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Sweet 16 Loss Ends Season For Hoosiers

March 29, 2013 Comments off

The Indiana Hoosiers would fall to the Syracuse Orange in the Sweet 16. The Hoosiers are the second No. 1 seed to fall out of the tournament. (Credit: InsideTheHall.com)

The Indiana Hoosiers would fall to the Syracuse Orange in the Sweet 16. The Hoosiers are the second No. 1 seed to fall out of the tournament. (Credit: InsideTheHall.com)

Indiana Hoosiers fell to Syracuse Orange Thursday 50-61, and different areas of the game made the result of the second No. 1 seeded team to lose early in the tournament.

The 2-3 zone, too big of a game for Yogi Ferrell, scoreless Jordan Hulls, refs unfair in foul calls and Tom Crean was outcoached were a few reasons, or excuses, for how Indiana would eventually fall for successive years in the Sweet 16.

Turnovers. That was the game changer for Indiana as they fell Thursday. Syracuse was able to force 18 total turnovers for the game, 12 in the first half and 10 in the first 10 and a half minutes of the game.

Allowing the Orange to outscore the Hoosiers 12-2 on points off turnovers in the first half, put Indiana down 12 heading into the locker room at halftime. Many turnovers came down to the high-paced offense Indiana has shown all season.

“Strength and size no doubt had something to do with (Yogi and Hulls),” Crean said. “It wasn’t the missed opportunities of scoring that hurt us so much, but the points of turnovers that turned into live-ball turnovers.

Though, their season average per game in turnovers was 12, which was matched in the first half, and turnovers will be high when in a run’n gun offense.

Yogi Ferrell ended his freshman season with 0 points, 1 assist and 4 turnovers. (Credit: CincinnatiBell.net)

Yogi Ferrell ended his freshman season with 0 points, 1 assist and 4 turnovers. (Credit: CincinnatiBell.net)

“Yogi will be a great player, and it is the first time he has seen that kind of zone and length,” Coach Crean said postgame. “You have to have quickness, and unless you have five (Hanner Mosquera) Parea’s, you can’t sim a zone like that in practice.”

Ferrell did not start the second half after starting with four turnovers. Will Sheehey took his place, and had his own issues like he had for many weeks leading to the NCAA Tournament.

Sheehey is an interesting player, and after getting off to a great start in the season, fizzled through the duration. He gave a spark off the bench as the Hoosiers jumped to a seven-point deficit early in the second half, but few poor decisions later, missed free-throws and chuck threes, Indiana found themselves losing trace of the lead.

Atrocious is the word to describe Sheehey’s shooting in games. Anything outside of the paint and he is ice cold. He is a great player when he pump-fakes, dribble drives and passes from the baseline, but he is not a threat to teams who leave him open like Hulls and Christian Watford were.

Lastly, was the inability of Hulls to make shots beyond the arc. People want to put all the pressure on Zeller playing well in order for the Hoosiers to win, but, in reality, it is more important for Watford and Hulls to make shots by a drive-and-kick in order to get Zeller the spacing in the paint.

Unfortunately for the Hoosier faithful, Hulls had arguably the worst month of his career in March while playing for Indiana. His field goal percentage was 26 percent and his three-point percentage was 23.5 percent during the final eight games of the season. As he agreed to, his shooting performance will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Three seniors will leave the Hoosiers, while they may lose more players. (Credit: TMNews.com)

Three seniors will leave the Hoosiers, while they may lose more players. (Credit: TMNews.com)

This team had high expectations entering the season. Being a No. 1 seed was expected, winning the Big Ten Championship was expected and winning a sixth championship banner was the most expected.

The level of talent in the starting-five was inarguable, but it will leave the team and fans in disappointment when next year’s team will not be as high-profile. The Hoosiers are losing seniors Hulls, Watford and Derek Elston, but more than likely will lose sophomore Zeller and junior Victor Oladipo.

In their postgame press conferences, Oladipo and Zeller both told the media they haven’t thought about the NBA draft at all. Obviously, they have thought about the draft, and they will not return for their junior and senior years.

If the feeling of defeat and disappointment of not reaching the Elite 8, Final Four or championship game isn’t enough for them to say they are returning, then nothing is.

So say goodbye to four of starting-five, and welcome the possibility of making another run for a title in a few years.

March Madness Final Four, Darkhorses and Champion Predictions

March 15, 2012 Comments off

The SOUTH: Kentucky

Looking at everyone’s brackets, Kentucky is the overwhelming favorite. Though they enter the tournament losing the SEC Championship game to a rising Vanderbilt team, few teams have managed to contain Anthony Davis. If they get matched up with IU in the Sweet 16, it’s hard to see the Hoosiers beating them twice in the same year.

