Monday, March 31, 2008

MLB Predictions: National League

1. NY Mets
2. Philadelphia Phillies
3. Atlanta Braves
4. Florida Marlins
5. Washington Nationals

The Mets were the best team in the National League for 5 ½ months last season before the collapse. This off-season they brought in the best pitcher of this generation without losing any contributing pieces from last season’s team. If Pedro Martinez is healthy you can expect to see the Mets' rotation be a strength whereas it was a major weakness heading into last season. Their lineup is headed by three potential MVP candidates in David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran and should score enough runs to finish in the Top 10 in baseball again. Ultimately I think they’re the class of the NL and a solid tier above the contending Phillies and Braves. I think the Mets win the division handily on their way to a low 90’s win season and home-field advantage throughout the NL Playoffs.

1. Chicago Cubs
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. Cincinatti Reds
4. Houston Astros
5. St. Louis Cardinals

Last year I went the route of the “homer” and picked my Brewers to win the division. It almost happened. This year I'm going to go against my heart and stick to my head. I feel like the Cubs are true co-favorites with the Milwaukee Brewers. I give a slight edge to the Cubs because they haven’t lost anyone significant from the division championship team last season and added one more free agent signing in the off-season with Japanese import Kosuke Fukudome. The Cubs are one of the more balanced teams in the National League and could post the best bullpen in the league. I see the Brewers' bullpen as a questionmark and a weakness and so I'm giving the edge to the Cubs in an extremely tight race. This will be down to the wire and I think that whoever doesn't win the division here gets in as the wildcard. That being said GO BREWERS!

1. LA Dodgers
2. Arizona Diamondbacks
3. Colorado Rockies
4. San Diego Padres
5. San Fransisco Giants

The NL West is looking like the strongest division in the NL to me. Truly I think it will be a great entertaining 3-way race. It seems every year the question with the Dodgers isn’t one regarding talent but one dealing with whether they’re going to do everything in their power to get the most talent on the field. The Dodgers have long held one of the more impressive farm systems in baseball but now that talent is going to be on the field for the most part. Don't get me wrong I think the Diamondbacks are poised for another great run. The Dbacks have a stellar rotation with Webb and Haren being an incredible 1-2 punch. My lack in confidence in the Dbacks is much like the Brewers, the amount of young talent is overwhelming. However, unlike the Brewers, the pitching is not the question mark it is their hitting. They have good young hitters with tons of potential that just haven't been able to produce at the Major League Level. I think Torre will be able to handle the Dodgers' youngsters and polish them enough to win the msot competitive division in the NL.


NY Mets defeat Milwaukee Brewers in 4
LA Dodgers defeat Chicago Cubs in 4

NY Mets defeat LA Dodgers in 6

NY Mets defeat DET Tigers in 7

Sunday, March 30, 2008

MLB Predictions: American League

1. Boston Red Sox
2. New York Yankees
3. Toronto Blue Jays
4. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
5. Baltimore Orioles

The Red Sox should be one of the top teams in the MLB. They still have a dominant line up with David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Mike Lowell, plus Jacoby Ellsbury will be a great leadoff man. The starting pitching rotation is solid with Josh Beckett and Jon Lester leading the way and the bullpen remains one of the best with Jon Papelbon and Hideki Okajima. The Yankees will obviously fight for the top of the division but their pitching staff isn't that strong. Also, watch out for the Blue Jays they may finally get into the playoffs if they stay healthy.

1. Detroit Tigers
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Minnesota Twins
5. Kansas City Royals

The Tigers have a very potent offense with Gary Sheffield, Magglio Ordonez, and Miguel Cabrera. They should have no problem putting up runs. The pitching staff is even better now with the addition of Dontrelle Willis. I don't know how much longer Todd Jones can be the closer they may need a new one soon. The Indians should be a great ball club again as well, their pitching staff really came on last season.

1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Seattle Mariners
3. Oakland A's
4. Texas Rangers

Look for the Angels to win the West once again. They should have a great offense and the addition of Torii Hunter will help, especially in the OF. The pitching staff looks good again but with Kelvim Escobar out that could hurt quite a bit. The bull pen is solid as well. The M's could fight for the division too. They have a young line up and their staff is as good as it's been in awhile.

over Yankees in 5
Red Sox over Angels in 5

over Red Sox in 7

World Series predictions & NL Preview tomorrow!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Elite 8 Predictions


UNC vs. Louisville

I've been anticipating this match up ever since the bracket came out. I like pretty much every match up here. Both have some good guards even with Tywon Lawson I will give the edge to Louisville in this department because the Cards are a little deeper. Earl Clark will be a tough match up guard-wise for the Heels. Louisville's guards can give problems to UNC's with their depth and feisty defense. The frontcourt match up should be a dandy. David Padgett vs. Tyler Hansbrough; Both are physical players but I will once again give a slight edge to Louisville. Should be a great game.

The Pick: Louisville- yes I am picking them. I like their guard depth, their demanding defense, and Padgett down low.


UCLA vs. Xavier
UCLA's gotten away with some close calls lately, but they still win it because of their defense and experience, plus Kevin Love has been a huge factor as well. They'll need everyone to step up for their next game or they could be eliminated. Xavier is a well-balanced team and anyone can put up double figures for them, plus they're experienced as well. Should be another great game.

The Pick: UCLA's Defense will win it once again for them, plus they have Kevin Love.


Memphis vs. Texas
Memphis showed that they can play with and beat the top teams from the power conferences. The guard match ups will be a showdown here with Derrick Rose, Antonio Anderson, Andre Allen, and Willie Kemp vs. D.J. Augustin, A.J. Abrams, and Damion James. It's just a matter of if Texas's forwards are talented and quick enough to keep up with Memphis's forwards and bigs.

The Pick: Memphis's frontcourt and overall talent is just too much for the Longhorns, but expect a very close game.


Kansas vs. Davidson
Stephen Curry has continued to impress me. He is just a pure baller. Kansas meanwhile has been one of the more impressive teams. Their guards are excellent and they're just so talented. Davidson needs more than Curry to step up, especially their frontcourt like they did vs. Wisconsin if they want any piece of the Jayhawks.

The Pick: Kansas is just too talented and big for Curry and Co.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

March Madness Rolls On

Even with the MLB season starting I simply can't bring myself to stray away from March Madness right now. The Sweet 16 starts tonight so be sure to watch. Now Stefan already gave you his Sweet 16 picks here.

I'm going to give you my predictions as well as some things that I've seen around the blogosphere before. I'm going to predict games with a coinflip (top seed is heads) and then by fantasy mascot battle. Then when the sweet 16 round is over we can look and see how our predictions stacked up against that of honest Abe and the mascots' blood. Let's get it on!


Stefan's Pick: UNC
Joe's Pick: WSU *Need it to happen to win my bracket challenge!
Penny: WSU
Mascots: WSU - While a ram is hard nosed and tough I see the Cougar's ferocity and agility paying off in this battle. It goes down to the wire but the Cougar prevails.

Tennesse vs. Louisville
Stefan's Pick: Louisville
Joe's Pick: Tennesse
Penny: Louisville
Mascots: Tennesse - All a cardinal can do is fly away from and peck at the Volunteer. But when the volunteer fires, down goes the cardinals.

Kansas vs. Villanova
Stefan's Pick: Kansas
Joe's Pick: Kansas
Penny: Kansas
Mascots: Wildcat vs. a Jayhawk? Gotta go with the Wildcat on that one.

Wisconsin vs. Davidson
Stefan's Pick: Wisconsin
Joe's Pick: Wisconsin - Too big & too good of D.
Penny: Wisconsin
Mascots: Badgers are vicious and takes down the wildcat

Memphis vs. Michigan State
Stefan's Pick: Memphis
Joe's Pick: Memphis
Penny: Memphis
Mascots: A spartan's sword is efficient but not enough to protect against the vicious tiger. Tiger gets the nod and a free meal.

Texas vs. Stanford
Stefan's Pick: Texas
Joe's Pick: Stanford
Penny: Stanford
Mascots: A longhorn vs. a tree? I think you know what happens here...Texas wins.

Stefan's Pick: UCLA
Joe's Pick: UCLA
Penny: UCLA
Mascots: My instincts tell me that a Bruin would tear a hilltopper to pieces. however you all know I love the Big Red blob. I'll give WKU a chance here.

Xavier vs. WVU
Stefan's Pick: WVU
Joe's Pick: Xavier
Penny: WVU
Mascots: The Muskateers gun down the mountaineers from a distance.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

NCAA Hockey Tourney Predictions

In my haste to get to the post yesterday I forgot to put in a little shameless plug for myself. I also do a little blogging over at Complete Sports, and you guys should check it out. Although you should check it out to read Jon's work and just skim mine. If you liked the preview yesterday, read on to see my picks for every NCAA tournament game.

East Region-Albany, New York

(1) Michigan over (4) Niagara

Niagara won't be a pushover. The CHA champs boast the third best scoring team in the entire country. The Purple Eagles also boast a 10-4-2 record in non-league play. But the Wolverines are the #1 overall seed for a reason. Led by senior Hobey candidate Kevin Porter, the Wolverines have probably the deepest team in the country. Porter and fellow linemate Chad Kolarik are tied for second in the country with 28 goals each. If Michigan's nine, yes nine, freshmen can get over the bright lights of their first NCAA tournament game, they should take care of the Purps.

(2) St. Cloud State over (3) Clarkson
In a rematch from last year, St. Cloud this year is without their outstanding goalie, Bobby Goepfert, but they have added Garrett Roe, who along with Andreas Nodl and Ryan Lasch have teamed up to have the three leading scorers in the WCHA. The Huskies split a series in New York with Clarkson earlier this year, and it really is anyone's guess how this one will turn out. As mentioned yesterday, St. Cloud has no NCAA tournament wins in 6 tries, so the monkey will be squarely on their backs. Probably the toughest game to call, I'm taking St. Cloud in a shootout.

(1) Michigan over (2) St. Cloud
The Husky magic runs out as Michigan's 2nd 3rd and 4th lines overmatch St. Cloud's. Michigan is a little thin on defense at the moment, but I'm guessing they'll have enough in the tank to stop St. Cloud, especially if the recent play of goalie Billy Sauer continues.

