Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Fever = Mallards Fever!

As the temperature increases, I can't help but think of the sweet game of baseball. While the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament dwindles down and the NBA playoffs approach, I realize every year why Opening Day of the MLB season tops off the best sports time of the year! This year is even more special as I begin my PR internship with the Mallards, a summer-collegiate league team located here in Madison. I hope to see all of you at the Duck Pond this year for a lot of fun! Just because I want everyone to get excited about baseball and the Mallards like I have, I'll provide links to a couple of features I put togther in the last couple of weeks:

Mallards Alumni Update: http://www.mallardsbaseball.com/alumni-update.html

Mallards Spring Update: http://www.mallardsbaseball.com/mallards-spring-update-bruno-making-most-of-limited-playing-time.html

Additionally, don't forget to vote for the Madison Mallards in the Mad Love Championship put on by dane101.com, a blog dedicated to the Madison area. The Mallards are taking on the Arboretum, and I know in the summer, I would rather watch baseball than the beautiful trees anyday!

For you streakers out there, I kind of slacked on the previews this month and perhaps that could explain the dismal month of picks for everyone. Don't worry, the next two months will bring on baseball match-ups and one of my favorites, the NBA playoffs! I think someone in our "Madison Streakers" group could win the $100,000 in April or May, we have the talent to do it!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lesson Learned: Don't Disregard Teams Because of Their Conference!

As I watch the Washington Huskies dominate the Lobos of New Mexico (currently up 44-32 at the half), I was reminded how the NCAA Tournament teaches you an important lesson about college basketball every year. I believe this year's lesson deals with the perception of a conference in a down year. Coming into the tournament, almost no one was willing to give California or Washington a chance because they hail from the god-awful Pac-10. However, California and Washington pulled off two first-round wins against the Big East's (arguably the best conference) Marquette and Louisville. Yes, I know, these are not the greatest Big East teams, but how do you explain the Georgetown and Villanova losses? I think every team must be looked at very carefully when filling out your brackets, an emphasis should be put on the conference the team comes from, but not a heavy emphasis. Let's look at the non-conference schedules of these two Pac-10 teams and forget about Pac-10 play for now:

Washington - Wins over Montana and Texas A&M (both tournament teams). Losses at Texas Tech (not an easy place to play) and vs. Georgetown (very strong team at that point in the season and a top-tier Big East team)

California - Wins over Murray St. and UC-Santa Barbara (both tournament teams, we know that Murray St. team wasn't an easy win). Losses vs. Syracuse (#1 seed in tourney), vs. Ohio St. (#2 seed in tourney), vs. New Mexico (#3 in tourney) and vs. Kansas (#1 seed in tourney)

After looking at these non-conference profiles, I think many would have changed their minds about Washington and California, not only did they already play some formidable opponents, they are very talented teams that have what it takes to take on the big boys from the best conferences. It's not Washington and California's fault that the Pac-10 was downright terrible this year. You might ask why they lost to some of these bad teams in the Pac-10 and the answer is simple, anyone can beat anyone in conference games. This happens because the players and coaches are so familiar with one another due to their multiple matchups every year. Moreover, California (regular season Pac-10 champions) and Washington (Pac-10 tourney winners) were pretty good in the Pac-10 anyways. The same logic can be applied to a mid-major conference like the Missouri Valley Conference (Northern Iowa anyone?), thus when you see a power conference having a down-year in the future, don't necessarily get down on the teams that do make the tourney, I know I won't!

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Little Horizon League Tournament!

1.) NCB 5:00 PM Detroit Titans (19-13) vs. UW-Green Bay Phoenix (21-11) in Indianapolis
Shout-out to Nick Schmitt, a co-host on my radio show The 6th Quarter, he says the Phoenix are a team to watch in the Horizon, granted he's from the Green Bay area and may have a hometown bias, lets give the match up a little analysis anyways! The Detroit Titans are a hot team of late, winning their last four of the season, however they lost both match ups with Green Bay this year by only two points in each game. UW-Green Bay hasn't looked too bad finishing their season either, ending with six wins in their last eight. I'm assuming the Streak-Master is expecting a upset, seeing the Phoenix come in as the #3 seed in the Horizon League Tournament behind Wright State and an amazing Butler squad ranked #11 in the national rankings, while Detroit is the #7 seed in a conference containing only ten teams. I know it's tourney time and anything can happen, but I don't see UW-Green Bay dropping this game, better luck next year Titans!