Darkhorse: Duke

The No. 2 seed, Duke, is the only team that could, at will, give Kentucky a run. The Plumlee brothers could contain Davis and have guards to match up with Kentucky’s quick play.

The WEST: Michigan St.

Watching the Big Ten Championship game was enough proof to say the Spartans are Final Four bound. MSU has an all around game that many teams have a hard time defending. When MSU makes runs it is when they are most dangerous as they have streaky shooters along with Green and Nix who can run the floor and play down low.

Darkhorse: Louisville, Missouri

Louisville comes in red hot winning the elusive Big East Tournament and look to keep the momentum going. The team matches up well against MSU with their quick guard, Peyton Siva, and with 6-11 Gorgui Dieng, the lesser-known Anthony Davis, defending down low that boasts one of the best defenses in the country.

Missouri also comes in winning their conference tournament in the Big 12. The Tigers have three players that can knock down the 3 and play fast paced basketball that doesn’t turn the ball over much. They are the safest “live and die by the 3” team out there.

The EAST: Ohio St.

The Buckeyes have a good clear shot at making the Final Four with the absence of Syracuse’s Fab Melo. OSU had a strong showing against the best playing team in America at the time: Michigan St. Sullinger and Thomas come into the tourney playing some of their best basketball. I’m a big fan of a player like Craft who can be a pain to reckon with. He pushes the pace and is in your face, which is a great attribute to have in the tournament setting.

Darkhorse: Florida St.

A team that can beat Duke then North Carolina is no team to underestimate. It was difficult deciding between Florida State and Ohio State because the ‘Noles are the real deal. Both teams are similar, but the edge is to OSU because they create less turnovers and have more consistent offensive threats.

The MIDWEST: North Carolina

The North Carolina story is similar to when they won the whole thing in 2009. A star is hurt and a team’s success is swayed by a player’s health. It was Ty Lawson then, now it’s John Henson. Expecting him to be at least 80% is enough give them the green light to the Final Four. Zeller is playing the best basketball of his career and protects the bucket well. North Carolina always brings their A-game to the Big Dance.

Darkhorse: None

North Carolina will win this Regional.

National Championship Pick: Kentucky

Kentucky has been the team to beat all year, as they are the complete package that can play D, score, and control a game’s tempo, doing it better than any team in the nation. Team-wise, the Wildcats own the best front seven out there; stopping Anthony Davis will not be enough as they have five other scorers than can drop double-digits in any given game.

Kentucky over N. Carolina 66-62

Join March Madness Bracket and Take on BAJA Sports

March 12, 2012 1 comment

Would you like a chance to compete against BAJA Sports bloggers in the 2012 Men’s NCAA Tournament?

Do you think you have an unbeatable bracket that will top others?

BAJA Sports has created a group via CBSsports.com called BAJA Sports (directed to tournament page). The password to join is bajasports. Anyone can join to take on Thomas Hitch, Zach Hughes and Brian Weiss.

Each round takes a different opportunity to score more points for correct picks. In the first round one point is gained by picking a winning team, two points in the second round, four points in the third round, eight points in the 4th round, 16 points in the 5th round and 32 points in the championship game.

So what do you have to gain for winning the tournament?

The winner will receive a ‘BAJA Sports Face Time’ opportunity to publish an article of their choice or to brag about their winning bracket.

Think you have a chance to predict a perfect bracket? It is like we say, “Perfection is NOT enough.”

We are calling you out, do you have what it takes to win?

BAJA Sports: Madness in March starts in Newark

March 17, 2011 Comments off

Kemba Walker hit the buzzer beater for Connecticut during the Big East Tournament. Games begin Thursday starting with West Virgina vs. Clemson at 12:15 broadcasted by CBS. Credit: NYAT

BAJA Sports bloggers C.J. Bowe, Jared Short and Brian Weiss discuss the first few rounds of the Men’s 2011 NCAA Tournament, along with predictions for their Final Four selections.

1. Much talk went into the selection of the No. 1 seeds during Selection Sunday. Did the selection committee make the right decisions with Ohio St., Duke, Kansas and Pittsburgh?

C.J. Bowe: The No. 1 seeds are one of the few things the selection committee got right.  Fans really cannot argue about Ohio State, Kansas, Duke and Pittsburgh having great seasons and deserving a No. 1 seed.  The only team who could have got a one seed that did not was San Diego State.  They do not play in one of the big conferences, but they have been in the top-10 nearly all season. Whenever a team goes 32-2 and their only two losses were against a quality opponent such as BYU (who they did beat in the conference tournament) they had to get some consideration.

Jared Short: Ultimately, Ohio State, Duke, Kansas and Pittsburgh are the rightful owners for the No. 1 seeds. I feel as if Pittsburgh is the weakest of the four No. 1 seeds. Ohio State, Duke and Kansas are good “all-around” teams that have star power. For me, Pittsburgh just does not fit this mold. Pittsburgh is a big physical team, and I am not convinced they play a style of basketball allowing them to progress to the final stages of the tournament. Do not get me wrong, they have the potential to be dangerous, I just do no’t see them as a real contender for the title.  Although I do not see Pittsburgh as a serious threat, there is no team out there that deserved the No. 1 seed more. Overall, the selection committee hit the nail on the head when it comes to the No. 1 seed selections this year.

Brian Weiss: The committee made the right decisions this year when it came to the No. 1 seeds. Ohio State and Kansas were locks after they both dominated their conference tournaments. Pittsburgh’s body of work throughout the season earned them the other No.1 seed even though they went out in the quarters of the Big East Tournament. That leaves one spot left and I believe it was a two team race between Duke and Notre Dame with Duke winning out. The committee puts a lot of weight on what the teams do in their respected conference tournaments. That being said, Duke cruised through the ACC tournament and crushed No. 2 seeded North Carolina in the championship. Notre Dame was knocked out in the semifinals of the Big East tournament after only winning one game. Overall the committee did a good job on the No.1 seeds this year, nobody was surprised when the brackets were revealed.

2. What teams in your opinion were left out of the tournament this year who deserved a chance to dance? Were there any teams who should not have a chance?

Jared Short: The answer is simple. Colorado. Did teams like UAB and Clemson deserve to make it in? Not more than Colorado did. The committee has some awfully tough decisions every year, but this one should not have been a challenge.

Brian Weiss: Unlike the No.1 seeds where the committee did a good job I think they really “screwed the pooch” on the bubble teams. There were two teams who should have been included, Colorado and Virginia Tech, and two teams, UAB and VCU, who should be playing in the NIT. VCU finished fourth in the Colonial Athletic and were bounced early, same as UAB, in their conference tournament and VCU only had three wins against the top 50 (UAB had one). Colorado had six top 50 victories including three against Kansas State and one against Texas. Virginia Tech beat No. 1 seed Duke along with two other top 50 teams.

C.J. Bowe: This is where I was left wondering what kind of people even pick/seed the teams for the tournament. VCU and UAB making the tournament is absolute garbage over Colorado and Virginia Tech.  Both Colorado and Virgina Tech have 20+ wins and have much better resumes than VCU and UAB put together. Neither VCU or UAB were considered a bubble team yet some how made the tournament.  When a team like Colorado who beats Kansas State three times and Virginia Tech who has gotten snubbed two years in a row with quality wins over Duke and Florida State it really leaves me scratching my head.  Jay Bilas summed it up best, “Sometimes I wonder if the people on the committee know the ball is round.”

3. Everyone wants to know about selections for the Final Four picks. So, who are your predictions to make the Final Four in the 2011 NCAA Tournament?

Brian Weiss: This is a hard year when picking the bracket because the field is much closer talent-wise than the past years. I believe around ten teams have a chance at winning the championship this year. That being said I believe the four No.1 seeds will make it to the Final Four. I see the upsets happening to the lower seeded teams giving the one seeds much easier routes to a Final Four appearance. I will take Kansas and Ohio State in the final with Kansas taking home the hardware this year.

C.J. Bowe: Like always its tough to predict the bracket, but for the most part the No. 1 seeds should be able to make it to the Final Four, besides Duke. Duke has me thinking a lot lately though since Coach K announced yesterday that Kyrie Irving may be playing in the first round.  Nobody knows how Irving will play when/if he comes back, but if he is anything close to how he was before he found injury then I have to think Duke is the favorite to win it all. I’m Going to assume that Irving will be a non-factor though and go with Ohio State, Connecticut, Kansas and Pittsburgh.  The championship will be the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Kansas Jayhawks with Jared Sullinger, David Light and Jon Diebler being too much for the Jayhawks to defend.  At the end of the night, Thee Ohio State University will be on top of the basketball world.

Jared Short: After dissecting the bracket, my Final Four consist of only one No.1 seed. I have Duke, North Carolina, Purdue, and Florida making it to Houston. I believe that Duke will be too much for North Carolina to handle, especially with the news that Irving will be in the lineup. Purdue has the depth needed to win an NCAA championship, and I think that they will do just that.

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