Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ultimate College Football Tournament

9 UCLA vs 1 Florida - We're not sure if Rick Neuheisel arrived before or after this game. But we are sure he had the Gators, less the points. Tim Tebow completed only 8 passes, but 3 for touchdowns, as the Gators rolled past UCLA 59-10 and moved into the Sweet 16. Kestahn Moore ran for 169 yards and Percy Harvin went for another 119 as the Gators rolled.

12 Georgia Tech vs 4 Oregon- The Rambling Wreck may take up permanent residence in Oregon. Tashard Choice's 19-yard dash to the end zone with 24 seconds left gave Georgia Tech a thrilling 37-34 win over Oregon and pushed them through to the Round of 16 with their second straight upset in the Great Northwest. The run culminated a 138-yard night for Choice who scored twice in the fourth quarter. The game was back-and-forth the whole way and featured 7 lead changes and 2 ties. The Ducks had taken a 34-29 lead with 3:41 to play on Dennis Dixon's 16-yard scoring strike to Derrick Jones. But the Ducks couldn't hold the Jackets down. Tech marched 79 yards on 13 plays for the winning score.

7 Texas vs 2 Virginia Tech - A lot more was expected from Texas. But Jud Dunleavy booted five field goals and the Hokies cruised to an easy 43-10 win over the Longhorns. Tyrod Taylor was 16-of-21 for 249 yards. He threw 2 second quarter touchdown passes to Brandon Ore as the Hokies jumped to a 23-0 halftime advantage. The Hokie defense sacked Colt McCoy seven times and intercepted him twice as they made life difficult for the Horns offense. McCoy completed just 11-of-34 passes. Jamaal Charles did run for 190 yards but the Horns had no balance and couldn't garner much offense.

6 Illinois vs 3 South Florida - Illinois scored two touchdowns in the final six minutes to defeat the Bulls 18-17. Rashard Mendenhall's 5-yard run with 1:40 left capped the rally. The run completed an 8-play 52-yard drive that gave the Illini the win. Illinois' first scoring drive covered 76 yards on 12 plays and Aurelious Benn scored on an option pitch from a yard out. That cut the lead to 17-12 as the Illini failed on the attempted two point conversion. Mendenhall led the attack with 76 yards rushing in the highly defensive game. South Florida was led by sophomore quarterback Matt Grothe. He threw for 179 yards on 9-of-14 passing.

The quarterfinal matchups in the region will be:

12 Georgia Tech vs. 1 Florida

6 Illinois vs 2 Virginia Tech

Ultimate Football Tournament West 1st Round

The holidays have slowed me down a bit. But here are the results from the West 1st Round.

16 Southern Mississippi vs. 1 Kansas - Brandon McAnderson ran for 224 yards and 5 touchdowns as the Jayhawks cruised past Southern Miss 66-12. Todd Reesing threw for another 363 yards and three scores as Kansas amassed 701 yards of total offense.

9 Florida State vs. 8 Texas Tech - Graham Harrell threw four touchdown passes as the Red Raiders rolled past Florida State 50-17. Harrell completed 31-of-43 for 376 yards, including 10 passes to freshman Michael Crabtree for 156 yards. The Seminoles led early 7-0, on a Preston Parker 62-yard TD run, but Tech scored 30 straight points to seize control and never looked back.

13 Indiana vs. 4 Clemson - The Tigers rallied from a 27-14 fourth quarter deficit and then stopped the Hoosiers game-tying two-point attempt with 59 seconds left to advance with a 35-33 win. The Tigers trailed 13-0 early, but rallied to take a 14-13 halftime lead. Indiana reclaimed the lead in the third quarter and a Tracy Porter pick six made it 27-14 in favor of the Hoosiers. Clemson scored three straight times in the fourth quarter to take a 35-27 lead. Kellen Lewis couldn't find anyone open on the ensuing two-point try and tried to run it in, but was cut down just short. Still, with two timeouts left the Hoosiers got the ball back. On the final play of the game Lewis connected with James Hardy who struggled to get in the end zone, but was stopped just one yard short and the Tigers survived.

12 Maryland vs. 5 Auburn - Auburn had no trouble with Maryland and cruised to a 41-10 win. Brad Lester ran for 126 yards on 29 carries and scored two touchdowns.

15 Tulsa vs. 2 LSU - The Tigers had two backs go over 100 yards and Matt Flynn threw for four scores as LSU cruised past Tulsa 66-13. Jacob Hester led the attack with 186 yards on 25 carries, while Keiland Williams picked up 108 on just 10 carries. LSU scored six touchdowns to start the game with a 42-0 lead and never looked back.

10 Texas A&M vs 7 Michigan - The Wolverines destroyed Texas A&M 63-14 to set up an interesting second round matchup with LSU. Mike Hart led the way for the victors scoring three times and finishing with 238 yards rushing. Chad Henne hooked up with Mario Manningham 6 times for 113 yards and two scores.

14 Ball State vs 3 Arizona State - The Sun Devils ran for 468 yards and cruised past Ball State 55-33 into the second round. Ryan Torain led the attack with 261 yards on 24 attempts and Keegan Herring also went over 100 yards with 125 yards on 16 totes.

11 UCF vs 6 BYU - Manase Tonga caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Max Hall with just over nine minutes to play as BYU defeated Central Florida 31-27. The Cougar defense held the nation's leading rusher Kevin Smith to 93 yards, but it was his one-yard td dive that gave the Knights the lead at 27-24. Hall finished 22-of-29 for 293 yards and three scores for BYU.

The 2nd round matchups in the West will follow the seeds and be:
8 Texas Tech vs. 1 Kansas
5 Auburn vs. 4 Clemson
7 Michigan vs. 2 LSU
6 BYU vs. 3 Arizona State

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mount falls in Great Northwest

Truly no one expected the Mount to have much of a chance at Oregon, so the fact that the Mounties dropped an 81-73 verdict to the Ducks comes as no surprise.

But the Mount was in this one almost the whole way and if it wouldn't have been for a stretch in the middle of the second half, where the Mounties went cold, they might have had a chance to pull this one out down the stretch.

Mount St. Mary's led 52-50 with around 14 minutes remaining and trailed only 54-52 with just ten minutes left. The shooting of Chris Vann and Will Holland had kept the Mount in it. Holland led the Mounties with 22, while Vann chipped in with 20. Jeremy Goode was held to 7, but did a great job distributing the ball with 11 assists, a career high.

The loss evens the Mount's record at 6-6 as they head into the bulk of the NEC season from this point on.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Butler and Southern Illinois in a battle; sports night on the fly

The Salukis just hit a big three to take a lead with 1:00 left. They have led most of the second half and deserve a result in this game. However, it took back to back threes to erase a three-point deficit and put them up three.

The Mount has stayed in the game at Oregon during the first half. 41-36 at the half. Great long-range shooting has the Mount down four. Chris Vann and Will Holland have both shot it well. Meanwhile, the Ducks are shooting somewhere around 70% from the floor. Something will give in the second half. Hope its not the Mounties.

Mike Green scores for Butler to cut it to one. So Illinois missed the free throw and Butler has a chance. Looked like there was going to be a foul call as Mike Green was going to the basket. On the replay it looks like Green called the t.o. to avoid the travel. 9.9 seconds left and Butler is down one. Butler got nothing off the inbounds, and end up traveling. Salukis need to make some free throws. Either way, Butler will have a chance to force overtime. AJ Graves just hit from 30 feet, like he knew he was going to make it, and Butler escapes with the win. Graves took the inbounds with 6.2 left and all but walked it up the floor, to make the long three. 57-55 win for the Bulldogs.

The Mount has tied it early in the second half in Eugene. 42-all on a Sam Atupem layin with 18:42 left.

Meanwhile, in the other matchup between the states of Maryland and Oregon that has more of the attention, the Beavers are driving trying to break a tie in the Emerald Bowl. They just did in a strange fashion. A fumble rolled in the end zone and Oregon State recovered. 21-14 OSU.

Meanwhile in the Texas Bowl, TCU has a comfortable 20-10 lead and the Cougars just missed a field goal.

15:39 left in the second half and Oregon leads 48-45. The Mount shooting 48% and Oregon at 70%. The Mount is 7-fo-14 from behind the arc. Oregon has the ball up three.

The Mount has tied it on a long three by Vann, and the Ducks 14th turnover has given it to the Mount and Jean Cajou gives the Mount a 50-48 lead.

It's really fun to hear the Duck announcer at this point. Starting to give a little credit to the Mount. But more and more its bad officiating and the like.

A two-point Oregon lead with 11:42 left in the game. Still a chance for the Mounties. They've gone a long way from home tonight and have a chance inside of 12 minutes. They are starting to miss more threes and sounds like the looks aren't as good. They hit a spot in the Winthrop win, where they recovered from that, let's see what happens here.

They are now running a counter on the NFL Network. The countdown til the Giants/Patriots game. Wonder if that is being simulcast.

The Ducks have scored eight straight points. They now lead 56-50. Been awhile since the Mounties have scored. They need something off a set here soon. Brown called a timeout. Let's see what they come up with.

Markus Mitchell turned it over and Malik Hairston scored at the other end. 10 in a row for Oregon.

Houston has the ball back and is trying to drive to tie the Texas Bowl. Does anyone care?

Chris Vann has ended the drought, but Oregon got a three at the other end off a near steal and its a 61-52 Oregon lead.

