Saturday, March 31, 2007

They turned it up AGAIN!

I've blogged about this numerous times, and the Buckeyes just keep on doing it....when there is less than 10 minutes to play in the game, Ohio State turns up the heat and takes over the game.

Tonight, the game was tied at 44-44 with 9 and a half minutes left in the game. A 10-2 run came next, and the Buckeyes outscored the Hoyas over that final handful of minutes by a score of 23-16. This has been the case in more games than I can recall. If you're going to beat the Buckeyes, you cannot be in a close game with them when the clock gets under 10 minutes to play. Nuff said.

But you really want to know how strong this team is? Check this out....

- Greg Oden sat for 20 of the game's 40 minutes.
- Ron Lewis shot 13 percent from the floor.
- They shot under 45% for the game
- They shot under 70% from the FT line

....and they still beat the 8th-ranked team in the NCAA. THAT, my beloved readers, is strength. To play a powerful team and not play well, yet still win comfortably, is a sign of a championship-quality team.

Now, bring on the Fucking Gators!

The Final Four begins today!

I haven't had much to say all week about Georgetown. I've been analyzing in my head what we need to do and how we can win this one, and the answer always comes back to one scenario....somebody unexpected is going to step up and shine.

I firmly believe that the unexpected performance will come from Othello Hunter.

All week long, the Hoyas have been practicing to attack our triple threat of Oden, Conley, and Lewis. That's a hell of a task in itself, stopping those three. It's going to end up leaving the door open for another Buckeye to step in and take over the game. With Hibbert being occupied by Oden all day long, Hunter has an opportunity.

As for the entire Georgetown season, I've been looking it over, and I've seen moments of true greatness. They absolutely humiliated Pittsburgh in the Big East final, and they shut down North Carolina in the final 2-minutes-plus-overtime last weekend. But other than that, they have fought their way to this Final Four. They've won 19 of their last 20 games, knocking off six ranked teams along the way.

Of course, Ohio State has won 21 of their last 21 games and defeated three Top 5 teams in the past three weeks.

In other words, it's going to be a hell of a game.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cavaliers can clinch tonight

A little break from all the Buckeye talk for a moment....

Tonight, the Cleveland Cavaliers face the Indiana Paces at 7pm. If the Cavs win, they will clinch a playoff spot. Granted, I never feared the possibility of missing the playoffs, but it's comfortable to be in and wrangling for position.

If the Cavs win, they'll be 43-28, while the 9th-place Pacers will be 31-39. We'd be 11.5 games up on the 9th-place team, and the worst possible scenario puts us tied with Indiana...and we own the tiebreaker, courtesy of a 3-1 series win over the Pacers.

So there it is. Win tonight and clinch.

Oh, and also...the Cavs, despite a really bad week, still are one game better than they were last year at this time.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Big Ten in the Tournament

For all the media-types claiming the Big Ten is weak, the NCAA Tournament has given them freedom to claim "I told you so".

But in my eyes, the NCAA Tourney has shown how strong the Big Ten actually is. Walk with me, I'll show you....

- There were six Big Ten teams that made the dance. Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Michigan State.
- There are six teams still alive in the dance. Ohio State, UCLA, Florida, Oregon, North Carolina, Georgetown.

- Ohio State alone shows strength from the conference. They're in the Final Four, so shut up.
- Yes, Wisconsin choked big time. The only 2-seed not to make the elite eight, dammit.
- Indiana stomped Gonzaga in the first round 70-57, then lost to UCLA (a team that is still alive). They lost to the Bruins by only 5 points. Kansas lost to UCLA by 13 last night.
- Purdue upset Arizona in the first round, then fell to Florida (another team that is still alive). But they gave Florida the scare of their lives, and the Gators only won in the final minute.
- Illinois came in a 12-seed and nearly knocked off 5-seed Va Tech, falling by 2 points in the final seconds.
- Michigan State upset Marquette in the first round, but fell to North Carolina (another team that is still alive). MSU was beating UNC with about 8 minutes to play, but couldn't hold on.

