Archive for December, 2011

Bracketology: December 27th, 2011

Posted in College Basketball on December 27, 2011 by sammywestside

The college basketball landscape is changing, and changing for the better. This year we are seeing the most competitive pool of teams in recent memory. Many teams from lower conferences are emerging as contenders, or at least middle of the road teams, while the major conferences are suffering through a recession. This might finally be the year we see the most mid major teams out there in the tournament, but are any of them as good as Butler the last few years? Perhaps not, but this year’s NCAA tournament will be stocked with upsets and mid majors running into later rounds.

It’s too early in the season for me to go into a long rant about teams, but the debate looming later on in the season looks to be epic. Right now there are a lot of teams with RPI’s that are all over the place, for better or worse. This is usual for the early season, but its not that early anymore. Almost two months of basketball and the craziness is amazing. Teams like Murray State, Creighton, Southern Miss and St. Joseph’s will all be very interesting to follow because of how their season’s have unfolded. The non-conference success of many of these mid major’s is dependent upon them also continuing it into their own conferences. A few loses to halfway decent teams will do, but start blowing a bunch of games to crappy teams and what are we supposed to think? I love these mid majors, and really hope a team like Murray State runs the table, or other have great success in conference so that the committee will give them worthy seedings. No one in the country is unbeatable. It’s still early, but in the coming months expect me to really start diving into how I see these teams and the bracket.

I still put great thought into the seedings, but we’ll give more extensive analysis later on. Thanks for reading.

Right now lets take a look at how teams are faring and what the tournament might look like if it started today:

#1- Syracuse, Ohio State, Kentucky, UNC

#2- Duke, Louisville, Baylor, Missouri, UConn

#3- Wisconsin, Florida, Indiana, Georgetown

#4- Marquette, Creighton, Michigan, Murray State

#5- Kansas, UNLV, Virginia, Harvard

#6- Michigan State, Alabama, Kansas State, Gonzaga

#7- Alabama, Xavier, St. Louis, Stanford

#8- Northern Iowa, California, San Diego State, FSU

#9- Vanderbilt, Arizona, St. Joseph’s, Wichita State

#10- Illinois, Northwestern, West Virginia, Minnesota

#11- Memphis, Seton Hall, St. Mary’s, Iona

#12- Temple, Marshall, Indiana State, Texas A&M, NC State, Oklahoma

#13- Cleveland State, Long Beach State, Belmont, Southern Miss

#14- VCU, Charleston, Middle Tennessee State, Ohio

#15- Norfolk State, Coastal Carolina, Weber State, New Mexico State

#16- Maine, Mississippi Valley State, Wagner, Bucknell, Lamar, South Dakota State

Just outside the field:

Davidson, UW-Milwaukee, BYU, UCF, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, UMass, Dayton, New Mexico, Colorado State, LSU, Mississippi, Miami FL, Purdue, Iowa State, Providence, Cincinnati

By Conference:

Big Ten- 8

Big East- 8

Big 12- 6

ACC- 5

SEC- 5

A10- 4

MVC- 4

Pac 12- 3


MWC- 2 

WCC- 2

Knicks start 2012 Campaign on a Good Note

Posted in Knicks on December 26, 2011 by sammywestside

Melo was the man in the 4th quarter yesterday

Yesterday wasn’t pretty and wasn’t exactly a showing of a championship team, but the Knicks did something they haven’t done a lot of lately, beat the Celtics. The Knicks had lost a lot of openers in a row and finally overcame it, and their struggles with the Celtics. Take out the 3rd Quarter and the Knicks looked pretty good, especially on offense, but the issues on the defensive end continue.

The Knicks were completely clueless to stopping Rondo who was able to fly all over the floor with ease. They played off of him outside a lot because they didn’t fear his shot, but he still managed to penetrate too much. The Knicks new defensive presence Tyson Chandler was helpful down low, but the huge gaps in the defense were still too much for him to contain. I’m still going to wait and see how the Knicks fare against some other teams. Rondo is one of the more unique point guards in the league and he poses additional problems to the Knicks.

