Archive for March, 2008

Why Siena’s got a Puncher’s Chance

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

With a respectable 13th seed for a MAAC team, Siena College is pitted against Vanderbilt for a first round match up on Friday.

Of course they’re not supposed to win, and as of now they are a seven point underdog.

But they’re a 13-seed; and sometimes you have to pick one of those weird upsets, right? Since 1985, of the 92 4-against-13 games, 18 of those games have been won by the 13. Twenty percent shot.

Luck aside, Siena’s actually got a decent shot with their speed and ability to convert turnovers into fast break points. If it turns into a running match, I think they’ve got the speed.

And when it comes having a smaller team beat one of the big guys; the “great equalizer” can make a difference.  Maybe Vandy doesn’t have a great night behind the arc while Siena’s drilling them all night.  And yes, there’s going to be a lot of maybes, but that’s how it’s got to be in order for this thing to down.

Sure Vandy is a much better team. Better athletes, better conference, better competition. But their record doesn’t really impress me all that much. Out of conference, they were 15-0 (very good) against some decent teams, and only three away games (plus two neutral-site games).  They never play on the road. And when they do, it’s not that good at 2-6 in conference.

And there are some people out there that seem to like this upset as well: Joe Lunardi of ESPN, and Seth Davis for SI and Clark Kellogg of CBS Sports.

All those reasons, and I’m just a homer.

And I’m hoping that Phil’s Mom picks them; I mean, she’s got to right?  And sure enough, she has them losing in the Elite 8 to Gonzaga.

Houston’s Fair-Weller Fans?

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

I was watching the end of the Celtics-Rockets game last night, and somewhere around the middle of the fourth quarter, TNT had one of those shots where they show most of the court and a lot of the stands as well.

And it was mostly empty seats.

For a night that started off with the largest attendance for a Rockets game at the Toyota Center (18,525), they sure seemed to not care about their team that much.

I get the fact that it was late on a Monday night, and that their team was getting drummed in the third quarter, making the fourth almost pointless. And sure, the shot was of the lower level seats, where the, umm, the pay-more-care-less ticket owners sit.

But still. Their team has just had a winning streak of historical proportions at 22 straight. Historical. Only one other team in the history of the NBA went longer.

And they couldn’t even stay till the end to cheer for that; to give the team that they’re fanatical about the “thank you” for putting on one of the greatest runs in the sport.  Yikes.

Siena on ESPN.com

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Siena on ESPN.com

In the department of “things that only a few people will think it’s cool, but I’m one of them,” I noticed that my alma mater had it’s own tab on the “spotlight” on ESPN.com’s Champ Week page.

Sure, it’ll probably last for an hour or so, and there probably isn’t anyone else besides the alumni of Siena College who would click through to read the story about Tay Fisher. But, man, it’s still kind of cool to me.

Moss back for three more; Where’s the Def?

Friday, March 7th, 2008

So, apparently Randy Moss is good to go for the New England Patriots for three more years (for a lot of money, about $27M).

This is good.

Now, will the Pats get the defense in order?

The teams that actually won when they got to the Super Bowls were based on defense, and had “serviceable” offenses. [Though, they lost 14-17 with an “electric offense” and a “slow” defense, and won 20-17, 32-29 and 24-21 the other way around.]

But that side note aside, I think it’s fair to say that they offense is still in good working order. While it didn’t win them the big one, they were good enough for 18 other ones and get there. Tom Brady is still under center, with Moss, Wes Welker, Jabar Gaffney (a very good #3) as receivers, as well as Ben Watson as the tight end. And Lawrence Maroney and Sammy Morris as a very good 1-2 running back combination, with Kevin Faulk as that “whatever you need him to be” option. The front line was great all year, except for that last game where Brady spent half the game getting crushed.

The defense, on the other hand, seems to be going in the other direction and it isn’t getting any younger.  And with Rosevelt Colvin, Asante Samuel and Randal Gay gone, I think there’s going to be a lot of interesting moves to try to get back to that defensively-winning ways.

Some decent signs: Brandon Merriweather seemed to get better as the year went on (there is one play where if he stepped up on that final drive, things might have gone differently, but I have to digress). Rodney Harrison and Ellis Hobbs are still around. Adalius Thomas will be there for a while, as well as that front three of Seymour, Wilfork and Warren, with Jarvis Green looking solid as well.

Then there are the linebackers. Seau is probably gone, Bruschi and Vrabel are another year older, and where do you go from there?  Zach Thomas didn’t want to join them (which actually surprised me a bit).

And what is the secondary going to be like with the new additions of Jason WebsterLewis Sanders and Tank Williams?

I don’t know.  In Belichick and Pioli we trust, right?