Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 16

On NCAA Nicknames
For those loving team nicknames, and in the spirit of the Road to the Final Four that gets in full swing today, here are great trivia questions from Richard Rosenblatt, AP Sports Writer.

On Women’s Basketball Tournament
The only time I really follow the NCAA women’s tournament is when my alma mater is in the mix. Fans may remember Bowling Green’s surprise run to the Sweet 16 in 2007. Interestingly, this year’s Falcons were 28-4, won 28 of their last 30, won 25 in a row, won the MAC (15-1), ranked 39 in the RPI, lost in the conference tournament finals by 4, but had a weak strength of schedule – All translating into an NIT bid.

On an Achievement
Congratulations Martin Broudeur on becoming NHL’s most-winning goaltender of all-time (list). Quite a feat, of course so was passing my alltime favorite: Mr. Goalie, Glenn Hall.

On Alternative Energy
Columnist Thomas Freidman had an excellent column about stepping-up-to-the-plate to think beyond typical alternative energy sources.

On Speaker Pelosi
Speaker Pelosi amazed me by declaring she’s not a partisan leader. I agree because she’s no more partisan than John Boehner; yet we continually wonder why Washington is dominated by the clueless. The link for those who want to read more.

On Washington Dealing with Problems
When Congress met after 9-11, do you think the hallowed halls were filled with partisan BS or constructive dialogue? Sure it was the later because our legislators knew the seriousness of the situation.

Compare that to their actions now. Hmmm … Which of the following does their partisan dogma signal?
A) They don’t think there’s an economic problem
B) They don’t want to solve the problem
C) The economic problem doesn’t exist

Meanwhile, this David Ignatius column is well done.

On Congress & AIG
Sure the public is outraged about the AIG bonuses. Meanwhile, members of Congress continue to grandstand their outrage in front of the press and committee hearings.

Meanwhile, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) is responsible for the legislation edit/loophole allowing the bonuses. Ever wonder about his main contributors? Here they are. (See these tabs: Industries, PACs, & Donors)

On Other Bonuses
While on vacation 2 weeks ago, I noticed a company paying big executive bonuses the day before reducing 401k contributions to all employees. I only wish I could recall the company’s name.

On Cheese
Staying with the theme of things that smell, if you want to learn more about cheese, check out this site.

On Madness: Hoops and Dance

The NCAA basketball week starts tomorrow and the first cut has been made on Dancing with the Stars. With all that in mind, hear are some random thoughts for the both brackets.

Teams Ready to Upset

  • Portland State – A good team playing a struggling one
  • Utah State – Because they have a lousy football team, thus why not.
  • VCU – A steady program with a great player
  • Western Kentucky – The Hilltoppers have been there before
  • North Dakota State – They love the 3s, plus Kansas has a tendency to either go out early or go a long way
  • Northern Iowa – Because they’ve done it before, and a former work colleague went is an alum
  • Maryland & Arizona – Two power conference teams that I said shouldn’t be in the field, therefore ready to win

Team Ripe for an Upset

  • Xavier – I hate to list a local team here, but the Musketeers have been struggling
  • Washington – Playing a hot SEC team
  • Marquette – Injury to a top player

Top-8 Seeds Most Likely to Miss the Final Four

  • Pitt – I hate their tournament history
  • Michigan State – They’re in a tough bracket
  • Connecticut  – The potential of facing Memphis

For those seeking last more information about the field, see the articles from the Yahoo! Sports Expert’s Corner

Dancing with the Stars

Now that Belinda Carlisle has joined the infamous list of DWTS First Eliminated, here’s how I see the field.

Finalist Leaders
Gilles, Shawn, Melissa

First-Rung Challengers
Lil’ Kim, David

A Chance to Step Forward IF …
Lawrence, Chuck, Ty, Denise

Doubtful
Holly, Steve O,

No Hope
Waz

On Basketball Brackets 2009

The conference tournaments are the opening act to March Madness. Now that they are over, many workders will have their bracket handy in their office cubicle to record that vision of the grand upset and ultimate winner. More enthusiastic fans will argue about seeds and who didn’t get invited.

