Saturday, March 31, 2007

I Don't Think So

posted by IntrinsicBent

I've heard many media talking heads speak of the significance and importance of a possible Florida and Ohio State matchup in the NCAA basketball championship game.

Wrong. On both accounts.

It's interesting. A little. The same two colleges that met for the football championship lining up against each other on the hardwood.

Interesting if you're a Gator or a Buckeye. But it's not like if this game was played and OSU won that the football trophy would come along with the basketball net that they would cut down.

Would it be significant if the Indiana Pacers played against the Chicago Bulls mimicing the Superbowl matchup? No. But if those teams ended in the finals you might want to check to see if hell is freezing over. But that's a different subject...............................................................

If these teams do in fact match up against each other (impossible, because I picked neither one), I'll be waiting to hear mindless and inane discussion that gives Florida the edge because they got over in football.

That's like saying Sounder and Old Yeller are the same movie just because the dog dies in each one.

Sorry.......I should have said "Spoiler Alert" before I let that roll off my keyboard.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Rock Solid Final Four Picks

posted by IntrinsicBent

Yeah, I'm back. Rumors of my demise were greatly exagerrated. Now I know how Sinbad feels.

I've got your stone cold rock solid lock winners Frappers.

Georgetown wins and plays Monday night against UCLA.

Disclaimer: Picks not intended to be used as a gambling aid. Using Intrinsic's information is considered cheating. Not because it is inside information, or because anyone involved with the games have been tainted. Using Intrinsic's brilliance for personal gain is just plain not fair.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Goodbye Elite Eight

posted by BiCoastal Bias

I just finished watching Georgetown beat North Carolina in overtime, which has lifted my spirits at least halfway from the Jayhawks' loss last night. This Georgetown win was exactly what makes March Madness so special. A historic match up featuring two great teams that took extra time to finish. It was probably the best game of the first four rounds, though I'm sure someone will point out a better one that I've forgotten. With Kansas out, my money is on Georgetown from here on out. (Of course, it helps that Georgetown has salvaged my otherwise paltry tournament predictions.)

This being the conclusion of the Elite Eight, I can't help but think that Roy Williams and Bill Self were the big letdowns of the first two weeks. Both of them had incredibly deep and talented teams, and yet were the only two one-seeds to fail to advance.

My criticism falls especially on Self, the Kansas coach. In a game in which his team missed 20 layups, he neglected to make any changes in his offensive setup; leading to a double digit loss to UCLA. Less than halfway through the second half, it was clear that the Bruins were defending the ball screens very well, and that while the Kansas players were quite adept at penetrating, they were always out of control and unable to finish their drive to the hoop. Perhaps a switch to more off the ball screens and pull up jumpers would have led to a more even finish.

My picks from here out? Georgetown and UCLA advance to the finals, (this UCLA vs. Florida semifinal rematch of last year's final should be pretty interesting, by the way), with Georgetown winning it all.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Tim Floyd is Upset, North Carolina is Not

posted by BiCoastal Bias

The tournament of 2007 will be remembered for all the upsets that didn't happen. Last night's comeback win by UNC nailed the coffin shut on any semi-Cinderella Final Four dreams. What's odd is that in the midst of all this top-seed domination, the tournament's collective margin of victory is lower than it's been in years.

I'd like to talk about that USC vs. UNC game for a second. Can anyone tell me what is wrong with Trojan coach Tim Floyd? He appeared on Pardon the Interruption earlier in the afternoon, answering questions about O.J. Mayo, this year's highest profile high school senior, and next year's highest profile USC freshman. According to Floyd, Michael Wilbon has been talking trash about Mayo, specifically Mayo's double technical foul involving a bump with a referee. Floyd went on to vehemently defend his future star, even going as far as to say that several reporters on the scene have told him the ref took a flop,
(here's the clip of Mayo on YouTube - and yes it looks like that ref really did take a flop).

What made this interaction weird is that Wilbon was on vacation from the PTI program that day, so the interview carried this awkwardness like Floyd was trying to bait someone into an argument who wasn't even there.

