Archive for March, 2010

Breaking down the Final Four teams in the NCAA tournament

March 29, 2010

Out of about 4.8 million people who filled out brackets online at espn.com, only 200 people correctly guessed the Final Four.

Only 200 people.

That is 0.0046% of people were right. Crazy.

And not one person has a perfect bracket.

The last four teams are #1 #5 Michigan State, #5 Butler and #2 West Virginia.

Duke is the only #1 seed left in the tournament. This is the first time they have made it to the Final Four since 2004: it is also the 15th time they made it this far and the 11th appearance under Coach K (only UCLA and UNC have had more trips).

But it was not an easy ride, especially after Sunday’s game against Baylor.

Baylor kept the blue devils on their toes as they went on a 10-3 run in the first half. Baylor, who had 28 wins all season, played a great game. They tied it up against Duke a few times, but couldn’t hold onto the lead as Duke turned 23 rebounds into points and made 15 out of 18 of the games last points.

But give Baylor credit; they held Jon Scheyer pointless all game: not an easy accomplishment from this normally high scoring Blue Devil.

West Virginia, who beat out the young Kentucky team is playing Duke next. The Mountaineers aren’t a team that is willing to let go of a game easily. They fight hard. Tough. Angry. Aggressive.

This is also the first appearance in the Final Four in 51 years for Dub V. Coach Bob Huggins coaches smart basketball. They don’t rush and don’t seem to get phased when their opponents take the lead. The mostly junior and senior cast on this team understand how to end the game in their favor.

The two teams that knocked out many people’s brackets are the other two teams to make it this far. The two #5 teams, Michigan State and Butler have been interesting to watch.

Michigan State somehow manages to sneak into the tournament it seems. They impressively have had six appearances in 12 seasons; how many people expected them to make it this far again?

Mich St. also has made it far without their point guard Kalin Lucas, who tour his Achilles’ tendon in the second-round against Maryland, but the team has pushed through and torn up the court against Maryland, N. Iowa who took out #1 Kansas and beat out Ohio State.

Butler ready to continue the magic to beat Mich State Saturday.

And Butler is the Cinderella story team of the year, and considering this team plays in the same arena as the team in the movie “Hoosiers”, a lot of attention has been put on the team that is six miles away from the arena they are about to play Mich. State.

As I mentioned in my last post, this team has shown a lot to fear and this team will be playing in their home city.

Again, the last team that had that happen was UCLA in 1972–when UCLA also won the whole tournament.

What are some of your predictions for these last few teams? If you could start a new bet with just these four teams, who would you pick?

I might add another contest if people seem interested since this years brackets were so whacked out.

What you need to know in the rest of the mess of March Madness

March 27, 2010

Many of you have already thrown away your brackets.

A few of you have been so embarrassed by how you did, you don’t even want to watch the rest of the games.

“I did something I promised myself I wouldn’t—I looked at my bracket which I haven’t done since the end of the second round. I’m out,” said a loyal follower of the sportaholic, Mark Huber.

Do you feel this same sentiment? Well, don’t feel alone. This tournament brought an immense amount of upsets that there is not one perfect bracket left in America.

Even that autistic kid in Chicago is out after his winning team, Purdue,  lost to Duke last night during the last game of the sweet 16.

But there is no denying the excitement, the energy and craziness this years tournaments have ensued.

I don’t care if you are a basketball fan or not–it is games like these that make even the most anti-sports fan pause and actually get caught up in the yelling from the people standing in front of the TVs.

I think the biggest game so far that had me going nuts was the Kansas State vs. Xavier game. This was the first double over time game played in a sweet 16 in over ten years and the combined points (101-96 = 197) is the second highest amount of combined points in a sweet 16.

This game was intense. There were 17 lead changes. There were 13 ties.

And there was eventually a winner decided about one in the morning on Thursday night.

If you missed this game, I am truly sorry; games like this are why I got so into sports in the first place.

The drama. The energy. The excitement and movement.

The fast acting changing of who might win which changes just as much as the passing of the basketball itself. It is more climatic than any movie you might see in theaters.

If you didn’t at least stop and see why this game was so insane, then you might as well stop reading now.

Because a game like that is the best way anyone can ever get involved in sports.

The rest of the elite 8 games are set, and some have already been played. Here are some key points to remember while watching the last half of the NCAA tournament. (more…)

In the Ring: Machado takes second round submission victory

March 24, 2010

After two rounds in the ring, the decision was made and the winner of the fight announced.

Craig Machado raised his hands in victory after winning a second round submission victory Saturday March 13 against his opponent, Nick “Hercules” Hanzivasilis.

photo courtesy of MATCOMBATSPORTS.com

The first round was tough, but going back in the cage, Machado knew he had an advantage.

“I came out in the second round and he was still dizzy from the first round,” Machado said. “He shot in and I choked the **** out of him.”

In the first round, Machado was taken down, but swept  Hanzivasilis and mounted him. After Hanzivasilis escaped, Machado dropped him but was then caught in an armbar and swept as the first round ended.

The fight took place in Fredericksburg, Va. on March 13 at the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds. Barbarian Fight Club sponsored the event.  Machado had his last fight at BFC against James Foy, where he lost in a split decision.

Machado said that losing the fight to Foy made him train harder to prepare against Hanzivasilis; this time he wasn’t ready to lose, especially motivated by his coach Lee Synkowski and striking coach Rahsaan Kimbrow.

“Fighting for him isn’t like fighting for a coach; it’s like fighting for family, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let my family down,” said Machado on Synkowski.

His striking coach, Kimbrow, not only got him physically in shape but helped Machado get the confidence to end the fight in his favor.

“Without Rashaan, I wouldn’t have had the skill and confidence to land the strikes that put me in place to finish the fight.”

photo courtest of MATCOMBATSPORTS.com

**Interested in getting trained by Craig Machado? Send me a message or email and I will get you in contact with him. He trains at Back to the Basics in Towson, Md. if you are looking for a new gym as well.

This is truly a march madness

March 22, 2010

With the sweet 16 games set and ready to be played, how many people could have possibly predicted half the games lost and won?

The biggest upset by far was the Northern Iowa and Kansas game. I myself picked Kansas to win overall as did 90+% of Americans. Apparently only 0.9% of people who filled out brackets at http://www.espn.com predicted that game—and I am sure we can all assume where they live.

Twelfth-seeded Cornell became the highest seed to advance to the Sweet 16 this year as they knocked off Wisconsin, 87-69. It’s the first Sweet 16 appearance for the Big Red, and just the third ever for the Ivy League; the last team from the Ivy League to get this far was Penn in 1979.

For all you Maryland fans out there, a real heart-breaker if you saw the game against Michigan State. With an 8-0 run in the final few minutes of the game, it looked as if the Terps might pull out the victory, especially after taking the lead by one point with 6-seconds to go with a shot by Grieves Vasquez.

But Vasquez should have waited a second or two longer to make that basket.

If he had, Korie Lucious of Mich St. would never have had the chance to say a quick prayer as he took the 3-point shot heard round the state of Maryland—ending the game at 85-83 with Mich St. advancing to the sweet 16. (more…)

Upsets in the first round of the NCAA tourney; top brackets in the sportaholic pool

March 20, 2010

The first round of the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament ended last night with some expected–and some stunning–victories.

Most shocking so far was the Ohio and Georgetown game. Did anyone else see that coming? I think every other upset could have been predicted, so unless you are from Ohio; let me know if you chose this #14 seed over the favored #3 Beast from the East team.

Other upsets was  #13 Murray State over #4 Vanderbilt,  though this game wasn’t as big of a surprise as Murray State is a strong and athletic team and proved it with  Donero Thomas’ buzzer beating shot.

Some other upsets that weren’t as shocking were:

# 10 St. Mary’s over #7 Richmond 80-71;
#11 ODU over #6 Notre Dame; 51-50;
#11 Washington over #6 Marquette 80-78;
#12  Cornell over #5 Temple 78-65;
#10 Missouri over #7 Clemson 86-78.

In my bracket pool so far, here are the top 10 brackets:

Rank Name Number of points
1 Charm city sportaholic, G. Wittstadt 250
1 Where’s UMBC?, M. Huber 250
3 Pohlmann is God, J. Pohlmnann 240
4 Boozers 101,B. Arvin 230
4 Major PhD, P.Dorsey 230
4 Neverseenit, R.Hattrup 230
4 Krobey286 1, K.R. 230
8 LindsayP803, L.P. 220
8 Soliddisco,C. Fong 220
10 Pete’s Picks, P.DiLutis 210

Let the Madness begin–upsets in the tournament

March 18, 2010

For those of you who are either stuck at work or too hungover from St. Patrick’s Day festivities and missed the first games of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, you have missed some pretty exciting games.

First big game and upset was #11 Old Dominion University over #6 Notre Dame in the final seconds. Final score was ODU 51-50. The luck of the Irish must have run out as the buzzer sounded, ending the Fighting Irish’s season.

In double overtime, #7 Brigham Young University overcame the #10 Florida Gators 99-96. BYU advances to the next round as the Gators head back to Florida.

In another overtime game, #2 Villanova barely escaped a scare by #15 Robert Morris by finally ending the game 73-70.

In the biggest upset so far this tournament, #13 Murray State took #4 Vanderbilt’s chances of going further in the tournament as Murray State hit a buzzer beater winning shot, leaving the score 66-65.

Number 3 Baylor went back and forth in another close game against #14 Sam Houston State; Baylor ended the game 68-59 over SHS.

Currently, #10 St. Mary’s is trying to break their curse of losing in the first round as they have for the past four years in the NCAA tournament. With less than three minutes left, St. Mary’s keeps #7 Richmond Spiders at bay 70-59. Can they pull it out?

Keep checking the site for more updates–and for those who joined my bracket challenge, at the end of this first round I will put up highest scores for each bracket.

Enjoy the games.

Can you beat the Sportaholic–NCAA brackets

March 17, 2010

Do you have the right picks this March Madness to beat the sportaholic and all her friends?