Northeast-Worcester, Massachusetts

(1) Miami over (4) Air Force

Miami is a team that I have been pumping up all year, and in this game they will show the country why. Goalie Jeff Zatkoff has a 1.67 GAA, and Miami gives up the second least goals in the country to go along with the nation's top penalty kill, which should let them play very aggressively against the Falcons. Air Force's really only chance is to defend the RedHawks by attacking them. If Eric Ehn, a Hobey Hat Trick finalist last year, comes back that could be a huge boost for Air Force, who needs all the help they can get.

(3) Minnesota over (2) Boston College
This will probably be the shocker of the tourney. BC is coming in hot, having won the Hockey East tournament, and they have unquestionably the nations most exciting player in Nate Gerbe. He is extremely skilled and extremely fast. Plus he can do stuff like this. But Minnesota has also been playing very well as of late. In a matchup of freshmen goalies, Minnesota clearly has the edge. Alex Kangas has a 1.92 GAA while BC freshman Jon Muse has been a bit shaky in between the pipes. And, as INCH columnist Jeff Howe has been saying all season, he isn't very good high glove side, and that is the type of thing a Minnesota team that struggles a bit to score could exploit. I look for Minnesota to punch one in early and then play tight defensive hockey to hold off the Eagles.

(1) Miami over (3) Minnesota
Tempted as I was to pick Minnesota, I just couldn't do it. Miami is too talented, perhaps the most talented team in the country. The Gophers are just a bit too young to give Miami too serious of a run, and Zatkoff should be able to match Kangas save for save and let his talented offense do the rest to carry Miami to Denver.

West-Colorado Springs, Colorado

(1) New Hampshire over (4) Notre Dame

New Hampshire is led by goalie Kevin Regan, who was the Hockey East player of the year for 2007-2008. Up front they feature a couple talented seniors in Matt Fornataro (46 pts) and Mike Radja (43 pts) and they also have the #2 overall pick of last years NHL draft in James vanRiemsdyk (31 pts). Notre Dame, on the other hand, simply struggles on offense. They are the second lowest scoring team in the field (and the lowest scoring team that deserved to be in there) and they lost leading scorer Erik Condra to injury. They play good defensively, but don't have a brick wall like David Brown in net this year.

(2) Colorado College over (3) Michigan St.

The defending national champs get a tough shake: having to face the WCHA regular season champs on their home ice. MSU goalie Jeff Lerg is renowned for his big game ability, but CC features the WCHA player of the year in goalie Richard Bachman. The Tigers have only lost 2 games at home all season, and this wont be their third.

(2) Colorado College over (1) New Hampshire
And the University of No Hardware moniker will live on another season. New Hampshire is perhaps the more talented team, but Colorado College isn't too far behind, featuring Chad Rau (42 pts) and Mike Testuwide, who has scored 20 points in the new year , along with one of my favorite players, Billy Sweatt. CC advances to the Frozen Four in their home state.

Midwest- Madison, Wisconsin

(1) North Dakota over (4) Princeton
The preseason number 1 team in the country meets the surprise ECAC champs. Individually, North Dakota has more talent than any team in the field, and they need Hobey finalist TJ Oshie to get 100% healthy to make a serious run at the title. Goalie Jean-Phillipe Lamoureux has been the Sioux's best player all season, and if he continues to play well the Sioux will be tough to beat. Princeton does have a decent goalie in Zane Kalemba and Lee Jubinville, who is Princeton's first ever Hobey finalist. But I don't think it will be enough.

(2) Denver over (3) Wisconsin
Unfortunately Wisconsin shouldn't have even been in the field. They do also have one extremely exciting player in Kyle Turris, but if Wisconsin loses their opening round game, the over under on hours until he signs with the NHL is 48. And I'll take the under. Goals don't come extremely easily for the Pioneers, but they have a legitimate #1 goalie in Peter Mannino, who won a title as a Freshman. Denver should blow Wisconsin out of their own building.

(2) Denver over (1) North Dakota
This game could go either way, but as much as it pains me to write it, I think Denver will move on to the Frozen Four. The two teams met this passed Friday in St. Paul at the WCHA Final Five, and Denver took that game. However, if Peter Mannino can't get it rolling in this game, North Dakota certainly has the offensive firepower to take advantage and could win the national title. The big losers in this game are the fans, who will have to settle for a DU-North Dakota regional final when these two are easily two of the top 4 teams in the field.

Frozen Four

(2) Denver over (1) Miami
Miami has won zero national titles, and this will continue. In my opinion they were the best team in the field two years ago and they faltered in the regional finals. The one knock against them is that they don't beat elite teams. Playing in the smaller NHL rink should help the gritty Pioneers advance to the title game.

(1) Michigan over (2) Colorado College
This was another tough game for me to pick. Colorado College benefits from playing in their home state, and they will certainly have the home crowd on their side, but to me it all goes back to their rink. The Tigers only lost 2 games on their Olympic sized ice sheet, but lost two in a row on the NHL rink at the Xcel Energy Center. Michigan will have enough firepower to get past Bachman and the Tigers.

(2) Denver over (1) Michigan
A matchup of skill and system pits the Wolverines and the Pioneers. Michigan likes to play free flowing hockey, while Denver has liked to bottle things up after the recent defection of leading scorer Brock Trotter to the NHL. In matchups of good offense vs. good defense I tend to side with the defense, and this is no different as I think Peter Mannino will be enough to keep the Wolverines at bay to win the Pioneers' 3rd national title of the decade and their 8th overall, which will surpass North Dakota for second most all time. Fun Fact: Everytime the Frozen Four has been in the same building as the Democratic National Convention Denver has walked away national champions. This year's Democratic National Convention locale? Denver.

