Posted on: March 1, 2011 2:45 am
Edited on: March 6, 2011 8:06 pm

Big East dominance?

The Big East is good. Real, real good. Top-conference-on-Sagarin-by-a-wide
-margin good. But are they really 11 NCAA tournament teams good?

Well, no. But will they get 11 teams in? Most likely, yes.

Let me explain my weird, but not contradictory, statement. The Big East is projected by both Palm and Lunardi to put 11 teams in the dance. That's huge. That's 16% of the tournament field (For those of you saying "Yeah, well, it's also the biggest conference," the Big East has 4.7% of the teams in D1). If you want to talk percentage of the at-large bids, it even more incredible: 27%. Over a quarter of the at-large bids are projected to go to Big East teams. Eleven would bust the old record of most teams from a single conference in the NCAA tournament. But is the Big East really the best conference ever, deserving of setting that record?

Frankly, no. The story this year is one of Big East dominance, for sure, but it's also a story of extreme mediocrity from every other conference without a number in its name (and one with a 10).

The SEC, Big 10, and Big 12 are all projected to get 6 teams in, which loses out in terms of percent of conference in to the Big East by a margin of >10%, but is respectable and the amount a BCS conference should get. Meanwhile, the Pac-10 is projected to get three teams in (Arizona, Washington, UCLA), and the ACC is projected to get four teams in (Duke, UNC, Virginia Tech, Florida State), both bad showings for a Big Six conference.

On top of all this mediocrity by two of the BCS conferences, your usual mid-major threats are all down this year. Sure, the MWC is up significantly, but they are likely only to get three teams in (Colorado State just got beat by Air Force, badly, so I'm not counting the fact they were projected as "in" on Palm's). More importantly, though, the three teams you think of when you think "mid-major" (Memphis, Xavier, and Gonzaga) are all fairly down this year (Xavier has a HUGELY favorable projection IMO. Who have they beat ? Seton Hall? Butler? Some in-conference teams? All of the tournament teams they have played OOC, they have lost to). Butler crashed massively after their championship game appearance, to the point where they're on the very edge of the fence, looking in.

A lot of the mid-major teams making appearances this year are going to be teams like St. Mary's, who rose up in the face of dominant conference rivals to start challenging the Xaviers, the Gonzagas, and the Memphises in the world, running the table year after year until recruiting came in for the rest of the conference. Some of them are teams tailor-made to beat the top team, and therefore, while they are able to beat the top team, they struggle OOC, and the committee doesn't care when you say "But we play a different style... "

So, no. The Big East is not the best it has ever been. But it's more dominant then ever, and that's less its own doing than the other conferences. Thanks for reading to the end of this long one.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 9, 2011 11:45 pm

Optimism? In Seattle?

So, um, yeah... I'm not used to raving instead of ranting (the last five blog posts have had a negative view of the in-state teams), so this blog post may be interesting.

To start off, you might want to remind yourself how awesome Marshawn Lynch is . Watch that while you can, the NFL will probably remove it by the end of the week.

Wow. Just, wow.

My prediction for the game was a 3-point Saints victory. I remembered what the Saints-Seahawks game looked like in NOLA, and I thought if Matt Hasselbeck could clean up his turnovers, we wouldn't get blown out. Turns out, I was the closest of my friends. Matt threw for four TD passes, including one to the Grammy award-winning John Carlson. Marshawn Lynch became the first Seahawk this year to bust the 100-yd mark in a single game. And the defense played decently enough. I mean, I can't exactly commend them for coughing up 36 points, can I?

So now, all the people who whined about the Seahawks hosting a playoff game may have to deal with Qwest Field hosting two.

The Packers will take on the Falcons as the lowest seed left in the NFC bracket. The Championship game will be hosted by the highest remaining seed. If the Packers and Seahawks both win, then Seattle will host its second NFC championship game in five years.

This is not that far-fetched of a scenario, either. The Hawks already beat the Bears in Chicago back in Week 6. The Packers lost by a field goal in Georgia to the Falcons, though, but hey, bigger point turnarounds have happened this year.

With that perfect segue, let's talk about the Huskies. First off, I'd like to thank the heaps of extremely classy Husker fans I've seen on the boards since the game. There's been a few less classy folks out there, so I want to thank you for taking the high road.

