Wednesday, March 26, 2014

2014 March Madness: The Sweet Sixteen

I did not take long for me to abandon my picks and start rooting for the Dayton Flyers. I wrote when posting my bracket that "Dayton has a shot." Did they ever. Let's recap another fantastic opening weekend while looking at the bracket carnage:


Thursday, March 20, 2014

2014 March Madness: The Billion Dollar Bracket

The year: 2009. Like always, I entered a bracket pool with my high school buddies Ryan and Brian. Like always, I chose the Duke Blue Devils to win it all, partly because of my respect and admiration for Coach K and his players and partly to rile the anti-Duke crowd (who I maintain are irrationally so). Back then, I had time to watch more regular season and conference tournament games. I was impressed by Jim Boehim's Syracuse squad for their defense, and Bob Huggins' collection of athletes at West Virginia (I was pulling for Da'sean Butler to make it with the Heat). I was one step from putting Butler in the Final Four, too - I hadn't watched them play and really hadn't heard much about them, but the team was getting some analytical love and I went with them to the Elite Eight. When Duke went to the Championship game and then won it all - ecstasy (though I had to keep my immediate celebration in-check, respecting the pro-Butler crowd). My bracket:? 99.9% on ESPN (I had a screenshot of it but my hard drive crashed the following year - get a backup, Xing!).

That's the best it's ever been. Usually I'm lucky to clear 70 - 80%. Even in 2009, I missed a Final Four contestant and I'm sure my opening rounds were riddle with errors. This prepares me to say confidently that I harbor no illusions of winning Quicken Loan's and Warren Buffet's $1bn challenge. I've watched sports for just over 2 decades, have filled out brackets for 1, and have been analyzing games for 5 years. In that span, I've had one really good bracket. One. I'm not going to win this thing. You aren't either. But that doesn't stop me from publishing my thoughts here.

I usually do a bunch if research, read stacks of stats, and watch game after game in preparation for bracketology. This year I went with something simpler: pick the best coach, the best talent, and most importantly, the best point guard. Just look at this list of recent Final Four PGs: Trey Burke, Michael Carter-Williams, Peyton Siva, Malcolm Armstead, Aaron Craft, Marquis Teague, Tyshawn Taylor, Joey Rodriguez, Kemba Walker, Brandon Knight, Jon Scheyer (my favorite Blue Devil, all-time), Ty Lawson, Kalin Lucas, Derrick Rose, and Mario Chalmers. Half of those guys start in the Association! May the best point guard win:

Monday, March 10, 2014

QB Corner - Matthew Stafford (DET @ PIT)

My goal for QB Corner is to survey the league's young starting quarterbacks, see how they're developing, and try to determine if they're on the right trajectory to becoming elite signal callers. How does Matthew Stafford fit in that mix? Isn't he a 5th year vet? I thought the following was kind of interesting - see if you can match the QB with his age. I'll wait: