Monthly Archives: March 2012

NFL March Madness

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. In a wild day for the NFL, New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton (pictured above) has been suspended for the entire 2012 season.

By Josh Kramer

I always was under the impression that March Madness only applied to college hoops.  I was wrong.  The past couple of days have been simply ludicrous in regards to America’s favorite sports league, the NFL.  Let’s recap.

Peyton Manning signs with the Denver Broncos

-I fully understand this mega-signing.  There are many appealing factors to the Mile High City and the Broncos organization.  Namely, they are a team who plays in a weak division and they have John Elway.  Elway can act as a mentor to Peyton and help him become the unquestioned GOAT (Greatest-Of-All-Time) in terms of NFL quarterbacks.  If I were Peyton, I would have signed with the 49ers.  San Francisco is a Super Bowl contender in 2012 with or without Peyton Manning.  They also play in a very weak division. Not to mention they have arguably the best coach in the NFL today, Jim Harbaugh.  5 years and 96 million though may be enough to get me to settle on Denver over San Francisco though.

Goodell shakes up New Orleans Continue reading

Manning/Tebow Saga

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Tim Tebow (right) was always Josh McDaniel's (left) guy. That fact has been fully brought to light with Peyton's arrival in Denver.

By Wesley Kaminsky

It’s no secret that the biggest question of the NFL off-season has been where Peyton Manning will land. After missing the entire 2011 season with a neck injury, the Colts decided to part ways with Manning after 14 seasons in Indianapolis. After much deliberation as to where Manning would choose, it was announced that he would be going to the Denver Broncos, and they rewarded him with a 5-year, $96 million deal.

Huh? Continue reading

Food for Thought 3-20-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Now we all know where Peyton Manning will be playing in 2012. Where will Tim Tebow (pictured above) land?

By Josh Kramer

#18 is taking his talents to Mile High.  This whole “Decision” had a far different feel than the infamous “Decision” of July 8, 2012.  Peyton Manning handled this whole situation with the amazing grace and class that he has demonstrated throughout the duration of his career.  He is heading into a good situation in which punching a ticket to the playoffs in year one should not be a problem.  At nearly the age of 36, all Peyton wants to is win Super Bowls.

Sadly, in every game, there are winners and there are losers.  Many say that all Tim Tebow does is win.  In this case he has lost. Continue reading

Tournament Reset #1

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The first weekend of March Madness lived up to all of the hype and more. Outside of the wild upsets, the Kendall Marshall (pictured above) wrist-injury was one of the main storylines.

By Matt Murray

If ever there was a year to regroup after the first weekend, this is it. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do. We’re going to forget the first fifty games that have already happened, and re-examine the field as it stands, with the 16 teams left standing.

Before we discuss, here is what the remaining field looks like.

South

#1 Kentucky vs #4 Indiana

#3 Baylor vs #10 Xavier

East 

#1 Michigan St. vs #4 Louisville

#3 Marquette vs #7 Florida

West

#1 Syracuse vs #4 Wisconsin

#6 Cincinnati vs #2 Ohio St

Midwest

#1 North Carolina vs #13 Ohio

#11 NC State vs #2 Kansas

Amidst all the madness of the first four days, it was easy to feel a little bit like the tournament had imploded upon itself; that blue bloods had given way to Cinderellas and that while shocks are good for the tournament, some of this madness had somehow done us a disservice. But now, with four days to breath, it becomes a little bit more apparent that order will likely be restored. The only No. 1 seed playing anything less than a 4-seed is North Carolina, who will strike midnight on this year’s Cinderella, Ohio University, with relative ease (with or without Kendall Marshall). Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 3-19-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Marian Gaborik (pictured above) has led the Rangers to the top record in the Eastern Conference.

By Josh Kramer

Contrary to popular belief, College Basketball is not the only thing going on in the world these days.  Though it may seem that way at times, plenty of other things are going on in the sporting world as well.  The “Peyton Manning Sweepstakes” continue to heat up.  NBA basketball treks on with the “Trade Deadline” in the rearview and Dwight Howard’s version of “Gossip Girl” on hold for at least another year.  Last week was totally awesome baby with a capital A, but this week is sure to be great in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Sid “the kid” Crosby is back in the flesh.  New York, Boston, and Pittsburgh are running the show in the Eastern Conference, while the West has turned into St. Louis and Vancouver’s playground.  We are nearing the end of the regular season, with right around 10 games to play.  It is hard to believe, but I know all of you remember how exciting the NHL playoffs were last year when Game 7’s became almost a given.  This week my attention is focused on a matchup at Madison Square Garden tonight.

