Tuesday, March 13, 2012

NCAA Bracket Facts

Here are some important things to remember when you are filling out your NCAA Tournament pool:

* A #16 seed is not going to upset a #1. It has never happened and probably never will. Those #1’s are there for a reason. According to ESPN, the average margin of victory for a #1 seed in the First Round is 29.6 points.
* A #15 seed is probably not going to fair much better against a #2 seed. Yes, it has happened before, but only four times since 1985. The last #2 seed to flop in the opening round was Iowa State when they were upended by Hampton 58-57 in 2001.

* A #14 seed has been known to spring an upset as it has happened 16 times since 1986 (full disclosure, being a St. Bonaventure alum, they have already been selected in my pool). It has happened three times since 2005: 2010- Ohio over Georgetown, 2006-Northwestern State over Iowa, and 2005- Bucknell over Kansas.

* Since 2001, 11 #13 seeds have knocked off a #4 seed and has happened in the last four years. 2011- Morehead State over Louisville, 2010- Murray State over Vanderbilt, 2009- Cleveland State over Wake Forest, and twice in 2008- Siena over Vanderbilt and San Diego over UConn.

* Everyone knows that a #12 seed will in fact upend a #5 seed as it has happened 36 times since the Tourney was expanded to 64 teams in 1985. For you stat geeks out there, that is 1.3 times per year. Only three times since 1985 has their not been a #12 to advance (1988, 2000 and 2007). In fact, some years, multiple #5 seeds have been upset including three in 2006 and 2009 and twice in 1990, 1994, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2008.

* Just like the #5 seed, a #6 seed as fallen 36 times as well since 1985. In the last two tourney’s, an #11 seed has advanced five out of eight opportunities (three times in 2011 and twice in 2010).

* Since 2008, five #12 seeds have advanced to the Sweet 16 (2011- Richmond; 2010- Cornell; 2009- Arizona; 2008- Western Kentucky and Villanova).

* A #11 seed has advanced to the Sweet 16 in each of the last two tournaments (2011- Marquette and VCU; 2010- Washington).

* There has only been one #12 seed to advance past the Sweet 16: 2002 when Missouri advanced to the Elite 8.
* Only 10 teams have reached the Sweet 16 as a #8 seed. Keep in mind the #8 seed will draw the region’s #1 seed in the second round. But, if a #8 gets to the Sweet 16, they usually advance to the Elite 8. It has happened seven times out of those 10 and four of those teams have advanced to the Final Four.
* No #9 seed has ever made the Final Four. Same goes for a #10 as well as #12 through #16).

* The top four teams in each region rarely end up all in the Sweet 16. While, the #1 seed has advanced to the Sweet 16 over the last 27 years 93% of the time, the rest don’t fare as well. A #2 seed has done it 68%, while a #3 seed makes it 61%. A #4 seed only advanced to the Sweet 16 only 36% of the time.

* At least one double-digit seed (#10 through #16) has reached the Sweet 16 in 25 of the past 27 years, and at least two have done so in 12 of the past 15 years. Four double-digit seeds advanced last year.

* It is a safe bet for an underdog to get to the Elite 8. At least one team seeded #6 or higher has reached the Elite Eight in 22 of the past 27 years. In 2011, #8 Butler advanced to the national championship and #11 seed VCU made the Final Four.

* There have only been three teams to advance to the Four Four as a #11 seed:
2011: VCU
2006: George Mason
1985: LSU

Good luck!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Peyton Manning Survivor

Now that Peyton Manning has become a free agent it seems just about every fan base is hoping #18 signs with their team. Manning will only go to a team where he thinks he can win a Super Bowl and some teams just don’t make any sense. So, lets play Peyton Manning Survivor and breakdown what teams are left standing to be the lucky potential suitors for Manning’s services.

Eliminate any team that just released him:

Eliminate any team his brother plays for:
New York Giants

Eliminate any team that has a franchise QB:
Green Bay
New England
New Orleans
San Diego

Eliminate any team that thinks they have a franchise QB:
St. Louis
Tampa Bay

Eliminate any team that drafted a QB in the first round last season and gave a ton of cash to:

Eliminate any team that is pretty sure they have the answer at QB, but regardless signed him to a huge contract last season:

Eliminate any team that has two QBs they really don’t want, but gave up the farm to get both:

Eliminate any team that plays in the same city as Manning’s brother because he doesn’t want to upstage him:
New York Jets

Eliminate any team that is so dysfunctional, no intelligent person would actually try and make it work there:

Eliminate any team that signed a second chance QB who had one great season and is now an average QB they gave a ton of cash to:

Eliminate any team that their Executive VP is the franchise’s favorite son, hates his current QB, but can’t go after Manning because the fans will curse him because they love their QB more than their own children:

Eliminate any team that has a head coach that was traded away so his team could draft Peyton Manning in 1998:
San Francisco

Eliminate any team that is rolling the dice on trading up to draft Robert Griffin III:

Eliminate any team that has a GM and head coach that used to work for Bill Belichick:
Kansas City

Keep any team that doesn’t have a QB, doesn’t have a good QB, regrets signing a bad QB or has a group of marginal to crappy QBs:

So now our list is down to three teams. Lets take a closer look at each:

Miami Dolphins- According to just about everyone in Miami, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has made it his mission to get #18 to South Beach. Miami has money to spend, a decent line, solid RB in Reggie Bush and a #1 WR in Brandon Marshall. The rest of the WR corps is above average with Davone Bess and Brian Hartline. Also, Anthony Fasano is one of the better TEs in the league. Their defense played very well in the second half of the season so the addition of Manning could make Miami and Manning think a Super Bowl is realistic. We should also mention Manning owns a condo in Miami.

