Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Welcome to Pittsburgh Mr. Birch

Im not here to do another one of my Pitt rants (Im saving one for seasons end) but Pitt's early NCAA tournament exits over the years has led many to believe that Pitt needs that one and done player to carry them to the final four and deliver a championship. I am a believer in this philosophy. Its been 10 years of early trips home and something needs to be done. I believe 5-star commit 6ft 9in Power Forward from Notre Dame Prep, Khem Birch will be the one and done player Pitt NEEDS to take them to the final four. Like Carmelo Anthony did at Syracuse.

So without further ado, Ladies and Gentleman, Khem Birch.

Monday, March 28, 2011

2011 NFL Mock Draft

Greg, Alex, and I go through each team and make their first round picks. We agree, we disagree, we agree to disagree. Check it out and see who your team might take first!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Madness is Down to Four...

Greg and I discuss the final four in our latest broadcast!!  Check it out!

According to ESPN's Bracket Challenge, only two out of almost 6 million brackets had the correct final four of Kentucky, Connecticut, VCU, and Butler. To those two, congratulations on probably filling out a bunch of ridiculous brackets in hopes of getting lucky in one.

As far as the 360 Sports Network Group goes...well, only four people had VCU beating Georgetown (one of them had a final four of ODU, Michigan, Butler, and Kansas).  I'm proud to say I was one of them. So to the other three: Lindsey Pop's Bracket, FRANKMARTIN, and Nate's Picks, congrats on getting a final four team out of the first round!

Five people had ONE final four team correct: GRAZoMATIC had Kentucky, while senchak111, Lindsey Pop's Bracket, played on Hard Wood, and This is gonna be bad... all correctly picked UConn to the final four. None of them have their respective teams going any further, however, meaning that the Bracket Challenge is officially done!  Congratulations to the winners!

Top 5:
1. GRAZoMATIC - 89
2. Steel City Miracle - 78
3. senchak111 - 77
4. Lindsey Pop's Bracket - 76
5. The BYU Honor Code - 74

The 3SN Team:
6. Beshman1 (Greg) - 73
13. Dot (James) - 67
25. thank you big east... (Alex) - 53
29. COIN FLIP BRACKET (literally a coin flip for each pick) - 48

Friday, March 25, 2011

Formula One Introduction

My first post here at 360 Sports Network serves a dual purpose; it is an introduction to myself, and also an introduction to the sport that I love -- Formula 1. I was invited to come onboard for this project to issue commentary on racing generally, and F1 in particular. Here’s a bit of a primer for those not yet familiar with the sport.

Formula One is an open-wheel racing series held on road and street courses around the world. F1 possesses a certain purity in its heritage – it derives its ancestry from European Grand Prix racing which began in the opening years of the 20th century. The first world championship season under the contemporary name “Formula One” was held in 1950. Now in its 62nd season, Formula One has undergone some drastic changes throughout its history, but several major tenets of the sport remain unchanged since its inception. These traits differentiate it from almost all other forms of motorsport.

Foremost, Formula One is not just a measure of driving skill. Each car is designed and built from scratch beginning midway through the preceding season. Each team’s design must adhere to a certain set of technical regulations issued by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), but within these rules there is room for multiple interpretations. The result is that every season begins with multiple superficially similar cars that possess varying levels of performance and technical complexity. Throughout the year, modifications are made to improve the performance of the car, and in addition to being a championship contest, each weekend is something of a test session to evaluate the effects of parts being developed for later events.

This may seem somewhat counterintuitive to those unfamiliar with the sport – won’t a driver’s potential be limited by his machine? In a sense, yes, but a driver’s skill will always find ways to shine through in spite of disadvantage. Take, for instance, Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi. The 2010 season saw Kamui’s first full year in F1 competition with Peter Sauber’s beleaguered outfit. The C29 chassis the team ran that year proved to be a dog from the opener in Australia. In late October, Kobayashi qualified a depressing yet predictable 14th for his home race at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan. The next day, however, Kobayashi drove the wheels off of the car (though not literally, as in Robert Kubica’s case). After a string of impressive overtaking maneuvers, he finished seventh and turned the heads of many in the pitlane (securing his place at Sauber for the 2011 season in the process). 

In a way, Formula One presents far more stimuli than most other racing series. There are driver rivalries, as in any other racing series’; there are technical developments; there are political dramas. I hope that some of you who may already be watching American motorsport series’ such as NASCAR and Indy may make the leap and give F1 a shot. Qualifying for the 2011 Australian Grand Prix begins tomorrow morning (Saturday, March 26) at 2AM. The race is the same time on Sunday. Most cable providers rebroadcast one or both events at a time more suited to European and American audiences so check your channel guide or set your DVR accordingly.

-Ryan Mooney

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Player's Response to Roger Goodell Article...

