Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Wednesday 1/31 Predictions

North Carolina vs Miami 7:00 ESPN
Butch Davis in his first game against his old team would be a better match than this. The Tar Heels have the Hurricanes over matched if they played just their second string. North Carolina rolls.

"Hey, there is the Cleveland Browns"

Virginia Tech vs NC State 9:00 Raycom
Seth Greenberg is reaping the rewards of having a senior laden team in a relatively inexperienced conference. When the Hokies entered the ACC two years ago, they had athleticism and knocked off some teams showing they had ability. I thought maybe at the beginning of the year that Va Tech was playing a little over their heads, but they have proved they are going to be near the top all year. Can't say the same things about NC State. Hokies do the Hokie pokie on the way to a win.

Florida vs Vanderbilt 7:00 Lincoln Financial
Can Vanderbilt possibly continue their winning streak in Gainesville? They have beaten three straight ranked teams, but this is the toughest test by far. The Gators hit a couple of bumps, but throughly drilled Auburn last weekend. I think Vanderbilt give Florida a stern test for about 30 minutes, but Florida pulls away at the end.

Tennessee vs Georgia 7:30
Two teams heading in opposite directions right now. Chris Lofton is going to try and give it a go, but won't be 100% if he does. Georgia is on a tear right now and would be 6-1 if not for a last second loss at Alabama. However, I think Tennessee is due for a win and being at home will help them secure a close victory.Ankles are very tricky

South Carolina vs Auburn 7:30
Auburn got sent back to reality against Florida last weekend. The SEC West is just 1-16 on the road this season with the lone win coming last weekend. The Gamecocks had a rough start to the beginning SEC season, but are starting to settle in. I like South Carolina at home.

For the busy blog reader...
North Carolina over Miami
Virginia Tech over NC State
Florida over Vanderbilt
Tennessee over Georgia
South Carolina over Auburn

Monday, January 29, 2007

Tuesday Predictions

A couple of games on the ACC slate for Tuesday

Florida State vs Maryland
A very important game for both in an effort to bring themselves closer to .500 in the ACC. I think the Terps are beginning to turn it around after a poor start to conference play. However, the Seminoles have been very tough at home with victories over Florida and Virginia Tech. Leonard Hamilton has raised the talent level in Tallahassee every year... I wonder how? I like FSU at home.

Just part of the FSU "experience"

Wake Forest vs Georgia Tech
I have been thinking a lot about this Georgia Tech recently and have come up with some truths.

- Georgia Tech lacks basketball IQ right now.
- They have a tough time getting five guys on the floor on the same page at the same time.
- Ever since Dean Keener left for James Madison after the National Runner Up season of the 2003-2004, the Yellow Jackets half court offense has not been the same.
- Tech has lost 16 straight road games, but they have their best chance for the rest of the year against Wake Forest
- This Yellow Jacket team is beginning to look eerily similar to the 2002-2003 team where NBA All-Star Chris Bosh was a freshman. That team did not win an ACC road game until March and settled for the NIT.

With all that being said, I think Georgia Tech pulls this one out on the road.


Let's play a little oddsmakers as we near the middle of the conference season

ACC Teams in Sweet 16: 3
Best Bets: North Carolina, Duke, Virginia Tech

SEC Teams in Sweet 16: 2
Best Bets: Florida, Kentucky

ACC Teams in the Tournament: 7

SEC Teams in the Tournament: 6

Team to go the Farthest in the Tournament:
North Carolina 50%
Florida 45%
Duke 5%

Lowest Conference Wins
ACC – Wake Forest – 4
SEC – South Carolina – 5

SEC Regular Season Title
Florida 82%
Kentucky 6%
Vanderbilt 6%
Georgia 1%

ACC Regular Season Title
North Carolina 93%
Duke 3%
Virginia Tech 2%
Virginia 2%

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Quick and Dirty RPI Rankings

A quick and dirty RPI for the ACC and SEC of games through Sat Jan 27... doesn't include all the rankings of wins vs teams 1-50, 51-100, etc. I follow a basic formula which I feel is pretty indicative of a teams performance.

50% is a teams win/loss record
40% is a teams strength of schedule
10% is a human factor i.e. poll

Team W/L % PTS Opp W/L % PTS Objective Factor PTS TOTAL RANK
North Carolina 0.905 0.452 0.644 0.258 24 0.100 0.8100 1
Duke 0.850 0.425 0.642 0.257 22 0.092 0.7734 2
Florida 0.905 0.452 0.541 0.216 23 0.096 0.7645 3
Clemson 0.857 0.429 0.577 0.231 21 0.088 0.7467 4
Kentucky 0.750 0.375 0.652 0.261 19 0.079 0.7151 5
Maryland 0.762 0.381 0.603 0.241 16 0.067 0.6886 6
Virginia Tech 0.737 0.368 0.591 0.236 20 0.083 0.6880 7
Boston College 0.737 0.368 0.603 0.241 17 0.071 0.6804 8
Tennessee 0.700 0.350 0.634 0.253 13 0.054 0.6576 9
Vanderbilt 0.700 0.350 0.573 0.229 18 0.075 0.6542 10
Alabama 0.750 0.375 0.577 0.231 9 0.038 0.6433 11
Arkansas 0.667 0.333 0.650 0.260 11 0.046 0.6390 12
Georgia Tech 0.684 0.342 0.582 0.233 15 0.063 0.6376 13
Georgia 0.647 0.324 0.619 0.248 14 0.058 0.6295 14
Florida State 0.714 0.357 0.614 0.246 5 0.021 0.6237 15
LSU 0.684 0.342 0.567 0.227 12 0.050 0.6188 16
Virginia 0.647 0.324 0.575 0.230 10 0.042 0.5952 17
South Carolina 0.632 0.316 0.598 0.239 3 0.013 0.5674 18
Auburn 0.571 0.286 0.602 0.241 8 0.033 0.5599 19
Mississippi 0.619 0.310 0.539 0.216 6 0.025 0.5503 20
Mississippi State 0.579 0.289 0.577 0.231 7 0.029 0.5495 21
North Carolina State 0.579 0.289 0.525 0.210 4 0.017 0.5160 22
Wake Forest 0.450 0.225 0.572 0.229 1 0.004 0.4580 23
Miami 0.429 0.214 0.538 0.215 2 0.008 0.4380 24

SEC ranks slightly better overall with avg rank of 11.7. The SEC lacks the star power with Florida being the dominant team, but from top to bottom the conference is very strong. Look for more in-depth rankings to come in the future.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sunday's Forecast

A free throw shooting conspiracy, clock clock conspiracy, and being put in timeout are all apart of Sunday's action.

