Sunday, March 31, 2013

Play Ball!! My Baseball 2013 Predictions

My goodness, the baseball season has snuck on us all of a sudden!!  For those of us in the DC area, this is a great sign for many reasons.  The weather is finally breaking better (hopefully no more snow!!!)...and the Nats will be bringing tons of excitement (and huge expectations).  Will they come through?  That would be one of the year's biggest stories.

So this year's predictions will be more truncated than in years past.  What you'll see is predicted order and records...and not much else.  I'll try to elaborate as best I can, but with the tight timing, it's the best I can do.  So here we go...

AL East

Even with the Yankees and Red Sox somewhat off their past norms, this will still be the best division in baseball.  Just be don't be fooled into all the players Toronto bought in the off season

1. Tampa Bay 96-66

2. Toronto  94-68

3. NY Yankees 86-66

4. Baltimore  83-79

5. Boston 75-87

AL Central

Again will be one of the weaker divisions in baseball, but could one of the most wide open.  Detroit had to rally late to win last year; they shouldn't have to do the same this year.

1. Detroit  90-72

2. Cleveland 82-80

3. Chicago 81-81

4. Kansas City  76-86

5. Minnesota 65-97

AL West

The West may not be quite as good as the AL East, but it's hard to argue that Texas, Los Angeles or Oakland won't make noise this season.

1. Los Angeles 95-67

2. Texas 92-70

3. Oakland 84-78

4. Seattle 75-87

5. Houston 58-104

Saturday, March 30, 2013

March Madness 2013: Elite Eight Preview

And now we are down to Eight in the Madness.  It may not be rock chalk (or whatever), but the games will still be compelling.  There is only one #1 seed alive this year and they way things are going, maybe by the Final Four, there will be none.

Ohio State vs. Wichita State.  tOSU has had its last win games decided by last second heroics.  I still think they are playing the best basketball of late and should continue their run.  If the Shockers pull the upset, they would be the first Missouri Valley team in the Final Four since Larry Bird's Indiana State in 1979.  I picked Ohio State for the Final Four and they are still my pick in this one.

Syracuse vs. Marquette.  Marquette has taken advantage of its early luck to put together a great run.  Will it continue?  It won't be easy, but I think they beat the Orange.

Louisville vs. Duke.  The only #1 and #2 seeds remaining.  I'm a little surprised at Duke remaining alive, but they get here on their defense.  But can they stop the freight train that is Louisville??  I don't think it will be that close.  My pick: Louisville.

Florida vs. Michigan.  Michigan rallied in a big way Friday night and carry that momentum forward.  Is there enough left to top Florida, who beat the tourney darlings Florida Gulf Coast?  Many thought it was a reach to pick Florida for the Final Four, but I will stick with them.


There was breaking news today as Steve Alford was named UCLA's new head coach.  Considering the high expectations of this program and its history, this is a no win situation.  Alford has never coached beyond the Sweet Sixteen and that alone makes this a strange hire.  Alford's a good coach, but is this truly a good fit?  We shall see..

Jp13

March Madness 2013: Sweet Sixteen Recap

This is turning out to be one wacky tournament.  And the Sweet Sixteen was not so sweet to the favorites:

Thursday's games:

Ohio State vs. Arizona.  This game had an exciting finish as Ohio State had another last second stunner.  One favorite that did survive.

Wichita State vs. LaSalle.  If not for Florida Gulf Coast, the Shockers would be getting the Cinderella slipper. 

Indiana vs. Syracuse.  The Orange were dominant throughout as Indiana bows out meekly.  Syracuse has played very well since the Big East finale.

Miami vs. Marquette.  Miami took a major dump in Coach Jim Larranaga's return to DC.  Marquette did not need luck this time to advance.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Madness 2013: Sweet Sixteen Preview

After a couple of days off, we're back to the Madness.  And with three teams seeded 12 or higher, it truly is Madness.  With Washington, D.C. hosting one of the Regionals, can lightning strike twice for Jim Larranaga??

East Region

Indiana vs. Syracuse.  One of major matchups of this round.  Syracuse has looked better to me than expected and Indiana will have their hands full.  I still think Indiana should have enough to move on.  My pick: Indiana.

Miami vs. Marquette.  Miami's Larranaga has been here once before; will history repeat?  Marquette may be the luckiest team in the Sweet Sixteen...but still a very tough team nonetheless.  My pick: Miami.

West Region

The region that totally blew up.

Ohio State vs. Arizona.  tOSU may be playing the best out everyone left over.  Arizona is a surprise to be this far.  My pick: Ohio State.

Wichita State vs. LaSalle.  Glad to see two mid major programs still alive.  At least we'll have one alive in the next round.  I didn't pick either this far, but I'd like to see LaSalle move on.

Monday, March 25, 2013

March Madness 2013: Round Of 32 Sunday Review

Well, the sad thing about March Madness is that the first four days of the tournament fly by...just like that.  At least the best was saved for last on Sunday, as we saw some of the most exciting games of the four days.  Plus we saw a little bit of history.  The games:

San Diego State vs. Florida Gulf Coast.  I'm going to jump this one up first.  The eagles from Florida's Gulf Coast gave us enough excitement in their game against Georgetown.  What to do for an encore??  Advance to the Sweet Sixteen!!  Florida Gulf Coast became the first #15 seed to ever advance to the Sweet Sixteen.  And could spoil another Florida's school's chance to advance to the Final Four.  And about my argument about conference tournaments...since UFGC finished second in the Atlantic Sun....

Ohio State vs. Iowa State.  Probably the best game of the day in terms of drama.  Especially with a controversial charge/block call that ultimately changed the end of the game.  Iowa State is a good team, but not enough to beat tOSU.  We were also .5 seconds away from the first overtime/buzzer beater

Indiana vs. Temple.  Indiana had to rally really late in this one to overcome Temple.  great drama throughout.

Kansas vs. UNC.  It took One full game and a half, but we finally saw what Kansas is capable of.  But they should be very wary of Michigan next week.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March Madness 2013: Round of 32 Sunday Preview

Hard to believe but we move to Sunday already in the four day marathon of March Madness.  Usually by now the craziness and bracket busting has worn on me.  The Sunday games with the new TV setup is such that the games drag on into the evening.  I liked the old setup where the games were done by 6pm(ish) and that was it.  Choices will have to be made tonight...

We finally saw a little more excitement Saturday night as the afternoon games were an absolute snore.  The Marquette-Butler game was very exciting; Gonzaga lost and Syracuse was involved in a tight one down the stretch.  But so far, there have been no overtime or buzzer beater games.  There have been 14 games (out of 40) decided by less than ten points. Also, of the 8 Sweet Sixteen teams so far, there's only one non major conference team (Wichita State).  Let's see what will happen today:

Ole Miss vs. LaSalle.  The only game with double digit seeded teams playing together (which means I have zero games in this matchup).  I'm an east coast guy, so I'm hoping for LaSalle..also especially since it would add a non major school to the mix.

Ohio State vs. Iowa State.  tOSU is playing their best ball of the year...but Iowa State could pose some problems.  My pick: Ohio State

Duke vs. Creighton.  Creighton can score, but can they defend?  I think Duke struggles again, but will get by.  My pick: Duke.

Indiana vs. Temple.  Indiana won't have it as easy as Friday, but should still breeze to the next round.  My pick: Indiana.