March 20, 2008

Announcers Should Follow Their Sport

Commenting on Georgia's run in the SEC Tournament late in the UGA-Xavier game, one announcer (Craig Bolerjack) said "due to the tornado, they had to play the game at Georgia Tech's arena, a much smaller arena. They had to pack them in tight!" (Paraphrased)

Really? They only let family, close friends, and cheerleaders into Georgia Tech's arena (home of McDonald's Court).


ECB Bracket Challenge

The four of us at ECB, still bitter after a wholly mediocre NFL pick-off performance, have decided to have a little bracket challenge of our own. Of course, we're not going to bore you with four entire brackets, so we boiled it down to picking the Sweet 16 and rolling from there. Rules are 1 pt for Sweet 16, 2 pts for Elite 8, 4 pts for Final Four, 8 pts for Finals and 12 pts for Champ.


Sweet 16
UNC over Notre Dame
Louisville over Tennessee

Clemson over Kansas
Wisconsin over Davidson

Memphis over Pitt
Texas over Marquette

UCLA over Drake
Duke over Xavier

Elite 8
UNC over Louisville
Clemson over Wisconsin
Memphis over Texas
UCLA over Duke

Final 4
UNC over Clemson
Memphis over UCLA

Memphis over UNC


Sweet 16
UNC over Wazzu
OU over Tennessee (groan, did I really pick that?)

Kansas over Clemson
Wisconsin over G'Town

Memphis over Mich. St.
Texas over Stanford

UCLA over Drake
West Virginia over Baylor

Elite 8
UNC over OU
Wisconsin over Kansas
Texas over Memphis

Final 4
UNC over Wisconsin
UCLA over Texas



Sweet 16
UNC over Notre Dame
Louisville over Tennessee

Kansas over Clemson
Wisconsin over Georgetown

Memphis over Pitt
Texas over Marquette

UCLA over UConn
Xavier over Duke

Elite 8

UNC over Tennessee
Kansas over Wisconsin
Texas over Memphis
UCLA over Xavier

Final 4
UNC over Kansas
UCLA over Texas



Sweet 16
UNC over Notre Dame
L'ville over Butler

Kansas over Clemson
USC over G'Town

Pitt over Memphis
Texas over Stanford

UCLA over Drake
Duke over Xavier

Elite 8
UNC over Louisville
Kansas over UNC
Texas over Pitt
UCLA over Duke

Final 4
UCLA over Texas
UNC over Kansas


March 18, 2008

Idol Recap 3/18

I thought that a very large picture such as this would be apropos for this evening's Idol performance, which was, start-to-finish, about the worst I've seen in the two seasons I've watched the show. Basically, we saw 9 out of 11 contestants essentially either crap the bed, or do absolutely nothing original. And on top of it all, it was Beatles night. Which proves either that the Beatles were so good that some of America's most talented "amateur" singers can't touch them, or it proves that these "amateur" singers just couldn't figure out how to wrap their arms around a Beatles song in the way that would encapsulate the contradictory criticism being thrown at them by the judges.

The Good:
David Archuleta - I guess it's easier to sing when the restraining order kicks in not allowing his father to come within 100 feet of the stage. The wife further substantiated the rumor that I had heard about David's dad being the ultimate stage parent, having a meltdown at David during rehearsal last week, and likely contributing to his clusterfuck last Tuesday night. David recovered tonight. I still wonder if his dad also had David castrated so he'd hang on to those cherubic looks and high pitched voice forever.

Syesha Mercado - Gotta hand it to her for a hell of a performance of Yesterday. She did just enough to tweak it to her own style while remaining true to the original song. This is the ultimate Idol trick to success, and she pulled it off beautifully. I really think it could be the kind of cover that you hear in a movie soundtrack.

The Same Old, Same Old:
David Cook - Simon was spot on... the performance wasn't as good as David thought it was. He's just showing up every week and rocking out. David needs to decide if he wants to win this competition or if he wants to become like Daughtry and do his own thing exclusively in rock. From hearing David's soundbites, I think he truly wants to win this competition. Therefore, he's going to have to mix it up some.

Amanda Overmyer - New week, same four notes, different artist and cover. She, unlike David, couldn't give a shit if she wins this competition. She knows who she is and she'll sing every song like it's Janis Joplin or southern-induced rock. Hell, they could have a Starland Vocal Band night and we'd hear Afternoon Delight screamed at us with blinding lights and bad hair dye.

Jason Castro - Remember that dude who smoked up in the woods behind the school and stumbled into your foreign language class about 20 minutes late in 11th grade? I thought so.

Carly Smithson - Fumbled a little bit tonight. But hey, it's Carly. Come on. She'll still be there the last two or three weeks of the show. The costume designers this week really didn't flatter Carly either with a red mumu. Apparently the social activist in J-Red is all in a tizzy because Carly tried to spin a song that was really about Paul McCartney's horror at 1960s racial relations in America into an inspirational song for Idol contestants who had $2 million invested in them and couldn't break through because they couldn't get a visa from immigration. We may hear more from J-Red on this one.

Brooke White - We found out this week that Brooke's upper arms are roughly the width of a double A battery thanks to that yellow sundress that she was wearing presumably because she was singing... wait for it... Here Comes the Sun. I know, I know, symbolism is totally lost on the average Idol viewer so they hit us over the head with it. Brooke looked totally lost on stage.