So yes, the Big Ten has only one team left standing. But three of the other teams in the conference had to face the best squads in the NCAA before they would allow themselves a trip home. I consider that a strength.

By the way, the Big 12 has no teams left. The almighty Kansas got an ass-whuppin, and the Texas Durants are home too. Let's see the articles on the weakness on that conference.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Remember what I was telling you???

A week ago, I posted a little story about how the Buckeyes always seem to turn on the jets when there is less than 10 minutes to play in the game. I gave plenty of examples from late in the season.

The moral of the story is that Ohio State just does not tire out down the stretch, and actually gets stronger towards the end.

Today, with 10 minutes left in the game, Memphis led 60-57. The Buckeyes scored 35 points in those final 8+ minutes, and held Memphis to just 16. Think about that for a minute....Ohio State went on a 35-16 run against the 5th-ranked team in the NCAA. That's an incredible statistic.

The afterburners went on and carried the Buckeyes all the way to the Final Four.

Now they get to scout out their next opponent, and it'll be personal for this Buckeye squad. They either get to play North Carolina and avenge a loss from earlier this season, or they get to play Georgetown and avenge the loss that eliminated them last year.

Me, I'd rather face UNC. Both teams scare me, but I think we're better equipped to face the Tarheels. Plus, we've seen what they have this year. And we got squeaked on the road without Greg Oden.

Oh, 18 hours, we'll know our opponent. And we'll get 5 days of practicing for that opponent.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Oden didn't need to block the shot

I was watching my Tivo of last night's game, and I noticed something.

Greg Oden's final blocked shot was unnecessary. Time had expired. Not that it matters, because the outcome is the same. But if it came down to that final shot, it would have been too late.

Here's a not-very-good picture I took of the shot. The ball is clearly still in the right hand of the Volunteer player, and the clock has expired, noted by the lit-up backboard on the right side of the picture. Those lights go on at 0.00 seconds, and they are clearly on. No shot.

Click on the picture for a larger'll help prove the ball hasn't been released yet.

Again, it means nothing in the grand scheme. I just found it interesting.

Relieved, but still scared

One of the look-ahead games I glanced at before this tournament started was the one we are about to play....and I wasn't looking at Memphis.

I did not AT ALL want to play Texas A&M in San Antonio for the right to go to the Final Four. I was pissed off that A&M was getting a home-state advantage when they were only a 3-seed anyway, and I was concerned that it would end up being a quasi-road game.

So I was relieved last night when Acie Law IV choked on a layup last night in the waning seconds, and Memphis knocked off A&M.

But I don't know much about Memphis, and what little I do know does scare me.

Don't believe the people who tell you that they haven't played anybody. Yes, they play in a very weak conference (Conference-USA). Heading into this tournament, they had played three ranked teams, going 1-2 against them, but hadn't faced any of those ranked teams since #9 Arizona beat them back in 2006.

No, they hadn't played much of a schedule...until this week. Folks, the Tigers have defeated TWO teams ranked in the Top 10 in the last five days. Nevada was #10 and A&M was #7 in both major polls. So don't tell me that they had a weak schedule, and that's why Ohio State will prevail.

However, there is one bright spot that might speak volumes come tomorrow afternoon....

Tennessee beat them by 18 points earlier this year.

I can't help but wonder if they spent some time in the stands last night watching the game, hoping to get their chance to pay some revenge to their inter-state rival, only to wind up a little depressed at missing that chance (and having to witness first-hand the buzzsaw that the Volunteers ran into).

Ohio State owned the Big Ten this season.
Ohio State owned the state of Ohio last weekend.
Ohio State has a chance to own the state of Tennessee this weekend.

And if they do, they have a chance to own the Final Four next weekend. Go get 'em Bucks.

That's what I was talking about on January 8th!

Flashback to the BCS National Championship game.......

We were getting our butts kicked in the first half and went into the locker room trailing 34-14. 20 points down and not playing particularly well.

At halftime, I told people, "if Florida can do that to us in the first half, we can do it to them in the second half and win. It's an equal amount of time, after all."

The following day, I was being mocked for my belief that a game can be reversed with a simple halftime motivation.

