Archive for March, 2011

Last Day To Enter

March 31st, 2011

today is the last day to enter the final four contest to possibly win a Final Four program. Just correctly guess the winners of each semi final game and the winner of the Championship game, and have the score closest to the actual score of the final game, and you win.

I am in Vegas on my way to Houston tomorrow. For entertainment purposes only, Kentucky is an 8/5 favorite to win it all. UCONN is 2/1, Butler 19/5, and VCU is 13/2. The guys who take the bets here tell me there has been very little movement since the odds were posted Sunday night.

In the semi-final games, Butler is a 2 and a half point favorite over VCU and Kentucky a 2 point favorite over UCONN.  Those odds  haven't moved at all.

Gib Arnold has been in Europe since the Bows lost to USF almost ten days ago. He will coming to the Final Four this weekend and i hope to hook up with him and will report in one of my columns for the paper on the status of recruiting.

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big contest.

March 29th, 2011

in yesterday"s blog, i announced my final four contest. guess the winners of each game and get closest to the final game score, and you will win a Final Four program. Contest entries must be in by thursday.

its funny sometimes how fate works. Kentucky and UCONN played in November on Maui with UCONN winning. Now they meet in the semi-finals. Both teams are very different now, with Kentucky's freshman having a full year behind them. But one thing hasnt changed and that's Kemba Walker. Watch for him to continue his unbelievable play and take UCONN to the championship game

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March 28th, 2011

ok, what is the significance of that number. give up? its the total number of the seeds for the final four teams, the highest number since they went to eeding teams in 1979. Also, for the first time since then, there are no number 1 or 2 seeds in the Final Four.

Butler vrs VCU is the game we all had in our brackets. Oh, you didnt? The battle of a real David against a false David should be fun to watch. I think Butler's experience and coaching will be the difference, although the VCU performance against Kansas could scare any opponent.

In the battle of the giants, I like UCONN with Kemba Walker to beat Kentucky. First, i am really not a John Calapari fan. Yes I know he can recruit. But will this turn out to be the third Final Four team he has coached to lose their spot down the line for recruiting violations like what happened at UMASS and Memphis. But to be fair, Jim Calhoun has had his share of NCAA problems this year.

So who to win it all. In a perfect world, it would be Butler . They stand for all that is right about college basketball. But i cant pick against Walker and UCONN. They are on a mission, and i dont think it ends without the National Championship.

I will arriving in Houston friday and my columns for the paper will begin Saturday am. I also will be doing some telephone interviews with the good folks at KGMB and KHNL. And forget Hoopstalk tomorrow, that's Tuesday, at 7.

ok here's a little contest for all of you. pick for me the results of each game with the score of the Championship game. Whover picks the correct teams and has the closest score for the final game will win a Final Four Program, courtesy of  me. Contest closes on Thursday. We will need at least ten entries and you can only enter once so get your friends to enter.

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On the Road at the NCAA's

March 25th, 2011

I have seen hundreds of college basketball games over the years, but i cant remember seeing two individual performances in big games like I witnessed last night in Anaheim.

First, it was Kemba Walker who scored 36 in leading UCONN to victory over home-team and second  seeded San Diego State. UCONN and Walker are in the midst of what I belive maybe the greatest 17 consecutive days in college basketball history. UCONN won 5 games in 5 consecutive nights to win the Big East Tournament with Walker leading the way and now has won three in the Big Dance and will play Arizona for the right to go to the Final Four. Walker was unbelievable last night.

But hard as it may be to believe, his performance was equaled and maybe even bettered by what Derrick Williams, the Pac Ten player of the year, did to Duke in Arizona's surprising victory over Duke. Williams was a man playing aginst boys. He had 25 first half points to keep Arizona close at halftime, and the rest of his team completely dominated the very Blue Devils in the second half for the worst loss ever suffered by a number 1 seed prior to the elite eight. Williams finished with 32 points and 13 rebounds.

As a Duke alumnus, it was hard to watch. But as a basketball fan, it was a performance to remember.