Arizona Cardinals- Arizona was grossly disappointed in Kevin Kolb for many reasons. Head coach Ken Wisenhunt has no problem dumping a guy who has shown nothing in favor of a Hall of Fame caliber veteran QB (see: Warner, Kurt over Leinart, Matt). WR Larry Fitzgerald is a top three WR and is the main draw here along with the Cardinals playing in a dome. TE Todd Heap was once a top level player and could be rejuvenated with Manning. They don’t have much at RB as Beanie Wells has not lived up to expectations. They have some decent players on defense and play in a weak division.

Seattle Seahawks- This is a total dark horse team, but think about it. Pete Carroll is a players coach and will totally let Manning do whatever he chooses on the field. RB Marshawn Lynch is locked in for four years and WR Sidney Rice should be 100% come training camp. They also have a solid TE in Zach Miller. Plus, according to Sports Illustrated, Seattle has the checkbook already open.

Lets not forget their X-Factor in all of this. Manning is not a big fan of change so expect him to bring some friends with him. Reggie Wayne will more than likely sign with whomever Manning does. This is the spot where I tell you that Wayne went to college at Da U. Any of these three teams would be more than happy to add Manning’s favorite WR and maybe also C Jeff Saturday and possibly even WR Pierre Garcon. I know Garcon seems random, but don’t be surprised if Manning behind the scenes asks any potential suitor to bring in Garcon as well. Garcon was not franchised by Indianapolis and is a free agent. He may very well resign with the Colts, but why would he not entertain an offer from Manning to join him on his new team.

The question still remains, where will Manning sign.

Everyone else 10%
Seattle 15%
Arizona 25%
Miami 50%

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

NLL Game Balls and Power Poll- Week 9

The second half of the National Lacrosse League season is underway as team begin the final push for the playoffs. After a short break for the All-Star game, the Power Poll is back and once again we have a lot of movement. First, lets hand out some game balls from the weekend.


Mike Accursi, Rochester- The veteran had two goals and an assist in the fourth quarter including the game-winner against Philadelphia. He finished with three goals, four assists and five ground balls.

Kevin Croswell, Washington- Croswell was peppered with 50 shots against the Rock on the road and turned away 41 of those. He held Toronto to just four goals in the first half as the Stealth were able to build a three-goal halftime advantage.

John Grant, Jr., Colorado- Junior has assumed his weekly spot here again this week. Grant had nine points on four goals and five assists including his 500th career goal. He became only the third player in NLL history to score 500 career goals, joining Bandits forward John Tavares and NLL legend Gary Gait.

Ryan Benesch, Minnesota- Benesch netted two second half power play goals en route to a seven point night leading the Swarm over Calgary.


1- Colorado Mammoth 7-1(Last Week 1). Colorado just continues to stream roll the league. They did have the one hiccup against Calgary, but there is no stopping John Grant, Jr. who may be having the best season of his career which is saying a lot seen as he has been on top of the league for the last decade.

2- Calgary Roughnecks 5-3 (3). Calgary's three game win streak was halted by Minnesota over the weekend. I was tempted to drop them behind the Swarm, but Calgary is still a better overall team.

3- Minnesota Swarm 5-3 (4). The Swarm have made an impressive rise up the Power Poll this season. Through the first half of the season, no team has been more surprising than Minnesota.

4- Rochester Knighthawks 4-5 (9). No one in the East is playing well right now, but the Knighthawks are 2-1 over the last couple of weeks. Their one loss came to Toronto, but they have struggled as well. Toronto has lost Philadelphia who just lost to Rochester so any of these three teams can take this spot.

5- Philadelphia Wings 4-4 (5). Still can not get a good read on the Wings. They had a big win over Toronto, but followed it up with a loss at home to Rochester. Unfortunately, week in and week out, bad Philly can show up just as much as good Philly.

6- Toronto Rock 4-4 (2). The Rock got hammered by Washington who has not been that great this season so Toronto gets slotted behind Rochester and Philadelphia. At this point, the East is a three-team race, but not sure which team is ready to step up.

7- Edmonton Rush 2-4 (6). The Rush haven't played since Feb. 24 with a home win over Philadelphia so we will dub them the best of the rest. Out of the bottom three, they look to be the team most likely to make a run in the second half.

8- Washington Stealth 2-6 (7). Washington snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Toronto on Saturday. The Stealth had a lot of potential to start the season, but just don't look like a complete team.

9- Buffalo Bandits 2-5 (8). Things are just ugly in Banditland. They have lost five straight and as I mentioned in the preseason, it looks like age is catching up to Buffalo. They did trade for Anthony Cosmo although they already had an All-Star goalie in Mike Thompson. Unless they plan to deal Thompson for some help on offense, the season may be done for the Bandits.