Duke vs Boston College 5:30 FSN
Want to know the real reason Duke is "struggling" this year? I think it is free throw shooting. Not because their percentage, but because their number of attempts is way down. Mark Packman from
Southern Fried Football has a chart showing attempts by each team and their opponents stretching as far back as 97-98. Want to know who is near the top in attempts this year? That's right its BC. I think with Sean Williams, the Eagles can handle Duke this year, but without him they are a totally different. Maybe BC should contact Gilbert Arenas. He says he would drop 84 or 85 on Kryzewski in his sleep. I like Duke at home.

courtesy of Google

Georgia Tech vs Virginia Tech 3:30 FSN
The Yellow Jackets lost their 16th straight road game stretching back to 2005. But Georgia Tech is undefeated at home this year with wins over Duke, Georgia, and Florida State. If you look at the box score from the Maryland you see why they lost - lots of turnovers, Crittenton and Morrow in single figures scoring. Virginia Tech is trying to stay at the top of the ACC, but it won't be easy in the Thrillerdome. I like Georgia Tech at home.

Clemson vs Virginia 1:00 Raycom/Lincoln Financial
Many Tiger fans are still peeved at the clock management at the end of the Duke. They have gone so far to set up online petitions. Funny thing is that they have much of the ACC behind them because the other team involved was Duke. If Clemson does not move on from that (this online petition says there fans have not at least), they could get waxed by a surprising Virginia club. Problem for the Cavs is that they are much better in the new Paul Jones Arena than on the road.

i love the kid at 1:32

Kentucky vs Tennessee 1:00 CBS
Those rumblings you hear out of Kentucky to ouster Tubby Smith got a lot louder after the Wildcats let a 13 point lead at Georgia get away. The Vols sorely missed
Chris Lofton's outside shooting in a bad road loss to Ole Miss. Lofton is doubtful for this game as well and if he doesn't play I don't think Tennessee has much of chance to extend Kentucky's losing streak to three at Rupp Arena.

Georgia vs LSU 3:00 Lincoln Financial
LSU can't shoot the basketball. They miss Tyrus Thomas inside. Georgia is very close to being a 5-1 SEC team and maybe the surprise of the conference. The Tigers have not shown they can win on the road yet. Only 1 SEC West team has won on the road and that was Arkansas against a struggling Alabama team. I like the Bulldogs at home.

State of LSU Basketball
courtesy of hometeamblogs.com

Condensed Milk Version:
Duke over BC
GT over VT
Clemson over Virginia
Kentucky over Tennessee sans Chris Lofton
Georgia over LSU

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Previewing the Weekend-Saturday Slate

Taking a peak at the conference standings so far, a few things stick out to me. First in the SEC, looking at the East versus the West. The East has Florida at the top followed by three teams closely bunched at 4-2. Two of these teams: Georgia and Vanderbilt are relative surprises considering the manner in which they have gotten to 4-2 with success on the road. Meanwhile, the West is looking like a M.A.S.H unit. Auburn is on top at 3-3... Auburn! You have a jumbo lump crab cake of teams at 2-4 behind the Tigers. No team in the West has won a road game yet. Zero. And now you have got LSU losing at home to Vanderbilt.

The ACC is starting to shake out like most people expected. BC at 5-1 is a small surprise at the top, but they won't be there long with the dismissal of Sean Williams.

North Carolina @ Arizona 1:00 CBS
Big, non conference test this weekend for the Tar Heels as they travel to meet Arizona in Tuscon. The Wildcats are very good at home, but have been struggling recently in the rugged Pac 10. This is a big game for the ACC as well as it needs the Heels to perform well against the 2nd or 3rd best team in the Pac 10. The Wildcats are at a crossroads in their season and need a jump start to get back into the elite group they were in earlier in the year. The only environment that compares to the McKale Center which the Tar Heels have seen is Virginia Tech where they blown out for most of the second half. It will be interesting to see how much this young North Carolina team has matured since that game. Call me a homer, but I see the Tar Heels depth being the difference.
Here is an in depth breakdown of the game.

Wake Forest vs Florida State 4:00 Raycom/Lincoln Financial
FSU can get their revenge for the 30-0 loss suffered at the hands of the eventual ACC Champs this past fall. I never thought I would be making that statement. Wake gave UNC a game for about the first 25 minutes, but their lack of depth showed in the second half. I like the Seminoles on the road.

Auburn vs Florida 5:00 FSN
Once again Auburn has laid title to a crown. They are now the best team in Alabama (in their eyes) after beating Alabama at home, but they were the only team to beat Florida this year in football. The Gators have come dangerously close to being defeated in recent games and Auburn is red hot right now.

Vanderbilt vs Ole Miss 12:00 Lincoln Financial
Vandy has defeated three ranked teams in a row. I think Kevin Stallings may want to recast his top 25 and put Ole Miss in there as well. I was shocked when the Commodores beat LSU in Baton Rouge. Vanderbilt is hotter than the new Paris Hilton video tape and they should win this one.

Miss St vs South Carolina 7:00 FSN
A game between two mediocre SEC teams. The SEC East has dominated the West so far this season, but I like Miss St at home.

Alabama vs Arkansas 3:00 Lincoln Financial
The Tide saw its seven game winning streak over Auburn come to an end this week. Not only do they have endure a football off season, but even Auburn basketball fans are coming of the wood works to let Alabama hear it. I like Nick Saban... I mean Mark Gottfried's club at home.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Wednesday and Thursday Bball Predictions

Wake Forest vs North Carolina 7:00 ESPN
Can we bring back Tim Duncan and Randloph Childress for this one? I still have memories of
Childress draining three pointer after three pointer in the ACC Tournament Final even after motioning to the Carolina to "get up" after he slipped. Tar Heels role in this one as Duncan and Childress are now where to be found.

More Randolph Childress Highlights

Maryland vs Georgia Tech 9:00 Raycom/Lincoln Financial
The Terps are 1-4 in the ACC, but have played a couple of tight games where they lost. Georgia Tech has not won on the road since Feb 2005 at Miami. Until the Yellow Jackets learn to take care of the ball better, they will have a tough time winning on the road anywhere in the ACC. I like the Terps in a close one.

NC State vs Virginia 9:00 Raycom/Lincoln Financial
This is a game Virginia has to have if is serious about finishing in the top 4 of the ACC this season. NC State is going to have a rough go this season under first year coach Sidney Lowe. Lets just hope they don't him out too early as well. I like the Cavs in a close, road win.

Miss St vs Florida 9:00 Lincoln Financial
This is a classic trap game for a team like Florida. They have better talent than Miss State and know it, yet Starkville is not an easy place to play because there is nothing else in Starkville to do this time of year. Still, I like the Gators because I think their poor play on Saturday was addressed this week in practice.

Georgia vs Kentucky 7:00 Lincoln Financial
The Bulldogs are probably still fuming over their the last second loss to Alabama on Saturday. The Wildcats were playing a little over their heads until Vanderbilt sent them back to reality. Stegeman will be rocking when Kentucky comes into town. I like the Bulldogs here in a minor upset.

LSU vs Vanderbilt 8:00
The Tigers have not lost at home since the 2003-2004 season. The Commodores are getting all sorts of praise for their two victories last week over ranked SEC teams (and rightfully so). I like Glen Davis to continue his double-double average and lead LSU to victory.

Ole Miss vs Tennessee 8:00
The Rebels have surprised so far this season by keeping some of the better teams in the SEC in tight games. The Vols have had some hard luck through the beginning of the conference season, but it is not going to get any easier. Vols top player Chris Lofton is out with an ankle injury. But one has to wonder how Bruce Pearl will get all that body paint off before the game though? Too many distractions for Tennessee... I like Ole Miss.

South Carolina vs Arkansas 7:30
The Gamecocks are really struggling this year, but maybe they are just setting themselves up for a third straight NIT Championship? First, they have to get off the win less column in conference. Arkansas really showed me something in their comfortable victory over LSU this past weekend. I like Arkansas in this one.

Duke vs Clemson 7:00 ESPN
Don't look now, but Duke is starting to look like Duke should. Granted, they have beaten the two worst teams in the ACC last week, so they could not help but look better than they had previously. The Blue Devils have already lost one game at home, two and you might start hearing some grumblings in Durham - That is the standard Kryzewski has built on Tobacco Road. I like Duke to take advantage of the Tigers somewhat lackadaisical transition defense at times and win.
Season Record:

Monday, January 22, 2007

Tuesday Bball Predictions

Boston College vs Florida State 7:00 RSN
Game 2 without Sean Williams in the middle for the Eagles; BC did not fare very well at Clemson on Saturday. This game will be a contrast in styles with the high-energy, athletic Seminoles versus the disciplined, efficient Eagles. I like BC at home, but they need to catch a break or two

Miami vs Virginia Tech 9:00 RSN
The Hurricanes need to find whatever magic they had in College Park a few weeks ago. VT needs to take advantage of Miami while they are down and pick up an always important road victory.

Auburn vs Alabama 9:00 ESPN
Something tells me Nick Saban will be at this game recruiting his heart out. Alabama has lost five in a row to Auburn and recently went on a wild goose chase to find a new coach who could restore the Tide's proud tradition. Oh wait, this is basketball. Alabama has a seven game winning streak agaisnt Auburn, but Tide fans shutter at having to pound their chest with basketball. I like Auburn at home against a team who needed a double pivot jump shot to win on Saturday.

Who says you can't please everyone?

BC over FSU
VT over Miami
Auburn over Alabama

Sunday, January 21, 2007

If the SEC and ACC Merged

The Tallahassee News ranked the ACC and SEC as if they were one conference from 1-24. This article was orginally published last Saturday before the SEC was turned upside down.

A couple of their rankings I find interesting.
4. Kentucky
Kentucky is better than some expected this season, but they have pumped up their record so far this season on the bottom half of the SEC. I place Kentucky more in the 6-8 range.

11. Virginia Tech
I guess wins over a team ranked 1st and 7th don't count for much. VT makes my top 8.

16. Vanderbilt
I will give them a break since this was published before last Saturday

17. NC State
The Wolf pack are struggling mightily this year with two, 20+ losses at home.

Most every other ranking I agree with. I will be the first to admit I love rankings, but right now it is so tough to do so in the ACC and SEC because of how balanced these conferences are each of their powerhouses (Florida, North Carolina)

My rankings...
Group I: North Carolina, Florida
Group II: Alabama, LSU, Duke, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Vanderbilt
Group III: Boston College, Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida St, Virginia, Maryland
Group IV: Ole Miss, Auburn, Miss St, NC State, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Miami

Things I Learned From The ACC

North Carolina
The Tar Heels turned up the defensive pressure on Saturday night against a team prone to ball handling mistakes. North Carolina goes 9 deep with solid players who can play offense and defense well. Roy Williams' club should win the ACC regular season with ease. I think Tyler Hansborough has a lot less pressure on himself this year knowing he has multiple players around him who can make plays. Their starting is very good, but it is players like Danny Green, Marcus Ginyard, and an improved Quentin Thomas off the bench where the Tar Heels really separate themselves from other teams.

"Psycho T" is definitely a ringer

The Blue Devils are turning it around after their sluggish start to the conference season and a main reason why is the improved play of Greg Paulus. The sophomore point guard has responded to his benching with better decision making. Also, Josh McRoberts has answered the call as the go to guy on offense. Duke can take advantage of the dismissal of Sean Williams from Boston College and vault to the second spot in the ACC.

The Tigers saw they had a wounded animal in Littlejohn Saturday and didn't waste any time to pounce. After a two game losing streak, Clemson got back to its winning ways which will be very important later in the year. I think Clemson has proven themselves as a team that will not go away quietly this year, especially at home.

Boston College
Sean Williams may have been the most valuable player to the Eagles despite not being well know outside the ACC community. At close to five blocks per game, he could cover up a lot of mistakes on the perimeter and allowed more aggressive defense from the guards. Now the team falls squarely on the shoulders of Jared Dudley who should be up the challenge. The Eagles had a golden opportunity with Duke being down to move up the ACC ladder, but it will be very tough to do without Williams.

Georgia Tech
This team has talent - but sometimes I wonder about getting their ability to all five guys on the floor to buy in all the time. I think Paul Hewitt is struggling to find the right mix of players because he has a few all around players (Javaris Crittenton, Mario West), but some others who are one-dimensional (Jeremis Smith comes to mind first). The Jackets still carry with them a conference road losing streak stretching back to 2005. I can't see them finishing in the upper half of the ACC unless they break that streak.

Florida State
This is a very athletic team, with one really good players (Al Thornton), who can give any team fits on any given night. But the Seminoles still lack consistency and multiple threats on offense from the perimeter.

Ranking the ACC
1. North Carolina
Tar Heels far and away the best team in the ACC
2. Duke
3. Clemson
4. Virginia Tech
5. Georgia Tech
6. Boston College
These teams will likely flip flop with each all year
7. Virginia
8. Maryland
9. Florida State
Most likely will remain in bottom half most of the year; not ready to jump off Maryland yet though
10. Miami
11. NC State
12. Wake Forest
Teams you better hope you don't lose to

Miss this weekend's action?
Game Recaps

Things I Learned From The SEC

This Gator team can turn it on when the need to/want to. But they are also susceptible to lapses like the one in the Ole Miss game. If they are not careful, they will have a lapse against a good team and get too far behind. Still, Florida has talent to beat anyone in the country.
Donovan ponders refs offer for Dancing with the Stars

The Crimson Tide needed every bit of luck (and maybe some help from the officials) to win on Saturday. They have one of the best inside/outside combos in the country in Ronald Steel, Richard Hendrix, and Jemario Davidson. Alabama is the prohibitive favorite to win the West with LSU faltering on the road continually this year.

Alabama can now return to lavishing Nick Saban

Just when I thought the Wildcats were making a name for themselves in the SEC this year, the lose to Vanderbilt. I chalk it up that the Wildcats were playing above their talent level and they cannot just show up anymore with the strength of this league.

Glen Davis is a marked man this season and the focus of every opponent's defense. However, he does not have the supporting cast of last season especially on the interior with the loss of Tyrus Thomas. The Tigers look more like a team just above .500 than a conference dominator.

Tough luck for the Bulldogs on Saturday, but you can really see the strides of Dennis Felton's club in his third year in Athens. Georgia started off well last year, but fizzled down the stretch. We will see in their next couple of games how this close loss affects them and whether it has lingering effects.

Ranking the SEC
1. Florida
Gators are best by a good margin
2. Alabama
Tide are next in class
3. Kentucky
4. LSU
5. Vanderbilt
6. Georgia
7. Tennessee
8. Arkansas
Pick a team, any team.. these will beat up each other all year
9. Miss St
10. Ole Miss
11. Auburn
12. South Carolina
This is where the SEC has an advantage of other conference

Game Recaps From This Weekend

Friday, January 19, 2007

ACC Weekend Predictions

We will start with the ACC... my bread and butter. 5-0 this week gives me a lot of confidence heading into the weekend, but there are going to be some really good games this weekend.

#19 Clemson vs Boston College
How is BC unranked? 13-4 and 5-0 in the conference. Well, the Eagles took a big hit when Shawn Williams was kicked off the team this week. Williams is arguably one of the two best inside defenders in the country. He will be sorely missed against a scrappy Clemson team. Speaking of the Tigers, they have lost two in a row after winning a bunch in a row to start the season. Clemson loves to run on offense, but they want to do on defense and that is a problem. Good for them BC is a half court team. I like the Tigers here in a close one as they hit the boards inside and take advantage of Williams absence.

#4 North Carolina vs Georgia Tech
Alright... we got two wins in a row and have played better each game in 2007. This is what Georgia Tech is saying to themselves as they travel to Chapel Hill. I don't think North Carolina is going to lose at home this year - if you want to beat the Tar Heels you will have to do at your place. North Carolina has too much talent for Georgia Tech to overcome. This game last year began the downward spiral for the Yellow Jackets as they held a 20 point halftime lead, but the Heels erased that by half way through the second half.

NC State vs #14 Duke
Apologies to Duke fans, but is this not the worst 14th ranked team in the history of college basketball. The Wolfpack would love to continue Duke's mediocre beginning to the conference season, but Josh McRoberts is starting to come on now as the go to guy the Blue Devils were missing. NC State makes it close in Raleigh, but Duke sinks free throw after free throw in the end to win.

Florida State vs Miami
Two teams I am having a tough figuring out. I am having a Willie Williams moment on this one. Well, I think FSU figured out - they win at home most of the time, but will almost always lose on the road. NBA prospect Al Thornton will put the Seminoles on his back and carry them to victory.


#23 Virginia Tech vs Maryland
I think this will be the best game of the weekend. The winner of this game will solidify themselves as an upper division team, while the loser will fall back to the pack. I like the Terps in this one on the road. They have gotten off to the good start with the help of freshman Greivis Vasquez.

Virginia vs Wake Forest
I look at Wake’s 1-4 conference record and say “who did they beat?” After some research I find it is Miami on the road, who beat Georgia Tech, who beat Duke, who beat Wake by 22 on Thursday. Wake fans, bask in the glory of the ACC Championship in football and hold out hope for golf season is not far off.


SEC Flexing Its Basketball Muscle

With 5 teams ranked in the Top 25, the SEC is making a claim to be the best conference in the nation. Six conference games are on the slate for Saturday.

#25 Kentucky vs Vanderbilt
It is possible for Kentucky to fly under the radar? I think it is this season with so much attention on Florida and LSU, the Wildcats are very quietly 4-0 in the conference with large margin of victories. The Commodores have proved to be a tough out at home this year as they dismantled Alabama earlier this week, but they are not nearly as good on the road. Ashley Judd will power Kentucky to a win.


#1 Florida vs Ole Miss
Life is good in Gainesville. Just won the BCS Championship; you are the defending national champs in basketball and currently hold the top ranking. I have been surprised by how tough Ole Miss has played some teams in the SEC losing by just seven in Baton Rouge this week. Florida fans love the basketball almost as much as football and the O-Dome will be rocking. Joakim Noah did not return to lose to Ole Miss,
but he may have returned for this.

