Tag Archives: West Virginia Mountaineers

Food for Thought 9-4-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Stephen Strasburg (pictured above) looked pretty sharp on Sunday against St. Louis. Sadly, his season will end on September 12th due to an innings limit placed on him by Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo.

By Josh Kramer

Operation Shutdown Strasburg” is an utter embarrassment.  Many MLB players go through an entire career and never make the playoffs once, much less contend for a playoff spot.  The Washington Nationals have failed to post a record better than .500 since making the move to the nation’s capital in 2005 (until yesterday).  There is only one way to describe Nationals GM Mike Rizzo’s September 12th expiration date on the Nationals star pitcher: A simple ego struggle.

That’s right, Washington is willing to risk a deep playoff run due to their General Manager’s ego.  I really have no other logical way to explain it.  Health concerns are are fine by me, but within reason.  There are always exceptions though.  Stephen Strasburg is a 24-year-old prized prospect who is in good health.  I realize that he had Tommy John surgery towards the end of the 2010 season.  But how many pitchers go through an entire career without a surgery such as Tommy John in this day and age?  Not many. Continue reading

College Football Preview: SEC too good for its own good

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Matt Barkley (pictured above) will have a special year in 2012 as he leads USC back to the pinnacle of college football and takes home the Heisman Trophy.

By Josh Kramer

Opening night for the 2012 edition of College Football is just a week away.  It seems like it was just yesterday that Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide were celebrating on Bourbon Street.  In actuality, it was 227 days ago when Alabama clinched the SEC’s sixth consecutive national championship.  Don’t expect that streak to reach seven though.

Here are my predictions for the season ahead.

ACC Champion: Florida State Seminoles

I along with most people around the country jumped the gun and proclaimed Florida State’s greatness last season.  Will this finally be the year that the Seminoles and their outstanding recruiting classes live up to the hype?  Jimbo Fisher along with the entire city of Tallahassee certainly hope so.  A loaded defense led by Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner, and Xavier Rhodes are ready to roll.  As is their experienced senior quarterback EJ Manuel.  A September 22nd showdown with the reigning ACC Champs Clemson and a visit to Blacksburg for a Thursday night tussle (November 8th) with the always dangerous Virginia Tech Hokies are the two dates to keep in mind at this time.

Big 12 Champion:  Oklahoma Sooners

The Sooners are a definite contender to not only win the conference crown, but to take home the whole thing after a very disappointing and injury-riddled 2011. This will be a team that has a chip on its shoulder from start to finish in 2012.  Unfortunately for the Sooners, their schedule does not get serious until their final three games, which features road contests against Big 12 newcomers West Virginia and TCU, and a showdown with in-state rival Oklahoma State.  Also, keep an eye on the Red River Rivalry Game against a dangerous Texas team on October 13th.  Senior quarterback Landry Jones may face more media pressure than any other player in the country not named Matt Barkley.  I have a feeling that the very experienced senior will welcome it as he finishes his Sooner career with a bang. Continue reading

College Basketball Transfer Rankings

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. According to our very own Jeremy Powers, Mark Lyons (pictured above) is one of the big transfers to keep an eye on in 2012/2013.

By Jeremy Powers

College basketball players are on the move now more than ever. Most programs are in need of that one spark plug to help the team get over that proverbial hump. Here are the top ten college basketball transfers that will help their teams improve this season.

10. Jabari Brown (Missouri) – Brown was a highly talented recruit, which was supposed to help rebuild a Oregon program that hasn’t made it to the NCAA tournament in recent years. After two games in Eugene, the shooter from California jumped ship and will help replace Kim English and Marcus Denmon.

9. Mark Lyons (Arizona) – A former Atlantic 10 standout while at Xavier, Lyons will bring back court depth and leadership to Arizona. Lyons will be making the transition to point guard for his former coach Sean Miller. Continue reading

Final Four Predictions

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Louisville has one edge on Kentucky heading into Saturday's showdown. That would be at the point guard position where Peyton Siva (pictured above) has played great as of late. Siva's heroics will not be enough for Louisville this time though.

By Josh Kramer

I have avoided it for the past few weeks.  I know it is a bad idea.  And when my bracket completely unraveled on the first Friday of the tournament by around 11PM, my desire to provide round by round predictions faded (thanks to Norfolk State and Lehigh largely).  But this the Final Four.  There is no bigger story in sports.  Plus, this year lacks a Cinderella and features two rematches of powerhouse programs.  Here are my predictions as the attention of an entire nation heads to Nawlins (New Orleans).

