The Confidential’s Tourney Contest: Standings Update

Here are the current standings for the Confidential’s Tourney Bracket Contest after 3 days of games (top 25 only):

Rank
Bracket
1
2
3
4
Semis
Finals
Bonus Pts
Total Pts
1
50
18
-
-
-
Kentucky
9
77
2
48
18
-
-
-
Kentucky
9
75
3
50
15
-
-
-
Wisconsin
9
74
4
50
15
-
-
-
Kentucky
6
71
5
48
12
-
-
-
Wisconsin
9
69
5
54
12
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
69
5
48
15
-
-
-
Kentucky
6
69
8
50
12
-
-
-
Baylor
6
68
8
44
15
-
-
-
Virginia
9
68
10
52
12
-
-
-
Virginia
3
67
10
46
12
-
-
-
Arizona
9
67
12
48
15
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
66
13
46
6
-
-
-
Kentucky
12
64
13
46
12
-
-
-
Kentucky
6
64
15
46
9
-
-
-
St. John’s
6
61
15
46
12
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
61
17
42
15
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
60
18
44
12
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
59
18
44
12
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
59
20
46
9
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
58
21
42
12
-
-
-
Villanova
3
57
22
38
12
-
-
-
Louisville
6
56
22
38
12
-
-
-
Duke
6
56
24
40
12
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
55
25
46
6
-
-
-
Villanova
-
52

Hurt So Good!

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Survive and advance……….

It seems simple, doesn’t it? In reality, nothing is more taxing than fighting to come out on the winning end of a nip and tuck NCAA Tournament game, especially one that goes to the wire. And taxing it was Friday afternoon for Louisville as the Cards found themselves in their own version of basketball taxation. It took everything that UofL had to ward off a valiant effort by the Anteaters of the Univ Cal-Irvine and advance into the field of 32. The game featured numerous lead changes and momentum swings and was capped off by a scramble on the floor as time expired. Card fans from all over could finally exhale.

In a game where only eight total free throws were attempted by both teams, there was a lot of physical play highlighted by the low post action involving UC-Irvine’s 7’6″ behemoth Mamadou Ndiaye. I have not seen a physical presence in the middle like Ndiaye since the days of watching former University of Kentucky center Shagari Alleyne. Ndiaye was literally unstoppable when he received the ball deep on the block and on offensive put backs. Louisville’s centers who both stand at 6’10” were dwarfed by Ndiaye and had to finally resort to doubling him in the post to slow down Irvine’s offense. The strategy appeared to work thankfully as Ndiaye became less effective late in the game and was scored on at the rim by Wayne Blackshear inside of a minute left to play.

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(this pic is not photoshopped)

Speaking of Wayne Blackshear, I couldn’t be more proud and happy for a kid who along with freshman Quentin Snider was the team’s MVP on Friday. Despite shooting for a modest average from the field, Wayne made the big plays down the stretch. It certainly isn’t news to Louisville fans that Blackshear’s career as a Card hasn’t quite lived up to the lofty expectations set forth before he ever put on a jersey. And in the spirit of discussing one coming up short, Blackshear entered Friday’s game only 21 points shy of scoring 1,000 for his career. His last bucket, a huge one, gave him 19 as he slashed to the hole and scored Louisville’s last field goal of the day. Wouldn’t it have been fitting for the Cards to trip up and lose with Wayne being SO close to such an important and career defining achievement? Maybe. But just maybe the tables of fortune finally turned in favor of Wayne. He will now get another fresh 40 minutes to reach his milestone and more importantly help his team advance further in the tournament – and I’m damn happy about it.

Louisville’s next opponent, Northern Iowa, is a quality team that will push the Cards to the limit.  Play like they did today and it could be sayonara for the red and black. One would have to think, however, that Louisville will play more efficiently on Sunday as getting that first game under your belt is sometimes the hardest one a team faces. I have to tip my cap to Quentin Snider who grew up right in front of a national audience today. His ability to get into the lane and make short jump shots was invaluable and the clutch free throws to put Louisville ahead near the end were impressive and symbolic of the freshmen’s cool calm demeanor. I feel really good about Snider’s future as a Card.

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Before concluding, I did want to lastly give props to Terry Rozier who, despite not being much of an offensive factor on Friday, came up with the game sealing steal. Oh, and for the naysayers….Terry didn’t foul contrary to popular belief. Job well done.

rozier

Now the waiting game begins. Sunday can’t get here soon enough. I have accepted this Louisville team for what they are: a group of guys that play hard despite being short handed and lacking in the area of experience and God-given talent. I do have questions regarding the lack of minutes for certain players but it’s too late into the season to worry about such a quagmire. I’ll support whoever is on the floor and will remember this team in a positive light after refusing to give up today and down the stretch of the regular season.. Give ‘em hell on Sunday Cards.

The Confidential’s Tourney Contest: Day 1

Here are the current standings for the Confidential’s Tourney Bracket Contest after 1 day of games (top 25 only):

Rank
Bracket
1
2
3
4
Semis
Finals
Bonus Pts
Total Pts
1
26
-
-
-
-
St. John’s
6
32
2
24
-
-
-
-
Kentucky
6
30
2
24
-
-
-
-
Kentucky
6
30
2
24
-
-
-
-
Baylor
6
30
2
24
-
-
-
-
Wisconsin
6
30
6
22
-
-
-
-
Kentucky
6
28
7
24
-
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
27
7
24
-
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
27
7
24
-
-
-
-
Virginia
3
27
10
20
-
-
-
-
Virginia
6
26
11
22
-
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
25
11
22
-
-
-
-
Arizona
3
25
11
22
-
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
25
11
22
-
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
25
11
22
-
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
25
16
20
-
-
-
-
Wisconsin
3
23
16
20
-
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
23
16
20
-
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
23
16
20
-
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
23
20
22
-
-
-
-
Villanova
-
22
20
22
-
-
-
-
Kentucky
-
22
22
18
-
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
21
22
18
-
-
-
-
Kentucky
3
21
22
18
-
-
-
-
Villanova
3
21
25
16
-
-
-
-
Louisville
3
19

Best Name in Confidential Tourney Pool: POLL!

What is the best name for an entrant in this year’s Confidential tourney pool?  Make your selection below:

ACC Teaching Dance Lessons?

Today the 2015 NCAA Tournament will begin and college basketball fans from east to west will nestle into their comfortable recliners or arena seats to watch teams battle out for a chance to advance.  In the most generic fashion possible, I’m going to give a quick rundown on all six of the ACC first round matchups and then throw in a few thoughts of my own which carry little weight if any…….

MIDWEST REGION notre-dame_70  Notre Dame (3)  vs  northeastern_70 Northeastern  (14)

I’ll be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about Northeastern. In fact, the ONLY thing I know about Northeastern is that it’s campus is in Boston and the late Reggie Lewis balled there.  What I do know, however, is that the Irish are coming off their first ever ACC Tournament title and are playing as well as anyone in the country right now, aside from Kentucky. I see no reason that Notre Dame won’t continue their winning ways and advance into the 2nd round rather easily.  Look for Northeastern’s Scott Eatherton to “get his” but look for Jerian Grant and his crew of Connaughton and Jackson to “get more” My pick:  Notre Dame ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ WEST REGION north-carolina_70 North Carolina (4)  vs  harvard_70  Harvard (13)

If Harvard is as smart as I think their players probably are then they will slow this one down to a turtle pace and hope for the best. North Carolina has all the tools to make a run in this tournament and if Marcus Paige gets going then anything can happen in favor of the ‘Heels. Wesley Saunders is a fine player for Harvard, so look for him. But, the interior play of Brice Johnson, Kennedy Meeks & Co. will be too much for the John Harvards (yes, that is their actual mascot name). My pick: North Carolina ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ EAST REGION north-carolina-st_70 NC State (8)  vs  lsu_70  LSU (9)

Wow, this game as much as any other in the field of 64 has given me fits as to who I should pick. In fact, I have almost convinced myself that the Wolfpack will prevail due, if nothing else, to my disdain for the SEC Conference. With that said, I do like LSU’s talent, especially Jarell Martin. But, after watching their meltdown in the SEC Tournament that resulted in a loss to lowly Auburn I am inclined to go with NC State here. Another factor is that Jordan Mickey is hampered by a nagging shoulder injury that will likely affect his pay. On the other side, I am a big fan of Cat Barber and Trevor Lacey / Ralston Turner are a terrific duo in terms of scoring.  Granted, I’m not sure Mark Gottfried can coach his way out of a paper sack…..but neither can LSU’s Johnny Jones. My pick: NC State (in a close one) virginia_70 Virginia (2)  vs  belmont_70  Belmont (15)

Virginia has been one of the top tier teams in the country all year. And despite a one point loss at Louisville and an early exit from the ACC Tournament, I still believe they could make a run at the Final Four. But before doing that, I am confident that the Cavaliers will handle their business w/out much of a challenge. And even if UVA were the underdog here I would still probably pencil them in due to me still being a little miffed that Belmont bounced Murray State in the OVC title game, thus ending their NCAA Tournament hopes. My pick: Virginia louisville_70  Louisville (4)  vs  uc-irvine_70  University of Cal-Irvine (13)

Aside from NC State, I believe Louisville (my alma mater) is the most susceptible to a first round loss. With that said, this same Louisville team could very well shock people and make a run. The season for UofL has been a Jeckyl and Hyde movie. But if the Cards’ big 3 in Harrell, Rozier & Blackshear show up and play up to their potential then UofL should advance into the second round. I know very little about the Anteaters other than the fact that they have a 7-6 center  Mamadou Ndiaye and that alone should be worth the price of admission.  In the end, Rick Pitino is too good preparing his teams in March and that will hold true again on Friday afternoon (I hope) My pick: Louisville ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ SOUTH REGION duke_70 Duke (1)  vs  robert-morris_70 Robert Morris (16)

The Blue Devils won’t even need to perform a single floor slap on Friday to take care of their first round opponent. No offense at all to Robert Morris, but I just don’t see enough talent on their roster to control the likes of Jahlil Okafor. This one could be decided before halftime and should allow viewers to click away and catch other games going on. My pick: Duke So, there you have my first round picks. And in hindsight I am certain I have cursed the ACC by picking them to go 6-0 which based on odds alone is not likely to happen – but that’s why they play the games right?  Enjoy the games everyone, drink responsibly…..cheer like an idiot.

3 HOURS LEFT…The Confidential’s Bracket Contest: 2015

In what is now an annual tradition, the Confidential will have another bracket contest in 2015.

We will give out a first prize of $25.00 via Pay Pal to the winner (prizes will increase if/when number of entrants increases).

If you think you know basketball, and as a fan of the ACC you SHOULD know basketball, let’s see how well you can do against other fans of ACC schools.  Go here: https://yho.com/tourney?g=126726&k=d93fe3b2cd842a95

Oh, and good luck.  You’ll need it.

 

Big Changes At Syracuse… AD out, Boeheim in 3 years

With the recent NCAA violations and penalties, the fact that changes were in store for Syracuse is NOT surprising.  And here they are.  Syracuse athletic director, Darryl Gross, is resigning (you know how this works) as athletic director.  The more surprising announcement is that Jim Boeheim will retire in 3 years.  Here is the Confidential’s quick take.

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