#10 Alabama vs Georgia
The Dawgs have had two, solid conference wins in their last two outings and now have hopes of a NCAA Tournament bid. The Crimson Tide has been up and down this year beating LSU at home, but then getting throttled by Vandy on the road. I think Georgia comes into this game with a lot of confidence (and deservedly so), but they will get sent back to reality. Tide rolls.

#22 Tennessee vs South Carolina
C'mon, admit that you had Tennessee and South Carolina at the bottom of the SEC to start the season. The Vols have had a rough go including two three close losses in a row where they could have won all three. The Game cocks are really struggling without Renaldo Balkman who is now playing with the New York Knicks. The Vols will win after losing three straight on the road.

Arkansas vs #16 LSU
The Hogs are red after being defeted by a last second shot from Steve Newman on Wednesday. I am surprised Stan Heath's club is 1-3 in the SEC and I surprised how LSU is struggling with some of these lower tier teams in the SEC. Maybe the conference is that strong? I like LSU in a squeaker.

Miss St vs Auburn
I like Miss State at home at the "Hump" as their basketball arena is called. No particular reason other than they are playing at home.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Predictions for the Week

Boston College vs Miami (Tue)
Eagles continue to roll against inconsistent Miami
Virginia Tech @ Florida State (Wed)
FSU is due for a win at home after two close losses; VT may be riding a little too high
Clemson vs North Carolina (Wed)
Tar Heels rebound with a win, but it will be a nail biter
Maryland @ Virginia (Tue)
The Terps go to Charlottesville and leave with a loss wondering how they let it slip away
Duke vs Wake Forest (Thur)
Wake's struggles continue prompting fans to proclaim them as a football school

Last Week: 4-2

Kentucky @ South Carolina (Tue)
Wildcats led by Randolph Morris issue another conference loss to Dave Odom
Georgia @ Arkansas (Wed)
Arkansas brings themselves back to NCAA bubble
Tennessee @ Auburn (Wed)
Auburn has renewed confidence after narrow loss, but Vols survive this road battle
Vanderbilt vs Alabama (Wed)
Probably best game of the week; Tide win a close one and gain an important road victory
LSU vs Ole Miss (Wed)
Tigers should win this one at home with relative ease

Last Week: 5-1

SEC Basketball Roundup

Another game, another 30+ point victory. It appears Florida is rounding into form after a few non-conference losses where they were favored. If this Gator team comes to play every night 100%, there are very few teams who can beat them in the country.

The Wildcats are very quietly off to a 3-0 start in the SEC. I think Kentucky is just fine with being the underdog this year behind the Florida juggernaut. However, Tubby Smith's club is not as talented as some of the better teams in recent Kentucky history. First road test of the year comes at South Carolina on Tuesday against a Gamecock team noted for jumping as a big underdog.

The Vols are not sneaking up on teams like they did last year, but the Vols are still very competitive in what has been a difficult schedule so far this season. They will have to rebound from two heart breaking losses at Vanderbilt and Ohio State.

The Bulldogs easy victory over South Carolina was unexpected, but it also shows the improvement this team has made in its third year under Dennis Felton. Many of the key players are Juniors and Seniors, which comes in very handy on the road and in late game situations.

The Crimson Tide scored a very important win over LSU last Tuesday. The Tide and Tigers will likely battle all season for the West Division title. Jermario Davidson is a force in the middle while Richard Gee is a bonafide go to scorer. Tide travel to Vanderbilt in a game that can go either way, but would be a great road win against a quality SEC team.

LSU escaped against Auburn on Saturday in a game that was much closer than expected. The Tigers scored an important non conference win over UConn over a week ago.

ACC Basketball Round Up

Last week was the beginning of the conference slate in earnest for teams in the ACC and SEC. So far, it looks like both conferences will be wide open again this year with some preseason favorites falling early.

Boston College
Don't look now, but the Eagles are also undefeated in conference play. The 4-0 start this year is a stark contrast to the slow start last year. BC is very tough to beat at the Conte Forum and they already have two road ACC wins. This is a typical BC team that will make you beat them - they will not beat themselves.

The Tigers extended their unbeated streak with a relatively easy win on the road vs NC State to begin the week. This win shows the improvement the Tigers have made this season winning in a place they don't win very often, Raleigh. However, Clemson's unbeaten streak came to an end on Saturday at Maryland. Still, Oliver Purnell's team has shown the rest of the conference that they will be a force this season.

People are feeling very blue in Durham these days. The Blue Devils dropped to 0-2 after a loss at Georgia Tech last Wednesday. Kryzewski probably ramped up practices this week after the loss and Duke rebounded with a big win over Miami. Still, it is very apparent this Duke team is leagues behind those we have come to expect and the main reason is that they have no go to scorer - no JJ Redick, no Elton Brand, no Christian Laettner

Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets sit at .500 after two big home wins over Duke and Florida St. Paul Hewitt wishes he could have that Miami road game played in early December again as this team is improving each time they take the court. This team has talent to beat anyone in the conferece, but they also have the youth to lose to any in the conference, especially on the road where the Jackets have not won since 2005.

The Terps knocked off previously unbeaten Clemson on Saturday. Maryland needed this win after a very poor showing at home against Miami earlier in the week. The Terps will get a pass for that home loss if they can string together a few conference wins in their upcoming matchups

North Carolina
The Tar Heels youth showed up in Blacksburg on Saturday. Still, I believe North Carolina is the favorite to win the conference and make a good run in the Tournament. This won't be the last loss in conference, but teams better get this team when they go on the road as they will be awful tough to beat in Chapel Hill.

Virginia Tech
Who would have thunk it? The Hokies are 3-0 in the ACC with two of these wins over North Carolina and Duke. Seth Greenberg is utilizing the athleticism of his team and forcing teams to play his style of basketball.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

SEC Basketball Predictions

This weekend is the first full slate of confernce matchups in the SEC.

Florida @ South Carolina 1:00
The Gators are starting to play the way everybody expected them to this year. It started back with the demolition of Ohio State (in basketball) and has continued into the beginning of the conference season. South Carolina got pummelled at home by Georgia this week. The Gamecocks defeated Florida twice last season. Not this time - Gators roll

Auburn @ LSU 1:00
Auburn beat LSU in football, yet the guys from Baton Rouge went to the BCS. The Tigers from Auburn have no shot in the Deaf Dome against Big Baby Glen Davis and LSU.