Now we fast forward to USC's sweet sixteen game that night. Having blown a 16 point lead, now down by 6, and with 40 seconds left, Floyd earns himself a technical foul by throwing a fit, and his program onto the court, sealing North Carolina's victory. If their coach is that bad at keeping his cool, is there any surprise that USC's players couldn't hold a lead against a superior basketball team?

I've got a great idea for some new reality programming, just follow Tim Floyd around with a camera all day. This guy clearly has a short and unpredictable fuse, and Friday's antics have made me quite curious as to the inner workings of his insanity. Think about it ESPN2, the worst case scenario is that it will be ten times more interesting than Cold Pizza.

So as I was saying, UNC beating USC pretty much assured us of an upset-free tournament. Sure, all three of the current 2-seeds could end up in the Final Four, but those are all good teams and a 2-seed beating a 1-seed hardly counts as an upset. This leaves our only chance at a real upset to be Oregon beating Florida; but even still, this is a 3 seed against a 1 seed, and it doesn't matter because it's not going to happen anyways. Sorry Money Mouth.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Almost Upsets That I Kind of Predicted

posted by BiCoastal Bias

If you're like me, as well as most of America, your bracket is filled with red ink by now. I can still root for my two finalists, (Kansas and Georgetown), but my Elite Eight is terrible!

So at this point in the tournament, I console myself by pulling for the upsets that I kinda picked. Don't know what I mean? Sunday's UNLV vs. Wisconsin game was a great example. I picked Wisconsin to get knocked off in the second round, but I thought that it would be Georgia Tech doing the knocking. So I take some pride in at least picking the losing team right, even if I don't get any points for the winning team.

As you loyal Frappers know, I made the bold prediction last week that no Big Ten team would make it out of the Sweet Sixteen alive; a prediction that would have come true if Tennessee wasn't the biggest group of choke artists in this year's classic. Of course, this was an almost upset that I kinda picked; since I had Virginia beating both Tennessee and Ohio State. Nonetheless, Ohio State's tournament play has been bad enough (as a 1 seed) to prove my point that the Big Ten is weak.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

2007 Tournament Debunks LRMC

posted by BiCoastal Bias

About four years ago, an engineer and a mathematician over at Georgia Tech began working on their own NCAA ranking system, called LRMC. They've since published a paper in an established research journal, proving that their ranking system is better than any of the other systems being used right now when it comes to predicting tournament play (RPI, or the AP poll, for example).

You can read about the system for yourself if you'd like, following the link above, but basically the LRMC system favors teams who win in blow outs more often than not; while overtime games are de-emphasized dramatically. (I'm sure this is a drastic over-simplification, but that's all we have time for as I'm not prepared to deliver a lesson on Markov chains.)

But in this year's first two rounds, the LRMC ranking system has taken some hits. Since the makers of LRMC want their rankings to be made available to the tournament selection committee, I think it's fair to contrast the LRMC rankings to the tournament seedings. Of course, more often than not, the tournament seeding agrees with the LRMC ranking. But in the five first round occurrences where they disagreed, the higher seeded team won three times (UNLV over G.T., Kentucky over Villanova, and USC over Arkansas), whereas the team with the better LRMC ranking has only won twice (MSU over Marquette and Xavier over BYU).

Going 2 for 5 might not seem like a very significant loss for the LRMC, but the second round gave some very interesting results. This weekend featured three 5 seeds beating 4 seeds; thus the NCAA seeding committee went only one for four in these games. However, a 5 seed beating a 4 seed is hardly an upset, so the committee didn't miss by much. The LRMC, on the other hand, got all four of these games wrong, VERY wrong. Here's the four games, with the LRMC national ranking in parentheses:

  • Butler (41) beat Maryland (10)
  • USC (48) beat Texas (19)
  • Southern Illinois (51) beat Virgina Tech (24)
  • Tennessee (49) beat Virgina (33)
My point is that statistically speaking, the professors over at Georgia Tech can still claim their system is working on par with any other system, since when they are wrong, usually the tournament seeding is wrong too. But when you really look at the individual examples, when LRMC is off, LRMC is WAY off. Judging by those rankings, three of those four games should have been virtual locks. In fact, under the LRMC ranking system, at least two of our current Sweet Sixteen teams didn't even deserve to be in the tournament field.