I know that i do not blog about Div 2 basketball, but i would be remiss if i didnt congratulate BYU-Hawaii as it takes the floor with a chance to be National Champs. I know all of us in Hawaii will be rooting for them.

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The Big East S---ks

March 21st, 2011

What did we learn this weekend. First, we learned the Big East was so over-hyped by the so-called experts, that they should have to make public apologies and give back some of their salaries. The only games the Big East won over the weekend were the games where they played other Big East opponents. And not only did they all lose, but they lost to teams with double digit seeds.

Two, you have to feel sorry for Jamie Dixon who once again failed to get his highly ranked Panthers far into the tournament. Folks were already starting the " you cant win the big one" garbage before Saturday's upset, and the way Pitt lost will not quiet those folks,  What they need to remember is that Jamie has won more games in his first 8 years than any other Div 1 basketball coach. Enough said

Third, there as many schools from the City of Richmond left in the Tournament as there are Big East Schools left. VCU and Richmond vrs Marquette and UCONN.

Forth, schools with three letters had great wins. BYU, VCU, and OSU were outstanding.  And now that my bracket is shot ( thanks Pittsburgh), it may be time to cheer for the underdogs to get to Houston. Include Butler in that equation.

But my Dukies and Tarheels survived home games in Charlotte. They both might have lost at a " neutral site. Now Duke has to travel to Anaheim where they could play  San Diego State, the " home team", if the Aztecs can get by a UCONN squad that is playing out of its mind. And dont count out my Richmond Spiders  against Kansas.  My picks for the next round games are Ohio State, UNC, Duke, UCONN, Butler, Fla, Richmond, and VCU. Its easy to go with all the favorites, but what's the fun in that.

Finally, its the Jimmer by a mile for my John Wooden pick. Thanks for all of you who voted. He was my pick all along.

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a body of work

March 20th, 2011

it would be easy to analyze last night's heart breaking loss. Missed free throws and a lack of a second good ball handler made the difference even with the Bows out-shooting the Dons and holding two of their best three offensive players to poor nights. But what i want to do is congratulate this team for a season that none of us could have ever imagined'

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that i am not afraid to voice my opinions. During the season, i sometimes wrote critically about a player, or a coaching decision, a player defection, and the like. so i dont think anyone can legitimately characterize me as a " homer"

Having said that, what a fantastic body of work for this year's team. They were picked by the WAC coaches and media to finish last in the Conference. They had not won more than 15 games in several years. They lost the heart and soul of the team when Hiram went out with an injury. Yet they put together a 19 win season, a 5th place finish in the Conference, and went to the post-season. But for poor free throw shooting in the Tournament game against San Jose and last night, and four games where they just could not make a last second stop, they could have been the number 1 turn around team in the Country.

Credit all of the players and the coaches. You saw what a healthy Bill Amis and an eligible Zane Johnson would have meant to last year's team by how much they contributed to this year's team. And the addition of Miah, Trevor, and Vander provides a solid group of returning players who contributed so much to this year's edition.

Dont get me wrong. The Bows are not yet ready to punch their ticket to the Big Dance. They have lots of puka's that need to be filled, the most critical, in my view, at the point guard and two guard positions. Miah will again miss the entire early season, and even with him the team needs another solid ball handler or two. Bill Amis will not be easily replaced, but another year of experience should prove very beneficial to Vander, who needs to be more confident with his options when he receives the ball in the paint, and Trevor, who needs to develop a serviceable outside shot. And much more will be expected from a very inconsistent Joston Thomas who needs to play within himself and fiqure out his strength is in the paint , not 17 to 22 feet from the hoop. Bo Barnes needs to become consistent with his outside shot, and Miles  has 6 months to improve his ability to run an offense.  

The 6500 fans who were at the game last night went home disappointed, but like me, they have to be counting the days until Oct 15 when the next edition of UH Basketball will start practice. Uh basketball is back, and in a big way, and there is no reason not to expect big things from next year's team. Sorry Gib for the pressure, but i know you wouldn't want it any other way.