Houston just had a pass out of the outstretched hands in the endzone. They will get at least one more play. It didn't look like we'd ever get here a few minutes ago. They just got another throw to the endzone. Fell helplessly to the ground. Now with one second left, one more play.

Oregon has seized control with an 17-2 run. I expected this run much earlier. But this is for all intents and purposes over. Will Holland has drawn the Mount within 11, but Oregon keeps scoring.

Houston didn't get much of chance on the last play. TCU got to the quarterback and the ball just got away and fell helplessly. Another win for your bowl pool.

Credit the Mount, they've got back into it a little at 69-61. Jeremy Goode has scored five straight points and Sam Atupem got a big rebound bucket. The Mount is now 8-21 from three though.

The Mount is within 5 with 2:13 left, but Malik Hairston, who now has 22, scores quickly to make it seven.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Day after Christmas: Not a whole lot going on: On the fly

I had some hope for this Central Michigan/Purdue game to provide some entertainment tonight. But it is 14-3 Boilers right now, and Lefevour has shown nothing for CMU.

Dorian Bryant is one of those guys that you feel like has unlimited eligibility isn't he? He is not coming back next year is he?

Just read that Eddie Sutton is taking over at San Francisco. Hope those cable cars are still running.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Mixing Christmas, Football and Pop Culture

Don't know if any of you caught the open to the Christmas Eve Monday Night Football Game or not. But it really captured the spirit of the holiday with one of America's hottest young stars.

Miley Cyrus or Hannah Montana as she's known to most of her fans has been the hottest concert ticket for quite some time and she's really caught the fancy of plenty of young girls in this nation. I'm the father to one of those eight year old little girls, and there are several Miley/Hannah themed gifts under our tree for her, including those hard to get concert tickets.

So one of our fears as parents is that Miley turns into another teen superstar who ends up being exactly the role model we don't want for our children. But Miley's message mixed the season of Christmas with the season of football. It talked of the perfect season (New England), bringing hope to unexpected places (Buffalo), and the impossible dream (Green Bay), plus the anticipation of the final night (San Diego).

But it ended with this message which seemed to speak directly to all the children in the audience, particularly the little girls, and hopefully touched them as much as it touched me.

"So tomorrow morning, Go Crazy. Tear the paper off the packages. I totally hope you get everything you really want. But before we kick it off remember the best gifts are the ones that can't be wrapped."

That was the last thing my daughter saw before we put her to bed last night, where I'm certain visions of sugarplums danced in her head. I hope that the message from her idol stays with her long through the holiday season.

Merry Christmas all!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ultimate Football Tournament Midwest 1st Round

16 Memphis vs. 1 Oklahoma - The top overall seeded Oklahoma Sooners advanced to round two with a 55-23 win over Memphis. The Sooners ground out 341 yards behind the duo of Allen Patrick(22-163-2) and Demarco Murray (20-159-4). TJ Pitts went over the 100 yard marker for the Tigers on just 9 carries.

9 Wake Forest vs. 8 Wisconsin - Wisconsin stormed to a 31-7 lead over Wake Forest and then held on for a 38-23 win in Madison. PJ Hill carried much of the load for the Badgers. The running back picked up 153 yards on 30 carries and found the end zone twice. Lance Smith-Williams also went over 100 yards for the Badgers, as he broke off a big 73-yard touchdown run to seal the outcome. His long TD run came after the Deacons had cut the lead to 31-23 late in the fourth quarter. Josh Adams ran for 153 yards for Wake.

13 Mississippi State vs. 4 Cincinnati - The Bearcats became the third Big East team to advance to the second round, holding off Mississippi State 27-24. The Bearcats never trailed but would have to consider themselves quite fortunate as Blake McAdams missed three extra points and two field goals for the Bulldogs. Anthony Dixon had a great game for MSU rushing for 93 yards and a score, and hauling in three passes for 113 yards and another touchdown. Ben Mauk led an efficient Bearcat offense, completing 20-of-25 passes for 210 yards and running for another 60.

12 Purdue vs 5 Boston College - Andre Callender's 1 yard TD run and Steve Aponavicius' ensuing conversion with 13 seconds left gave the Eagles a 20-19 heartstopping win over Purdue. Four second half field goals from Chris Summers had given the Boilers a 19-13 lead. BC made a huge 15-play 79-yard drive after Summers' final field goal to advance. The Eagles converted 2 third downs on the drive and one fourth down to earn the win. Callender finished as the leading rusher and receiver for the victors. He picked up 148 yards on the ground and 63 receiving.

15 Central Michigan vs 2 USC - The Trojans might just end up being the team to beat in this whole thing. They certainly looked that way in the opener, destroying the Chippewas 62-7. John David Booty threw for 4 scores, including two to Vidal Hazelton as USC built a 31-0 lead before Central scored on a long Justin Hoskins run. Then the Trojans matched the early scoring outburst with 31 more after the CMU touchdown. Stefon Johnson had 103 yards rushing, while Fred Davis had 112 receiving. Booty finished 25-of-39 for 365 yards.

10 Alabama vs 7 Connecticut - In the short history of the Ultimate College Football Tournament there has never been a more memorable game. And it's possible there will never be one. UCONN defeated Alabama 71-63 in five overtime sessions to earn advancement. Andre Dixon's 3-yard touchdown run in the fifth overtime proved to be the difference, as the UCONN defense stopped John Parker Wilson just short of the yard marker as he tried to scramble for a first down during the fifth overtime. Alabama seemed to be in control in regulation as they scored 24 straight points to take a 38-20 lead on Leigh Tiffin's 30-yard field goal with 14:13 left. But the Huskies had some fight left. Dixon ran in one touchdown, Steve Brouse caught another, and Dixon hauled in a Tyler Lorenzen td strike with 1:26 left to give the Huskies a 41-38 lead. Tiffin knocked one through the uprights as time expired to force overtime. The teams matched touchdowns with little dramatics in the first two overtime sessions, before UCONN was held and missed a field goal attempt in the third session. Alabama had the advantage but Glen Coffee (who ran for better than 100 yards) coughed up the football on the Tide's second play and UCONN recovered. Bama scored first in overtime four on a Wilson to DJ Hall (7-120-2) td, and then got the needed two-pointer. But Dixon and the Dogs answered quickly with a 25-yard run on the first play. Lorenzen then found Dixon for the two point conversion to keep things going. That set the stage for more Dixon heroics. He finished with 274 yards on 26 carries and the four touchdowns. He also caught one of six td's that Lorenzen threw. Lorenzen finished 23-34 for 301 yards. In total, there were 1257 yards of offense in the game. Not only did Coffee go over 100 yards for the Tide but Terry Grant led them with 205 yards and 3 touchdowns.

14 East Carolina vs. 3 Georgia - Georgia broke a 14-all tie with three touchdowns in the final four minutes of the second quarter and went on to defeat East Carolina 59-21. Matthew Stafford who completed all four of his touchdown passes before intermission, hooked up with Mohamed Massaquoi on a 37-yard strike to start the onslaught. Mikey Henderson followed with a 64-yard punt return, before Stafford found Bruce Figgins in the back of the end zone from six yards away just before halftime to complete the trifecta. Stafford finished with 317 passing yards on 24-of-32 accuracy. Knowshon Moreno gave the Dawgs some balance with 107 rushing yards and a pair of second half scores.

11 Rutgers vs. 6 Arkansas - In a matchup of two of the top running backs in the country, Ray Rice and his Scarlet Knights prevailed over Darren McFadden 42-35. Rice carried the ball an unthinkable 45 times for 273 to outduel McFadden's 235 yard 29 tote performance. Rutgers, which became the fifth Big East team to advance to the Round of 32, never trailed and the game was last tied at 21 after McFadden's 19 yard touchdown in the third quarter. But Rutgers scored two straight touchdowns to get the lead to 35-21 and Arkansas could never fully recover. The Hogs did close to one touchdown on two occasions, but Rutgers always had an answer. Mike Teel hit Kenny Britt from 8 yards away to restore the lead to 14. The two had hooked up on a 67-yard completion earlier in the drive to set up the score. Then after Felix Jones scored from 4 yards out with 2:29 left, Rutgers was able to run out the clock. Rice gained 54 yards on the final drive, picking up three first downs, as the Knights kept the ball in his hands to secure the upset.

Midwest Region 2nd round Matchups
8 Wisconsin vs. 1 Oklahoma
5 Boston College vs. 4 Cincinnati
7 Connecticut vs. 2 USC
11 Rutgers vs. 3 Georgia

The matchups here seem to favor the top seeds, with the exception of the BC/UC contest which seems to be a tossup. But with the top three in this bracket all being legitimate title contenders, you would expect them to advance. However, there opponents all got impressive wins in their openers and although there haven't been a lot of upsets yet in the tournament, anything could happen as more of the mediocre teams are eliminated from competition.

Ultimate Football Tournament

Anybody notice there are 32 bowls? That means there are 64 teams. That is a pretty special number, so I mixed em up, seeded by their Sagarin rating and am playint the ultimate National championship tournament.

Unfortunately something happened to my first post in this series. So here were the results from the East bracket.

