Tag Archives: Baylor Bears

Sweet and Elite

Wow. What a slew of games that we saw last week as a 1 and a couple of 2 seeds fell in this NCAA tournament. Villanova, Duke and Louisville all packed their bags early, heading back to their schools disappointed and ashamed.

Wisconsin, South Carolina and Michigan all have crashed the party and they did it in both dramatic and convincing fashion. We also have a clash of the titans in the south region, as seeds 1 through 4 all made it to the Sweet 16.

So let’s break down these sweet 16 games, and I will also give you my new picks for the final 4, since I had Duke in my final, my bracket is a bit busted. Here we go, let’s start up in the East.

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(8) Wisconsin vs (4) Florida

This is a great game that we would see in the Capital One Bowl during the college football season. Wisconsin led by Seniors Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes have brought Wisconsin back to the big time with their play in the first two games.  The Badgers have beaten Virginia Tech in a close one, and upset Villanova by 3 in a thriller.

Florida beat ETSU by 15 then smoked Virginia by 26. The Gators have been led by Junior forward Devin Robinson. Robinson has been a big time player for the Gators in this tournament. It’s an awesome matchup, and a tough one to pick. But I like Wisconsin in this one, that Senior leadership of Nigel Hayes is what will do it.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 10.11.15 AM.png(7) South Carolina vs (3) Baylor

I had neither of these teams in the Sweet 16, my matchup was USC-Duke. Boy I was wrong. Let me say this, I am not a Baylor Bear believer, but Jonathan Motley has been a force this year for the Bears. He is making me contemplate changing my mind about them. Baylor walked by NMSU by a bunch and squeaked by USC by 4.

South Carolina smoked Marquette by 20, and then took out Duke by 7. The Gamecocks led by Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell, had plenty of scoring in their game with Duke. The Gamecocks had 5 fellas in double figures, 4 with fifteen points or more. I like South Carolina, they’re coming off the impressive win against Duke, and I think if Thornwell gets hot early, then it will be a long night for the Bears.

So the Elite 8 game would pit (7) South Carolina vs (8) Wisconsin, let’s stick with the Badgers to the Final 4. Hayes and Koenig led them back to the kingdom and they’re back as one of the prime teams in the Big 10.

EAST WINNER: (8) WISCONSIN

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(4) West Virginia vs (1) Gonzaga

Gonzaga is in this game because the NCAA didn’t want them bowing out early again. That game against Northwestern was officiated horribly . I think Bob Huggins will coach West Virginia and put Gonzaga coach Mark Few’s mind into a pretzel. The duo of Jevon Carter and Nathan Adrien are what will put the Mountaineers over the top in this one. The Zags aren’t as good as people think they are. If I am wrong, I will admit that. But give me WVU and convincingly.

654271336(11) Xavier vs (2) Arizona

I give Xavier all the credit in the world. They have beaten elite teams night in and night out. The Musketeers first took out Melo Trimble and Maryland then Dwayne Bacon and Florida State, now they get Arizona led by Allonzo Trier. Arizona has blown out North Dakota and slipped by St Mary’s. But this game could be a big one, if Xavier plays to their true potential, then I think they put up a fight. But then again, led by Trier and Lauri Markkanen, the Wildcats could blow this game into the stratosphere and it’ll be over at halftime. I like Arizona by at least 10.

My winner of the Elite 8 game of WVU and Arizona is going to be Arizona. I think Nathan Adrien will get into foul trouble early, and that could crush the hopes of WVU. They’ll close the deficit but Trier and company will be just too much.

WEST WINNER: (2) ARIZONA

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(5) Purdue vs (1) Kansas

Kansas may be the most complete team in this region with Frank Mason and Joshua Jackson. Jackson has had big tournament with big play after big play. Kansas should get their first true test with the Boilermakers on Thursday night.

Caleb Swanigan and Vince Edwards are the duo who I think could give the Jayhawks their toughest match-up in the tourney thus far. Swanigan has at least a double-double a game and Edwards has dropped 20. This could mean Landon Lucas and Devonte Graham will need to be huge for the Jayhawks.

Who’s my pick? I like Kansas by 7 or 8, much closer game than the 2 previous match-ups for Kansas, but I do reserve the right to say if Josh Jackson heats up early, this one could be a double-digit blowout.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 10.14.35 AM.png(7) Michigan vs (3) Oregon

This game is the biggest one in the career of Dillon Brooks. This game is the legacy game I think for the guard. Brooks and company will face a Michigan team that will have overcome basically every obstacle in their way.

