Monday, March 30, 2009
The Hot List:
1. Spring Practice Report
2. Final Four Preview
1. Spring practice continues this week as the team continues to work hard at living up to Pelini's perfect standards that he is demanding in practice. A few interesting articles crossed by way over the weekend...one was on the youthful LB core we have this season and another at the impressive builds of Nebraska's 2 RB of Helu and Castille. Nebraska finds itself in an interesting situation this fall, having a LB core be all freshman's and sophmore's. Nebraska hasn't started a group that young since 1997 when a 2 freshman and a sophmore stared at LB. The coaches express great confidence that who ever they decide to play will have the knowledge and the tools to be a great LB on the field. The only thing holding up guys like Fisher and Compton from getting on the field quicker is that they are young and still learning the system. I expect these guys to push some of the veterans for playing time, and guys like Phillip Dillard (who's in Eckler's doghouse) need to step up their game or they'll be seeing a lot of bench next fall. No matter how you look at it, if these guys take huge strides in developing themselves as everyday starters, the position of LB will be pretty deep at Nebraska for years to come.
Another article that drew my interest was about the RB's. Roy Helu has become an animal both on and off the field by adding nearly 10 pounds of muscle to boost him to 222. Castille has gone the other way, using the december bowl practices to boost his confidence and lose weight...he reported in at 235. These guys have done the off season things to become better players in the fall. I'm giving some credit to Dobson the strength coach, he's knowledge of how to get players to gain good healthy weight, and for guys to lose weight is incredible. Nebraska no doubt has the best 1-2 punch at RB next season. I'm stoked to see Helu and Castille run, because with their new body frames, you can expect them to be running over many people next fall. Look out Misery...our guys can't wait to run you over.
2. The Final Four is set with UConn, Michigan State, Villanova, and North Carolina making it in. How many did you have right? I admit I was 50% this year which is a step up from year's past. I still have Carolina and UConn in the finals with UConn taking it all. The matchup's could be the best in years as I feel we have 4 really solid teams, playing hot at the right time in the tournament. It'll be interesting to see how Carolina can slow down Villanova's guards. Duke was torched by the wildcats as they cut to the basket and dropped 3's like it was a full court pick up game. I expect with Carolina's talent to come with a way to play good D to stop them...should be a great game to watch. Michigan State surprises many and makes it back to the Final Four but the draw of playing UConn will be State's biggest test of the season. UConn has done a masterful job getting younger inexperience players to step up since they lost Jerome Dyson. This team hasn't lost a stride and looks like a team that can't be stopped. I expect State to keep it close as their big men will do some work on Thabeet. I don't expect their guards to be able to stop UConn's A.J Price and Kemba Walker. The most noticable is Walker who's flashes of raw speed have made him a matchup nightmare for teams...it'd be interesting to see how me matches up with Lawson should they make the finals.
Picks: North Carolina, UConn
National Champion: UConn
3. Interesting headline pops out at me today as Memphis coach John Calipari is now weighing the idea of taking the Kentucky postion. It'll be interesting to see if he really decides to leave and move to Kentucky as he clearly has built a powerhouse program at Memphis. No matter how much talent he loses from one team to the next, they always seem to reload and be just as good as they were the previous year. Next year should be no exception as he returns a more experienced point guard in Evans, and can look at better things to come from Sallie. I think he'll stay put, but as we've seen many many times, when big money schools come calling with big bucks it becomes hard for some guys to simply say "no" to big dollars and the rep that comes from being the "guy" at a program like Kentucky. We'll just have to wait and see what happens...........
Saturday, March 28, 2009
The Hot List:
1. Spring Practice
3. Husker Baseball Preview vs. Oklahoma
1. Spring Practice for Husker Football continues as we are now starting to see some interesting story lines develop out of practice. Announced today is that Tyler Wortman is staying on at Nebraska as a Student Coach. Wortman walked on at Nebraska and contributed last season when key players went down at LB. I think it's great to see a guy like Wortman come back and give his knowledge to help out the younger guys that are fighting for starting positions. Thanks Ty.
Marcus Mendoza is beginning to start to find his comfort being a WR. Mendoza has officially switched his position this spring to fight for a better chance at playing time. I think w/ his speed he'll be a great slot guy and be a match up nightmare for other teams. Think of him lining up with a LB trying to keep up with him? He'll quickly outrun him and get open, I'm hoping that he can grasp the knowledge it takes to be a good wide out at Nebraska. It'll be key for Mendoza to grasp it quickly to ensure himself ample playing time in the fall, and some well needed depth at WR this season.
Latravis Washington is bringing the heat this spring....at QB...the 6-3, 225 pound athlete has switched positions this spring to aid Nebraska's depth at QB. Green did take practice making some throws today, but the coaches are being very cautious as they want Green to develop and stay healthy. I think that Washington brings some interesting dynamics to the position. He's got great size at QB, and that allows him to be quick with delivering the ball. WR's at practice on Wednesday were stating that their fingers were sore from catching "fireballs" from Washington. It'll be interesting to see how he develops this spring.