1 Florida def. 16 Houston 42-10
9 UCLA def 8 Penn State 27-21
4 Oregon def 13 New Mexico 33-13
12 Georgia Tech def 5 Oregon State 27-24
2 Virginia Tech def 15 Florida Atlantic 45-7
7 Texas def 10 California 42-24
3 South Florida def 14 Fresno State 56-20
6 Illinois def 11 Air Force 34-3

But we press onward and upward. Here are the first round results for the South Region

16 Nevada vs. 1 Ohio State - The Wolf Pack hadn't been shutout since 1980 when Weber State accomplished the feat, but the Buckeyes turned the trick in this 37-0 pasting to advance to Round 2. Ohio State held Nevada to just 116 yards of total offense. Meanwhile Chris Wells ran for 141 yards and two scores to lead the victory.

9 Utah vs 8 Virginia - Mikell Simpson's 15 yard touchdown run in the first overtime session allowed the Cavs to escapse with a 19-16 win over Utah. The game was close the whole way. Tied at 7 at the half, the teams traded third quarter field goals, before UVA took a 13-10 lead on Chris Gould's 48-yard field goal with 3:49 left. Utah marched down the field and nearly won it at the end of regulation. But Ray Stowers was knocked off his feet at the one after a 15-yard run with 2 seconds left. The Utes opted for the tie and Louie Sakoda sent it to overtime with an 18-yard field goal. In the extra session, the Utes were stopped after three plays and Sakoda again made the field goal, this time from 40 yards. The Cavs picked up a first down on their possession as Cedric Peerman gained the needed yard on third down. Then on first down, the Cavs ran a draw and Simpson broke one tackle and sprinted to the win.

13 TCU vs 4 Hawaii - There was more to Hawaii's first round win than Colt Brennan. The senior quarterback threw for 290 yards, but the balanced attack that also produced 216 rushing yards helped Hawaii to a 41-20 win. Ryan Grice-Mullen caught 7 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns and earned player of the game honors.

12 Colorado vs 5 Tennesseee - The 12th seeded Buffaloes put a scare into Tennessee, but the Volunteers scored 17 unanswered fourth quarter points to pull out a 34-20 victory behind the dual running attack of Arian Foster and Monterio Hardesty. Both backs went over 100 yards, but Foster garnered the spotlight by scoring four times, including the go-ahead TD from 12 yards with 10:42 left. The Tennessee defense also deserves some of the credit as it intercepted Cody Hawkins five times.

15 Bowling Green vs 2 West Virginia - Still reeling from that season ending loss to Pittsburgh that cost them a #1 seed, the Mountaineers rolled past Bowling Green 51-7. Pat White threw for 273 yards ran for 68 more as West Virginia overcame an early 7-0 hole. The Mountaineers led only 13-7 at the half but behind two second half Steve Slaton touchdown runs they blew away the Falcons. Slaton finished with 121 yards on the ground.

10 Michigan State vs 7 Boise State - The Broncos shellacked the Spartans 59-35 in a game that was over at halftime. Boise led 38-14 and stretched the lead to 52-14 after three quarters before Michigan State finally got some offense going to make it look at least a little better. Ian Johnson was all-everything for the Broncs, scoring four times. He had TD runs of 1 and 37 yards and he caught passes from Taylor Tharp (17-19 326 yards, 5 TD's) for 44 and 69 yard scores. On the day, he finished with 303 total yards (171 rushing, 132 receiving).

14 Navy vs 3 Missouri - Navy got the third-seeded Tigers attention with a 20-17 lead, but Missouri rallied behind Heisman finalist Chase Daniel for a 44-27 win. Daniel threw for 273 yards and three scores. Tony Temple ran for 113 yards on 18 carries and scored the go-ahead touchdown early in the second half.

11 Oklahoma State vs 6 Kentucky - One of the most anticipated offensive matchups of Round one did not disapoint. Kentucky and Oklahoma State nearly scored triple figures as the Cats held off the Cowboys 47-42. Andre' Woodson threw four touchdown passes on his way to a 419 yard day. Woodson also ran in the go-ahead touchdown from 3 yards out with just 3:46 to play to give Kentucky a 40-35 lead. Kentucky promptly stopped OSU and got the ball back in Cowboy territory. They scored to extend the lead to 47-35 and then held on as the Cowboys marched down the field to make it 47-42. However, Kentucky recovered the onside kick to seal the win. Dantrell Savage led the Cowboy offense with 148 yards on 24 carries.

So the 2nd round matchups are set in both the East and the South.

9 UCLA vs. 1 Florida
12 Georgia Tech vs. 4 Oregon
7 Texas vs. 2 Virginia Tech
6 Illinois vs. 3 South Florida

8 Virginia vs. 1 Ohio State
5 Tennessee vs. 4 Hawaii
7 Boise State vs. 2 West Virginia
6 Kentucky vs. 3 Missouri

Some interesting 2nd round matchups particularly in the South, where all the seeds held. I think there might be some points scored in that bracket. Plus the Texas/Virginia Tech pairing is certain to excite some folks. Who do you like?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Some Late Night Thoughts from The Sports World on the fly

Been wondering all day how Oakland got Oregon to come play at their place. Just flipped over to the game and its the second game at the Palace behind Michigan State/Texas. Makes a lot more sense. The Ducks are in definite trouble at the moment.

As I watch Illinois/Missouri, I can't decide if I'm watching an 8/9 game or an NIT Final Four matchup.

Back to the Valpo upset bid, Bryan Bouchie has fouled out for Valpo with 10 minutes left and the Crusaders up one. Still up one as the Badgers are 9-19 from the line.

I know many have complained about the Big Ten Network, but I'm a fan. I think I'm with this game til the finish. And it wouldn't be that way without the BTN. It's fairly choppy play right now. But Valpo has a good chance to win this down the stretch. They just showed Bryce Drew against Ole Miss (who is still unbeaten) again. I think they got the video off of YouTube.

Flipped over to Vegas Bowl during the under eight timeout, and I realized that Paul McGuire is one of the most entertaining announcers out there.

Valpo now up three with the ball and 7 minutes left. I think they are going to win - and a three out of the corner makes it 6.

Big response by Bohannon, he drilled a three to make it a three point game. But Valpo got a great back door cut and layup for a five point lead. Wisconsin countered to cut it to three.

Valpo is playing much better right now, then they were five minutes ago. At that point it looked like they were playing to hold on. Now it looks like they ar playing to win. Vandy is in a tight spot with Tennessee State, but they lead by 3 in the second half.

I don't know what the NCAA rules are for blogging from your couch. Hope I'm not breaking them. Chuckle.

If there wasn't a Big W in the middle of the floor, and Red and White everywhere, you'd know where this game was being played by watching the striped shirts. Or maybe the Badgers are just that much stronger. No after that quick jumpball with the possession arrow favoring Wisconsin, I'm sure its the refs. Tied at 54 under 4 to play.

Micheal Beasley had a nice night tonight. 40 points and 15 rebounds. Winston Salem needs Big House. I think Beasley's stay in Manhattan may be shortlived. Shocker.

Wisconsin has really turned up the defensive intensity and it appears that might be enough. Valpo hasn't score a field goal in over 4 minutes. The Badgers lead by 1 - and are headed back to the free throw line with 1:47 left. Shocker

Under a minute left and Wisconsin can't make the free throws to seal it. 11-24 now and they lead by four. 11-25. But on the scramble for the rebound Igbavboa just fouled out. Actually it was after Valpo already had the rebound - and was headed down the floor down four.

At large bids are so hard to get. You have to wonder if a loss like this takes Valpo out of consideration. They don't have a marquee win, only one loss thus far at Vanderbilt, but they play at Carolina next week. So you have to figure they'll get another. And hard to imagine them not losing another or two in the Horizon. Probably have to stay under five losses to get an at large. With an RPI of 59, they are going to need to make up some ground. I think even in December, you can say they have to win the Horizon tourney to get in. But there is still a lot of basketball to be played.

Missouri just dropped the Braggin Rights Game to Illinois by a point in St. Louis. They had two possessions to try to win it in the final minute, and didn't get a shot off. Made it seem like the NIT.

Looks like the Cowboys are going to survive in Carolina tonight. They lead by 10 with 5 minutes left. But the Panthers are about to get the ball back. Had to look up where Matt Moore played QB last year. I thought it was at Oregon State, and I was right. But I had to look it up, so I'm not bragging.

Do you think Roy Williams would have left Steve Smith down the middle of the field on 4th and 9? Smith is hurt at the end of the long play. Both he and TO have now hobbled off tonight. Although Smith's injury is a shoulder, or so it looks.

The Panthers have made a field goal to get it to seven. Now they need a stop and a touchdown. Seems unlikely from here, but there is still three minutes left.

Dallas able to run out the clock and can clinch homefield with a Packers loss to the Bears tomorrow. If Green Bay wins, then Dallas can clinch with a win over Washington next weekend. You know the Cowboys don't want to goto Lambeau in the playoffs. And you also know the Redskins would love to send them there.

Chris Markey just became the first runner to go over 100 yards against the BYU defense this year. The Bruins have a chance to pull this one out. But they've got to drive the length of the field for a game winning field attempt. Another Markey carry has moved it out to the 37.

By the way, it's over in Detroit. Oakland has pulled the upset of Oregon. I'm sure the Ducks will be in a sour mood when the Mount arrives there after Christmas. Perfect.

UCLA completed a pass on a third down play against the face of the blitz, to get way down into BYU territory. Forbath has a 28-yard field goal partially blocked and it just fell under the crossbar. So BYU finished 11-2 with a 17-16 win in Las Vegas.

Great to know there is more sports tomorrow. But what an exciting day this was.

View from the Couch: Long day of Sports

The truth is, I haven't spent the entire day on the sofa. I did some good things this morning and I finished the Christmas shopping this afternoon. But I have watched quite a bit of stuff from this position today. And I've got BYU/UCLA in the Vegas Bowl tuned in right now. So here are some observations.

No matter where I turned today, it seemed that everyone was saying they were surprised the Georgetown/Memphis game wasn't closer. I really wasn't. Both teams came in a little untested. The Tigers a bit more tested than the Hoyas. So after the initial burst of the game, it wasn't surprising to see them control things. I still think both teams are a bit overrated, or at least untested. (UCLA is going to get some gift points here at the half.) I'm starting to believe a little more in Memphis. But I've never been a John Calipari fan, so it will take me a little longer.

Maybe Michigan State is the best team in the country. If it weren't for the 2nd half meltdown in Kansas City versus UCLA we'd certainly be saying that. But the Spartans passed another major test today by downing previously unbeaten Texas from the Palace. Defensively Michigan State was just too good. I think the Big Ten is a little down this season. The Spartans could easily walk through the conference with only a loss or two, and end up with one of those 28-2 like records. I think they are a definite #1 seed contender at this point. But we'll see.

The most entertaining game I saw today was Tennessee at Xavier. The Volunteers go on the road again to get another good win. Still, with Lofton shooting so poorly, you wonder how good the Volunteers can really be.

Valparaiso has sort of reemerged as one of the top mid-majors this season. They are currently trying to add a marquee win to the resume. They lead in Madison over the Badgers by 3 with 17 minutes left. We'll keep an eye on it.

Win Streak comes to End

The Mount's 6-game win streak came to an end at the hands of visiting Lafayette 76-72 on Friday night.

I was not able to watch the game or make it out to Knott Arena tonight, so the recap is pretty brief.

The Mount trailed by 22 early in the second half, but made a huge rally to close to one with 40 seconds left on Will Holland's three-pointer at 73-72. However, Adrian Brown who led all scorers with a career high 32 points, made his ninth three-pointer of the night to seal the outcome.

Chris Vann led the Mounties with 22, while Jeremy Goode chipped in 17, 7 assists and 3 steals.

The Mount started the season with four losses, so to get to the Christmas Holiday with a winning record is certainly a positive sign for this team. They are 6-5 overall, and 2-0 in the NEC. I think they have to be considered as contenders for the NEC title at this point. However, preseason pick Sacred Heart, Wagner, Robert Morris and even Long Island, whom the Mount dismantled earlier this month have been impressive as well.

The Mount returns to action next week at Oregon.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dejuan Blair is a beast

In case you missed it last night at Madison Square Garden, Pittsburgh rallied from down 16 points to defeat Duke 65-64 in Overtime in a truly fantastic game between a pair of top ten opponents. Levance Fields drained a three-pointer with 4.7 seconds left, and Pitt survived not only one Duke chance to win it, but a putback as well, as the Panthers remained unbeaten and sent the Blue Devils to their first loss.

The trifecta from just to the left of the head of the circle capped another Panther rally. Pittsburgh fell behind 31-15 in the first half as nothing was going right for the Big East school. But they chipped away at the lead and had it down to 5 with 11:11 remaining but before you knew it Duke was up double figures again. The Blue Devils scored five in a row to stretch it back to 10 with just over nine minutes left.

However, Pitt would not be denied. Dejuan Blair, the talented undersized freshman, scored five points in a 10-0 run to knot it at 48-all. Blair finished the game with 15 points and 18 rebounds. The teams battled relentlessly down the stretch and overtime was the just outcome.

In overtime, Duke took the lead on DeMarcus Nelson's conventional three-point play with 1:18 left. Leading by one with 21 seconds left, Kyle Singler made only one of two free throws leaving the light on for Duke and Fields buried the jumper.

Bowl Game No.1: Utah holds off Navy

The college bowl season started with a pretty good game between two decent teams on Thursday night in San Diego with the San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

Utah did enough to wear down a porous Navy defense and come away with the 35-32 win. But it wasn't without some tense moments late. Utah led 35-25, after a short touchdown run, with just about 1:45 to play. But the Midshipmen did everything they could to make it interesting.

Navy scored on a 65-yard touchdown pass and followed that up by recovering the onside kick. So the Middies had the ball back with just about 1:00 to play and trailing by only a field goal. However, Utah made a game saving interception and came away with the first bowl win of the season.

Florida Atlantic and Memphis are on tap for tonight in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Waking Up

The win at Knott Arena last night was certainly a quality one for the Mount. Unfortunately, only 700 or so people were there to see it. A couple of reasons for that: the students are already at home on Christmas break, it is the holiday season and it seems there is something on everyone's calendar each and every night, this team stil hasn't caught on as being a contender with the locals, and it was a Tuesday night where there were a lot of local high school games.

Probably didn't give Sam Atupem enough credit last night. The junior had one of his best games of the year. Big factor was the fact that he was never in foul trouble. He played well all night, was the only Mount big who could match up with the big people for Winthrop. But most importantly he made some big plays down the stretch. Not only did he have the bucket off the lob late, but he had a key assist to Markus Mitchell as well.

Jeremy Goode didn't have the best of nights. But its nice to know the Mount can win without him being sensational. He still stuffed the stat sheet, 11 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals. But his turnover total was too high. Chris Gaynor is one of the only guards who bothered him this year, and the Winthop help defense was athletic enough to cause some problems.

Lafayette will pose problems as well. The Leopards are a good team playing better at the moment. Sort of like the Mount. They are 7-3 on the season, but only 1-2 against NEC competition. However, they did thump Central Connecticut near the end of November. They play Towson tonight before arriving at the Mount during the middle of a stretch where they play 8 straight games on the road. The Leopards have beaten the Mount two straight years.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mount makes claim among Mid-Majors

Five straight wins in December had to have a few people starting to wonder if Mt. St. Mary's would truly be a competitor in Northeast Conference play this season. Tuesday night's 64-59 win over one of the true darlings of the mid-major ranks Winthrop did a lot to answer those questions. Jeremy Goode's scooping spinning layup through the lane with 11.8 seconds left provided the final dagger, and the Mount dodged Chris Gaynor's three to tie it six seconds later, before Jean Cajou hit two free throws to seal the upset.

Chris Vann led a red-hot Mount shooting attack with five three-pointers. The Mount shot 9-of-14 from behind the arc.

The Mounties seized control midway through the first half, stretched the lead to nine midway through the second, and then withstood a ferocious Taj McCullough led rally. The Mount matched every Eagle haymaker down the stretch in front of a crowd of about 1,000 that lacked the regular student fury, but if you weren't at Knott Arena on Tuesday night consider it your loss.

With the Mount leading by four midway through the second, Jeremy Goode's steal seemed like it would extend the lead but the Mount failed to convert on the fast break opportunity and McCullough's step back three at the other end cut it to one. McCullough followed with a steal of his own, and his ensuing jam put the Eagles on top for the only time of the second half. Having fought back from down nine it appeared that momentum would be all the 5-5 Eagles would need.

But the Mount showed a resilence that it has lacked in recent years and a confidence that five straight wins will get you and outplayed the Eagles down the stretch.

Leading by one with 1:10 left, the Mount called a timeout with just seven seconds on the shot clock. Goode threw a perfectly executed lob to Sam Atupem who scored to restore the lead to three. Winthrop scored on a putback to cut it to 60-59 and the Mount needed one final score to get the victory. Again struggling to find anything the Mount called timeout with just about 20 seconds left. Off the inbounds Goode caught the ball ahead of the circle but was able to drive through the lane and score an improbable scooping left handed layup with just the right amount of english.

Winthrop entered with just a 5-4 record, but their #43 RPI rating is indicative of the strength of schedule they have played. In addition, they were rated 70 by, 56 by Jeff Sagarin, 62 by David Wilson, and an average of 70 at Massey's comparision of computer rankings. This is the Mount's biggest non-conference win since winning in the Omni over Georgia Tech years ago.

I'm sure this is a major disappointment for Winthrop. But the Mount is a hot team that shot the lights out tonight. As of this posting there are not final numbers posted on the Mount website. But I think I heard on the postgame that the Mount shot 22-41 for the game and 64% during the decisive second half.

The victory ensures the Mount will goto Christmas with a winning record and a win on Friday night over Lafayette will ensure a winning record headed to 2008. It has been a long way back from 0-4 but the Mount has made it with the crowning gem coming tonight.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thinking Out Loud

Go back in the archives and find what blogger called for the Orioles to get rid of Miguel Tejeda if they could acquire Troy Patton. Sure it was a year and a half ago. But the Orioles finally came through. And they got four other guys to boot.

I am pleased with the way it turned out for the Orioles. They weren't going to get current All-Star level talent in return for Tejeda. Not anymore anyhow. So they did the next best thing, they got a conglomerate of players that may develop into something near All-Star level. The truth is, Patton hasn't exactly lived up to the level I had him at two summers ago. And the fact that he had some shoulder soreness at the end of last year bothers me. Albers was far from unhittable last year. But he is the guy Baseball America projects as the Astros #2 starter in four years. And Costanzo can flat out mash. If he makes contact. He hit 27 homers for Double A Reading last season.

So basically, I'm saying I like it. Tejeda is gone. He needed that. And he very well might have a huge season in Houston. But he wasn't going to have that season in Baltimore. So now the Orioles get something in return. And something that may last quite awhile.

They have to get more quality players when they trade Bedard and Roberts, but this one was just fine.

Bobby Petrino will work out just fine in Arkansas. After the way they butchered the whole process, it makes sense that he ends up there.

I like Aaron Rowand a lot. That seems like a real good deal for the Giants and I'm sure he'll do well there. But anytime you see numbers like that, they just have to be shocking. 5-years, 60 million. How can that not be shocking?

Does anybody really care about the Mitchell Report? Seriously, what good is going to truly come of it. These infractions occured years ago. Move past it. Punish what happens now. And be serious about those punishments. But what happened in the past is done. Move on. I'm so glad we can be done hearing about all this by Christmas. Chuckle.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Another Dome Loss

Nine games into the Syracuse basketball season and its already starting to feel like seasons past. In particular, last season. We were told that all the mistakes of the past would be eliminated this year. But now as we've watched for a little more than a month, we have to realize that not much has changed.

Sure there was that nice win over an overpumped Virginia team (and even that came with their best player Marvin Gravesing on the sidelines). And of course that win came on the road, so that was supposed to quiet the NCAA selection committee who snubbed a 21-win, fourth place team a year ago. Because after all, Syracuse didn't win on the road last year, and had this horrible reputation of not ever leaving the Carrier Dome. The committee's key statistic is the RPI, and the Orange is right where you don't want to be again. Right on the edge. An RPI between 30-50 gets you looked at. And when you get looked at and you have home losses to Rhode Island and UMASS and a neutral site loss to Ohio State you have marks against you.

Still, the RPI has greatly increased this year. Up from 50 a year ago, when the committee was able to say no. However, I just can't imagine that it is going to stay in that 35 range when games against Colgate, Cornell, East Tennessee State and Northeastern hit the schedule. With that though it is highly likely that the Orange enters the Big East portion of its schedule with a 10-3 record.

In the last 24 hours, I've seen some doom and gloom Orange fans suggest that Syracuse will have to win 12 conference games just to make the NCAA field. I'd say if that happen and they went to NYC for the BE Tournament with a 22-9 record, they would have a ticket punched for the tournament. In fact, barring any major problems in the next four games, I would think that 11 Big East wins in any fashion will be enough for the Orange. If they get to 21 wins again this year, I think they'll get into the tournament.

Still, there are enough concerns to worry about getting there. Twice this year they have let leads get away against inferior competition down the stretch. Sizable leads that shouldn't have slipped away. When Donte' Greene fouled out last night Syracuse appeared to have no one capable of making the big play down the stretch. And they didn't make enough foul shots.

Certainly, this is a team that has plenty of potential and might get better with experience as the season wears on. But its also a team that because of the inexperience is capable of being beaten by inferior teams.

The question that all Orange fans want to know is, will this team make the tournament? And the answer is fairly complex. It really depends on how they perform in the Big East, and if they get to 10 or 11 wins. Realistically, it shouldn't be that daunting of a task. The Orange has 8 Big East games that should be looked at as sure wins for tournament teams. If they manage to win 7 of those, they put themselves in a position where winning four of their remaining 10 games just about locks up a March Dance. That means four wins against any of the following West Virginia, Connecticut, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pitt, Marquette or Villanova or Georgetown and they play the latter two each twice and they should get to the magic number.

Of course that means they don't screw up in any of the four easy ones the rest of the way, and they find a way to win seven of eight against the lesser part of the conference. If that happens, Syracuse could find its way back into the NCAA field. If not they'll be back in the NIT.

Too much was made over who Syracuse did and didn't play last year, and where they played them. Syracuse played a schedule worthy of NCAA inclusion last year, they just didn't win enough games. They are getting close to going down that road again. But they have a healthy RPI of 35 and they have the bulk of the schedule in front of them. They need to take it out of the committees hands. They need to win 15 games the rest of the way.

Don't let the committee be a factor.

Morning Cup

Some good reading on this Sunday morning.....

Tim Tebow is the first ever sophomore winner of the Heisman Trophy. Dick Weiss, who always has good stuff, has a great story from New York

Floyd Mayweather kept his pound for pound title in Las Vegas last night. Pretty Boy isn't always the fan favorite, but last night he must have felt like a villain in his own town.

It's getting old in Chicago, where the Bulls continue to be putrid from the field. Last night the Celts were the beneficiary.,1,5031242.story

A little preview for the big game in New England today. I just don't see the Patriots losing this one.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Four in a row

The Mount won on the road 60-59 over Central Connecticut State on Saturday afternoon to move back to .500 with its fourth straight win. The win also makes the Mount a perfect 2-0 in the NEC to start the season.

The Mount controlled the action most of the way, leading by six 35-29 at the half and pushing the lead to double figures in the second half. But CCSU rallied twice and the Mount held off both charges. The Mount went scoreless from just under the 10 minute mark until about the 5 minute point and the Devils climbed within 1. But then the Mount restored the lead to 7 with just under 2 minutes to play. Still Central had it to two when Chris Vann scored for the Mount with 4 seconds left. Shemik Thompson hit a three at the buzzer to make it a one point margin.

Jeremy Goode led the Mount with 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting while Will Holland had 16, knocking down 3 three-pointers. Jason Loughry led the Mount with 8 rebounds.

Tristan Blackwood led the Blue Devils with 25. The loss is the defending champs second in as many NEC contests this season.

The Mount is off for one week before returning to the road, with the four-game win streak in hand at Maine next Saturday afternoon.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Big East Banterings

Another week down and the Big East is 85-25 overall after a fairly succesful week in non-conference action. The Big East won the Big East/SEC challenge or whatever that was going on in Birmingham and Philadelphia this week.

Villanova rallied from down 21 with 8 minutes left to knock off LSU and secure a 3-1 advantage between the two conferences. Providence, who lost to South Carolina at the Wachovia Center, was the Big East's only victims. But the Friars did get a big overtime win over Boston College last weekend.

That was one of two wins for the conference over the ACC this week. Syracuse won in Charlottesville, while St John's lost to Miami. On the season the ACC has won five of the nine contests between the two conferences. There are only two other conferences with winning records versus the Big East. The West Coast is 2-0 after St. Mary's beat Seton Hall and Gonzaga downed UCONN, while Creighton beat Depaul in the only matchup between the Big East and Missouri Valley.

Marquette has the big game of the weekend as they travel to instate rival Wisconsin. Jerel McNeal has led the Eagles with 16 points per night and Tom Crean's group will be looking for a strong performance for him this weekend. He has been in double figures five of six games this year. Marquette scored a season high 100 in last weeks win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Alex Ruoff continues to be one of the reasons that West Virginia is playing as well as they are. The 6-6 junior led the Mountaineers with 28 in their win over Auburn. He knocked down 6 threes on 8 attempts in the game. For the season, he is shooting nearly 47 % from beyond the arc averaging better than three treys a contest. The 'eers have an interesting matchup with surprising Duquesne this weekend.

Notre Dame seems to be coming into its own a little bit. The Irish were very good in a win over Eastern Michigan and then defeated Kansas State at MSG to complete the week. At 6-2 at the moment, and with what they have in front of them over the next few weeks, ND should enter the Big East schedule at 10-2 and be a contender during the season. Kyle McAlarney has found his shooting touch since they returned from the Virgin Islands and has made 19-of his last-32 trifecta attempts. Meanwhile, Luke Harangody came through with back-to-back top notch performances this week.

Speaking of back-to-back efforts. Give Dominique Jones an early stocking stuffer for consecutive 30 point efforts this week. The Bulls have now won 6 in a row, and Jones has been a key factor. His 30 point efforts helped USF get to 6-3 with wins over Central Florida and Richmond. The Bulls host USF Saturday night.

Mount wins a pair this week

After starting the season 0-4, the Mount has gotten hot and has won three in a row, including a pair this week over Navy and Long Island in the NEC opener last night.

Sam Atupem and Jeremy Goode led the Mount in the two wins. Goode continues to get the job done from his point guard position, while Atupem has added an inside presence for the Mounties.

The Mount cruised to the win over LIU jumping out to a ten-point first half advantage as Atupem carried the offense early. The Mount led by double figures 41-25 at halftime and was never really threatened in the second half. A balanced offensive attack and a solid defensive effort were the keys. Atupem led the offense with 17, while Goode and Chris Vann chipped in 13. Goode also came away with six rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Interior freshman players Shawn Atupem and Tayvon Jackson also both played well against the undersized Blackbirds.

At Navy, the Mount won for the first time while shooting below 30% at the Division I level. The 62-58 triumph was truly ugly, but for a team that struggles to win non-conference games on the road, it was acceptable. Goode was the leading scorer with 14 points in a game the Mount never trailed. Atupem had 11 in this win, including six early as the Mount jumped out to a 13-0 advantage. The Mount shot 4-of-26 the second half but somehow came away with the win.

The Mount returns to NEC action against Central Connecticut State on Saturday afternoon. They will need to continue to play well to handle the defending champs.

