2010 Bracket Series- Midwest Region- 2nd Round

What a great first two days in the Midwest Region. The first day featured the upset of the tournament in this region, as Ohio U. knocked off Georgetown with a killer perimeter game. Kansas struggled with Lehigh early, but overcame the Mountain Hawks, but have a tough matchup with Northern Iowa, who beat UNLV. Tennessee overcame the upset bid from San Diego State, and will take on Ohio in the 2nd Round. Finally Georgia Tech is hot at the right time, but they will have a tough test against the Ohio St. Buckeyes on Sunday.

But enough with the recap, let’s look into the second round matchups.

(1) Kansas vs. (9) Northern Iowa- Kansas had a tough start against Lehigh, but were able to overcome it. If they get off to a slow start against a very good Northern Iowa team, they may not be able to recover as quickly. The Panthers have a lot of talent, and are a veteran bunch. Conversely, if the Jayhawks get hot at any moment in the game, they will win. That’s how good they are. Jayhawks win.

(4) Maryland vs. (5) Michigan State- Probably one of the better 2nd round matchups of the tournament. Greivis Vasquez and Kalin Lucas are two of the best point guards (and leaders) in the country. However, Michigan State has deeper tournament experience, and the advantage goes to the Spartans to move on into the Sweet 16.

(6) Tennessee vs (14) Ohio- Obviously this was not the matchup that one anticipated. Tennessee played well against San Diego State, and Scotty Hopson seems to have found his groove once again. However, if Ohio can hit 13 3-pointers again like they did against Georgetown, they may be the Cinderella of 2010. Will this happen? Probably not. Vols in Sweet 16.

(2) Ohio State vs. (10) Georgia Tech- Simple. Ohio State has Evan Turner, but Georgia Tech shut down Oklahoma State’s top scorer (and one of the nation’s tops) in James Anderson. If Turner disappears like Anderson, an upset is a brewing.

Next up: The East Region 2nd Round matchups.

2010 Bracket Series: West Region- 1st Round

The final bracket is broken down in the Bracket Series for the first round, and it is the West Region. Syracuse is the top seed, and they are sort of limping into the tournament with two straight losses, but as with all the other regions, they have the ability to take it all the way, as well as the fellow teams in the field. Let’s look at the first round matchups out west.

(1) Syracuse vs. (16) Vermont- The last time these two teams met in the tournament, Vermont knocked off Syracuse. This time around, it will be different. Wes Johnson will throw the team on his back, and there are too many weapons on the Orange for Vermont to handle.

(8) Gonzaga vs. (9) Florida State- The Zags are perennial tournament attendees, The Noles are in and out every other year. Gonzaga’s experience will trump Florida State in this first round.

(5) Butler vs. (12) UTEP- UPSET ALERT!- The Bulldogs should watch out for UTEP, although they lost to Houston in the C-USA, this UTEP is something special. If Butler wins, do not be surprised, but UTEP has the potential to go far.

(4) Vanderbilt vs. (13) Murray State- UPSET ALERT! Murray State has the deepest team in the field, and has the possibility to have a long run, They are experienced, and the fact that they can get so many players into the game, makes it very difficult for Vanderbilt to match up with.

(6) Xavier vs. (11) Minnesota- Something about the X that happens in March… if any team knows how to turn it on in the tournament, it’s the Musketeers. This is a team that can go far in the tournament, and they do it every year. They should win this first round matchup.

(3) Pittsburgh vs (14) Oakland- Pittsburgh wins this one with ease. Tourney tested, Big East ready.

(7) BYU vs (10) Florida- BYU will be motivated to get to Salt Lake City, which is why they are going to come at it with everything they have, but even then, it may not be enough. Florida has a lot of weapons. Advantage to the Gators.

(2) Kansas State vs (15) North Texas- Out of the #2 seeds, K-State is the most vulnerable. The Mean Green could leave the Little Apple green with envy, but if K-State can hit the three, and play like they have all season, and not be complacent, they will win easily.

This concludes the Bracket Series for the first round. Second Round game previews will be this weekend.

2010 Bracket Series: South Region- 1st Round

The TSX Bracket Series for 2010 continues on with the South Region, Duke is the top seed in this region, but are they really the favorite to come out of this one? Stay tuned and find out, but let’s concentrate on these first round matchups.

(1) Duke vs. (16) Arkansas-Pine Bluff- UAPB’s lack of size is going to be their downfall. Plus they’re playing Duke… Easy win for the Blue Devils.

(8) California vs. (9) Louisville- Cal made the tournament… Louisville will dispatch them easily and as quietly as California made the tournament, they will exit.

(5) Texas A&M vs. (12) Utah State- UPSET ALERT! It will be the battle of the Aggies, and although Texas A&M is the favorite, do not be surprised or sleep on the Aggies from Logan, UT. They have the capability to get into the second round, and make some kind of noise. This is a #5 vs. #12 matchup to watch.

(4) Purdue vs. (13) Siena- UPSET ALERT! Many people have Siena as a dark horse, and this team is very experienced and tourney tested. They are actually the favorite against Purdue ever since Robbie Hummel went down with a torn ACL. Since Hummel’s scary in injury in Minneapolis, the Boilermakers have not been the same. Siena can make the Sweet 16, even possibly the Elite Eight. Only time will tell.

(6) Notre Dame vs. (11) Old Dominion- No upset alert here, the Irish are playing well at the right time, and Luke Harangody is back and the Irish should be the clear cut winners in this game. If the Monarchs win, it will be a surprise.

(3) Baylor vs. (14) Sam Houston State- The Bears have the potential to go on an Elite Eight run themselves, and make noise in the tournament. They should have no trouble with the Southland Conference Champion.

(7) Richmond vs. (10) St. Mary’s- UPSET ALERT!- This is only an upset alert based on seeding. The Gaels are riding high after knocking off the giant Gonzaga, and they look like the better team over the struggling Spiders into this game.

(2) Villanova vs. (15) Robert Morris- Nova has what it takes to make the Final Four. If Robert Morris does beat them in the first round, it would be a colossal upset. Nova in the next round.

2010 Bracket Series: East Region- 1st Round

The 2010 TSX Bracket Series continues with the East Region, while this region is not as loaded as the Midwest, it should feature some intriguing matchups.

(1) Kentucky vs. (16) East Tennessee State- The Wildcats young bunch are going to experience some jitters and nerves before the game, as they have not been on this stage before. But they have a great coach in John Calipari. ETSU is no stranger to giving teams a run for their money, as they did w/ Pitt a year ago. They will give Kentucky a run early, but UK will pull away in the end. However, in all the 1/16 games, this is one to watch the closest.

(8) Texas vs. (9) Wake Forest- Texas struggled, and Wake Forest was a surprise entrant in the Tourney over a team like Mississippi State. If Dexter Pittman can wake up and play like he did at the start of the season, Texas should be able to move on. However, the last few teams that was ranked #1 to fall out completely of the rankings, have seen first round exits.

(5) Temple vs. (12) Cornell- UPSET ALERT! Many people sleep on Cornell, they are a tourney tested team, that took the #1 team Kansas to the wire IN Allen Fieldhouse, where KU has won 59 straight games. The Owls are also a tourney tested team, but if any one of the #5 seeds needs to be on alert, it’s the Owls. Cornell in an upset.

(4) Wisconsin vs. (13) Wofford- The SoCon champion Terriers have a remote chance of an upset, but if Bo Ryan can get the team to refocus after a disappointing Big Ten Tournament, the Badgers should have no problem. Jason Bohanon and Travon Hughes will need to show up in this game to move on.

(6) Marquette vs. (11) Washington- Marquette is hot at the right time, and Washington has disappointed in a season where it could’ve dominated the Pac-10. Marquette moves on in this game, and could be the dark horse in the East Region.

(3) New Mexico vs. (14) Montana- Montana is a good opponent for the Lobos, who have had one of their best seasons in years, and one of Steve Alford’s best seasons as a coach. The Lobos should not see an early exit in this one.

(7) Clemson vs. (10) Missouri- How these two teams got in and Mississippi State did not is surprising, but they are here, and with the way Missouri has played as of late (getting blown out at home against Kansas, and an early exit from the Big XII Tournament), don’t go w/ Missouri, Clemson should pull off the victory.

(2) West Virginia vs. (15) Morgan State- The Bears had a above .500 record in non-conference play, and with Todd Bozeman, who has big-game coaching experience, there is an outside chance they could pull off a huge upset, but DeSean Butler , and West Virginia are too hot, and they are the best overall #2 seed. The Mountaineers win in this one, but not without a fight.

Next on the Bracket Series: the South Region

2010 Bracket Series: Midwest Region- 1st Round

Welcome to the TSX 2010 Bracket Series, covering the NCAA Tournament. We will cover all four regions and all 32 matchups in the field of 64. Winthrop lost to Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the opening round game, and they will play Duke in the first round on Friday.

Here’s a quick look at the first round matchups and the advantages in the games on Thursday & Friday, starting with the #1 overall seed Kansas and the Midwest Region:

(1) Kansas vs. (16) Lehigh- good news for the Jayhawks: they are close to home; bad news for the Jayhawks: they are in their own house of horrors: the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, where they lost to a Patriot League team in 2005: the Bucknell Bison. Sure it’s a different team, but KU has had issues with Patriot League teams in the past, and they nearly were the first ever #1 seed to lose to a #16 in Holy Cross in 2002. It is something to keep in mind, but the Jayhawks should move on.

(8) UNLV vs. (9) Northern Iowa- The Missouri Valley has not had a win in the NCAA Tournament in three years. Northern Iowa has an opportunity to erase that with a victory over UNLV. With a stifling defense to boot, the Panthers should be facing KU in the 2nd round.

(5) Michigan State vs. (12) New Mexico State- Michigan State closed out struggling, but they are a tournament-tested team. No upset in this 12 over 5 game, and Sparty should move on at the end of the game.

