Posted on: January 22, 2012 3:13 pm

Mid majors: all the rage

As we get closer to February, I am very excited to see how many great mid-major programs we have vying for not just tourney spots, but at-large bids.  It's a wonderful thing.  There's still a lot of basketball left to be played, but I can only hope to see more mid-majors than ever with higher seeds and more at-large bids. 

Here's a a list ranking of the top mid-majors this season that we should all see in the big dance.  This is with the acknowledgement that for many of these programs, mid-major may not be a true and fair label for these teams. 

1)  Murray State


3) Creighton 

4) Gonzaga

5) Harvard 

6) San Diego State

7) Wichita State

8) St. Mary's

9) Oral Roberts

10) MTSU (special props for my alma mater)

11) Weber State

12) New Mexico

13) Southern Miss

14) St. Louis

15) B.Y.U.

16) Iona

17) Nevada

18) V.C.U.

19) Ohio

20) Xavier

21) Long Beach State

22) Wyoming

23) Dayton

24) Temple

25) Cleveland State

26) George Mason

So there's my top 25 for the year on thew "mid-major" level.  Notice how Memphis couldn't even make the list.  And if the "experts" on CBS can do a top 25 + 1, why not me?  Would love to hear some feedback from others.  Any changes or omissions that anyone can see and back up, let me know. 

Posted on: January 1, 2012 5:28 pm

An Astronomical New Year? Wouldn't seem so.

Ok Astros fans.  MLB expects us to buckle in for last ride in the National League w/ our team.  How ironic, that in the 50th anniversary of the Astros in the National League, that it could be their last.  Bud Selig and his cronies are bullying bastards that obviously don't care about the fans.  Do they care that most of us live in the Central time zone and would have to stay up later to watch all the west coast games?  Hell no they don't.  I have a real job and have to get up early.  So do most fans.  It's pathetic. 
If they had half a brain, they would realize the Brewers are far more suited to go back to the AL, be in the Central and Kansas City would fit in the West Division nicely.  You can still have more a rivalry between Texas and Houston if interleague play is going to be throughout the season. 
It's obvious that the fans are not happy.  W/o the fans, what do the teams and baseball itself have anyway?  Nothing. 
I believe all Astros fans should get in on a class action suit against MLB to undo this travesty.  Why should MLB be allowed to be so unethical?  I don't see how that kind of bullying is even legal.  They took a team in a highly vulnerable circumstance and coerced them them to get what they want just so the sale could be approved.  This team is so young and at such an early stage of rebuilding, they can't compete in the AL as well as they could in the NL.  Is it fair to us to watch our team go through hell for several years just to please the greedy cronies running the sport? 
It's very disconcerting at the least and makes it very difficult to look forwward to the new season.  I can only hope the new owner and GM will get the team competitive expediently so they're not massacred. 
Posted on: October 9, 2011 10:00 am

Houston has more than a problem

Ok.  I am a life long Astros fan.  I never thought I'd ever it see the organization slip this much.  It's a depressing state of affairs.  I realize Drayton McClane is selling the Astros, but for him to allow the team to get in this much disarray seems unimaginable.  I can't fathom he would suddenly care so little for the organization, not to mention the fans and the city, to let this happen.  I understand needing to cut salary at times, but if you want to have enough fans in the seats to help make a profit, you need to provide a quality product to at least give an appearance that you want to win.  I don't mind some trades to provide good young talent for the future either.  However, trading Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn, two very solid players that were in their 20s and could still be Astros for some time to come, was ludicrous.  They got Cozart and Singleton for Pence.  Is Singleton a backup plan in case Wallace doesn't pan out?  It still would have been better to go after Dominic Brown, who probably could have been had.  Cozart is listed as having the kind of delivery that could set him up to be an injury prone pitcher in the future.  As for the Bourn trade, they received mediocre failure Jordan Schafer who now has his new arrest for drug possession.  That may not make him an anomaly in sports or baseball itself, but it's not what any fan wants to see in a player that is being looked at as the main candidate for the starting center fielder position.  The pitchers they received in the deal will probably never reach any great level in the majors.  I hope I'm wrong, but based on the scouts' predictions, it's difficult to think otherwise.  I always hear about the importance of having a great minor league system, but who cares if the players are only good minor league players and are castoffs.  If they don't have much chance to crack the big leagues, then it will be more difficult to trade them and get a better prospect and they won't help your team so you'll probably have to trade again (if you have anything left to trade) or spend more again on the free agent market.  It's pathetic. 
It's not all Ed Wade's fault, but he's not a great GM.  McClane has too much of a hands-on approach.  Despite the successful seasons, McClane had too much input at times. 
Now it gets worse when MLB still hasn't approved a sale that was a done deal between McClane and Jim Crane's group.  It gives the appearance that MLB is trying to bully Houston to move to the American League.  This would be a bad move for the Stros.  They're at a very down level and would have to face a stronger hitting league.  Plus, there seems to be some improprieties from Crane's business w/ discrimination against minorities and women.  I don't know if Crane wouyld be a good owner, but this uncertainty hanging over Houston feels like a hurricane sized cloud. 
The youth movement is in place to continue as the status quo for next season.  We'll see.  I can only feel more apprehension for the offseason; not the usual hope I do.  Let's hope it gets better sooner than later.
Posted on: June 27, 2011 12:23 pm

College Hoops 2011-12

Am I the only one that thinks that all the teams switching conferences is getting ridiculous?  The worst is TCU.  Supposedly this is because of football as to why they're joining the Big East.  They are too far away, geographically, from the other teams.  The Big East is my favorite conference, but as a basketball fan, all I can see is the negative of this change.  TCU is better suited for the Big 12; and at least they're a better football conference. 

