Tag Archives: NCAA

Big Blue Nation Should Be Ashamed Of Itself

Kentucky basketball has been the pride of the bluegrass for over a century, and with good reason. UK has won 8 National Titles, second only to UCLA’s 11. Due to the unparalleled success of the basketball program, and the lack of a professional franchise in the state, Kentucky basketball fans are ravenous. There is nothing wrong with passion-until you take it too far! After falling to North Carolina in the NCAA tournament, in the Elite Eight, the passion of Big Blue Nation indeed, went too far.

The contest between North Carolina and Kentucky was truly a “classic,” coming down to the final seconds. After the buzzer sounded and tears were shed, some Kentucky fans went absolutely nuts. A vocal group in the Big Blue fan base directed their ire towards John Higgins,  the lead official during the game, who also officiated during the Final Four.  If you watched the game, the officiating was questionable at best. However, poor officiating occurred for both sides, and to be quite blunt, happens every game on every level. You can certainly criticize Higgins and his crew for missed calls, but to equate it to the bias that occurred between the US and Soviet Union in the 1978 Olympics is ridiculous. Even worse, a small group of fans took to social media and other platforms to threaten and disparage Higgins personally. Dozens of negative comments were left on Higgins’ business website, questioning his integrity as a person and suggesting his business should be boycotted.  Again, its fine to be critical of Higgins as an official, but trying to affect his lively hood crosses a line.

If you as the reader do not feel a line has been crossed, let us offer other instances. While some took shots at Higgins professionally, others up the level of hysteria by threatening his life. Days after the Kentucky loss, Higgins met with FBI officials after receiving several death threats left on his voicemail. There are not enough words in the English language to describe the level of stupidity displayed by these clearly unstable people. If law enforcement can determine individuals who made these threats, please prosecute them to the fullest extent possible. Memo to the Big Blue Nation, there is more to life then basketball, maybe, just maybe, some of you need to get one!

Zags Will Win National Title Tonight

The 2017 National Championship game tips off in just about six hours. The game boast two #1 seeds, the blue blood (North Carolina) and the perennial underdog (Gonzaga). For the past 17 years, Gonzaga has looked to crash the NCAA Tournament party. Tonight, they will have the chance to trade Cinderella’s slipper for the championship crown. Through, Mark Few’s Bulldogs look like the underdog yet again, they are not! The Zags can match Carolina’s size, can score inside and out, and can rebound at a similar pace as the Tar Heels. Let’s be honest, the Tar Heel defense wasn’t as solid as it had been throughout the season Saturday night. If the Ducks had made a few more buckets down the stretch we would be talking about a different National Title Game this evening.

While, Gonzaga does not have the experience that the Roy Williams led Tar Heels do, Gonzaga should be relaxed and ready to play. North Carolina will have the pressure to finish their business after suffering a heartbreak loss, to Villanova, last March. If Gonzaga didn’t match up well with the Tar Heels we would give our nod to Chapel Hill, but Gonzaga has the match up they want and are poised to be on the podium as, ” One Shining Moment is planning tonight.

Final Four Preview

Well, since we o for 4 in our Final Four picks, we aren’t sure if you should be listening to our breakdown of this weekend’s games. Nevertheless, we will give it a shot! Looking at the matchups we are going to find out quickly if experience matters. Three of the four coaches, Roy Williams being the only exception, are making their first appearance in the Final Four, Coach Williams will be making trip number five overall, and his 3rd with North Carolina. Without a doubt, we will learn rather being there before really makes a difference. The thing that matters most, however, are the matchups. Let”s take a deeper look!

 

Gonzaga V South Carolina

There is absolutely, no question, that South Carolina has an exceptional defensive squad. The Gamecocks won all throughout this season because  of an in your face defense and solid rebounding. It is certainly how they took down Duke in round two, and then came back against  Florida in the second half to punch their ticket to Phoenix. The Gamecock offense has come around, led by Cendarius Thornwell. Unfortunately, South Carolina will be coming up against a Gonzaga team that has multiple offensive weapons, size, and the same defensive mindedness as their opponents. With Neigl Williams-Goss, and Johnathan Williams, as well as a solid supporting cast, Gonzaga should get by the Gamecocks, albeit in a nail biter.

Our Pick Gonzaga

 

North Carolina V Oregon

While the Ducks run has been quite a story, particularly with their starting center out for the season, there is no substitute for experience. The Tar Heel offense has gotten plenty of good looks throughout their journey, granted, they haven’t made as many as they would like, we believe Carolina will score the ball and exploit the Ducks lack of size.  We expect the UNC to advance to  a second  straight title game. Add to that the desire to exact redemption after a heart breaking defeat in last year’s title game, and you have a recipe to advance to Monday night’s championship

Our Pick:

North Carolina

NCAA Tourney Final Four Picks

We’d like to tell you we had a good reason for not giving you a full tournament breakdown when it tipped off last Thursday, but the truth is, we’re just lazy. Come on, admit it, you   wouldn’t have wanted to read our predictions for all 32 first round games. Have no fear, though, we do have the time to give our Final Four picks.

West Virginia:

Bub Huggins ball club can speed any team up. They press for 40 minutes, hence the nickname, “Press Virginia”. The Mountaineers have enough fire power on the offensive end to stay with Gonzaga, and will turn the Zags over on the defensive end. While we’d love to see Gonzaga in the Final Four, we will have to see it to believe it,   At the moment, we believe the stage will, once again, be too big for the Bulldogs. While there is no doubt that West Virginia will face a determined Arizona Wildcats team, should they get by the Zags. Arizona has also never been to a Final Four under Sean Miller. It is because of their inability to get over the hump, that we will punch a ticket for West Virginia  to Phoenix

Kentucky:

As usual, John Caliapari, has a young group of Wildcats. The “Kitty Cats” struggled to get by Northern Kentucky, as the Nose shot themselves into the game with several 3s late, but UK was able to drop free shows late to cap off the  1st round win. Then, against Wichita State, The Cats got big shots from their seniors, and two big defensive plays, to seal a 3 point win. While, there is no denying UK was destroyed by UCLA in December, we suspect that the cats will have revenge on their minds and will over come the Bruins Friday night. The Wildcats will then, likely, move on to a rematch against North Carolina. While, the Tar Heels will certain want to average the loss to Kentucky in Vegas, we see the cats making shots to down the final ACC team in the dance.

Florida:

The Gators have gotten hot at the right time, completely destroying, albeit an offensively challenged, Virginia Caviler team in the round of 32. While Wisconsin will be a difficult game, the Badgers are not exactly an offensive juggernaut. We see Florida out scoring UW to advance. The Gators should easily dispatch with either “Cinderella, they make come up against, in the regional final, to advance to the championship party.

Kansas:

The Jayhawks just seem to always be in the mix the last several years. Just because of the way the baskets have fallen, The Jayhawks look primed for another run at the title. Although, Caleb Swanigan, is going to be a handful, KU has more talent than Purdue and at this time of year talent wins. Kansas should have no problem with either Michigan or Oregon, given the Ducks injury issues and Michigan’s lack of depth.

Full disclosure, We are just abut last in our bracket pools, so, you may not want to use our picks as betting info. Rather or not these picks are correct, we will be excited win the games tip on Thursday. We will have a Final Four preview for your view pleasure next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grayson Alen: A Symptom Of A Larger Issue

Grayson Allen has been far more known foe his antics off the court than his play on it this season. Allen has had several incidents of,”dirty play throughout the 2017 season. Allen was indefinitely suspended by Coach K earlier this season, after tripping an opponent during a non-conference game. After the suspendible offense, Allen went off on coaches and teammates who attempted to calm after the tripping incident occurred. Sadly, this is not the first season Allen has had aggression issues. Last season Allen was given a flagrant foul for separate tripping incidents during the 2015-2016. While Grayson Allen’s actions are troubling enough, he is just a symptom of a larger issue in sports today- entitlement.

Sports is the ultimate microcosm of society, there are haves and have nots. Athletes who posses superior talent are allowed to get away with behavior that their less talented peers would face consequences for. This type of favoritism truly begins at the youth level, where coaches and parents alike seem more concerned with winning than teaching life lessons. Yes, winning is very important! after all, why do we play if not to win? There is nothing wrong with having a competitive fire. In fact, competition should be encouraged! However, it is also a coach’s job to impart life lessons and correct detrimental behavior, no matter how talented the player. Somewhere around 1 percent of all athletes will compete at the highest level of sports. Thus, it is vital that coaches do not treat gifted athletes different from their teammates. We have witnessed  multiple senerios in which athletes have verbally and or physically assaulted coaches and teammates, yet, they were never punished for such behavior. It is highly likely that, at some point, such inappropriate will not be tolerated in the work place or otherwise. When someone has never encountered consequences for bad behavior rather at home or on the playing field, they will have difficulty dealing with the consequences of their actions, when the time comes to do so.

Playing sports is a privilege, not a right! the only way to change behavior is to punish behavior that should to be corrected, thus, some time on the bench is not necessarily a bad thing. True, sports at the highest levels are businesses, and coaches are, all to often, judged by their performance on the playing field. However, it is also  important to understand that there is life after sports. Star athlete or not, actions have consequences. It is time that coaches, parents, and other influencers focus not just on the athlete, but the whole person as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

College Athletes Deserve To Cash In

For the past decade or so, there has been a debate rather college athletes should be paid in addition to their scholarships. We do not believe athletes should be paid by the schools they attend. Allowing athletes to be paid to attend certain  schools ruin the amateurism concept and would create a completely unfair playing field, as schools with more resources would simply open their wallets and ensure they always get top recruits. Granted, the top schools in major college sports often get the most highly rated athletes based on reputation, facilities, and other benefits.

While, institutions themselves should not be paying their athletes, the athletes themselves have every right to capitalize on their talents. In our opinion, athletes who receive endorsement deals or other off the field payments would not be receiving extra benefits, in violation of NCAA rules. Any other student,who may be on academic scholarship, can be paid to endorse products and or work for a business based on their merits. Why are athletes treated differently? The NCAA often mentions their desire  ensure that student-athletes are treated on par with their peers. Yet, restrictions are placed upon the athletes that other students do not have to contend with. Also, keep in mind, most athletes, even at the Division I level, will not play professionally. Why should a student not be able to cash on their celebrity while possible?  Quite frankly, it is the American way to use our talents to benefits ourselves, collegiate athletics should not be different!

Pitino, Louisville have more on their minds than basketball as season looms

The Louisville Cardinals Men’s Basketball team, and the university at large, have more on their minds than basketball as the season nears. Nearly three weeks ago, Louisville received a notice of allegations from the NCAA Infractions Committee ,charging the Cardinal coaching staff with various violations. The most glaring charge holds Head Coach, Rick Pitino, failed to monitor the program. However, the committee did not allege a lack of institutional control, which could have led to serious consequences for the basketball program. At this point, it is unknown rather the basketball programs will face farther violations after imposing a post season ban last year.

The NCAA did impose penalties on former Director of Basketball Operations, Andre McGee, with a Level I violation and a five-year show-cause penalty. The school has not been told of any subsequent infractions and will not face others actions. Pitino however, could face future discipline for failure to monitor his employees. Athletics Director, Tom Jurich has pledged support  for  Pitino saying, “We will appeal any decision made against Coach Pitino.

The allegations against  Pitino stem from a book  written by former escort, Katina Powell.In the memoir, Powell alleged that McGee arranged for prostitutes and strippers to be at parties where recruits and their families were present. Powell also published records showing she received payments from McGee over a period of several years.

Pitino is no stranger to controversies of this nature. The Louisville head coach was involved in an extortion case several years ago stemming from an affair with Louisville resident Karen Sypher. For her Involvement, Sypher was sentenced to seven years in prison for lying to the FBI and extortion. While Pitino was not charged in the incident the issue is a pattern of behavior. There is no questioning Pitino’s coaching ability, the man  has two national titles and took three different schools to the Final Four. However, at what point is the pattern of behavior enough? If Pitino is assessed other penalties it may be time for the Cardinal to look for a new head bird.