Monday, April 8

Louisville/michigan Championship: Live Blog

Welcome! Over the course of the next several hours, I will be chronicling the events leading up to and during the NCAA National Championship game between the Louisville Cardinals and that school up north - ALL LIVE FROM MY BEDROOM! Topics covered will range from analysis of the game and the tournament in general to the Cleveland Indians' home opener with the Yankees that's set to get started shortly to just any random thoughts that cross my mind, obviously with plenty of michigan bashing along the way. I have several guests lined up to stop by and plenty of Natural Light in the fridge, so let's get this thing started, I'm psyched!

Approx. 5.5 hours before tip-off
Let's keep things light and start this baby off with a joke. I know what your're thinking, but it's alright, I have plenty of material and won't run out.

A guy in a bar leans over to the guy next to him and says, "Wanna hear a
michigan joke?" The guy next to him replies, "Well before you tell that
joke, you should know something. I'm 6' tall, 200 lbs., and I am a michigan
alumnus. The guy sitting next to me is 6'2 tall, weighs 225, and he's a
michigan alumnus. The fella next to him is 6'5, weighs 250, and he's a
michigan alumnus. Now, you still wanna tell that joke?" The first guy says,
"Nah, not if I'm gonna have to explain it 3 times." BOOM, ROASTED!

Approx. 5 hours before tip
The Tribe are underway from the corner of Carnegie and Ontario and the first Natural has been cracked. Let's light this candle!

Approx. 4.5 hours before tip
Lot of fireworks early on in Cleveland. Travis Hafner, certainly no stranger to homers in Progressive Field, hit a three-run bomb in the first to give the Yanks an early lead, but the Tribe came right back with three of their own in the bottom half of the inning to tie it.

Approx. 4 hours before tip
Mark Reynolds swings comically hard at the ball every time. I'm shocked he doesn't knock himself over more often. Dude definitely has some pop though. I could see him being our 2013 version of Russell Branyan. Although shouting "MARKY!" doesn't quite have the same ring as RUSTY! did. RUSTY!

It's been far too long since I've ripped on michigan. I rather enjoy this one...

If a couple from ann arbor get a divorce, are they still brother and sister?

Approx 3 hours before tip
Yankees just pounding on the Indians, spoiling the first game of the season in Progressive. Oh well, at least there's 80 more.

Let's actually talk some basketball here. Whomever wins this game tonight will have definitely earned the title, as both the Cardinals and wolverines have looked by far the two best teams in this tournament, each winning their first five games by a double-digit average. Louisville's path has looked a little easier, as they have made it through 16. North Carolina A&T, 8. Colorado St, 12. Oregon, 2. Duke, and 9. Wichita St. Outside of Duke, none of those names really jump out at you, but the sheer ease at which they have been winning these games is awfully impressive. Their second half against Duke was possibly the best 20 minutes of basketball all tournament long.

michigan's route to Atlanta went through 13. South Dakota St, 5. VCU, 1. Kansas, 3. Florida, and 4. Syracuse in the Final Four. That's a tough run. Not only are those some of the best defensive teams in the nation, they all play a very different style of defense - from VCU's 'havoc' to Florida's physicality to Jeff Withey to the 'Cuse zone. Yet regardless of what type of team or defense they were facing, michigan's shooting has just been lights out each game.

I'll talk about how the two teams match up against each other and give a final prediction a bit later on. But first, since I feel dirty after actually giving scum some compliments, here's this...

How do you keep your family safe from a wolverine?

Move to Pasadena.

Approx. 1.5 hours before tip
ann arbor is STILL a whore

And Chris Webber is still a bitch. I mean I guess I wouldn't want to have anything to do with that damn school after I left either, but seriously dude, get over yourself. You're not the only person to ever have a big gaffe in an important situation. Although, his was surely the most comical.

Approx. 1 hour before tip
My roundtable is now joined (via video chat) by Kyle Poor, Tyler Youngs, and Rick Denne. Hilarity will surely ensue.

Rick's thoughts on the game - "michigan sucks." Couldn't agree more my friend.

Less than 30 minutes before tip
Finally almost tip time. All the talk in this game is pretty much on the guard play, and for good reason. Peyton Siva and Russ Smith run the show for Louisville, while michigan's trey burke was named the National Player of the Year. But I think the Gorgui Dieng/mitch mcgary matchup could decide things. mcgary has been a beast lately, and Dieng will have to stay out of foul trouble in order to attempt to contain him. michigan just absolutely dominated Syracuse on the offensive glass on Saturday, so Louisville has to do a much better job than the Orange did in that aspect. Cardinal Luke Hancock could also play a key role off the bench, as L'Ville was +20 with him on the floor and -16 without him against Wichita. Louisville will need to force turnovers like they always do, and hopefully bitchigan will finally miss a shot.

Prediction: Louisville 77 michigan 70

Approx. 5 minutes before tip
I'm setting the over/under on how many times they show Kevin Ware at 17.5. I will take the over.

Breaking News: John Beilein is only going to dress 7 players for this game. The rest will have to dress themselves.

Starting lineups
Kevin Ware count - 1.

18:08 1st, 5-3 michigan
Siva, Smith, and burke all immediately get to the rim within the first 30 seconds of the game. burke finishes, Siva and Smith miss. Dieng definitely just got away with a goaltending though.

15:34 1st, 7-7
What an insanely fast-paced first few minutes. Clark Kellogg has no idea how to keep up, he's just yelling random things.

11:41 1st, 20-15 michigan
spike albrecht comes in and buries three three's. He's now 8/8 from trey-land in the tournament. Damn, they just really can't miss.

11:09 1st, 20-15 michigan
Kevin Ware count - 2. burke with two fouls. Oh boy.

7:45 1st, 26-19 michigan
scum goes on a 6-0 once trey hits the bench. I don't understand why they can't miss a shot.

3:51 1st, 33-21 michigan
albrecht is out of control. His career high was seven fucking points going into this game, and he now has 17. This one is quickly getting out of control. Louisville has not played this sloppily all season. burke still on the bench, but scum rolling.

Dave is finally here!! Maybe his presence will switch things up.

1:37 1st, 36-32 michigan
Nice run by the Cards. Hancock doing his best spike impression.

Halftime, 38-37 michigan
Louisville ends the half on a 14-3 run. Luke Hancock shooting 4/4 from beyond the arc, then the Peyton steal and huge alley-oop was outrageous. We may have an instant classic here.

As beer #12 dwindles down, the video chat conversation takes a turn for the worse. It's better than listening to Charles Barkley though, I guess.

18:50 2nd, 40-40
Russ Smith's possible injury is taking away from Ware shots. They showed Smith on the bench five times this half already.

11:42 2nd, 54-52 Louisville
The Cardinals finally take the lead, thanks to some really active play underneath by Chane Behanan. Russ Smith back in the game.

9:11 2nd, 60-58 Louisville
Great play by Hancock to draw mcgary's 4th foul and get three shots from the stripe. Those back-to-back Siva and hardaway drives were pretty wild. And I can't express how much I hate that damn half-on beanie that Tim Hardaway Sr. wears every game. It's gotta be 80+ degrees in there for crying out loud!

4:34 2nd, 71-65 Louisville
Peyton Siva just going H.A.M. right now on both ends of the court. burke did have a clean block there, though. Bad call.

1:11 2nd, 78-74 Louisville
L'Ville busted out their largest lead of the game at 10, but some bad mistakes by Russ Smith keeping bitchigan in it. burke and Smith both with four fouls.

00:14 2nd, 80-76 Louisville
Beilein really drops the ball by not taking burke out when you know you need to foul. They wasted at least 12-15 seconds by burke not wanting to foul out, when there was just no reason for him to be in.

FINAL, 82-76 Louisville

Peyton Siva just straight cold-blooded down the stretch. I think it's interesting that Siva was the star of this team the past two years, then Russ Smith completely took over this season (18.9 ppg compared to Siva's 9.8), as Siva often disappeared in big games (0-9 vs. Syracuse, 2 points in the 5OT loss to Notre Dame, 4 points in the Sweet 16 win over Oregon). Tonight, Smith might have well just not been out there, while Siva controlled this whole second half on both ends of the floor.