The Knicks leaned on Carmelo a lot down the stretch and some people are saying that the other Knicks will get upset. This is absurd. Melo was hot yesterday and carried us, maybe another day it will be Amare, or even another guy who has the hot hand. Lets not make too many impressions from one game. The Knicks won and that’s all that matters, they didn’t look bad, they didn’t look great. Let’s check back in a few weeks. For now the Knicks head out west for a three game trip, so lets see how they handle it.

Bowl Predictions Part 2

Posted in College Football on December 26, 2011 by sammywestside

In Jacksonville on January 2nd the Urban Meyer bowl will take place, how do Gator fans feel about him coming back to coaching?

Military Bowl- Air Force 38, Toledo 35

Two teams with conflicting styles, but both can move the ball and have trouble stopping it. Air Force should control the clock if they want to win this, but Toledo can score and score fast. This should be a shootout that goes either way, and it will come down to Toledo’s defense and whether or not it can stop Air Force’s option attack. I say probably not.

Holiday Bowl- Texas 17, California 14

Both teams are known to produce some impressive talent and are going through a tough year, but Texas’ defense has been pretty impressive throughout the year. California can score at times, but against this tough defense I figure Texas to have the upper hand.

Champs Sports Bowl- Florida State 24, Notre Dame 21

This is an intriguing game not because it features two powerhouse programs, but because it should be a close game. Florida State has been stronger all year on the defensive side, while Notre Dame has showed more life on offense. Florida State has a very poor running game, but if they can get it going at all, then they will be able to control this one. I expect the Noles to give enough problems to the Irish and pull this out in Orlando.

Alamo Bowl- Baylor 38, Washington 28

Led by Heisman winning quarterback Robert Griffin III, the Bears have had one of their best seasons in a long time. They are very scary on offense but have had trouble on defense. The Huskies also provide a strong offense but their defense is quite troublesome as well. This should be a higher scoring affair and I’ll take the better of the two offenses in Baylor to win this one.

Armed Forces Bowl- BYU 35, Tulsa 28

Tulsa and BYU both come into this game hot having won most of their games since early season falters. Tulsa might have a bit more offensive firepower, but the Cougars defense dwarfs the Golden Hurricanes. I expect a good game with some scoring, but look for the Cougars to win out on this one.

Pinstripe Bowl- Iowa State 24, Rutgers 21

On paper you’d think Rugters should win this one. They are playing in their backyard and have had a better season. Iowa State though has come on late in the season, showing some signs of a potent offense, and an improving defense. Rutgers could very well win this one, but I think the Cyclones come to New York and pull the upset.

Music City Bowl- Mississippi State 31, Wake Forest 17

The Bulldogs have had a disappointing season, but they still have some talent that should show in this one. Wake Forest has overachieved this season but started struggling down the stretch. The Deacons defense will have problems stopping Mississippi State and will fall in Nashville.

Insight Bowl- Oklahoma 31, Iowa 14

Oklahoma has fallen hard from their preseason #1 ranking and that can be solely blamed on their inconsistency, especially on defense. On week the Sooners look like world beaters, the next they lose to someone they have no business losing to. Iowa has been up and down, but those highs have been much lower. Iowa struggles to score at times and their offense doesn’t matchup well with Oklahoma.

Meineke Care Care Bowl of Texas- Texas A&M 34, Northwestern 28

Texas A&M has come just short of big wins many times this year with a prolific offense. The defensive struggles have been the downfall and should rear their head in this game too. Northwestern has been much better the second half of the season after a 2-5 start, but look for the Aggies to finally pull out a close one.

Sun Bowl- Utah 24, Georgia Tech 21

Georgia Tech is clearly the better team but they have one big problem, the triple option is a lot easier to stop when you have a month to prepare. The Yellow Jackets’ struggles in bowl games is no secret and I look for that to continue against an improving Utah team who came on late in the year.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl- UCLA 28, Illinois 21

Well these two teams are struggling and both fired their coaches after the season. UCLA’s project under ole Rick failed as he couldn’t figure out a way to win games, while Zooker lost six in a row to end the year after a surprising 6-0 start. UCLA isn’t playing well, but at least they aren’t in the full nose dive the Illini are in.

