Open Letter to the Ohio State University

Dear tOSU,

First, stop emphasizing the word “the” in your official name. No one cares. However, that is not the subject of my letter. I am writing on behalf of the college basketball world today. Why? Why did you have to chuck countless threes in the last 10 minutes of the second half?

I know Tennessee had an advantage on the inside, but did you have to rim out on all of them? It used to be so fun holding the banner of “Sweet Sixteen U” over Tennessee fans, but no more. I imagined a university that holds itself in such high regard could keep the history alive, but I was mistaken.

So thanks, Ohio State, for reminding me why I never choose your athletic teams to win a big game. Was the SEC speed too much for you this time as well?

Sincerely,

America

NCAA announces 2028 Final Four location

In an unprecedented move by the NCAA, the location of the 2028 Final Four was announced yesterday, eighteen years in advance. The move came after the overall number one Kansas Jayhawks were eliminated from the 2010 version of the tournament. The higher-ups in the organization failed to offer an explanation for the move, but a source with knowledge spoke to EJSIC anonymously.

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“Interim President James Isch wants to protect the top seeds as much as possible. That’s why we’re going to 96 teams next year. He didn’t like to see Kansas going home in the second round. It’s part of a long term vision. The Jayhawks are a big part of our tradition going back to Naismith and Phog Allen, and we don’t need them being upset. It’s bad for business.”

“The Kansas program has proven to be cyclical. They win championships every twentieth year: 1988, 2008, and, logically, 2028. We definitely don’t want people to think that season is already fixed, but we’re trying to optimize profits. By announcing the site yesterday, we feel it gives the Jayhawk faithful plenty of time to book hotels, take vacation time from work, etc.”

“Kansas City in 2028 is going to be Rock Chalk city. We’ve got some big plans to go along with it as well. We’ll bring in Roy Williams and let him wear a sticker for the Jayhawks, Tarheels, and Wildcats. We’ll probably have Larry Brown come in if he’s still alive. Some other things I can’t talk about right now…”

Obviously worried about revealing too much, he then abruptly hung up.

This new information bodes well for the Kansas fan base, decimated by heartbreak this past weekend. Unfortunately, this could also mean more heartbreak over the next eighteen years as Rock Chalk tries to break out of a vicious cycle akin to the Hindu prophecies. Fear not, Jayhawks. 2028 is your year.

Let the press conference rage begin

It’s March and college basketball coaches across the country are feeling the heat. There will be many meltdowns to come in the next weeks with bubbles bursting and tournament dreams ending. The first Utah coach Jim Boylen.

He doesn’t go full Mike Gundy or Jim Mora, but he causes a few bleeps on the camera.

Video via collegehoopsjournal.com

A 500-Word Rant regarding the expansion of the NCAA Tournament

Run-of-the-mill bad ideas are a dime a dozen.  Eating that 3-day-old Chinese take-out?  Seeing if you can get the baby and the dog to wrestle? Greenlighting “The Swan”?  All clearly bad.  But not extraordinary.

But, what the N¢AA (that really doesn’t have the punch I would like it to, but, oh well)  is about to do goes so far beyond these.   No.  We’re entering firmly into “I’ll just keep my gun in my sweatpants” territory now.

I’m tired of people saying that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is NOT a legitimate anti-expansion sentiment.  It clearly IS legitimate.  I challenge anyone who has challenged me to name one way in which a 96-team tournament will be bad for college basketball…to name one way in which a 96-team tournament will be  GOOD for college basketball.

The only legitimate reason for it has been and always will be:  “More money.”

The same money that the NCAA refuses to let its athletes even look at.

This expansion (which we have been told is “inevitable”) only helps the NCAA’s bank account and, to a lesser extent, the Top 20 programs in the country.

Now, keep in mind, I am a FAN of one of those programs.   But the complete and total unbalance of what used to be the greatest tournament in sports really will favor the top teams more than it did before.   If the NCAA’s aim was to “give more teams a chance to compete” in the tournament…they might not like what will happen.  The bottom 64 teams have to play an extra game.  The top 32 don’t.  It’s hard enough to win six games in a row, I’m guessing it will be impossible to win seven….especially when you’re probably not good enough to be there in the first place.

The typically even-matched #8 vs. #9 game is the perfect example of why this will change everything.  Now, instead of two relatively equal teams battling out of the gate for a chance to prove themselves against the #1 seed in their region a round later…we get one team (the #8) playing another, comparable team (the #9) that just HAPPENS to have played a full game already.  Or even worse…we have one team (the #8) playing the 7th best MAAC team or DePaul when the #24 seed beats the #9 in the first round.   The #8 seed should NEVER be a heavy favorite in any game.   The #8 seed should NEVER be rewarded with that much of an advantage.  The ’85 Villanova Wildcats aren’t walking through that door again any time soon.

