Category Archives: ncaa

Bill O’Brien needs to stop talking about loyalty

To me there are few things more annoying in sports then a college coach who talks about loyalty when it is so obvious that they don’t mean it at all.

Penn State football coach Bill O’Brien is just the latest one.

Here is what he told Pennlive.com:

“I’m not a one-and-done guy,I made a commitment to these players at Penn State and that’s what I am going to do. I’m not gonna cut and run after one year, that’s for sure.” 

He interviewed for a job with the Cleveland Browns this week. If he made a commitment and wasn’t going to “cut and run” why did he take the interview? His buyout is somewhere north of $9 million according to Fox and that is one of the two reasons he is still the coach at Penn State with the other being that he got an extra $1.3 million courtesy of the owner of the Buffalo Bills. Why didn’t he mention that in his statement?

I’ve mentioned in the past that I don’t have a problem with college coaches making the jump to the NFL because of the limited number of those jobs and the chances to get them but please spare the BS about loyalty, commitment and integrity. Bill O’Brien is not the first or the last but it is a shame that we continue to let these guys have a pass.
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Big East’s Performance Is Upsetting, But It’s No Failure

Big East’s Performance Is Upsetting, But It’s No Failure – NYTimes.com

A good and correct argument from Nate Silver knocking those who are mocking the Big East. Here is a direct quote:

During the regular season, its 16 teams (counting also-rans like DePaul and Rutgers) went 34-19 against N.C.A.A. tournament entrants from outside the conference. This compares favorably, for instance, to the Atlantic Coast Conference, whose teams went 19-29 against tournament competition.

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Butler Bulldogs celebrate win over Pittsburgh

Butler Bulldogs vs. Pittsburgh Panthers – NCAA Tournament Game – Recap – March 19, 2011 – ESPN

What a crazy finish to the Butler/Pitt game. The refs did make the right calls. Those were definitely fouls. Butler coach Brad Stevens was a class act during his post game interview but he did celebrate when they got back to the locker room.


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My NCAA Bracket

It took a while but I have finally finalized my NCAA Mens Tournament Bracket.

2011 NCAA Mens Tournament Bracket

I can’t remember another year where I changed my bracket around as often as I have this year. I didn’t pick any 12/5 upsets as I just am not that confident in any of the 12 seeds. I did go back on forth with Richmond though. I did pick two #13s though. Listening to and reading to the Oakland stuff the past couple of days got me. I ended up taking them over Texas. I wasn’t sold on a long BYU run in the tournament so I am taking tiny Wofford over them. People who know me know that I love the underdogs. A school of 1,500 kids (my high school had more students), a good run against Wisconsin in the tournament last year, three returning seniors and a lack of faith in BYU pulled me into making the pick. I was looking at a poll earlier on ESPN.com and 48% of the participants thought BYU is the most likely top 3 seed to fall today.

If you missed it yesterday, Barack Obama filled out his bracket for ESPN for the third year in a row.
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Big East Debacle Day 2

Word came out a couple of hours ago that the three officials involved in the Rutgers/St. John’s game yesterday have “voluntarily” withdrawn from the rest of the Big East Tournament. It was a move that absolutely had to be made. They should be held out of the NCAA Tournament this year as well because no one is going to take them seriously for a while after yesterday’s disgrace.

I understand mistakes happen but the events of yesterday crossed the line. Doris Burke, who was calling the game on the ESPN broadcast said it right away that the referees stopped doing their jobs in the final minute and he is absolutely right. What was up with the official running off the court before the game was over? Don’t these guys hang around to shake hands with coaches and players? The visual of it was strange and gives room for people with conspiracy theories to swoop in. 

Yahoo has a really good article on this. “The way that final sequence played out was flat-out unprofessional,” Yahoo’s Ryan Greene writes, “not just with the absence of a call, but by Burr and his cohorts blowing Rice and his players off completely.”

I can’t believe Jim Burr is in the stands today. Send him home. ESPN’s Dana O’Neil has an interesting read on Tim Higgins.

Carl Bialik of the Wall Street Journal didn’t go easy on the officials either. 

It was all reminiscent of Chris Webber’s timeout call with 11 seconds left in the 1993 championship game. His team, Michigan, famously didn’t have any left, which led to a technical foul and clinched the win for North Carolina. But the call never would have happened if a ref within a few feet of Webber had called him six seconds earlier for a clear travel. That violation would, in retrospect, have hurt Michigan less than the timeout did, because it would have cost Michigan the ball, but with more time left and without giving North Carolina foul shots. But Moskowitz and Wertheim argue that refs are biased toward not making judgment calls late in games, for fear of determining the game’s outcome. On the timeout the refs had no choice: “Unlike a traveling violation, when a player motions for a time-out and his team has exhausted its ration, well, that’s not a judgment call. That’s a call an official has to make even in the waning seconds of an exhilarating championship game.” Substitute “when a player steps out of bounds by a wide margin” and “an exhilarating conference tournament game” into that sentence, and you have a good description of the end of Rutgers-St. John’s, only this time officials didn’t make the call.

Here is what the back pages looked like in New York today. 



By the way what did you see the recap on the Big East website? They don’t even acknowledge the end of the game. 

One more major gripe. People need to stop saying that “good thing this didn’t happen in the NCAA Tournament” or “good thing it didn’t cost someone a spot in the NCAA Tournament.” But as Dan Levy correctly pointed out in his podcast today, it potentially did. No one is saying that Rutgers would have gone on to run the table but the winner of this tournament does get an automatic berth. 

Mike Rice Quotes:

“I have not heard any response from the Big East or the officials, for three of them to — again, it was a mistake,” Rice said after getting a chance to cool off. “It’s got to be a mistake. I watched it on YouTube. I’ve had them all throughout the year, impeccable reputation, it’s unfortunate, my heart — believe me, there is going to be blood coming through my tongue right now but it’s what it is, we’re going to control how we respond.

“I was a lunatic, to be honest with you, and I lost some self-control, I admit it, and I thought he got — again, it was a judgment call. Had I known it was [1.7], I might have literally held on, done a Van Gundy and held one of their legs on the court.”

“It has to be a mistake. It’s got to be. I just saw it on YouTube. … It’s unfortunate. Believe me, there’s going to be blood coming through my tongue right now, but it is what it is. We’re going to control how we respond.”

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Congratulations to the UConn Huskies

Hats off to the UConn Huskies. They have just won the 89th straight game the school has played. This win moves them past the UCLA teams of the 70s who won 88 straight under coach John Wooden.

There will be a lot of people who will try to knock down the significance of this run because this is womens basketball but 89 games is 89 games. There are people who act as though this is still Womens College Basketball from a decade ago when UConn and Tennessee were the only two dominant teams. Schools like Baylor, Duke, Stanford and even Rutgers have taken a huge step forward since that time. When UCLA put together their streak they were in the middle of winning 10 championships in 12 years. Where was the elite competition for them? Why doesn’t anyone ever mention that? Why don’t people discount their streak because they were so much better then the competition? I don’t care whether it is at the NBA level or you are playing Tic Tac Toe. Winning 89 straight times is impressive. I agree completely with Coach Auriemma’s take on this.

I root for Rutgers but UConn has been the elite team in the Big East Conference for an extended period of time but there is no way not to be impressed by this streak. Credit to NBC Nightly News for sending Ron Allen to cover the story (I’ll post the clip when I find it).

Question to those who are trying to downplay this streak, when was the last time you successfully did something 89 times in a row? For his part, speaking shortly after the game Coach Auriemma said he did not want to be compared to UCLA and John Wooden.

Stanford was the last team to beat them (back on April 6th 2008), the two meet again on the 30th. During his post game press conference Coach Auriemma receive a call from Barack Obama.

Just how long was this streak? Last time UConn lost a game, George W. Bush was still President, the iPad hadn’t been invented and Brett Favre hadn’t played a NFL game for a team other then the Packers. The last time UConn lost a game no one outside of Alaska knew who Sarah Palin was (those were the days!).

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