Monday, December 30, 2013

The pursuit of the rare perfect season in college basketball (27inarow.com)


Cleanthony early wichita state

Only eight teams in the history of NCAA Division College Basketball during the postseason era (since 1938) have went undefeated during the regular season and went on the win the National Title:

LIU Blackbirds (24-0 in 1939)
San Francisco Dons (29-0 in 1956)
North Carolina Tar Heels (32-0 in 1957)
UCLA Bruins (30-0 in 1964, 1967, 1972 and 1973)
Indiana Hoosiers (32-0 in 1976)

Sixteen other teams have went undefeated during the regular season, but either fell in the conference tournament, NCAA Tournament or were ineligible for postseason play. The last to do so was St. Joseph’s in 2004 who finished the regular season 27-0 and lost in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

As we embark on conference play in the 2013-14 season, it’s safe to say that it’s very rare to post the perfect season.

Here at 27inarow, we thought it would be a great idea to examine the seven remaining undefeated teams and their chances at pulling off an undefeated season or where they might lose.

We’ve put them in order from least to most likely to finish the season undefeated.

Continue reading the article by clicking here.

#19 Wisconsin Badgers vs. #9 South Carolina: brutally honest preview (thesportsbank.net)

Wisconsin Capital one bowl 2014

Both the Wisconsin Badgers and the South Carolina Gamecocks finished the 2013 college football season a loss away from probable BCS-Bowl births.

Instead they ended up in the Capital One Bowl which is basically a consolation bowl game for two of the best teams in the Big Ten and SEC conferences.

Forget about the non-BCS label and everyone wins when you consider how enticing a match-up between the Badgers and Gamecocks on New Year's Day is.

jadaveon clowney

South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2) Analysis: The Gamecocks regular season was marred by an unexpected loss at Tennessee. Other than that and a hiccup at Georgia, South Carolina has quite the resume with wins over six bowl teams. Two of their ten wins came at UCF and Missouri who are a combined 22-3 on the season.

The SEC's fourth 10-win team is fueled by a dominating defensive line featuring Kelcy Quarles and Jadaveon Clowney. Clowney has received a lot of bad press in 2013, but the Gamecocks still have the 13th best defense in the nation while allowing only 20 points per game. They've been particularly stout against the run, giving up 142.2 rushing yards per game which was the second least in the SEC this season.

Quarterback Conner Shaw has been resilient this season while playing through injuries and helping his team simply win games. Shaw has thrown only one interception compared to 21 touchdowns. South Carolina also has the luxury of a running back with 1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns (Mike Davis).

Wisconsin Badgers (9-3) Analysis: The Badgers didn't see nearly as tough a slate as South Carolina had, yet they still have wins over three bowl teams. Close losses at Arizona State and Ohio State prevented the Badgers from getting over the hump and becoming a national power in 2013. To make matters worse, a double-digit loss at home to Penn State wasn't the way Wisconsin wanted to end the season.

Wisconsin may have welcomed in a new coach this year, but they didn't shy away from their usual heavy run game as they broke school records with Melvin Gordon and James White. Gordon and White both eclipsed 1,300 yards on the season. It's not like the Badgers never throw the ball though as wide receiver Jared Abbrederis went over 1,000 yards to make Wisconsin the only team in the nation with two 1,000 yard rushers and a 1,000 receiver.

No matter the result of this one, Badgers fans should lock this game in their memories as it will be the last time they see senior linebacker Chris Borland suit up in the red and white. Borland was named the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year and he has an impact on every game he plays in. Wisconsin will also receive a huge boost from the return of safety Michael Caputo who was a big reason behind the defense's poor play to close out the season.

Brutally Honest Prediction: Wisconsin 20 South Carolina 17
Both of these teams are BCS-bowl caliber and are for sure underrated in the Capital One Bowl. Take away the label and you have a legit match-up of two of the better teams in the nation. The reason the Badgers will edge out the Gamecocks is because there are few teams who can defend the potent run game of the Badgers. Wisconsin's exceptional offensive line should be able to pave enough room for Gordon and White to break free in this one.

TV Coverage: 12:06 PM CT ABC; Davae Pasch (play-by-play), Brian Griese (analyst) and Tom Luginbill (sidelines)

Betting Lines: Wisconsin favored by 1.5 points and the over/under set at 51 points.

2013 Record straight up: 10-2
2013 Record against the spread: 5-7
2013 Record in over/under: 8-3

*no over/under for Tennessee Tech game

Last pick redux: Picked Badgers to win 40-14 over Penn State (they actually lost 31-24). Missed straight up and against the spread (UW -24.0), but luckily hit the over (49.5).


Do you think the Badgers will close out the season with a win over South Carolina? Let me know by commenting below.

Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys sharing Fantasy Advice and pretends to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at grays@uwalumni.com.

*Pictures obtained from elevenwarriors.com and guardianlv.com.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears: brutally honest preview

Bears vs. Packers preview

It's the final week of the regular season and the winner of the NFC North comes down to the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears who have combined to lose 14 games this season.

The Packers are fresh off a disheartening loss at home to the stumbling Pittsburgh Steelers while the Bears are licking their wounds after a 54-11 shellacking courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Believe it or not, this is what sets up Championship Week from the cold confines of the upper Midwest.

Update: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers will make his return from a broken collarbone.

Continue reading the article by clicking here.

Badgers in the NFL: Bills' Kraig Urbik makes UW proud in week 16

kraig urbik

With the recent rise of the Wisconsin college football program the Badgers in the NFL have had a similar uptick.

More and more guys are beginning to have a splash in the league and the guys over at Pro Football Focus (PFF) have an eagle eye on each one of them.  If you're not familiar with PFF, you're living in the stone age of modern football analysis. Here at The Sports Bank, we're big supporters of what they do, so we've oriented our weekly check-up around what they're saying about Badgers in the NFL.

Badgers in the NFL for week 16 was all about the offensive line. The Buffalo Bills' Kraig Urbik was truly special in a dominating win over the Miami Dolphins.

Continue reading the article by clicking here.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: brutally honest preview

Matt Flynn vs. Cowboys

 In a stunning turn of events, the beat-up and battered Green Bay Packers somehow control their own destiny in the NFC Playoff picture.

To keep that destiny alive and set-up a possible de facto week 17 playoff game with the Chicago Bears, the Packers have to get through the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field.

Will back-up quarterback Matt Flynn and the Packers have enough in the tank to make a magical run or will the Steelers cause the season to come to a screeching halt?

Continue reading the article by clicking here.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Bowl Game Pick 'Em: The Writers Pick the Games (RotoWire)


Bowl season is upon us, so we polled our college football writers for their picks. Of the 35 bowls, just three provided consensus -- Arizona State, Arizona and Ball State.

A number of games were near consensus, however. Nick Grays is the only backer of Colorado State over Washington State (-3) in the New Mexico Bowl, while Chris Morgan was the lone voice to say East Carolina would not cover the 13-point spread against Ohio in Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl. Chris Bennet is only writer picking Miami over Louisville (-3) in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Continue reading the article by clicking here.

Wisconsin Badgers Melvin Gordon will return in 2014

melvin-gordon

Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon has decided to pass on the upcoming NFL Draft and return for his junior season.

Gordon is one of the most dynamic players in all of college football which makes him a hot candidate for the 2013 Heisman, the award given out to the nation's best player.

“After talking it over with my family and my coaches, I have decided to come back next year,” Gordon said. “I love the University of Wisconsin and feel that there is still a lot of room for growth. Academically, another year in school will help me get closer to completing my degree and on the field I hope to help my team get back the Big Ten championship."

Continue reading the article by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Badgers in the NFL: Cowboys Travis Frederick overlooked in week 15

Travis Frederick Shaves With 105.3 The Fan

With the recent rise of the Wisconsin college football program the Badgers in the NFL have had a similar uptick.

More and more guys are beginning to have a splash in the league and the guys over at Pro Football Focus (PFF) have an eagle eye on each one of them.  If you're not familiar with PFF, you're living in the stone age of modern football analysis. Here at The Sports Bank, we're big supporters of what they do, so we've oriented our weekly check-up around what they're saying about Badgers in the NFL.

The talk of the nation was the Dallas Cowboys collapse to the Green Bay Packers, but an overlooked storyline was the play of rookie center Travis Frederick and how he stood out among the Badgers in the NFL.

Continue reading the article by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Badgers in the NFL: Texans can't win, but J.J. Watt can

J.J. Watt vs. Jaguars

With the recent rise of the Wisconsin college football program the Badgers in the NFL have had a similar uptick.

More and more guys are beginning to have a splash in the league and the guys over at Pro Football Focus (PFF) have an eagle eye on each one of them.  If you're not familiar with PFF, you're living in the stone age of modern football analysis. Here at The Sports Bank, we're big supporters of what they do, so we've oriented our weekly check-up around what they're saying about Badgers in the NFL.

It's possible that the weekly Badgers in the NFL should be changed to J.J. Watt's weekly showcase. That's how dominant the Houston Texans' defensive lineman has been despite his team's NFL-worst 2-11 record.

Continue reading the article by clicking here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Marquette Golden Eagles at Wisconsin Badgers: brutally honest preview

marquette wisconsin basketball

Marquette vs. Wisconsin is one of the best non-conference rivalries in all of college basketball.  For the 119th time in program history, the Badgers and Golden Eagles will square off for in-state bragging rights.

Marquette has struggled a bit out of the gates this season with a 5-3 record but has won the past two meetings against Wisconsin.  Meanwhile, the 9-0 Badgers have one of the most impressive early season resumes having already beat St. John’s, Florida, St. LouisWest Virginia, and Virginia.

The Sports Bank’s resident Marquette expert David Kay and Wisconsin guru Nick Grays break down Saturday’s battle at the Kohl Center.

Continue reading the article by clicking here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Badgers in the NFL: Russell Wilson dazzles in primetime in week 13

Russell Wilson vs. Saints 2

With the recent rise of the Wisconsin college football program the Badgers in the NFL have had a similar uptick.

More and more guys are beginning to have a splash in the league and the guys over at Pro Football Focus (PFF) have an eagle eye on each one of them.  If you're not familiar with PFF, you're living in the stone age of modern football analysis. Here at The Sports Bank, we're big supporters of what they do, so we've oriented our weekly check-up around what they're saying about Badgers in the NFL.

This week's Badgers in the NFL is dominated by Russell Wilson who has the 11-1 Seahawks primed for a playoff run. Watch out for the Broncos' rookie Montee Ball who notched his first 100 yard game.

Continue reading the article by clicking here.