Duke/Wisconsin Championship Matchup (NCAA)

General Sports, Home, NCAA

Three weeks of upsets, busted brackets, and a dismantled quest for an undefeated season define this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Tonight, I’ll be a man of my word (and my bracket) and stick to Wisconsin to take it all. Duke is a great team, who also beat the Badgers earlier in December.

But, this is April. It’s the championship. Everything else before tonight’s tip-off does not matter at all.

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The key for Wisconsin to win this matchup will depend on getting Duke’s big men in foul trouble and stretching them out to guard the perimeter. In December, Wisconsin’s field goal percentage was about 40%. Judging from the good shooting night versus Kentucky, the Badgers should carry the same momentum into tonight’s game.

For the Duke fans out there (who mainly want to avenge Kentucky’s loss), the Blue Devils still have a chance to cut the net when the buzzer sounds. Jahlil Okafor will be the catalyst for the Blue Devils to control the game. If Okafor has a great game, Duke’s team will follow suit.

The length of Duke’s big men will be a great match for Wisconsin, so I expect Frank Kaminsky to get more physical than Saturday’s game.

Duke fans should hope the Wisconsin guards have a bad shooting night, because it will be a long game if they’re feeling it.

This will be a close one with the Badgers cutting the net, 75-71.

Wisconsin v Arizona

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Kentucky/Wisconsin Matchup (NCAA)

General Sports, Home, NCAA

The true excitement of March Madness has remained on the “left side” of the bracket, highlighting the Kentucky Wildcats’ success. Their 29-0 record shows their dominance, as well as their resiliency. This young Wildcats line-up has faced a great deal of opponents, but I believe Wisconsin will really be a team to ruffle their feathers (or de-claw them, since they’re “cats”). I have to admit, my bracket has Wisconsin taking it all.

Wisconsin v Arizona

Wisconsin Forward Frank Kaminsky

I’m going with experience this time around versus the young, skilled, Kentucky line-up. Kentucky is the favorite to win it all, but I have very high hopes that Wisconsin will be the team to finally give Kentucky a run for its money.

Thank goodness the Badgers didn’t make the same mistake as West Virginia.

This game will be one you will not want to miss! It’s basketball in its most competitive form and I’m excited for how the Kentucky Wildcats will rise up to the challenge of the Wisconsin Badgers.

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Let’s be honest, Kentucky is trying to make history. These young guys want the championship. Plus, this is a rematch from last year’s early departure of the ‘Cats vs. Wisconsin.

I’ll be on the edge of my seat cheering for the Badgers.

‘Til next time.

Duke/Michigan State Matchup (NCAA)

General Sports, Home, NCAA

1 Duke vs. 7 Michigan State

Will the underdog Spartans rise from the shadows of powerhouse Duke?

I believe this game will live up to the hype, such as the Kentucky/Wisconsin matchup. Michigan State barely put away Louisville last weekend, which also went into overtime. If Duke allows Mich. St. to hang around in the final seconds, it can spell trouble for the Blue Devils. The key to Duke’s success in this matchup is Jahlil Okafor staying out of foul trouble. I will point out that Mich. St. has great defense and chemistry, but Duke’s big men should have the advantage in this one.

This game should go down to the wire with Duke putting the Spartans away in a late surge 74-67.

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And Then There Were None (NCAA)

General Sports, NCAA

Day one of March Madness is in the books. Upsets, upsets, upsets! These three words pretty much sum up what transpired on yesterday for Texas teams in the NCAA Tournament.

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If you weren’t aware, there are actually 0 teams representing the state of Texas in March Madness right now. I anticipated the losses of Texas Southern and Stephen F. Austin (mainly because SFA is my alum’s rival). Oh, and Texas since I predicted UT getting sent home in the 3rd round. However,  I cannot say the same for Baylor and SMU.

Judging from my bracket below, you can see I was a victim of “Texas bias”. Baylor AND SMU making it to the Elite Eight?! Yea, I guess you can say I had high hopes.

It was unfortunate that both teams fell to underdog opponents. I can only imagine how long the bus/airplane ride back home feels. However, these teams should be back in the tourney next year. SMU lost a few starters and managed to win their conference this past year. I look forward to the Mustangs readjusting and making a lengthier run in the 2016 tourney.

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Fans of the Bears have a lot of positives going into next season, mainly because they’re only losing two seniors. Baylor has always been a tough competitor. Plus, there will be a chip on their shoulder as they look for redemption in 2016.

Let’s just be thankful I didn’t predict one of those Texas teams to win it all.

So far, I have four brackets in total (three on ESPN Tourney Challenge; one on CBS Sports that you see below).

Surprisingly, I was sold on the idea of Kentucky (and even Duke) winning the championship. But I have a good feeling that Wisconsin may be the team to surprise everyone.

At the end of the day, it’s March Madness. Anything can happen (like the goal-tending call on SMU

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Does TCU Deserve to be Ranked over Baylor? (College Football)

General Sports, NCAA

The Horned Frogs have earned the spot as of now according to the College Football Playoff  Selection Committee, but do they really deserve to play in the semifinal with a loss to Baylor on its résumé?

I was recently posed this question following the Selection Committee’s recent rankings and thought it would be a good idea to post my answer on here. Before I begin, I love Baylor and TCU but the numbers do not lie. In my opinion, rank should be based upon more than an overall record, such as strength of schedule and the way teams performed in wins and losses.

Well, let’s begin:

TCU has a better record against common opponents:

The beauty of the current Big 12 setup is that each team plays every other team, so when comparing résumés between Big 12 teams, you get plenty of chances to compare performances.

Thus far, TCU and Baylor have both played Oklahoma and West Virginia. Both teams got the best of the Sooners, but in different ways. TCU played an undefeated, full-strength Sooners squad at home and held on to a small lead late at home. Baylor played Oklahoma without its best receiver, dominating the Sooners in Norman. The Bears might have the advantage there, but the games against West Virginia may be a better comparison. Both teams had to go to Morgantown, but only TCU was able to come away with a victory on the road, winning on a last-second field goal. The Bears were held from doing much against WVU in a 41-27 loss.

TCU’s loss to Baylor is better than Baylor’s loss to West Virginia:

While Baylor has the head-to-head battle on TCU, that loss is probably the best loss on any résumé in the country. If you look at it as any random opponent and not a head-to-head matchup, TCU led for the better part of three quarters over its opponent, mostly dominating while on the road. That loss was a result of one bad quarter and came against a top 10 opponent. Baylor’s loss, regardless of what TCU did against West Virginia, came to a team that has three losses this season in a game in which Baylor never seemed to have a chance to win after halftime. If you take the head-to-head element out of it, TCU’s loss is much more understandable and forgivable than Baylor’s.

TCU has a tougher out-of-conference schedule:

The schedules for these teams match up pretty well for a side-by-side comparison. Both play a full nine-game Big 12 schedule against all the same teams. They each convincingly beat an FCS opponent, with TCU beating Samford 48-14 while Baylor beat Northwestern state 70-6. Both teams had fun beating up SMU, as TCU won in Dallas 56-0 while the Bears opened McLane Stadium with a 45-0 thrashing of the Mustangs.

The difference in schedule comes in that last game. The Horned Frogs scheduled a home-and-home with Jerry Kill’s Minnesota program that started in Fort Worth this year and heads north in 2015. TCU didn’t have much trouble in that one, shutting down the Golden Gophers in a 30-7 game in which Minnesota didn’t get on the board until the fourth quarter. The Gophers have only made that TCU win look better as the season continues by contending in the Big Ten West and compiling a 7-2 record thus far. Baylor’s answer? The Bears hit the road for a Friday night matchup with Buffalo. The MAC (Mid-American Conference) team brought its best, but fell to Baylor 63-21. The Bulls are a weak 5-6 this season and will need to win its final game to become bowl eligible. These wins just don’t compare, and rewarding Baylor for scheduling cake walks is not a good precedent for the committee to set in the first year of this system.