Sweet 16 Predictions


UNC vs. Washington St.
Don't expect another blowout by UNC in this game. Washington St. could put up a fight with the Heels, they play great defense, their guards are big and they will pressure you. The Cougars are also deep and they'll make you earn everything you get. UNC is looking better than ever, Tywon Lawson is 100%, Hansbrough is his same old self. When UNC is out running that's when they're at their best. I see Wazzou taking a little bit of the transition game away from UNC which is why many will be surprised at how close this game will actually be.

The Pick: UNC is little more talented and they're playing in Charlotte

Tennessee vs. Louisville
Some of you may already know this, but I am very high on Louisville right now. Their first two games of the tourney are a great indicator of that. I love how they play; Their guards will pressure you and they're also deep at that position. Plus, David Padgett is a solid big man. Tennessee has somewhat struggled in it's two first games, but Butler is no walk in the park. Chris Lofton and the 3 Smith's always seem to get the job done.

The Pick: Louisville's guard depth will prevail and their front court will wear down the Vols'.

Kansas vs. Villanova
KU is playing great as well. Both of these teams are here because of their guard play. KU is one of the most talented teams in the country. Their guard play is just so stellar plus the front court of Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson, and Sasha Kaun is one of the best in the nation. Meanwhile, Scottie Reynolds better have the game of his life or else Nova is going to get stomped on.

The Pick: Kansas is just too talented and fast for the Cats.

Wisconsin vs, Davidson
Stephen Curry (who has the best pronounced first name in the country) has been a stud lately. It will be interesting to see how Wisconsin plays him on defense. Wisconsin has one of the best defenses in the country, they make you play their game, they box out, they rebound, they do all the little things which is why they win and are in a lot of games. Davidson better be on fire from the outside once again or else their is no way they will get past the Badgers.

The Pick: Wisconsin's Defense is just too stingy and Stephen Curry will be held in check

Memphis vs. Michigan St.
I see a lot of people will underestimate the Tigers once again. Michigan St. is playing well now and their front court is great. They need Drew Neitzel to step up and play his game. Memphis needs to make free throws down the stretch in order to win, plus they need consistent play from the inside with Joey Dorsey and Robert Dozier. I really like the Neitzel-Derrick Rose matchup here.

The Pick: Memphis's guards are just too much for the Spartans to handle. Too many mismatch problems.

Texas vs. Stanford
Stanford's guard play almost caught up to them. If you watched the Stanford-Quette game, then you saw how easily the Cardinal can be exposed in the back court. Brook and Robin Lopez can cause havoc in the front court for Texas. Texas's guards are some of the best in country, plus their big men will force the Lopez twins to have to play D outside of the paint, creating room for DJ Augustin and AJ Abrams to drive.

The Pick: Texas's guard play gets it done

UCLA vs. Western Kentucky
UCLA seems to always get the job done. Darren Collison and Kevin Love are getting it done for the Bruins. They have it all, guard play, depth, front court, experience, and stellar defense. WKU may have something to say about that. Courtney Lee is a future NBA player plus Tyrone Brazelton is a stud as well.

The Pick: UCLA, sorry WKU but this isn't 12 seed territory anymore

Xavier vs. West Virginia
Xavier has depth and experience. They have an underrated starting five in Drew Lavender, Stanley Burrell, CJ Anderson, Josh Duncan, and Derrick Brown. They're so balanced on offense and you never know who's going to be their main scorer on any given night. West Virginia has been very impressive recently. Joe Alexander completely exploited Duke's lack of an inside presence. Da'Sean Butler, Alex Ruoff, and Joe Mazzula, were impressive as well.

The Pick: West Virginia. Bob Huggins has been here before.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Other March Madness: NCAA Hockey Bracket Analysis

Hey everyone, stephen a back again. I suppose I could be called The Sports Flow's resident college hockey writer, with all of two posts under my belt. Last year I dropped a Frozen Four Preview as well as a prediction on who would win the Hobey Baker Award. I went 1 for 3 on the Frozen picks but I did get the Hobey right so I'll take it. This year my role has been expanded a touch and I'll be taking a general overview of the entire tournament to get everyone ready for the Frozen Four in three weeks. And as always, thanks to everyone at The Sports Flow for putting up with me. Here we go.

The NCAA hockey tournament
Who: The tournament champions of the six conferences (WCHA, CCHA, Hockey East, ECAC Hockey, Atlantic Hockey and the CHA) plus 10 at large teams
Where: Albany, NY; Worcester, Massachusetts; Madison, Wisconsin; Colorado Springs, Colorado
When: Either this Friday and Saturday, or Saturday and Sunday. Frozen Four is April 10th and 12th in Denver.

For the full bracket, go here.

Bracket Winners: Wisconsin, Michigan, WCHA. Wisconsin gets into the NCAA tournament with a sub .500 record, Michigan has probably the easiest road to Denver, and the WCHA got a record 6 teams into the NCAA Tournament.

Bracket Losers: New Hampshire, Minnesota State. New Hampshire has to travel across the entire country to play in Colorado Springs with the WCHA champs and defending national champs. Minnesota State would take that in a heartbeat, as they got left out of the field altogether in favor of Wisconsin, a team they finished two spots higher than in the WCHA standings.

NCAA Tourney by the Numbers: 0: The number of NCAA tournament games ever won by St. Cloud State. They get their second shot in as many years at Clarkson on Friday.

0: Number of times since the field expanded to 16 teams that all four 1 seeds have made the Frozen Four.

6: The number of WCHA teams in the field, a record.

9: The number of NCAA titles Michigan has won, the most of any team.

3: number of 3 seeds in last years Frozen Four. The 3 seeds this year are Wisconsin, Michigan State, Clarkson and Minnesota.

102: Points scored by North Dakota defensemen this season, tops in the country, they also lead the country in goals allowed per game.

That's all for today. I'll be back tomorrow with my picks for all of the tournament games, in case your basketball bracket is worthless you can maybe win a couple bucks back from a hockey one.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wraping Up a Big Day in Sports with the Red Dot

Although I'm exhausted from a busy day of sports. I'm going to give you some quick thoughts on what I saw today before I hit the sack.

-Upsets galore in Tampa Bay kept me entertained all day. I love march madness!

-The biggest surprise to me was how Sienna beat Vanderbilt. I did not see that coming, especially in the way that it happened.

-I was so impressed with Tyrone Brazelton's intelligent play under pressure. Not only did he turn in a great game with 33 points, but I was most impressed by how he got the ball up the floor quickly and made the smart pass back to the inbound man for the buzzerbeater. I felt bad for Drake. They had a dream season this year. But after seeing that I didn't even mind my bracket being busted!

-Sir Alexander Ovechkin is a really good player. It is still amazing to me how a team can be so bad that they have a player score 60 goals in one year and still be fighting for the 8th and final playoff spot in the NHL.

- I love the WKU Hilltopper mascot (The Red dot)

-I hate everything about the Minnesota Golden Gophers hockey team and hope with all of my being that they lose to DU in the WCHA Championship tomorrow

-I also hope that UND can beat CC tomorrow to solidify a 1-seed in the NCAA tourney tomorrow. GO SIOUX!

-Games to watch tomorrow: (5) Mich St. vs. (4) Pitt, (7) WVU vs. (2) Duke, (5) Notre Dame vs. (4) WSU, (6) Marquette vs. (3) Stanford

-Upset Alert: (11) KState over (3) Wisconsin if Walker and Beasley play possessed again I think the Wildcats can take this one from the Badgers.

-I've come to realize that I will never pick a perfect bracket.

-I can honestly say that I'm almost ready for baseball to start.

What'd you think of the big day in sports today? What will you be watching tomorrow?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Final Four Predictions


Louisville Cardinals
They are a little under the radar right now; they're healthy and they have great guard play. Their guard depth will prevail, plus David Padgett is one of the best big men in the country and if he gets into foul trouble, they still have Derrick Caracter.


Georgetown Hoyas
The Hoyas have nearly everyone back from a team that lost in the Final Four last season. They have the guards to play with anyone and the best big man in the country in Roy Hibbert. Plus, they have one of the best defenses in the country. They'll make you play their game, they'll wear you down, plus they have depth.


Memphis Tigers
The Tigers have been to the Elite 8 the past two seasons and this is finally the year they get over the hump and into the Final Four. They're so talented and deep. I think they'll make enough free throws to help them win some games.


UCLA Bruins
The Bruins have the most tourney experience than any other team. They finally have a premier post presence which is something they lacked the past few seasons. I love their guard play and they play stellar defense.

over Louisville
Louisville is my sleeper pick, but UCLA gets it done this season. Kevin Love will be the main factor in the Bruins winning the title this season.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

NCAA Tournament Tips

Tired of relying on experts picks or your own knowledge? Well I have my own strategy at trying to pick some of the NCAA Tournament games myself. Now I will reveal my own strategy and you can decide for yourself if it's useful or not...

Picking a National Champion
Before filling out a single game, pick your national champion first. It just works out better that way, in my opinion. There are a few characteristics a national championship team should have; Here are some qualities you should look for in a champion (In no particular order):

1. Guard Play
A title team needs to have floor generals and an experienced PG who lead the team. The teams who lack an efficient floor general will be more susceptible to turnovers and shooting woes.

2. Defense
Defense is probably the biggest factor for a national championship team. A team with a stellar defense can dictate the flow of the game and force their own tempo usually prevails.

3. Experience
You gotta have experience in order to win it all. The players who have played in these big games and have gotten their teams there before usually have the upper hand. The teams that are battle-tested and get their teams through adversity usually come out on top.

4. Post Play
When was the last time a national champion didn't have a prominent big man? There are quite a few teams in this tournament with a big time post presence. UNC, Kansas, UCLA, Georgetown, Louisville, Memphis, and Wisconsin all have that.

5. 3 Point Shooting
You gotta be able shoot the long ball in order to be a champion. Team's at times may stack their defense inside the lane in a zone and will force you to win from the outside. If you're not consistent from beyond the arc you're not going to win it all.

Picking Games
A lot of people like to go with their head rather than their heart. I suggest to go with your heart. Go with your gut feeling, don't just pick a team to win because you simply think they're better or should win.

