The Major League Baseball season may have already started, but it’s not too late for some long-term predictions from John S and Tim. Tim will cover the old-fashioned, baseball-the-way-it-was-meant-to-be-played National League while John handles the by-this-point-too-far-gone American League. To build suspense, we’re starting in the West and gradually moving to the Central and East divisions by Saturday.
In 2005, the San Diego Padres won the National League West with an 82-80 record–the worst to ever claim a division crown. The West was the laughingstock of the NL, which in turn was looked down upon by the Junior Circuit. In the four seasons since, however, the NL West has had a bit of a renaissance, winning the NL’s Wild Card in three of those seasons and placing four teams in the NLCS over that time. The West had three teams win at least 88 games last year–the first NL division to do that since, well, the West in 2007. It is Major League Baseball’s most fluctuating division–the only one to place all of its teams in the playoffs since 2002–even as the Dodgers have won the division each of the last two seasons. That will change in 2010. Continue reading
Once again, Tim was right and John was wrong in picking the early game. Well, they’re back for tonight’s game–John S to see if he can finally get one right, and Tim to tell you who will win. They are both trying to get over the fact that Dick Enberg is likely calling the last game of a great career tonight.
JOHN S: Alright, it’s time to move on to tonight’s game, the marquee matchup between Kentucky and West Virginia. The only Elite Eight game between the 1- and 2-seeds, this is probably the most anticipated game of this round; whoever wins this one will likely be the favorite going into the Final Four. It will also be by far the toughest contest either team has faced. Kentucky is coming off a 17-point win over everyone’s favorite Cinderella, and even though the score doesn’t really tell how close this one was (Cornell was within six with under six minutes left), it never really felt like the Wildcats were in danger, even when the Big Red were up 10-2. Throughout this Tournament, Kentucky has shown how much margin for error they have, and how much better they are than most other teams when they do everything well. Meanwhile, West Virginia hasn’t played a single-digit seed yet, but they are coming off a pretty dominant second half against Washington in the Sweet 16. So do you think the Mountaineers can give hang with the Wildcats? Continue reading
Earlier, we counted down the Top 10 Games in college basketball over the last decade. But if you’re half the college basketball fan that I am, you know that list was surely lacking. Here, in no particular order, are the games that, while overall weren’t good enough to make that list, still provoke that ineffable joy of the fantastic finish. They are good games with great finishes. Enjoy and bookmark.
2005 Michigan State v. Kentucky
This was the third best regional final that year. Yeah.
College football, you can have your “meaningful regular season.” College basketball’s postseason will be better than yours whether you change it or not.
The perfection that is the NCAA Tournament gave me a plethora of delights to choose from for this top 10. My shortlist was actually quite long, running into the 30s. It was so long, in fact, that later today we’re adding a special post—Buzzer Beaters of the Decade—to commemorate the best at the buzzer in college basketball, even if the entire games weren’t good enough to crack this list.
Those that just missed the cut for this prized pantheon include the Aughts’ biggest upset by seed (Hampton over Iowa State in 2001), Kansas staving off Davidson in the 2008 Elite Eight, and West Virginia’s thrilling double-overtime upset of Wake Forest in 2005. But don’t worry Mountaineer fans, you’re still involved here. But, ugh, not in a good way.
As we draw toward the unexciting close of what can only be described as a woeful college football season, it’s high time we shifted our sights to the only flawless sport left in America: college basketball. Oh sure, the naysayers point out a deterioration in the quality of play, the untenability of the one-and-done rule, and recruiters’ blatant disregard for the rules.
But college basketball is the only sport that manages to maintain a meaningful regular season and an exciting postseason (and doesn’t kill its players, ruling out the NFL). It’s played in the loudest environments in the country and has been, for most of the last decade, the most intriguing sport to watch on an everyday basis.*
*Little-celebrated fact: Thanks to really low ratings (and, you know, its lockout), the NHL wasn’t renewed on ESPN in the middle of the decade, freeing up time every night of the week for college basketball on the Worldwide Leader.
Here are the six best storylines of the 2009-2010 season: