We break from my unhealthy basketball session to inform you the Bears are stupid

Remember when I said Kordell Stewart was an IQ test for NFL GM's? Well, Chicago just flunked the test. 2 years, $5 million. That's about 1 more year and $4 million more dollars they had committed to another mediocre QB, Jim Miller. Know what Stewart is? A Jim Miller who can run.

Whoop dee do.

Both throw picks at the same rate as touchdowns. Stewart does average more per attempt (and you should know by now how much I love that stat), but he also has a terrific group of receivers, maybe the best in the league. Both complete passes at about a 60% clip. Neither will carry your team to the Super Bowl. Begging the question, are the Bears trying to suck?
posted by Poseur 3/15/2003 12:17:00 PM

Bracket busters!

Another run through the league tourneys and what it all means...

Maryland's loss to UNC means nothing. They are a 5 or a 6 seed, and unless UNC runs the table, they ain't going to the big tournament. NC State won, which they had to do, but they still have an unimpressive resume. They have to beat Wake to have a shot at an at-large bid.

Hasn't Temple done this before? Crappy regular season followed by a blistering run through the A-10 bracket? They face Dayton in Dayton today. A win by the Owls means one less spot for at-large teams because they ain't even on the bubble.

Big East
UConn is in. They pounded Syracuse pretty badly, and they can feel safe on Sunday, even if they lose today. However, BC still lacks any real quality wins. They are a classic bubble team, lots of positives (good RPI, conference record) and lots of negatives (bad losses, non-conference RPI, lack of quality wins). Let's just say they are rooting for Oregon and Dayton.

Big Ten
I'm not sure if there's a single team deserving of a 4-seed. Wisconsin's been on a roll, but they blew it against Ohio State. Maybe Illinois? They probably need another win. And Indiana helped themselves out big time with a win. Michigan is a tourney team if they hadn't have banned themselves from the NCAA's. So that's a nice win for the Hoosiers, solidifying their profile. I think they're safe.

Bobby Knight is like Jason. He's died several times, but he keeps getting up to terrorize the kids at the lake. If Texas Tech makes the final, they might be in, but they still need another win. And, why has Emmet been in his doghouse all season? He's so clearly the best player on the team, who cares that he can't play defense?

What has gotten into UAB? First Marquette, now St. Louis? They are in the finals against Louisville, who two weeks ago looked like they couldn't beat a decent high school team. Bubble teams everywhere are pulling for Pitino.

Kent State vs. Central Michigan. The two best teams, both in the finals, their whole seasons come down to this one game. Neither team is in the running for an at-large bid because of a down year around the conference, so this could be the best game of the day. Watch it.

Utah and BYU both lost, so kiss an at-large bid goodbye. Either Colorado State or UNLV is going to the Big Dance. UNLV is a bubble team, but they probably need this win anyway. Do you think the MWC will get four bids? Neither do I.

The Steve Lavin era is over. Oregon won another game by one point, and now they face USC in the finals. This just in, USC isn't very good. Oregon better win this game and erase any doubts about their team.

What's gotten into LSU? With wins over Florida and Arizona on the resume, they aren't a bubble team anymore, they are now angling for a nice seed. The big game, though, was Auburn-Tennessee. Auburn's win vaults them probably ahead of UT in at-large consideration, as the Vols' advantage was a slight lead in the conference standings and a head-to-head win. Now they are tied in the conference standings and split their season series. Tennessee is in big trouble.

And congrats to Holy Cross and Sam Houston State, who both qualified for an automatic bid.

How cool is Championship Week?

posted by Poseur 3/15/2003 11:23:00 AM


The big boys took the court and a lot of bubble teams took an absolute nose dive. Looking at the bigger developments by conference:

Big East
All of the top seeds won. BC probably earned their bid last night, as did UConn. I'm still wavering on Seton Hall, but they're probably okay as well. Syracuse and Pitt both looked shaky, but got wins, and that's all that matters this time of year. There's no style points.

Big Ten
Northwestern?! By 10? Minnesota didn't have the strongest of profiles, but how do they lose to Northwestern? An inexcusable loss which secures an NIT bid for the Gophers.

I'm sure Kansas State is now up on the travelling rule. Colorado got a gift, so on Selection sunday, they should be sure to send KSU a fruit basket.

Marquette was angling for a 2-seed and then they lose to UAB. That cheer you heard came from Florida, Xavier, and Pitt; all angling for that seed now that the Golden Eagles were nice enough to extend the invitation for someone else to take it.

Mountain West
42-38 Utah over Air Force. If that game was a horse, someone would have shot it. Jesus. And wyoming, who needed a nice run to get tourney consideration, lost to CSU. Hello, NIT!

The best conference tournament so far. Ridenour goes coast-to-coast to keep the Ducks alive. UCLA hits a long three to force OT and then the upset of #1 Arizona. USC bushwhacks Stanford. what is going on here? Zona isn't in danger of losing the one, and unless USC or UCLA wins the conference tourney, this conference is only sending 5 teams. Oregon can breathe easier now.

LSU pretty much locked things up by beating Arkansas so bad it looked like a game against Athletes In Action. And I don't see how Bama makes the tournament now, even with their gaudy RPI. They are now 7-10 in conference play after losing to VANDERBILT. Teams on the bubble can't lose to the Northwestern of the SEC.
posted by Poseur 3/14/2003 09:34:00 AM

Upsets & burst bubbles

Championship week has gotten a lot more interesting on Thursday. Two of the nation's elite were victims of upsets. Arizona, number one in the nation, lost to lowly UCLA in the first round of the PAC-10 tournament. UCLA scortched Arizona for 96 points after overtime--that's got to have Lute Olsen worrying.
Arizona should still land a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but Marquette may have lost it's hopes for a #1 seed. Marquette lost to UAB in the C-USA tournament. That increases the chance of Kansas taking the last #1 seed.
Other teams may have lost their chances for bids to the tournament. Minnesota concluded its tailspin by losing to Northwestern in the Big 10 tournament. Holy cow, Northwestern! That just goes to show that Minnesota's claim to a bid was laughable.
And, my how the mighty have fallen! Alabama, once #1 in the nation so long ago lost to Vanderbilt in the first round of the SEC tournament. BAMA is now 17-11 and desperate for help to get into the Big Dance.
posted by uberschuck 3/14/2003 12:21:00 AM

Cyclist dies in Paris-Nice

Kazakh cyclist Andrei Kivilev died Wednesday after a crash during the second stage of the Paris-Nice race. Kivilev was not wearing a helmet (as is routine in professional cycling) when he crashed, and that has naturally caused many to urge that the International Cycling Union make helmets mandatory for cyclists.
If you are a Tour de France junkie, you may recognize the name. Andrei Kiviliev was a surprise contender in the 2001 Tour de France. He finished fourth in the event that year and became a leader of the Cofidis team. Kivilev's tragedy was marked by the competitors in the Paris-Nice by nullification of the 3rd. stage--the riders did not race, but rode slowly as one group. Andrei Kivilev was 29 and leaves behind a wife and son.
posted by uberschuck 3/14/2003 12:09:00 AM


There's been a ridiculous flurry of moves in the NHL, let's take a quick look at the moves.

The Blues needed a goalie, and Chris Osgood fits the bill. He's been hurt all year, but that means he didn't carry a huge price tag, and nothing personal, but Brent Johnson ain't gonna win you the Stanley Cup. Particularly not with a 90.3% save pct.

The Leafs, having already made their big move, now are content to try and rebuild the Calgary Flames, signing Doug Gilmour and Phil Housley for draft picks. Why?

The Caps showed their serious about a deep playoff run by trading for Sergei Berezin. The earth moved.

Edmonton added another good, young, cheap player in Brad Isbister. He didn't come cheap, as the Isles got Janne Niinimaa. Both teams fill needs, and the Isles can afford the price tag a little more. A classic both teams win kind of trade.
posted by Poseur 3/12/2003 10:10:00 AM


Finally, a good title game. IUPUI and Valpo went down to the wire, and the Panthers' veteran point guard, Crenshaw, went the length of the court and hit the winning jumper. It'll be IUPUI's first trip to the Big Dance, an it's an excuse for me to say "ooie, pooie" all day.

Meanwhile, Butler lost in it's conference tourney for the second straight year, as UW-Milwuakee beat the living hell out of them to secure the automatic bid.
posted by Poseur 3/12/2003 09:53:00 AM

UConn loses!

18 games short of the UCLA record, the Huskies lost a game after winning 70 sraight. That's just an amazing accomplishment. 70 straight games. I don't care how top heavy women's basketball is, if you don't lose a game for nearly two years, you are doing something right.

And good for Geno Auriemma for laying into that reporter who asked what he was going to do to make sure this doesn't happen again. Dude, his team won 70 straight games, he shouldn't have to change anything.

posted by Poseur 3/12/2003 09:49:00 AM


I’m going to try and prove a point here, and come up with my own bracket projection. Now, I am a complete amateur. I watch lots of basketball, I follow the RPI, I subscribe to so I can get his nitty-gritty reports. But this is the bracket I came in without any claim of extraordinary expertise. Let’s see how an avowed non-expert with some time on his hands can do.

1 Arizona, Kentucky, Kansas, Texas
2 Marquette, Wake, Oklahoma, Syracuse
3 Florida, Xavier, Pitt, Stanford
4 Duke, Wisconsin, Utah, Notre Dame
5 L’ville, Okie St, Illinois, Maryland
6 Dayton, Memphis, Creighton, Mizzou
7 Miss St, Cincy, Mich St, Cal
8 BYU, St Joe’s, Purdue, Butler
9 So. Illinois, Colorado, LSU, Oregon
10 ASU, Seton Hall, Gonzaga, UConn
11 BC, Weber St, Indiana, Tenn
12 Bama, Penn, Auburn, WKU
13 San Diego, UNCW, Cent Mich, Manhattan
14 Tulsa, UC Irvine, Holy Cross, Troy St
15 Valpo, Austin Peay, ETSU, Boston
16 Prairie View, Hampton, Stephen F Austin, Wagner, UNC Ashville
NIT UW-Milwaukee, Minnesota, St Louis, NC State

posted by Poseur 3/11/2003 04:24:00 PM

Championship week has been a dud so far. The title games have, as a rule, been blowouts. And aside from College of Charleston, the bubble teams from one-bid conferences have all advanced with automatic bids. Then Gonzaga lost at about 2 in the morning.

While other small conferences protected their top seeds, the WCC tourney seemed built to spite the Zags. They ended up playing the title game in San Diego's home gym. So their #1 seed got them a road game for the tourney title. That's ridiculous, as San Diego is a pretty good team, and took full advantage of the home court.

So now the Zags are on the bubble. Let's look at the the profile.

RPI: 38
23-7 (13-3)
53 non conference RPI
10-2 on the road
8-2 last 10
1-5 vs. RPI top 50

There's some positives. Winning the WCC regular season is no small feat, it's a mid-level conference. That road record is outstanding and the non-conference RPI is pretty good, particularly for low-major. There's only one negative, their record against the RPI top 50. Here are those losses:

Indiana by 1.
Kentucky by 8.
Georgia by 12.
Stanford by 10.
St. Joe's by 1 in OT.

So they were never blown off the court, and they lost two games by one point. They are good enough to hang with the best team in the nation, that's good enough for me. They should be in.
posted by Poseur 3/11/2003 11:46:00 AM


UGa withdraws from posteason play

Well, at least the players didn't quit. Every day brings even worse news for Georgia, so I'm not surprised the AD is pulling the plug. I feel bad for the players, but you have to punish the schools or else there is no disincentive to hiring corrupt coaches. It sucks for the players, but that happens. However, the NCAA needs to get tougher on corrupt coaches. Harrcik shouldn't be allowed near a sideline ever again, and even if the NCAA throws the book at Georgia, there needs to be a set of rules to punish coaches as well. That way we don't have the coast-to-coast destruction in the wake of USS Harrick again (for those keeping score, that's UCLA, Rhode Island, and UGa). I'm all for second chances, but this is Harrick's third or fourth chance.

Since it's also the last week of the season, how does this effect the tourney? Well, the bubble keeps shrinking, as there are less and less teams to select from. The big winner in this mess? NC State, Auburn, and Minnesota. Their chances of getting an at-large bid just increased.

posted by Poseur 3/10/2003 10:55:00 PM

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