Matchup #1

Louisville vs Kentucky

The Skinny:  Round two in 2012 of one of College Basketball’s best rivalries.  There has probably never been a bigger sporting spectacle in the illustrious history of the Bluegrass State.  Come 9PM on Saturday, let’s hope that all cities in the state of Kentucky are still standing.  This is the 3rd straight year that the Big East Champion has made it to the Final Four.  Coincidentally, Calipari’s past two Kentucky teams have both seen the same fate in March: losses to the Big East Tournament Champion in the NCAA Tournament (West Virginia 2010, Connecticut 2011).  The third time will be the charm for the Wildcats though.  In my lifetime, I do not think there has ever been more of a heavy favorite heading into the Final Four.  This includes the 1991 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (who oddly enough lost) and the 2007 Florida Gators.  Kentucky is the best team College Basketball has seen in the past 15 years.  They have no noticeable weaknesses and are currently playing their best basketball.

Interesting Stats:  Calipari is 8 and 8 career versus John Calipari (11 and 11 if you include NBA days)  Though it should be noted that Calipari is a career 0 and 4 versus Pitino in postseason matchups.  Lastly, Calipari and Pitino are the only college basketball coaches ever to take three different programs to the Final Four.

Prediction:  Kentucky 80 Louisville 67 Continue reading

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

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

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

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

A Huggins Guy

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Kevin Jones (pictured above) is your typical "Huggins Guy" and will very likely be a lottery pick at the NBA Draft in June.

By Josh Kramer

Bob Huggins is known for three things by the American public.  Winning, toughness, and of course drinking.  Huggins established himself as one of the elite coaches in America during his sixteen year tenure in Cincinnati.  During that time, Huggins won an astounding 399 games (average of 25 a year), went to three Elite Eights, and of course earned UC their first trip to the Final Four in nearly 30 years.  In addition, Huggins lived and breathed toughness.  This was reflected in how his players approached every game.

Many in Cincinnati grew to love the man often referred to as “Huggy Bear.”  They loved his very casual dress, his temper-tantrums, and of course the fact that he won.  And not only did the fans worship Huggins, but so did his players.  Bob Huggins may not be the best X’s and O’s guy.  He also may not be the best recruiter in the country.  But I can safely say that Bob Huggins is the best coach in America at getting the optimum effort level out of his players on a nightly basis.  There will never be questions about effort and backbone when talking about a player on a Bob Huggins team. Huggins developed players to fit his system.  A good few of these guys are commonly referred to as “Huggins Guys.”  I am talking about players like Kenyon Martin, Jason Maxiel, Eric Hicks, and I could go on in terms of Cincinnati.  From a West Virginia standpoint, I am referring to guys like Joe Alexander, Da’Sean Butler, and this list will continue to grow in time.

The following are the characteristics of a “Huggins Guy.” Continue reading

Throwback Saturday Part IV

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. A little over a year ago today, Jerry Sloan (pictured above) was forced into stepping down from his position as the Head Coach of the Utah Jazz.

By Josh Kramer

So when I originally constructed the idea of “Throwback Saturdays,” I figured I would do it for a month or so.  It would be a change of pace for you all and give you some time to reflect a bit. With that being said, I feel as if this idea has been a rousing success thus far, at least from the feedback you all have given me.  Please provide further feedback in the comments section.  I have a feeling next week you may be seeing “Throwback Saturday Part V.”

Unfortunately, I did not put up a post on February 11th in either 2010 or 2011.  So I apologize for letting you all down on those particular dates.  We will just have to settle for dates very close in proximity.

One year ago (February 10, 2011)..

Sayonora Sloan

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

Sloan is one of the greatest offensive masterminds of our generation.  The guy has won his entire career.  He handles his business the right way.  No ridiculous off court mishaps with this guy.  Yet ownership has chosen Deron Williams as the future?

Unless you live under a rock, you probably know who Deron Williams is.  He is a 5th year All Star point guard who played college ball at Illinois.  The guy is arguably the best point guard in the League (I would currently rank him behind Rose, Rondo, and Paul in all honesty though).  Any guy that puts up 20 points and 10 assists a night is doing something right.  But it has been well documented that Williams and legendary coach Sloan have had their fair share of tussles over the past year (To finish reading the post, click this link). Continue reading