Liberty Bowl- Vanderbilt 27, Cincinnati 20

Call this an upset special. Vanderbilt has been impressive under first year coach Franklin and they are peaking at the right time. The program is on the rise and they are facing an overrated Cincinnati team from the Big East. Smells of upset to me.

Chick Fil A Bowl- Virginia 21, Auburn 20

Auburn comes in without their two coordinators and a struggling offense. Virginia has been a surprise in 2011 and bases their offense on pounding the ball on the ground. If the Cavs can get the running game going and stifle Auburn on the ground they will escape with a bit of a surprise in Atlanta.

Ticketcity Bowl- Penn State 31, Houston 28

With all the problems going on at Penn State it hasn’t been easy for them to focus on the field. Houston came up just shy of playing in a BCS game and will be out to prove they belonged. I think Penn State wins this one in a close matchup with Houston’s defense failing them again.

Gator Bowl- Florida 17, Ohio State 14

The Urban Meyer Bowl should be exciting this year, but he won’t be on the sidelines coaching the Buckeyes just yet. The Gators have been struggling all year on offense like Ohio State but look for the location advantage to put the Gators over the top in close low scoring affair.

Outback Bowl- Georgia 28, Michigan State 21

A couple of interesting teams this year, as the Bulldogs rattled off 10 in a row, and Michigan State looked like they could flirt with something better. The actuality of it is, they both might have had struggled with being overrated. Georgia won 10 games in a row but they did it against a surprisingly easy SEC schedule, then got trashed in the SEC Championship. Michigan State looked good against Wisconsin, but got blown out by Notre Dame and Nebraska, two teams overrated themselves this year. In the end Georgia wins this one, but Michigan State shows up better than last year’s debacle with Alabama

Capital One Bowl- South Carolina 20, Nebraska 13

South Carolina has struggled offensively much of the year, while Nebraska has been up and down on both sides of the ball. The Gamecocks will come out and pound the ball against a below average Nebraska D, but look out for Steve Spurrier’s terrible bowl record, this game could go south on the Cocks if they make some mistakes early and get down. Their passing game has problems, and if Nebraska can somehow get the ball downfield against the Gamecocks secondary they have a chance. I don’t see this happening though, and the Gamecocks will take this one in a low scoring battle.


It’s the First Game of the Season…Let’s All Relax

Posted in Knicks on December 26, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

There's 65 more games to need for this.

When Kevin Garnett missed the final shot yesterday, I was ecstatic. But then I quickly realized that it’s only the first game of the season. Now today I’m reading all of these articles about how the Celtics-Knicks is offically a rivalry, the Knicks are a contender, etc. Let’s all take a step back and take a deep breath. Last time I checked, the Celtics won all eight games against the Knicks last season including a four game sweep in the first round of the playoffs. But since the Knicks the won the first game of the season against Boston, the two teams are even? Absolutely not. Let’s also not forget that the Celtics didn’t even have Paul Pierce on the court yesterday. Calling the Knicks and Celtics a rivalry is like calling the Yankees and Red Sox a rivalry pre-2004. If one team dominates the other for decades, that’s not a rivalry. The only way the Knicks could make this a rivalry is if they beat the Celtics in the playoffs this year.

Melo Dropped 37 points in his Season Debut

Carmelo looked like a superstar yesterday. He and Amare seem to have much more chemistry on the court than last season. Even though Tyson Chandler’s physical presence down low made a difference, he’s got to play better than that. Brandon Bass manhandled him the entire second half. At one point midway through the fourth quarter, the Knicks had only six rebounds in the second half. This team won’t win too many games if Chandler doesn’t step up when it matters. Toney Douglas was a nice surprise yesterday as well. He did a great job handling the offense and I have full confidence he can run the point this season. Before his injury, rookie Iman Shumpert looked like he could be a guy this season as well. He played strong defense for most of the game while showing us he can shoot the ball well. Unfortunately, Shumpert will be out two to four weeks with a knee injury.

The Knicks head west to take on Golden State Wednesday night.

