock, especially for a team so recently "on the bubble." Virginia Tech and Arizona State should certainly have been in the field of 65, and Ohio State can also plausibly claim to having been jobbed. South Alabama doesn't belong in the field.

^ Memphis is the #1 seed in the most trouble early on and may struggle to make the Sweet 16 given the path they face after the first game.

^ Advocates of the upper-mid-majors will claim Kent State should have been seeded higher, but Nate finds their slotting appropriate.

^ Miami's placement was indefensible as they were a clear bubble team. Assuming they should have even been in the field, they deserved a 10 seed at best.

^ Wisconsin's tumble to a 3 seed was surprising in light of their run through the Big Ten tournament, although that may have been a case where one deserving team had to fall to that level.

^ Drake is the 5 seed most vulnerable to a traditional 5-12 upset in the first round.

^ UCLA pretty much has a layup to get to a regional final matchup against (probably) Duke.

^ Georgia has proven this weekend that they were much better than their record and that they underachieved greatly in the regular season. Now, playing closer to their full potential, they could give Xavier all they want in an unprecedented first round game with a power conference team manning the 14th seed.

^ Davidson really got hosed on the seeding.

^ Little-known fact: Washington State is the team most ready physically for the first weekend in Denver, playing at high altitude in all of their regular season games.

^ Tennessee was essentially proclaimed the #8 team in the country by the committee, a truly head-scratching move.

That's great analysis from Nate as usual. He'll be contributing his thoughts again here on the blog during the week, and he, Jason and I (and possibly other Lounge Dignitaries) will be delivering all of the picks in our brackets so that we might help you try to rule the office pool. Also, click here to get a printable bracket for yourself. Good luck!

2008 FDH College Hoops Bracket Draft

By Rick Morris

While FDH did not end up having the NCAA hoops bracket draft program on* tonight (as the great Kevin Malone from The Office might say "Because of reasons ..."), we did still conduct our draft off-line so that we could share the results with you here.

First, let's examine our recommended scoring system:

^ 2 points for an opening-round win
^ 4 points for a second-round win
^ 6 points for a third-round win
^ 8 points for a regional championship win
^ 10 points for winning a national semifinal game
^ 12 points for winning the national championship

Also, there are bonus points for having lower seeds win:

^ 2 points for each win by a team seeded 5th through 9th in a region
^ 5 points for each win by a team seeded 10th through 16th in a region

FDH Lounge Dignitaries participating in this event, which utilized our recommended scoring system, were Jason Jones, Nate Noy, Samantha Jones and Rick Morris (drafting in that order in a standard 12-round serpentine process).

Here's how each round materialized:

1. Jason: Memphis
2. Nate: UNC
3. Samantha: UCLA
4. Rick: Texas

1. Rick: Georgetown
2. Samantha: Kansas
3. Nate: Duke
4. Jason: Tennessee

1. Jason: Stanford
2. Nate: Louisville
3. Samantha: Wisconsin
4. Rick: Xavier

1. Rick: Vanderbilt
2. Samantha: UConn
3. Nate: Washington State
4. Jason: Michigan State

1. Jason: Clemson
2. Nate: USC
3. Samantha: Oklahoma
4. Rick: Pittsburgh

1. Rick: Notre Dame
2. Samantha: Purdue
3. Nate: Kentucky
4. Jason: Indiana

1. Jason: Gonzaga
2. Nate: Texas A&M
3. Samantha: UNLV
4. Rick: Butler

1. Rick: St. Mary's
2. Samantha: Arkansas
3. Nate: Arizona
4. Jason: Kansas State

1. Jason: St. Joseph's
2. Nate: Marquette
3. Samantha: BYU
4. Rick: Davidson

1. Rick: Oregon
2. Samantha: Temple
3. Nate: Mississippi State
4. Jason: Georgia

1. Jason: Villanova
2. Nate: Miami
3. Samantha: George Mason
4. Rick: Drake

1. Rick: Kent State
2. Samantha: Oral Roberts
3. Nate: Western Kentucky
4. Jason UMBC

We will track the results of this event and announce the winner on STC. While actual brackets are fun, and we will certainly be participating in them ourselves, bracket drafts with the element of fantasy sports interjected in are also great fun and we encourage you strongly to partake of our recommended format.

