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Hello all and happy Monday! Sorry we haven’t posted in a few days, both Zach and I have been quite busy, but we’re back on track now and exited to give to you today’s Play by Play. There’s a lot of discussion and talk throughout the college basketball world about which conference is the best. Depending on the day, strong arguments could be made for many different conferences. Here’s our take on it:
Zach, in your opinion, what is the best conference is college basketball today?
I am in love with college hoops and absolutely love to watch most any basketball game I can because it is so very exciting. Allow me a two to three sentence tangent about how only in college basketball is there a constant tradition of classy coaches, magical arenas and a more spread out dominance from year to year. On a college football field, while the sport is great, the SEC is dominant every single year. I have lost that loving feeling towards football, and college basketball has gained a whole lot of my admiration. To me the question of which conference is the best really comes down to two: The Big 12 and Big 10. Next in line would be the ACC in my book, but to me there is a notable drop off between the first two and the third one. Right now I am of the opinion that it will be a Big 10 team that wins the tourney at the end of March/early April. With that being said, the conference from top to bottom that I believe is the best is the Big 12. Now, I think as a viewer and judge of the two conferences, we are really just splitting hairs and it’s a matter of game to game when comparing the two. The top teams of the Big 10 look more geared towards NCAA tournament dominance but right now in the regular season of basketball, I give the nod to the Big 12. Any team in the Big 12 is capable of beating the other, when it comes time for the Big 12 tourney, I think it will be next to impossible to predict the winner. My bias leads me to believe that Iowa State will win that one, but lets not count out Oky State or Kansas or Baylor or Texas or… You get my point! I believe this week, the RPI agrees with me that the Big 12 is the best, but heck for all we know the Big 10 could take over that next week. Either way, there is no better sport than college basketball!
What conference do you think reigns supreme, Chase?
Well, its been a little over a week since I did my homework on this one, but the numbers haven’t changed that much and I still stand by my argument.
The ACC is always in the conversation. Syracuse, Virginia, Duke, UNC, always powerhouses. But the B1G and the Big 12 are by far better top to bottom. Big 12 – Kansas, K State, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas. Big 10- Michigan, MSU, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin. All great teams. By team record, the Big 10 is better top to bottom. By ranking, Big 10 has 5 in top 25(MSU#9, Michigan#15, Iowa#16, Wisconsin#21, Ohio State#22) vs Big 12 having 3 in top 25(Kansas#9, ISU#11, Texas#19). So if all you look at is the rankings the Big 10 is the better conference. However, I’m still going to say the Big 12 is better overall. After those top 5 teams in the Big 10, it immediately drops off to teams who are mediocre and have no chance of making it far in the Big Dance. In the Big 12, almost everyone except TCU has a chance of beating the other, or better yet being the dark horse of the 2014 NCAA tourney. If we go off of ESPN’s BPI rankings, Big 12’s average is 75.72. Big 10’s average BPI ranking is 75.525. Very close, but even with the Big 10’s top 5 power teams, they still come up short. That’s with TCU scoring an underwhelming 47.9. Both conferences, though, powerhouses in college basketball and make the game what it is: incredible.
We’re half way through February and we are quickly approaching the most exiting month in sports! March Madness will be here before we know it. Who will be the lucky teams to make it to the Final Four? Here’s Zach and Chase’s take on that.
Chase, if you had to pick a final four right now with not having seen any sort of bracketology, who would they be?
This is a tough question. Especially with college basketball when almost any team can beat any other team. Although, I don’t expect to see “South-West Montana Technical Institute Upsets Duke” in the headlines anytime soon. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Syracuse is a no brainer. They are by far the best team in college basketball today and as long as their entire team doesn’t eat some bad seafood during the NCAA Tourney, they shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Duke is a team people love to write off, but if anyone can rally their troops, Coach K can. They have a legitimate chance, especially if their bracket placing is well for them, to go all the way. Kansas is a good team. They are every year. No questions asked. As much as I absolutely despise them, they win. And that’s what it takes. Finally rounding off the top four I am going to choose Villanova. Average over 80 points per game, 16.5 assists, and almost 38 boards; that’s a recipe for any team to go all the way.