Got to mention Luke Hancock, scoring 22 points on 5-5 three-point shooting, including a single-handed 14-point run to close the deficit at the half, to receive Most Outstanding Player honors. I told you he'd have a big impact on the outcome. Chane Behanan also playing a huge role, grabbing 12 boards while scoring 15 points.

Although I stopped keeping track, I definitely lost that Kevin Ware bet. They had to have showed him over 25 times against Wichita.

I don't think there's such a thing as too far when it comes to michigan jokes, but I figured I'd still wait 'till there was a lot of beers in me and they actually lost before I dropped this one...

michigan babies are soo ugly, their incubators are tinted.

I think 'One Shining Moment' nailed it more than ever. I really wanted to see a ton of FGCU's dunks and AC's game-winnner. Color me impressed there.

I don't give a single damn about that whole state.


Wednesday, April 3

Flawed Buckeyes cool off, exposed by Wichita

Ohio St's successful season came to a crashing end in Los Angeles last Saturday at the hands of Malcolm Armstead and the Wichita St Shockers. The Buckeyes could not have possibly played any worse, and with all do respect to Greg Marshall and his talented and scrappy ball club, lost to an inferior team that we would typically beat 9 out of 10 times. The downfall in this game for the Bucks was their shooting, something that has been a strength for them this March (50% from beyond the arc in the tournament coming into this one). Here are some abysmal shooting stats that really sum up Ohio St's 70-66 Elite 8 loss...

- team shot 24% in the first half

- Thomas started 3/12

- team started 0/7

- Craft finished 2/12

- team finished 5/25 from 3's

Even after the Buckeyes went on a 23-6 run late in the game to make this one look close, they still only finished at 31% from the field. That run was sparked by some big time plays by LaQuinton Ross, who still only managed to shoot 4-12, and even though Tank finished with his usual 23 points, he was 0-6 from three-point land.

What made this game even more frustrating than the awful shooting, was the fact that OSU did have that late run in them, but it was still too little too late. It made it so it was like we lost twice. I'm watching this game in a hotel room in Las Vegas, and when the Buckeyes go down 20 with about 12 minutes to play, I pretty much gave up. I couldn't watch anymore, started getting ready to go out, and even after a short period of time was almost starting to get past the fact that our season was over (after all, I was in the happiest place on Earth). Then I see that Ohio St has cut it to 62-59 with 2:49 left, and immediately I am back into it, thinking the Bucks still have a chance. When Tekele Cotton hit a three-pointer to re-seal it, I was devastated all over again. It was a tough game to swallow.

I'd been saying all year that I didn't think this Ohio St team was that great, and they certainly weren't as good as they were the previous three years. But they got hot at the right time, winning 11 straight games, and with the way NCAA hoops is set up, especially in a field as open as this years, sometimes that's all you need - to just be a good team on a hot streak (See: Kemba in 2011). At the same time, with the way NCAA hoops is set up, especially in a field as open as this years, one team can have one bad game and lose to a team they typically shouldn't lose to. So what the Buckeyes had going for them was ultimately their demise.

However, it was a very fun tournament for the Buckeyes up to this point, with unbelievable, clutch, game-winning three-pointers from Aaron Craft against Iowa St and Ross against Arizona. And even though our season is over, us Buckeye fans still have a very strong rooting interest in this Final Four, as that school from up north still remains in the field. I think Louisville has unquestionably looked like the best team so far this tournament, but Syracuse and michigan are not far behind. L'ville will face the Shockers in the early game on Saturday, followed by the 'Cuse/bitchigan showdown. I really could care less which of those other three teams wins this thing, just as long as it's not those boners.

So to sum up the Buckeyes' 2012-13 campaign, it was an up-and-down season that ended a week too early, but gave us some great moments along the way. We'll say goodbye to Evan Ravenel, who I probably liked way more than I should have in his three-year Buckeye career, and most likely DeShaun Thomas, who has a big pay day waiting for him in the Association. Assuming Tank does leave Columbus early, it will be Aaron Craft's team next year, with Q probably having to step up as the main scorer. Should Thomas shock the NCAA basketball world and return, the Bucks could be an early favorite to be cutting down the nets next season. Until then, 139 days until kickoff...