Saturday, March 24, 2007

Two Down, Two To Go

Half of the Final Four field is set.

The Buckeyes of The Ohio State University actually had a game where they didn't have to depend on a freak ending. TOSU went two-for-two against the state of Tennessee in this tournament, sending Memphis home by a score of 92-76.

Out West, UCLA qualified for their second consecutive Final Four, defeating the Kansas Jayhawks, 68-55. John Wooden is proud.

On an unrelated note, I was watching a brief part of a women's game earlier today, and wondered: Why are Bowling Green's colors orange and brown? Shouldn't they have green as a color? They're not Bowling Orange.

The Red Foxes

The NCAA women's tournament has thus far provided a bit more intrigue than the men's tournament. There have actually been upsets in the women's tournament.

There is a team in the women's tournament with the nickname Red Foxes. They're not communist models, nor are they a late, great comedian. It's Marist, the #13 seed in the Dayton regional. They defeated #4 seed Ohio State, and #5 seed Middle Tennessee State.

Their run should end on Sunday, as they play the Lady Vols of Tennessee. Nonetheless, it's good to see a women's team called Red Foxes do well.

Script Ohio, Hoops Style

At the end of this year, Ohio State and Wisconsin were both ranked #1 in the nation, depending on the poll. They played in Columbus with the Big Ten championship on the line.

This game was so big, the band did "Script Ohio" for the first time ever at a basketball game. This is the pep band, and not the marching band, so it's not quite as intricate. However, it is really cool.

The band marches out onto the field (or in this case, the court), and spells out "Ohio". At the end of the march, an honored band member runs out and puts the dot on the "I". This is one of the most honored traditions in college football. On occasion, an honored guest will dot the I. Among those that have dotted the I are Woody Hayes and Jack Nicklaus.

I doubt if the NCAA will allow the pep band to do Script Ohio today before their game with Memphis. Maybe they can do it in the parking lot of the Alamodome. Hey, maybe they can do it in front of the Alamo. Yeah, like the guardians of Texas freedom would let a bunch of Yankee carpetbaggers do Script Ohio at the Alamo. Oops, getting my wars mixed up. Anyway, Script Ohio is one of the coolest things.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Unpredictable, Yet Predictable

There have been some entertaining games in this year's NCAA tournament. The outcomes, though, have been predictable.

I don't know how many times I've seen a lower-seeded team get a big, or not-so-big lead, only to be overtaken by the higher-seeded team. It happened last night with Southern Illinois and Kansas, Texas A&M and Memphis, and in a big way with Tennessee and Ohio State. It happened again tonight with Butler and Florida, Vanderbilt and Georgetown, and USC and North Carolina. These teams are making the selection committee look really good.

All four #1 seeds are still alive (Florida, North Carolina, Ohio State, Kansas). Three #2 seeds are still in this tournament (Georgetown, Memphis, UCLA). Only Oregon has less than a #2 seed, and they are a #3 in the Midwest region. How would you like to be Wisconsin, sitting at home as the only #2 seed knocked out of this thing thus far?

The Pac-10 still has two teams left: UCLA and Oregon. The SEC, Big XII, Big Ten, ACC, Big East, and Conference USA are still in the mix, as well.

All those people that picked favorites in their brackets are still safe. I picked Florida, Kansas, Georgetown, and Ohio State. I'm still safe, at the moment. We could very well have four #1 seeds at the Final Four in Atlanta next week. Billy Packer has to be loving it.


A few random thoughts:

The Texans are getting rid of David Carr. That's no surprise. But, for Matt Schaub? Let's wait and see how that turns out. I wouldn't get my hopes up. But, Tony Romo has become a Pro Bowl quarterback, so anything can happen. And, don't be surprised if Carr becomes a good quarterback somewhere else.

Tubby Smith is going ice fishing. He's leaving the pressure cooker of Kentucky for the Great White North of Minnesota, to coach the Golden Gophers. Smart move by the Tubster. Sure, he won't be getting $2.1 million per year from Kentucky. But, he'll be well paid by the Gophers, with a fraction of the expectations. He's won a national championship. The problem in the Bluegrass is that it was nine years ago. Tubby is a darn good coach. He'll have the Gophers in the thick of the Big Ten sooner rather than later. The guy took Tulsa and Georgia to the Sweet 16. He can coach. However, they expect a lot more at Kentucky.

There were a lot of good games last night in the Sweet 16. The results were predictable, though, and we have 1 vs. 2 seeds in both regionals. Kansas knocked off Southern Illinois, and UCLA beat Pittsburgh out West. San Antonio saw two one-point games, as Memphis nudged Texas A&M, and Ohio State overcame a 20-point deficit to beat Tennessee.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


A good way to ruin a good look is with a random stripe.

The University of Memphis, formerly known as Memphis State, has a classic-looking color scheme of royal blue and white. It doesn't really go with the nickname Tigers, but it's a good color scheme nonetheless.

This year, they are wearing a stripe running diagonally across the shoulder, then down one side of their uniform, before making another slight diagonal streak across the back of the shorts. It looks really random and out of place. It's a bad way to ruin a good uniform.

Any talk of the Memphis uniform would be incomplete without mention of the black uniform they have worn away from home on occasion this season. Once again, blue schools should not be wearing black. Vanderbilt and UCF have black as a color. Not Memphis.

Oh, yeah, I have Texas A&M in the Sweet 16 tomorrow night. I can't go back on my pick. Memphis looks really strong, though.

One eye gouge.

However, though, the ribs in Memphis are good. So is Graceland. Everybody ought to go to Graceland at least once.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The New Ballpark, Almost The Same As The Old Ballpark

Yesterday brought the official news: the Ballpark is the Ballpark once again. The Rangers severed sponsorship ties with Ameriquest Mortgage Company, taking the Ameriquest name off the Temple. It will now be called something not quite as ghey: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

It is welcome news to have the Ameriquest name off of the Temple. However, what is wrong with calling it by its original, classic name: The Ballpark in Arlington? People associate that name with the Rangers. More importantly, people associate that with better days of the franchise, when they won three division championships in four years. That's something sneered at in places like New York and St. Louis, but those are the halcyon days of yore for the traditionally mediocre Rangers.

I've liked the Rangers since I was a little boy, listening to games on the 50,000 watt blowtorch, WBAP (they need to be back on that station, by the way) on a transistor radio. I've put up with a lot of bad and mediocre baseball from them. At least Cubs fans get teased with thoughts of a championship. Rangers fans do not. Our team traditionally sucks, especially under the Tom Hicks ownership. Or, if it doesn't suck, it's at least mediocre.

I digress. This is a good move. Hopefully, there will be improvement on the field, as well.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Even More Random Tournament Thoughts

The Big XII went 1-1 today. Kansas beat Kentucky, and Texas lost to USC. I'm sure USC would rather have a win in last year's Rose Bowl, but they'll take this.

Memphis may be better than we give them credit for. They play in a dreadful conference, but it's hard to win 23 in a row, no matter who you play. Next up for the Fighting Elvises: Texas A&M.

Conference breakdown of the Sweet 16:

SEC: 3 (Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt)
Pac-10: 3 (UCLA, USC, Oregon)
Big XII: 2 (Kansas, Texas A&M)
Big East: 2 (Georgetown, Pittsburgh)
The following have one team: ACC (North Carolina), Big Ten (Ohio State), Missouri Valley (Southern Illinois), Horizon League (Butler), Conference USA (Memphis), Mountain West (UNLV)

The state of Tennessee has three teams remaining in this tournament: Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Memphis.

The city of Los Angeles has two teams left: UCLA and USC.

More Random Tournament Thoughts

The Runnin' Rebels are back. UNLV bounced Wisconsin from the tournament today in Chicago with a 74-68 win.

Rebels coach Lon Kruger advanced to the Sweet 16 with his third different school (Kansas State and Florida are the others, he didn't get Illinois this far). What is interesting, though, is that he is rumored to be considered for both the Michigan and Minnesota jobs. Either job would put him back in the Big Ten. It would be tough to leave Las Vegas, unless he's just dying to get back to snow country. It would also present the opportunity to become the first coach to take five different schools to the NCAA tournament. I don't even know if he knows that, or if he cares about that, but it's out there.

Winthrop was knocked out of the tournament by the Oregon Ducks, 75-61. Winthrop coach Gregg Marshall will now have a lot of $$$ thrown at him by schools in higher-profile conferences. He accepted the College of Charleston job last year, only to turn it down to remain at Winthrop.

The Salukis of Southern Illinois advanced to the round of 16, defeating the Hokies of Virginia Tech, 63-48. SIU now awaits the winner of the Kansas-Kentucky game.

The Purdue Boilermakers put up a valiant effort, but came up short against top-seeded Florida, losing 74-67. The Gators face Butler in the round of 16.

More later...

This Man Is Still Dancing

That's Bruce Pearl, coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. He is pictured at a game earlier this year, when he painted himself orange to support the Lady Vols in their game against top-ranked Duke.

The male Vols defeated Virginia today, 77-74. It is not true that Bristol, Virginia is being annexed to Tennessee as a result of today's game.

This is the second trip in three years to the Sweet 16 for Pearl. He coached Wisconsin-Milwaukee to the round of 16 in 2005.

Random Tournament Thoughts

Friday afternoon, I was watching the Nevada-Creighton game on March Madness On Demand (good stuff!) with the sound turned down. They went into the crowd, and found Alabama assistant coach Tom Asbury. I had the sound turned down, so I have no idea why they were talking about him. I don't know if he had a connection with either team (he and Creighton coach Dana Altman are former K-State head coaches), or if they were pimping him for another head coaching job. I don't think they were talking about his booger eating on the sidelines. Thanks to Youtube, he's the laughing stock of college basketball.

Winthrop is the last hope for a Cinderella-type run through this Big Dance. They were really underseeded at #11. They probably should have been an #8 or #9.

More later...