It pains me to say this, being an aspiring mathematician myself, but we still don't have a formula that can fill out a bracket better than an average sports nut. At this point, it's not clear that the LRMC's bracket would beat the "cute mascots" bracket your secretary at work filled out.

But isn't that what puts the "Mad" in "March Madness" anyways?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Field is 32 Deep

posted by BiCoastal Bias

We've just completed Day 3 of March Madness. Of today's 8 games, 6 went into overtime or were decided by 5 points or less. Only two of these were upsets, but nonetheless, it illustrates my point that this year's tournament field is very, VERY deep.

We can only expect some serious bracket busting upsets on the horizon. On to day 4 . . .

Friday, March 16, 2007

Bracket Frustration on Day 2

posted by BiCoastal Bias

It's Day 2 of March Madness, and I just watched my first Sweet Sixteen team go down; with Georgia Tech's ugly finish with UNLV. GT was getting almost every rebound on either side of the court, right up until the last minute and half, when UNLV suddenly got as many offensive chances as they asked for. How can anyone predict this stuff?

Actually, I should be counting myself lucky that this didn't happen on day 1, but the frustration is very real nonetheless. The lesson I've learned about bracketology goes as follows: when some credible scientists tell you Georgia Tech is going to win, the fact that they are from Georgia Tech should be taken into account.

With snow falling outside my Boston apartment, I'm feeling quite thankful for the tournament, which got me cussing out loud just a few minutes ago. I think my Friday afternoon was in need of such an emotional outburst. When I really think about it, this frustration is the reason I fill out the bracket in the first place. It's fun in some sort of sick way.

And for those who care, I'll conclude this blog with some tournament picks from the BiCoastal Bias himself. Here's what I've got:

  • A Final Four of Florida, Kansas, Georgetown, and Texas A&M.
  • Notre Dame making the Elite Eight, because Oregon has got to be one of the worst 3 seeds in history.
  • I finally gathered enough fortitude to pick Durant knocking off UNC in round 3. However, I don't think his one man show will be able to recover enough in two days to take out Georgetown in round 4.
  • No Big Ten teams will make it out of the Sweet Sixteen alive. To see why, read this.
And as I click the submit button, Winthrop just tied up Notre Dame with two minutes left in the first half . . . let the frustration continue.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Gary Matthews Jr. Is Not a Cheater

posted by MoneyMouth

March Madness begins today, but before we flood our brains with every game and the repercussions of each upset and how your bracket can be thrown in the trash already…

…let’s talk about Baseball.

More specifically, let’s talk about Gary Matthews Jr. who yesterday released a statement saying he has never taken HGH before. After being linked to an investigation of an online pharmaceutical bust, Matthews has kept his mouth shut and even hired Robert Shapiro as his attorney despite receiving pressure from the Angels organization to address the current situation. So after 2 weeks of waiting and resting on the edge of a nervous breakdown, the Angels got what they wanted:

"I have never taken Human Growth Hormone (HGH) -- during the 2004 season or any other time."

I feel it’s appropriate to express my feelings in the form of a saying that I’ve come accustomed to via Jimmy Fallon and his SNL character, Nick Burns – your company computer guy: “Was that so hard?”

Matthews’ statement appears to be the figurative nails in the coffin for this incident as far as the Angels are concerned. The franchise is already saying what a relief it is now that they can move on from this and prepare for the season. Case closed. But if that’s it, then this is just another incident in the long list of black eyes for MLB regarding steroids and performance enhancing drugs.

While I’m the first one to rag on Barry Bonds especially for his alleged steroid use, it appears that Bonds is getting the short end of the stick on this whole deal. Never once have I heard Bonds deny drug use and baseball follow up with a, “Now we can move on and focus on the season.” It just doesn’t happen. Obviously, I’m not advocating for such grace for Mr. Bonds. I’m saying that hopefully this isn’t the last we hear of Matthews and this HGH connection.

