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Cue up the music.  Get your favorite shoes on.  Dim the lights.  It’s time to dance.  Perhaps the best part of the NCAA tournament is the upsets.  When George Mason made their run a couple years ago, tell me you didn’t enjoy that (assuming your team wasn’t rolled over in the process).  There will be upsets this year.  It’s a given.  Anyway here are my upsets.  Let me know if you disagree on any.

I’ll start in the East.

#9 Arkansas over #8 Indiana
Indiana has had such a tumultuous season.  I see it coming to an end.  Too many distractions.  Not to mention this being a down year for the Big Ten.

#12 George Mason over #5 Notre Dame
Hey, if it could happen once, why not again?  A 12 seed always seems to knock off a 5.  Not sure this is the one, but I figured why not?

#3 Louisville over #2 Tennessee
Louisville can shut you down on defense when they gear up.  Tennessee is an offensive force.  This should be a great matchup.  I hate picking all 1′s and 2′s for the Elite 8 so I took Louisville in the mini-upset.

Moving on to the Midwest.  Here’s where I get nutty.

#12 Villanova over #5 Clemson
Perhaps mistakenly I took another #12.  This is more of a homer pick because I’m orginally from the Philadelphia area and I’m a Big East alum (Syracuse – Save your NIT jokes).  I just think the Big East teams will be battle tested.

#6 USC over #3 Wisconsin
This one is tricky because I’m not sure they even get by Beasley and Kansas State, but I just have a good feeling about O.J. Mayo and the Trojans.  Wisconsin plays tenacious, but I think their offense will get them in some trouble.  Plus, the Pac-10 is much better than the Big Ten this year.

#6 USC over #2 Georgetown
I know they made a Final Four run last year, but they will miss Jeff Green come tourney time.  They too play great defense.  USC is just my team this year I guess.

#6 USC over #1 Kansas
Until Kansas can prove they can win the big game, I will always be skeptical.  They bring it on both sides of the ball, but I’m continuting to ride the O.J. train.

On to the Dirty South

#9 Oregon over #8 Mississippi State
I just like 9′s over 8′s.  Always have.  Oregon’s defense is a joke, but I think playing in the tough Pac-10 will get them ready for the upset.

#11 Kentucky over #6 Marquette
Kentucky has rebounded from a slow start to reverse their fortunes.  Even though they are an 11 seed, I’m just not used to having Kentucky check out so early.

#2 Texas over #1 Memphis
Memphis just seems vulnerable because their schedule wasn’t very strong.  The Longhorns have won some tough games (UCLA & Tennessee).  It would be funny if they got further the year after Durant left.

Go West, young man.

#3 Xavier over #2 Duke
I almost picked a upset-free bracket, but couldn’t bring myself to.  Plus, I just like the prospect of Duke not making the Elite 8 (sorry Vega). 

There you have it.  My Upset Specials.  Don’t take too much stock in them though.  I’ve only won my tournament pool one year, although that was last year. 

As a bonus I’ll throw in my Final Four.
UNC over USC
UCLA over Texas

UCLA over UNC 78-74

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Photo courtesy of Icon SMI

Friday Tidbits 3/14/08

14 March 2008

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Dwayne Wade is out for the rest of the year following OssaTron treatment on his knee.  Chris Paul handed out 16 assists in a win over New Jersey.  He had 17 against San Antonio.  Utah’s Deron Williams had 15 as Phoenix lost again despite Steve Nash’s 15 assists.  Minnesota actually won a game despite 48 points from Kevin Martin.  Deron added 16 more assists in a win over Denver.  Tracy McGrady scored 41 as Houston won its 18th straight game.  Make it 19 as they knocked off New Jersey.  How about 20 as they beat Atlanta? LeBron…Kobe…make some room for Tracy McGrady in the MVP discussion.  Josh Smith had 22 rebounds in the loss.  Dirk Nowitzki became Dallas’ all-time leading scorer.  Nate Robinson had 45 points in an overtime loss to Portland.  Minnesota beat the Clippers. Eddy Curry has torn cartilage in his knee.  Phoenix beat San Antonio.  LeBron messed around and got a triple-double in a win over Portland.  He followed up with 42 points, 11 boards, and 7 dimes.  Hedo Turkoglu matched him in a win over Atlanta.  Allen Iverson has a fracture on his ring finger.  He’ll play through the pain.  Golden State picked up the option on Don Nelson’s contract assuring he’ll be back next season.  Boston was the first to 50 wins.  The beat Seattle for their tenth straight win.  David West returned for New Orleans.  I wish I had known or maybe I would have used him in my lineup this week.  Greg Oden was able to practice for Portland.  I hope he can get healthy because I like him a lot.  Caron Butler returned for the Washington Bullets.  Smush Parker signed with the Clippers.  Amare’s 36 points were enough to top Baron Davis’ near triple-double (38 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists).

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Jarome Iginla became Calgary’s all-time leading goal scorer.  Anaheim’s RW Corey Perry is out over a month following surgery after injuring a tendon above his knee on a skate.  The Kings lost Goalie Jason LaBarberia to a hernia.  Buffalo send F Clarke McArthur to the minors.  Replacing him is Jochen Hecht.  Minnesota’s Eric Belander broke his toe.  This week’s shutouts:  New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist vs. Boston, Dallas’ Marty Turco vs. Colorado.  Montreal’s Carey Price vs. New Jersey.  Carolina’s Cam Ward vs. Chicago.  Ottawa’s Martin Gerber vs. Montreal.   Phoenix’s Ilja Bryzgalov vs. Vancouver. Buffalo will be without defensmen Jaroslav Spacek and Dmitri Kalinin for a while because of injuries.  Detroit signed RW Daniel Cleary to a five-year, $14 million deal.  Vincent Lecavalier netted a hat trick against the Islanders.  Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk matched him in a win over Calgary.  Dallas F Steve Ott was suspended three games for hitting Jordan Leopold in the head.  Andre Cogliano set a record by scoring in three straight overtime games.  Washington’s Olie Kolzig won his 300th game.  Chicago D James Wisniewski was suspended a game cross-checking Mikael Samuelsson.  Buffalo’s Nathan Paetsch got a concussion from an elbow delivered by Pittsburgh’s Georges Laraque.  Laraque was suspended.  Vancouver D Mattias Ohlund will miss the rest of the year after having knee surgery.  Tampa signed DE Marques Douglas.  Detroit is the first team to 100 points.  They tied Montreal with their 8th straight 100 point season.

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Larry Fitzgerald signed a four-year, $40 million deal with Arizona.  The New York Giants coughed up $21 million to Tom Coughlin over four years to remain their coach.  Seattle signed Julius Jones for four years and $12 million.  See you later Shaun Alexander.  Dan Morgan signed with the Saints.  Pittsburgh LB James Harrison was arrested for assault.  Denver signed safeties Marquand Manuel and Marlon McCree.  Jesse Chapman signed with the Jets.  Tatum Bell re-signed with Detroit for a year.  Who says you can’t go home.  Trent Green is returning to St. Louis (3 years, $8.9 million) and Warrick Dunn is going back to Tampa Bay (2 years, $6 million).  Dwayne Jarrett got popped for a DUI.  Joey Harrington re-signed with Atlanta.  Carolina cut C Justin Hartwig.  WR Devard Darling signe with the Chiefs.  Olympian Justin Gatlin worked out for NFL scouts.  He’s banned for using PEDs.  Why not try the NFL?  Tennessee reach a deal with Justin McCareins.  The Raiders signed Drew Carter.  David Carr signed with the Giants.  Denver fired GM Ted Sundquist.  Trent Dilfer was cut by San Fran.  Kevin Jones was cut by Detroit.  Mark Brunell signed a two-year deal with New Orleans.  Chris Brown signed with the Texans.

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Curt Schilling was placed on the 60-Day DL. Francisco Liriano made his return following Tommy John surgery.  He looked good.  The soft Mike Hampton strained his groin.  Old man Jim Edmonds strained his calf.  He’ll miss a couple weeks.  Nomar Garciaparra’s life was made a little easier as his main competition for the third base gig, Andy LaRoche, will miss a couple months after tearing a ligament in his thumb.  Adam Easton has a herniated disk in his back.  Texas is the latest team to give Sidney Ponson a chance.  Good luck with that. The Big Unit made his return the mound.  Unfortunately he got bombed.  Texas P Brandan McCarthy will miss a month or more because of forearm inflammation.  Toronto P Casey Janssen will miss the season with a shoulder injury.  Tampa Bay’s Rocco Baldelli will start the season on the DL.  His teammates got into a brawl with the Yankees on Wednesday.  Luckily for the Rays, Billy Crystal wasn’t with the Yanks yet or they would have been in a world of hurt.   Greg Maddux left the game after being hit in the leg with a line drive.