* We are heeding a request to start utilizing the SportsTalkCleveland identity because it is the lead one the station for marketing purposes right now. At the same time, we wish to remind everyone of the reason that the SportsTalkNetwork identity has also been in play: the wide variety of programs on the station appealing to a national constituency, from nationally-based general sports programming to mixed martial arts to pro wrestling to the NHL, Major League Baseball, motorsports, extreme sports and fantasy sports. Whether you cheer for Cleveland sports teams or not, we appreciate having you in our audience and we serve you equally well.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

2008 NCAA Tournament Predictions

by Jason Jones

My apologizes ahead of time, apparently Blogger and Microsoft Word on not happy with one another today and everything is skewed a little.

Every sports fan is entitled to root for and be loyal to any team or sport that they prefer. On one hand you cannot sway me on who my favorite team(s) are, without question. If I say I love the Cleveland Browns win lose or draw, there is nothing you can say that will make me change my stance and begin rooting for the Seattle Seahawks. Just is not going to happen. On the other side of the coin, there are things that can be changed. If someone says that they prefer explosive big ball baseball including lots of homeruns and high scores, I could probably convince them of the value in small ball and pitchers dueling it out inning after inning. Today we are talking about something that you cannot change me on. The Super Bowl (and preceding playoffs)maybe the highest rated champion crowning event. The NBA Finals (preceding and playoffs) may induce the most excitement from moment to moment. The World Series (and preceding playoffs) may be most engaging of the playoff runs. One thing, in my opinion, cannot be debated. THE NCAA TOURNAMENT IS THE BEST CROWNING OF A CHAMPION THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN, regardless of the specifics. For me, I get sucked in during the marathon that is, the games played in the first two days. What better way to skip school or call of work sick than to spend it watching college basketball in a whirlwind manner from 10am-10pm for two days straight? I remember, about 10 years ago, when I officially realized that my sports playing career was over…I elected to have reconstructive surgery. My doctor recommended that I have the surgery on the 3rd of February. I said, emphatically, NO! I will have it the morning of the first day of the NCAA tournament in mid march. He wondered why, and I asked him if he watches college basketball. He said “no”, he always had to work. I said, “do yourself a favor and call off for those two days”. I specifically scheduled reconstructive surgery to coincide with my surgery…so that I would have an acceptable excuse to not leave the house for the majority of the end of March and specifically, I was not going move from my couch except to use the bathroom during the first round. As I said earlier, there is nothing you can say that will convince me that the men’s NCAA Tournament is not God’s gift to sports fans. Since this will take some time, I will get right into the picks. By no means to I want you to see the following picks as THE CORRECT PICKS. I have won bracket challenges and/or pool’s before, but none of them ever had more than 2 of the final four. I don’t want to find a comment on this blog about how you lost money because of me. So this is your warning: These picks are for entertainment and recreational usage, not to be confused with a floatation device.

Eastern Region-Round 1

1. UNC (winner)
16. Play In Game Winner
Indiana (winner)
9. Arkansas

5. Notre Dame (winner)
12. George Mason

4. Washington St.
13. Winthrop

6. Oklahoma

11. Saint Joseph
’s (winner)

3. Louisville
14. Boise St

7. Butler
10. South Alabama

2. Tennessee
15. American

Notable points:

-#1’s don’t lose to #16’s, and that’s all there is to it. UNC is not losing their first round game, and I don’t care who they end up playing.

-Arkansas is a nice little team, but Eric Gordon has a future lottery pick contract to play for. Not to mention, the players of Indiana feel they have something to prove since Samson was let go.

