Tagged: March Madness

Best NCAA Championship Game of All Time?

I don’t know long term, but right now I see points of those who argue it.

Every year when you might have any doubt that this tournament is the best playoff system in all of professional and collegiate sports, it gives you something you have never seen before:

Side note: Isn’t it just great that Bill Raftery calls the NCAA Final Four on TV? His reaction was genuine and priceless. ONIONS!!

As soon as I saw the last shot, all of could think of was this, which is the last time a NCAA Championship ended on a last second shot.

What will go down as one of the most chaotic tournaments perhaps ever, had as fitting ending as you will ever see in sports.

And somewhere in America, the piccolo girl’s tears of sadness last year was not in vain.

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Piccolo Girl Story

Piccolo Girl Story 2

Notice the team Villanova lost to. It is moments like this which is the reason why we love sports!!

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Historic First Round Friday and it may only be the Beginning…..

It’s been awhile since I posted a blog. This is actually my first blog posting of 2016. There are so many reasons why so many people, both sports fans and non-sports fans can never get enough of March Madness. It creates a playoff format where every one of the 64 teams each has (as equal of a chance as you can get) to win a National Championship game. It makes stories that no movie, TV show, or book can ever duplicate. Expect the unexpected is a understatement.

With this year’s parity in college basketball, before the tournament started on Thursday, I predicted that this year’s tournament will be one of the most chaotic in years. Boy was I right. It was more chaotic than I ever thought it would be.

Things turned on Thursday when this happened:

However it was only the appetizer of what was to come.

Friday March 18, 2016 may go down as one of the craziest and most entertaining round 1 days in the history of this tournament. Since no words can describe it, I will be mostly using videos and pictures to describe all that happened:

Practically everyone’s bracket gets officially destroyed at this point by MTSU vs a favorite national champion pick in MSU

Controversy in Temple vs Iowa. Offensive Foul or no foul on Iowa? No foul was called. Iowa wins.

SF Austin’s Thomas Walkup becomes a household name

Before I get to Northern Iowa vs Texas, here is how UNI got into the tournament by winning their conference:

Then they topped it with this in Round 1:

Which caused me to do this again….

 

WTF Face

And almost immediately after that happened, this happened which needs no explanation:

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One week earlier this happened to the Bearcats to cause them to lose their conference tourney in 4 overtimes.

It’s why this is the best playoff system in sports. One play can make you feel like this:

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or like this:

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Win and survive. What a game!

 

The focus shifts to Baseball

Now that one of the most chaotic and memorable NCAA March Madness tournaments is officially in the books we can turn the page in my favorite sport, Baseball.

Congrats on UCONN winning the title. I said during March, don’t trust anyone who was in the Top 25 because it does not matter this season. All that matters is who was playing hot at the right time and how they played in the tournament. The key to doing well in the bracket was picking the right upsets.

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Still UCONN winning defies even that logic. By the way, there is still a small part of me that is still recovering from one of the toughest Badgers losses in the history of the program. The thought is if everyone returns next year, they could be a immediate pick to return to the Final Four with possibly the deepest Wisconsin lineup ever.

 

Onto baseball. If you are a casual fan, I have to explain to you about how the baseball season works. In April, you should not look at the W-L record cause it is not as important until about late/May early June. Last year’s Brewers team proves that as they buried themselves in 6 weeks after a great April.

What is more important is watching trends and how the team is competing.

My thought was that this year’s Brewers team is going to surprise some people. They don’t have a household name minus Ryan Braun. And we know he will be scrutinized to the nth degree especially now that he is still dealing with nerve issues with his throwing hand thumb.

However, many people fail to see that this is a solid Brewers team. They have 3 solid position players in the essential spots in Jonathon Lucroy (C), Jean Segura (SS), and Carlos Gomez (CF). It is no fluke that this trio had a great season last year and IMO they are the new “faces” of the franchise.

Brewers Trio

Here are 5 important trends that you need to focus on about the Brewers for the month of April:

1) Schedule.

This schedule in April is brutal. Show me another team that has to play the Braves, Red Sox, Pirates, Cardinals all before April 17th!!! I challenge Brewers fans not to look at the Win-Loss total in April. If the Brewers can float around the .500 mark, I call this a great month. If they are slightly below, not terrible. If they are way below, cause for concern. However if they end up above .500, then this could be the beginning of a special season.

(As of April 8, the team is 4-2). I know it’s early but that sweep of the World Champion Red Sox on their home field during their opening weekend and their ring ceremony is a BIG DEAL. The Red Sox were NEVER swept last season. Sure Saturday’s game was ugly and the team is still having trouble getting in RISP (Runners in Scoring Position), however I don’t care. They swept the World Champs and that Sunday game where they shut them out 4-0 helped the entire state of Wisconsin cope with that Badgers loss. Statement Game.

Red Sox sweep

By the way did you see this last Friday? At least they played the opposite of Peralta falling everywhere. Pretty hilarious

Peralta falls during Red Sox Ring Ceremony

 

2) Pitching.

Pitching is the most important thing in baseball. If you don’t have quality pitching, you are not going to go far.

How about this rotation in the first week?

All 5 starters had quality starts. Garza had a no hitter into the 7th in his Brewer debut, and Gallardo has a 0.00 ERA in his two starts.