2. Big New today as Kentucky has fired Billy Gillespie after just 2 seasons at Kentucky. There's a standard at Kentucky, make the NCAA tournament, win the SEC, and make final four's. I think its ludicrous that they would oust him after only just 2 seasons. Billy can flat out recruit, but making the NIT this year and not winning it pretty much doomed him from keeping his job. He'll be another head coach again somewhere, he's just too talented to not get hired. He was great at UTEP and Texas A&M. I'll be keeping my eyes open to see where he ends up. As for the Cats, they'll have a hard time finding a quality candidate as they have a hefty buy-out to fill for Gillespie...who'd want to coach there now???
3. Husker Baseball tries to re-write the ship from its dismal performances against Northern Colorado as they travel to Oklahoma tomorrow for a 3 game series. OU is the league's best hitting team which posses a huge problem for the Sker's and Nebraska's team ERA has ballooned to 5.34 as a staff, which is on pace to be the highest in a decade. Hauptman gets the start today with Roualdes coming on Sunday. No pitcher has been set for Monday, probably b/c we have no proven 3rd starter. Nebraska needs to grit down and get it together, this is really the worst time to be having rotations problems, as with the season trecking on every week, one problem can easily compile itself into a pretty big one. Nebraska's pitching concerns need a boost in the right direction this weekend, because if they get shelled again it could prove to be a very very long season for Nebraska.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The Hot List:
1. Spring Practice Preview: Offense
2. Preview of the Sweet 16
Ignition in 3.....2......1.......blast off
1. Spring practice preview continues today as we ask questions pertaining to the offense. How much confidence can Zac Lee show the team of his grasp of the offense and a leader in the huddle? How will Cody Green's injury affect his progress in spring practice? How will the WR's step up without Swift and Peterson? Can Nebraska develop more consistent play from it's OL? and How will Helu handle being the #1 back at Nebraska?
Lets dive into these questions: First, it will be very important to see if Zac can become a vocal leader of the team and realize the importance of taking this team to the next level. There's no question that last year Ganz was the leader, the commander, and the soul of the Husker Offense. I'm looking to see how he commands himself in the huddle and in the offense, as his development is vital to a successful season in the fall. I have no doubt he knows the x's and o's of the offense but does he know the philosophy about it to be successful....this we shall see.
Second, Cody Green took a huge hit as Pelini announced today that he has a minor hip injury that will keep him out of a few practices this spring. As an incoming freshman, it's already difficult to make name for yourself and practices are vital to growth. This puts him back a little bit, but I hope that he can step up his game and grasp as much of the offense as he can this spring. Zac Lee will be the starter in the fall.
There is no question, that in order for Nebraska to be successful next season, we'll have to be able to throw timely completions that have become a cornerstone of this offense. Zac may have the ability to get the ball out of his hand on time, but it takes his WR's making those timely receptions. The pressure is on Holt, and Niles Paul to show this spring they can be reliable WR's as Swift and Peterson were. I hope they can make huge strides toward this because at times last year they struggled to haul in timely receptions for the team. They have the experience and it's time to step up or sit the bench.
Roy Helu comes into a new lime light this spring...he's the #1 back. There is some lofty expectations that comes with being the #1 guy at RB for Nebraska, as I think Marlon took some heat for it and failed to show he could be an everyday productive back. I have no doubt that good good things are coming for Roy, at times last season he saw holes and ran with authority that it takes to be a Husker back. I'll be watching the times he gets the ball and how many touches he gets, as I feel Castille made the coaches eyes open more from his Gator Bowl performance.
Nebraska has a few new faces that will be making their first starts this spring. If Nebraska wants to be an offense that is hard to stop, the OL will need step and play more consistent against upper tier teams. In games Nebraska lost (OU, Missouri, VT) the OL was hammered by good DL play from their opponents. There's no question Suh is an all caliber Big 12 player this season, so the OL better get some good reps stopping a quality tackle to ready themselves for the fall. I'll be keeping my eye on how the new unit gels together as a unit of 5 guys working together is the best when you want to be successful.
2. The Sweet 16 continues on Friday with Arizona taking on Louisville, Gonzaga stacking up with UNC, Syracuse tangling with OU, and Kansas battling Michigan State. I think the most intriguing match up is Syracuse and OU. Syracuse has great guard play and Johnny Flynn has elevated his game in the tournament. If OU's guards continue their hot play they'll advance to face UNC on Sunday. I think the Cuse will give them all they can handle as faster teams have been able to blow by Griffin and get him into foul trouble. Should be good one. Picks Tomorrow.
Tomorrow: Spring Practice: Defense, headlines, Picks, Eye on Recruiting: WR's
Monday, March 23, 2009
The Hot List:
1. Husker Baseball Recap
2. NCAA Tournament
3. Spring Practice: Eye on the Coaches
Taking a turn and going for the gold.....
1. The Husker baseball team rebounded nicely last week splitting a pair of games with #16 Arkansas, then returned home to get a series victory over #11 Oklahoma State. Nebraska beat up OSU's All American pitchers of Andrew Oliver and Tyler Lyons, 11-4 and 12-4 respectively. Nebraska was unable to complete the sweep of OSU on Sunday as Tyler Blandford wiffed 11 K's at the Sker's and OSU escaped with a victory. Either way no matter how you look at it, it was a huge weekend for the Sker's. They showed that they can battle with the best of the Big 12 and slugged them out of two games. I don't think Oliver & Lyons are the best pitchers in the Big 12, but they are good. It'll be interesting to see what Nebraska can do against Kyle Gibson of Missouri, and Chance Ruffin of Texas in the next three weeks (Huskers take on Texas and Missouri after Oklahoma)...these two are the best in the Big 12 so far. Kyle Gibson is clearly pitching to be the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year.....take the confidence of beating a ranked opponent at home, gear up for 2 against Norther Colorado, and take all that confidence to Oklahoma this weekend and get a sweep. Nebraska finds itself in a 5-way tie for 3rd in the conference after KU swept Texas, Missouri took 2 of 3 from A&M, and Baylor took 2 of 3 from Texas Tech. Nebraska will need to sweep OU to begin to distance themselves into the upper half of the conference. Either way, the conference has some good teams from top to bottom. Preview of the series this weekend coming Thursday.