Ignore seeding... I repeat ignore seeding. Unless it's a 1 vs 16 or 2 vs 15 in the first round, I suggest you should not factor in the seeds at all. Seeding is basically worthless, it doesn't always mean a lower seed is better than a higher seed. You gotta look inside the individual match ups and look more into stats. Look at the individual teams and their results, and make an informed decision.

Don't be afraid to pick upsets. There are always big time upsets. For the past 7 of 8 tournament's a 12 seed has knocked off a 5 seed. When picking an upset, look for the experienced mid-majors who played a tough non-conference schedule and also have a good front court. The upsets will happen, just go with your gut feeling.

NCAA Tournament Stats and Guidelines
Number one seeds are 64-0 over the past 16 years and a perfect 92-0 since the tournament went to 64 teams in 1985.
Number two seeds are nearly as strong, winning 95% of first round games since 1992.
The #13 and #14 seeds have had some success in the first round, winning 20 of 124 games.
In the past three years, a total of four 13/14 seeds have won in the first round.
Interestingly, #12 seeds have performed better than #11 seeds (37% vs 25%)The #7 and #8 seeds are 60-60 against the #9 and #10 seeds since 1992

Did You Know?
The odds of picking a perfect bracket are: 9, 223, 372, 036, 854, 775, 808 to 1. So good luck to you all.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Selection Sunday

Just reminding everyone to watch the NCAA Tournament Selection Show today at 5 pm central standard time on CBS!

I can't wait! Let the Madness begin! Blog Directory

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bracketology gone College Hockey! (WCHA Conference Tourney)

I'm going to leave the college basketball pleasure to Stefan, however in keeping with the bracketology this week I'm going to give you my bracket for the NCAA D1 WCHA Conf. Tourney. I will be in attendance to all games help up in Grand Forks this weekend with UND taking on Mich Tech So I'm a little excited to say the least.

First Round
I see Colorado College having no problem with the Seawolves
I think the Gophers are going to find a way to keep their miserable season alive with a upset win in 3 games
St. Cloud beats the Badgers in 3
Denver wins in 3 against a feisty Duluth team
UND beat Tech in possibly 3 games depending on how the injury situation works out

Huskies end the Gophers "dream season"

CC Stays red hot against the Huskies.
UND has DUs number as of late and I don't see that changing.

UND upsets CC on the back of J.P. Lamoureaux and TJ Oshie.

It's not like I've never been called a homer before so let me know what you honestly think of my picks. I know I'm a UND student so I'm biased but I really see UND continuing their unbeaten ways. It's been 16 games since we lost ya know....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Major Conference Tournament Predictions

It's Championship Week baby!

Big East

As always, the Big East Tournament should be a great one to watch! A lot of teams have the potential to take it, but this year I'm going with Louisville. They've been playing great the last month or so and now they're healthy. They've been a different team ever since David Padgett came back from an early injury. They have great depth, especially at the the guard position, they're well-coached and they also have some experience.

Pac 10

UCLA will win the Pac 10 Tournament. They just have too much experience and talent. Yes, they've caught some breaks lately but in their last few games they haven't played to their potential. No one else in this tourney has an answer for Kevin Love either. I expect a different Bruins team to show up for the conference tournament.


The SEC is down this year and no one is much of a threat to Tennessee other than Kentucky and Vanderbilt. I see the Vols cruising to the final and then win a close one vs. Kentucky to win the conference and solidify a 1 seed for the Big Dance.

Monday, March 10, 2008

5 Teams That Need To Step Up During Conference Tournament Week

We are less than six days away from Selection Sunday where 65 teams will get a ticket to the biggest tournament in sports. However those teams on the bubble have one last chance to make their case for one of those 65 spots. Here are five teams that need a good showing in their conference tournament in order to have a good chance of getting their ticket punched on Sunday.

Syracuse (19-12 (9-9 Big East))-A good end to the season for the Orangemen as they won two straight games heading to Madison Square Garden. Before that Syracuse lost 6 of 7, four of the six were by single digits. The Orangeman have no good non conference wins to account for and losses to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and South Florida doesn't help their resume. They do have conference wins over Georgetown and Marquette. A win or two in the Big East tournament should mean the Orangemen are in right? Consider this, last year Syracuse ended the year 22-10 including 10-6 in the Big East and they didn't get an invitation to the dance. If this years team wants to get their ticket punched they should at least get to the semifinal game of the Big East tournament to feel good about their chances.

Maryland (18-13 (8-8 ACC))-Back to back losses that really could of helped the resume puts the Terps in a position where they really have to make the ACC Championship game in order to feel safe in getting in. They have some bad non conference losses to Missouri, American, and Ohio along with getting swept by rival Duke. They do however have a huge win at North Carolina on the resume but that might be the only bright spot on the resume. Good news for the Terps is the first opportunity to see one of the two powerhouses in the semifinals.

Baylor (20-9 (9-7 Big 12))-The Bears have officially wrapped up the #5 seed in the Big 12 tournament and unless Colorado plays the game of their lives, Baylor will play Oklahoma in the Quarterfinals. If they can get past the Sooners the Bears should feel good about their chances of getting into the tournament. The problem is Baylor has lost both meetings with Oklahoma this season by a combine total of seven points. Will third time be a charm for the Bears? Non conference games include wins over Notre Dame and Winthrop and close losses to Washington State and Arkansas. No bad losses on Baylors resume.