Tennessee @ Ohio State 1:00
I got a feeling the Buckeyes want to take out some revenge against the SEC after their losses to Florida in football and basketball by LARGE margins. This Vols team is not taking anyone by surprise this year like they did last year. Ohio State gains some revenge, but the football game still stings.

Vanderbilt @ Georgia 4:00
Probably the best matchup of the day. The Commodores are coming off a last second win over Tennessee this week, while the Bulldogs traveled to Columbia and scored an easy win. I think Georgia comes out on top playing on their home floor with Sundiata Gaines back to from an ankle injury leading the way.

Arkansas @ Ole Miss 4:00 FSN
The Razorbacks gave the Gators a scare in Gainesville and are very close to breaking through to the elite in the conference. However, they cannot overlook a team like Ole Miss on the road. I think the Rebels put a big time scare into the Hogs, but Stan Heath's club prevails.

Mississippi State @ Kentucky 4:00 FSN
Kentucky is starting to play more like we expect Kentucky to play like. The Wildcats' Randolph Morris is becoming the force everyone thought he would be two years ago. Kentucky should win this one going away after a close first 30 minutes.

Florida over South Carolina

LSU over Auburn
Ohio State over Tennessee
Georgia over Vandy
Arkansas over Ole Miss
Kentucky over Miss St

ACC Basketball Predictions

Now ACC fans can start the "real" college sports season - basketball. No other conference can match the ACC in tradition, fans, and excellence.

NC State @ Wake Forest 12:00
A match up of potential conference cellar dwellers. The Deacs need this one on their home court as their will not be many opportunities for them on the road.

Clemson @ Maryland 2:00 ESPNU
The Tigers face a very good test to their undefeated record on the road comes against the Terps who may have been caught looking ahead this week in their loss to Miami. Clemson has needed last second shots in two of their past three to keep the streak alive.

Virginia @ Boston College 2:00
Boston College is quietly going about their business dispatching teams left and right. The Cavs put a scare into the Tar Heels for about 30 minutes on Wednesday, but Sean Singletary can only do so much by himself.

North Carolina @ Virginia Tech 3:30
The Hokies have already beaten Duke this year and would love to knock off the top rated Tar Heels. Virginia Tech has a lot of athleticism which allowed them to prevail over the Blue Devils. But Roy's Boys have some players as well and go 9 deep to combat the Hokies.

Florida State @ Georgia Tech 6:00 ESPNU
This game or the Clemson-Maryland game will be the best of the day. The Yellow Jackets looked pretty good for most of the game vs Duke, but you never know with a young club. Senior Mario West is the glue that keeps Georgia Tech together.

Duke @ Miami 5:30 FSN
Will the Devils suffer their third straight ACC loss? They had not lost two in a row until 95-96 and ironically the second loss that year was to Georgia Tech too. Miami surprised many, myself included, with their road stunner over Maryland. The Canes have been up and down much like Duke. I have a feeling the practices in Durham have been very "spirited" as of late.

Wake over NC State

Maryland over Clemson
Boston College over Virginia
North Carolina over Virginia Tech
Georgia Tech over Florida State
Duke over Miami

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Explanation for Ohio State's Poor Play

I found this picture of Troy Smith and Jim Tressell on the sidelines during Ohio State's 41-14 loss in the BCS Championship. The Buckeyes are now 0-8 vs SEC teams in bowl games. I think the picture explains a lot as to why the Big 10 Champions played as poorly as they did.

But here is a better explanation. Apparently, Ted Ginn hurt his ankle during the celebration of his opening kick off return for a touchdown. This was likely Ginn's last play for the Buckeyes unless severe ankle damage was suffered. Roy Hall probably began receiving death threats as soon as this photo hit the message boards.

SEC Basketball Predictions

This could shape up as one of the best years for basketball in the SEC in recent history. Florida looks like they have not lost a step since last year, but teams like Alabama and LSU could also go deep in the Tournament.

Team Record
Florida 14-2
Kentucky 11-5
Tennessee 9-7
Vanderbilt 7-9
Georgia 6-10
South Carolina 6-10
Team Record
Alabama 12-4
LSU 11-5
Arkansas 8-8
Miss St 7-9
Ole Miss 3-13
Auburn 2-14

ACC Basketball Predictions - Quick and Dirty

I realize many teams have already played one or two conference games, but it is never too late for some predictions. The ACC is a little down this year from top to bottom, but North Carolina will give the conference a legitimate national champion contender. After that, it drops off to a group of 5 or 6 teams which will all vie for second place.

North Carolina14-2
Boston College11-5
Georgia Tech9-7
Virginia Tech8-8
Florida State7-9
NC State4-12
Wake Forest4-12

Monday, January 8, 2007

BCS Championship : Fourth Quarter Live Analysis

Florida’s Defensive line comes up big again on OSU’s first possession of the fourth. Smith is throwing off his back foot and has been not even close on a lot of his throws tonight. The Heisman winner is trying to pump his teammates up on the sideline, but there is no life in the Scarlett and Gray right now.

Florida scores again this time with Tim Tebow running right over an Ohio State player for the touchdown. Seems like the offense from the 1930s is still useful today. Like Mark May has said all season – When Tebow is in, he is going to run. Well, except for that TD pass in the second quarter he has, yet nobody can stop him for less than a four yard gain all year long. The gators did not sit on the ball at all on that drive by running it. Instead, they used short, high percentage passes like long handoffs to move the ball and the clock.

I really thought Ohio State would mount a comeback, but they haven't. The Florida mashed on the gas again in the second half.

Five sacks of Troy Smith as he goes down untouched and the Buckeyes punt the ball away. The Heisman jinx continues to rear its ugly head.

The Gators run out the clock instead of going for another score. Chris Leak gets his championship. Florida now holds the NCAA Basketball Championship and MNC Football Championship.

BCS Championship: Third Quarter Analysis

First Series’
It sounds as if Ted Ginn may not be able to play very much in the second half it at all. The Gators go three and out on their first possession. A very bad punt by Eric Wilbur gives Ohio State the ball in Florida territory; this is exactly what Ohio State needs.

