As the tournament heads into the Sweet 16 and every shot becomes more and more important, it’s imperative that bettors consider each team’s foul shooting along with their capacity for drawing and tendency to commit fouls. So often when the game is on the line, the winner and loser are determined by what happens at the free throw line.
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The MLB season is about two weeks away and there’s been news and happenings that are worth looking at and discussing. Yesterday, pitcher Curt Schilling announced his retirement from professional baseball. He did it through an announcement on his highly popular and controversial blog.
We are going to take a break from college basketball for the next couple of days, but before we do I want to look ahead to the Sweet Sixteen while the first two rounds are still fresh in my mind. Keep in mind, as always, that any opinions given are just my own and don’t necessarily reflect or agree with anything official from Maddux Sports. That being said, the first two rounds could certainly have gone worse for me, so I am feeling good. Here, then, are thoughts on what we have in store on Thursday and Friday:
1. The single most impressive performance I have seen in the tournament so far – and there have been a lot to chose from – was from Louisville’s Terrence Williams today. The guy plays a bizarre role – a forward who essentially commands play like a point guard. Today he did that to absolute perfection – he had 24 points and 15 rebounds, he dished out four impressive assists, and he had two steals that were like a punch inSiena’s gut. The Saints played a very good game, and they may have been able to pull off the miracle if it weren’t for Williams. Some people might be turned off by the scare that Louisville got today, but I have them picked to win it all, and the game to day only makes me happier that I did so.
1. Watching Michigan lose today wasn’t much fun. I realize that I am not particularly unbiased in this regard, but I noticed something watching Oklahoma that I have seen in the other couple games I have seen them play – the refs give Blake Griffin a lot of leeway. Michigan got called for a lot of things today that Griffin in particular and Oklahoma and general didn’t. The foul calls were very unbalanced today, and when I looked back at Oklahoma’s stats that’s not uncommon. I’m not saying that that is why Michigan lost – the long scoring droughts didn’t help – but it sure makes it easier to win when you are getting the calls. Reputation and name has more impact in college basketball than it really should.
I’ll update this with my thoughts as the games go along:
1. Syracuse didn’t look to be suffering at all from their conference tournament ordeal. In fact, they looked pretty darned good.
2. Two great finishes and exciting games overall in the wins by Marquette and Oklahoma State. Marquette got particularly lucky that Utah State’s two best players got fouled out down the stretch.
Ten things I think about today:
1. Woo-freaking-hoo! It had been 11 years since my beloved Michigan won a game, so I had forgotten how good winning feels. It wasn’t always pretty, and it was too tense at the end, but the important thing is that we ended up with more points than Clemson. Look out Oklahoma, we’re coming for you!
The tournament is finally just a few hours away – less than 12 as I write this. That means that we are less than 12 hours away from the two best days there are in sports. I can’t wait. As we get ready for the big day(s) here are a few thoughts I have on my mind:
I don’t pretend to be a genius, and since I am writing this a week before you are reading it I don’t have the benefit of having watched the conference tournaments or seeing the bracket. Despite that, I’ll fearlessly wade into it and make a few bold predictions about things as they may unfold. Take them as you will:
This upstart conference has been making noise for a few years now. This year they are especially strong, and have as many as far teams that could have a claim on a tournament spot, though they almost certainly won’t get that many.