Well, it’s time to get in on the excitement with the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament with my challenge to you.

It’s simple. Complete a bracket by the first tip of the tournament on Thursday, March 18th by going to:

http://games.espn.go.com/tcmen/en/frontpage
Join my group— Charm City Sportaholic. Fill out your bracket and check this blog for updates on the top scores every round.

Is there a catch? You tell me: It is  FREE to enter.  If you beat me and are the overall winner, you get a prize from me.

Many of you have already tried guessing the prize—beer, alcohol, a kiss, a Friendly’s sundae, a date with my sister or some other sexual things (you boys have a one-track mind).

But it is a surprise, everyone. You want to know what I give the winner? Pick the best bracket and find out.

Good luck everyone!

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In the Ring: Training day

March 12, 2010

The sweat flew in the air almost as fast as the blows to his teammates gloves.

Craig Machado, covered from head to foot  in a black sauna suit that looked like a trash bag, never stopped moving around the gym as he jumped, jogged or punched in tune to the rock music playing in the backround.

Thursday was his last night of training hard before his mixed martial arts fight in Fredericksburg, Va. on Saturday. The sauna suit was to help him sweat out the 13 pounds he needs to lose so that on Friday, when Machado has to weigh in to make weight to fight, he is down to the 145 pounds  where he needs to be.

“I started dieting last Thursday and I started at 165 pounds; tonight I weighed myself at 7 p.m. and was at 157.8 pounds. I need to get to at least 146–they give a one pound allowance–so that I’m not close to not fighting like I almost was in two other fights,” the 27-year-old fighter said.

“I mean I made it, but it was a big deal and we all were like “oh my God, Craig’s not going to make weight” and we were all rushing around, so to be safe  I start my diet and work out early to get my weight lower.”

Machado has fought six times with a record of 3 and 3. He said his last fight, though lost in a split decision, was his best fight.

“I lost, but when I am in the cage, nothing can happen out of my own fault, for not training harder. I thought I won, but I didn’t. So I trained better for the fight this Saturday,” said Machado. (more…)

Get to know your Tigers: Towson baseball player profile

March 11, 2010

The man to look out for this baseball season is the one on the pitcher’s mound. Wes Shifflett, a senior at Towson University, played ball at Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg, Md before becoming a Tiger. At WMHS, Shifflett earned the Wolverines’ Most Valuable Player award twice.

The left-handed pitcher has also been on the Colonial Athletic Association Commissioner’s List three times while playing ball at Towson.

#5 Wes Shifflett.

Last season, Shifflett appeared in 15 games and started in four of those games and limited hitters he threw against to a .254 batting average with 39 strikeouts. In a big game against #14 Virginia University, Shifflett pitched one scoreless inning as well.

Q.What made you decide to play baseball at Towson?
A.I decided to play baseball at towson because I knew some of the guys that were playing here. They were from my county. I also liked the campus here a lot more than other schools. I wanted to go to a school where I would enjoy myself even if I wasn’t playing baseball.

Q. What other schools did you consider playing ball at?
A.I also considered playing at University of Maryland, Hartford University, UMBC, and George Mason.

Q.What position do you play as a Tiger, and was that the same you played in high school or other schools? How has that affected your game?
A. I am a pitcher. I used to play first base in high school, but at the collegiate level you kind of have to pick if you’re either going to be a pitcher or a position player and I had more potential as a pitcher. I do miss hitting though.

Q.What is your best memory with the team?
A. My best memory of the team was beating the University of Virginia 2 years ago when they were nationally ranked.

Q.Are there any specific pregame rituals you or your team do before a game to pump you up?
A. We dont have any pregame rituals, but we need one. Let me know if you have any ideas. (more…)

Derrick Mason resigns with the Baltimore Ravens

March 10, 2010

In a move many in Baltimore have been waiting for, Ozzie Newsome and his crew signed wide receiver Derrick Mason to a two-year deal with the Ravens.

After flirting with the idea of retiring after this past season, Mason was also rumored to make possible visits with other teams to see how much he was worth.

However, Mason never fully intended on going anywhere else, which is great news for Baltimore.

The receiver has been a big part of this team as he caught 73 passes for 1,028 yards and seven TDs last season. He has caught at least 1,000 passing yards in eight of the past nine seasons.

With the signing of Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin last week and Donte Stallworth last month, these three receivers will be a dynamic force with QB Joe Flacco’s passing attack.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said “this is outstanding, just great news for the Ravens. Our coaches are happy. Derrick’s teammates are happy and you know Joe [Flacco] is smiling.

“Way to go to Ozzie [Newsome] and Pat [Moriarty] for getting this done. We would have lost something special if Derrick had gone to another team. We have gotten better in the last couple of days.”

The Ravens normally known as a team to fear for their defense will now be a team that has a threat in the offense not only in the rushing from running back star Ray Rice, but now with the depth in the passing to Mason, Boldin, Stallworth and most likely Mark Clayton, who has not yet been picked up from other teams.

I think Baltimore is about to rack up the skymiles on the football field this season.

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