Ohio State does not have much luck on their first possession either. The Gator d-line is still getting a lot of pressure on Smith. Nice tackle by Earl Everett sans helmet. The Gators get the ball back inside their own 10 however.

Next Possessions
The Gators are using Percy Harvin all over the field - running back, slot back, h-back, wide receiver. Harvin looks to have the same versatility as Reggie Bush did. Leak is on the money so far tonight hitting his receivers right on the money.

Ted Ginn is done for the game. Pads off and a boot on that left foot.

Buckeyes D is starting to catch onto the option and reverses by Florida. It will be interesting to see if Meyer tries to go down field next possession with all the short throws and option runs so far.

No scoring in the third quarter after 48 points in the first half.

Florida has dominated both lines of scrimmage in this game. This has helped Chris Leak out play Troy Smith by a large margin in this game.

BCS Championship: Second Quarter Review

The Gators score on the first play of the second quarter on a 2 yard plunge from DeShawn Wynn. Ohio State gets the ball for the third time and comes right down the field. The Buckeyes were aided by a questionable roughing the passer call. Troy Smith is having little trouble finding receivers, but he has had some success scrambling. Tressell has gone with a traditional I-formation running attack and it worked bring the Buckeyes within seven. Ted Ginn has been missing since the Buckeyes first offensive series. He limped back to the locker room and has not returned since. Without Ginn, the Buckeyes will have to gain yards on short passes and runs rather than the long ball.

Both teams have successful defensive stands. The Gators are driving again mid way through the quarter. They are looking to go up by 14 again, but are stalled around their own 25. The Gators send on Chris Hetland who has hit just 4 for 13 this year, but the kicker nails it from 42. That was a huge confidence builder for the Gators, but it would have been nice to get up by 14 again considering you will get the ball

Ohio State goes for it on their own 29 yard line on 4th and 1. An interesting call considering the field position, but the Gators stuff Ohio State two plays in a row. Not sure how much you gain by going for it there. Maybe Tressell thought he had to keep the ball out of the Gators hands.

Florida is unable to gain a first down, but Hetland comes on again and nails it again from 40 this time. We will see if these FGs instead of TDs come back to haunt the Gators. I think Ohio State is going to comeback in third quarter and one or two touchdowns there would have been a huge deficit to come back from.
Well, Troy Smith fumbles and Derrick Harvey returns it to the Ohio State five. Urban Meyer elects to use Tim Tebow on two runs and then on third down they take advantage of the true freshman’s passing ability with a rub route for a TD to Andre Caldwell. The Gators have scored on six of their seven possessions.

Despite a 20 point deficit and just 61 total yards of offense, the Buckeyes are not out of this game. Remember the Michigan game and how quickly Troy Smith and Ohio State can score. The Gators will have to fight off the notion of this game already being over. Jim Tressell is not one of the big game coaches for nothing. He will have his team ready to play in the second half.

This game is already over the set total of 46 and it is just halftime. That has been a theme of this year’s bowl season. Offenses have had a month to prepare for these bowl games and find ways to attack defenses.

Keys for Florida in the 2nd Half:
Mash on the Gas -
Gators cannot even think this game is close to being over or the Buckeyes will back into this game before they can blink

Not Getting Greedy -
Chris Leak has played exceptional in the first half and made as good of throw aways as completions. He cannot start to make questionable throws just because they are up by 20.

Keys for Ohio State in the 2nd Half:
Protecting the Heisman -
Troy Smith has been sacked three times and fumbled once. Without Ginn, Smith must step up but he needs better protection.

Turnovers -
The Buckeyes have to find away to wrestle the ball away from the Gators. One way is to start putting some pressue on Leak who has a tendency to lose mechanics when under fire.

BCS Championship: First Quarter Review

The game started out with a bang on the Ted Ginn opening kickoff return for a touchdown. But the Gators came back with a good return of their own and 15 yards was added on with a facemask on the Ohio State kicker giving Florida a short field. The Gators are pulling out all the stops on offense giving the Buckeyes a lot to think about. Leak is looking the best he has all season. His receivers are finding space in the Ohio State and he is getting the necessary time to get them the ball.

Ohio State comes out of offense for the first time and goes three and out. Jim Tressell elected to spread the Gators out, but Florida was ready. After the punt, another 15 yard penalty gives Florida another short field. Leak starts out with just one incompletion after the first two touchdown drives. Eight different Florida players touched the ball on their first two drives.

The Gators again go right down the field again and are on the verge on taking a 21-7 lead. Ohio State looks slow right now, as they are unable to get much pressure on Leak. The Buckeyes d-line is using an interesting formation by having three guys down and one guy stand up on the interior line.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Big 10 vs SEC in 2006

The Big 10 and SEC Champions will play each other for the BCS Championship on January, 8 in Glendale, Arizona. The Big 10 Champion, Ohio State, is a 7 to 8 point favorite as they have earned the number one ranking so far this season. However, conferences are not measured by just your best teams. They are measured from top to bottom where the SEC is clearly a much stronger conference overall.

The addition of a 12th regular season game caused most teams to add one, non-conference game to their schedule for 2006. The SEC was 41-7 in non-conference play this season with an average margin of victory of 18.1 points. During this bowl season, the SEC is 5-3 thus far. Against other BCS Conference teams, the SEC was 9-6 during the regular season. During the 2006 regular season, the Big 10 was a respectable 33-12 in non-conference play, but the margin of victory was only a shade over 12 points per game. However, two of those 12 losses came to Division I-AA teams (Southern Illinois and New Hampshire) by a combined 24 points. The Big 10 is guaranteed to finish below .500 in bowl games; their best hope is a 3-4 bowl mark. One of those losses was by 17 points (Purdue) and another came after blowing a 31 point lead (Minnesota), the largest ever in a bowl game. The Big 10 was .500 (7-7) against BCS conference teams including Notre Dame before the bowl season began.