Glad That was Settled

Posted in Giants, Jets on December 25, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

Instead of talking trash all week, maybe Rex Ryan should've figured out a way to stop Jason Pierre-Paul

Could this be the day Rex Ryan will shut up for good? I mean how can anyone take Rex seriously from now on? All week he constantly preached on how the Jets were “the better New York team,” disrespected Tom Coughlin and guaranteed a victory (shocker). But after today’s game, we can now all enjoy a nice Christmas knowing this coach is completely full of shit. What’s Rex going to do now? Guarantee another Super Bowl? A playoff victory? Try and fight Brandon Jacobs? Who cares? The dude is all talk.

By no means did the Giants play well today. They could’ve won this game by forty points, but instead they kept the Jets in the game. This easily could’ve been a disaster. After the Jets fumbled on the Giants’ one yard line, the GMen had the ball with only eight minutes to go in the game up by six. Instead of taking some time off the clock and run the ball, they passed and threw a shitty interception. Are you freakn kidding me? Is Kevin Gilbride trying to lose his job? Pathetic.

Coming into this game, I felt that the Giants needed to execute three things to win. First, they had to put pressure on Sanchez. The secondary has been awful as of late, so the line needed to step up big. And all day, JPP and Tuck were in Sanchez’s grill. Plus the line ultimately ended the game with a Chris Canty safety in the final two minutes. Second, they had to establish the running game. The Giants ran the ball terribly in the first half, but made the right adjustments in the second. This allowed the GMen to control the game’s tempo. Gotta admit, tt was fun to watch Jacobs and Bradshaw run guys over again. It felt like it was 2007. Third, the Giants couldn’t beat themselves and turn the ball over. With the exception of the terrible fourth quarter interception, Eli and the offense kept the ball out of harms way.

Like Coughlin said, the Giants must put this game behind them and start preparing for the Cowboys immediately. It’s simple: win and you’re in. The Giants are lucky to be at 8-7 and control their own destiny. So here we go. The playoffs for the 2011 New York Giants begins next Sunday night.

Sweet handshake Rex. Class act.

HBO Does it Again with “24/7 Rangers-Flyers: Road to the Winter Classic”

Posted in Rangers, Shout Out of the Week on December 20, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

I know it premiered last Wednesday, but today I finally had the opportunity to watch this year’s first episode of HBO’s 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic. Once again, HBO has created another masterpiece. Last year’s Penguins-Capitals 24/7 was one of the best shows on television, so I had huge expectations for this year’s show. Even though I hate both of these teams, it’s great to watch how the two franchises go about their daily operations. Last year we saw how Dan Blyelsma and Bruce Boudreau communicated with their players and coaching staffs. Now we get to see how John Tortorella and Peter Laviolette work with theirs. I was surprised with the calmness of Rangers’ coach John Tortorella. I have a completely different respect for him knowing he’s not as much of a loose cannon. I had an image of Torts similar to Bruce Boudreau from last year – just dropping f-bombs everywhere. But Torts is more collected and the Rangers seem to respond well to him. Peter Laviolette seems to be more soft-spoken, but intense coach. I loved Laviolette when he was head coach of the Islanders from 2001-2003. He rejuvenated the Isles after the team suffered for eight straight years. So I’ll always have respect for the guy. Luckily for us, we have three more one-hour episodes of this phenomenal show. More to come on 24/7: Rangers/Flyers in the weeks ahead…

Here was the final scene of last year’s 24/7 – Penguins/Capitals:

College Bowl Predictions 2011-12 Part 1

Posted in College Football on December 16, 2011 by sammywestside

The Bowl Season starts off with a classic, the Potato Bowl in our favorite vacation destination Boise.

New Mexico Bowl: Temple 24, Wyoming 14

Both teams finished 8-4, but Temple’s defense will be the difference in this one as they will keep it a lower scoring game to their advantage.

Idaho Potato Bowl: Utah State 35, Ohio 31

Both teams have had impressive season’s, only losing some close games to good teams. The advantage in location I think will give the Aggies the slight edge in this one.

