Monthly Archives: February 2009

NCAA Basketball Power Rankings – 2/18/09

1. Pittsburgh Panthers

   After a tough win AT Uconn, no one deserves to be in this spot more than Pitt. They proved that they have the talent to beat anyone, anywhere, and at anytime. In addition to that, they final gave Uconn big man Hasheem Thabeet a reason to shut up.

2. North Carolina Tar Heels

   The Heels still haven’t lost since 1/11 and traveled down Tobacco Road to beat Duke handedly in front of the Cameron Crazies. You might as well pencil them into your Final Four already. Their depth is still an issue though.

3. Oklahoma Sooners

   They aren’t exactly facing the same competition that the Tar Heels and Panthers are facing in the ACC and Big East, but the Sooners are still undefeated in conference play. Look out for that showdown at Mizzou on March 4th, Boomer Sooner.

4. Connecticut Huskies

   Even after a tough loss to Pitt, the Huskies are one of the best overall teams out there. Hasheem Thabeet may talk a big game, but he can back it up. I want to see him square off against Blake Griffin or Tyler Hansbrough before I name him the best big man in the nation.

5. Memphis Tigers

   Apart from a road win at Gonzaga, the Tigers have played NO ONE in 2009. I am still skeptical of how good this team really is. They are young. The tournament hasn’t always been nice to young teams.

6. Marquette Golden Eagles

   Marquette is a tough team that could make a run to the Final Four. They are 11-2 in the Big East and still have the best back court in the nation.

7. Michigan State Spartans

   They had a hard loss to a underrated Purdue team, but the Spartans are for real. They are one of the Top 5 best coached teams in the nation, even if their talent may not be Top 5.

8. Missouri Tigers

   I am reluctant to put my own school in the Top 10 yet, however they are the hottest team in basketball the past couple weeks. After a buzzer beater to beat Texas in Austin, the Tigers did the same against Kansas and then dominated Nebraska on their own court. They are exciting to watch and downright dangerous

9. Louisville Cardinals

   No one as really been talking about Louisville in a conference that has been dominated by Pitt and Uconn, but they are carving out a nice season with a 19-5 (10-2 in the Big East) record. Don’t think about that 33-point loss to Notre Dame, that’s old news.

10. Duke Blue Devils

   Duke is struggling lately in conference play, losing two ACC games since my last update. However, I cannot take them out of the Top 10 because they are as talented as anyone else and they have something no one else has: Coach K

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NCAA Basketball Power Rankings – 2/10/08

1. Connecticut Huskies

   They are atop the best conference in college basketball and dominated no. 7 Louisville. They are experienced, they are tough, they are confident. Look out for the Huskies

2. Oklahoma Sooners

   They have the best player in the game right now in Blake Griffin. However, the only thing stopping them from taking the number one spot, in my book, is that they aren’t as tested as UCONN.

3. Pittsburgh Panthers

   Pitt is still arguably the best team in the nation, but they are to prove it against UCONN first. Look for the showdown against UCONN in Connecticut on 2/16.

4. North Carolina Tar Heels

   NC is flying under radar since that early ACC-season stumble. However, they are easily the most experienced and tournament ready team in the nation. They are still the team to beat in their conference too, not Wake, not Duke, NC is.

5. Duke Blue Devils

   They got owned by Clemson, but Duke is still legit. In fact, they may not even choke in this year’s tourney! They still have a long way to go and some problems to address. Gerald Henderson is finally living up to the potential that we all thought he could do. But, Duke needs to play with more confidence if they don’t want to choke again this year.

6. Memphis Tigers

   They may play in Conference USA, but Memphis hasn’t lost since December 20th and by the looks of it, they may not the rest of the year. Memphis will probably have a number one seed in the tourney once again.

7.  Louisville Cardinals

   The Cardinals lost a little steam after a lost to UCONN (and badly at that.) However, they are a team that not a lot of people are talking about. We don’t know how good the Cardinals are. I don’t think the Cardinals even know how good they are. They could be a dangerous team in March.

8. Marquette Golden Eagles

   You would think that the top team in the best conference would be the best team right? Well, frankly, I am still skeptical of Marquette. They don’t have a big man. Their guards, however, may be the best in the country. I want to see this squad beat UCONN or Pitt first, before I start believing in them.

9. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

   Wake has had a rough past couple weeks, losing three of their last five. However Jeff Teague is the best leader the Deacon’s have had since the great Chris Paul. They are third in the ACC, but have beaten the top two teams.

10. UCLA

   I’m not real big on the Bruins this year, but they have been playing better as of late. Their loss to Washington is nothing to hold against them, either. They do also play in a wizzeak conference. Collison, Shipp, and Holiday to make up arguably the second best backcourt in college basketball.

