Sweet 16 2018 Bracket.

S.Samek

Well my indent was to go round by round with my bracket picks. However  after round one I just said to heck with it after my bracket was busted.

So I went with an idea based off ESPN and have a second chance Bracket. These are my picks for the sweet 16 all the way to the finals.

South
9Kansas State
5Kentucky

11Loyola-Chicago
7Nevada

Then In Kentucky Loyola-Chicago game I’M taking The Wildcats.

Kentucky is the south region champ.

West
9Florida State
4Gonzaga

3Michigan
7Texas A&M

In the west we see another seven and another nine seed still alive. Yet I’m sticking with the best seed still in with Michigan to advance to the final four.

 

East
1Villanova
5West Virginia

3Texas Tech
2Purdue

This is the most exciting part of the bracket to watch by seeding. Upsets haven’t ravaged this bracket. Yet I think the kings of this region are coming in with the highest seed. WVU takes a trip to the final four via some country roads.

Midwest
1Kansas
5Clemson

11Syracuse
2Duke

This is a bracket of powerhouses. Each of these games should be close. Yet I think Kansas stands tall  as the only one seed to make a final four.

I’m then taking Kansas to win it all. They dispatch WVU and Kentucky to do so.

 

 

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UMBC

S.Samek

Well it’s called March madness for a reason.

 
UMBC, That’s the University of Maryland Baltimore County out of the America East conference has done the unthinkable. Took down a one seed as a 16 seed. First time this has ever happened.

 

They didn’t win a close one, or lucky one either. Nope a no doubter 20-point win. Just to be sure you remember them.

 
So, congratulations on a historic win. Congrats again on screwing over like every bracket in America.

I do really think this is a fluke. I like how they are 10-point underdogs in a match with Kansas State. While the win was impressive I don’t see K State underestimating them. So really this upset was a fairly moot point. Granted it could be seen as a starting point, or an exceeds expectations type of season. Yet if you don’t win it all why does it matter.

So, celebrate, then get out of the tournament. Stop messing up more brackets. This was a lucky victory that no one expected, but don’t bet the house on another one.

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Bracket Round of 64

S.Samek

I’ll do something a bit different when picking a bracket. I’m not going to make a full one and just go round by round. Grated my picks will be shown here so I will know how well I did and can show I’m not cheating. Then again not in it for any gain only fun. So here are my picks for winners in the round of 64.

South Region

(1) Virginia (31-2)
(16) UMBC (24-10)
(8) Creighton (21-11)
(9) Kansas State (22-11)
(5) Kentucky (24-10)
(12) Davidson (21-11)
(4) Arizona (27-7)
(13) Buffalo (26-8)
(6) Miami (FL) (22-9)
(11) Loyola-Chicago (28-5)
(3) Tennessee (25-8)
(14) Wright St. (25-9)
(7) Nevada (27-7)
(10) Texas (19-14)
(2) Cincinnati (30-4)
(15) Georgia St. (24-10)

 

East Region
(1) Villanova (30-4)
(16) LIU-Brooklyn/Radford
(8) Virginia Tech (21-11)
(9) Alabama (19-15)
(5) West Virginia (24-10)
(12) Murray State (26-5)
(4) Wichita State (25-7)
(13) Marshall (24-10)
(6) Florida (20-12)
(11) St. Bonaventure/UCLA
(3) Texas Tech (24-9)
(14) Stephen F. Austin (28-6)
(7) Arkansas (23-11)
(10) Butler (20-13)
(2) Purdue (28-6)
(15) CS Fullerton (20-11)

Midwest
(1) Kansas (27-7)
(16) Penn (24-8)
(8) Seton Hall (21-11)
(9) NC State (21-11)
(5) Clemson (23-9)
(12) New Mexico St. (28-5)
(4) Auburn (25-7)
(13) Charleston (26-7)
(6) TCU (21-11)
(11) Arizona St./Syracuse
(3) Michigan St. (29-4)
(14) Bucknell (25-9)
(7) Rhode Island (25-7)
(10) Oklahoma (18-13)
(2) Duke (26-7)
(15) Iona (20-13)

 

West Region
(1) Xavier (22-5)
(16) NC Central/Texas So.
(8) Missouri (20-12)
(9) Florida St. (20-11)
(5) Ohio St. (24-8)
(12) South Dakota St. (28-6)
(4) Gonzaga (30-4)
(13) UNC Greensboro (27-7)
(6) Houston (26-7)
(11) San Diego St. (22-10)
(3) Michigan (28-7)
(14) Montana (26-7)
(7) Texas A&M (20-12)
(10) Providence (21-13)
(2) North Carolina (25-10)
(15) Lipscomb (23-9)

 

Stallings Fired

S.Samek

All I can say is it’s about time.

 
The University of Pittsburgh has announced head men’s basketball coach Kevin Stallings has been fired.

 
Stalling was at Pitt for two seasons, in which the Panthers failed to make any postseason tournament. Last season Stallings went 16-17 an underwhelming season. This year he went 8-24 including an 0-19 mark in ACC play. This is the worst Pitts season ever. No other team in division one didn’t win a conference game

 

It wasn’t even close to a good season. Most of Pitt’s conference loses hurt. They got blown out game after game being beaten by 20-30 points. Only four games were decided by ten points or less. They scored just seven points in a half against Virginia.

 

 

Grated yes it was a Pitt roster with a lot of turnover and young players. I don’t see that as an excuse though as many freshmen led teams do perfectly well. Getting blown out week in and out has to come from either being mismatched, or a lack of leadership at the top.

 

 

Yes, Pitt plays in the ACC, which is a tough conference, but something still has to give. You can still challenge top tier teams. It just seems to me like Stallings is failing to motivate his team as even an 8-5 out of conference record seems pretty bad. Especially with some of the schools they lost too like Penn State and Montana.

 
I’m just not seeing anything positive Stallings did to keep his spot. The culture shifted under him from Jamie Dixon’s winning ways to losing a lot. Glad to see him go and it should be interesting to see who takes his place.

 

 

Los Vegas Aces

S.Samek

Move over Vegas Golden Knights, you are no longer the only professional sports team in sin city.

 
The WNBA is adding the Los Vegas Aces for the 2018 season. This is the relocation of the San Antonio Stars.

 

I really like this move. Vegas is a big sports town without the teams to match. This gives them a second sports team in a professional league, before the Oakland Raiders come to town. Gives sports fans another option other than hockey ,or minor league baseball.

 

Basketball does have a good shot of success in Vegas. The NBA hosts the summer league there, the Reno Big Horns of the G League set up shop not far away.

 

This summers Big3 summer league hosted the championships there.

 

Plus, the Mountain West Conference hosts their tournament for basketball at the Thomas and Mack Center, home to UNLV hoops.

 

It also puts the Aces out of the shadow of the Spurs. With the Stars struggling and the Spurs almost always in the playoffs, it could be easy to see where the Stars could be ignored.

 
Vegas doesn’t have pro basketball so there’s only one ticket in town for that.

 

The name is pretty solid. It goes well with the gambling nature of Vegas. However, what a boring logo. I do like the red, silver and black color scheme and it does look like the logo has a metallic look to it which is cool. Yet, its mostly a bunch of triangles. Boring and not something I want to wear on a t-shirt.

 

They could have done a better job of playing with the cities gambling theme in the logo, but it wasn’t done.

 
Though buzz for this team is high. They have a new coach in Bill Laimbeer. They also hold the number one pick in the WNBA draft.

 

This is the second year in a row for them to draft in the number one slot, with which the then Stars selected Kelsey Plum.

 

Wishing the Aces best of luck this season. This is a great move and I hope it works well for future expansion in the WNBA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ball Family Strikes Again.

S.Samek

The Ball family strikes again. Not for reasons in a positive light either.

 

The big announcement is that Liangelo Ball has been pulled out of UCLA. Liangelo hasn’t played in any games for the Bruins this year. He will look to transfer. This comes after an incident in which Liangelo was suspended indefinitely for shoplifting during a team trip to China.

 

I guess it makes sense to me to explore other options if you’re not going to play. Yet it was his own fault for shoplifting as to why he got suspended.

 
Yet Lavar Ball will let his youngest son Lamelo commit to UCLA just like Lonzo Ball did.

 
The Los Angeles Lakers announced a rule that plan to enforce. This is that no media member may congregate outside of the section designated for family members and associates of players.

