Tag:Duke Blue Devils
Posted on: April 6, 2010 10:58 am
Edited on: April 6, 2010 11:01 am

Monday Recovery - Day in Front of the TV

After having a horrendous Sunday night, I was ecstatic to find an entire afternoon of relavent baseball on ESPN and then of course the NCAA men's basketball championship on CBS. But we have to work on that 9:30 PM EST start time guys. That game should be on at 8 PM so I can get to bed at a decent hour.

Anyway, so I was really looking forward to looking at something other than the McNabb trade. So aside from avoiding ESPN and the internet like the plauge for about 5 hours, I was looking forward to the first good Monday of the spring. There was nice weather, baseball was beginning and I would get to start taking my anger out on the Mets AND Phillies, a team after two years of nuetrality have ended up on my hit list. And the McNabb trade had a small part to do with it. Back-to-back world series appearances had a large part to do with it.

1 PM - Marlins-Mets and Phils-Nats on for the early games in the NL East. Very excited to see the Mets-Fins game. The pesky Marlins return from a good season, just signed their ace Josh Johnson long term facing the walking time bomb Mets already fighting the injury bug. Naturally, David Wright hits a two-run homer in the 1st. Notice that the '99 NCAA Final (UConn 77 - Duke 74) is on ESPN Classic. I hope this is an omen of things to come. Then I get a text from my buddy to meet up with him at our local sports watering hole.

2 PM - Stay thirsty my friends. Drink responsibly. Watching the middle innings with my buddy, his younger brother and his dad who is in between shifts at work, all Mets fans and NY Football Giants fans as well. "Hey, you here the Eagles made a trade?"/"Nope, not a word." With friends like these, eh? The talk turns to Jeff Francoeur and his new ability to take pitches. Really, Jeff? Why couldn't you do this in Atlanta? Frenchy even drew a walk in the 4th. Later, I start bashing Mets GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel for changing the Mets rotation last week and the bright idea of batting Mike Jacobs (0-for-4) cleanup over Jason Bay (2-for-4, R). Also, I didn't avoid ESPN and my buddy and I cackle like Gus Johnson when we mention John Buccigross on SportsCenter wanting to have the Yanks/Isles organist play "Brass Bonanza." If you don't know what that is, look it up or get strange looks from Connecticut residents for the rest of your like.

3 PM - The Marlins start throwing the ball all over the infield. Josh Johnson didn't have his best outing, 5 IP, 99 PC, 4 ER, 5 H, 4 BB 3 K and the loss. Johan Santana threw a ton of pitches (103 in 6 IP) but had a pretty good day otherwise only giving up one run and scattering four hits. With the game well in hand, we see highlights of Albert Pujols homering twice and the Phillies dismantling the Nats. So much for my theory that the Nats could be kinda good this year.

4 PM - Mets bullpen looks sharp (yeah, you heard me right) as Nieve and K-Rod go three combined shutout innings with Nieve recording 2 K's in 2 IP. Braves game starts, and I don't even ask our bartender to put on the Braves, he's way ahead of that idea with ESPN and ESPN2 on multiple TVs. Derek Lowe gives up a 3-R HR in the 1st. Great, round of laughter at the Braves fan. Mets clinch the win, Braves come roaring back with 6 runs in the bottom half including Jason Heyward's first MLB homer.

5 PM - Braves running away with the game against the Cubbies. Carlos Zambrano didn't make it out of the second. Derek Lowe gives up another homer (8-5 Braves after 3) but settles down and goes 6 IP with 5 ER but only 78 pitches as the Braves open the game wide open in the 7th with another 6-spot on the Cubs bullpen. Kudos to Sean Marshall who was the only pitcher for the Cubs to show up when the games was competitive.

6 PM - Brave bullpen shuts down the Cubs as the offense gives slugging. Moylan, Saito, Wagner - 3 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB 5 K. Me like. Game over, Moylan nails Heyward with his first shaving cream towel pie to the face. Yunel Escobar tries to show him up with a 5 RBIs giving the 6th and 7th hitters in the Braves order with 4-for-10, 4 R, 9 RBI day.

7 PM - Other MLB highlights, Mark Buehrle's five-hole, no-look flip to first, which is caught barehanded by Paul Konerko. Play of the Year on Opening Day. No one is topping that. Other lowlights in umpiring - Nate McCloth's dropped flyball to double play. Laz Diaz out of position (from firstbase) missing a play at second in the Mets game.

8 PM - Waiting for the Duke-Butler game.

9 PM - Complaining that the Duke-Butler game doesn't start at a reasonable hour on the East Coast. Can't even use a west coast team as an excuse. Duke out to an early lead but they Butler starts trading baskets and leads and ties. Fantastic first half. I'll say it again, I hate Duke. But for the first time in recent memory, they have a legit center (Zoubek) who can rebound on both ends. Butler trails by 1 at the half. Favorite play, Butler's Zach Hahn pulling up from 30 for no reason and burying a three.