Second, who says Jake Locker isn't a smart quarterback? That's one of the main things I noticed in his senior season. His stats suck, but being a quarterback isn't about padding your stats; it's about winning football games. Jake Locker led his team with a goose egg in the turnovers and made sure to tuck it under or throw it away when there was no good decision in terms of a target. Also, Chris Polk (who says he'll be back next year) was unreal.

But that's enough football.

On top of all this, Gonzaga's receiving votes in the polls again. The Zags just thrashed Portland, who were picked by some to win the conference (HAHAHAHAHAHA). The Huskies are ranked, and the Cougars would be if it wasn't for the stupid LA road trip where they sucked (sigh...).

In other basketball news, the Hornets are still owned by the league, Steve Ballmer still has money, and the Sonic franchise is still in Seattle. However, that story probably won't get moving any time soon; David Stern has thrown around the idea of trimming away a few franchises from the NBA due to the economy, and the league-owned Hornets would probably be the first to go.

But, in general, I'm feeling really optimistic right now. If you talk to me next Monday, I'll probably be less so (either the Seahawks lose and I'm really sad or the Packers lose and I'm pessimistic about our chances in the title game), Still, I'll enjoy my week of possibility.
Category: General
Posted on: December 22, 2010 6:08 pm

As much as I normally hate the Oregon Ducks...

To those of you who reegularly read my blog (HAHAHAHA HE'S ARROGANT ENOUGH TO BELIEVE PEOPLE LIKE THAT EXIST), you might be confused by the title of this article. I posted a blog earlier this year talking about my desire for the Ducks to play in the National Title game. That desire still holds. However, normally I hate all things Oregon. I've had to turn to the Blazers for my NBA fix, but I barely pay attention to them anymore. I hate the Oregon teams (Ducks, Beavers, and especially the Timbers) more than I hate the AL East (but significantly less than I hate the Yankees).

However, when your rivals go up against outsiders, you have to root for them. Who else is going to prove how good you yourself are?

My Cougs are still struggling at the bottom of the Pac-10. The Huskies got bowl-eligible this year, but also were shafted by being matched up with a team that already beat them, badly, duing the regular season. Am I disappointed? Not really. I've always been a soccer/basketball sports fan, so I wasn't crushed to see another year of mediocrity from my three favorite football teams (the Hawks might limp into the playoffs if they can beat St Louis @home, which they should do, but then what? Lose in the most one-sided playoff game ever?).

However, I'm really annoyed by my Southeastern friends. I know there's a lot of classy SEC fans, but the LSU guys and the rest are starting to get on my nerves. "This will be the most lopsided NC game for years to come." "I can't believe they're still taking those left coast guys seriously." These are not direct quotes, but similar to what I've heard.

I want the Ducks to win. I want the Ducks to score 21 points in the fourth quarter and pick off Cam Newton six times. I want Auburn to go home thinking "Our conference schedule did not prepare us for this." I want the SEC fans to shut up.

This will be the only year I will root for an Oregon victory. After this year, Nick Montana will put 49 points on the board against the Ducks. But for now, I want the Pac-10 to take a title to the West.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: oregon, Pac-10
Posted on: November 16, 2010 1:02 am

The NBA is a joke

Every year in November, the NBA starts up. We've all been fed these stories about how the Heat are evil, John Wall will be great, Kobe Bryant is the best player in the league and he'll prove it, yadda yadda yadda...

Yet somehow, no matter how interesting things get, the NBA will always be a cruel, sick joke to everyone who pays attention.

Censoring myself carefully, I'll explain. Like I said, those who pay attention (and also those who read the title of my blog) probably already know what I'm about to rant about. Go ahead, close your browser windows if you're from Oklahoma, or you don't care what a bitter fan has to say. However, I'm still going to say it, and it frustrates the hell out of me that no one's listening.

A team with history, promise, and plenty of fan support was ripped away from Seattle, and David Stern sat back and watched. The Sonics, the only team from Seattle to win a national title in one of the "Big Four" leagues, were bought by a man with bad intentions, and those bad intentions soon became harsh realities. The Oklahoma City Thunder was born.

The reasoning was a lack of an arena. Really? KeyArena would only be the smallest capacity in the NBA by 500 seats. Don't like that? Renovation plans were being debated upon up until the "big move" happened. If they would have waited a year, they might've had a deal the voters would agree upon.

But Howard Schultz didn't want to wait a year. He wanted the NBA in Oklahoma City, and he wanted it fast. David Stern was happy to let him do just that. That is exactly why the NBA is a joke; it doesn't protect its fans.

I am reminded of this joke every time I walk into Red Mill Burgers for lunch. A sign reading "Save our Supersonics!" is in the bottom left of the window. A letter to the editor of the Seattle Times on the issue is printed and framed right on the counter. My sadness is real.

So, this basketball season, when you drive to the arena to see your local NBA team play, count your blessings. Who knows, maybe your owner will go broke and sell the team to a man from Seattle, and then you'll know how we feel.

David Stern won't protect you.

Category: NBA
Posted on: October 17, 2010 3:57 am

I'm feeling lucky this year...

I was born in Seattle. I root for both the Huskies and the Cougars equally. When the Apple Cup rolls around, I root for whoever has the better shot at a bowl game.

This year, I want both to lose to the Oregon Ducks, and I want it badly.

Now, before my local readers stop reading and/or send hateful private messages, let me explain myself.

The #1 Ohio State Buckeyes have just lost to Wisconsin. The Ducks, at #2, are the logical choice to take their place at the top of the polls. As we all know, as a result of the BCS system, the polls have a great influence on who plays for the National Title.

If the Oregon Ducks win out, they could be in that national title game. In fact, I believe that if they win out, they deserve to be in the title game. The Pac-10 is the hardest division to go undefeated in. Before the SEC fans dismiss me as crazy, I'm not saying the teams in the Pac-10 are better (although you might want to look at the Sagarin ratings...), but I am saying that as a result of the round-robin style of scheduling the Pac-10 currently employs, every team has to play every other team. That's something the SEC simply cannot compete with.

But there's more to my excitement than just the Ducks.

Sure, having a Pac-10 team play for the national title is always a treat. With the East coast teams so often dominating in the polls, it's nice to see the teams I love to watch get a chance at the top prize. And that's exactly why I want the Boise State Broncos to win out, as well.

Imagine that, two West coast teams playing for a national championship. On top of that, two Pacific North west teams. Wouldn't that be something?

Since two-thirds of the BCS ratings are decided by computers, if both teams win out, there will be no East coast bias to save the rest of the nation from a national title game dominated by us Pacific Northwest folks. I would be tickled pink. I probably wouldn't even care who scored during the game, or who won, because the game in and of itself would be a major victory. For mid-majors, for the West Coast, for the Pacific Northwest, and for the Pac-10. All the things I love in college football.

So please, Huskies, lose to Oregon. Cougars, thanks for your cooperation earlier. Think of it as not a loss to Oregon, but a victory for the conference.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: oregon, Pac-10
Posted on: August 11, 2010 4:48 pm

The Seattle Times cost Wakamatsu his job

Don Wakamatsu was fired on Monday, a week after Zduriencik declared "He's our manager."

Why the sudden turnaround? Check Sunday's Seattle Times.

At the top of the sports section's front page, Jerry Brewer declares "The Mariners aren't a baseball team right now. They're a lightning rod...Just when you think they've reached rock bottom, a trap door opens. Just when you think they're tired of spurning professionalism, an embarrassing relapse occurs. They don't just lose games, they lose their minds..." The Times invites fans to send in "short essays, poems or haikus" expressing their frustration.

If you were a GM, and you saw that on your town's front page, the panic button would be immediately hit.

Despite the fact that a recent poll in the Times showed that only 3% of the voters blamed the management (40% blamed the players), Zduriencik decided the best thing to do would be to fire Wak. I don't like this. I think the last thing we need is more instability in the team. In my opinion, the Mariners need to find a long-term manager, and stick with him. No matter what his winning percentage is over two years, he will provide stability, and he will become the face of the franchise. The more he stays, the more he'll learn about the team, its players, and its staff. Wakamatsu had the potential to be a great manager. I believe he was not the problem with this season, the players themselves were. Jack Zduriencik made all the right moves when acquiring free agents, the players just didn't play well when they got here. Some may argue that this is a result of Wakamatsu's bad management, but I think he was a new manager who was experimenting with his lineup, and given another year, he might have found a place for everyone to succeed in.
Category: MLB
Tags: mariners
Posted on: July 19, 2010 9:49 pm

Suck it up, Cleveland!

LeBron James stayed in Cleveland for seven seasons. Seven opportunities to get a title in a Cavaliers uniform. Seven chances for the ownership to build a team around him.