 
The rule has been dubbed the Lavar Ball rule after the infamous father did an on -court interview on opening night of the season.

 
While he hasn’t done anything like that sense. He can’t do it anymore. However, the league does allow on court access for those with credentials.

 
This is a fair rule. Give the players some space to breath without a camera, or notepad in front of their face. Let them enjoy family time. Yet still honoring the leagues rules and having the credentialed media members do what they need to do.

 

I just hope Lavar will be quite and let his sons just play some basketball.

 

 

 

 

Backyard Sports Games

A tribute to one of the all time greats on an anniversary.

S.Samek

Sports and video games often seem like they don’t go together. That often those that play video games don’t watch sports. Conversely those that play sports don’t have time to play video games.
Though the perfect match is sports video games. Taking time to play as your favorite NFL, or NHL stars in virtual form can be a lot of fun. I was quite the fan of NHL 01 when I first got my PlayStation two for Christmas in 2001.
Most of my gaming was and still is done on my computer. It was one title in particular that was the reason for this. It had numerous forms that I would pick up and play depending on what I was feeling that day, or time of year. It was the Backyard Sports series.
The most well-known of these titles is baseball. It fact it just turned 20 years old the other day. You can read all about it here.

I too would love to give a shutout to the games that shaped my future career path the most. These games even a bit to this day are put into a cd room drive and hoped that they work so that I can practice announcing.

The first game I played in the series was baseball back in 1997. This was the original version with no pro athletes as kids. I remember playing with the easy ball and not being very good.

I picked the Bombers as my team name and a bunch of random kids, including the goat in Pablo Sanchez. They never won the championship. I later restarted as the Giants. This was a team that I stacked with better talent such, as Jocinda Smith, Keisha Phillips, Pete Wheeler and of course Sanchez. It was this team that would carry me to my first backyard sports title. I would then pick up the 2005 edition to replace it and it’s still my favorite of all the backyard games.

I then remember getting backyard football 2002. There I took a Pittsburgh Steelers team of almost all quarterbacks and won it all, multiple times. I then switched to a more accurate team with actual position players and continued to win big.

Backyard Soccer then came into the mix in 2004. There I got my first taste of MLS. It was a fun game, but just not my favorite. Though It would be my pick for most challenging as you had to win your way through three divisions like in real soccer to even have a shot at the championship title.
Next to the mix was basketball and hockey. Both equally as fun. In fact, basketball is the one I played most recently.
Then finally we have skateboarding. Overall this maybe the worst of the main series games. They only made one of this game. It was on the trickier side if I recall. You had to remember some button combinations for each trick. Some of which could be rather long. I haven’t beaten this title yet in fact. I got through to the medieval level’s final boss and it keeps beating me. Still pretty fun though.

 
Now why this game is so useful. I like to use it as a broadcast practice tool. Even before I knew I wanted to study broadcasting I would do play by play during each game. It didn’t matter the sport, nor the team, or even time of day. Yes, I was told to quiet down after announcing games at midnight, or later.

 
It didn’t matter to me though, it was always fun. Weather it was a big run by Pablo Sanchez, or routine ground out back to the mound for Dontrelle Willis to Carlos Delgado each play was done best I could. Often in a very informal style, but best I could.

 
After I learned a bit more of theory I would try to apply it to each game. Though it was a bit tougher at times. Three on three hoops aren’t five on five. The in-game power ups don’t have real world applications, even if they are fun to use. Yet it was still a chance to get experience even if just for fun and myself.

 

Overall, I just think this game has contributed greatly to my passion for sports. Didn’t matter if I was just a pick-up game, or the last game of the Astonishingly Shiny cup of all cups tournament. I was immersed in a game and it meant something to me. It was a chance to chase the passion, to dream my future dream. Even if it was just for 4 minutes of entertainment.

 
Sadly, most of my editions no longer work from trying to download on multiple computers. Also, doesn’t help that even if you find a disk it’s either expensive, or you don’t have a disk drive on a laptop.
Yet the legacy lives on. It lives on in my heart and mind as I remember those hours spent drafting, practicing and playing around. Winning games by absurd margins using strategy that would never work in real life. It instilled in me that passion for sports that is just as present today as it was back in 1999. Here’s to a great game celebrating a fantastic run.