10 PM - Still trading baskets. Strange game for the officials. They let 'em play under the hoop but called a lot of stuff away from the ball and on the perimiter. I say that if Butler keeps Duke around 60 points they have a chance. Kyle Singler with a huge shooting edge over Gordon Hayward, 7-13 and 2-12 respectively from the field but Hayward was 8-8 from the line. Difference in the game to this point. Huge day for Avery Jukes off the bench for Bulter.

11 PM - Duke trying to hold off a late Butler surge. Butler down one, with the ball, inbounding out of the corner (which I mentioned was a tough place to inbound 15 seconds before the CBS guys). Hayward takes a tough fade-away, off the iron. Zoubek rebounds and hits one FT, misses the 2nd on purpose (strange strategy by Coach K, since a three can beat you, and that's what Butler will take from halfcourt...). Hayward grabs the rebound of the miss, held up by Zoubek, chased by Singler (who did Greg Paulus proud by running into a screen and reacting like he got shot. Sorry, I have me mention this because I hate Duke), and Hayward misses a running halfcourt three, which came a lot closer than those shots normally do. Duke wins their 4th title. Butler made them earn it in front of 70,000 fans, 90 percent of which were rooting against the Blue Devils. Damn it all.

One last note. (Disclaimer: Gambling is illegal and should be done responsibly.) My dad randomly drew Butler out of a hat in a suicide Sweet 16 pool. Rules as follows, one randomly drawn team going against the spread. Since Butler was getting 7 in my Dad's pool, he ended up winning. I asked him if the $100 was worth it since Duke won.

"Nope. But it makes up for the crappy brackets we entered. And we can no longer say that Duke has never done anything good for us."

So true. Kudos to Bulter for winning our hearts over teh last three weeks. Kudos to the Dukies for winning another title. Kudos to both for one of the most memorable and well-played title games in recent memory. And Kudos to my buddy for only mentioning the McNabb trade 19 times and not 20.

And now we'll see if the UConn-Stanford Women's title will be just as good tonight.

Posted on: March 18, 2010 10:50 am

Tourney Mailbag - Pac-10, Duke and UK Gripe Back

Once again the great Community Gods at CBS have bless one of my blogs with the Featured tag. And once again, the users have come out in force to defend their teams honor and seeding in the NCAA Tournament. Some agreed with me, most disagreed, a few focused on CBS' March Madness on Demand, which does exist (I'm skipping those for the actual mailbag, just giving mention to them here) and one user caught a huge error by me that a professional would have caught.

Since I'm not a professional, it just makes me look dumb, which I am, but that's not the point. To the mailbag!

I completely agree with you about Temple. They finished at 12 in the country, with 29 wins and a top 15-20 RPI. How does that earn them a 5 playing another underseeded strong mid major? - user coasteryder

I tackled this issue in my last entry focusing on the mid-majors, and I think Temple did get a raw deal here. They had just as good a year as New Mexico in my opinion, and they won the A-10 regular season and tournament whereas NM got bounced by San Diego St. in the semis of the MWC. Personally, I think that the A-10 is just as good as the MWC in terms of mid-majors. Consistently have multiple tournament teams, good competitive leagues. This year, the MWC had better top teams than the A-10 in New Mexico and BYU (who also got underseed in my opinion) and Temple gets a lower seed.

I Duke was 32-0 many of you haters of clean basketball programs would still find something to complain about. Yes they probably would meet Louisville. The same team which I believe beat Syracuse 2 times. Not an easy road. Also, if they meet A&M there would go the neutral court. Do your research before complaining. Oh and by the way, how did they do last year against Villanova? - user MANU

I'm going to stay away from the "clean" comment. They will, play Louisville, which won't be an easy game, no, but will be the hardest in Duke's path to the Elite 8. I'm sorry, I'm not buying Texas A&M, assuming they even get to the Sweet 16 against Duke. A&M's best non-conference win is Clemson, not exactly thier best team in recent memory, they split with Baylor and are 0-3 against Kansas and Kansas State. So yes, I think that Duke has an easy road and are in more friendlier territory in Jacksonville and Houston than in say, Providence, Buffalo and Syracuse. Oh and by the way, Duke didn't have Mason Plumlee and Brian Zoubek (two bigs I've heard of on their roster) last year against Nova. That'll be the difference if they want to take Nova inside.

Oh how easy a bracket it'll be for Duke. You bunch of Big East haters! I look at it as an easy road for at least one of the three Big East teams in that bracket. 8 bids again this year too. Hmmmm. - user thecrump

You have only the ACC for the Big East getting 8 teams in to the NCAA tournament. After all you raided the Big East for football purposes (how's that working out for ya?) and enabled the Big East to make a basketball super conference. As for 3 Big East teams in the region, the most you can play is two and the NCAA had to abandon its normal practice of separating Big East teams because they're too many. Which means you have to again blame the ACC for creating the super conference, which means you have to one to blame but yourselves.

