Tag Archives: kentucky

Hopefully Luck is on Your Side This March

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

It’s that time of year again. Millions of people nationwide are trying to piece together what they hope is the perfect bracket. No one has ever been able to predict every single game correctly, not the president, not any celebrity, and not even a professional college basketball analyst, it’s called March Madness for a reason.

Image via southfloridareporter.com

It is near impossible to guess what upsets there will be and when they will occur, in the past there have been many “Cinderella Stories” and “Bracket Busters” in the tournament. Arguably the most notable Cinderella story came in 1983 when the North Carolina State Wolfpack led by coaching legend Jimmy Valvano entered the tournament as a 6 seed. They tore through the tournament, upsetting multiple teams, staging historic comebacks, and eventually advancing to the national championship where they were pitted against college basketball juggernaut Houston, led by such elite players as Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. The end of that game is one of the most famous endings in sport history. Viewer’s saw NC State’s Dereck Whittenburg throw up a prayer that air balled only to be caught by Lorenzo Charles and slammed home just before the buzzer sounded which gave NC State the win and the title. There is no telling who that Cinderella team will be this year, we will just have to wait and see.

This year’s tournament is especially interesting for one reason in particular. Throughout most of the regular season there was no clear number one team, it felt like every week the #1 team was being upset and multiple top ten teams continued to get knocked off as well. The parity of college basketball this year is unreal, it is hard to think of another season where it seemed that every team was so evenly matched against one another. In an article on ESPN.com titled The Floor Is Yours: Is this parity or bad basketball? Author Myron Medcalf gives an interesting statistic, “Through Jan. 22, The Associated Press poll’s top five teams had suffered 19 losses, a record for that stretch.” This fact is mind-boggling, just a short year ago it was clear to everyone who the best two teams were, with Kentucky finishing the regular season 31-0 and Duke going 35-4 and eventually winning the National Championship. Later in the same article, Texas Head Coach Shaka Smart is quoted saying, “There’s less of a difference between the top 25 and next 25 in a given week.” A question everyone has probably asked themselves at some point this year is if this is good or bad for college basketball?

The fact that every team seems so evenly matched just makes it that much harder to try to make that perfect bracket. One way to try to gain the upper-hand when putting together your bracket would be to seek advice online. There are thousands of websites out there that offer a multitude of different strategies, so you have to choose wisely. One of these articles giving advice is by Jon Solomon of cbssports.com and is titled 2016 March Madness bracket: 8 fast facts to help you win your tournament. Solomon provides his  opinion which is put together with facts, statistics, and recent occurrences. Solomon’s number one fact is “National champs play offense and defense.” He backs this claim by saying, “Twelve of the past 13 National Champions finished in the top 20 of Ken Pomeroy’s offensive and defensive efficiency ratings.” Who knows if he is right or even if he will be of any help to you while you make your bracket, but you won’t know unless you try it.

It is highly unlikely anyone fills out a perfect bracket this year and even making a respectable one will be difficult. This year in college basketball has been a roller coaster and that in itself poses a problem. All we can do is hope luck is on our side this March, and even if your bracket doesn’t do that hot, you still get to sit back and watch some great basketball.

 

Kentucky Wildcats: Making and Vanquishing History

By Brandon Busuttil

March 26, 2015

This years Kentucky men’s basketball team has been nothing short of a spectacle. The last time a team went undefeated (winning the NCAA tournament) wasn’t since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers team. It seemed back then, having an undefeated team was a lot more common with UCLA doing it in the 1963-64 season, 1966-67 season, 1971-72 season and UCLA’s undefeated streak lasted all the way through the 1972-73 season and didn’t end until January 19, 1974, when Notre Dame beat them to break their 88 game winning streak. Since that time only one team in the past 10 years has managed to have just a perfect season (undefeated regular season). We witnessed that last year when Wichita State had a perfect season, and lost to Kentucky in the NCAA tournament.