Monday, December 03, 2007

My Top 25

1 Duke - They've been the best team thus far
2 North Carolina - Good pair of road wins, moves them near the top
3 Texas - Speaking of road wins; just how good might they be with Durant?
4 Butler - Bulldogs have been impressive and deserve some respect
5 Kansas - Jayhawks take down a pair of the PAC-10's best
6 Memphis - Get a big test tomorrow night at the Garden
7 UCLA - I thought it might be awhile until the Bruins lost, but I still think they are good and just didn't have the guts to keep them #1
8 Washington State - Would you ever really expect a win at Baylor to be considered impressive? 9 Georgetown - Win at ODU avenged last year's defeat, but Hoyas don't look as sharp as others.
10 Michigan State - I wilted to the pressure
11 Pittsburgh - BCS Busters will be heard from on the hardwood
12 Marquette - Only thing that hasn't gone the Warriors favor was the Maui Final with Duke. Big one on the weekend with Wisconsin
13 Xavier - First feature in Stealing Cinderellas absolutely hammered Belmont
14 Indiana - Hoosiers got back on track this week
15 Gonzaga - That was quite the road trip for the Zags
16 Louisville - Really struggling with the injuries but gutted out a win over a decent Miami (Ohio) team on Sunday
17 Tennessee - We like Bruce Pearl. We like the Volunteers. But they've got to pick it up a little bit.
18 Texas A&M - Aggies had the chance to be well up the food chain. But just absolutely let a golden opportunity get away
19 BYU - One loss Cougars may be a surprise. But the one loss was to Carolina.
20 Miami - The Hurricanes are vastly improved and stayed perfect with an easy win over St. John's yesterday
21 Clemson - The Tigers have done this before, and we've been fooled
22 Wisconsin - I think the Badgers are better than that showing in Cameron, but we'll find out with Marquette on the horizon
23 Connecticut - Huskies may not deserve this much credit after failing against Gonzaga in their backyard
24 Vanderbilt - Commodores remain unbeaten and maybe one of those teams that is ready to have one of those special seasons
25 Sam Houston State - Truly we just wanted to type BearKats here and make you think I spelled it wrong

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Mount drubs Loyola

Playing for the 163rd time, Mount St. Mary's pounded Loyola College 70-58 on Saturday evening at the Knott Arena in Emmittsburg giving the Mount its first win of the season.

Sophomore guard Jeremy Goode was once again the best player on the floor, leading the Mounties with 22 points while chipping in 9 assists. He is now fourth in the country in assists per contest.

Most of the first half was a back and forth affair, with the Greyhounds leading more than they were trailing before the large crowd at the Knott. But Loyola went cold late in the half and the Mount took advantage scoring the final eleven points of the half, including a long Goode three at the horn. Loyola was scoreless over the half's final 7:16.

The Mount stormed to a double digit advantage in the second half against a team favored to do well in the MAAC. MSM scored seven of the first nine points to force a Jimmy Patsos timeout and bring the crowd into a frenzy.

Goode, just a 5-9 point guard, was routinely mocked by the Greyhound faithful that made the trip. But it was his play that made the Loyola guards look silly. He came away with a career high 7 steals and easily penetrated the LC defense, when they got back in time to play defense. The uptempo style of Loyola seemed to bring out the best in the Mount's offense and the full court defense wasn't a major factor. The Mount turned the ball over only 13 times, while forcing the opponents into 17 turnovers. Truly it was a shock that Patsos never went away from the pressure.

Chris Vann also contributed 16 points for the Mount, while Will Holland broke out of a shooting slump and knocked down 13.

Milan Brown shortened his bench only playing 8 players, and only 7 for any considerable time, and the results worked. In addition, he let Goode run the show and the kid responded.

The Mount returns to action on Monday at the Naval Academy. Loyola plays at Iona on Friday night.

Mt. St. Mary's retired the great Fred Carter's #33 at halftime. Carter who starred at the Mount before a career as a player and coach in the NBA was the first Mount player to have the honor bestowed upon him. Carter was not only the first african american player at the Mount, but the first african american student as well. He joins longtime great coach Jim Phelan on the Knott Arena wall with their numbers retired.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stealing Cinderellas

Once a week, we look at a mid-major team that could be crushing your bracket in March if you don't realize it now.

The first team in this series is Xavier. The Musketeers have already pulled one big shocker this season and will have the opportunity to move deep into the tournament come March.

Thus far on the season, Xavier is 5-1 with the lone loss at Miami (Oh), but as we mentioned they shocked the Indiana Hoosiers in the Chicago Invitational over the weekend. In addtion, the team has wins over SE Missouri, Coppin State, Kent State and Oakland.

Amazingly, Sean Miller's team has six players averaging in double figures and is one of the most selfish crews you'll find. The national average for assists per game is 13.9, but Xavier averages 18 per contest. That type of offensive efficiency helps Xavier get 1.19 points per possession which is tied for sixth in the nation with Oregon. Not surprisingly, the five teams ranked ahead of them are a combined 29-0.

Drew Lavender, who spent his freshman year at Oklahoma, averages 4.7 assists a night, while Stanley Burrell chips in 3.2.

In addition, the Musketeers allow only .9 points per possession which is below the national average and helps to make sense of their success.

Xavier is the type of team that could easily perform very well in the Atlantic 10 this year and could leave a top seed disappointed in the NCAA tournament. Winning one game wouldn't make Xavier Cinderella, but making it through the first weekend just might.

100 isn't enough

Syracuse failed to guard anyone last night and fell to UMASS 107-100 at the Carrier Dome.

I've tried to decide what this means and how it will play out in the hours since the loss and I haven't come up with anything yet. But I do know that if Syracuse doesn't make the tournament again this year, thye can whine and complain until they're blue in the face, or they could just win games like this.

And truly this wasn't a game they should have lost. Nor did it seem like a game the Orange would lose. But there they were 35 minutes into it despite scoring 90+ points, the same place we had started, tied with the opposition. Obviously, UMASS isn't a bad team. They have now won 5 of 6. But they are the type of team you beat if you are an NCAA tournament. Particularly on your home floor.

In addition, this Syracuse team continues to look sensational on offense at times during the contest. But it is sporadic, and inconsistent. And they just don't defend. Last night the Minutemen made 14 three-pointers, while shooting 52% from the floor. Much of it wasn't against the Orange zone. And much of the problem is because Syracuse guards Jonny Flynn and Eric Devendorf can't stop penetration.

As a result, the Orange wasted a performance that saw four starters score 20+ points, and the fifth Paul Harris record a double-double, as they fell to 4-2.

Syracuse doesn't get enough credit for scheduling these type of mid-major programs. UMASS's performance last night was clearly one of the top-5 performances of the day. Syracuse's schedule is largely criticized because the Orange doesn't go on the road often in the early season. But they will play just about anyone at home. And when enough teams get a shot, as St. Joe's and Siena already had this year, someone will take advantage. Drexel and Wichita State did last year, Bucknell and Charlotte have in the past. But still last night should not have been a loss, and if the Orange does not perform during the regular Big East season, it could be a loss that will hurt long into March.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thinking Out Loud

Weekly thoughts from all across the sports world

The sports world lost two active athletes this week. I remember my first thoughts when I saw the news about MLB pitcher Joe Kennedy's passing last week on the crawl at the bottom of the TV. "What is the rest of the story?" Certainly, a 28-year old pitcher doesn't just die. There had to be something else to it. But as it turned out there wasn't. Just a normal, healthy 28-year old dying. It was shocking.

But it wasn't any less shocking when the news came that Sean Taylor had been shot on Monday, and subsequently died at 24 on Tuesday. Even though what led to Taylor's death was the type of explanation I was looking for on Friday when I heard of Kennedy's, it still hits you.

We watch athletes. We put them on pedestals. We don't expect this things to happen. We look at them as invincible in so many ways.

So now Joe Kennedy and Sean Taylor, who were different in so many ways, are linked in the end. Both of them dying in the primes of their careers on this Thanksgiving weekend in their home state.

Both were tradgedies, neither made sense, both were so different, and yet they brought about the same stunned reaction from so many of us.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Around the NEC

Weekly look at the Northeast Conference - and what to expect from the conference brethren in the upcoming week.

Since this is the first installment, I'll take a look at each school up to this point

Fairleigh Dickinson (1-4, 0-0) - The Knights haven't gotten off to the best of starts with only one win in five tries. However, it does seem like they may be playing a little bit above expectations to this point. They lost a pair in the preseason NIT and I'm sure would have liked to be a little bit more competitive in at least one of those. However, they responded with a tough win at Lafayette, before dropping their last two on the road at Rider and St. John's, which probably would have been considered bonuses if they got W's.

Manny Ubilla and Sean Baptiste have done the bulk of the scoring averaging 19.6 and 17.0 ppg, with Baptiste bringing in 6 boards a contest. Freshman John Galvin had big games against Siena (20) and Lafayette (19) and has been effective in just over half a game.

The Knights don't play again until they start conference play next Thursday versus Monmouth.

Wagner (3-2, 0-0) - The Seahawks have probably been the most surprising team of the bunch so far. The schedule has sort of been designed to allow them a decent start, but they have taken advantage. They won at Lafayette, and at home against William and Mary and Bucknell. They dropped a home encounter to Manhattan and lost at St. Peter's.

They've had three different players lead them in scoring in the first five contests and currently have five players averaging 9 points or better. Durell Vinson leads the way at nearly 15 per outing while snagging 9.4 rebounds.

The Seahawks are on the road for a pair of matchups with Ivy League schools this week traveling to Brown on Wednesday, before visiting Yale on Saturday.

St. Francis NY (2-3, 0-0) - After starting the season so terribly last year, the Terriers have been a decent basketball team over their last fifteen or so games. They have carried that into this year.

Senior Robert Hines has been in double figures every time out and averages 21.2 a night to provide most of the offense. Jamaal Womack, Kayode Ayeni and Marcus Williams have provided the offensive balance behind Hines. But it is clear that Hines is the dominant player and may end up challenging for the top scoring honors in the league.