It is easy to run up victories over teams like New Hampshire (oops...sorry Northwestern) or Ball State, but what about when you go up against the "big boys". As I mentioned earlier, the SEC was 9-6 versus BCS conference schools during the regular season. The season started with a bang when Tennessee slapped Cal back to the West Coast in week 1 in a game not even as close as the 35-18 final score indicated. Additionally, the SEC finished the season very strong in their out of conference rivalries and bowl games. Georgia was the most impressive with victories over arguably the two best teams in the ACC in Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. South Carolina went into Death Valley and defeated Clemson 31-28 and followed that with a victory over the Conference USA champs Houston. Even the SEC's perennial basketball powerhouse Kentucky had an 8 win season with a victory over Clemson in their bowl game. Auburn closed their season out strong as well with a victory over Big 12 North Champion Nebraska. The Big 10 had a decent amount of success as well during the regular season bowl games, but all four of their quality wins came from the top 4 teams in their conference. I look at the results of teams like Purdue, Minnesota, Indiana, and Illinois and I don't see any win that sticks out as a game where they were the underdog, but managed to win on the road or against a better team.

Finally, if you get right down to it and measure these teams up 1vs1, 2vs2 and so on, the argument is most clear who has the better conference top to bottom. Most Big 10 Fans would agree that Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Penn State are the top four teams respectively. This foursome is pretty strong if you stop the comparison right there. However, teams 5-11 are a long ways down the conference ladder. Lets look at 1-11 in each conference and match them accordingly.
1. Ohio St vs 1. Florida
2. Michigan vs 2. LSU
3. Wisconsin vs 3. Arkansas
4. Penn State vs 4. Auburn
At this point the conferences look very even. I would say each conference would win 2 of these match ups. But here is where the real gap begins.

5. Purdue vs 5. Tennessee
6. Minnesota vs 6. Georgia
Two easy wins for the SEC

7. Iowa vs 7. South Carolina
8. Indiana vs 8. Kentucky
9. Michigan State vs 9. Alabama
SEC wins 2 out of 3 here considering only 1 Big 10 team made it to a bowl and they were 6-6

10. Northwestern vs 10. Ole Miss
11. Illinois vs 11. Vandy/Miss St

I see 7-8 wins out of 11 games for the SEC when you match these teams up head to head. What makes the SEC such a great conference is the strength of these teams from the top to the bottom. The Big 10 is essentially the Big 4 plus 7 also rans. The Big 10 does not have teams like Vanderbilt who can go into Athens and beat Georgia; Ole Miss who took LSU to overtime; South Carolina who came within a blocked field goal of defeating potential national champion Florida. Some would say this equals parity, but not when you have five or six teams ranked in the polls the majority of the season. Throw in the facts that the SEC leads the nation in attendance and has the most passionate fans in college football, and it is easy to why the SEC is better than the Big 10.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Florida and Ohio State for the BCS Championship

BCS Championship Glendale, Arizona Jan 8PM FOX

#2 Florida vs #1 Ohio State
Line: -7.5, 46
Florida 12-1-04-8-09-03-128.813.54-8-0
Ohio State 12-0-09-3-07-05-036.310.43-9-0

Quick Hits:
Florida Gators are 1-5 ATS in last 6
Florida Gators as Dog: 0-0

Ohio State Buckeyes 4-2 ATS in last 6
Ohio State Buckeyes are 2-5 O/U in last 7
Ohio State as Fav: 8-3 ATS, 3-8 O/U

Season Recap Florida Gators:
Best Wins: @Tenn 21-20, vLSU 23-10, vArk 38-28
Losses: @Aub 17-27
Record vs Bowl Teams: 8-1
Avg Score vs Bowl Teams: 26.5-13.9

Season Recap Ohio State:
Best Wins: @Texas 24-7, vMich 42-39
Losses: None
Record vs Bowl Teams: 7-0
Avg Score vs Bowl Teams: 35.4-12.6

Florida Gators Offense vs Ohio State Buckeyes Defense
21st in Total Offense vs 13th in Total Defense
26th in Passing Offense vs 29th in Passing Defense
36th in Rushing Offense vs 16th in Rushing Offense
32th in Points Per Game vs 2nd in Points Per Game Allowed

Key Matchups:
Florida O-line vs Ohio State Pass Rush
Chris Leak is having his best season in his four years quarterbacking the Gators and is one of the best pure passers in the nation. However, Leak's achilles heal like many QBs is that he does not do well when under constant pressure from defensive blitzes. The Gators will need to take care of the ball and have to limit their turnovers. The Florida O-Line must be able to protect Leak well.

Percy Harvin
Harvin is a game changer who can line up all over the field. The Buckeyes will need to know where he is at all times - RB, slot WR, H-back.

Tim Tebow Recognition
Tebow brings a dimension to the game that the Buckeyes have not seen much this year. The true freshman has not seen as much action down the stretch of the season, but I feel Meyer will have some sets for his future QB.

Ohio State Buckeyes Offense vs Florida Gators Defense
15th in Total Offense vs 10th in Total Defense
33rd in Passing Offense vs 51st in Passing Defense
18th in Rushing Offense vs 6th in Rushing Defense
7th in Points Per Game vs 6th in Points Per Game Allowed

Key Matchups:
Florida Front Four vs Ohio State O-Line
The Gator defensive line is one of the best in the nation and allows their linebackers to roam free and make tackles. The Buckeye line almost gave away the game against Michigan with some poor snaps and protection at times. If the Gators have to use linebackers to get pressure, this could open the gates for Troy Smith scrambling out of the pocket.

Ohio State Spread vs Florida DBs
The Buckeyes unveiled a new wrinkle against rival Michigan by using four and five WR sets a lot to spread the Wolverines out. I expect the Big 10 champs to do the same in Glendale and try to negate some of that speed Florida has on defense. The Gators have given up some yards through the air this season as they are only average against the pass nationally.

Special Teams
Neither team has faced returners this good during the season. Ted Ginn has been kept under wraps most of the year on the return game. The Gators needed their return game in a close call with Vanderbilt. However, Ohio State will have a decided advantage in the field goal kicking department as the Gators have struggled mightily with even the easiest of kicks.

Many are saying this game is a role reversal of the 2002 Fiesta Bowl where Miami came in as the big favorite and everybody thought Ohio State did not have a chance because of all the close games they had won. The problem with that theory is that Jim Tressell is still coaching the Buckeyes and there is nobody better in college football in a big game than Jim Tressell. Heisman QBs have also not fared very well in National Championship Games, but Troy Smith is maybe the most unassuming Heisman winner in the last 10 years. Florida's defense will keep them in this game, but Troy Smith will have one last magical play that will lift the Buckeyes to the BCS Championship.

Ohio State Wins, Florida Covers, Over