Anonymous said...
The point isn't that the 'players' anything...none of this should be directed at the players, as they have agreed to a deal FROM THE OWNERS a few years ago. The owners felt they needed more $$$, so THEY are the ones locking out the players...don't forget that. The players could, under terms of the EXISTING deal and possibly, on-going deal, turn down every offer, because there is no give and take. Current players are seeing more money go away, either from the draft/rookie contracts, to existing/new contracts, and only veteran players/retirees are seeing any benefit from offers the owners have made.

And I'm sure some people feel the players are not thinking of the fans, but think about this...if I live in dirt, and have a shack, but I have a gift to allow me to afford the shack and no live on the dirt, should I sell my shack to live in the dirt "with the fans"? Rookie minimum contracts are what, 700k? After taxes, union dues, agents, lawyers and the like, what are they left with 300k if they are lucky? And now you are asking that player to give up another 9% off the top, bringing him down to what, possibly 200k? That sounds crappy for being a professional sports player in the NFL. Movie studios wouldn't dare ask actors/actresses to take 9% less because they felt like it.

As for the players seeing the points worthy of walking away, it's simple...would you take a 9% pay reduction in order to pay for a retired workers' health insurance, while your boss builds new offices/plants/buildings/hires more workforce and their sales go up 1-3% per year (even for a losing org.), including TV contracts, all the while asking you to work harder and more days and your boss complains about his business dwindling? It's the owners, not the players, and the owners don't care.
March 13, 2011 12:09 PM

Yes- I reposted this article because it is very well written and sums it up from the players perspective! Anonymous makes a lot of sense... We as fans tend to forget about the large amounts of bills occurred. Granted, players are making a lot of money. But that money is paltry compared to what the owners in the NFL are making. Let's not forget, this is as much about labor as the public works employees clause in Wisconsin. Somewhere, there needs to be a common ground.

Monday, March 21, 2011

How sweet it is!

I have papers to grade, homework to do, and sleep to get. So I'll do the natural thing and post on the Madness that is college basketball. We're down to the Sweet 16, yet it was quite a sour tournament for our local teams.  Just a couple things to take note of:

  • Four of the first five games had memorable shots fall in the final five seconds for the win. No real memorable buzzer-beaters the rest of the tournament so far, but lots of close games.
  • It's one thing to watch the buzzer-beaters over the years and love march madness as a result, but it is definitely a different story when it's your team on the wrong end of the game winning shot as time expires.

  • Pitt's tourny troubles continue. 56% from the field and lose? wow. Don't feel too bad Nassir, make up for it next year, preferably in the tourny and not the regular season.

  • Michigan wins a "second round" game by 30, yet becomes the first team in history to win a tournament game without making a free throw.  
  • Also, notice Michigan STILL has not beaten a ranked team all year.
  • The Big East got 11 teams into the dance...
    1. Why does one region have four big east teams? Wouldn't a 3-3-3-2 division split make the most sense?
    2. Why have it set up so two teams from the same conference have to possibly play each other in the 2nd round? Make Cinci a 7 or Marquette a 10, put them in the non-ND bracket, and problem solved. If you're gonna put that many in the dance, don't make them play each other so early.
    3. Maybe it's better they did have Uconn play Cinci and Marquette play Syracuse, seeing as they're the only two Big East teams still dancing.
    4. Big East teams either need to learn how to adjust to different styles of play outside of the conference, or their referees need to start calling more fouls to help their teams prepare for the dance.
    5. Anybody else want to clarify the definition of "best conference in college basketball" now? I know I do, and have for years. 
  • ACC has three teams still dancing, though UNC and Duke both could and probably should have lost today. 
  • Mountain West still has 2 of its three teams moving on. San Diego State is still a joke and BYU is still solely the Jimmer Show. 
  • Kansas has one great road to the final four...the worst they'll play is 9-seed Illinois. 12-Richmond, then either 10-Florida State or 11-VCU....Rock Chalk, Cake Walk?
  • Speaking of VCU...should they really be in the tournament? I don't know guys......
  • If you live by the three, you will ultimately die by the three. Told ya, Notre Dame.
  • Notre Dame - You're the only 2-seed I picked to WIN in the second why did you have to be the only 2-seed to LOSE in the second round?
  • Lots of referee and time issues....
    1. Texas 5-second violation - I counted with the ref in the replay, he only counts to four.
    2. Clock replay at the end of the Washington-UNC game please?
    3. Two (correct) foul calls in the last second of the Pitt-Butler fiasco
    4. Giving teams extra time-outs at the end of EVERY GAME to "check the clock" yet you really couldn't check of St. John's didn't step out of bounds at MSG?
  • What's the best way to pick the brackets? Well, flipping a coin seems to be a good strategy early in the tournament! 
    1. The "Coin Flip Bracket" was leading after the first round, selecting 20 of the 32 games correctly (4 were automatically picked without the flip of a coin, the four #1 seeds).
    2. Picked correct upsets of Richmond (both first and second round), Morehead State, Florida State, and Marquette.
    3. The downside, national champion Princeton lost early.
    4. Only two correct picks in sweet 16: Ohio State and Richmond.
    5. Richmond is only final four team remaining.
  • My bracket still has the national title game...and that's about it. 
  • After further's still March, and I'm still loving it!