2. The NCAA tournament now has it's Sweet 16. How's your bracket look??? I'm surprised to still be in most of my office pools after the first weekend as I went and astounding 15-1 in the sweet 16. Only Texas not beating Duke was the only game I lost. I still have all my Elite 8 intacked. I'm stoked to possibly be in the running for some of the cash....Either way we have some huge games in store this Thursday as Villanova takes on Duke, Missouri goes to war w/ Memphis, Purdue tangles with UConn, Xavier does battle with Pittsburgh. Picks coming later in the week on Wednesday. The best game on paper is Nova/Duke. It'll be interesting to see how Duke can defend Nova's fast athletic guards who can run the floor and shot from anywhere on the court. Scottie Reynolds is a stud, who can create shots and knock down 3's from anywhere on the floor. If Duke can make timely 3's, as they did against Texas, they'll be tought to beat. All in all it should be a heck of a good game. More Preview tomorrow as we look at Friday's games.
3. Spring Practice starts up this week (Wednesday), and I've decided to spend a few days breaking down key position battles and asking some all important questions about spring practice that I'd like to see answered. Today's focus is on the Coaches. Can Bo Pelini install the next phase of his plan to bring Nebraska back to the top? Can Shawn Watson instill confidence in Cody Green to allow him to become a packaged backup to Zac Lee? How simplified is Marvin Sanders going to make the secondary? I think Bo is heading into one of his biggest spring's at Nebraska....he's bred a monster of excitement into the program, that when spreads gets everyone back on the Husker bandwagon. The real question is can he make strides this spring to continue the excitement he's already generated for the program. I think that'll be important to see as we get closer to the spring game. I think Bo will do a great job of getting his players focusedwhich I can only hope leads to W's this fall. Keep an eye on that. Also, how open is Cody Green going to be in the offense this season? There's no question that this kid has a ton of talent and virtually the sky's the limit with him...but will Shawn get the confidence in himself to package Cody on the field in certain formations. Also I'll be looking at how Green performs in camp and how he grasps the offense....
Marivn Sanders was mentioned early last week stating that this spring he's working extra hard to simplify things for his secondary. He wants them to react faster than they have been. I'll be keeping my eye on that, as I feel that we still have awfully big questions still answer with our secondary if we want to be a successful defense next season. We all know offenses in the Big 12 can throw the ball, I want to see these guys make some big strides to becoming a shut down defense and not just a one time big play defense as we mainly were at times last season.
Can't wait for it to get started....
Tomorrow: We'll preview Friday's games in the NCAA Tournament, take a look at the questions for the Husker Offense heading into spring practice, and the lovely headlines. Till tomorrow.....
Thursday, March 19, 2009
The Hot List:
1. Husker Baseball Recap/Preview
2. NCAA Tournament Focus: Memphis
3. Eye On Husker Recruiting: Quarterbacks
And were off........
1. Nebraska Baseball picked up a HUGE HUGE HUGE win last night against Arkansas by scoring 6 runs in the top of the 9th inning to pull out an amazing 7-4 win from the razorbacks. Van Horn expressed his displeasure in his bullpen falling apart in the ninth inning but credited Nebraska for fighting it out for the W. Nebraska's new strategy of having Mike Nesseth close out games worked as he notched his third W of the season. This win I think was really big because it gives Nebraska a big shot of confidence heading into it's home showdown with #19 OSU starting tomorrow. It would have been really difficult for Nebraska to have confidence in itself to win this series if they were riding a nice 3 game losing streak, but a come back slugfest win last night, and Nebraska has righted the ship a bit and has momentum for tomorrow's game. I think Nebraska can win and even sweep this weekend's series as Oklahoma State has an abismal 4-16 record in Lincoln since the formation of the big 12. It should be a great series...the rotation is this for the weekend: Hauptman, Roualdes, and Mariot....let's see if shaking things up will do some good.... As always: Go Sker's.
2. I just thought I would take a little bit of time to say "WOW Robert Sallie". Today for Memphis he posted 35 points. He was 10 of 15 from 3 point land....It just makes you wonder how many more W's would be under Nebraska's belt if he had actually been able to play at NU. I think we can look and count 4 maybe even 5 more W's for the Skers. That means Nebraska easily makes it into the big dance. I'll continue to root for him b/c he could of meant sooo much to a team in desperate need of a high profile recruit to be the show, it just never happened like we all wanted it too. Look for Doc to land somebody of this caliber in the next 3 to 4 years....it'll happen...just watch.