New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers:  Who can remember the last time these two bitter rivals were relevant?  We may have to reach back to the prime of Patrick Ewing’s career.  We are living in the now though.  And though New Jersey is not a top-tier team, they still are capable of making noise in the postseason.  The Rangers on the other hand are looking to bring back some Mark Messier type of memories.  Perhaps Marian Gaborik can help make this a reality?  Both of these rivals are coming off of a loss.  Something that has been a rarity for the Rangers this year.  Don’t get used to it though.  Not only are the Rangers one of the NHL’s best teams, they also are one of the best at home.  Tonight, they will defend their home ice. Continue reading

Throwback Saturday Part IX

Photo courtesy of kimoracochran.com. President Obama (pictured above) has proven that he really knows his hoops finishing in the 87.4 percentile of ESPN's Bracket Challenge last year.

By Josh Kramer

We have entered the third month of “Throwback Saturdays” For those of you who are unfamiliar with the routine.  This is a day where I look back at my posts on this date one year ago and two years ago.  Then we can decipher how spot on I was with my thoughts or how miserably wrong I was.  Typically, it is the latter scenario.  So what was happening on March 17, 2011?  How about March 17, 2010?  Let’s find out.

Nearly one year ago (March 18, 2011)..

Madness Highlights Thus Far

Here is a snippet..

No predictions today.  I will let my bracket play out a little.  But I wanted to check in and let you know my initial thoughts of this year’s edition of March Madness.

-Number one, I only went 11 of 16 in Round 2 (Round of 64).  That is not too good.  Shows how much I know.  President Obama went 14 of 16 and at the end of Thursday was in the 99.7th percentile in the ESPN Bracket Challenge (over 5.9 million participants).  Our President definitely knows his hoops.

-The Louisville game was by far the biggest shocker of the day.  I realize there were other upsets, but the Cardinals going down to an in-state Morehead State team?  I guess Louisville could technically be considered the 3rd best team in the state of Kentucky now?

-What a start to the first few games of the tournament. 4 of the first 5 contests came down to final second shots.  The tournament lived up to all of the hype and more in the first few hours of play.  And it is a good thing it did.  Because outside of the Michigan St./UCLA game, the nightcap was very weak, featuring multiple blowouts (To finish reading this post, click this link). Continue reading

Future American Tennis Star?

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Ryan Harrison (left) and Ryan Sweeting (right) are two of the players expected to help revive American tennis.

By Toni Headley

Toni Headley is a tennis expert who worked at ESPN for 10 years and has been a freelance writer there for the past 2 years.  She also previously worked at CBS Sports and has covered every major tennis tournament in the world multiple times.

As we leave Indian Wells, California for the Sony Ericsson Open, I ask myself if this will be the last time we see Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Andy Roddick, and James Blake playing here in Miami? With the slow decline of the Williams sisters, Roddick, and Blake due to injury and age, could we be witnessing the end of American tennis as we know it? All four players will be playing here in Miami, which starts in a little over a week. Continue reading

Wittry’s March Madness Predictions

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. According to our guest blogger Andrew Wittry, John Calipari (pictured above) will be a happy man on the night of April 2nd as he finally gets the monkey off his back and brings home a national championship.

By Andrew Wittry

Andrew Wittry is a senior at St. Xavier High School who literally eats and sleeps sports.  He is looking forward to college and avidly pursuing a career in sports journalism.  Andrew has an already well- established blog called Sports.Eat.Sleep.Repeat., where he posts new content regarding both professional and collegiate sports a few times each week.

Which month would you give up to have more March? While Buffalo Wild Wings jokingly uses this phrase in their recent March Madness advertising campaign, in all seriousness, I would willingly give up a few days of each month to be able to have more of the NCAA Tournament.

After coming home on from practice the other night and looking at the bracket, I could not have been more pleased with the field. When the biggest complaint about a team being left out is Drexel, a team out of the Colonial Athletic Association, who did win nineteen of its final twenty games, but did not have a single quality win out of conference, the committee did an excellent job.  Though Drexel’s amazing late season surge in which they reeled off 19 wins in their last 20 games was highly impressive. I was very excited about how well the local teams fared as Xavier’s run in the A-10 Tournament earned the team a 10 seed and Cincinnati claimed a six spot.  UC’s six was due in large part to giving #2 Syracuse its second loss of the season.

Here are my initial reactions from Selection Sunday:

Is Kentucky’s road to the Final Four too tough? Continue reading

NCAA Tournament Bracket

By Josh Kramer

Take a look at the official March Madness selections from TheSportsKraze…

2012 NCAA Tournament Bracket

Elite Eight:

Kentucky over Duke

-The Laettner shot of 20 years ago is still fresh in the minds of Big Blue Nation.  Too much Kentucky talent and too much Anthony Davis for the Blue Devils this time around though.

Michigan State over Marquette

-Marquette’s dynamic senior duo of Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder have been impressive  all year.  But Tom Izzo’s smarts and Draymond Green’s unwavering work ethic will prove too much in this one as the Spartans make their 7th Final Four appearance in 14 years.

Florida State over Syracuse

-The Big East regular season champs would have proven to be far too deep for a Florida State team that vastly exceeded expectations this year had Fab Melo been on the floor.  No “Melo,” means no Final Four for a very good Syracuse team.

North Carolina over Kansas

Tyler Zeller and Thomas Robinson battling it out in the paint?  It doesn’t get much better.  North Carolina not only has the size to match up with Kansas, but they also have the depth.  There will be no Rock Chalk Jayhawk on this day as Roy Williams breathes a sigh of relief.

Final Four:

Kentucky over Michigan State

-This has been the best coaching job of Tom Izzo’s career.  Finally, the lack of talent in Spartyville will be put on full blast against the nation’s most talented group out of Lexington.  The Spartans will have no answer for Anthony Davis, much like the rest of the nation.

North Carolina over Florida State

-So much for the ACC being down this year.  Beating a team two times in the same year is one of the most difficult things to do in college basketball.  Defeating a team three times is almost unheard of.  Just ask a Kentucky team that was clearly better than SEC-foe Vanderbilt.  UNC is the better all-around team.  And it will show on this day as they avoid a clean sweep from Florida State.

National Championship:

North Carolina over Kentucky (73 to 72)

-As we learned in the BCS Championship Game this year, beating a great team two times in the same year can be very difficult. Not only did UK defeat the Tar Heels back on December 3rd, but they also beat North Carolina in last year’s Elite Eight. Young Kentucky learns the hard way on April 2nd against a surging Tar Heels team that can match their depth and athleticism.  Let the Calipari questioning begin.

Good luck with your picks and enjoy the best three weeks we have in sports.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

March Madness 2012 Preview

Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com. The Road to the Final Four begins tonight in Dayton. Here is a guide to help with your bracket.

By Josh Kramer

For the first time in a very long time, there will be no “Food for Thought” today (Tuesday).  A higher being has taken charge.  And that would be none other than March Madness.  Sure there are other things going on in sports, but what else do you really want to talk about?  Sorry Peyton.  You will be taking a back seat today.

The brackets are finally set.  And as usual, Joe Lunardi did a wonderful job with Bracketology, correctly guessing 67 of the 68 teams in the field.  The guy is unbelievable. But enough speculation.  Let’s talk about the actual tournament bracket.

South Region:  The Region of Prestige

Overall Analysis

-Many are proclaiming this the best region in the field.  I do not agree (I think the East is).  But without question, it is not short on “prestigious” programs such as Kentucky, Connecticut, Indiana, and Duke. In addition, three of last year’s Final Four participants reside in the South (Kentucky, Connecticut, and VCU).  But let’s be entirely realistic.  This region starts and ends with the Big Blue Nation.  If Kentucky comes to play, they won’t lose.

Winner

-Kentucky

Sleeper

-Connecticut

Upset Alert

-Xavier over Notre Dame

Fun Facts

-The Connecticut Huskies are praying that history does not repeat itself. Each time UConn has won the title under Jim Calhoun (1999, 2004) the following year has resulted in a second round exit from the tourney (would be third round this year).

-A number one overall seed has been revealed each of the past eight years.  The top seed has only reached the Final Four three times. The only number one overall seed during this year eight year stretch to win the title was Florida in 2007.  Kentucky is praying that they can accomplish what their SEC rival did five years ago. Continue reading