New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette 31, San Diego State 28

Both teams have been inconsistent all year showing flashes of being dangerous teams. Lafayette’s offense has been clicking lately and they can pull the upset with a clear advantage in Location.

St. Petersburg Bowl: FIU 27, Marshall 20

The Golden Panthers have had a breakout year and support a stronger defense than the Thundering Hurd. Along with a location advantage I see FIU winning this one.

Pointsettia Bowl: TCU 28, Louisiana Tech 21

The Horned Frogs are big favorites in this one, but Louisiana Tech has had a very impressive season. I think they keep it closer than people think, but in the end TCU takes this one.

Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State 42, Arizona State 24

The SunDevils have been awful over the second half of the season, but that is mostly attributed to their defense. The Broncos should be able to move the ball easily and win this one, but expect Arizona State to put up some points too.

Hawaii Bowl: Southern Miss 31, Nevada 20

Southern Miss made national headlines late in the year with their upset of Houston, but it was already a strong year for Larry Fedora’s squad. Unfortunately Fedora has left for UNC, and they must try to overcome an odd bowl location and team turnover to beat an under the radar Nevada squad. This game will be closer than it should, but Southern Miss comes out on top.

Independence Bowl: Missouri 24, UNC 14

Missouri was unable to get a big win this year, but they boast a strong group on both sides of the ball. UNC has struggled to stay consistent all season with the team also showing flashes but being unable to put it together. NFL talent is a plenty, but Missouri should be able to move the ball more effectively in this game and take this battle of 7 win squads.

Little Caesar’s Bowl: Purdue 31, Western Michigan 28

This matchup sounds like it should favor Purdue, but if you look closely this game is very tough to pick. Purdue got to 6 wins in a very unimpressive way, while Western Michigan has shown some firepower in the MAC this season. In the end I’ll take Purdue by a slim margin.

Belk Bowl: NC State 20, Louisville 17

These two teams have played very inconsistent football all year, so it is hard to say which team will show up in Charlotte. Both teams struggle to run the ball, while NC State has a better passing game, Louisville’s defense is probably a bit better. I’m not confident in it, but I’ll take the Wolfpack in a close low scoring battle.

They’re Back!!

Posted in Giants on December 12, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

With last night's performance, Jason PIerre-Paul proved he's one the best defensive players in the league

When the Giants were down by 12 with just under five minutes to go in the game, I gave up on this team. Dez Bryant had just walked into the end zone and all but ended Big Blue’s season. I believed this era of Giants football was over – let Coughlin retire, replace half the roster, get rid of Fewell, etc. Who knew that the Giants were about to pull off the most incredible comeback of the season?

In a season full of Eli Manning comebacks in the fourth quarter, this was by far the most epic. Every time Eli pulls off these heroic efforts late in the game, I always bring back his “elite” status. But after last night, who doesn’t believe this guy is one of the best? He has single-handedly kept the 2011 Giants season afloat. With last night’s performance, Eli has surpassed 4,000 passing yards for the third straight season. He has led six fourth quarter comebacks this year – the two best being in Foxboro and in Dallas. Obviously there are much better candidates for MVP this season (Rodgers, Brady, Brees), but Manning should definitely be considered a candidate.

For the third straight season, Eli Manning has thrown for over 4,000 yards

Now let’s shift our focus to last night’s player of the game – Jason Pierre-Paul. In a game where the secondary was better off on the sidelines, Paul single-handedly shut down the Cowboys in the fourth quarter. Of course, everyone will look at the blocked field goal as the play of the game. But what didn’t JPP do last night? Let’s see: a safety, a forced fumble, two sacks, and a key open-field tackle late in the game that saved the Giants’ season. Out of the Cowboys’ first eight drives, they didn’t score on two of them . Those two drives ended in a Pierre-Paul safety and a sack. I haven’t seen this kind of defensive performance since LT.

This week we can finally celebrate a Giants victory, the first since the epic battle in Foxboro. But this team still has a long way to go. The Giants can’t sleep on the Redskins. Even though the Skins’ record isn’t impressive, they played the Patriots very well yesterday. Plus, they defeated the GMen in the first week of the season. Game time is next Sunday at 1pm.