2.) NCB 7:20 PM Cleveland State Vikings (16-16) vs. UW-Milwaukee Panthers (19-13) in Indianapolis
This game marks the interesting #4/#5 match up between a Panthers squad lead by senior guard Rickey Franklin and a Vikings team who has been very streaky on the year. The teams stack up fairly evenly on the stat sheet and split the season series by winning each of their respective home games against each other. Unlike the game above, this one could be a toss-up, kind of ironic how both Horizon Wisconsin teams show up on the streak, unfortunately I'm not confident they both make it to see another day. Stay away from this one with any kind of sizable streak, probably will go down to the wire!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Teriffic Tuesday On The Streak!!!!

1.) SOCCER (French Ligue 2) 1:00 PM Sedan @ Arles (What time will the first goal be scored?)
The streak-master has to love these match-ups because they are completely random. Who knows when the first goal will be scored? 31st minute or earlier and 32nd minute or later are the choices, a coin-flip in my mind. I would stay away from these picks with any kind of significant streak unless you feel luck is on your side. Majority of early streakers seem to favor an earlier goal!

2.) NCB 6:00 PM #9 Villanova Wildcats (23-5) @ Cincinatti Bearcats (16-12)
I wonder who the majority will pick in this one? This seems like a lock for the Wildcats who are lead by senior guard Scottie Reynolds (averages 18.9 points and has been playing forever, I think he's like 40 years old), however Villanova has struggled on the road lately with losses at Pittsburgh and Syracuse and the Cincinnati Bearcats are a bubble team looking for some more signature wins (four wins vs. RPI top 50 and a Strength of Schedule (SOS)=17). Both of these teams struggle to rebound the ball, so it should be very interesting on the boards, the winner of this game will be the team who can shoot a much better percentage from the field. I do think Cincinnati has a chance in this game at home, but I think Villanova is tired of losing and will pull it out, they are better than they've looked lately. The streak-master is getting ahead of his self on this one, no upset here!

3.) NCB 8:05 PM (Illinois @ Ohio State) What will be the Game Result?
Here's one of those awesome props asking if the favored team will win by double digits or not. The match up also gives me another opportunity for me to flaunt my Big Ten basketball knowledge. With the injury to Purdue's Robbie Hummel, I believe Ohio State became the best team in the Big Ten. They have Player of the Year candidate Evan Turner and some other great players in their starting five, however the lineup drops off a lot after those starting five, the Buckeyes lack depth and any kind of significant bench game. A picture of Illinois can be found in the dictionary next to bubble team, they need this road win more than anyone in the country. Back on February 14th at Illinois, the Buckeyes dominated the Fighting Illini with a 72-53 win and are coming off another dominating performance against Michigan (66-55 win). On the other side, Illinois is coming off an embarrassing loss to Minnesota at home by the score of 62-60. I expect the Buckeyes to end their season on a high note by winning big at home!

Streaker of the Day: Jon Bohn (3-0) Current Streak: W3
What a day for the mathematics major who hails from Milwaukee, WI! Jon decided to start out his day streaking with a win from Fortuna Dusseldorf and proceeded to go with the red-hot Dallas Mavericks! The Mavericks have won eight straight and helped propel Jon-boy to the top of the standings. He ended his perfect day on the Kaveman Chris Kaman of the Los Angeles Clippers. Kaman went for 10 points and 8 rebounds in the first half to outduel Jazz's Deron William's 8 assists and 2 points. Streak-master tricked many on that last one, but not Jon Bohn, good luck tomorrow buddy!

March Is Upon Us!!!!

Buckle up and get ready for a wild month on streak for cash. Unfortunately no match-ups are posted tonight, thus I cannot preview any of them, but I'm sure the streak-master is busy at work for a great opening day! The guy pictured above is placing in some crazy poker tourneys these days, so I'm sure he's ready for a double-digit streak, good luck to Rory and everyone else!!!!