Tag Archives: Big East

Throwback Saturday Part X

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Kemba Walker (pictured above) was the face of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Who will be the face of the 2012 version of March Madness?

By Josh Kramer

Two and a half months later and “Throwback Saturdays” are still going strong.  Welcome to edition ten of our weekly throwback day. What was happening on March 24, 2011?  How about on March 24, 2010?  I have a gut feeling that March Madness was discussed in some facet.  Let’s take a look back and see what the major happenings were and how accurate I was with my analysis.

One year ago..

Sweet 16: Day 1 Predictions

Here is a snippet..

Connecticut vs San Diego State:  Can you say Kemba?  UConn has won 7 straight and are a perfect 10 and 0 in tournament play on the year heading into tomorrow’s showdown with a very talented and higher seeded San Diego Aztecs team.  Now I realize that most of the national media has been grilling the Big East.  I mean who wouldn’t.  The conference began the tourney with 11 teams and only 2 still remain as we begin the Sweet 16.  Let me state though, both of the teams still standing went 9 and 9 in conference play.  Name me another team that is still standing in this bracket that went 500 in conference play.  I will do one even better.  Name me a team that did not finish in the top 4 of their conference that is still alive.  But back to the topic at hand.  San Diego State is also on a hot streak of their own having won 7 consecutive games.  43, 25, and 30 sums it up for me though when looking at this matchup  (Jimmer’s point totals vs SDSU this year). Though the Aztecs play very solid defense and also have a very well-rounded scoring attack, they have failed to slow down teams with elite scorers all year.  Good luck slowing down Kemba.  At least one Big East team will find their way into the Elite Eight.  And it will be the UConn Huskies as they gut out 3 point victory behind the Kemba Show.

BYU vs Florida:  On paper, this game appears to favor the Cougars.  They put up over 80 points a game.  They have the edge on the boards.  And I could go on.  But not so fast.  BYU has not been the same since the dismissal of starting center Brandon Davies for breaking University rules.  Well this will be the first NCAA Tournament game where this vacancy in the paint really hurts.  It will also be the first game in the tournament where BYU plays a team seeded higher than 11th.  The Gators are very deep and talented, and will be the loan SEC team to nab a spot in the Elite Eight.  The Jimmer Show has to end at some point.  Plus Bobby Knight laid out how you stop Jimmer on SportsCenter.  You better believe that Florida Coach Billy Donovan took notes on what the legend said.  I am going to stick with my original pick in this one as well. Gators by 2 in a thriller (To finish reading this post, click this link). 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

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

Throwback Saturday Part VII

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Last year at this time, everyone expected Ohio State to be cutting down the nets when the "Madness" was done. Can Sullinger (left) and Kraft (right) shock the world and lead OSU to a title this time around?

By Josh Kramer

Welcome to the 7th edition of “Throwback Saturdays.”  What was going on in the wide world of sports on March 3, 2010?  How about March 3, 2011.  Ironically, on “TheSportsKraze,” the news centered around the Scarlet and Grey (Ohio State) both times.  Maybe we should just declare March 3rd a “Buckeye Day” on “TheSportsKraze?”

One year ago..

OSU/Wisconsin Preview

Here is a snippet from the end of the post..

Jared Sullinger made it clear to ESPN’s Dana O’Neil that he wants no part of splitting the Big Ten title. “It’s like sharing your girlfriend or your husband,’’ Sullinger said after OSU’s 82-61 win over Penn State Tuesday night. “You wouldn’t want to share your husband, would you? We don’t like to share.”

Furthermore, a win would further enhance coach Thad Matta’s squad chances of claiming the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

One would be hard pressed to say OSU isn’t the best in the country. The two teams to topple OSU this season, Wisconsin and Purdue, haven’t lost at home this season.

Kansas lost at home to Texas and got dump-trucked at Kansas State. Texas has six losses, including dropping three out of four. BYU also has two losses, but the Mountain West isn’t the Big Ten or Big East. Pitt would probably make for the best argument, but they’ve lost twice in the city of Pittsburgh. Duke isn’t a title threat without Kyrie Irving.

Come Sunday, it’s strictly business for OSU…with a personal touch (To finish reading this post, click this link). Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 2-27-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Tennis season is getting ready to heat up. Is it time for Andy Murray (pictured above) to break through?

By Josh Kramer

So the dunk contest was a joke.  Ryan Braun somehow defeated the system.  RGIII once again proved that he is fast.  And College Hoops did not disappoint (I mean when does it at this time of year).  Last week was jam-packed.  But the week ahead should be pretty good in its own right.

5. One of the best tournaments in tennis (outside of the 4 Grand Slams) is just one week away.  I am of course referring to the BNP Paribas Open at lovely Indian Wells.  But before the tour makes the anxiously awaited stop in California, the players have to take advantage of the two tune-ups provided this week. Djokovic, Federer, and Murray will all showcase their abilities at the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, while the ATP Abierto Mexicano Telcel will also be taking place in Acapulco, Mexico.  Though most will not hold their breath in regards to these two tournaments this week,  they should.  Just like in any sport, the hottest players are the ones that take home the big-time tournaments.  Winning a tune-up typically signifies a “Hot-Streak.”  Who will get hot this week? Continue reading