The Terriers have gotten wins over Hartford and Hofstra, and dropped contests with Manhattan, St. John's and a tough three-point defeat at Maine.

St. Francis has home games with Fairfield and a good Ohio squad this week.

Robert Morris (3-2, 0-0) - On the surface the Colonials have probably been the most impressive team in the conference notching three wins and an overtime loss at unbeaten Seton Hall. They probably have taken over the favorite category at this juncture.

They own wins over Iona, Howard and on the road at Navy, with the other loss coming to Drexel.

As expected the Colonials have been led by the trio of Jeremy Chappell, AJ Jackson and Tony Lee. Lee has been extremely impressive adding 6.8 rebounds and assists per game to his 11.8 points.

The Colonials are back on the road again this week with a pair of games. They travel to Florida International for a mid week game and then to Fordham over the weekend. I'm sure they'd be happy with a split.

Central Connecticut (1-4, 0-0) - Nobody really expects too much out of the defending NEC champs this year. And thus far they aren't providing too much excitement. But they've had chances to win more than the 1-4 indicates, yet they haven't accomplished it yet. The lone win is a three-point win at Binghamton, while they've lost to two other America East squads New Hampshire and Albany. They also opened the season with a loss at Princeton and most recently fell at Lafayette by 17.

Tristan Blackwood and Joe Seymore are the only two Devils averaging in double figures at this point. But freshman forward Ken Horton has been in double figures the last three games including a career high 21 in the win over Binghamton.

CCSU travels to LaSalle on Wednesday before returning home for a date with Lehigh this weekend.

Monmouth (2-3, 0-0) - Perhaps the Hawks found their game in the Virgin Islands. After losing their first three games of the year, Monmouth won their final two on the island with quality wins over Wichita State and Charlotte.

Jhamar Youngblood is improving upon his freshman season and leads the Hawks with 16.4 per outing. But he has taken fewer shots as the season has worn on and thus far it has been a positive for Monmouth.

The Hawks are at St. Peter's tomorrow night and open conference play on Sunday versus Sacred Heart.

Long Island (3-1, 0-0) - The Blackbirds have put up the conference's best showing thus far, in terms of wins and losses. After opening the season with a blowout loss to Notre Dame, Jim Ferry's crew has rebounded to win three straight. The level of competition has been somewhat soft, but its three wins. The victories have come against Army, Columbia and a struggling Canisius.

Senior Center Kellen Allen has averaged 14.3 points per game in just over 22 minutes matching him for the top scoring slot with Kyle Johnson. Johnson, a freshman from Canada, has seen his point total grow in each of the 'Birds four games, notching a high of 18 last out versus Canisius.

They get a chance to notch a more quality win this week with a trip to St. John's before hosting Hartford. LIU would be in good shape to be above .500 by the end of the week.

St. Francis (PA) (0-5, 0-0) - The Red Flash is still looking for its first win of the season, having lost four times by 10 points or less.

Chris Berry and Cale Nelson combined for 43 points in the Flash's loss to Lehigh, making 8 of 15 three-pointers between them. Berry is the only Flash player to average in double figures thus far this year at 13, while picking off better than 6 boards a game. Nelson averages nearly 5 assists.

PA will get their chance at their first win when Youngstown State visits on Wednesday before heading to Bucknell on the weekend.

Mt. St. Mary's (0-4, 0-0) - The Mounties are also in search of victory for the first time this year after a disappointing home loss to American on Monday.

The Mount started the season with a pair of losses to A10 competition, losing at George Washington and to Lasalle at home. They fell to 0-4 with 2 losses in 3 days. After a solid performance in defeat at an improving James Madison, the Mount struggled mightily at home.

Chris Vann is fourth in the NEC in scoring averaging 17.3 per night. Vann had a long double digit scoring streak snapped in the loss to American. Jeremy Goode, who missed the opener, scored a career high 27 versus JMU and led the Mount again against American. He also averages 7 assists per night.

The Mount plays rival Loyola on Saturday night (a game available on MASN) and then travels to Navy on Monday evening.

Sacred Heart (0-6, 0-0) - Nothing has gone right for the Pioneers who were expected to challenge for the NEC crown by many at the start of the season. SHU has averaged just less than 60 points per night while struggling to shoot the ball early.

The schedule has not been easy, but the league favorite has to win some of these games. It's tough to believe the Pioneers will still be winless at the end of the week as they have three shots at victory with a road games at Princeton and Monmouth, and a home game with Columbia.

The Pioneers haven't gotten consistent scoring from anyone and don't have a player averaging in double figures. Senior Drew Shubik is fourth in the NEC with 2.3 steals per contest.

Quinnipiac (1-3, 0-0) - The Bobcats have lost three straight since a season opening win over Hartford, all against America East competition.

Demario Anderson is the conference's leading scorer and is averaging 21.5 per night. His 29 point 10 rebound effort versus Maine is one of the conference's top performances of the season.

The Bobcats will look to end the losing streak at Lehigh on Wednesday, before hosting Brown on Monday.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mount loses at Home

The Mount was flat out awful tonight in a home loss to American. The game was tied at 21 with about five minutes left in the first half, but the Eagles controlled everything from there and won easily 66-45.

Give the Jeff Jones coached outfit a little bit of credit for the defensive effort that saw them limit the Mounties to 31.4% from the floor, but much of the Mount's offensive demise was of their own making. Sophomore Jeremy Goode, fresh off the career high 27, was once again the best Mountie on the floor and scored 10 and dished out 5 assists. But the point guard didn't have the ability to beat the Eagles off the dribble like he did at JMU on Saturday and it showed. Plus the defensive help was much better for American.

The Eagles are now 4-3 on the season and will fare ok in the Patriot League. But I wouldn't expect them to win the conference based on the strength that Bucknell and Holy Cross have shown in recent years. But Garrison Carr and Derrick Mercer give them a tough pair of guards who aren't afraid to pressure the ball.

The difference in the game was probably the rebounding. AU controlled the glass 45-29 and I'd like to see some 2nd chance point numbers, because American came away with 18 offensive rebounds. Travis Lay led American with 18 points and also pulled down 7 rebounds.

The Mount will need a much more inspired effort against longtime rival Loyola on Saturday. However, I think the style of play may help the Mount on Saturday. Still, it seems like a long season may be in store.

My Top 25

I realize that there are still some issues with my ranking system -- and I'm trying to work out the mathematics that is making things so out of whack, regarding a few teams. But for the most part, I'm pleased enough with this to place it here.

1. UCLA - They have been the best so far, and its hard to see it changing too much.
2. Kansas - The Jayhawks have been very impressive and got a huge hard fought win against Arizona.
3. Wisconsin - Rolling right along, not it gets a little more difficult.
4. Pittsburgh - A bunch of early wins. Let's see if they can continue against quality opponents.
5. Duke - The Devils have been oh - so - impressive and were excited for the matchup with the Badgers.
6. Texas A&M - Tremendous effort in the Big Apple
7. Florida - Obviously the loss to Florida State was a surprise to us. But we're giving them a pass for now.
8. Memphis - The Tigers have done everything that has been asked of them so far.
9. North Carolina - We realize that many think this is much higher. We're just waiting for total verification. And punishing a little for some odd scheduling.
10. Clemson - We really thought the win at Missisippi State was huge. But now the Bulldogs are struggling a little. Watching very closely.
11. Butler - Bulldogs with another huge early season tournament win.
12. Georgetown - Our numbers don't indicate even this much for the Hoyas. But we're going to put them here so you don't laugh at who we do have.
13. Texas - The Horns were very impressive at the Rock.
14. Washington State - Doing things the right way and looking to build on this.
15. Ohio State - Extremely impressive versus the Orange, but didn't follow up with much.
16. Kentucky - Shaking off the Gardner-Webb loss, and gaining experience.
17. Oregon - Even with the loss to St. Mary's we think the Ducks will exceed expectations.
18. Seton Hall - The Pirates are finding a way to win, against other teams that are winning.
19. Miami (FL) - Performance truly matters and the Canes keep on rolling.
20. Baylor - The Bears could be a real surprise in the Big 12 this year.
21. Alabama - The Tide gets a chance to impress the rest on Wednesday at AtM.
22. Boston College - Big win over Rhode Island for the New England Championship - (and this spot in the poll)
23. Vanderbilt - Commodores building on a huge finish to last season.
24. New Mexico - Six wins gets them a mention
25. St. Mary's - We knew the Gaels were good before they upset Oregon.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Who is good anyhow?

I gotta admit, I'm a tough critic. I never really think anybody is any good. In fact, I'd much rather have a team prove it to me than to just elevate them to lofty levels. And there have been a lot of teams I've been wondering about during the start of the college hoops season. For instance, Indiana, Louisville, Washington State, Georgetown are all near the top and haven't really proven anything yet. Obviously, the Hoyas made a huge run last year and that should be factored in but I just haven't included them yet.

Well this weekend, it seemed a lot of "good teams" lost. Gonzaga lost in Alaska. Indiana fell in Chicago. Louisville went down in Vegas. UVA lost in Philly. Tennessee was defeated at the Rock. Florida was blasted by the Noles. Even UNC Asheville, which had started 5-0 fell for the first time in OT on Saturday.