Kentucky (18-11 (12-4 SEC))-The Wildcats are one of the hottest teams in the nation right now losing just twice in their last 13 contests. They should be in with just one win the SEC tournament, and they need to make sure they don't get blown out if they happen to lose in the SEC tournament. They do have glaring losses earlier this season to Gardner Webb and San Diego but their strength is 13th best in the nation because of games against North Carolina, Indiana, and Louisville (all losses).

Dayton (20-9 (8-8 A-10))- The Flyers soared through the non conference season, picking up great wins against Big East foes Louisville and Pittsburgh. But a struggle during the conference season has put Dayton in a tough spot. They have the 8th seed in the A-10 tournament, which if they can get past Saint Louis, has them facing big time rival Xavier for a third time. They realistically need to win that second round game against Xavier to feel decent about an at large birth. This team has the talent to win the A-10 it is just a matter of will they come to play.

Selection Sunday is six days away. I hope everyone enjoys a great week of championship basketball, because I know I will.

Nate Gonner is a guest writer for The Sports Flow. He writes his columns every Monday and Thursday for Gonners View. Check his site out here

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Duke-UNC Preview

What a surprise, Duke and UNC are meeting once again for an ACC Regular Season Title.

A lot is at stake here, the winner will clinch the ACC Regular season title as mentioned above and possibly a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. Plus, that number one seed will likely be playing close to home in Raleigh the first two rounds and then down the road in Charlotte for the regional.

Duke beat the Ty Lawson-less Heels the last time at Chapel Hill, but now Lawson is back and almost at full-strength. The Heels are a different team with Ty Lawson, without Ty they don't have much depth at guard, especially PG. The defense changes too, Greg Paulus will not have the outstanding game like he had last time with Lawson on him. The majority of the time he had Quinton Thomas guarding him, who is not by any means a great defender. Paulus will have a tougher time finding open three's.

Also, Wayne Ellington will not have as much pressure on him. Duke keyed on him quite a bit, Gerald Henderson is a great defender and did a great job on Ellington, but now the Devils won't be keying on Ellington as much with Lawson back.

Even with Lawson back, UNC is still a pretty poor perimeter defensive team. Which was their achilles heal last season and again this season. Duke will still get some three's to drop but they won't get as many good looks this time around.

UNC will be able to generate more transition points with Lawson. Quinton Thomas turned it over nearly everytime they tried to get out and run.

As for Duke, if they can get Hansbrough in foul trouble early that could set the tone for the rest of the game. Singler I think is the x-factor here, he was too quick for Hansbrough last game, and if they can get Hansbrough out, that will get hurt UNC defensively and take away anything inside.

Tywon Lawson is everything to this UNC team. We will for sure see a different team then we did last February. So I like the Tar Heels to win in Durham and spoil another Blue Devils Senior night.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Daily Dose of Sarcasm

Just in between periods of some UND Fighting Sioux vs. SCSU Huskies hockey and I don't feel like blogging seriously right now so I'm going to give you your daily dose of sarcasm.

-The Suns are much better now that they have Shaq.

-The Rockets haven't won in a long time.

-Neither has UND Hockey.

-I don't think the Browns are committed to winning now.

-My childhood hero will never retire.

-Don't bother watching the Duke vs. UNC game.

-The Twins don't need to worry about Liriano coming back to form because they're loaded with quality veteran pitching.

-I'm not really excited for March Madness.

-Prince Fielder should shut his mouth because he's hardly worth $670,000.

Ok, the game is back on I have to go.
Leave comments but keep them strictly sarcastic.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

One Last Letter to Brett

It's not like I've never been called a homer before, so here's one last homer post for Brett.

Dear Brett,
I want to thank you. Throughout my entire football life you've been the starting QB of my favorite team since I can remember (it all started when I was only 4). Growing up my Dad and I rarely missed a Packers' game and my love for the Packers essential stems from my love of watching you play the game. You were so fun to watch and you played the game like it should be played, like a little kid who's having fun. You've always been my favorite player growing up, having to defend my fandom to all the Vikings fans at school. But it didn't bother me, because I knew that they'd never win a Super Bowl anyways. You've always been my favorite player and you always will be.

I admire you and view you as a great role model. You've been through so much and overcome so much both on the field and off. Whether it's starting your career as a 7th string QB, leading USM to a come-from-behind victory in your first game on a hangover, coming back only 6 weeks after a near fatal car accident and major surgery that removed 30 inches of your intestines when doctors told you that you may never play again, overcoming an addiction to pain killers afterwards, playing an awe-inspiring game just a day after the passing of your father, playing an entire season with a broken thumb on your throwing hand, and standing by Dianna through her bout with breast cancer. I don't care what anybody says I think you're a role model in every sense of the word.

I could go on and on about the on field records but I know them all and so does most everybody else. There is no doubt in my mind that you a first ballot hall-of-famer and the 2nd best QB to ever play the game (behind only Montana). You gave me a reason to love the game and you brought my father and I together on Sundays. I'll never forget the years we spent screaming our lungs out for each TD and INT, always hanging in the balance on your every move.