You gripe that K-State is in the same OKC pod as KU because you fear KU fans will gobble up tickets and root against K-State?  Man, you don't know much about basketball fans in the state of Kansas.  Our is mostly a friendly rivalry.  KU fans for the most part respect K-State's team, players and coach. I guarantee you that most KU fans will be cheering for K-State in OKC.  Now, if it was Mizzou in our pod, then you would have a legit gripe.  But I fully expect about 15,000 of the 19,000 fans in OKC to be cheering for both KU and K-State. - user ftljayhawk

This does suprise me slightly, unless the reason is so that Kansas can beat K-State again in the Final Four (fourth times the charm?), then it makes sense. I said that because the tournament committee also sent Georgetown and Villanova up to Providence (home of the Big East conf. HQ) and I wasn't really thrilled with that either. When possible, and with seeding I know it's improbable, but you should avoid seeding teams from the same conference not only in different brackets, but pods too. That's just my opinion and perhaps it doesn't apply to the Kansas-Kansas State rivalry.

Sure there's no favoritism towards Duke.  They've only played 33 tournament games inside of North Carolina.  They won 29 of them.  I wonder how many games a team like Kentucky has ever got to play in their home state?  North Carolina also gets to play in their home state a LOT too.  They're 26-1 inside their state.  They play in Charlotte, they play in Greensboro, they play in Raleigh, they play in Winston-Salem. - KingGhidora

This is the best part of King's two rant comments. But the NCAA won't say that this is favoritism per say, but it's more just sound business practice. Duke and UNC are good programs, usually top seeds in the NCAA tournament and a first weekend pod or regional final would appeal to a lot of fans there, probably even if the local teams weren't involved. But it's a good point for the conspiracy theorists (I'm not one of them) but the NCAA will also say that they make the brackets for competitiveness only and not to make money, and, well, the NCAA is full of it and we all know it.

--Butler plays UTEP in the first round, not Utah St. Utah St. plays Texas A&M, I believe. - Sabermetrics

You're right, bad job my me here. I apologize for not catching that, but the point still stands. Ranked/high-seed mid-majors shouldn't play good mid-majors in the first round. I want to see these teams against power conferences. Just like how I wanted to see a game other than TCU-Boise St. in the BCS, and we know how I feel about the BCS. And kudos to a Hofstra fan for pointing that out, something you selfish Duke fans would never have done. Mid-Majors watch each other's backs and I must have been in UConn mode and not sticking to my Rider roots when I wrote that. My bad. The lesson, as always, I am an idiot. Never forget this.

Do you even know that Kentucky is in the tournament?  Getting Texas as a potential second round match-up and red-hot West Virginia as your #2...who could have more to gripe about?? - UJ40

Look, maybe if Texas or Wake Forest weren't colder than ice entering the NCAAs, I'd agree with you. But since niether of those teams should scare you, get over it. Now, if you want to make an arguement for your Sweet 16 matchup between Temple, Wisconson or the spunky Ivy Leaguers, Cornell. Then maybe I'll listen to you. Yes, as the "2nd" No. 1 seed that means you should be paired up with the "3rd" No. 2 seed. So you want Nova or K-State? Or you could be Kansas, the best No. 1 playing the best No. 2. Pipe down.

I may be a little biased towards Duke because I am a fan and grew up a fan, but I think Duke deserved its placement and has a very hard road to the final four.  Duke got a number one seed ahead of Syracuse because Syracuse lost it's final three games and did not win the Big East tournament.  Duke won the ACC tournament, so they deserved the placement they got.  Duke also has to play some dangerous teams such as Louisville, Villanova, and Texas Tech.  All of these teams have the talent for big upsets. - dukefan9

jhawk11131 correctly pointed out that Texas Tech is in the NIT. But, I never questioned Duke's No. 1 seed. Maybe they should have been behind Syracuse, but obviously they struggled late and lost to a nationally ranked team in the Big East quarters. I agree that L'Ville could pull off the upset, but the bottom half of Duke's bracket for the Sweet 16 doesn't really scare me. I mean Siena (representing the Metro Atlantic, M-A-A-C BABY!!!) has a legitimate shot at the Sweet 16. Sure there are dangerous teams, but I really expect Duke to make it to the Elite 8. I'm still picking against them (only time I'll root for Pitino and the Cards), but that's more of a personal bias rather then educated decision.

No mention at all of the snub of The PAC-10. 2  teams in and both being low seeds, I believe Cal is 8 and Washington is #11. Arizona State had 23 wins in a major conference and got snubbed. When was teh PAV-10 sent to the mid-majors? - Benjimo313

Look, the Pac-10 sucked this year. No team has been able to keep their best players from going pro and the whole conference has been crippled this year because of it. Arizona St.'s best non-conf win is San Diego St. It split with Washington and got bounced in the Pac-10 quarters by Stanford. That's why ASU and VA Tech were left out. No good wins, weak non-conf schedules and 20 wins isn't good enough anymore. You have to have a complete resume now, and they didn't. And I won't even mention ASU getting bounced in the NIT by 8th seeded Jacksonville. Whoops, too late.

Thanks for the comments guys. We are a little less than two hours away from the NCAA Tournament kicking off. Hope you enjoyed the mailbag. Thanks again for the CBS Community Gods for featuring my previous post, which I think is still up on the main homepage.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com