3. Eye on Husker recruiting continues today with a look at the Quarterback position. Nebraska is going to take a QB pretty much every year because Shawn Watson just loves to develop them..the problem is we'll continue to get guys like Patrick Witt that will leave the program because they won't get any playing time and could be 4 or 5 deep buried on the depth chart....Cody Green has the tools to be a stud and a redshirt season is unlikely with his talent. With thats said the Husker's will go after another QB, probably not as hard as they have in years past. Nebraska is keeping its eye on Austin Hinder, a 6-4, 177 pd. kid from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He's a 4-star kid if you believe in these ratings systems by rivals and scout.com and he is clearly one of the best pro-style prospects out on the market. As for speed and more balance as a dual-threat QB, Nebraska is after Blake Bell from Wichita, KS. He's 6-6, 210, with a 4.7 40 yard dash time. He's being recruited by everybody right now: Georgia, Miami, Oklahoma, Norte Dame, LSU just to name the big boys on his list. It'll be interesting to see if Nebraska can land this kid. I'm also keeping my eye on Robert Marve, the recently departed QB from Miami, who's now actively looking at Nebraska as an option to transfer. He'll be in attendance at the Spring Game to soak in the atmosphere. I dont know how I feel about having him on campus, he does have to sit a year and if he declares to attend Nebraska....Nebraska is out of the running for Hinder and Bell. I don't think he'll come all the way up north to the cold as he's a Miami boy. I still expect him to end up at South Florida, tearing it up when Matt Grouthie tenor is over after next season.
Spring Break has been fun so I'm out for the rest of the week to enjoy some sanity before classes get rolling Monday...we'll have lots to talk about then...TILL MONDAY.....hope your brackets aren't busted by then :) Skocz OuT
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Here's the hot list:
1. Recap of Husker Baseball
2. NIT preview
3. NCAA tournament preview
Lets get it done.....
1. It was a disappointing weekend for Husker Baseball as the team fell 1-2 in it's opening Big 12 series at Texas Tech. There was some positives over the weekend, as Nebraska produced runs this weekend. Nebraska pounded out 8 and 10 runs in both of their games on Saturday, but got clamped down by Tech's shaky bullpen to only muster 3 runs. The problem was the bullpen...Nebraska was trounced by Texas Tech and Nebraska twice had leads heading into the 6th inning and gave it away with big innings. This has lead to Mike Nesseth, the husker ace, heading to the bullpen for the rest of the season. I'm very nervous about this decision, but I do feel that Casey Hauptman is ready to get a shot as the ace of this staff. The rotation will most likely be Roualdes, Hauptman, and Mariot. Nebraska needs someone to step up their game badly or it'll be a long long season....."In Newmann I Trust"
2. The Nebraska Basketball team earned a postseason berth in the NIT. Nebraska earned a 6 seed and will face New Mexico on the road tonight. If Nebraska wins, a matchup w/ Norte Dame is most likely. I expect Nebraska to put it together tonight and get a well needed W to get to 19 wins on the season. If we play defense and make timely shots Nebraska can win a game at "the pit." I don't expect Nebraska to win at Norte Dame...that is an NCAA tournament team who got beat up in the Big East this year (yeh that conference who got 3 #1 seeds in the dance). If Nebraska has to travel there, Luke Harangody will make us look silly on his home court. It's been fun guys....till next season.
3. The NCAA tournament was revealed on Sunday and most of us have probably already started filling out our brackets. I have.....there were some snubs like St. Mary's and San Diego State that made the NIT that I felt were good enough to get into the big dance. Creighton was out, and I called it. Creighton learned the hard way.....make your non conference harder or you'll be out of the dance. I did feel that St. Mary's was by far the biggest snub.....if Patty Mills stays healthy all year, they easily make the dance and are probably a 7 or 8 seed. They'll be a tough opponent to play in the NIT....good teams in it.....I wont reveal my final four till Thursday.
4. Breaking headlines today was on the FSU academic scandal as the school as appealed the decision to revoke 14 wins from Bobby Bowden. Does being the all time winniest coach mean that much to you???...it must. I think FSU shouldn't get those win's back. This scandal probably has run real deep for a few years in football, you just got caught. Suspending players for 1 game (happened to be the bowl game) wasn't enough.....This cheating thing as we found out was HUGE and ran deep into other sports at the school. The wins should be wipped off the board, like OU's were for their scandal with the "fake" auto jobs. Tough break Bobby, retirement is looking kinda nice these days.
Friday, March 13, 2009
1. Championship Week Continues....
2. Preview of my #1 seeds for the NCAA tournament
3. Highlights of Husker Pro-Day
1. Well today is a bit short on the topics but lots and lots to say about Championship Week. One word describes last night's action...upsets. The upset bug bit hard last night taking down teams like UConn, Pitt, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Clemson. It just shows that you have to be ready to play these scrappy lower seeded teams or you'll get beat. The upsets last night have thrown a huge spin into who will covet those #1 seeds in the tourament. I'll tell you my 4 later. I was disappointed at how Oklahoma played in front of its 2nd home crowd in Oklahoma City and got ousted by OSU in the final 2 seconds of the game. It now leaves the Big 12 with only 1 top 4 seed still going...Missouri. I called KSU getting beat by Texas as Pittman has elevated his game to a whole new level in the tournament. I expect Kansas to get a 3 seed, Oklahoma a 2 seed, and Missouri a 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament as I dont think they'll beat OSU tonight.