Zach, what is your take on the Final Four?
Looking at the landscape of the NCAA basketball, I would really love to believe that this year we will have representatives from four different conferences. That being said, my logical side tells me otherwise so I will give you two different scenarios. If we are so fortunate as to have four different conferences represented in the final four I would say this Big 12- Kansas, Big 10- Wisconsin, ACC- Duke, Missouri Valley- Wichita State Shockers. My other, more logical scenario looks a bit more like this, Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. Notice the only real difference is putting Michigan State in instead of Wichita State. The Big 10 is stacked solid this year no doubt, and Izzo is never to be doubted, same with Coach K. Also, notice how I don’t have Syracuse or Arizona in my Final Four. While I have a great respect for Coach Boheim and his program, I just do not see them hanging on until the end. Also, I am not a believer in Arizona. In my belief their competition has not been equal to those in the Big 12 and Big 10 have had to face. But, I will leave that discussion for tomorrow when we give our opinions on the best conferences in basketball.
Happy Tuesday all! Hope you had a great holiday weekend. As the Winter Olympics power on, there have been countless issues with the location of the Olympics. Such problems have dubiously been named “Sochi Problems.” If you simply did a web search, you’d see countless tweets, articles, and posts from different media outlets and athletes about the different problems coming out of Sochi, Russia.
Chase, give me your top 3 “Sochi Problems” from this year’s winter Olympics.
I wish I could say “The entire thing” but that wouldn’t be as fun. The list is miles long to choose from and I predict we’ve seen only the beginning of these “Sochi Probz.” Probably the first and most encompassing one would be the failure of developing infrastructure. Russia had over 50 billion dollars to invest in this town. That’s more than five times what was spent in Vancouver. Hotels are half built, sidewalks aren’t complete, manholes are left wide open across the city, and the water looks like it has been exposed to more radiation than Chernobyl. Unfortunately whoever was in charge of telling Bob Costas not to use the “dangerous” water dropped the ball on that one. NBC had to bench their primetime announcer. He looked like he was legitimately in pain. I was deeply disturbed watching that. Anyways, number two top Sochi Problems is the absolutely pathetic attendance of the Olympics. Looking through the stands they’re never full. Not even close. They had some Russian person on NBC saying that “Russians arrive fashionably late.” Paraphrasing that of course, but apparently in Russia, not showing up at all means they’re just waiting for the next day to go. The third Sochi problem is more of a problem for them than us. Russia’s reputation is already badly damaged and if they wanted to recover from this, they had to shine during the Olympics. Everything had to be perfect. And it was far from perfect. Every day I turn on the TV and watch USA dominate, I am glad to live in a country where I don’t have to fear for my life when drinking a glass of water.
Zach what is your feeling on these problems in Sochi?
Well the first problem I have is with the issues of the bathroom sort. I think Conan O’Brien said it pretty good “There are 12 new events in this year’s Winter Olympics, 12. The new events include women’s ski jumping, luge-team relay, and finding a working toilet,” I mean seriously? Come on man! I guess in Mother Russia, you no flush the toilet, the toilet flushes you comrade. Secondly, why was Bob Costas ever put in the Primetime spot with the eye infection problems he had going on. You knew this whole thing was awful from the start when Costa’s first opening monologue was him explaining to the viewers that it was “an infection of some sort…” and doctors say “should be cleared up by the weekend.” Were those Russian doctors by chance? If so, I’d banish them to Siberia for being terrible. Lastly, my third problem is that Americans are not dominating the Olympics more. I’m not sure why it is that way, I realize at certain points we have been leading the medal count but, we should just be flat out winning 90% of the events and that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
Happy Valentine’s Day and welcome to the first of many “Play by Play” posts! We hope to have one of these posted per day Monday thru Friday. Normally we will do just one topic a day, but being this is special because it is our first one, we will cover two! We will start off with speaking about a topic requested by one of our fans, Jody Babcock, who is anxious to hear our opinion on Ndamukang Suh.
Chase, do you think that the criticism towards Ndamukang Suh is justified?