The big question is, can Kentucky go all the way? Can they be undefeated? A lot of individuals’ brackets would say: YES. But remember, this is the NCAA tournament and we all know that in the NCAA tournament anything can happen. This was already displayed in the 2nd round of play when Georgia State took down a #3 Baylor, and UAB also took down a #3 seed, Iowa State. With Kentucky getting set to play West Virginia in the Sweet Sixteen it made me take a look back in time. In 2010, Kentucky and West Virginia met in the Elite Eight. Kentucky seeded #1 and West Virginia seeded #2. This was the year when Kentucky had John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Patrick Patterson, and Demarcus Cousins. West Virginia beat them with players no one can even remember. Proving that anything can happen. Could this years West Virginia team repeat history? Personally, I don’t think so. But again, this is March Madness.

If Kentucky are to get past West Virginia they could face Wichita State. A team that has proven time and time again, they can hang with the big boys. Last year Kentucky beat Wichita State ending WSU’s undefeated season. If these two teams were to meet, I would highly expect Wichita State to try to do the same to Kentucky as Kentucky did to them. After Wichita State put a beating on a Kansas team, that has been avoiding playing them for a few years now, Wichita State is a scary team to play.

For this Kentucky team, it is not only about making history, but they will have to overcome history to have a chance at winning the NCAA championship and becoming the first undefeated team since 1976.

March madness… Is it the best sporting event of year?

By Matt Stevenson

March 20, 2015

The sun shines bright, the breeze enters through the cracked windows, and the birds are chirping once again! Spring is here which means the world of sports has reached its most fascinating event, March Madness.

This riveting event that generates millions of dollars each year is unlike any other sporting event due to the “win or go home” mentality the tournament endures.

This year we have a national powerhouse that has the rare opportunity to accomplish the idolized 40-0 record in Kentucky. Many believe this is the worst tournament field in recent years due to the lack of “good” bubble teams and lack of competition for Kentucky.

ESPN’s Colin Cowherd went as far as asking NBA D-League teams to face Kentucky and even thinks the Wildcats of Kentucky could win.

They have 2 of the 3 top big man prospects in Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns. Experience from last years finals team with the Harrison brothers starting at guard, and of course Trey Lyles starting at small forward. Let’s not forget about arguably the best bench in the land as well, as coach Calipari can literally substitute out the whole starting line up and still win quite easily. This year it’s Kentucky vs. the field.

Why is so much attention paid to this tournament though? Well a few reasons, for one everyone and anyone can make a bracket. So many say that they don’t watch college basketball so they don’t do the bracket, but the truth is nobody has ever even come close to perfecting one.

You have the office pools at work, the local bar pools, your high-school friends pool, even families have their own pools to do! Everyone gets involved and everyone has their own strategy.

From coin-flipping to just picking your favorite teams. Some try to use their expertise analysis to determine their perfect bracket, while some fill theirs out without even looking at the teams and just the seed numbers.

Of course, sports media wouldn’t focus so much attention on a tournament if it didn’t have the celebrity endorsements it has for years and even more now. Players such as Indiana Pacers Paul George, Cleveland Browns Joe Haden, and James Harden of the Houston Rockets all have their own tournament challenge inviting thousands of fans to interact with their favorite players at a shot at millions of dollars.

The rush of having the opportunity to win millions of dollars, watch your team win a National Championship, beating family and friends in friendly competition, and interacting with celebrities is awesome and it only happens once a year. But it’s not the reason why this is so special.

What makes this March Madness Tournament so captive is the fact that we are watching young kids live out their dreams. The back-and-fourth stretches of fast paced basketball, the physical moments when competitiveness outweighs thought, the pressure shots to advance to the next round, and what would March Madness be without the all too beloved buzzer beaters.

March Madness is an exhilarating event and the best time of the year in sports. While the kids that participate in the tournament work towards a career and to cut down the nets, us fans enjoy the unexplainable adrenaline rush as we watch our favorite teams take the ball up the court down 2 with 10 seconds left.

Will your team hit their buzzer beater to go down in the great history of March Madness or will your bracket get busted? Good luck to everyone with their brackets and enjoy this pulchritudinous tournament.