I’m sure being on the committee is both rewarding and difficult. Given the 347 teams, the committee must narrow the field to 65 while working within their established rules – let alone create the actual bracket.

College sports are big … not only high interest, but also big dollar. Unlike their BCS counterparts, at least basketball produces a legitimate champion who is unquestionably recognized. However, like its gridiron counterparts, the power schools dominate the scene at the expense of the mid-majors. Basketball teams are also following football’s recipe of out-of-conference scheduling involving more home games against mid-majors in order to reach that 20-win mark.

Let’s see – How many teams outside of the non-BCS conferences received at-large invitations? Four: Xavier, Butler, Dayton, and BYU.

How many at-large teams had conference records of .500 or less? Five: Arizona, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, and USC. Sorry, if you can’t finish with a winning record in the conference, no big dance for you! Besides, are their at least five more-deserving teams?

How many #8 seeds or lower get to play close to home? One: Ohio State – such a possible reward for top-seed Louisville. Hmmm … did the inclusion of Michigan and Minnesota affect OSU’s playing site?

I remain against the conference tournaments as they give less meaning to a season. A mid-major team can dominate their conference during the season, but that one off night could keep them out of the big dance. On the other hand, their conference takes the risk by accepting sponsorship and television money for the event. Keep in mind that since there’s only so much TV time, numerous mid-major conferences adjust their tournament schedule to get the money and additional media exposure.

Meanwhile, the start of the dance is just around the corner. Although mid-majors have minimal chance of landing in the Final Four, let alone becoming a national championship, mid-majors are the ones who capture the hearts of basketball fans. When all is said and done, use the BCS model to figure out the selection process – just follow the money.

On Basketball Tournament Time

Many conferences have their conference tournaments this weekend with the winner getting the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament – the Road to the Final Four. Of course we fans we eagerly anticipate Sunday’s tournament selection show, which means picking those brackets will dominate a lot of time. Meanwhile, here are some random thoughts.

I’m not a big fan of the conference tournaments, but like much of college sports, it’s all about the revenue.

There are currently 347 D1 college basketball teams, yet only 65 (18.7%) will move on. Personally, I think the number of teams should be expanded.

While I’m on opinions, and I know this would create havoc for the bracket polls, instead of set brackets I prefer matching top seeds and lower seeds in every round.

My undergraduate degree is from Bowling Green, a team that hasn’t been to the tournament is 1968. Of the teams that have been D1 since 1968, only 13 other schools have as long (or longer) dry spells than my beloved Falcons. Thanks to the Falcon Blog for this information.

  • Columbia: Last appeared in 1968
  • Tennessee Tech: Last appeared in 1963
  • Yale: Last appeared in 1962
  • Maine: D1 since 1962
  • New Hampshire: D1 since 1962
  • Centenary (La.): D1 since 1960
  • Dartmouth: Last appeared in 1959
  • Harvard: Last appeared in 1946
  • Army: D1 since 1948
  • Citadel: D1 since 1948
  • Northwestern: D1 since 1948
  • St. Francis (N.Y.): D1 since 1948
  • William & Mary: D1 since 1948

BGSU, the top seed in this year’s MAC tournament, lost last night in the conference semi-finals. Oh well – the streak continues. They probably get an NIT bid and play on the road at one of the power-conference schools.

My Cincinnati Bearcats are a mere shell of what once was. Although they laid a large egg down the stretch, they aren’t ready for the dance anyway. I’ll keep my eye in hometown rival Xavier, but they must play better to be a factor.

I lived the UCLA dynasty of the 1960s-70s, and I don’t think I’ll ever see that kind of domination ever again.

Who do I think will win this year? I don’t know as UC’s fall is one reason I don’t know as much about the teams as in the past. North Carolina and Duke seem to be the leading contenders, but this has been a topsy-turvy year. Meanwhile, I’ll watch and hope for a Cinderella.