Picks: OSU vs. Texas in the final w/ Texas earning the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
The Big East tournament was thrown around last night as we got a marathon 6 OT thriller and some buzzer beaters last night. I called it out that you needed to watch this tourney and man it hasn't let me down. I wasn't too hot in picks last night due to upsets and Nova getting a buzzer beater to scrap out a 2 pt. victory over Marquette. It now looks like the winner of West Virginia and Syracuse gets into the championship game...who would have thought. I expect the final 3 games of this tournament to be good games to watch...so tune in.
Picks: West Virginia vs. Louisville with the Cardinals winning the championship tomorrow.
The ACC tournament got started off like it always has...w/ upsets. The ACC tournament only saw 3 teams with higher seed win in the first round (VT, BC, and Maryland). I was very disappointed in Clemson who is a good team as the 5 seed, but didn't bring their "A" game last night against GT. The yellow jackets move on while the Tigers have to wait to Sunday to see where they will be going for post season play. I expect more upsets as I think VT will give North Carolina fits today (VT up 68-67 as I type). I expect some more wild finishes and possibly a champion no one saw coming.
Picks for the weekend: VT, Duke, Wake, FSU
Saturday: FSU, Duke
2. My number one seeds are in limbo now as 3 of my teams I thought could earn them all lost last night in first round games. I do feel that the best #1 team to get the #1 overall seed is Louisville. They are the outright regular season champions of the Big East and if they win the Big East tournament too, they'll no doubt be the #1 team. My next #1 is Pittsburgh. Another Big East team that has huge wins on the season (swept UConn) and lost only on the road to Louisville who finished higher in the standings than them. I expect them to be #2 in the #1 seeds. My third #1 team has to be UConn, I know its crazy to think that the Big East will get 3 teams as #1 seeds but you can't deny that they are good. They just wore out after 6 OT's against Syracuse. I think the committee will look at them as having done enough to earn a #1 seed. My fourth #1 is Memphis, yeh I know they really don't play anybody good, but these guys have only 3 losses on the year and if they win the C-USA title, with the other upsets ousting out other teams in the first round, it opens the door for them to take the 4th #1 seed.
The team with the most to prove now is North Carolina. They'll need to make the semi's if they want to take a #1 seed away from somebody. I'm not going to deny that winning the regular season ACC title isn't an accomplishment, but w/out Ty Lawson today they'll need to pull it together or they'll be a #2 seed somewhere next week. They are the only one now that can take a #1 seed away from somebody.....sorry KU and Oklahoma....you had your chance and blew it.
3. Nebraska completed its pro day yesterday with guys like Ganz, Potter, Slauson, Glenn, Swift, Lucky, Murtha, Lawson, Peterson, O'Leary, Teafatiller, Murillo, Barfield, Ty Steinkuhler, Tyler Wortman, Justin Baumgartner, Dan Titchener, Terrance Nunn, and Lance Brandenburgh all getting looks from pro scouts and workouts.. It's nice to see the huge turnout for the pro-day but the gems of this team heading into the draft is probably Lucky and Murtha. Marlon lit it up in the senior bowl earning team MVP while Lydon clocked the fastest 40 time for offensive tackles at the NFL Combine. I wouldn't be surprised to see Lydon drafted high in April as he is clearly on the rise among all offensive tackle prospects. Either way as we look back to what these guys meant to us, the team, and the program...we have to just admire all the bumps in the road they overcame and thank them for sticking it out and laying down a solid foundation for us to succeed on. THANKS GUYS you'll be missed but will succeed in future aspects of your lives.
That's it for the week, I'll return Monday. Here's what's in store next week:
-NCAA selection's, who's in and who's out
-Husker Baseball Recap
-NIT preview, who's in and who's out
-biggest match up's of both the NCAA Tournament and the NIT
Till next week.....SKOCZ OUT
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Here's the Agenda:
1. Nebraska Basketball/Big 12 tournament
3. Nebraska Baseball Preview against Texas Tech
4. Championship Week (Eyes on ACC and Big East)
Off we go......
1. I hate to be right but now for the fourth time a re-match against a regular season finale opponent, has now cost Nebraska a chance to move on in the tournament. It's embarrassing to think back to last Saturday and see Nebraska get a gutty 66-62 win on THE ROAD at Baylor, then come back 4 days later to just get man-handled by the Bears. You knew they were going to get out of their funk at some point, that funk that cost them to lose 10 out of their final 11 games to end the regular season. Baylor dominated the boards, and once again Nebraska's true colors showed up...going scoreless. Nebraska went 6:01 to start the second half without a bucket just being down only 3 at half. I'm sorry that just wont cut it, I expect the Huskers to make the NIT which would be a nice compliment to the overachieved season. Come on, own up, did you honestly think the smallest team in Division I would go .500 in the conference. I didn't and love seeing surprises. Nebraska won't get over the "hump" unless they find a way to stop losing against team they are better than, and start pulling those ooo so important upsets on the road......but the future does look bright....TO THE NIT!!!!!
