Posts Tagged ‘Tom Izzo’

The Double Bonus: NCAA Tournament Preview

It’s the return of the Double Bonus Podcast! The NCAA Tournament has brought Tim and John S out of their unintentional retirement. Today they break down all four regions, pick all 32 games in the First Round (We don’t buy into the new terminology here at NPI), and make their Final Four predictions. Neither technical glitches nor an utter lack of awareness of what happened in college basketball this season slowed them down! It’s a podcast so long it had be split in two: Listen here for Part One, and here for Part Two, the grand finale!

The Double Bonus: Early Season Thoughts

The Double Bonus podcast is back! In the second podcast of the 2011-12 season, Tim and John S discuss the surprises of the first few weeks of this season. Is UNC as good as we expected? Is Ohio State even better? Have our sleepers looked good so far? Who is the third best team in the ACC? How does Austin Rivers compare to Kyrie Irving? Will Herman Cain be the next president? Also, who will win today’s Kentucky-North Carolina game? All these questions and more are discussed (to no definitive conclusions, of course) in today’s podcast. (Though, due to technical difficulties, we weren’t able to add the Pacific Life theme song, which, of course, is usually the best part of NPI Comes Alive!) Click here to listen to the podcast of a lifetime.

 

Talkin’ Final Four: Butler vs. Michigan State

John S: Alright, Tim, it’s Final Four time. I don’t know how we manage during the two weeks before the Super Bowl, because just having two more basketball free days really chills my excitement for the Final Four. An up-for-grabs game between two very likable teams that not many people saw getting this far, though, is a great way to start the weekend. But, this game is going to be UGLY. Neither of these teams plays a very fast game, particularly now that Kalin Lucas is gone, and each of them likes to keep the game low-scoring. Matt Howard, Butler’s leading rebounder who is going to be counted on to hang with Michigan State’s great rebounders, seems to start the game with three fouls. Butler managed to beat Syracuse and Kansas State by getting them to take bad shots, but the Bulldogs themselves haven’t shot particularly well either. So this game may not be the most aesthetically pleasing of the Tournament. My question to you: Will it be ugly exciting, or ugly boring?

Tim: Well, if you run down the games these two teams have played in the Tournament so far, it’s hard not to envision this being ugly exciting. Michigan State won its four games by a total of 13 points–which I think is the fewest ever for a Final Four team. After its first-round win over UTEP, Butler’s last three games have come down to the final minute. I have no doubt in my mind that this game is going to be close. Continue reading

Talkin’ Basketball: Michigan State vs. Tennessee

Well, Tim and John combined to go an impressive 1-3 yesterday. Guess which one of us got the only game right! Here’s a hint: It was Tim. Hopefully we will fare better today. The first game on the docket features two of John’s favorite coaches, Bruce Pearl and Tom Izzo, going head-to-head in a game that will hopefully wash the stink off of last night’s Bob Huggins-John Calipari duel.

TIM: John, I’ve had a lot of fun at your expense these last few weeks, from your decision to knock Butler out in the first round to your incredible ability to pick games incorrectly on second and third tries. But, there has been one thing (and one thing only, it seems) that you have been right about where I was wrong: You just don’t pick against Tom Izzo in March.

JOHN S: Well, first of all, some of my incorrect second or third tries were not what I had originally said, so that’s a little unfair. For example, I had West Virginia in the Final Four in my original bracket so….basically I’m a genius.

But yeah, it’s hard for me to really take credit for the Tom Izzo thing, because by now everyone should realize that Michigan State almost always outperforms expectations in the Tournament. Only three times in the last decade has MSU lost to a team seeded lower, and once was in the Final Four to national runner-up Arizona and another was to a George Mason team that would end up in the Final Four. Just as often, the Spartans have made surprising runs of their own, including one to the Elite Eight as a 7-seed in 2003, to the Final Four as a 5 in ’05, and to the National Championship game last year as an unheralded 2-seed. Izzo simply knows how to coach in the Tournament. So it’s not really surprising that Michigan State is once again in the Elite Eight, even in spite of the injury to Kalin Lucas. Continue reading

John S Picks The Friday Games

If there was any remaining doubt that this was the best NCAA Tournament ever, last night’s Xavier-KSU game (which I declared would not be close) should have cemented that status. Anyway, here are some more picks you can take to the bank….

2 Ohio State vs. 6 Tennessee

Original Pick: Georgetown over Ohio State

What I’ve Learned: Obviously, if the Volunteers are going to win this game, they are going to have to shut down Ohio State’s leading scorer in this Tournament: Jon Diebler. Diebler tore up UC-Santa Barbara in the First Round, dropping 23 points, and everyone knows that as goes Diebler, so go the Buckeyes. In all seriousness, Evan Turner has been the best player in college basketball this year and—notwithstanding what Denis Clemente, Terrell, Holloway, Jordan Crawford and Jacob Pullen all did at various points last night—the player who can most take over a game in this Tournament. Thanks to Georgetown’s early loss, Tennessee got to face Ohio in Round 2 and dispatched them fairly easily after struggling against San Diego State. But the fact that the Volunteers haven’t played a good team yet should make anyone wary of their ability to contain Turner.

The Pick: Ohio State  Continue reading

Get to Know the Sweet 16

I understand your issues. You loved watching the exciting first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, but you’ve used up all your little tidbits of info, like “Murray State has won a lot of games this season.” So, to prep you for Thursday and beyond, here’s all you need to know about the Sweet 16.

9. Northern Iowa Panthers

Conference: Missouri Valley

Location: Cedar Falls, IA

How they got here: def. UNLV 69-66; def. Kansas 69-67

Biggest reason they got here: Ali Farokhmenesh took and made the ballsiest shot in the Tournament since T.J. Sorrentine buried Syracuse in 2005. Oh, and Xavier Henry missed that big free throw.

Last trip to Sweet 16: Never.

A great and recent Tournament game: Umm…did you watch on Saturday?

Tim’s favorite player in UNI history is: Current reserve Lucas O’Rear. You rarely see the combination of a great name, a shamrock tattoo, and mutton chops.

In Tim’s original bracket, the Panthers lasted until: Selection Sunday! I had them going out to UNLV.

You should root for Northern Iowa because: It’s Northern Iowa. QED.

Did you know? Northern Iowa has played eight games in the NCAA Tournament in its history. All eight have been decided by five or fewer points.

Were you aware? If you lined up the rosters of all 16 teams remaining in the Tournament and were told to pick which one comes from Iowa, 96% of people would correctly select the Panthers.

Fun Fact! Ben Jacobson is the best-looking coach in the Sweet 16. Continue reading

John’s Sunday Picks

I’m still doing terribly. At this point, showcasing my picks next to Tim’s is starting to get ridiculous. His picks have been almost as good as mine have been bad. In fact, don’t even read this post. STOP! Go read Tim’s picks! These are completely, utterly useless!

8 Gonzaga vs. 1 Syracuse

Original Pick: Syracuse over Gonzaga

What I’ve Learned: Now that Kansas is gone (fittingly, my pick to win the whole thing was the first 1-seed knocked out), Syracuse is probably the favorite to win it all. Kentucky has been playing well, but Syracuse is a more mature team. Unlike Tim, I don’t think this game will be very close—which probably means it will go into several OTs.

The Pick: Syracuse Continue reading

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