As a blatant halo fan, this appears to be the last thing I should be saying. Honestly, I’m secretly glad this doesn’t appear to have to continue on as a big deal, but as a baseball fan, I’m crying for justice.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The 5 - 12 Upset is Overrated

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Here's a quick piece of advice to all you bracket busters out there. This alleged 5-12 upset that happens every year is overrated.

According to the folks at ESPN, all of us are required to choose one 12 seed to upset a 5 seed when choosing our winners. This leaves us with a quandary. Sure you could pick Old Dominion to knock off Butler; but if you're wrong, then you've lost a point, not to mention the other point that you'll miss since some other unexpected 12 seed actually won.

This year, I don't see any of the 12 seeds making it to the Sweet Sixteen, let alone the second round, so I say screw tradition. I probably wouldn't pick the right 12 seed anyhow.

Quote of the Night

posted by IntrinsicBent

Chris Rock on Late Night with David Letterman tonight:

"You know the government's not trying to get Bin Laden. No, they're trying to get Barry Bonds."

"'Cuz he broke Babe Ruth's record. Babe Ruth didn't play with no brothers Dave. What is more of an advantage: a pill, or racism?"

"A sport without black people ain't a sport, it's a game."

"I watch SportsCenter every night and there's some black guy climbing up the wall runnin' in the stands snatchin' the ball out of the stands. Babe Ruth hit the ball past second base, it was a homerun."

"I saw a brother hit the blimp one night man."

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Durant's Tournament

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Are you ready for the tournament of Durant? I just watched Unca Lar's Jayhawks handle Texas in overtime, and yet I still turned off the television thinking, "that Durant is something else . . ." This guy is a man-god playing among mortals; I'm convinced that the only reason Kansas beat him today is because they've seen him once already and know how to tire him out.

But now that the field is set, all I can picture is Durant single handedly leading Texas to the Final Four, kinda like Young did in the Rose Bowl for the Longhorns, (same school, different sport, same idea).

Don't get me wrong, I'm still trying to get up the nerve to not pick UNC over Texas in the sweet sixteen; but it's getting easier and easier to imagine the oh-so-deep Tar Heels falling to team Durant.

Of course we here at the Frappe will be bringing you tournament takes all week, but here's a couple off the bat:

  • Kudos to the committee for dropping UCLA to a 2-seed. Those four teams who won both the conference tournament and regular season deserved the top slots; especially in a year where it looks like there's a significant difference between one and two.
  • Marquette, who was ranked in the top 20 coming into this week, is an 8 seed with a second round match up of UNC! Meanwhile Oregon, only a couple slots above them in ranking, is a 3-seed. I know one team won their conference tournament and the other is an at-large, but this seems a little arbitrary.
I don't want to go down the road of which teams should have been included that weren't, you'll hear plenty of that from the talking heads. But don't worry, Frappeheads, we'll be giving you some predictions soon enough!

Monday, March 05, 2007

The RPI Conspiracy

posted by SubversiveTheory

If you've watched any college basketball this season, you've definitely heard someone mention the RPI rating system, also known as the "Ratings Percentage Index." The RPI isn't new, the NCAA has allegedly been using it to rank teams since 1981. It was only last year, however, that the NCAA released the RPI publicly.

The RPI is really not that difficult to understand, but it's impossible to calculate without some computer software. According to Wikipedia: "The Index is comprised of: that team's winning percentage (25%); its opponents' winning percentage (50%); and, the winning percentage of those opponents' opponents." The only other complication is that the winning percentage has been skewed slightly to prefer road wins over home wins.

So where is the conspiracy, you ask? The powers that be know how important bracketology is to all of us sports fans, and they know that those of us who take March Madness seriously must have some clue as to what the tournament pairings will look like before selection Sunday. So they have solved this problem for us by unveiling their faithful ranking system.

The problem is that we are now completely dependent upon the media (such as ESPN or CNN) to keep us updated on what's happening with the RPI, since almost all of us have no way of calculating it on our own. So we keep coming back to our TV screens and websites for our daily RPI fix, just like heroine addicts keep coming back to the clinic for their methadone dosage. Meanwhile the authorities know we won't go missing for more than a day, and thus the masses are right under their thumbs.