I went 3-1 in picks in the first round of the big 12 tournament, as Texas Tech needed a 43 point effort from Singletary to pull a big upset of A&M. Either way 3-1 isn't bad, and we enter some interesting match ups today. I think if Baylor can play hot like they did yesterday they can give KU fits, but honestly KU has completely overachieved from a team that lost all 5 of it's starters a year ago. If they make the finals, I wouldn't expect anything less than a 3 seed for them in the Tournament. Here's todays picks: Kansas, Oklahoma, Missery, Texas
2. Breaking news today as the BCS bowl sites (Rose, Sugar, Orange, and Fiesta) all have inked contract extensions that will keep them as the host sites for the BCS Championship game till 2014. The rotation is this: Rose 2010, Fiesta 2011, Sugar 2012, Orange 2013, Rose 2014. I like that we are using these sites for the title game, but for those of you calling for a playoff for Division I (as I have for many years) we'll be on a backseat for awhile. ESPN just inked a deal for $125 million to broadcast the title game starting in 2011. HOORAY!!! I hate Fox's coverage of it, they just swooped in to get ratings. They could use better color and play by play analysts, then I might change my tune. We'll be in this system for awhile because an extension with the rotation can only mean the BCS will be inking an extension soon. When will people wise up and cut the season back to 11 games and muster in a playoff like Division I. Then all the complainers can can keep their mouth shut when they don't get the right for the title. Auburn getting snubbed for OU in 04 was RIDICULOUS!!! Since then, I have lost respect for the system, it just doesnt work, and if we had the "perfect system" why do we make corrections to it every year???
3. My attention turns away from March Madness to Husker Baseball this weekend as the Huskers (10-3-1) open Big 12 play at Texas Tech this Friday. Starting Pitchers have been named this weekend, Mike Nesseth, Jordan Roualdes, and Michael Mariot. Nesseth by far is the Ace of this staff blostering an impressive 1.71 ERA in 3 quality starts. I expect Nebraska to pound some hits on Texas Tech, as our young talent (i.e. Adam Bailey who leads the Big 12 in RBI's and HR's) have shown that they are not afraid of hitting the ball hard. Nebraska pounded out 40 runs on Cal State Northridge last weekend in a 4 game sweep at home. It's important for Nebraska to SWEEP this weekend, as we all know the Big 12 this season has 5 teams ranked in the top 25, and is probably the toughest conference in College Baseball. If you want to finish high in the Big 12, you have to sweep oponents that your better than, and Nebraska is clearly better than Texas Tech. I hope we can sweep to give the team a boost of confidence heading into a pair of games on the road at Arkansas (yes Van Horn's team) on Tuesday and Wednesday. After that they must get their big hats ready for OSU, who arguably has the best 1. 2. punch in starting pitching in the big 12 (aside from maybe Texas, but those guys are young).
Pick: Nebraska in 3 games of a sweep.
4. I want to state that I also went 3-1 last night in the Big East tournament as West Virginia was the only one to win, they were the higher seed and I thought Norte Dame was motivated to play its way off the bubble and into the tournament.....pssh yeh right. Norte Dame had one of its best teams this season and simply just couldnt hang with the big boys of the Big East, we'll see those guys in the NIT too. I'd love to play them but maybe not, as Nebraska can't match up with Luke Harangody. Yeh, he's that good....better than KU's Aldridge.
Big East Winners tonight: Louisville, Pitt, Marquette, and UConn.
Could have some MONSTER games tomorrow :)
The ACC tournament begins today with Virginia Tech taking on Miami, Clemson duking it out with Georgia Tech, Maryland playing NC State, and Boston College tangling with Virginia. Not a big slate of big name games but some bubble teams like VT, Miami, and Maryland all need to look good tonight with win's and probably win tomorrow to make the dance. First round bye's are North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, and Florida State. This will be a good one to watch heading into the weekend, as I feel 1 of 6 different teams could win this tournament. Keep your eyes out for upsets, as the ACC is notorious for them, and with Ty Lawson most likely out with a foot problem for North Carolina that could open the door for other's to knock them out and win it all.
Picks tonight: Miami, Clemson, NC State, BC
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Already things to talk about again today...as last night championship week deals a huge blow to the mid-majors on the bubble...let's talk about it today
1. Championship week continues as we get our first big upset this week with Cleveland State knocking off Butler last night 57-54. The Vikings earn the automatic bid given out from Horizon League last night now has huge implications on the bubble teams. First, Butler is going to get into the NCAA tournament, they have a solid RPI and how 8 wins over the RPI top 100. What this means now that Creighton most likely has all but been assured an NIT bid. It's rightfully so, Creighton's only decent win in it's resume is beating Dayton on the road..they have that lovely loss to Nebraska and got trounced by Illinois State in the semifinals of the MVC tournament. I think teams like Arizona, Rhode Island, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Maryland can all make better cases to get into the big dance then "d-bag U". Sorry guys, you learned the hard way, schedule harder games on the road if you want to be considered in the field of 64. See you b's in the NIT.
2. Things are getting interestingly tense in the land of the Denver Bronco's. Since my Chiefs went out and acquired Cassel, Denver need to resolve this situation with Jay Cutler. Sources have said that he is becoming increasingly unhappy and wants out of Denver via by a trade. The problem with this is that Denver really doesn’t have anything better to replace a rising stud in at quarterback. No question Cutler is a gem for them and if they don't find a way to keep him happy it could be long long long season for them. I hope they do trade him, because that is just one more team I don’t have to worry about beating up on my Chiefs. In reality, they'll keep him and force him to play like Chad Johnson had to do last season, because what makes the NFL go...money and if you threaten to with-hold it from a player...eventually he'll cave and play. Keep your eyes on that...should get more interesting before it's resolved.