If you looked up dirty player in the encyclopedia, I’m pretty sure that Ndamukong Suh’s picture will be the first thing you see. Whether he’s stomping on players laying on the ground, making dirty hits, completely disrespecting other players in general, it’s somewhat deserving. But hey, its football right? The man works his ass off every day like all the rest of the players, he’s obviously one of the best defensive linemen that has ever played the game, and he’s not afraid to completely lay someone out. Do I agree with everything he does? Absolutely not. Is he a great football player? You guessed it, absolutely. This isn’t soccer we’re talking about here. These are grown men, making millions of dollars, who signed on the line acknowledging this is a contact sport and you will get hit. He’s not even close to classiest player in the league, but at least he can backup his actions by being a good player.
Zach, Do you have anything to add to that?
You won’t hear me say this all the time, but I have to completely agree with this analysis. There is no doubt he is a dirty football player, and having watched him during his college days while Nebraska was still Big 12 rivals with Iowa State University, I can honestly say we saw this coming. I mean for heaven’s sake his name has to do with swords or something along those lines, the man is an angry monster. I don’t much care for when he is trying to stomp a mud hole in rival players on the football field, but it would be untrue for me to say that I don’t appreciate his intensity. For all we know, he may be the last of a dying breed. With more and more attention being put towards concussions and long lasting injuries, defensive players are going to likely become more passive and avoid fines. Let’s hope Suh isn’t the last hard- hitting guy we will ever see.
Now on to a topic where there is definitely more disagreement and passion in the answers. Earlier this week, LeBron James made an extremely boastful claim that at the end of his career he would be considered one of the four greats of all time, with reference to a Mt. Rushmore type group of guys. He said it would be both MJ’s, Larry Legend and himself.Chase, what are your thoughts on LeBron James and his claim?
At this point it’s so hard to tell as he is still in the early stages of his career. If he’s on the same path as he is now I’ll say within the top 10. It takes more than a couple championships to be considered the “best of the best.” You’ve got to have the fan support and the personality to be loved by all. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson – those are guys who will be the best of all time. Period. Michael Jordan – being carried off the court after a game for being so sick, countless game winning shots, the iconic free throw line dunk. Larry bird – 3x champion, 3x finals MVP, 12x NBA all-star, one of the best shooters of all time. Magic Johnson – averaging over 19 points per game in his career with 11.2 assists per game (highest average in NBA history.) Right now Lebron is a dunktastic air head who gets more attention than he’s worth. All the hype surrounding him will be remembered more than his basketball playing style. “Hey remember that guy Lebron James that everybody bowed down to? You remember what he did that was so special?” Now maybe if he bought me an escalade, I’d have a little different opinion on him. But until that happens that’s all I have to say about that.
Now Zach, I know this is a little more near and dear to your heart, what are your thoughts?
Well truthfully, I am slightly biased but I will try to remain as objective as humanly possible. For me this is pretty easy, if LeBron James were to end his career today, and whether you like it or not that would be tragic he would already be considered top 10-15 players all time. I grew up watching Michael in his later championship years, and my father recalls me as a small boy getting excited and shaking at the sound of “Sirius” by the Allen Parson’s Project, when the Bulls would blast onto the basketball court before a game. In more recent years, I have studied endlessly the likes of Larry and Magic. I love me some Larry Legend, that guy could not jump over a stack of newspapers but somehow found a way to win and Magic, well what’s there to say other than what he did was magical. For LeBron, in my opinion he is a healthy mixture between the two MJs with a little bit of Oscar Robertson thrown in there. He has two rings, two finals MVPs, 4 regular season MVPs, a perennial All-Star and can play effectively at both ends of the court. Not to mention he’s basically got rid of all the nonsense talk about him not getting it done late in games, did you see that rainbow three with less than a second versus Golden State? So my prediction, by the end of his career he will have 5 rings, 5 finals MVPs, 6 regular season MVPs, and will finish his career ranking as one of the top 4 players of all time, in no particular order: Larry, MJ, MJ, LBJ. God I love basketball!
Our series of “Play by Play” will kick off the morning of Valentine’s Day with two hot topics! We will cover criticism towards Ndamukang Suh as well as how Lebron James will be viewed as one of the best players in NBA history. As our series continues, we will normally post our conversation of one topic per day. We’ll have those posted every morning, Monday thru Friday.