Couple of things here:

  • I love Wily Peralta 5th in the rotation. He has “ace” stuff and can now develop at his pace. Our 5th starter is better than your 5th starter!
  • We will soon look at Matt Garza as one of the best signings of the season, and possibly one of the best bargains a team has signed in recent history. He looked like a man with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. He will excel pitching 3rd in the rotation.
  • Gallardo will pitch as good if not better than 2011. Gallardo is an ace but not the type of ace that you are accustomed to. He does not do well with pressure. Now that he has Lohse and Garza to take some of the pressure off of him to overcompensate, he will just focus on pitching his game. If you shut out the Braves and Red Sox in your first two starts, it is cause for notice as this article shows.

Gallardo’s Hot Start

  • Marco Estrada. If he averages giving up 2 runs per game and is the 4th starter, I will take that EVERY time
  • Will Smith. He will be the unsung hero of the bullpen. A southpaw that throws hard and can pitch multiple innings.
  • Tyler Thornburg. He should be in the rotation, but it may be a blessing in disguise he is in the bullpen due to the Garza signing. Can pitch multiple innings and has lights out stuff. It also shows how much depth we have this year.
  • K-Rod. Nobody wanted him so Doug Melvin re-signed him for his 3rd go around. If the issues with Jim Henderson’s velocity continue, this was a brilliant re-signing to have a backup closer. After the Lohse, Garza and K-Rod signing, people need to lay off Doug Melvin. He knows what he is doing.

 

3) Ryan Braun.

So Ryan Braun continues to have an odd nerve issue with his throwing thumb. Is it cause for concern? Yes. It is a possible distraction from the PED talk? Perhaps. Yes the Brewers probably need Braun to be healthy in order for them to have a real shot at the playoffs, however his suspension was a blessing in disguise last season since he was hurt anyway.

It showed to the other players in a down year that they can compete without their star player. Khris Davis who will be solid may have never gotten an opportunity this fast to show what he has if Braun was playing. Logan Shafer may not be the defensive and quality bench player he is today without last season happening.

Here is my personal opinion

And to the national media who are angry about the Brewers fans giving Braun a standing ovation. Do you for once perhaps maybe think that Brewers fans did that on purpose just to piss you off? Guess what, it worked based on this article.

Media has it out for Brewers fans who cheer Braun Opening Day

How is this different from Yankees fans cheering A-Rod last year, or Giants fans cheering Bonds in the past? Big difference. Milwaukee is a small market.

Growing up in Wisconsin, we can’t stand the national media because you never really give or write articles to support Wisconsin teams when they have a chance to succeed. The Badgers were the #2 seed but most national media did not think they would win or ever get to the final four. The same is said about the 2011 Brewers.

That was less about Ryan Braun and more about the fans giving the national media the finger. Most people in Wisconsin could care less what major media like ESPN think. Good for the fans to take advantage of this moment, and shame on the media to not figure that out that it was about them. They completely fell for it if you read the twitter comments.

Brewers fans know exactly what they have to deal with. However Braun is the longest signed player through 2020. People hate him so much, I almost myself want to purposely cheer for him to make people mad. All that happened, I just have more important things to do and won’t hold someone to a higher accountability cause he is a well known person. The quicker people move on, the better off you can focus on the how great other things in baseball is.

 

4) Segura and Gomez.

The 2013 All-Stars need to have a similar season as they did last year if the Brewers will compete. While Segura might still be struggling due to his lingering shoulder issue, I do like the way Carlos Gomez is playing. I think he is continuing to develop as a player everyone thought he would be. There is a saying that as you get older, you tend to mature and put childish things away. I think last season Gomez has begun to mature. He still gets intense which is part of his personality, however he visibly shows signs that he does not let it fester.

P.S. Thank you Angels. First you give us your top prospect in Segura and he just becomes an All-Star in his first full season, and because you were impatient with Garza, he said screw you and the Brewers swooped in to sign them. I wonder if the media is mad because they never saw the Brewers-Garza interest?

5) Lineup.

There has been some talk that the lineup is really top heavy and weak 6-8. The daily lineup is Gomez, Segura, Braun, Ramirez, Lucroy, Davis, Reynolds/Overbay, and Gennett/Weeks (last four guys interchangeable batting 7/8 based on matchups).

It’s too early to say one way or another if it will work. Let’s just wait awhile before making adjustments. With having to use the DH this past weekend, I don’t think it is enough of a sample size, however it is something to keep an eye on if they continue to struggle to score runs.

It’s great to have baseball back!

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My New Blog

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Welcome to my blog!!! I finally decided to enter the world of commenting on three of my favorite things: NCAA Basketball, Baseball, and the Weather 🙂

What better way to begin my blog than with my first post, the run Florida Gulf Coast just had. So many people are glued to their TVs this month. March Madness is the perfect time where warmer weather is near, you can root for your bracket pools, get to relive the days rooting for your Alma Mater, and get a story that Hollywood writers can only imagine scripting.

Two weeks ago most of America did not know Florida Gulf Coast existed. Now due to their great run to the Sweet 16, they are a household name. Even though their run ended with a great Florida team, they should not hold their heads down for long. It is exactly the real reason why we watch sports.

To align all of our loves in life all into one. This is why March Madness starts the best time of the year!

http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/blog/eye-on-college-basketball/21971256/in-their-words-every-fgcu-player-reflects-on-their-historic-run