3. The Big East tournament started last night and man a few HUGE upsets as Georgetown was beaten by St. John's and winless DePaul in the regular season upset Cincinnati. It just comes to show that if you don't bring your "A" game every night, somebody will come and beat you. This about ends the hopes of Georgetown and Cincinnati making the NCAA tournament. The match ups get even sweeter today as DePaul play Providence, Marquette plays St. John's, Norte Dame takes on West Virginia, and Seton Hall battles Syracuse. I've always enjoyed watching this tournament and with the Big East being the #1 conference this season I expect good games and some upsets...It'll be interesting to see who wins tonight and takes on the big dogs of Louisville, Pitt, Villanova, and UConn. Picks tonight: Providence, Marquette, The Cuse, Norte Dame
4. The big 12 tournament is under-way with Nebraska down 30-27 at half right now, I love how the team wiped a 10 point Baylor lead to 1 in about 30 seconds. If they can keep playing good D and get their close range shots to fall, they should be in good shape. They'll need to stop Baylor's big two from scoring easy open 3's. Picks tonight: Baylor, Texas, OSU, and Texas A&M. Sorry no love for the North teams tonight as a I feel Nebraska will lose close to Baylor, Colorado will get worked by Texas, A&M will dominate Tech, and OSU will easily handle ISU.
Matchups tomorrow (projecting): KU taking on Baylor, K-State battling Texas, Missouri vs. Texas A&M, and Oklahoma getting the Bedlam showdown with OSU. It should be interesting to see who win's the Big 12 tournament. Go Sker's in the second half.
5. Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal Star writes that Nebraska may have hinder it's national exposure by not airing it's Spring Game on April 18th. I disagree with that because anyone who is a Husker Fan knows that their is some huge buzz around the team and the program. 70,000 tickets have been sold already and I expect us to sell out our spring game. I like that we aren't showing the world we pack our house for the Spring Game, this will make recruits who are serious about our program actually want to come visit instead of just trying to catch it on the tube. The team will take next week off for Spring Break and start spring practice on March 23rd. I can't freaking wait to be breaking down practice daily. All in all I do feel that more people will go out and watch the game this year, and we all should go...I'll be there :)
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Here's the topic list today:
1. Eye on Recruiting: Running Backs
2. Big 12 Basketball Tournament
3. Recap on Conference Tournaments
4. Husker News
1. I'll be doing an eye on recruiting usually about once a week as I feel that some of us just can't stop talking about Husker Football 24/7. I'm one of those people. Let's look at running backs for next year:
Nebraska more than likely will be very very very picky this season in recruiting running backs. After signing 2 high caliber guys last season to go along with Helu, Castille, Mendoza, Watley, and another walk on...Nebraska will enter spring with 5 running backs on the roster with our 2 new signees coming onto the team in August. With that said look for Nebraska to go after high caliber players that most likely are being recruited by everybody across the country. One prospect that stands out at me is James Monico from Compton, CA. At 6-0, 188, and clocking 4.5 in the 40 he maybe a homerun threat that the Husker's need. Right now he is the only high caliber back (4+ stars likely) that is giving Nebraska a considerable look. I expect him to sign somewhere else, but the chances for him to come to Nebraska may dramitically increase after spring practice if guys decide to change positions like last spring (Cody Glenn going to LB). Either way I do feel that the 2010 recruiting class will be smaller than last year's, meaning Nebraska won't get any glamour in the ratings when it signs about 17-20 guys.
2. The big 12 basketball tournament gets underway tomorrow bright in early at 11:30 a.m. as Nebraska takes on a rematch against Baylor. Lee Barfknect of the Omaha World Herald writes in his weekly Big 12 Tuesday article that Nebraska may have the best draw out of all the teams in the tournament. If you think he's crazy take a look at how the set up works in Nebraska's favor for the tournament being in Oklahoma City....20 minutes from Oklahoma...If Nebraska can beat Baylor they get top seeded Kansas which nobody in Oklahoma City wants to win...sooo therefore Nebraska may have a nice crowd cheering for them. If they win that one, a rematch with Texas appears likely which everyone there hates hates hates the burnt orange...setting Nebraska up for a rematch with Oklahoma for the title...I think its a long shot but the way Nebraska plays defense and how wide open the conference was from 4 to 10 with 3 weeks left to go...anything can happen. I won't be getting that excited till Nebraska pulls the upset of KU...if they win tomorrow...emphasis on the "if"
3. Conference Tournaments are in full swing this week with the MAAC, SoCon, and West Coast handing out invites last night. I personally had to put a little note in this today as we just watch teams seeded most likely in the 11 to 16 seed range celebrate in the big dance. Do watch Siena, last night I told my roommate that they would win and cover the spread (-4) and they won by 7. Your welcome roomie, but Siena I feel could be the Davidson of last year that rode Steph Curry to the Elite 8. If you get into filling out your brackets and wanting to dominate your office pools, spend a little bit of time watching these games as teams like East Tennesse State, Gonzaga, Siena, Butler, and mysterious others could have your brackets bursting after opening week. I warned ya.