The blog will continue thru the rest of the NCAA Tournament and i will back tomorrow with some thoughts on this weekend's results ( once i get over the Pitt l;oss).

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March 18th, 2011

Saturday nights second round game should be far more competitive than Tuesday's win over Portland. USF finished third in the WCC, behind Gonzaga and St. Mary's with a conference record of 10-4. They beat Gonzaga once and lost by only 4  to Gonzaga in the semi-finals of the WCC Tournament. They are led by two all conference guards in Mike Williams and Rashad Green, who average almost 27 ppg. Angeko Caloiaro is their most talented inside player averaging almost 11 points and 7 rebounds per game.

USF disposed of Idaho in their first round game, and as you know, Hawaii lost to Idaho twice. Neither game was close. But the big difference tomorrow night may well be that the game is here. While  Hawaii has been sleeping in their own beds and practicing on their regular schedule, the Dons had to travel across the Pacific on short notice to play this game.

For Hawaii, they will again be short-handed in the back court and will need to rely on Miah to play close to 40 minutes. But unlike Portland, who lost their best guard three weeks ago and really had no one who could compete with Miah, USF w2ill not have that problem. So once again, i look for Bill Amis and Zane Johnson to carry the team to a victory and a third round game either against Air Force here next week or at Santa Clara ( another WCC team).

As i write this, dont know if the game will be televised. Of course, we will be carrying it live on ESPN 1420 at 6:40. Whether it gets televised or not, I expect a large crowd.  At least 6 to 7 thousand.  If its less, you have to question this community's dedication and support of big-time college basketball

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Your Chance To Vote

March 17th, 2011

have you always wanted to have an opportunity to vote on an all conference team or player of the year? Have you  ever read or heard about the results  and said I could have done a better job. Well, now is your chance.

I am one of the national voters on the John Wooden Player of the Year Award, and want to give, my loyal readers, a chance to weigh in.

The ballot contains the names of 20 finalists. I have taken the liberty of narrowing the list to ten. They are Fredette of BYU;  Hansbrough of Notre Dame;  Johnson of Purdue;  Singler of Duke;  Faried of Moorhead State;  Smith of Duke;  Sullinger of Ohio State;   Walker of UConn; and Williams of Arizona. Cast your vote on this site by giving me one name.

We will total the reponses and that will be Hawaii's vote. I need your responses by Sunday. Hope you will take a second to vote.

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who'd have thunk it

March 16th, 2011

last night's win over Portland in the first round of the CIT Tournament silenced those who questioned whether Hawaii deserved to be in the Tournament. When I was in Las Vegas, there was some talk about Hawaii getting a bid solely because of Riley Wallace.  Although  I am sure Riley was instrumental in Hawaii's selection, it was validated last night when Hawaii shut down Portland's offense, and beat a team that had beaten three WAC schools this season. It was a great game and the four thousand or so who showed up were treated to  big-time college basketball.

As i write this, the Bows opponent for Saturday's night's game is still not announced.  USF is beating Idaho by 7  with 6 minutes  left in the second half. If they win, they are the likely next opponent. If Boise pulls it out,  Air Force will be here. Whoever shows up, its time for the casual fan to make an appearance at the game to watch this team go for its 20th win. That's right, 20.

Frankly, i doubt there is a person in the State, including the players and coaches, who thought this team would win 20 games. I certainly didnt, although i had them penciled in for 15-16 wins and a 6th place finish in the Conference. Its an extraordinary turn-around. If the Bows win on Saturday, its likely they will go on the road as they are not one of the four seeded teams.  They are E.Tenn.State;  Northern Iowa;  Ohio:, and Iona. So whomever wins this weekend from the West will have a long way to go to play their next game

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March 15th, 2011

I can report that it looks likely that if both Hawaii and AirForce win tonight, Air Force will play here on Friday. As i write this Air Force, a 15 point favorite, has a modest lead late in the first half'

Hawaii is a 1.5 point favorite. It opened at 2.5. The computers have hawaii winning 51%  of the time. We will need to defend the three and make foul shots

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