But do the Ducks have someone that can stop Moritz Wagner? I don’t think so, it will be one of those big man on one side and a guard on the other side games. Brooks got help from the other guard Tyler Dorsey against Rhode Island, and he will need all the help he can get in this one. Michigan on the other hand has won a majority of their games in the second half, if they wait that long, they will be blown away. I just flipped a coin and I like the Ducks by 2.

I think Kansas walks out of the Midwest. They boast way too much firepower. Jackson and Mason will eat the Oregon duo alive.

MIDWEST WINNER: (1) KANSAS

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(4) Butler vs (1) UNC

I won’t lie, I think this game comes down to the possible match-up of Kelan Martin for Butler and Justin Jackson for UNC. I think Jackson is most likely the most underrated player in the entire country and Kelan Martin is the most unnamed good player in the country.

Butler needs Martin to take over this game from buzzer to buzzer.  Then again, the starting five that UNC trots out is arguably the best in the nation. After a scare from Arkansas, I don’t think the Heels fool around with Butler, and escape with a 5 or 6 point win.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 10.16.17 AM.png(3) UCLA vs (2) Kentucky

The rematch we did not think we would get to see. Bruins vs. Wildcats was a thriller earlier this season, with the Bruins leaving Rupp Arena with a win. The Monk-Fox tag-team will have to be at its utmost best from start to finish. This could be the game of the tournament, a true matchup of stars that could give us another rematch. My big pick was Kentucky and I’m sticking with it. The Cats win by 8 as Lonzo Ball has an off game, and TJ Leaf gets into early foul trouble.

I am sticking with Kentucky, no other way to put it.

MIDWEST WINNER: (2) KENTUCKY

 

 

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Seven Unbeaten, Who Falls First?

So far the college basketball season has proved to be an awesome one. With some of the top dogs already falling, there is one huge surprise of all the unbeatens. I will quickly take a look at the seven left, and see who I think falls first.

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Defending National Champions Villanova sits atop the AP and Coaches poll at an impressive 10-0. Coach Jay Wright and the Wildcats did the improbably by beating UNC last season in the big one, a game many didn’t think they would even sniff. There is a chance at the Wildcats repeating too, especially with Wooden Award favorite Josh Hart. Hart is the heart of this team averaging 19.5 ppg and 7 boards a night, the kid can flat out play. He’s aided by Kris Jenkins, and the two make quite the duo. So I will say they will not be the first to fall, and don’t expect them to fall until possibly February when they travel to Xavier.

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The list continues with the number two team and the storied program of UCLA. The Bruins also sit at 10-0 and have possibly one of the brightest stars in the country. Lorenzo Ball is a fun player to watch and when he’s on, the Bruins look unbeatable. Ball had my favorite moment of the season, when he made the “silence the crowd” motion after he hit a huge shot against the then number 1 Kentucky, oh and that was at Rupp Arena. They have a tough stretch coming up soon with Arizona and USC, that’s where they may fall. But they should be good for now.

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Baylor….Wow I did not see the Bears starting off 8-0, and an impressive 8-0. The Bears have beaten 4 ranked teams, 3 of which were ranked inside the top 10. This is a huge surprise, and they look good. But Baylor will begin to fall when Big 12 play gets heated up.

Gonzaga also sits at 10-0, but plays virtually no one relevant. Zaga will remain unbeaten until someone irrelevant beats them later this season. Zaga will probably get a 1 seed too, and I really hate that. They don’t fall first.

The Trojans of USC are also unbeaten so far this season at 9-0. They will fall later this season to UCLA, but they won’t be the first to fall. Neither will South Carolina, who is also unbeaten at 8-0.

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SO the team I think will fall first is the 10th ranked Creighton Blue Jays. Creighton will lose, yes they will lose a home game, to Villanova. I think Nova is the crown jewel of that conference and will reign supreme. Creighton doesn’t have Doug McDermott coming back anytime soon. A guy they could really use when they play the Wildcats. Truth be told, that match-up or the game before with Seton Hall could be the undoing for the Blue Jays.

My guess is Creighton, my next team to lose is most likely Baylor. Like I said, that sketchy Big 12 schedule could be the undoing for the Bears. My other guess would be the Trojans of Southern Cal.

Until next week, keep being handsome everyone.