So who are we left with? Obviously, UCLA and North Carolina are probably at the top of the list, and Kansas probably becomes part of that discussion if they win tonight. You can probably put Duke, Pitt, Texas A&M, Memphis in the next grouping.

But what about some others, who might just be moving up. How about the Hurricanes of Miami? Fresh off their tourney victory in Puerto Rico, the Canes dropped a solid Morgan State team yesterday. Their next four games are against teams that started a combined 9-3, so we might find a little bit more out about the Canes. A big trip to Mississippi State looms.

What about Baylor? The Bears won in the Virgin Islands and I think that shocked everyone. But the Bears have a chance with some returning players in the Big 12. If they pull the surprise on Friday night as part of the Big 12/Pac 10 series versus Washington State, everyone will have noticed.

And what about Butler? The Bulldogs won another early season tourney this year. Although it probably wasn't as impressive as last year. Butler is off to a 6-0 start and it really is hard to imagine any team that has performed better to this point. The Bulldogs welcome Thad Matta back to Indy next weekend in what could be a huge game. After that, they have only 4 non-conference games left before the bulk of conference play. (They will play a Bracket Buster matchup in February). Bradley, Florida State and Southern Illinois will all provide challenges. But if the Bulldogs manage to go 3-2 in these last five OOC games, they could end up with 5 or less losses and a Top 4 seed in the Big Dance.

Seton Hall surprised Virginia as I mentioned. And the Pirates at 5-0 are on the fringe of the Top 25. The Pirates have not been overly impressive at spots this year. But they continue to win. Two overtime wins versus the NEC and then a four-point win over Navy. Still, they were fairly impressive against the two best teams on their schedule. A spot in the Top 25 could await the winner of next weekend's game at St. Mary's.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Turkey Hoops

I know that the tradition isn't supposed to be hoops on Thanksgiving. It's supposed to be football. But yesterday, I was much more compelled to watch the basketball action.

Basically, there were only 10 games - nine of which were on television, and there was really only one super compelling matchup. But the football yesterday was worthless and the hoops especially the four games from Orlando was entertaining.

Still, the best game of the game came last night in Alaska. Western Kentucky and Gonzaga dueled in a classic mid-major matchup. Although is still amazes me that Gonzaga has sort of shed that label and is viewed as a true top notch squad. I don't have the Zags in my Top 25 at the moment, but they entered the Shootout in 14th or their abouts in the national polls.

You knew the Hilltoppers weren't going to go easily. An entertaining first half ended with Gonzaga fortunate to be ahead. The second half started with a huge WKU run and the game was officially a problem for the Bulldogs. But give Gonzaga credit, they rallied and executed better down the stretch. They move on to face Texas Tech.

I watched a good portion of three of the four games from Walt Disney World. With a young daughter, we have made several trips to the World recently and I think that tying it into this basketball tournament seems to make perfect sense. If my Orange or the Mount played in this thing, I don't think I could resist.

Anyhow, South Carolina took care of Penn State in the opener. The Gamecocks built an early lead and won by 7. I didn't see the second half as we had to do that turkey dinner thing. Again, the Lions are fairly decent. And I could see them winning as many as they lose in the Big Ten. There is some young talent around. South Carolina always seems to be a team that gets close come tournament time, but never is a serious threat to see its name. They need at least one more win this weekend to help the resume.

Rider and NC State may have been the most entertaining game of the day. The Broncs let a mid-size lead dwindle to two or three in the last few minutes of the half, and ultimately, in my opinion that cost them the basketball game. I'm interested to see how NC State responds today against South Carolina. The Pack was sluggish early but they played a good final 25 minutes or so to earn the win.

I was incredibly impressed with Rider's Jason Thompson. 6-11 folks who can play the way he plays are fairly rare. But when you find them at places like Lawrenceville NJ, its even more uncommon. He really is good, and does so many things well for a player of his size. Its obvious why he averaged a double-double in the MAAC, and hard to imagine him not averaging the same anywhere.

Central Florida got behind early and didn't have enough to catch Villanova. But the Knights tried and tried and tried. The Cats are a team, who I've bumped in and out of my Top 25 this early season, and they showed some inconsistincies last night. But they got the victory and they'll be strong in the Big East, and they might just win this tournament.

George Mason had never started 4-0 before last night. In fact, I don't think the Patriots have ever been 3-0, but they easily got to 4-0 over Kansas State. Michael Beasley is clearly the real deal. But Mason, as VCU did in Puerto Rico, has shown that the CAA is the real deal. The Mason/Nova matchup should be a good one today.

I didn't really see a lot of the Anaheim Classic. I did see USC late night for a bit and its obvious that the young Trojans are going to get better as the year goes on. They got a solid win against San Diego last night. I think that the Southern Illinois-Mississippi State matchup is very intriguing today.

The other thing that is intriguing is a trip to Orlando for next year's tournament. It looks like a great field. Gonzaga, Tennessee, Memphis, Michigan State, Siena, Maryland, Oklahoma State and Wichita State. That actually gives it the star power that it sort of lacked in each of its first two years. I'm keeping it as a possibility.

There is so much more good hoops today. I'm interested in the early start from the World, if just for another look at Thompson. And because it is hoops at 10:30. I may have to watch some football this afternoon as well, but I do plan on trying to see Mississippi State and Southern Illinois. Plus my Orange is back on the floor. And since some of the folks from Washington have brought up the football massacre that the Huskies laid on, I'm seeking revenge. The Legends Classic starts at the Rock, and the NIT Championship features Ohio State and AtM. I have both of those teams ranked. The Aggies at 11, and Ohio State at 17.

It will be a good day. Plus I will get some live action in, as the Gettysburg Warriors take on Daniel Boone in a District III semifinal across the street.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hoop Dreams

Or maybe it just seems that way after watching so much basketball late into the evening.

I realize that my rankings have some issues. And the fact that I haven't gone public with them confirms that. But I just don't understand why teams that play for national titles get no respect the following year, regardless of what returns. Wouldn't it make more sense to make teams such as Ohio State, Florida, etc have to play their way out of the rankings and teams like Washington State, Louisville and the like to have to play their way in. I understand, I probably shouldn't have Air Force in my top 10 - but eventually that will take care of itself. I still just think you have to give last year and history some due in the rankings. I've got the Buckeyes 16 at the moment and feel like I've shortchanged them somewhat. But others don't even give them a mention.

Or what about Butler? How could you just ignore the Bulldogs? They are 14 in my latest collection. That kind of stuff doesn't make sense to me.

Of course both teams will now probably lose their next times out, just to make all of you feel better.

My top four by the way is UCLA, Florida, Duke and North Carolina. I was impressed by the Dukies in Hawaii. Although, I do think the Maui field wasn't quite as strong as it has been in the past. Still that was a good effort last night, and a good win over a solid Illini team. I think Duke is closer to being back near than top than many give them credit for. But I do think teams like Kansas, Memphis and Tennessee if they perform well in the Legends this weekend, could push for those top slots.

Two interesting little tournaments tip off today. The Old Spice Classic at Disney, and the Anaheim Classic out west. I'm interested to see how Penn State fares in the opener today. They hung a huge win on Canisius the other night and might be ready to be mid-Big Ten. They'll need to win twice in Orlando to show they are stepping forward.

The opposite side of the bracket has some real interesting situations. Central Florida is probably looked upon as the weak link, but the Knights can play a little bit and will give everyone a tough time in this tourney. UCF could get Nova tonight, if the Cats aren't careful.

George Mason faces Kansas State in the matchup in that half. The Patriots are still unbeaten and that hasn't happened for a long time in Fairfax, despite their recent success. Of course everyone wants to see Michael Beasley. This is K State's first test. It won't be an easy one.

Southern Illinois played in Orlando last year if I recall, and they head to Anaheim for the holiday this year. I think everyone has to think that USC is the favorite at this tourney. But it really could be interesting. San Diego will be fiesty for the Trojans, late night tonight, and the Salukis maybe the best team in the field. Of course, Mississippi State will try to shake off the home loss to Clemson and make some noise in the tourney. And they have the ability to do so.

If you would rather ignore those and settle for the best game of the day. It just might be Gonzaga and Western Kentucky in Anchorage. The Zags will have to play well to advance.

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the food and whatever else you might enjoy.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thinking Out Loud

I've risen from the dead.

You'll notice that my last post was last July. As in July 2006. At that point the Orioles were trying to decide whether or not to trade Miguel Tejeda. Now 15+ months later, they are trying to determine if there is a market left for him. It has pretty much dried up. He is everyone's third or fourth option at this point.

I just want to say that the folks (or folk) at Storming the Floor has a great college basketball blog. He inspired me to do a little writing again. So go visit his site, we think you'll like it.

There is some good hoop tonight. Maryland/UCLA has to be the headline game. But around the dial, you've got four games in Maui, one of which is probably wrapping up right about now. Marquette was up eight at the half. Plus you've got them finishing up down in the Virgin Islands. You can't think that they expected the Final to be Baylor and Winthrop. And that might not even be the most entertaining game from the islands. The consy with Georgia Tech and Notre Dame could be worth watching. I'll also tune in for some of the second game at Maui. LSU and Oklahoma State are a pair of teams that nobody expects a lot from this year. One other game I may try to catch a bit of is UMKC at Arizona. I think the Cats will bounce back, but KC could give them some fits early.

Expect the Titans to win in Denver tonight. The Broncos just aren't that good.

Ok, so I'm back. A little rusty no doubt, but we'll try to be involved.