A few final notes:

  • Check back over the next couple of days for our recap of the first "three" rounds of the NCAA tournament, including analysis of games played and yet to be played, new predictions, and a standings update for the 3SN Bracket Challenge!
  • The 3SN team will be doing a mock NFL draft as we rapidly approach the time where the Panthers are put on the clock. See who your team will take! 
  • It's almost opening day for Major League Baseball! if only the weather would act like it...
  • SEND US YOUR FEEDBACK!!!! Comments are always welcome on our posts, on our youtube videos, on twitter @3SNetwork, and by emailing any of us directly.
  • Thank you so much to everybody who tuned in to our last broadcast! You were a part of over 25,000 viewers across the globe. We thank you for your support and hope to continue serving you well! That being said, please, feedback? =)

Okay, I think that's enough for tonight.  Have a pleasant evening and enjoy three days off from the madness!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Pitt loss

...i was right about Butler. 

Lets thank Pitt everyone for busting everyones bracket...or better yet Shelvin Mack. 30 on 10-of-16 shooting (7-of-12 from 3)....really??? Then again Matt Howard did hit the game winning frees so whatever works.
Hey its March Madness. The only thing sure is that nothings for sure.

I hope Butler wins the tournament. Not happening i know, but i would love to see a Horizon League school  win a title.

I understand people are upset over the Pitt loss but firing Jamie Dixon is ridiculous. Remember before Dixon and Howland, Pitt used to be how Penn State is now with their program. 

This is NOT the best Pitt team Dixon had.  The 08 and 2003 teams where the best. Knight had his jersey retired for a reason.

Just WOW what an easy bracket for Pitt to choke in.

It was like Butler just threw the ball in the air and theres a gravitational force toward their hoop -the wheel

Seriously it was like they didn't miss

Pitt fans quit crying over the refs. HOW IS WHACKING A PLAYER WITH YOUR ARM NOT A 

Nas man where is your head.

After Gil made the firs foul shot, why didn't Jamie pull his players back away from the hoop?

Gil make the second shot man, come on.

Has a game ever been decided this way before? Those two fouls with what under a second and a half?

Is anyone EVER going to pick Pitt to go far in their bracket again?

I think the Kansas loss to Northern Iowa was still more of an embarassment then Pitts lose to Butler

If Butler Wins the national title someway somehow, then Pitts loss tonight won't seem so bad   

I really feel bad for Jamie Dixon. He is a coach that really cares for his players and the University of Pittsburgh.  

I feel even worse for Gil and Nas. They won't be sleeping for a while.

Pitt did not play well down the stretch. 4-4 last 8 games and one of those wins was to Unc-Ashville.

The Big East rep was slowly dieing with these tournament loses and Pitt just officially shot it dead. Its up to UConn and Notre Dame to bring it back to life.

No matter still gotta love March.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Trouble With College Football- The Jim Tressel Chapter

Jim Tressel is an icon in my book. I spent many a Saturday afternoon with my father-in-law watching Tressel march up and down the sidelines at the Youngstown State University games. We would marvel at how Tressel built the YSU football program and were genuinely proud of him when he took his rightful place as the head coach of OSU.

No doubt about it, Jim Tressel is a winner! He has consistently preached character to all of his players. His teams win. They don't win with style points as many people squirm at seemingly ridiculous low scoring games... but OSU wins with Tressel at the helm.

This is what makes everything up to now so troublesome. Jim Tressel allegedly knew about the the sale of memorabilia long before it became front and center with the candidness of his star QB Terrell Pryor. Now- before I go and make villains of Tressel and Pryor... we need to look at College Football and examine why it was necessary for Pryor and several others to sell his memorabilia.

College Football is incredibly profitable. The stadiums are shrines built on the backs of the students who play for these institutions of higher learning. Yes, the NCAA does provide scholarships to some of the many players. These scholarships greatly reduce the cost of going to school. BUT... is this equitable? Players such as Terrell Pryor perform at a very high level. The sell out crowds in Columbus come from these players. Trust me- I am a Pitt graduate. Pitt's football teams by and large do not bring great crowds as they do not have the caliber of players as OSU. But- I digress... The point is people are paying a lot of money to OSU to watch great young athletic talent. These players are working for the University, just as much as student painters who paint the dorms in the summer work for the University. What a player does with his own possessions is his own doing. The player earned the awards. Collegiate sports players deserve to be paid for their efforts! I laude Terrell Pryor for taking the lead and being candid about this subject. As far as Jim Tressel goes, I am disappointed as I would have expected him to be more vocal on this point and stand up for what is right... So much for character!

Monday, March 14, 2011


Ladies and Gentlemen, March Madness has officially begun! That means it's time to fill out your brackets! But before you do, check out our brackets below in our latest broadcast. See what you think and decide if you agree, disagree, or want to copy our picks! Alex and I discuss the tournament selections and run through our brackets in this broadcast. After you check our opinions, make your own known! Join our Bracket Challenge for free for a chance to win some cool prizes! All information is below!

