On March 23's second half of 4QR, the guys have scheduling issues with their planned guest, so they freestyle a bit. Scott opens a discussion of how fanbases "sell out" to support their teams in the face of some ethical concerns about players or coaches. Moving on to the NFL, the burning question is "WTF is Charlie Whitehurst?" Joseph interjects with a random celebrity ('s relative) sighting, the fellas talk some NFL Draft trivia, and Andy Reid gets compared to Shaft. (Seriously.) Referees' testicles get abused, and that's before the Epic Fails. Excised music: "I'll Be Your Friend" by Bright Eyes/Neva Dinova and "Heart of Steel" by Galactic featuring Irma Thomas.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
On the first half of the March 23 edition of 4QR, Scott, Joseph and Bobby talk the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, lamenting their battered brackets (thanks, Kansas) and all feeling pretty good about their supported teams making it to the Sweet 16. Unfortunately, we have no visual of Joseph modeling his pimp new NBA sleeve. Bobby makes new picks for the UFC PPV, Scott wonders why his co-hosts can't bring themselves to dig hockey, and a guy who's probably never done an athletic thing in his life gets a shout out in Whodaman. Excised music: "Song for Old People" by Let's Wrestle and "So On and So On" by PM Dawn.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Picture if that girl got into a disfiguring car accident that gave all the popular kids full excuse to abuse and ostracize her for the rest of her days. Robbie Hummel's ACL tear = car accident in this metaphor.
Suddenly, Purdue's 27-5 record didn't happen. The share of the Big Ten title didn't happen. That was some other team doing all that work, and this team that was left was worthless.
Now, the sexy upset pick, the Siena Saints, have been sent home 72-64 by the team who was supposed to be incapable of scoring against a group of over-40 church leaguers.
Like the undead in a George Romero movie, the Boilers were buried a little prematurely, and now they're hungry. And angry.
E'Twaun Moore had a rough 5-15 shooting game, but the usually worthless Keaton Grant propped him up with three second-half bombs, helping the Boilers get an early-second-half 15-point lead and force Siena to dig their way out of a big hole.
Lewis Jackson put up some nice crooked numbers, recording eight points, six rebounds (impressive for a 5'7" waterbug), and seven assists, plus hitting two huge free throws in the last minute.
Of course, there's also JaJuan Johnson. 23 points, 15 rebounds, three blocks. My 4 Quarters Radio guest this past week, Jameson Fleming, spent a good deal of time telling us how Ryan Rossiter could handle JJ. Um...yeah, not so much. Rossiter wasn't bad himself, recording 10 and 12, but JJ made himself at home.
Chris Kramer was doing all the grunt work that he's made his name on, from taking steals to the house for massive dunks to forcing jump balls to forcing terrible shots, and he added 10 points to boot.
Now, all the analysts have to backpedal and try to invent ways to spin this result as Purdue coming into some luck or catching Siena on an off day or some other garbage to avoid admitting one incontrovertible truth: They were wrong.
My last post actually generated an e-mail response from the titular Mike DeCourcy himself, which I enjoyed tremendously. I have faith that he'll actually man up and let us know that he underestimated the Boilers, and possibly learned something that he didn't know before.
Not expecting similar candor from anyone affiliated with the Worldwide Leader, though. Ted Miller may have just gotten himself canned with a halfway positive post.
Purdue lost an important body part when Hummel went down, but the heart is still beating a mile a minute. The team's not dead, much as most might want them to be. They may still just eat your brains on general principle, though.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Only one bracket competition bears the name of my radio show, however, and that's the one I have to stand by and make official.
And I'm confident enough in those picks to go ahead and put them out there for public consumption for all...um...15 or so of my readers. So, for the people, here are the 63 winners:
Midwest Round 1: Kansas, UNLV, Michigan State, Houston, Tennessee, Georgetown, Oklahoma State, Ohio State
UNLV/Northern Iowa is one of those serious fence games, and I'm keenly interested to see if UNI can impose their will defensively as they do to so many other opponents. If they do, I'll be wrong here, but Lon Kruger's the difference right now.
Houston's Aubrey Coleman led the nation in scoring, and he's up against a Maryland team that has consistency issues. If Coleman outplays Grievis Vasquez, the Terps have serious problems to deal with.
Tennessee's game with San Diego State will be one to watch, but again, it's down to experience. Bruce Pearl should be able to find more ways to win than Steve Fisher, who's still living off residuals from inheriting Bill Frieder's sloppy seconds back in 1989.
Finally...dear God, do I want to see that James Anderson/Evan Turner matchup in Round 2.
Midwest Round 2: Kansas, Houston, Georgetown, Oklahoma State
Houston over Sparty? With apologies to my past radio guest Adam Biggers, yeah. Houston has a couple of guys who are willing and able to take over the game. MSU? They have guys who are able, but not always willing. Raymar Morgan, Durrell Summers, and Kalin Lucas have not always answered the bell this season, and I won't be surprised if they fail to do so here.
And, the Big Ten love train is not stopping at S*R Station this season. I like Oklahoma State's inside muscle of Marshall Moses and Matt Pilgrim to overwhelm Dallas Lauderdale and make Thad Matta go a little too deep into his (extremely shallow) bench.
Midwest Semifinals: Kansas and Georgetown
Just the two most talented teams in the region. I won't be surprised if someone springs one on the Hoyas, but I think JT3's reached the point where he can have these guys focused on the task at hand.
Midwest Final: Kansas over Georgetown
I will be shocked, however, if anyone pulls one on the Jayhawks. The Big 12 was deceptively tough this year, and Kansas toyed with all of them. Many times, you have teams with talent and teams with experience, but it's teams with both that are hard to bet against. Kansas has a lot of both, so I'm sending them to Indy.
West Round 1: Syracuse, Gonzaga, UTEP, Vanderbilt, Xavier, Pittsburgh, BYU, Kansas State
Compared to Duke, Syracuse drew the Bataan Death March in their regional, and they'll be tested by an eighth seed unlike any other.
I see a big game out of Derrick Caracter carrying the Miners past Butler...and seriously, all the 5-12 games this season are hot, except Michigan State's.
Vandy will have a war on their hands with Murray State...unless A.J. Ogilvy comes heavily ready to play, in which case they can win by 15.
I called it on one bracket as a hunch, but I'll refrain here...just barely. If a 14 is going to beat a 3, I like Oakland over Pitt. Oakland has size inside that Pitt can't quite answer, and the Panthers have occasional scoring issues. Like I said, I'm not quite confident enough to put it here, but if Oakland wins, remember that you DID read it here.
BYU-Florida is the only 7-10 game that I'm not making a concerted effort to try and see. If Florida's within 15 points at the final horn, I'll be surprised.
West Round 2: Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Xavier, Kansas State
If Syracuse survives the second round and gets Arinze Onuaku back at full health, their load gets much, much easier to carry.
Vandy-UTEP will be worth the price of admission. I just see a lot more weapons for Vanderbilt than for UTEP. Caracter and Randy Culpepper will have the Miners in the game until the end, but John Jenkins should be good for at least one mega-game in the Tournament.
The fact that I pondered Oakland over Pitt should be a good sign of how sold I am on Pitt. Xavier wins, and in surprisingly easy fashion.
K-State/BYU should be very close and very high-scoring, but I expect both Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen to show out more than I expect both Jimmer Fredette and Jonathan Tavernari.
West Semifinals: Syracuse and Kansas State
This region has some good scoring guards, but it's the big men who might be the X-factor. I like Onuaku (provided he's returned and healthy) and Rick Jackson to do well against Ogilvy.
Again, K-State will be facing a stud guard in Jordan Crawford, but once again, are there the supplemental weapons for Xavier? I won't be surprised if Xavier threatens to go to Indy, but I still like the Cats.
West Finals: Syracuse
Clemente and Pullen will have to hit shots over the Orange zone. Meanwhile, Wes Johnson, Andy Rautins, and Kris Joseph can come at Kansas State's iffy D from all sides. Honestly, a blowout would not be a total stunner here.
East Round 1: Kentucky, Texas, Temple, Wisconsin, Washington, New Mexico, Missouri, West Virginia
Texas/Wake Forest has been called "the best opportunity for a two-hour nap" outside of the one-seed games. Can't say I disagree, as both these teams seem to have been trying to shoot themselves in the foot all season (or all second half of the season, in Texas' case). Texas just has too many guys who CAN go off, it's a matter of WILL they go off.
Temple/Cornell, I want to have my popcorn ready for. Thankfully, it's on Friday, so I can. Almost a coin flip here, as on a lot of brackets, I've gone for Cornell. But, again, when in doubt, I like coaching experience. Fran Dunphy has more of it than Steve Donahue, so I go Temple. But damn, Jeff Foote's going to make a difference one way or the other.
Washington might start proving that they had more talent than their results showed. Buzz Williams is one of the best coaches in the country, but if U-Dub's backcourt shows up to play, the Huskies might stun some people. Like, a lot of them. Read on.
New Mexico's Darington Hobson will stuff a stat sheet like a madman...(continued below)
Oliver Purnell of Clemson might finally have a shot to win a Tourney game, if he was playing any team other than Mike "40 Minutes of Hell Jr." Anderson and Mizzou.
West Round 2: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Washington, Missouri
Wisconsin/Temple or Wisconsin/Cornell, either game would be bowling-shoe ugly, but that's how the Badgers like it.
(continued from above)...but will anyone else? If Hobson has to go one-man-gang on Montana, that's one thing, but I like Washington a little bit better if they can hit their shots and make other people produce.
And, yeah, Missouri over WVU. Against a high-pressure team, not having a truly reliable point guard can get you taken out fast. I'm agreeing with anyone who said WVU should have had Duke's No. 1 seed, and that would have given them an easy ride. Here, not so much. Da'Sean Butler has a tendency to shoot the 'Neers out of some games, and I'm calling it here.
West Semifinals: Wisconsin and Washington
I've been saying it for a month now: Kentucky will get done in by a freshman doing something stupid. Whether it's Eric Bledsoe trying to show off for the NBA scouts or DeMarcus Cousins trying to bodyslam Keaton Nankivil, if its going to happen, it'll happen against the Badgers.
West Virginia didn't have the point guard to survive Missouri's heat. Washington really doesn't, either, but they also don't have a criminally unchecked loose cannon like Butler to go 4-20, either. This regional is whacked.
West Finals: Wisconsin
Optimistic? No, not really, since it's all based on cynicism about Kentucky's maturity and WVU's shooting. The Badgers are always that team that stays cool and simply plays their game, and this year, they may get a road that allows them to ride that formula all the way to the Final Four.
South Round 1: Duke, California, Utah State, Purdue, Notre Dame, Baylor, Richmond, Villanova
Some people are convinced that Duke got the Yellow Brick Road to Indy here, and I think I'm among them. Unless it's Baylor, I don't see too many other teams who can get the upset done in this region.
Utah State sort of seems like Wisconsin-lite to me. They only allowed five opponents to break 70 all season. Then, they have enough scoring balance to keep the other team guessing. If they put a clamp on Donald Sloan, the Southern Aggies will regret their date with the Northern Aggies.
Now, we get to the meat of the situation. Am I concerned about Purdue's matchup? Sure. Siena's a veteran team with a tourney resume. But, so's Purdue, Robbie Hummel or no Robbie Hummel. I have picked Purdue on every single bracket, and I do so with a defiant middle finger to Tim Keown (see No. 9 on his list), Andy Katz, Pat Forde, and especially Mike DeCourcy. Oh, and you too, POTUS. At least Joe Lunardi has some balls, though.
The Richmond/St.Mary's game, I'll only get to see the first half before I have to head to work today...but I expect to enjoy what I see quite a bit. If the Spiders can get Omar Samhan into foul trouble, they might be able to pull away. Otherwise, we're looking at a slugfest. I've gone the other way on a few brackets.
South Round 2: Duke, Utah State, Baylor, Richmond
Cal's guards were good enough to get them past Louisville, but Duke's got that trio of guys who can all close a game out. Scheyer, Singler, and Smith are hard to stop all at once.
Hedging my Boiler bets a bit? Yeah, maybe. But as I said, Wisconsin-lite. And the Badgers showed they could handle Purdue once this season, maybe the Aggies do the same. But I'll never be happier to miss a pick than I will be here.
Baylor/ND looks like another fun matchup. Again, I'm a stickler for three-headed monsters, and I've been saying all season that I like Tweety Carter, LaceDarius Dunn, and Ekpe Udoh more than any threesome outside of Durham (well, and West Lafayette pre-ACL). Baylor gets to Houston.
I'm not keen on Nova. They can score, but can they stop anyone? Richmond's not exactly a run-and-gun team, but Nova might be capable of making them look that way. And I just realized I've been extremely harsh on the No. 2 seeds this year. Huh.
South Semifinals: Duke and Baylor
Utah State might make it interesting, but Duke's got that talent-experience combo that comes in handy here.
I like the looks of every matchup featuring Richmond, but I think they get rattled a bit by the pro-Baylor crowd in Houston.
South Final: Duke
Maybe the best game of any in this regional. But, Baylor's frustrated me all season. They get a little streak going over the Colorados and Nebraskas of the world, then get a ranked opponent in front of them and leak like a paper rowboat. Duke's too good.
Final Four: Kansas over Syracuse and Duke over Wisconsin
Kansas and the Cuse should be teeing it up for the championship, far as I'm concerned. This one can easily come down to a last-second thriller shot, but I still like the Hawks.
Duke handled Wisconsin-lite in my Sweet 16, now they draw the full diesel version. Probably a tougher game than any other outside of Baylor, but still, three heads are hard to kill all at once. Duke advances.
National Champion: Kansas
Should be a great game, and the burning question centers on whether Brian Zoubek and the Plumlees can keep Cole Aldrich off the block. Says here that they can't.
Do I expect to be burning this bracket by this Sunday? Yeah, probably. But, it's what I got, and it's what I'm rolling with. When it says 4 Quarters, you know it's official.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The second half of March 16's episode starts off with NFL free agent chatter, including the Browns' search for a QB, Terrell Owens' search for a team, and LT distrusting the word of a guy who may or may not have ever been a teammate of his and running to a different team. In the fourth, Scott seeks consolation for the Mavs tanking against the Knicks and Bobby discusses UFC's debut on Versus. And of course, Epic Fails abound. Excised music: "Bittersweet Symphony" by the Verve and "Butterfly" by Crazy Town.
On the first half of the March 16 edition of 4QR, the returning Joseph and Bobby join Scott in some dissection of the NCAA Tourney brackets before being joined by Bleacher Report College Basketball Community Leader Jameson Fleming, who provides a ton of handy tips for those looking for upsets in their office pools. Most of the hour is college hoop-driven, except for a brief stopover on Tiger Woods Watch, Whodaman, and a very late rendition of the Concert Calendar, with special emphasis on Car Wash. Listen and find out. Excised music: "Rumors" by Timex Social Club and "You Get What You Give" by New Radicals. (It's "One-Hit Wonder Tuesday," in honor of everyone picking Scott's Boilers and Joseph's Vols to be one-hit wonders in the Tournament.)
Monday, March 15, 2010
On the second half of the March 10 solo experiment, Scott is joined for the third quarter by Adam Biggers of the Flint (Mich.) Journal to talk Big Ten Tournament, whether or not Big Ten coaches are underrated, and why Talor Battle of Penn State should be checked for a hernia. In the fourth, Bobby finally calls in to chat about Nashville's potential MMA-hotbed status in April, and the Epic Fail this week involves a man who should not let multilingual blind people do his hair. Excised music: "Sex & Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll" by Ian Dury and "The High Road" by Broken Bells. As always, click the links to buy MP3's from Amazon, and all songs can be sampled for free at Grooveshark.
A very different sound to this week's episode (original air date: March 10). Scott flies solo (mostly) with Joseph and Bobby off on Spring Break. In the first half, there's a lot of discussion on NFL free agency and how the moves are starting to affect teams' draft plans. Special emphasis paid to the Bears' wide-open checkbook, and which move is even bigger than their signing of Julius Peppers. Later in the second, some brief discussion of the NBA and how the Dallas Mavericks' hot streak could show signs of them threatening the Lakers. Also, Whodaman and RIP Corey Haim. Excised music: "War Machine" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and "Stylo" by Gorillaz.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Group Password is 4qr.
Winner is eligible to receive a $25 Best Buy Gift Card. So come match wits with the Chef of 4QR.
Group Password is 4qr.
Winner is eligible to receive a $25 Best Buy Gift Card. So come match wits with the Chef of 4QR.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Duke, Kansas State, Ohio State, and now even Purdue's New Year's Day pimp-smack victims, West Virginia, are getting love as potential No. 1 seeds. However, each of those teams is not without their flaws in their own right, and are their bodies of work that much superior to Purdue's? Let's examine, starting with the Boilers as a point of comparison.
Purdue: 26-4, RPI No. 11, 51st-ranked Strength of Schedule, 6-3 v. RPI Top 50
The Boilers' three Top 50 losses were to Ohio State, Michigan State, and Wisconsin, all of which they had either already beaten or proceeded to avenge later. Just saying.
Duke: 26-5, RPI No. 2, 7th-ranked SoS, 8-4 v. RPI Top 50
Duke just dropped a game last Wednesday to a Maryland team that was merely .500 (7-7) against the RPI's Top 100. The Terps are playing like their shoes are on fire right now, and that probably works in Duke's favor. Barring a huge collapse in the ACC Tournament, Duke's probably got the No. 1 locked up.
On examining their losses, though, all things are pretty equal between the Devils and the Boilers. They both have a weak loss, Purdue to Northwestern and Duke to N.C. State. Duke's five losses came to teams that were a combined 41-41 against the RPI's Top 100. Purdue's four losses came to teams who were 28-27 against the Top 100. Duke's own RPI and SoS are large advantages, but if it's boiled down to who each team played, there's very little difference.
If Wake Forest or Virginia Tech can pull a shocker in the ACC semifinal on Saturday, Duke could very well get knocked out of the top seed discussion for good. Except for when Dickie (Dookie?) V's involved. Coach K's boys could lose to St. Catherine's School for the Blind, Crippled, and Crazy, and Vitale would still spend the day talking about how big a disadvantage the Devils were at with seeing-eye dogs allowed on the court.
Kansas State: 24-6, No. 6 RPI, 5th-ranked SoS, 6-4 v. RPI Top 50
A phoned-in loss like the one to Iowa State on Saturday is exactly the type that sends a team's hopes of a No. 1 seed swirling immediately. As well it should. Iowa State was 3-16 against the RPI's Top 150 coming into that game. Compare that to Northwestern's 8-8 mark and tell me which is the worse loss.
In total, KSU's losses were a combined 35-38 against the Top 100. And before anyone jumps on how much Iowa State's 3-13 brought that record down, Kansas's 13-3 evens that right out.
If Purdue was to lose the top line to any of these teams, I think K-State would be the one with which I would have had the least problem, at least before last Saturday. The Wildcats are a great team, period. I'll have to see a hellish regional in front of them before I remove them from Final Four consideration.
They had back-to-back 15-point wins in December over Xavier and UNLV, and took Kansas to overtime in their first meeting. I'm not disputing their talent.
However, for all the talk about resumes and body of work that dominates February and March in college basketball, there's not a ton that differentiates K-State from Purdue, at least not to the point that the 'Cats are still getting top-seed buzz and Purdue is said to be fighting for No. 2-seed table scraps.