It was ultimately your decision Brett and I respect it. Last year was an amazing run and I'm proud of you for coming back. It would have been a lot easier to hang it up 4-12. I realize that it had to end sometime, but it's going to be really weird to see anybody else start a game at QB for the Pack. I've been a fan my entire life (since I can remember) and I can't ever remember seeing anybody other than you start a game for my beloved Packers. Regardless what number lines up behind center next September, I will be wearing my #4 jersey. And while I somehow doubt that this is definitely the end of the line, I have to treat it like it is, just in case. I'll never forget "The Gunslinger".

Thank You,
Joe Laszewski

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

End of Season Awards

Because it's March we are placing a special emphasis on College Basketball. So here's our Regular Season Awards.

Player of the Year- Tyler Hansbrough, UNC
Coach of the Year- Frank Haith, Miami
Freshman of the Year- James Johnson, Wake Forest

Big 12
Player of the Year- Michael Beasley- KSU
Coach of the Year- Scott Drew, Baylor
Freshman of the Year- Michael Beasley- KSU

Big East
Player of the Year- Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
Coach of the Year- Jim Calhoun, UConn
Freshman of the Year- Donte Green, Syracuse

Big Ten
Player of the Year- Eric Gordon, Indiana
Coach of the year- Tubby Smith, Minnesota
Freshman of the Year- Eric Gordon- Indiana

Pac 10
Player of the year- Kevin Love, UCLA
Coach of the year- Trent Johnson, Stanford
Freshman of the Year- Kevin Love, UCLA

Player of the Year- Tyler Smith, Tennessee
Coach of the Year- Bruce Pearl, Tennessee
Freshman of the Year- Patrick Patterson, Kentucky

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Freshman Phenoms Teams Struggling As Dance Is Upon Us

O.J Mayo and Michael Beasley are two of the best freshman playing college basketball this season. Both players are averaging over 20 points per contest, and both decided not to go to the elite basketball programs like Duke, North Carolina, Kansas or Indiana. Despite how much game these future NBA All-Stars have, both Mayo and Beasley are having a hard time getting to the big dance next month. They both are seeing that basketball is a team game, and neither of these guys have the supporting cast to carry them into the field of 65. So they have to carry their teams themselves. Beasley looked like his Wildcats had all but wrapped up an at large bid. However they are back on the bubble again after losing four out of the last five games including losses to Nebraska and Texas Tech. USC has won two straight since losing at home to arch rival UCLA, but still is looking for another good win to put on their resume. They beat UCLA at UCLA earlier in January, but that is their only good win. Losses to Mercer and California are the only real blemishes on their resume. Both teams are safely in ESPN's Bracketology, but as March creeps closer both teams could be bumped out in the coming weeks.

Kansas States Road To The Dance
Looks like the Wildcats are gonna push their losing streak to four straight and five out of their last six when they face arch rival KU this Saturday in Lawrence. If they can win against Colorado and at Iowa State the Wildcats should have the third seed going into the Big 12 tournament. They would get a bye in the first round of the tournament, and with win in the second round would give them 21 wins on the season which should be good enough to get an at large bid. However beating ISU in Ames is not a going to be a piece of cake as Hilton magic has helped ISU win some big games over ranked opponents the past couple of years. As bad as they are struggling, I think Kansas State is going to ultimately be in the NCAA tournament.

USC's Road To The Dance
Four tough games lie ahead for the Trojans as they finish up the season with Arizona, Arizona State, California, and Stanford. Winning three out of the four games would put them at 20 wins on the season, which seems to be the magical number every year for teams to get into the tournament. Realistically this team could lose the last four games, and wind up having a high seed in the Pac 10 tournament and if they lost first round Mayo and the Trojans would be playing NIT basketball. However I think the Trojans spilt the next two games and win one in the Pac 10 tournament to get them in the NCAA tournament.

Possible Matchup?
I could see an 8 vs 9 first round match up between these two. In fact I think it would be entertaining and is something the committee should look into. It would be inside presence verse a tandem of guards. Mayo and Beasley will battle it out on the hardwood a couple times a year, why not get started early by matching them up in the NCAA tournament?

Nate Gonner is a guest writer for The Sports Flow. He writes his columns every Monday and Thursday for Gonners View. Check his site out here

It's Finally March

It's March Madness time. We have about one week left for the major conferences before the conference tourney's start. Then March 15 it is Selection Sunday. And finally the Thursday of that week is the start of the NCAA Tournament! Boy I can't wait!

So to get you ready for March Madness, I will highlight some games to watch for the remainder of the season that will effect the tournament and show you some great videos to pump you up for the tourney.

Games to keep an Eye on:

March 2
Indiana at Michigan St.
UCLA at Arizona
Villanova at Louisville

March 4
Nebraska at Texas
Arkansas at Mississippi

March 5
Tennessee at Florida
Oklahoma at Oklahoma St.
Texas A&M at Baylor

March 6
Xavier at St. Joseph's
Stanford at UCLA
Arizona St. at Oregon

March 8
Louisville art Georgetown
UAB at Memphis
Stanford at USC
Marquette at Syracuse
North Carolina at Duke

March 9
Michigan St. at Ohio St.
Oklahoma St. at Texas

2007 NCAA Tournament Memories and Highlights