Let's be honest, 17 teams is way too many for any conference.  No conference should really have more than 12 teams so as to keep the schedule fair and competitive and to give a truer picture of who the best teams in the league are.  There are around 10 good programs in the Big East, as far as hoops go.  The rest are also rans and no matter how hard they try, it will continue to be that way unless they move to other conferences or form a new one.  Once mighty DePaul is now a patsy.  The only way they can really get back to prominence is to leave the Big East.  The Big East, no matter what anyone says, is a basketball conference first and foremost.  Most the schools in it will always be basketball schools and football, no matter how good it gets, will be secondary.

This is why TCU is such an enigma in this move.  TCU is a better football school than basketball so why not join a different conference with more football prowess.  Don't see the moves of schools like Utah and Colorado being positive in many ways either.  I say the NCAA needs to step in for the sake of basketball and help create some realignment that makes sense.  i don't mean be a dictator about it, but they should help keeps schools closer geographically to help out the student aspect of these student-athletes.  Lesser travel saves money as well.  The NCAA can veto some of these moves. 

Does everything have to be about money?  As a basketball fan, I'm really sick of schools changing conferences for football.  I hear BCS references in college hoops.  Really?  This college BASKETBALL, NOT FOOTBALL!!!  The BCS system is all about money and a complete joke in truly determining a national champion.  I believe everyone truly sees that whether they admit or not.  This mindset should NEVER be a part of college hoops!!   At the very least, why can't a school be a member of one league for basketball and another in football?  They're two separate sports and let's keep it that way. 

I'm always curious to know what others think so anyone who wants to comment please do so. 

Posted on: March 6, 2011 5:08 pm

Automatic bids for the Big Dance

W/ teams like UNC-Asheville and Indiana State throwing large wrenches early in the process of bids for the NCAA tournament, I have to blog about what I've said forever.........the NCAA needs to change how the automatic bids get determined.  I've been an advocate for years that the auto bids be the regular season champions.  That way, at least the teams who work their butts off and fight game in and game out and do the best, get in.  They are the ones the who truly deserve it.  Let the conference tourney champions, that are different from regular season champs, get automatic NIT bids.  These teams still get the trophy, money and postseason play. 
Now I wonder will Missouri State get screwed?  More importantly how many deserving bubble teams get shunned to the NIT or worse because of these upsets.  As a person who has always done his own rankings for college hoops and has a profound love of the game himself, I'm not too worried about detracting from the excitement and fan fair of March Madness, w/ these changes.  Those who truly love college hoops, and that's a LOT, will not turn away.  College hoops is a great, if not the greatest, pasion for me personally and I feel for these teams who deserve a shot, especially for those outside the Big 6 conferences.  There are way too many teams deserving of a bid from other conferences.  Parity is bigger than ever (which is great for the game).  Let's reward teams for having great seasons, period.  If the committee doesn't really look at RPI, why the hell does everyone bring it up?  Get rid of it!  As for strength of schedule, that is so skewed, it's pathetic. 
Memo to the NCAA:  Reward teams!  Don't have 346 Division I teams and act like they're all important, if it's really about greed and money and they really aren't all important.  The sysytem has needed changing for a long time.  I can only hope the NCAA will get it better one day. 
Posted on: March 6, 2011 4:40 pm

BYU and Davies

I have write on the situation at BYU w/ Brandon Davies being dismissed for having sex w/ his girlfriend.  I'm not trying to put down the Mormon religion, but what they did was far too extreme.  I recognize that the school has the right to establish their own policies and they can take that type of action if they see fit.  However, having the right to do something doesn't make the action taken inherently right.  First, where's the attrition, the forgiveness?  If God forgives, can the school not?  It would have been one thing to suspend him through the conference tournament, but not completely disregard him.  He's a human being.  To reiterate, that's HUMAN being!  If anyone else at BYU is perfect, they should come forward.  I understand that a code of conduct was signed and the palyer knew what it entailed.  However, he made love to a girlfriend; a person I would hope he was in love with; he didn't use a prostitute.  I don't condone pre-marital sex.  As someone who works in the HIV/STD section of his state's health department, there's too much risk to be cavalier about it.  I would expect universities like BYU to be on a higher level of forgiveness as well.  I understand their position and I know they want to make sure others don't do that.  We live in a time when athletes are suspended and dismissed a lot.  While the details aren't normally released or very specific, I can bet that cases of players having consentual sex are among them.  W/ athletes comitting rape, robberry, assault and battery, is this a person/athlete who deserved his punishment, especially when so many others are never dismissed even when they commit true offenses.  We are ALL sexual beings by human nature.  Another part of human nature is giving second chances.  One more thing, I don't know if Davies was Mormon or not.  I forget specifically, but I don't think every student or athlete at BYU is Mormon; if I'm wrong, my bad.  If I'm right, or even not, is it fair to force that religion on trhem because they go to that school.  I have to say hell no!  The school is getting their money or at least their talents.  Let them be who they are.  If they commit criminal offenses, kick them off the team, but not for being inherently human!
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