Greg's Final Four: North Carolina, San Diego State, Kansas, Florida. 
     National Champ: San Diego State
Alex's Final Four: Ohio State, Duke, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh.            
     National Champ: Ohio State
James's Final Four: Ohio State, Texas, Kansas, Pittsburgh.                 
     National Champ: Kansas


To enter, go to:

Enter this ID information:
Group ID#: 32551
Password: 3sn

Games start on Tuesday so be sure to fill out your brackets as soon as they come out at 6:00!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Who's in? Who's out? Updated!

Last Four In:  Penn State, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Alabama
First Four Out: Georgia, USC, Boston College, Harvard

Check out the broadcast below for a full report!


1. go to
2. go to "join group"
3. group ID# is 32551, password is 3sn

Friday, March 11, 2011

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's Latest Report

Dear NFL Fan,

When I wrote to you last on behalf of the NFL, we promised you that we would work tirelessly to find a collectively bargained solution to our differences with the players' union. Subsequent to that letter to you, we agreed that the fastest way to a fair agreement was for everyone to work together through a mediation process. For the last three weeks I have personally attended every session of mediation, which is a process our clubs sincerely believe in.

Unfortunately, I have to tell you that earlier today the players' union walked away from mediation and collective bargaining and has initiated litigation against the clubs. In an effort to get a fair agreement now, our clubs offered a deal today that was, among other things, designed to have no adverse financial impact on veteran players in the early years, and would have met the players’ financial demands in the latter years of the agreement.

The proposal we made included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee a reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).

It was a deal that offered compromise, and would have ensured the well-being of our players and guaranteed the long-term future for the fans of the great game we all love so much. It was a deal where everyone would prosper.

We remain committed to collective bargaining and the federal mediation process until an agreement is reached, and call on the union to return to negotiations immediately. NFL players, clubs, and fans want an agreement. The only place it can be reached is at the bargaining table.

While we are disappointed with the union's actions, we remain steadfastly committed to reaching an agreement that serves the best interest of NFL players, clubs and fans, and thank you for your continued support of our League. First and foremost it is your passion for the game that drives us all, and we will not lose sight of this as we continue to work for a deal that works for everyone.

Roger Goodell
Roger Goodell - Commissioner

Ok... What does this mean? Is Commissioner Goodell taking the side of management in this, and why did the NFL Players Association step away from the table?

At first blush, this sounds like a reasonable plan. As Commissioner Goodell writes:

The proposal we made included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee a reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years)

First off- we need to define what the new year round health and safety rules are going to be... Commissioner Goodell has proven to be good hearted in his attempts to reform the league. However, some of his rules have become quite stifling with some players and coaches saying that it takes away from the physical aspect of the game.

I like the fact that a new legacy fund will be established for the retired players at the tune of $82 million dollars over the next two years... This will definitely help retired players take care of needs outside the NFL.

I am very happy to hear that the Commissioner is seeking to retain the current 16-4 season format for the next two years without any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and the union. This is very important as it provides time to study and debate the 18 game question.

I also like the fact that they have put on the table their willingness to guarantee a reallocation of savings from first round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7. This will prevent rookies from having salaries higher than established veterans.

I would like to know why the players see these points as worthy to walk away... Player and fan comments are welcomed .

Thursday, March 10, 2011

St. John's vs. Rutgers

I know this controversial ending has been well-analyzed and over-analyzed over the past 20 hours by fans, commentators, coaches, and head-honchos of the Big East and NCAA. So let's discuss how we feel about what happened in Madison Square Garden yesterday afternoon.

Just to recap the scenario: with about 8 seconds left and Rutgers down by 1, Mike Coburn of the Scarlet Knights drove the lane and missed. Here's issue number one as there was lots of contact on the shot. No foul called, St. John's gets the rebound and is fouled.

They miss the second free throw. Here's issue number two as a St. John's player clearly goes over the back of a Rutgers player. No foul called, the ball is tipped out of bounds off of Rutgers.

After another foul and Rutgers making one of two at the line, Rutgers must inbound the full length of the court with only 5 seconds left and a two-point deficit. They throw it to midcourt, where there is some contact (issue number three) and the ball ends up in the possession of a St. John's defender who proceeds to run the clock out.

But that brings on the final two issues. In running out the clock, St. John's player Justin Brownlee clearly took three steps, traveling, not called. The second and third steps were clearly out of bounds (not just like a toe on the line, but a full foot out) with 1.7 seconds on the clock, again not called. Instead Brownlee tossed the ball into the crowd and the referees allowed the clock to expire and the game to end.

So let's analyze the five issues of the final 10 seconds of the game.

Issue #1: Most analysts I've heard so far, including ESPN's Jay Bilas in a plethora of tweets, say that this was the non-call with which they had the biggest issue. There was obvious contact and the defender's arms were anything but straight up. Textbook blocking call. I disagree. I've seen that exact play end as a non-call many times, and understand it this time, too. Coburn was very much out of control as he entered the lane, thus why I like a no-call even though the defender definitely was not straight up.