Shocktober At Its Finest

When we look at the month of October in the world of College Football, I like to name the month Shocktober. No not because Halloween is coming up, but for a different reason. Shocktober in college football is the meaning of upset central, top teams being shocked in their home stadium or on the road. And last week we saw a major shakeup in the rankings as the team in the second position was shocked by a hated rival!

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The Buckeyes of Ohio State were shocked in Happy Valley by Penn State. I am just as shocked as pretty much everyone, I DID NOT see this coming. This throws a major wrench in the grand scheme of things. Ohio State falls unexpectedly and goes from 1st to 3rd in the Big 10 East standings. This opens the door big time for not only just Penn State, but for Michigan as well. Michigan remained unbeaten last weekend and now owns sole possession of the top spot in the Big 10 East. Now that final week rivalry game in Columbus means the division will be on the line, Penn State has to remain with one loss to have a chance. They were blown out by Michigan earlier this season, they’ll need help from the Buckeyes in the final week of the year.

Next off, I am 2-0 in my lock of the week picks the last two weeks. I am FIRED up about that, but due to the happenings of Shocktober, I ended last week 2-3. Not how I was thinking I would finish. But it is what is, life goes on.

<>at McLane Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Waco, Texas.

My lock this week comes from the Big 12. I love the Baylor Bears on the road against the Texas Longhorns. This could be the nail in the coffin of the Charlie Strong tenure at Texas. Baylor should win this game convincingly. The Bears are sneaking up the polls right now, and with some help and if they do their job could find themselves in the top 5 by the end of the weekend. Texas showed shines of greatness in week 1, but since have been just piss poor. Longhorns might give up 50 at home on Saturday.

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Now in one of the possible games of the week, we see Nebraska take on Wisconsin live from Camp Randall. The 7 ranked Cornhuskers have been a team I have been keeping my eye on all season. I think it could be safe to say that the Huskers have returned to the elite of the college football world. Tommy Armstrong is something else at quarterback and may lead the Huskers back to glory. Looking at the history books, the Badgers have won 3 in a row dating back to 2012, one of those being a Big 10 title game. This is the highest ranked match-up of the two since 2011, the Badgers were ranked 7 and the Huskers were ranked 8. I think we are in for an exciting one here.

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The fourth ranked Washington Huskies travel to Utah to take on the 17th ranked Utes, in a huge Pac-12 match. Washington is a team that has silenced the doubters(including me) with an elite defense and a stellar QB. Jake Browning has been nothing short of spectacular, and is honestly a Heisman hopeful. The last big named Jake the Huskies trotted out was Jake Locker(remember him?). This is the biggest game left on the Huskies schedule, and if they win this one they could probably punch that playoff ticket. They, in my opinion, control their own destiny. We could see a rematch in the Pac-12 title game too! Man, someone call Goddell, this is how it is done.

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Now the heavyweight matchup in the ACC pits number 3 Clemson heading into Bobby Bowden field to take on the 12th ranked Seminoles. If I am a Louisville fan, I am watching this one closely. You need a Florida State victory, I really think thats the only way they get into the playoff. The Seminoles have won 3 out of the last 4 too, and won the last two meetings from Tallahassee. Deshaun Watson has to be perfect in this game, this cannot be a repeat of the NC State game. You cannot, I repeat cannot play from behind at Doak-Campbell. This has major ACC implications, and well it is the last weekend of Shocktober, so lets see some SHOCKING events.

It’s Picking Time! ESPN wouldn’t open for me this week, so I left out the records of the clubs. But here are the picks!

LOCK (8) Baylor 48-Texas 10

(4) Washington 31-(17) Utah 17

(7) Nebraska 24-(11) Wisconsin 16

(12) Florida State 35-(3) Clemson 24

Oklahoma State 54-(10) West Virginia 48

I like the favorites, can you blame me?

I think the Heisman is a three man race right now between Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson and Jabrill Peppers. Peppers has climbed the ladder, and has really impressed me after the last couple weeks. I think Jake Browning might be in the top 3 if he comes up big in Utah this weekend.

 

CFP Contenders and Pretenders

Week 5 is now and the books and more questions, or prayers, have been answered. This was a huge week for the landscape of college football and giving us a better understanding of who is a pretender and who is a contender in this year’s college football playoff race. The committee is quietly waiting in the wind for November 1st to release the first college football playoff ranking, but it is never too early to speculate what they might be thinking. What we learned last week is Stanford can’t win the big game, Clemson still rules the ACC, and the Michigan vs. Ohio State game in late November will decide everything. So let’s see who the contenders and pretenders are for this year’s college football playoff.

Contenders:

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SEC:

Alabama: Roll Tide is rolling once again and there is no surprises about that, Nick Saban and the boys are cruising to an SEC west title once again. They haven’t faced there toughest opponents just yet, but based on everything I have seen they will win out and get into the playoff as the number 1 seed. Bama puts up plenty of points and smothers opponents constantly on defense. Their kryptonite the last few years has been Ole Miss, and the Tide took care of them already this season. I hate Alabama with pure passion, but we’ll be seeing them in the playoff.

Tennessee: The Volunteers are flying high after a huge last second Hail Mary victory over Georgia last week, and the Vols have had Lady Luck on their side all year. To me Tennessee was a pretender before last week, but Josh Dobbs is balling out so far this year, and as long as he keeps it up Tennessee is on the fast track to the SEC title game against Alabama. The reason they aren’t a pretender still is because anything can happen in a title game. Alabama will probably beat Tennessee by 28+ but you just never know.

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ACC:

Clemson: First and foremost I am still shaking from Saturday’s game against Louisville. Clemson put on an absolute show in the second quarter to get themselves to a 28-10 halftime lead, and I was well aware it wasn’t over. Louisville fought back aggressively in the third to regain the lead 36-28, but Dabo rallied the boys for the fourth quarter and led them to a 42-36 victory in Death Valley. Clemson was supposed to be this good and they are finally playing like it again. A tough road test in Tallahassee in a few weeks stands between Clemson and the ACC title game, assuming no slip ups from here on out, but let’s all knock on some wood.

Louisville: What Louisville proved to me on Saturday night was that if they win out, which would mean a huge road victory over Houston, they could potentially be a top 4 team in the country by the final college football playoff vote. They need Clemson to lose twice to get into the ACC championship game, so that seems unlikely, but the committee could absolutely put in a 1 loss Louisville team with Heisman frontrunner Lamar Jackson at quarterback. Louisville gained enormous amount of respect from me after Saturday, but better luck next year Cardinals.

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BIG 10:

Ohio State: Need I say more? It just comes with the name at this point, but the Buckeyes are nasty yet again. JT Barrett is having a stellar season and has led OSU to number 2 in the nation to this point. What will get the Buckeyes into the college football playoff? A big win over…

Michigan: A tough road lies ahead with Michigan St, Iowa, and Ohio St all on the schedule but I believe the Wolverines will get to the final week of the season undefeated. And as it is for Ohio State, Michigan needs a win in that huge rivalry game to get into the playoff. I really hope we get those two undefeated for that game.

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Big 12:

Better luck next year!!

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Pac 12:

Washington: I never thought Stanford was going to lose to Washington, let alone that badly, but here we are with Washington as a legitimate college football playoff contender. The Huskies have gotten extraordinary quarterback play from Jake Browning. The Huskies just need to win out and they are in no questions asked, but can they do it?

Group of 5:

Houston: Win out, beat Louisville, and pray to God that Oklahoma wins out as well. Houston can go undefeated but being in the AAC is making it tough for them, time to move to the Big 12. Good luck Houston, you deserve to get in if you are undefeated, but will the committee allow that?

Pretenders:

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SEC:

Texas A&M: The Aggies are good don’t get me wrong, but they cannot beat Alabama, and that is what separates them from the playoff. A&M has a huge home game this week against Tennessee and they could absolutely win that, but being in the SEC west is tough because of the likes of Alabama. I actually see the Aggies winning against Tennessee, but not the SEC west.

Florida: A huge lead over Tennessee wasn’t enough for the Gators to win, so they are out, unless by some miracle they win out and Tennessee loses twice and the Gators beat Bama, good luck to them.

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ACC:

Florida State: 63-20 loss to Louisville and another loss this week to North Carolina, smell ya later Seminoles.

Miami: Plain and simple this team hasn’t really beaten anybody that great and I don’t think they’ll even get to the ACC title game. I believe North Carolina will beat the Hurricanes and then Miami will probably fall off and finish like 9-3 or something.

North Carolina: They must win out and then beat either Clemson or Louisville in the ACC title game, no chance they do both.

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BIG 10:

Nebraska: 5-0 isn’t bad, playing Michigan or Ohio State in the B1G title game is.

Wisconsin: They have the best chance out of the B1G west, but Wisconsin couldn’t beat Michigan last week on a bad day for Michigan. But there is a chance, if they get to the title game anything could happen, but I don’t see it for the Badgers.

Iowa: They lost to North Dakota State, a very good team mind you, but how you going to lose to the Bison at home and expect to beat Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Michigan and then win the B1G title game? Answer is you’re not.

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Big 12:

Baylor: Narrowly escaping Iowa State, real impressive.

West Virginia: Apparently they are 4-0, but who knew.

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Pac 12:

Stanford: We all saw what Washington did to them, that’ll demoralize any team, they’ll lose again, I promise.

Utah: The Utes love having a solid start and then falling off the face of the earth once people start to recognize them. They won’t do anything with their season, maybe win the Las Vegas Bowl over New Mexico or someone stupid.

My playoff prediction after week 5 is Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, and Washington. Who do you have?

The Battle For The Big 12

Whats a conference that is primarily in the Midwest and has games that could have 14 to about 95 points scored? No, I am most certainly not talking about the Mountain West. I am talking about the BIG 12. A conference that not only knows how to win, but guarantees you at least a handful of upsets each and every year. I have to say this, if you aren’t a fan of the BIG 12, then you are a moron. Excitement and points scored are something this conference prides itself on, just watch it.

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My conference favorite is last year’s conference champion and playoff team, the Oklahoma Sooners. Led by QB and Heisman candidate Baker Mayfield (I have to name my son after him because of the their win against TCU last season), the Sooners should have the most explosive offense in the conference and possibly the country. Mayfield is an absolute stud, and I think he is the best QB in the entire country. He has an ample amount of weapons, one by the name of Samaje Perine. Perine is a guy who could slash up a defense for 120 yards on the ground in the first half. The Sooners get Ohio State and Houston in the non-conference games this season, and a couple big ones right before the half-way point of the year. Oklahoma is a team to watch, not only based on talent but as well as prestige. It should be interesting to see how they stack up against the toughest teams in the country during the early portion of the season.

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Texas has been a disappointment the past few seasons. Ever since Charlie Strong became the head coach, he hasn’t been the answer for the Longhorns. But with a defense who is looking a lot better than before, the Longhorns could be looking at a big time improvement this season. Strong’s head is easily on the chopping block if Texas can’t climb out of mediocrity. I will say this, if Texas is to start off winless or lose badly to Oklahoma, Strong will be out of a job. Texas has Notre Dame to open the year at Texas Stadium. If they open up the year with a win at home against the Irish, I think we could see the revival of Longhorn football.

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A team I think will drop off is the Baylor Bears. The Bears were trounced by a University wide scandal, that forced coach Art Briles out. I thought the rightful replacement would have been Kendall Briles, Art’s son. But they went another way with coach Jim Grobe. A new system and no Corey Coleman playing WR, I think the Bears could be a major disappointment. Shock Linwood and Johnny Jefferson are very talented backs, but I am unsure to how they will fit in Grobe’s system. Baylor doesn’t have to worry about a tough non-conference schedule. But when conference play hits, I think they may end up in some major trouble.

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To me, I think TCU could also be a major disappointment. Since former Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill(Trill) transferred to TCU, people are saying they can spoil the Sooner’s party. As far as I am concerned, Oklahoma may have nothing to worry about. Gary Patterson is going to have his hands full with Hill. He was a stud in the first few games last season, then the attitude kicked in and fell off the face of the earth. I think TCU is in big, big trouble. But for my rundown, I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

Let’s get to the predictions. I think Oklahoma wins the conference. Mayfield is too good, and that offense it too explosive. Bob Stoops brings home another one to Norman, and the Sooners most likely are playing in the playoff.

And here is my Conference Rundown:

  1. Oklahoma Sooners- 10-2 (8-1)
  2. Oklahoma State Cowboys-9-3 (6-3)
  3. TCU Horned Frogs-9-3 (6-3)
  4. Texas Longhorns-8-4 (5-4)
  5. West Virginia Moutaineers-8-4 (5-4)
  6. Texas Tech Red Raiders-8-4 (5-4)
  7. Baylor Bears-7-5 (5-4)
  8. Kansas State Wildcats-6-6 (4-5)
  9. Iowa State Cyclones 3-9 (1-8)S
  10. Kansas Jayhawks 1-11 (1-8)

So those are my picks and I am sticking to them. Kansas gets a big W in the conference and I think the other numbers speak for themselves.