(4) Maryland vs. (13) Houston- The Cougars should not have been here, and with the nation’s leading scorer in Aubrey Coleman, the Cougars will have a tall task of facing an experienced and fired up Maryland backcourt led by Greivis Vasquez. Maryland has the edge and should be the winner, but if Houston wins this game, do not be surprised.

(6) Tennessee vs. (11) San Diego State- UPSET ALERT! San Diego State is playing on fire right now. If Scotty Hopson of Tennessee has a NCAA Tournament like the SEC Tournament, the Volunteers will not move on. The Aztecs are not afraid of the big stage, and they have beat a top-10 team in New Mexico twice. Tennessee checked out in the SEC Tournament in getting shelled by Kentucky, and if they play like that, it’s an early exit, which may happen.

(3) Georgetown vs. (14) Ohio- Georgetown should move on with ease. All this team has to do is go inside to Greg Monroe. If he can assert himself and be aggressive, the Hoyas just may have enough for an Elite Eight run.

(7) Oklahoma State vs. (10) Georgia Tech- This is a game that can go either way. Both teams got hot at the end of the season, and James Anderson can light a scoreboard up, and Georgia Tech has a good frontcourt in Derrick Favors, and Gani Lawal. This is a game that can go either way. Do not be mad if you pick the loser in this game because it’s a toss-up.

(2) Ohio State vs. (15) UC-Santa Barbara- Evan Turner has a killer instinct like nobody has seen. The tournament run will determine what he wants to do for senior season. However, UCSB is no stranger to playing competitive, as in their last appearance in 2002 resulted in a near upset to Arizona. No giant killer here, as Ohio State moves on.

Next up on the bracket series: the East Region

“Impostors”?

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim center fielder Torii Hunter found himself in a little bit of hot water regarding his comments about Latino baseball players.

Hunter, who is black, went on the record of saying that black Latino players are ‘impostors’ about two weeks ago in a series of roundtables by USA Today. The comments were posted on Wednesday’s edition of the paper. He would go on to say that he meant no harm with the comments and that they were not racially charged.

The subject originally came about from the low number of African Americans that are represented and the decline of the representation of African Americans in baseball in recent years, although the number in 2008 (10.2%) signified the highest percentage since 1995, a sign that things are changing.

But back to Hunter, he has been known for many years as one of the good guys, and is always engaging to the media, and during his reaction, he was agitated over the fact that the media did spin it to make it seem like it was racially charged. Here’s what was said:

“People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they’re African-American. They’re not us. They’re impostors. Even people I know come up and say: ‘Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero? Is he a black player?’ I say, ‘Come on, he’s Dominican. He’s not black.’ …

“As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us. It’s like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It’s like, ‘Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?’ … I’m telling you, it’s sad.”

Hunter did kind of stir the pot with those comments, but it seems as if that was his thoughts, but when you are in the spotlight, you always have to choose your words carefully. Just like with Derek Anderson and the Cleveland Browns release, what a player says can be spun into something that it is not. At first Hunter was not going to back away from his word, but when the reaction was too negative, he had to say something for damage control. This issue will not be serious, and by the time Opening Day comes around, it will be forgotten.

Searching for Answers

How the mighty have fallen.

When the 2009-2010 NBA Season happened, Allen Iverson nearly did not have a team. He was coming off a miserable season in Detroit, and into a free agent market where no team signed him and had generated very little to no interest.

He signed with the Memphis Grizzlies, only to leave after a few games, to tend to “family issues”. At first it just seemed that family issues was a cover up for him believing he should start instead of coming off the bench. Little did we know that there was a lot more going on in A.I.’s world than what met the eye.

Iverson eventually found a team in December: his old team, the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers took Iverson in, and Iverson has been nothing but a team player and mentor, but things got worse off the court: his daughter fell ill, and he and his wife of many years, Tawanna, has filed for divorce and sole custody of the couple’s children. Due to these issues, the Sixers felt it was a distraction to the team, as Iverson has been in and out with the team, and allowed him to take time away indefinitely.

Reports earlier this week from Philadelphia Enquirer columnist Stephen A. Smith said that A.I. was facing alcohol and gambling problems. With the circumstances that he’s faced, it can be understood that is a possibility. John Thompson, Iverson’s college coach at Georgetown, has reached out to him, as he has been there for Iverson through the tough times in his life.

Iverson has acknowledged that he is “going through tough times” on his Twitter account:

To my fans: You all know that my life isn’t perfect. I am going through some very tough times right now, like I am sure that we all do from time to time. However, I will stand tall like always with “rhino” thick skin. Even though I have become used to hearing people say things about me that aren’t true, it still hurts. I encourage you to continue your ongoing support and I want you to trust that this is another obstacle in my life that, with God’s help I will overcome. God Bless You All.

Nobody knew that the fall of A.I. would be this big, but one thing Iverson has shown on the court in his career: he has done the impossible, and he has been one of the toughest guys. He will need this mentality to overcome the off-court problems, which he can definitely overcome and prevail at the end of the day.

As Iverson searches for answers, nothing but the best is wished for him through this time in his life.