K-State's already lost once to Oklahoma State (a chic tourney sleeper, by the way), and that appears to be the matchup we can expect in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament this Thursday. OSU's going to come in motivated. Will KSU?
Ohio State: 24-7, No. 29 RPI, 66th-ranked SoS, 8-6 v. RPI Top 100
This is where the RPI junkies run and hide. If you subscribe to the RPI as the end-all-be-all of college basketball power rankings, and you're seriously trying to advocate the Buckeyes as a No. 1 seed, you're a hypocrite.
The Buckeyes have a No. 1-seed player in Evan Turner, who should be the favorite for National Player of the Year. (Sorry, John Wall apologists, but Turner does both Wall's job AND Patrick Patterson's. Deal with it.)
However, if you did the blind taste test that ESPN's so fond of during their games, and put up Purdue's resume next to Ohio State's with no names or injuries attached, I doubt many would claim OSU's as superior.
The Buckeyes' losses were solid, with opponents going 55-49 against the RPI Top 100...but that's buoyed heavily by the last two, West Virginia's 15-6 and Purdue's 12-3. Leave out those two losses, and the Bucks' ledger drops to 28-40.
Okay, in fairness, two of the losses came without Evan Turner. The opponents who beat a full-strength Buckeye team went 43-33 against the Top 100. Still good. But there's still that loss to a very iffy Minnesota team (4-7 against the Top 100, if you're wondering...worse than Northwestern).
By the time the Buckeyes get started in the Big Ten Tournament on Friday, it will have been 10 days since they last played a game. Luckily for them, it'll be either Michigan or Iowa across the court from them to provide a nice tuneup. Either Wisconsin or Illinois awaits in the semis, and we could even see a possible head-to-head showdown with the Boilers in the final.
If Ohio State dominates the tournament, fine. Hand them a No. 1. But don't insult everyone's intelligence by crying RPI all season and then ignoring that very large discrepancy just to cut a depleted team's resume down to size.
West Virginia: 24-6, No. 5 RPI, 2nd-ranked SoS, 15-6 v. RPI Top 100
I'd love to just say that 77-62 doesn't lie. Except, in this case, it does.
I'm not nearly Homer Fanboy enough to claim that that game goes down exactly the same without Robbie Hummel in the lineup.
WVU has a great resume, and they don't have a bad loss. At this point, their worst loss was to UConn. Their six losses came to teams that were a combined 74-37 against the RPI Top 100.
Really, it's hard to object to their claim on a No. 1 except on aesthetic grounds. The Mountaineers can out-athlete anyone, but a tournament run often comes down to size and/or shooting, and WVU doesn't have a ton of either. It's always possible that DaSean Butler can shoot them right out of a game (see combined 8-for-42 against Notre Dame, Villanova, and UConn).
It's hard to see them having a huge problem with Louisville, Cincinnati, or Rutgers in the Big East quarters, but the semis may hold Pitt or Notre Dame, with their combined 2-1 record against the 'Neers. A loss there should end the talk about WVU on the top line. A win over either of those two, however, would probably lock up the top line for Bob Huggins' team, and deservedly so.
Purdue still owned them on New Year's Day, though.
I understand that all of this is totally moot if Purdue doesn't win the Big Ten Tournament. And, to be honest, they'll have to rack major style points in doing so. If they beat, say, Indiana, Minnesota, and Illinois to win the thing, they'll get no credit for proving themselves against Ohio State or Michigan State or Wisconsin sans Hummel.
The sad part is, that's probably a fair judgment. To be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, a team has to prove they can go out and beat anyone at any time on anyone's court. As presently constituted, Purdue hasn't done that. Wins over Indiana and Penn State just won't cut it.
Every Purdue fan has to need Purdue to prove themselves against the big boys all over again. If they do, however, and all these other stars fall into alignment, a No. 1 seed shouldn't be out of reach...even if it probably already is.