I write this so that some loyal Frappehead out there will devise a computer program that calculates RPI, and share it with the public! It's high time every man, woman, and child (with a computer) can calculate RPI for themselves, and break free of this current state of tyranny.

Disclaimer: Subversive Theory’s opinions and well………..theories are not the opinions of Blogger, The Sports Frappe, it’s owners, or advertisers. The Sports Frappe bears no responsibility for the thoughts, feelings, or posts made by Mr. (Ms.?) Theory.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

All That Is Man

posted by MoneyMouth

This past week Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling gold medalist Rulon Gardner had a life altering experience, or at least it would have been if he hadn’t been Rulon Gardner. You see, last week Gardner was a passenger with two other men in a small plane that crashed into Lake Powell. Their survivor story involves swimming for an hour in 44 degree water to the shore where they stayed the night without shelter or fire until being rescued by a fishing boat the following morning.

If this was a typical man, this might seem like an insurmountable challenge that would most likely involve spending the night at the bottom of the lake. But when you are Rulon Gardner, this is no big deal. If anything, this pales in comparison to the time he drove his snowmobile into a hidden lake in the Wyoming backcountry and spent the night in minus 25 degree weather before being found. This experience might come closer to the time he impaled himself with a hunting arrow and walked to the hospital, or perhaps the time he T-boned a car while riding a motorcycle only to land on his feet. Maybe this is why Gardner was reportedly doing the backstroke to shore last Saturday.

In view of this, I say its time that men everywhere said, “Move over
Chuck Norris, there’s a new definition of man in town.” In fact, I’ve been so inspired by Gardner’s story this week that I’ve taken on a similar theme in my life. It goes like this: whenever I’m met with some sort of conflict I ask myself, “What would Rulon Gardner do?” If that means waiving off an ambulance so I can walk myself to the hospital, then so be it. So far, it’s been the best decision of my life.

For instance, on Monday my professor told me that my latest paper was late and he would be forced to dock 20% from my grade. Having recently read about Rulon Gardner and his true manliness, I decided to wrestle my professor to the ground and place him in a sleeper hold until he cried “Uncle Larry” and told me he would give me an A on my next two papers. Problem solved. Thanks, Rulon.

On Wednesday I was helping a friend move into his new house which involved a 7 foot armoire that wouldn’t quite fit into the upstairs bedroom. So instead of giving it up and putting it back downstairs, I went Rulon on that door frame with a hammer until that armoire was in there. Although his wife is a little upset, I’m sure she’ll calm day in a few days when she finally realizes I had no other choice. Nonetheless, problem solved. Thanks, Rulon.

And then there was yesterday when I found myself stuck in a man’s worst nightmare: wedding planning. That’s right, the MoneyMouth is getting hitched. Anyway, it was when my pretty little lady was asking me about invitation colors and designs that I began to doubt my manliness, and thus Rulon Gardner came to the rescue. The result: we’re printing those invitations on pieces of bark that I stripped from the tree in the backyard. Once again, problem solved. Thanks, Rulon.

After one week of testing, I know this motto is worth keeping and I suggest you start using it yourself. Honestly, quit wasting your time pondering the
Man Laws because any square table that lacks Rulon Gardner just isn’t up to par. Trust me, it will be the best decision you make in your life.

To New Orleans, Or Not To New Orleans

posted by IntrinsicBent

That was the debate this past week in the media, and with NBA players and their union.

Seems after they got a taste of a weekend of violence that Las Vegas hosted during the NBA All Star Game they became a bit skittish. Their concern seems to be that a still rebuilding New Orleans might not have the ability to provide the proper level of security.

I saw a suggestion online that stated it would be best to have this event out of the country, so thugs and vandals could not make the trip. Their assumption was that a passport and travel money would be a hindrance. I only have a two word argument for this: Soccer Fans.

We will have a perfect litmus test for this to see if we may have a problem on our hands. The Arena Football League will be having their championship in The Big Easy.

If security can handle the tens of fans that show up for this, we should be alright.

What's In A Name?

posted by IntrinsicBent

Evidently to the NFL, everything.

The National Football League already owns the right to the word "Superbowl", and has been starting to control the word into a "pay to say" state of ridiculousness.

Now reports have the NFL trying to lock down the term "Big Game". There has been no word from Laker legend "Big Game" James Worthy on how he feels about it.

That's quite a progression to the absurd for a word that was created after former K.C. Chiefs owner and football legend Lamar Hunt watched his grandaughter play with a superball and coined the term Superbowl.

The NFL stepped on themselves this past Superbowl by sending threatening letters to church groups that were planning to host Superbowl parties, before backing off slightly. You can't have a bunch of teens running around church excited about football and loosely throwing around Superbowl after all.

This debacle will only take folks underground and force them to create new Superbowl names, Evan Fields style.

Mucho Grande Fiesta con Futbol, Super Game, Big Bowl, All The Marbles, and Winner or No Winner all come to mind.

I wonder if the NFL (Superbowl,Big Game), Pat Riley (Threepeat), and Michael Buffer (Let's Get Ready To Rumble) have "I copyrighted ridiculous words and phrases" parties and smoke cigars and giggle?

In the meantime, don't let anyone catch you talking about the Superbowl, where you hope the participants are ready to rumble on their way to a threepeat.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

No HolyField Of Dreams

posted by IntrinsicBent

Role model long ago departed from the resume of most professional athletes.

Most sports fans by now are jaded enough that possible scandals involving broken laws and other cheating rarely raise an eyebrow.

Every time I tell myself I'll never dedicate blogspace to the steroid issue again, something funny (at least to me, and that's all that matters) happens and I have to get it out of my head.

The latest hilarity does not involve a whizzinator, people getting shot in the butt with "B-12" by teammates, flaxseed oil, clear, or cream.

It does however involve heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield. None of us could figure out why Holyfield kept boxing when it became obvious to everyone but him that his better days had passed. Then we found that he was in a fathering contest against Shawn Kemp. Then Mike Tyson chewed on his ear like a dog and made us almost forget about Evandrama.

When Evander was an olympian, I thought it was cool that he said he trained on Big Macs. But there really are no shortcuts, are there?

The latest guffawcumentary unfolds with the investigation of a lab/online pharmacy/doctor/drug ring saga. Some prominent sports figures past and present start showing up in records being reviewed in this investigation.

They came across a suspicious name of Evan Fields, that had a similar address as Evander Holyfield's and when the phone number present was called, Evander picked up. But he still claims there's a mixup.

So this is what we need to do:

Come up with your best close psuedonym for an athlete, Evan Fields style. It can be Bart Bond, Vick Michaels, or anything you like. Just comment with your contribution.

I'm looking to hear from IAM, UncaLar, Montana Mike, Grover, Anonymous 1 - 21, Aaron, ThinAir, and anyone else that wants to participate. Just make it funny.

If you ever hear of an illegal Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie ring and some dude named Trini Ben is implicated, you can rest assured that it's yours truly.


Puss Throwin' Jed Clampett

posted by IntrinsicBent

Come and listen to story about a man named Matt,
A poor scrub pitcher, barely kept his family fed,
Then one day he saw some stone in the ground,
And seemingly overnight he's the richest player in town.

Stone that is, gray rock, landscaper's dream.

Well the first thing you know ol Matt may be a billionaire,
Kinfolk said "Wish we wouldn't have sold that property there",
Said, "LA Dodgers is the place you ought to be",
So he loaded up his cleats and went to Vero Beach.

Vero, that is. Palm trees, Tommy Lasorda.

Well now it's time to say goodbye to Matt and all his rocks,
The next few weeks is about workouts, Ben-Gay, and jocks,
You're all invited back again to the West Pacific Sea,
To see if Matt makes it or goes on to obscurity.

Scrub, billionaire that is.

Set on the bench a spell, take your glove off

Y'all come back now, y'hear?

Props to Paul Henning, Writer of "The Ballad of Jed Clampett"

Story Link