    

 

   

Reaction to Super Bowl XLIII

   Wow! What a finish to another amazing NFL season. In case you missed it (somehow), the Pittsburgheng_nfl_triumpf2_bm_745275gSteelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 in thrilling fashion last Sunday night. The two weeks before the big game, there were many sub-plots. Was Hines Ward going to play? Can the Cardinals win their first Super Bowl? Kurt Warner in general generated an enormous amount of attention. However, the first three quarters of the Super Bowl was really boring. It was sloppy. It was uneventful.

   But first, let’s talk about EVERYTHING else.

   Officiating was terrible during this Super Bowl. Midway through the third quarter, the Cardinals already had used both of their challenges and won both. Weak calls were being called on both teams, including a ridiculous roughing the passer penalty that gave the Steelers a fresh set of downs in the red zone.

   Worse than the officiating was the commercials. 3-D? Seriously? Few were funny. Most of them attempted to be humorous through the use of crotch shots (those haven’t been funny for a while, folks.) Go Daddy took home the “Trashiest Ad” award once again for their ad involving Danica Patrick in the shower. The best ad of the night could have been the Bob Dylan/Will.i.am “Forever Young” mash-up, but I don’t even know what they were selling. So, the best ad award goes to CareerBuilder.com just because they punched a koala that was wearing glasses.g276258e78a7b07920366a6b49b3565e1e552e4ae58973e

   Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen jolted the crowd at half-time with a much needed energetic performence. I thought he was awesome, even though I question him not playing “Born in the U.S.A.” Up until that point, the most exciting part of the game was the half-time show. Speaking of which… what about the game?

   The first three quarters was dominated by the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. They shutdown that high flying offense of the Cardinals and took Larry Fitzgerald out of the game. They rattled QB Kurt Warner, forcing him to throw an interception at the goal line to James Harrison, who took it back for a 100-yard pick six. The game was quickly turning into a defense domination, similar to Super Bowl XXXVI when the Buccaneers manhandled the Raiders.   TP_301123_SHAD_superbowl_7

   The 4th quarter came out of no where. The Cards looked like they were down and out. I thought they were just about to roll over, but something happened. They started to play like they were playing for a championship. Imagine that?! After a long drive that started at the 13-yard line, Cardinal QB threw a one-yard lob pass to WR Larry Fitzgerald to finally get the crowd and Fitzgerald in the game. Prior to that drive, the Cardinals only had 139 yards of total offense. In the 4th quarter alone, the Cardinals had 229 yards of offense, including two touchdowns.

   After the 1-yard TD pass to Fitzgerald, the Cardinals forced a safety on the Steelers, cutting the Steelers lead to 20-16. Just like that, the Cardinals were back in the game. The Cardinals got the ball back after the safety and with good field position. Then it happened, again. Warner to Fitzgerald. Two plays. 64 yards. Touchdown. Cardinals up 23-20 with 2:37 left in the game.

   The Steelers answered with their own dynamic duo, Ben Roethisberger to Santonio Holmes. On the final drive, Roethisberger found Holmes four times, twice for a first down. The fourth catch was something spectacular, however. From the 6-yard line, Roethisberger found Holmes in the corner of the endzone. Holmes executed perfectly, laying out and dragging his toes in bounds to score. 35 seconds was all that was left on the clock. The game ended when Warner fumbled with 5 seconds left on the clock.

   To use a cliche, the best was saved for last. This was easily the biggest game of the year and it didn’t disappoint at the end. While I don’t think it was the “Greatest Game of All Time” (that goes to Super Bowl80670228MH249_Super_Bowl_XL XXXIV, Rams vs. Titans), it certainly made me get up and shout at the TV. I’ll end my article with a couple of awards. Thanks for a great season NFL! See you at the draft!

Player of the Game: Santonio Holmes, WR, Pittsburgh

   The arguement could be made for Steelers LB James Harrison or Cardinals QB Kurt Warner and his 377 yards, but this award goes to Santonio Holmes. The Super Bowl MVP put the Steelers on his back on the final drive and made a catch that will go down in the history books.

Play of the Game: James Harrison’s 100-yard INT Return for a TD

   No, it is not Holmes’ catch. At this point in the game, the Cardinals were threatening to score and go up 14-7. If it weren’t for Harrison and his touchdown, I don’t think the Steelers would have won this game.

Disappointment of the Game: The Steelers run game

   So much for that “power” run game that the Steelers had. The Cardinals defense held the Steelers to 58 yards rushing and a 2.2 yards per rush average. Pathetic.

Deserves A Ring Anyway Award: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona

   He was quiet the first three quarters, but he gave the Cardinal faithful something to cheer about by the end of the game. Fitz finished with 127 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the 4th. After this post-season, Fitzgerald proved why he is the best receiver in football and why he deserves to be on your fantasy team next year.