Speaking of  lower seeds making deep runs…

Do you remember when George Mason made the Final Four in 2006 as an 11 seed?  Hope you enjoyed that Cinderella run, because you won’t be seeing its kind again any time soon.  Cinderella now gets to play an extra game if she wants to go to the ball.  Something special that has rarely happened in the past  now gets the added exoticness of NEVER getting to happen again.

There are so many more reasons, but now I’m out of

College Basketball Top 25 1/17/10

The EJSIC Top 25: NCAA Basketball
January 17, 2010
Pre-season poll, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9

So, without further ado, here are our rankings (votes – first place votes), with next week’s schedule. Week 10 will be games played between January 17 and January 23. As the season progresses, we’ll keep a log of top wins and bad losses so you can follow the important information to the NCAA tournament.

1. Texas 17-0 (100 – 4)
…..Key wins: Pitt, Texas A&M, Michigan State, UNC,
…..Next week: @ Kansas State 1/18, @ UCONN 1/23
2. Kentucky 18-0 (96)
…..Key wins: UNC, UCONN, Louisville, Florida
…..Next week:  vs. Arkansas 1/23
3. Kansas 16-1 (90)
…..Key wins: Texas Tech, California, Temple, Cornell
…..Next week: vs. Baylor 1/20, @ Iowa State 1/23
3. Syracuse 17-1 (90)
…..Key wins: California, WVU, Cornell, Florida, Seton Hall, UNC
…..Next week: @ Notre Dame 1/18, vs. Marquette 1/23
5. Villanova 16-1 (83)
…..Key wins: Dayton, Mississippi, Georgetown, Louisville
…..Next week: @ Rutgers 1/20, @ St. Johns 1/23

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The BCS Championship

Tonight, BCS #1 Alabama and #2 Texas play for the college football national championship*. I don’t intend to fill this post with rehashed analysis such as the staunch Alabama defense, Heisman winners in the big game, SEC vs Big XII in bowl games, etc. Instead, I want to rant and rave like a possessed two year old with the knowledge from the beginning that a playoff is unlikely in the near future.

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But as a native Southerner, my friends always ask me: “How can you like the NFL better than college football?” Then they lists the various reasons: 100,000 seat stadiums, nasty rivalries, kids playing for the name on the front of the jersey rather than the back (I disagree, but that’s another discussion), and so forth. All great reasons. In fact, I want to like college football more than the NFL. I want to love it.

I really want to, but I can’t. How can I put faith into a sport more scripted than the WWE? Four to five teams a year have a shot at playing for the championship and those few teams are hand-picked by sportswriters before a game is ever played. How asinine is that?

We can all argue ’til we drop dead about strength of schedule, conference affiliation, etc., but hasn’t Boise State done enough to deserve some attention? They’ve beaten mighty Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. They’ve beaten another undefeated, non-BCS team in TCU just the other night. They went to Oregon a year ago and won. They hosted the Ducks on the blue turf last August and won again. They’re playing Oregon State and Virginia Tech next season. And arguably, BSU will have the best team on paper then. But, will they ever be given a chance?

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The game of college football has evolved. It will no longer be dominated by USC, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, etc. Sure, those programs will still put forth good teams, but now they will contend with non-traditional powers. And it isn’t time we adapt along with the game?

I hate college football bowl games

The NCAA is so greedy they've lost touch with what collegiate athletics are.

The NCAA is so greedy they've lost touch with what collegiate athletics are.

So, every year I gripe about this, write about it for anyone who will listen, and then use too much profanity and my writings are deleted. Now, though, I think I can control my emotions enough to get my thoughts down and still keep it family friendly. My problem is that the season ends with a bunch of “winners.” The irony is of all sports to ultimately go PC with the “everyone’s a winner” attitude, I would have thought football would be the last one to suck. How long until they quit keeping score? I like basketball, with their “one winner” mentality – the rest of the 300+ teams end the year as losers.

Clearly, the only reasonable ending to college basketball is a mini-tournament. Later, I’ll advocate my solution to this problem. With your help to fill any holes I miss, I will then craft it into a letter I intend to send to Congress, who have proven to only be concerned with doing anything beneficial for Americans in the sports arena. I’ve all but given up on US politics otherwise.

Strength of Schedule
My biggest complaint about the bowl selection process is there is no good measure of strength of schedule. The BCS poll only standardizes the fraction of votes from a number of polls. The problem is the polls rarely if ever take into consideration the strength of schedule. Consider Penn State. They played two decent teams this year – Iowa and Ohio State, losing both of those games. Their out of conference games were against Akron (3-9), Syracuse (4-7), Temple (9-3 with their best win over Navy and a loss to a D2 school), and Eastern Illinois (8-3 with their best win over Jacksonville State). Wisconsin wasn’t on their schedule. Their best win was Northwestern. And this is a team in contention for a BCS game, possibly at the exclusion of an undefeated Boise State team.

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