Issue #2: No box-out by the Rutgers player makes it virtuously impossible to call an over the back foul. However, even so, the St. John's player still makes significant contact going for the rebound, which usually is grounds to call the foul. So I'm a bit torn on this one, but again with so little time left I agree with a no-call. (But did they even get right who the last player was to touch the ball before it went OB? Because I'm not so sure from the limited replays I've seen).

Issue #3: Incidental contact going for a 50-50 ball, definitely agree with a no-call, but understand a coach trying to petition for a call.

Issue #4: Textbook definition of traveling. How all three referees miss this I don't understand.

Issue #5: A full foot out of bounds...the analysts says that one ref is occupied with the Rutgers coach yelling for a foul, a second is blocked by the St. John's coach (who is well out of the coaching box, another issue that I think is never enforced enough). But where is the third ref?  What's his excuse? Probably was on the other side of the court and couldn't see where the OB line is...

Defenders of the refs will say that even had the traveling/OB been called that Rutgers still would have to make a shot and they should have won the game earlier....well my answer to that is that anything can happen with 1.7 seconds left. When I first heard of this crazy ending (I missed it live) all I could think of was that this sounded familiar...I must thank SportsCenter for confirming my suspicions. In the 2003 Big 12 Tournament, Colorado beat Kansas State on an eerily similar finish, just with a different outcome.  With a two point lead, Kansas State intercepted an inbounds pass with 3 seconds left. The Wildcat player proceeded to travel (which was called) and Colorado was given 1.8 seconds (seem familiar?) for one more play. They got the inbounds pass in and James Wright banked in a three-point buzzer-beater to win. So don't tell me Rutgers couldn't have come back!

My opinion is that referees are supposed to facilitate the game, and in a perfect world it should seem like they aren't even there. Good luck with that. Refs/Umps/Officials are a part of the game. They always have been and always will be. Human error is part of sports. I don't want robotic referees. Sometimes you just have to deal with a bad call every once in a while. It's called judgement calls for a reason.  I also believe that, with new technology, we should be able to fix incorrect calls. Replay shows pretty clearly that a player walked out of bounds. There's a concrete definition of out of bounds, why can't it be reviewed? I've said this for years in football, too. How can some plays be deemed reviewable and some not reviewable even when the obvious answer is seen in a replay?

So am I being too rough on the refs? Or too easy? What's your opinion on the way this game ended? What are your thoughts on officiating in general? We want your opinion!!!! What do all the fans think? You can comment on this article directly or by emailing or tweeting us @3SNetwork.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Who's in? Who's out?

One week from now the field of 68 will be determined, the analysts will have decided what teams got screwed out of a bid, and half of the country will have filled out the first draft of their brackets. Over the past three months, Joe Lunardi and other bracketologists have been constantly updating their predictions for how the bracket will look. And each week as Lunardi updates his bracket, I begin to believe in his judgment less and less.

So, instead of just sitting here commenting and tweeting about his stupidity, and since I am still in school mode and can't sleep until 2 am, I figure it's about time I try this bracketology thing for myself. Trying to set up the brackets is too time-consuming for a college student, whether or not he's on his spring break. So I'll do what Lunardi should do, simply create an S-curve for some of the top ranks and just worry about who is in and who is out.

There are 31 automatic bids available, 37 at-large. The way I see it, 60 of those 68 spots have been locked up, and currently there are 24 teams battling for the final 8 spots in the tournament. These numbers can change in a hurry, however. For example, yesterday Indiana State received the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by beating the Missouri State Bears in the championship game of the Missouri Valley Tournament. Missouri State was a bubble team that was expected to make the tournament as the MVC's automatic bid. Now they have to make the tournament as an at-large bid, and if the selection committee finds them a strong enough selection, Indiana State's victory may have made the number of spots available for bubble teams one less.  That being said, I have the Bears currently outside of the field of 68 at this time.

Let me first analyze the local schools having a shot at the dance.

Pittsburgh (27-4, 15-3) of course has locked up the outright Big East title and the #1 seed in the conference tournament. One win in the conference tournament and Pitt all but guarantees a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Duquesne (18-11,10-6) will be the #4 seed in the Atlantic-10 tournament. The top three in the conference (Xavier, Temple, and Richmond) all should make the dance, but unless they can win the conference tournament, I think it's NIT bound for the Dukies.

Robert Morris (18-13, 12-6) has finished like they were projected in the Northeast Conference by making it to the championship game. They play Long Island on Wednesday night. The winner will make the tournament, the loser will not.

Penn State (16-13, 9-9) just secured the #6 seed in the Big 10 tournament with a win today over Minnesota. They should win their first round game vs. Indiana and face Wisconsin, who the Nittany Lions have beaten once already this year, in the quarterfinals. Even if they lose to the Badgers, they would end up with a 17-14 overall record and a .500 record in the 2nd toughest conference in the country, including three victories over top 25 opponents and losses at Ohio State and at Purdue by a combined four points. With how weak the bubble is this year, I believe this is enough to get Penn State into the tournament with their top ten strength of schedule, especially with the team peaking at the right time, which is a fact bracketologists I don't think look at closely enough. However, if teams with no business making the tournament keep taking away bubble spots like Indiana State may have, Penn State might (and probably will) end up on the outside looking in again.

And now the moment we've been waiting for: the S-curve begins.

1. Ohio State (29-2)  - If Diebler keeps shooting 10-12 and 7-8 from three-point range, good luck beating the Buckeyes. However, if 3-bler goes cold in just one game it could spell the end for the Bucks.
1. Kansas (29-2) - Not many teams can match up with the Morris twins. They're a Final Four team.
1. Pittsburgh (27-4) - Final Four or bust for Pitt. Dixon needs to be able to adjust his game plan as the game goes on. That, and they need to hope not to get into a game with refs who call hand check fouls. After a tough Big East schedule where the teams play so physically, a bad combination with a team matchup and refs could be trouble for the Panthers.
1. Duke (27-4) - Their bad loss to UNC hurts the Dukies, but they'll perform in the ACC tourny and end up as a weak #1 seed. However, they always match up well in the NCAA tourny, and it's tough to pick against Coach K.

2. BYU (28-3) - It's the Jimmer Show now thanks to the BYU Honor Code. I think they miss out on a #1 seed due to the loss of Brandon Davies and their immediate loss to New Mexico afterward. I think we'll see what the Cougars are all about if/when they face San Diego State in the Mountain West title game.
2. San Diego State (29-2) - I don't think they should be a #2 seed since their only win vs. a top 25 team was against a #12 Gonzaga team beginning of the year, a Gonzaga team that now is nowhere near the tournament even. Their high-scoring offense may be just enough to get them to the Elite Eight or beyond. However, depending on their matchup, I can see them losing to a #15 seed. Nobody is safe beyond the one seeds.
2. Notre Dame (25-5) - 11-1 in their last 12 games speaks for itself. They can, and probably will, die by the three. If they shoot poorly in one game it's bye-bye Irish.
2. Texas (25-6) - The Longhorns just perform in the big games. They've struggled as of late, but I believe they improve when the postseason begins.

3. Purdue (25-6) - The Boilers were rolling before their inexplicable loss to Iowa. Johnson and Moore might be the best one-two combo in the NCAA.
3. Wisconsin (23-7) - I don't know what to think about the Badgers. Are they the team that beat the Buckeyes up north? Or are they the team that appeared to have no defense in their losses at Columbus and in Happy Valley? If they face an Ivy league 14-seed, watch out Badgers!
3. North Carolina (24-6) - Hottest team in the country, they haven't lost in over a month. They'll be playing for a while in March.
3. Syracuse (25-6) - Basketball is a game of runs. Syracuse is a team of runs. Won their first 18, lost six of their next eight, now end the year with five straight victories. The Jim Boeheim 2-3 defense is a huge advantage for the Orange in March, and they're always a tough draw.

4. Louisville (23-8) - They'll win at least one game as long as they keep Knowles from touching the ball late in the game...luckiest victory for the Mountaineers I can't believe that happened.
4. Florida (24-6) - A QUIET 24-6, the Gators have a style of play that bodes well for tournament play...but I need to see their matchup before advancing them anywhere in the tournament.
4. Arizona (25-6) - Watch for a 13-seed upset here.  The Wildcats will get a 4-seed because they'll win the Pac 10 tournament, and then they'll get embarrassed once the dance begins.
4. St. John's (20-10) - The selection committee gets a little too cute with the Red Storm due to their big wins. With only one quality win away from home and as many bad losses as good wins, I think this seeding is a gift. And since they seem to play to the level of their opponent, I again look for a high possibility of an upset here.

Here's a full rundown by conference of who is in the tournament no matter what in my mind (as at-large bids):
America East (1) - Vermont
Atlantic 10 (2) - Xavier, Temple
ACC (4) - Duke, North Carolina, Florida State, Virginia State
Big 12 (5) - Texas, Kansas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Kansas State
Big East ( - Pitt, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova, St. John's, Louisville, Syracuse, West Virginia, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Marquette
Big Ten (4) - Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois
Colonial (2) - George Mason, Old Dominion
Horizon (1) - Butler
MAAC (1) - Fairfield
Mountain West (3) - BYU, San Diego State, UNLV
Pac 10 (3) - Arizona, UCLA, Washington
Patriot (1) - Bucknell
SEC (4) - Florida, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee
West Coast (1) - St. Mary's
WAC (1) - Utah State
Single Bid Conferences (16) - Belmont (Atlantic Sun), UNC Asheville (Big South), Indiana State (Missouri Valley), Moorehead State (Ohio Valley), Big Sky, Big West, Conf USA, Ivy League, MAC, MEAC, Northeast, Southern, Southland, SWAC, Summit, Sun Belt

And the last eight who will get at large bids are...

61. Alabama (20-10) - #80 in the RPI hurts, as does a #125 SOS, but finishing second in the SEC will get them in.
62. Michigan State (17-13) - Tom Izzo gets the Spartans in the tournament because he is Tom Izzo. And guess what, I'm not picking against him in an opening round March Madness game no matter who they play. Just interesting that a 14-loss team is pretty much guaranteed to make the tournament due to Izzo's Spartans.
63. Georgia (20-10) - Same record as Alabama and just as many big wins: one vs. Kentucky. Top 40 RPI gets them in, especially if the voters like the Tide.
64. Richmond (24-7) - With a couple good outside shooters they're a solid team. I think they need to make it to the A-10 tournament finals to ensure their birth in the NCAA tournament.
65. UAB (22-7) - This is assuming that they do NOT win the Conference USA tournament, which I have UTEP winning. Top 30 RPI and top 80 SOS will get them in.
66. Penn State (16-13) - You knew it was coming. Three victories vs. top 25 teams and two "victories" at OSU and Purdue get them in the dance. State plays well against better opponents, and when there will be a bunch of weak four, five, and six seeds, Penn State is a team that nobody will want to see in their bracket.
67. Clemson (20-10) - Beating Virginia Tech puts Clemson in for now...Between Clemson, VT, and BC, it all depends on how things go down in the ACC tournament. No way will all three make it, and it's possible none will.
68. Michigan (19-12) - I honestly don't like this pick, but nobody can stop talking about the Wolverines. The voters put them in the last four. So here's my reasons why I don't think they deserve it: 0-7 vs. top 25 opponents. No big wins. A solid strength of schedule and decent record, but again, nothing spectacular.

First Four Out:
69. Boston College (19-11) - Only two games vs. top 25 teams, both losses. I honestly look at their schedule and can't see how this team deserves a spot.
70. Ivy Runner-up - Princeton (23-6) and Harvard (23-5) will most likely play in a one-game playoff (if Princeton beats Penn on Tuesday) to see who represents the Ivy League in the tournament. SOS is an issue for both teams, but both look good in the RPI with Harvard (35) having an edge over Princeton (51). The best bet of both teams making it is if Princeton beats Harvard in the championship.
71. Colorado (19-12) - They have three big wins vs. top 25 teams (Texas, K-State, Missouri), but a #76 RPI ranking and a #71 SOS hurts the Buffaloes here...
72. Wichita State (24-8) - The Shockers...shocking...loss to Indiana State keeps them out of the dance.  Their #58 RPI ranking gives them a shot, but their SOS is 108...ouch.

Others who still have a shot:  VCU, Colorado State, Baylor, UW Milwaukee, Nebraska, Coastal Carolina, UTEP, Washington State, Missouri State, Gonzaga, Southern Miss, Duquesne.

Well there you have it. Unlike other bracketologists who don't want to be critiqued, I ask you all to PLEASE give feedback on this field, and give your own opinions to what the road to the final four will look like. The best comments will be featured as always in our next podcast. We plan on giving a final prediction to what the brackets will look like, and then once the brackets are announced we intend to give you a run-through of what our brackets look like.

Speaking of which, KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN here in the next couple of days for the 360 SPORTS NETWORK BRACKET CHALLENGE. Show everybody that you know college hoops the best! More details to come shortly!  And now, I bid you a good night, and enjoy Championship Week!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The big 3 or the big bust

I know, i know they have a winning record but Miami has now lost four in a row and five of its past six games, and the Heat continue to struggle against quality opponents. Coach Erik Spoelstra said players were crying in the locker room after the game, and the panic alarm has become a screaming siren.

Lebron and the Heat as the nWo

Miami is now 1-9 against the top five teams in the NBA (San Antonio, Dallas, Boston, Chicago and the Lakers), but more importantly the Heat are 0-6 against Boston and Chicago, the top contenders in the East.

So much for an all star team. As far as crying in the locker room (girls do it) but does anyone think it wasn't lebron james? I mean the guy leaves Cleveland becomes a villain, not just to Ohio but all of the country and now his team is collapsing.  Lebron was beloved and a hero, now he aint nothing but a zero.  Do i blame him for leaving Cleveland? No. He can do what he wants to do but he did treat that city like crap in July when he made THE DECISION. Michael Jordan said it best when he said he tried to beat the best NBA players, not join them.  Lebron owes a lot to the city of Cleveland, and now im beginning to think he knows how good he had it......

Pitt Panthers Basketball: 2011 Big East Champions

Pitt is the champions of the best conference in college basketball. That says a lot. This decade Pitt has won multiple Big East regular season champions and tournament championships. I believe the two main reasons Pitt has been able to transform into a National power these past ten years is 1.) Ben Howland and Jamie Dixon being brought in from Northern Arizona and 2.) the Construction of the Peterson Events Center. Without two brilliant head coaches and a state of the art facility to play and sell out games in, the Panthers would still be balling in the 6,000 seat gym known as the Fitzgerald Field House. Pitt's next step as a program is to get over the hump in the march madness tournament and make the Final Four. Last step is to win the National Championship. Regardless of what happens later this march (and believe me anything could happen), Pitt fans should enjoy and feel proud of how far the program has come.


Friday, March 4, 2011

A few quick things

-Bruce "Almighty" Arians, who's contract expired after the season, will be brought back for at least 1 more season. I know most steelers fans don't like him and they are not happy that he is coming back, but honestly i don't see why he gathers as much heat as he does from steelers nation. In 2008 the steelers won the super bowl with him running the offense and this year they made it. Yes i know they lost but 2 Super Bowls  trips in 3 years and winning one is not that bad. So steelers nation, chill.

-Hines Ward is as another steeler that is gathering unfair criticism. How in the world do people have a problem with him going on Dancing With the Stars????   He just lost the superbowl and now for potentially the next two years fans expect him just to sit back and do nothing except anything football related. That is just stupid. He said on the Mike and Mike in the morning show that he is still really devastated and depressed over the loss and that winning the Mirror Ball Trophy will help him get over it (whatever works i guess..). So lets just layoff the guy for a bit.

-The penguins have not won a game in regulation in literally a month, so it may be time to change that with the caps only 1 point behind them for 4rth place in the conference playoff face.

-The CBA deadline has been extended for 7 days. Whoopee do. Talks actually wont begin till Monday so they only get 5 days of negotiating. Im a little bit more optimistic but i still think a deal wont get done by next Friday. I can see this deal not getting done for another month or so. I hope i am way off on this but either way i expect to see football next season.

-Pitt basketball clinched the big east regular season championship Wednesday with a win over South Florida; however, if Pitt loses tomorrow  against nova then Notre Dame can tie Pitt for the championship if they beat Uconn tomorrow.

 -A six-month investigation by Sports Illustrated and CBS News found that Pitt football had more players in trouble with the law (22) last year than any other school among the magazine's 2010 preseason top 25........... Hey at least its a #1 ranking.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

NFL Collective Bargaining DISagreement

Check out our latest podcast where we discuss everything with the NFL CBA troubles in their latest podcast. Are the players right? Are the owners right? Will the fans get football next year? We'll answer these questions and also talk about coaching issues at the elementary school level spanning from Greg's "Coach Like a Champion" article.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The AFC North- Prelude to the Draft...

Well... here we are again, less than two months away from the NFL Draft. Hopefully there will be an agreement between the owners and the players so we have something to look forward to besides watching the Pirates steep in their ineptitude... but I digress..

Here is a brief summary of what I believe are the true needs of the AFC North.

The Cleveland Browns:
Cleveland is an enigmatic team. They seem to put all the pieces together on paper, but cannot ever make it happen on the field. Cleveland took tremendous steps in the right direction however by hiring Mike Holmgren. If anyone can save this franchise, it is Holmgren. It seems that Holmgren and company have a good quarterback. Colt McCoy has shown signs of great promise. However, he needs receivers in the worst way. Additionally, he needs to establish a running game. So- I believe Cleveland will go after some speedy wide receivers and power backs. Additionally- Cleveland needs to upgrade their defense as well. They do not have a bona fide pass rusher. So, I look for the Brownies to pick up a defensive lineman or two.

The Cincinnati Bengals:
The Bengals are a troubled group. Carson Palmer wants out, Chad Johnson (Ocho Stinko) wants the world, and Terrell Owens is probably the most talented head case in
professional football. The Bengals laid an egg last year. This egg was caused by the lack of a running game and inconsistency on the part of Carson Palmer. If Carson gets his way and leaves the organization, look for the Bengals to go after a quarterback in free agency and clean house with the receiving corps. I look for the Bengals to draft speedy receivers and also go after a speedy running back. Defensively- the Bengals are pretty solid- it is the offense that needs re-tooling.

The Baltimore Ravens:
Much can be said about Coach Harbaugh. Since Harbaugh has joined the Ravens, the team has bec
ome quite solid and has adopted a can-do attitude. Harbaugh is a true master motivator who gets the most out of his players. However, there is not much left in the tank for Harbaugh to work with regarding the Raven Defense. Ray Lewis has lost a step. Ed Reed is starting to show his age. Wear and tear issues are showing up regularly with this team. Additionally, Todd Heap, their sage Tight End is showing signs of fraying. Look for Baltimore to draft linebackers and corners to solidify their once dominate defense. Also- look for Baltimore to go after a durable tight end to add to their arsenal of receivers for Joe Flacco.

The Pittsburgh Steelers:
I love this team. But, this team also has issues. The offensive line was truly offensive all season. It had more patches than my Great Grandmother's Patchwork Quilt! Pittsburgh needs offensive linemen if Big Ben is going to save his brain from another concussion. I look for the Steelers to use their first three draft picks on the offensive line. Also, Troy Polamalu is starting to show signs of decline. Pittsburgh needs to look for another cornerback in this draft. If the Steelers can address these issues, there is every reason to believe that they will win the AFC North.