What you saw tonight was what I was talking about then. NEVER call it over at the half, you never know what a team can do.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My new video

Before CBS forces it off YouTube, enjoy a little collaboration I put together to fire you up for the Tennessee game.

Monday, March 19, 2007

A quick note of interest

The Cleveland Cavaliers' magic number to make the playoffs is 4. Four Cavs wins or four losses by the Orlando Magic, and we're in.

I never thought making the playoffs was in doubt, but it is nice to get in so early.

We're also only 1.5 games behind Detroit for the Eastern Conference lead.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The last few minutes of the game....

A note to anybody thinking about playing Ohio State for the rest of this tournament.

Have a big lead with 7-8 minutes to play. A really HUGE lead. It's your only hope.

Over the final 7:27 of regulation in the Xavier game, Ohio State outscored the Musketeers 18-7 (34-16 if you count OT). But this was no accident. All year long, Ohio State has made a living out of taking close games and pulling away in the final few minutes.

Is it conditioning? Desire? The aforementioned wake-up call? I cannot explain it, I can only report what I see.

Just look at the last several weeks;

- Against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament, the Buckeyes led by 5 points with a little over 8 minutes to play. Ohio State went on a 23-11 run to close out the game in grand fashion.
- The day before against Purdue, it was a tight game with 8 minutes to play. Ohio State led by 1 at 46-45, but used the rest of the game to go on a 17-7 run.
- The day before that game, the Buckeyes led Michigan by a mere 3 points with 7 minutes left. a 20-13 run to close the game gave us the 10-point margin of victory.
- Against Wisconsin (#1 vs #2), the Badgers led 46-42 with 3:42 to play. Ohio State put the clamps down on defense and hit a mini-run of 7-2 to win the game.
- Sleepwalking against Penn State, led Lions led 43-40 with 8 minutes to play. The giant woke up, rattled off 28 points, gave up 17, and sent Penn State home an 8-point loser.
- With 8 minutes to play at home, Purdue led the Bucks 51-46. Turn on the heat, and Ohio State goes on a 17-5 run to post another big win.
- 10 minutes left, Ohio State clings to a 4-point lead at home against Iowa, 54-50. Guess what happened...Ohio State goes on a 28-13 run to finish with a 19-point victory.

I could keep going and going with these stats, but you see where it's headed. Ohio State gets STRONGER as the game wears on. Plus, how many times in that little summary did I show stats that, if extrapolated out, would give the Buckeyes over 100 points per game?

The fact is, if you don't have the Buckeyes down by a LOT when it enters the final stretch, you're in trouble against Ohio State. Ask Xavier.

Wow....just wow

I've spent several hours thinking about what I wanted to write today, and it's been difficult. The BBC tends to analyze more than anything else...more discussion about stats and the meaning behind wins or losses...and that's probably what will happen here today too. If you want a recap of what happened yesterday in the Ohio State-Xavier game, you can find it in multiple places all over the internet. Our good friends PoJo and Pfef have the two best write-ups I've seen so far, aside from MBlog's Brian, who whined and cried his way through another OSU win....damn, it must suck to be him. What an ass.

So here are the "deep thoughts" of what happened yesterday.

When a team is on a long win streak heading into the tournament, it can sometimes work against them. They've built up a lot of those wins against weaker opponents, and very rarely does a team play back-to-back-to-back games against tough teams (until they get to the tourney). Winning every single game does not always prepare you mentally for the big dance. Sometimes losing a game late wakes you up.

I actually thought it might have been good for the Buckeyes to lose to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game. It might have cost them a #1 seed, but I felt that maybe the wake-up call would be more important than the victory. As we all know, they didn't lose as the season came to a close.

But guess what? Yesterday was their wake-up call. They didn't have to lose, but it sure felt like they had lost. With Oden and Matta openly riding their fellow Buckeyes, it looked like things were starting to fall apart. Then came "The Shot", and everything changed about the game. We still won and moved on in the tournament, but what Xavier did to us will linger in the memories of our beloved Bucks.

And in my opinion, only good things can come from having a wake-up call like that.

One other thing about "The Shot".....I know you'll like this analogy!

Ohio State was down to their final chance. They hadn't played the game as well as everybody had expected them to, but they still had a chance to get the win. Against a team they were expected to defeat handily, plays all day had just not been there for them, and they'll have to come from behind in the closing moments of the game. Playing away from the comforts of home, the Buckeyes knew they were down to their last prayer, and they put the ball in the hands of Ron Lewis......

Now read that again, with a slight change....

Ohio State was down to their final chance. They hadn't played the game as well as everybody had expected them to, but they still had a chance to get the win. Against a team they were expected to defeat handily, plays all day had just not been there for them, and they'll have to come from behind in the closing moments of the game. Playing away from the comforts of home, the Buckeyes knew they were down to their last prayer, and they put the ball in the hands of Craig Krenzel......

Kinda makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn't it?

Next game is Thursday night. Sweet Sixteen, we have arrived!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Recap of Ohio State's win tonight

Here's a quick recap of tonight's game.

Ohio State scored the first 8 points.
CCSU hit a three.
Ohio State scored the next 9 points.
Game over.

Really, that was about it. It ceased to be a game at that point. Ohio State was up 17-3 and never looked back, their largest margin reaching 27 points. Oden was on the floor for only three-quarters of the game and he played the most minutes of any Buckeye. Even Terwilliger reached double-digits in minutes played.

We all knew that this was going to happen, so now our last easy game is out of the way. Next up is Xavier on Saturday at 1:10pm.

We'll hear all the stories about how the Musketeers will be looking at this one because Thad Matta used to be their coach, yadda yadda yadda.....bullshit. We're the Number One team in the nation. EVERYBODY is out to get us, and it sure as hell won't take a "former coach revenge factor" to fire up Xavier or any other opponent. If it takes that, then X doesn't deserve to be in the Round of 32.

Fact is, Xavier just pulled one out of their ass against a Mountain West team. Here comes the Big Ten, boys. If you don't elevate your game by two or three-fold, you're looking at a short bus ride home from Lexington to clean out your lockers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Cavs and the playoffs

I stopped blogging about the Cleveland Cavaliers a while back, primarily because every time I talked about them seriously, they'd lose. I believe that it may have been my fault. Now's the time to test that theory again, because I'm going to want to blog about them in the postseason, and if I am bad luck, I want to find out for sure BEFORE they enter the playoffs.

So here goes.....

I think the Cavs were an amazing team last year and went further in the postseason than anybody expected them to. As long as LeBron James is on this team, I expect them to improve a little bit each year, and win an NBA Championship by his sixth or seventh season.

The year before he was drafted (02-03), the Cavs were 17-65.
His rookie year (03-04), the Cavs improved by 18 games to 35-47.
His second year (04-05), the Cavs improved again to 42-40, just shy of the playoffs.
Last season (05-06), they improved again to 50-32, and made the playoffs. But then they took an additional step in the same season and made the second round of the playoffs.

So this year, I expect more improvement. It doesn't necessarily have to be through their record, but it does have to be in playoff advancement. They need to make it past the second round and into the Eastern Conference Finals....AT LEAST. Then they can make it to The Finals next year, and win it all in two years.

Consistent improvement. It's been a trademark since LBJ donned the Cavs uni, and it needs to continue. I believe it will.

By the way, the Cavs are 2 games better than they were last season (they are 39-25, last year they were 37-27 at this point). To be better than they were in 05-06, they'll have to go 12-6 the rest of the way.

Oh, and not that making the playoffs is in doubt...but their magic number is 9.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Our first Big Ten Tournament title, and the Quest For 36 begins.

I've gotta admit, that was not the game I expected.

For starters, I expected SO much more out of Alondo Tucker. Ten points? 4-13 shooting? That's it? What happened to the Big Ten Player Of The Year anyway?

Anyway, it was nice to see Ohio State take the lead on a Top 3 team and never give it up. THAT was the way they need to play if they're going to win it all. And don't kid yourself, there's maybe three teams in the NCAA better than Wisconsin (and we're one of them)...this was a major victory.

The next stop is on Thursday at 710pm, against Central Connecticut State. Who are they, you might ask? Don't bother asking, you'll barely remember them by 10pm Thursday night.

The Blue Devils started the year 3-9. Yes, you read that right. They were once 3-9. They also lost to Michigan by 20 points, so you know what to expect. But here's the best part.....

CCSU does not have a starter over 6-7. Yes, you read that right too. They do NOT start a center, instead choosing to play 3 guards and two forwards. Hello? Greg Oden must be licking his chops right about now. He's going to have a MONSTER day scoring. They do have a player who is 6-11, but he averages 8 minutes a game (as a senior, no less) and only 1 point per game, so you get the idea that he's not very good. CCSU shoots a LOT of three-pointers, so Oden might not get a lot of blocked shots, but expect a double-double, maybe even by halftime.

Tristan Blackwood (17 ppg), Javier Mojica (16 ppg), and Joe Seymour (7 ppg) have launched a total of 641 3-pointers combined, and they connect on a surprising 38 percent of them. That's nearly 20 attempts per game, and expect that number to go up against Ohio State. That's the Blue Devils only prayer of staying in this game.

So on Thursday night, the Quest for 36 begins. I find it amazing that this team made it to 30 before the tournament, and I am very excited to see how they handle the biggest tournament appearance of their lives.

Go tear 'em up, Buckeyes.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Championship Game

I went 2-0 again today (but again, that wasn't hard to do). I've picked 8 of the 9 games in the tournament. Here's hoping I can get that 9th win.

Well, here it is...just the way it should be. #1 Ohio State vs. #2 Wisconsin, for the Big Ten Championship.

I'm going to save the lengthy preview of the game and just come right out and say it. Ohio State will win this game because they are the better team. Minus Brian Butch, Wisky doesn't have the inside power to handle Greg Oden, and they know it. Unless the Badgers unload with three-pointers, Ohio State should finish off what they started and go 18-1 in the Big Ten this year.

But let's face it...other than the Big Ten title and the quest for 30 wins, this game means nothing. Ohio State has locked up the #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and will play their first-round game in either Chicago or Lexington. By the time the game is over, it'll be 5pm (one hour before the big announcement), and the selection committee will have placed the top seeds anyway. Whatever happens, happens, and it won't affect either team's fate for the Tournament.

However, we all know Thad Matta. They're in it to win it, and there will be no letup tomorrow. But it'll be one hell of a game!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Round 3 - the semifinals

OK, so I called for three upsets in the quarterfinals. I got two. That's not bad. I'm 6-1 in this tourney so far. Tomorrow's games are as follows;

1:40pm - Ohio State (1) vs. Purdue (5)
Ohio State laid the smackdown on Purdue twice this season already, but Purdue is a much better team than those scores represent. They beat the daylights out of Michigan State, 62-38, so I'm not ready to overlook the Boilermakers. Most pundits have already placed Purdue in the big dance, but the Boilers know that this win would seal the deal. They'll be playing with some intensity. Ohio State, meanwhile, will be in the Thad Matta "pedal to the metal" mode all day, and I do not expect to see any letup from the Buckeyes.

Carl Landry was kept in check both times Ohio State beat Purdue (16 and 13 points), and that will have to be done again for OSU to make the title game.

Over and over again today we heard about how hard it is to beat a team three times in a season. then we beat Michigan for the third time this season. I expect the announcers Saturday to repeat the same mantra again and again, and I expect Ohio State to again beat a team for the third time in a season.

405pm - Wisconsin (2) vs. Illinois (6)
Wisconsin must be thrilled to not have to play Michigan State, having seen the Spartans three of the last four games. They'll be even more thrilled to see Illinois, who left the court around 1130pm EST after an exhausting overtime win Friday night. They'll have to take the court again after wearing themselves out just 16 hours earlier. That, coupled with a much better Badger squad will lead to a victory for Wisconsin.

Illinois' only hope is to take serious advantage of the absence of Brian Butch. Shaun Pruitt went for 19 points and 14 rebounds when Butch played against the Illini last time out...what will he do without the strong junior posting up against him? My guess is he'll have a huge day, but it won't be enough.

It'll be an Ohio State-Wisconsin rematch on Sunday afternoon, and BOTH teams will leave Chicago with #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

Ohio State gets a #1 seed, and Wisconsin gets to the Big Ten Championship game

Yeah, that's a long headline. I know it.

This afternoon, Ohio State locked up a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Count on it.

The Buckeyes are 28-3, and you cannot possibly find 4 teams who deserve a #1 seed more than the Buckeyes. Take a look at the rankings and what's happening this weekend, and you will HAVE to put the Bucks in a top slot, regardless of what happens to the Buckeyes the rest of the Big Ten Tournament.

If you can find me four teams NOT named Ohio State who will get a #1 seed, I'll find you a tournament committee who deserves to be shot.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin just earned themselves a spot in Sunday's championship game. It's hard enough to play back-to-back games in the Big Ten Tourney. Illinois played Thursday evening, then played late Friday night, and that game went into overtime. Indiana and Illinois were both so exhausted by the end of their game, neither team had the legs to make a shot from the's nearly Midnight on the east coast, and these guys have to hit the court again at 4pm tomorrow? Forget about it. Illinois is finished. Wisconsin's in.

Drive for 30

Earlier, I published a post about Ohio State's chances on having 30 wins before they get to the NCAA Tournament. They still have that chance (and by the way, did ANYBODY dream of being 30-3 when Ohio State was 13-3?)

At 27-3, they need three more wins. If they keep winning, they'll play their 33rd game on Sunday. Win 'em all and they are 30-3.

Only one Big Ten team has ever entered the NCAA Tournament with 30 wins...Illinois in 2005. They went 37-2 and lost in the Championship game to UNC.

With a win today, Ohio State will make Michigan victim #28. Let's get to work!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Round 2

I won't get too cocky over yesterday's predictions. I picked three favorites over three weak teams. It wasn't that hard to do.

Here's where it gets tricky.....

Round 2 - The Quarterfinals

Noon - Ohio State (1) vs. Michigan (8)
It's no suprise how I'm going to predict this game. I'm a Buckeye fan, as you may have heard. But I do have reasons why Ohio State will beat Michigan and advance to the semifinals. The Buckeyes still have their eyes on a #1 seed, and I don't know if it's guaranteed, should they lose this game. Yes, there still is a lot of importance on this contest. Michigan's life depends on it more....lose, and they're NIT-bound. But will that be enough motivation for the Wolverines? Actually, I want to beat Michigan, but have them make the NCAAs and wind up in our region. Who doesn't want to beat Michigan four times in one season?

230pm - Iowa (4) vs. Purdue (5)
I'm shocked that a team as bad as Iowa is the 4th-seed in this tourney. They were once 5-6, and have only one prayer to make the NCAA tourney...the automatic bid if they win the Big Ten. Purdue, however, is battling for a possible at-large bid to the dance. I think they need two more wins to get in (they can make it with 22), and they'll get off on the right foot in this game. This will be the first upset of the Big Ten Tourney, with 5th-seeded Purdue victorious.

640pm - Michigan State (7) vs. Wisconsin (2)
I admit, I didn't give Northwestern a prayer in today's game, but they nearly pulled off the miracle. Personally, I think that Michigan State did what I was worried about...they nearly got caught looking ahead to the second round. Both of these teams are headed to the NCAA tourney, and both have a lot to prove. Michigan State wants to avenge their loss to the Badgers last week, and Wisconsin has to show they still deserve a #1 seed. This game will be the best battle in the whole tournament. But it's another upset, as Sparty pulls it off.

910pm - Indiana (3) vs. Illinois (6)
Damn, I'm glad Ohio State is in the other half of the bracket. Two more teams that will both make the NCAA Tournament, and two more very dangerous teams. Also, another rubber match to be played out. Illinois and Indiana split during the regular season. Illinois is 1-5 against ranked teams this year...that one win was against Indiana. I've gotta go with recent tournament experience on this one and give it to the Illini. Upset #3 on the day.

I could be eating my hat on this day, but I'm sure that a lot of people can agree that none of the three upsets are really HUGE upsets. These are four evenly-matched games, and three upsets is not far-fetched.

Round three predictions tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Big Ten Tournament time!

Tomorrow afternoon, the Big Ten Tournament gets underway. Frankly, I love this tourney, but I hate how it forces some teams to play three or even four games on consecutive days. However, you knew the job was dangerous when you took it and if you get to the magic final day, you're all but assured a ticket to the big dance anyway.

Here's my call for the games tomorrow....but really, there's not much of a challenge to calling these three games. The Big Ten has three really bad times and they all play tomorrow, so there should be no surprise as to who wins.

Noon - Minnesota (9) vs. Michigan (8)
Minnesota has nothing to live for, and Michigan has all the motivation in the world. The Wolverines NEED to win if they want to make the NCAA Tourney. 20 wins is not enough for them, and beating Minny would give them 21. Still might not be enough for the Blue, but it's the biggest "must-win" of the year for them. Plus, Minnesota eliminated them last year from this tournament, so you can add the revenge factor in.

230pm - Michigan State (7) vs. Northwestern (10)
I still can't understand how MSU ended up 7th in the Big Ten. They are Top 4 material, but it is what it is. Sparty is a lock for the NCAA Tournament, but they still have a lot to prove. Don't expect a letup against a weak first-round opponent like Northwestern. But Michigan State had better be careful and not get caught looking ahead to a second-round rubber match against Wisconsin.....

5pm - Illinois (6) vs. Penn State (11)
Illinois is the most overlooked team in the Big Ten. Only two years removed from a 37-2 record and a spot in the NCAA Championship game, I still can't understand why more teams don't fear the Illini more. I personally believe that Illinois is the scariest team in the Big Ten Tournament, and they'll show it against Penn State, who have a big day of cleaning out their lockers planned for Friday.

Tomorrow, I'll post my predictions for Round 2...I see two, maybe three upsets on that day.....

Monday, March 05, 2007

Poor Michigan....

After being knocked off for the 14th straight time by Ohio State in major sports, the Wolverines have to find the news pretty awful.

The good news - the 8th-seeded Michigan squad faces off in the first round of the Big Ten tournament against 9th seed Minnesota. Should be an easy game for them.

The bad news - If they win, their 2nd-round opponent is Ohio State.

I personally think that 21 wins gets a Big Ten team into the NCAA tournament, which Michigan will acheive with a win over Minnesota.

But they do not have that "signature win", unless you count beating Michigan State last week. Therefore, they may NEED to beat Ohio State on Friday to get in to the dance. Granted, if they do knock off the Buckeyes, they are a lock to make the big dance. 22 wins and a victory over the #1 team will be a sure thing.

So here is what the entire Michigan season looks like, as far as I can tell........

Beat Ohio State on Friday, go to the NCAA Tourney.
Lost to Ohio State on Friday, go to the NIT.

That is a hell of a dilemma, huh????

Saturday, March 03, 2007


JD Arney will understand this one.

It's nearly 3am. I have a meeting to attend at 8am and then I have a full day of work, so I tried to go to sleep early tonight. But I just can't fall asleep, and I couldn't figure out why.

Then I remembered....we play That Team Up North (TTUN) tomorrow. I never sleep well before a big game during college football season, and I guess it's carried over into college basketball season.

So while I'm awake, I thought I'd post something about the Buckeyes.....

Most of you know that Ohio State has captured Big Ten Championships in the 3 big sports (football, men's basketball, and women's basketball) for the past two seasons. Unheard of in college sports, really....but the Buckeyes have done it.

But did you know....that in those three sports COMBINED, it has been 1,098 days (three years and three days) since TTUN has defeated Ohio State. Furthermore, in that span, Ohio State has beat TTUN 13 consecutive times.

On February 29th, 2004, TTUN defeated Ohio State 75-64 in men's basketball. Since then, the Buckeye men have beat TTUN four straight times, the women have won 6 straight games, and the football team have beat the boys in Blue 3 straight times.

Now THAT is dominance. Let's continue it in about 13 hours.