-What George Mason did last year should last them 50 years. So, Notre Dame by a decent margin. We may never see a run like George Mason made again, it definitely won’t start this year.

-I’ve never been a fan of the champion of the southwestern polytechnical mountain pacific theological athletic conference getting an automatic bid. Needless to say, a small conference champ really has to impress me; Winthrop doesn’t.

-I really like Saint Joseph’s and this one is all about the matchup. Oklahoma has been all over the place this season. I am banking on a less than great performance from Oklahoma.

-Bottom line, Louisville gets the coaching edge by miles and miles.

-Butler has been one of the surprises of the season. They have been consistently solid…and ranked.

-I have played at American University, although I can appreciate them making the tourney, Tennessee is going to send them packing for home by halftime.

Midwest Regional-Round 1

1. Kansas (winner)
16. Portland St

8. UNLV(winner)
9. Kent St

5. Clemson (winner)
12. Villanova

4. Vanderbilt (winner)
13. Siena

6. USC
11. Kansas St.

3. Wisconsin (winner)
14. Cal St.

7. Gonzaga (winner)
10. Davidson

2. Georgetown (winner)
15. Univ. of
Maryland Baltimore County

Notable points-

-The whole 1 vs. 16, Kansas wins in a route.

-Good placement for Kent St. Too bad they won’t win.

-If Villanova plays well, this game could be fun to watch. Clemson showed its ceiling

beating Duke. Clemson beats Villanova

-Since I went to College, I have had a soft spot for Siena…but it won’t be enough.

-Kansas St. vs. USC may be the best game of the first round. My first real upset,

Kansas St. will beat USC.

-Wisconsin, in a down year for the Big 10 wins this one easily.

-Davidson has had moderate success in the tourney, but it won’t be enough to beat


-I love anything Maryland college sports wise. Not even I can believe that UMBC

could do enough to beat Georgetown, even if Hibbert gets in foul trouble.

South Regional-Round 1

1. Memphis (winner)
16. Univ. of Texas Arlington

8. Mississippi St.
9. Oregon

5. Michigan St. (winner)
12. Temple

4. Pittsburgh (winner)
13. Oral Roberts

6. Marquette
11. Kentucky

3. Stanford (winner)
14. Cornell

7. Miami (FLA) (winner)
10. St. Mary’s (CA)

2. Texas (winner)
15. Austin

Notable points-

-Memphis will destroy UT-Arlington…period

-Oregon will win in a sloppy close one.

-Michigan St. has looked great at times. Even when they don’t, they still look good. Michigan St. and it won’t even be that close.

-Pittsburgh has been up and down, but they will eliminate the Tourney’s punch line Oral Roberts. You can finish the joke if you’d like.

-Kentucky had major struggles early in the season, but they will be fine defeating Marquette.

-The two twin towers (and I do mean twin) will dominate Cornell.

-Miami gets its only win of the tourney over the undeserving St. Mary’s.

-Texas will destroy Austin Peay, good thing the networks will jump around so you won’t actually have to watch this one.

West Regional-Round 1

1. UCLA (Winner)
16. Univ.
of Texas

8. BYU
9. Texas
A&M (winner)

5. Drake (winner)
12. Western Kentucky

4. UConn (winner)
13. San Diego

6. Purdue
11. Baylor

3. Xavier
14. Georgia

7. West Virginia University
10. Arizona

2. Duke (winner)
15. Belmont

Notable points-

-UCLA in a route

-Texas A&M squeaks out a close win over BYU

-Although, this one looks very unentertaining, Drake has been solid an will have a solid win.

-This is not the UConn of old, but they will get a relatively easy win over San Diego.

-Baylor is a far cry from the team they had 5 years ago and will win this game for themselves.

-Xavier has been very nice this season, but do not underestimate what happened when Georgia won a back to back in the SEC tournament.