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#1 North Carolina beat #5 Duke 76-68 to win the ACC.  O.J. Mayo scored 25 as USC upset #7 Stanford 77-64.  #10 Georgetown defeated #13 Louisville 55-52 to win the Big East title.  Alabama knoced off #16 Vanderbilt 78-73.  My beloved Syracuse beat #20 Marquette 87-72.  Penn State beat #17 Indiana 68-64.  Ohio State beat #18 Michigan State 63-54.  #21 Drake won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.  Lute Olson will coach Arizona next year. San Diego beat #22 Gonzaga 69-62 to win the WCC title and crash the NCAA tournament.  #25 Davidson beat Elon to win the Southern Conference Championship.  George Mason won the CAA title.  Siena took the MAAC.  Tyler Hansbrough was named the Sporting News Player of the Year.  North Carolina will retire his number.  Kevin Love was named Pac-10 Player of the Year.  Michael Beasley won Big 12 Player of the Year…shocking.  Oral Roberst won the Summit League tourney.  #10 Butler won the Horizon League tourney.  Mount St. Mary won the Northeast tourney.  Portland State won the Big Sky tourney.  97 year old John Wooden was able to leave the hospital after he broke his wrist and collarbone.  Loyola Marymount’s Rodney Tention resigned.  West Virginia beat #15 UConn, Pitt beat #13 Louisville, and #24 Marquette beat #14 Notre Dame in the Big East tourney.

South Florida gave Coach Jim Leavitt a two-year extension.  He’s penciled in to be their coach through 2014.  Oklahoma recruit Josh Jarboe was arrested for weapon possession and receiving stolen property.  Clemson RB Ray Ray McElrathbey is leaving the school.  West Virginia RB Noel Devine was arrested on battery charges.  I guess he’s not living up to his last name.

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The news keeps getting better for Kyle Busch.  First, he ascended to the top spot in the points race following Carl Edwards’ penalty.  Then he proved his worth by winning at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Matt Kenseth won the Nicorette 300.  There is a lot of discussion about tires in the news.  It’s above my head.

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John Daly’s swing coach had enough.  He said Daly is more interested in drinking than golf.  I guess he was right because Daly skipped the Arnold Palmer Invitational pro am, which left him ineligible for the event.  He recently spent a rain delay drinking in the Hooters tent and talking with Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden.  He had Gruden caddie for him when play resumed.  That’s just hilarious.  Sad, but hilarious.  Sean O’Hair won the PODS Championship.  Tiger Woods will try to win his sixth straight tournament in Bay Hill at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.  Fred Couples is tied with J.J. Henry for the lead at five under.

 That concludes the Tidbits. As always feel free to add any stories you liked this week in sports or discuss any of the stories I mentioned.

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Friday Tidbits 2/15/08

15 February 2008

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Jason Kidd messed around and got his 99th career triple-double.  It was his third one against Charlotte this year.  The next time he gets one it will likely be in Dallas following his trade for Devin Harris and others.  Not so fast.  Devean George threw a monkey wrench in the deal.  Lamar Odom has a triple-double in a win over the Timberpuppies.  Carlos Boozer joined the triple-double party in a win over lowly Seattle.  The Celtics beat Minnesota on the road.  Too bad for Wovles fans that KG wasn’t able to suit up.  Carmelo Anthony scored 49 points in a win over Washington.  He went to Syracuse.  Stephon Marbury will miss the rest of the year with an ankle injury.  Sacramento’s Francisco Garcia has a bad back that will keep him on the shelf until after the All-Star Game.  Rasheed Wallace will replace KG in the All-Star Game.  You hate to wish ill-will on somebody, but it’s kind of funny that Latrell Sprewell, who turned down a three-year, $21 million deal because it was insulting, may lose his home to foreclosure.  I know he had a family to feed, but that had to be one of the biggest overestimations the sport has ever witnessed  Larry Hughes scored 40 in a win over Orlando.  The NBA has denied Dwight Howard’s request to raise the rim to 12 feet during the dunk contest.  Don’t they realize that the contest is lame, and this would give fans something to be excited about.  Fools.  Howard responded to recent Stan Van Gundy criticism with 23 points and 24 rebounds in a win over Denver.  Emeka Okafor joined him in the 20-20 club with 21 points and 20 boards.  Manu Ginobili scored 46 in a win over Cleveland.  Miami has lost 24 of 25.  Kobe hurt his pinkie.  It requires surgery, but he’s going to try and gut it out.

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San Jose’s Jonathan Cheechoo netted a hat trick against Nashville.  Ottawa’s Jason Spezza matched him in a win over Montreal.  Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek joined the hat party against Ottawa.  This week’s shutouts: NY Ranger’s Stephen Valiquette vs. Philly.  Buffalo’s Ryan Miller vs. Toronto.  Detroit’s Dan Cleary will miss over a month with a broken jaw.  Carolina’s Richard Zednik had his throat slashed by a teammate’s skate.  He alertly went to his bench to seek medical attention from his trainer.  Dallas signed W Krys Barch to a two-year deal.  Carolina sent F Cory Sillman and D Mike Commodore to Ottawa for F Patrick Eaves and D Joe Corvo.  Edmonton lost D Sheldon Souray for the year with a shoulder injury.  Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers agreed to a six-year deal.  Washington signed LW Tomas Fleischmann to a two-year deal.


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The Mariners finally made the trade with Baltimore for Erik Bedard.  I think Clemens and Favre make up their minds on retirement quicker than this deal got finalized.  Kevin Foulke signed a one-year deal with the A’s.  I’m still thankful that Foulke helped Reverse the Curse.  I hope he does well in Oaktown.  San Francisco signed Kevin Correia to a one-year deal.  Milwaukee picked up manager Ned Yost’s option for 2009.  The Big Schill received a cortisone shot in his shoulder.  The Red Sox signed Kevin Youkilis to a one-year deal worth $3 million.  What a bargain.  Mike Sweeney signed with the A’s. Tony Clark signed with San Diego.  Steve Trachsel signed a one-year deal with Baltimore.  Doug Mientkiewicz signed a Minor League contract with Pittsburgh.  Garrett Atkins signed a one-year deal with Colorado.  John Rocker said Bud Selig knew he was jucing in 2000.  Texas signed Kevin Mench to a minor league deal.  Livan Hernandez signed a one-year deal with the Twins.  That’s different for them.  Usually they sign a bunch of stiffs.  The Dodgers signed Takashi Saito to a one-year deal.  Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee met with the Fools on the Hill.  He said, He said, blah blah, blah.  I’m bored with it. 


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The NFC beat the AFC in the Pro Bowl.  Adrian Peterson won the MVP.  He had 129 yards and two TDs.  Brian Urlacher had neck surgery.  Carolina signed DT Damione Lewis to a three-year deal. Washington finally named Jim Zorn their new head coach.  Carolina cut Dan Morgan and Mike Wahle.  The Dolphins cut Trent Green (just retire for your own health) and Marty Booker.  Jeff Feagles signed a two-year deal with the Giants.  Minnesot’s Kenechi Udeze had been diagnose with Leukemia. Jacksonville re-signed Greg Jones.  Justin Fargas re-signed with Oakland.  Miami release Zach Thomas.  Why do I see him catching on in New England?  Seattle signed Mike Wahle to a five-year deal.  Fresh off a Super Bowl victory, Antonio Pierce was charged with neglecing his pit bull.  If only he had called Michael Vick for advice.

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UNC’s Tyler Hansbrough scored 39 points in a dramatic 103-93 Double OT game win over Clemson. Louisville beat #6 Georgetown 59-51.  Purdue upset #8 Wisconsin 72-67.  #21 Notre Dame beat #16 Marquette 86-83.  Washington knocked off #4 UCLA 71-61.  LSU fired coach John Brady.  #11 Texas beat #3 Kansas 72-69.  #23 Purdue beat #9 Michigan State 60-54.  Kelvin Sampson and Indiana are in some hot water for recruiting violations.  To add insult to injury, #14 Wisconsin beat his #12 Hoosiers 68-66.  Southern Illinois handed #15 Drake its second loss of the year 65-62.  #17 UConn beat #18 Notre Dame 84-78.  Texas Tech upset #22 Kansas State 84-75.  Adding insult to injury part deux, Missouri kicked Stefhon Hannah off the team after being involved in a brawl that left him with a broken jaw.  Arizona State knocked off #7 Stanford 72-68.

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Charlie Weis will let Offensive Coordinator Mike Haywood call the plays next year.  Penn State kicked Chris Bell and Phillip Taylor off the team.  West Virginia kicked John Holmes, James Ingram, and Ed Collington off the team.  Washington State signed Coach Paul Wulff to a five-year deal.  Indiana’s ugly basketball scandal wasn’t the only sour sports moment in Bloomington.  Football players James Bailey, Demetrius McCray, and Darius Johnson were arrested last weekend.  Tennessee sent Antonio Wardlow and Dorian Davis packing for breaking rules.  Florida State’s cheating scandal earned them two years off self-imposed probation.  

 

That concludes the Tidbits. As always feel free to add any stories you liked this week in sports or discuss any of the stories I mentioned.Images courtesy of Icon SMI


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