4. Husker News:
-Larry the Cable Guy will be having a concert live in Memorial Stadium on July 4th. Proceeds from his concert benefit the Git R Done foundation, which help children with hip dysplasia. How cool would it be to have 85, 000 at that. It would really put Nebraska on the map in showing pride in something else other than Husker sports.
-Nebraska has received a $10 million dollar donation to make improvements on the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The money was donated by Tom and Mary Hendricks. This money will now allow Nebraska to build a practice facility for it's basketball programs and improve the quality of the Bob. Love to see that their are Husker fans who want to give money back to the university to see our entire athletic program improve. I'm stoked to see what the initial plans will look like. This all but means now that if the city of Lincoln builds its arena as originally proposed, Nebraska will not be a part of it as it was before. I like the Bob...let's keep it around.
5. HEADLINES: Things are jumping out on the page today, Roger Clemens is in bigger trouble than I think he realizes now as reports have surfaced today that his trainer has documents that links his samples to steroids he took. Roger as we all know is continuing to deny these claims but if he did it I wouldn't be surprised. A-roid said that he got swept up in the age when stuff was just being passed from one guy to the next, as competitive as Clemens has been in his career I wouldn't be surprised if he wanted to get an edge as his body aged. He should own up to it before he becomes the next Barry Bonds, who most likely will get jail time for lying to Congress. Your real smart guys...real smart.
Had to make a quick comment on a College Football headline...apparently Lane Kiffin denys telling herald wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who committed and signed with South Carolina, that if he went to the Gamecocks he would spend the rest of his life pumping gas. I dunno if this is true but Kiffin is constantly stirring the pot with the SEC. I do give him balls for calling out Urban Meyer at Florida. Lane until you can prove you can handle it as a real coach, don't call out coaches who have rings, job security, and SEC championships when you have none of the above. I do like him creating fire in a program that reminds me a lot like Nebraska, but at least I dont talk unless I've got good back up to get the other person to put their foot in their mouth.
I'll be keeping my eyes on him...he's got 3 years to get it together...but his dad, Monte, will have the defense fierce next year.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Were going to get this baby started off right by going through some sports headlines today that are jumping out on the page as well as getting those o important thoughts on those headlines.
Here's what jumps out on the page today:
1) UNC become the new #1 in the USA/Today College Basketball poll
2) A-roid has his hip surgery, doc says "no surprises"
3) Angels Santana to start the '09 season on the DL.
4) FSU to vacate wins stemming from their cheating scandal in 2006.
5) Nebraska and Colorado to play on Friday after Thanksgiving in 2009.
1. UNC dominated Duke in the second half on Sunday beating the blue devils 79-71 in Chapel Hill and are this week's new #1 team. Looking at the recent track record of being #1, the Heel's will have the bull's eye on their back as they are the #1 seed in the ACC tournament this week. I expect UNC to win it, but wouldn't be surprised to see Wake Forest, Clemson, FSU, or Duke walk away with the title this week. oooh the joy's of championship week.
2. A roid/Arod opts to have his surgery which admitting publically about doing steroids is his second best decision. It does put some strain on the Yankees to replace his valuable bat while he sits for 6-10 weeks. I expect him to be out a lot longer than that, something about getting your hip operated on and having a torn labrium tells me it will take you longer to get back on the sattle. Keep him down in your fantasy baseball drafts as I expect him to struggle to produce big numbers as he has in year's past. He'll still choke in the playoffs.
3) Ervin Santana who had the best turn around for the Angles last season will be begin the season on the DL. Santana clearly was the ace of the staff last year posting great numbers that allowed him to ink a hefty extension to his contract. This has fantasy implications as he was a valuable weekly starter. Look for him to bounce back from his elbow injury but not be as productive as he was last season.
4) Finally its come on FSU...big time. The NCAA has placed FSU on 5 years probation as well as asking all sporting teams to vacate their wins from athletes who participated that were involved in the cheating scandal. I mean really are we surprised about how this all went down. I'm surprised that Bowden didn't know anything about this....I've always questioned how dumb-ball 5 star guys got their degrees from good universities. I think in the long run this will have a HUGE impact in College Football because it could be the last straw for Bowden to hang it up after this season. Keep your eyes now on Penn State. You know Joe-Pa was just coaching it out to keep the all time wins record away from Bowden. If Bowden walks after this season, I expect Joe-Pa to do the same. What else does he have to prove?
5) In HUSKER NEWS: Nebraska and Colorado will continue to play on the Friday after Thanksgiving. I hope this continues to keep happening for the Huskers. It's a great way to put the college on national TV, and honestly if CU wouldn't suck so bad the game might be fun to watch every now and then. I can't wait to see Hawkins put his foot in his mouth after he predicted that the Buffaloes would win 10 games in 2009. Get to a bowl game first, win it, then make bold predictions. Nebraska is the class of the North because I don't think KU has the defense it takes to win the North this year. The more Nebraska continues to rise, the lower programs like Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado are going to fall.
OH, nice to see the baseball team sweep a solid opponent in Cal State Northridge. There no Fullerton, but it was good to see that the young team is getting some solid at bats and producing runs. I expect them to sweep Texas Tech this weekend, but won't count that one till it happens.
The basketball team begins play on Wednesday against Baylor. I expect them to lose as rematches from the end of the regular season opponent to the tournament have usually been loses. Hello NIT.