-Arizona over a overhyped West Virginia team.

-I really hate Duke, especially with the 2007-08 team that wants to reinvent the wheel. However, they are not going to lose to Belmont.

East Regional-Round 2

North Carolina (winner)

Notre Dame
Washington St.

Saint Joseph’s



Notable points-

-Gordon and the Hoosiers just aren’t enough to defeat the balance of UNC.

-This one is garbage, but as I have been informed, Washington St. will feel more at

home in the Mile High City than Notre Dame. Cougars win easily.

-Rick Pitino is worth at least 10 pts in this one, which will be enough.

-Butler is alright, have been all season. Tennessee is sick, Tennessee rolls again.

Midwest Regional-Round 2

Kansas (winner)

Clemson (winner)

Kansas St. (winner)


Notable points-

-Kansas is too good for this to be close

-Clemson riding high on their Duke win.

-Kansas St. got a raw deal in seeding, but if they can get past USC, it will work to

their advantage.

-Like Kansas, Georgetown is too good to lose this one.

South Regional-Round 2

Memphis (winner)

Michigan St.



Notable points-

-Memphis still riding high, Oregon just doesn’t have enough to hang.

-Michigan St is too strong with their inside/out approach.

-Kentucky has worked hard to be better than they were in the beginning, but it won’t

be enough. Stanford is too strong.

-Texas doesn’t have enough to get to the Final Four, but they win this one.

West Regional-Round 2

UCLA (winner)



West Virginia

Notable points-

-UCLA is just too good.

-Drake had a nice run, and they might have even improved recruiting, but UConn will

find a way.

-Georgia is going to be in the midst of a noteworthy NCAA run.

-Duke will win…for now.

East Regional-Sweet 16

UNC (winner)
Washington St

Tennessee (winner)

Notable points-

-UNC still rolling…

-Tennessee will have some struggle, but will find a way to win.

Midwest Regional-Sweet 16

Kansas (winner)

Kansas St. (winner)

Notable points-

-Kansas still skating through the bracket.

-Kansas St creates matchup issues that the Hoyas cannot answer.

South Regional-Sweet 16

Memphis (winner)
Michigan St


Notable points-

-Michigan St. has looked great, but Memphis is the team of the year.

-Great guard play from Texas will unseat Stanford.

West Regional-Sweet 16



Notable points-

-UCLA just keeps truckin’ along and a not-so UConn team just won’t have enough.

-Duke, as much as it pains me, will end Georgia’s run.

East Regional-Elite 8

UNC (winner)

Notable points-

-Tennessee has been very strong. They are good enough inside, but they will need

Lofton to be great…he won’t be against UNC’s speed.

Midwest Regional-Elite 8


Kansas St. (winner)

Notable points-

-Kansas St. has beaten Kansas at Kansas. Location will not mean much. Beasley will be huge and enough to get past Kansas…again.

South Regional-Elite 8

Memphis (winner)

Notable points-

-Memphis is very good and firing on all cylinders at this point. Texas’ inconsistency will hurt them this time.

West Regional-Elite 8

UCLA (winner)

Notable points-

-Duke has escaped and proceeded due to an easy path. UCLA has size that coach K’s 5 small shooter won’t be able to handle.

Final Four


Midwest-Kansas St.




Kansas St.



Notable points-

-Kansas St. has played to this point on Beasley’s shoulders and a good supporting cast. It just won’t be enough to get past UNC’s balance.

-UCLA is good and balanced, which is normally a winning blend…Memphis is just too explosive. Memphis looked beyond Tennessee at the end of the game earlier in the season…they won’t look past UCLA.

Championship Game:



Outcome: Memphis has been destined to win since the preseason. Derek Rose will be tournament MVP and control the game in a way UCLA is not prepared for. Memphis will be your 2008 National Champions and the best Memphis team of all time.

You may or may not agree with the result, but it should be fun to watch unfold.