Knicks Get Defensive

Posted in Knicks on December 11, 2011 by sammywestside

Too bad our least favorite person, James Dolan, had to ruin this exciting moment for the Knicks

If the Knicks are going to next the step in 2012, then their sign and trade of Tyson Chandler is going to be the biggest part of it. Chandler is a league veteran known for size and defensive prowess. Last season he was a quiet contributor for the World Champion Mavericks, as he brought in nearly 10 rebounds a game. Expect Chandler to give the Knicks a double-double performance a lot this year with an increased role over last year. The Knicks now feature a front court of Chandler, Amare and Melo, that’s a lot of talent right there. The question now becomes how to the Knicks get the ball to these guys.

That question was given a partial answer yesterday when the Knicks picked up free agent point guard Mike Bibby. Once a key member of the Kings in the early 2000’s, Bibby now is more of a role player with experience. He spent last year as part of the Heat and contributed nicely at times. The question is where for not his style of game fits with the Knicks up-tempo offense? Bibby has been more of a score first 1-guard throughout his career but perhaps he can distribute the ball more now with his aging game. The Knicks now have Bibby and Toney Douglas to man the point, both solid players who can score, but perhaps not the best distributors. Only time will tell to see how they can mesh with the rest of the roster, particularly Amare and Melo.

Additionally the Knicks signed on their two draft picks Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrellson. Both were peculiar picks in the draft, and might not get a lot of playing time in their first season. If one of them emerges as a surprise it could help the Knicks establish some more depth. Additionally Jared Jefferies was re-signed and once again will torment Knick fans with his invisible play. Landry  Fields figures to start at the two guard, giving the Knicks a very big starting 5, but can Fields follow up his rookie campaign with another strong performance, or will he suffer the feared sophomore slump? Only a couple weeks remain before the season tips off, and Knicks fan should be enthusiastic about the upcoming campaign, but how good the Knicks will be remains to be seen.

Bracketology: December 2nd, 2011

Posted in College Basketball on December 2, 2011 by sammywestside

The start of the college basketball season has been quite exciting, as upsets having been taking place across the country. This year is setting up to be very strong for mid-majors, as many leagues could be getting multiple bids. So far teams like St. Louis, Harvard and Creighton have been pulling off early season upsets and have cracked the Top 25, while the nation’s best team fell to a UNLV team that many didn’t expect much from this season.

As we move into the second month of the season the brackets have changed quite a bit, but the sample size is still way too small for many teams. I might have overreacted to many outcomes so far, but they will easily be corrected by more competition over the next month. So here’s the seed list for now:

1 Seeds: Kentucky, Ohio State, Syracuse, UNC

2 Seeds: Duke, Louisville, Florida, UConn

3 Seeds: Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, Alabama

4 Seeds: Marquette, Xavier, Baylor, UNLV

5 Seeds: Michigan, Memphis, Georgetown, Pittsburgh

6 Seeds: Creighton, Gonzaga, Mississippi State, Purdue

7 Seeds: Harvard, Illinois, Florida State, California

8 Seeds: Northwestern, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Indiana

9 Seeds: St Louis, Arizona, Kansas State, Michigan State

10 Seeds: Northern Iowa, Iona, Temple, Washington

11 Seeds: Wichita State, San Diego State, Texas A&M, Belmont

12 Seeds: Minnesota, NC State, Miami FL, West Virginia/Washington

13 Seeds: Long Beach State, Murray State, Cleveland State, Oregon/Virginia

14 Seeds: Ohio, George Mason, Vermont, Charleston

15 Seeds: Weber State, Bucknell, Denver, New Mexico State

16 Seeds: Norfolk State, Alabama A&M, Wagner, Campbell, Lamar, North Dakota State

Teams close: Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Clemson, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Oregon, Oregon State, New Mexico, BYU, Indiana State, Illinois State, Marshall, Tulane

Bids by Conference:

Big Ten- 9

Big East- 6

ACC- 6

Big 12- 5

SEC- 5

Pac 12- 4

MVC- 3

A10- 3

MWC- 2