I guarantee, if LeBron had gotten even one title with Cleveland, he'd still be there.

As it stands, though, the Cleveland Cavaliers has no one to blame except themselves. Poor decision-making kept them from acquiring a team to put around LeBron. The team put all their eggs in the same basket, and, quite frankly, LeBron couldn't do it all for the team.

LeBron made a decision that worked in his favor: moving to a championship-caliber team. There's nobody that honestly doubts that the Heat will be fully capable of winning the NBA Finals for years to come. Maybe that's why there's so much hate for the Heat. Michael Jordan has spoken out. Cleveland's ownership has spoken out. Now, I'm speaking out, and I'm saying, why don't you all just be quiet?

Probably one of the most outrageous things I've heard came out of the mouth of Michael Jordan recently. For those who haven't read it, he basically said that he would never have played on the same team as Magic Johnson or Larry Bird. The context he said it in made it sound to me like he was comparing Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and himself to LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. That's ridiculous.

Do you want to know how ridiculous? List, in your head, the five best players in the NBA right now. Got it? Okay, let me guess, at the top of your list would probably be LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. After that, you may have Kevin Garnett, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, a whole slew of people. But I would be willing to bet money that you did not even consider Chris Bosh. There are quite a few people better than him in the NBA right now. To compare him to any one of Michael Jordan's dream team members would probably be crazy, considering he's not even one of the top 10 players in the NBA right now. I'm not saying he's not good (he's easily top 20), but he's not on the same level as Bryant and James.

One of the things that has really bugged me about this whole LeBron-fest the media has been having is the reaction the Cleveland fans had. No other fans would be so dramatic about a single player, not even the Lakers with Kobe Bryant. Cleveland has a history of fair-weather fans (not saying that dedicated fans don't exist, guys, just sayin', you guys had a hard time selling tickets eight years ago), and they see that the clouds are coming back. Naturally, they're massively angry. However, they're angry at the wrong guy.

Instead of being mad with LeBron for leaving, they should be mad with the ownership for not convincing him to stay. I don't mean the Cavaliers should have offered him more money, but they definitely should have offered him a better team. If LeBron had one teammate that could consistently back him up during the season, the Cavaliers would have made the Finals not only this year but in other years as well. As I said earlier, if LeBron had one ring, he'd be staying.

Category: NBA
Posted on: April 6, 2010 3:00 pm

Northwest Spring Preview

After a disappointing performance over the winter by our three big basketball teams, Seattle's version of spring has hit.

Oddly enough, it seems we are seeing more rain and cold weather now than we did back in winter.

Firstly, the Huskies finished their basketball season by getting into the NCAA tournament through way of winning the Pac-10 tournament, and then showed the nation why the West is vastly underrated. The Huskies beat Marquette and New Mexico to make the Sweet 16, a far better performance than anyone who is not a major homer expected.

The Zags didn't fare as well, getting into the Round of 32 before being blown out by the Orange of Syracuse, something to be expected when a 1 seed plays an 8 seed.

All that is in the past, though, as we take a look into the summer days of soccer, baseball, and woman's basketball.

The Sounders are looking to run the table in the West conference of the MLS in their sophomore year. They beat the new Philadelphia Union, but then lost to the Red Bull, giving them their first win on the road in regular season MLS play in two years. Freddie and Fredy, the two Sounders forwards, are looking to lead the Sounders to a long season of winning, b ut they need to find ways to put the ball in the back of the net. In the loss to the Red Bull, the Sounders took 17 shots, and none of them went in the goal. The ball was in the Sounders' offensive third for most of the game, but the forwards failed to capitalize.

The Mariners picked up quite a few new players in the winter, put together by second-year GM Jack Zduriencik and coached by Don Wakamatsu. Milton Bradley and Chone Figgins should help to pick the Mariners up offensively, and they also will help keep the Mariners' defense the best in the business. Cliff Lee will help out Felix Hernandez on top of the rotation, and give the Mariners a deadly one-two punch that the media will be (and has been) all over. At one point, the Mariners were the hot pick to win the highly competitive AL West, but a bad spring training made many people think twice. Most have the Mariners finishing third behind the Rangers.

The Huskies softball team will look to repeat as champions, led by Daniel Lawrie. Also, the Storm will again be led by Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson, looking to take the title in the West.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or