Eze - This was tonight's clusterfuck of a performance. I wonder if Eze was even in the building last week for Kristy Lee Cook's failed hoedown. We saw Eze try to replicate it tonight. At least he has more charm. He'll survive.

Predicted Bottom 2 who don't get voted off (surprisingly difficult):
Ramiele Mulabay - The cute factor just isn't cutting it anymore. She looked like a long-lost member of Hanson tonight in that little hat and with that sing-songy performance. She'll survive though.

Michael Johns - I just think he's almost out of time and is in an upside down nosedive towards the ground that's going to be hard to pull out of. When they showed him perform Queen tonight from Hollywood Week, that was the performance that we look back upon and say "where did you go????" He picked a great Beatles song that unfortunately just cannot be done in 1 minute, 45 seconds. I have no idea how he's doing in voting, but I can't imagine he's got a huge contingency.

Time to try to buy a new horse:
Kristy Lee Cook - In a way I feel bad for her because she knows she's way outclassed in terms of talent and has somehow skirted by these past few weeks on the strength of her looks, on the strength of her country music fanbase, and on things out of her control (somebody with more talent happens to be outed as a gay stripper and has a bad night of performance). She can't really hold a tune, she hit one good note in her song, and she's done.

Just in time for the Womens NCAA Tournament, an image to be seared in your mind.

Mmmm... Pat Summitt in a cheerleader's outfit showing lots of leg (if you watch at the 1:10 mark there is almost a horribly tragic upskirt shot) and leading the crowd in a horribly off-key rendition of Rocky Top. Not to mention the whole thing is narrated by Dick Vitale. I think I need a rag, I just projectile vomited all over my monitor.

Duke Flop Camp

I wish I could give credit to whoever created this, but it's making the rounds and definitely belongs on this blog. Some of the print is small so you might have to save the JPEG and open it in your browser.

In case you can't read:

Are you white? Do you lack athletic ability? Does your offensive "game" consist of standing around outside the three point line? Are you adept at tripping? Are you a lil' floor slapper? Do you pee sitting down? Do you want to be a Duke Assistant Coach? Would Dick Vitale label you a "Winner"? Do you like Italian soccer? Do you spend the majority of the game looking at your man's back?

Your favorite Duke flopper is: Shane Battier, Wojo, Greg Paulus, Other

Your favorite announcer is: Dick Vitale, Mike Patrick, Don't Make Me Choose

You are defending on a fast break and your opponent is going for a layup, you: slap at the ball as your opponent goes by; wait until your opponent goes by, then throw your body under him; undercut your opponent's legs and then crash in a heap or; take a pair of nuts to the face as your opponent ducks on you

After your teammate performs a successful flop, you: pump fist fervently, look at Coach K and exchange knowing smiles, save image of the flop in your "masturbatory memory box", hug as many men as you can

The best way to describe your play is: "scrappy", "a coach on the court", "hard-nosed"

You wet the bed: Frequently, Always

March 17, 2008

Bracket Angles: NCAA Doles Out Some Geographic Gifts

Check out these teams who have the benefit of geography in the Men's NCAA Tournament:

1) Texas (2) - The Longhorns finished the season strong despite a loss to Kansas in the Big XII tournament. They were rewarded by a road that includes trips to Little Rock, AR, Houston, TX and San Antonio, TX. Assuming fellow Texas school Austin Peay doesn't knock them off in the first round, no other team in the region has such home cooking. Memphis is the next closest.
blahblablshblahblah The "Hook 'Er Horns" never got approved

2) The Number Ones - Did they pick the venues based on who they thought the number one seeds would be? Seriously, UCLA is playing in Anaheim, UNC is playing in Raleigh, Memphis is playing in Little Rock and Kansas is playing in Omaha? Washington, DC was another first round venue, but Georgetown is ineligible to play there as it is their home court.

3) Kansas State (11) - KSU and Beasley match up with USC and Mayo in this 6-11 matchup. Luckily for K-State, it's being played in relatively nearby Omaha. I don't know how many USC alums want to travel to Nebraska, or how many can justify the trip while knowing that they are going to need to keep that football fund healthy.

4) Davidson (10) - Davidson, a North Carolina school, gets to take on Gonzaga in Raleigh. Gonzaga's record as a single-digit seed is unimpressive, and many people fail to realize that Davidson has an RPI of 35, only 5 below Gonzaga's. Add in home field advantage, and I'm not sure Davidson isn't the favorite. That won't get them past Georgetown, but it's nice to have a one game head start.

5) Stanford (3) - I know Anaheim is a pretty good haul from Palo Alto, but nothing like the trip from Cornell, Marquette or Kentucky. It should be a Pac-10 crowd who might send off the Lopez brothers the right way. They're as close to a lock for the Sweet 16 as any team in the bracket.

Congrats Lady Terps!!

With how incredibly low I feel about our mens team right now, I have to give big props to the Lady Terps, who have been rewarded for their incredibly hard schedule with a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If you go back to November and December, the non-conference schedule that those girls played was insane. Imagine if the UNC or Duke men rocked out the ACC schedule to the tune of two losses, and also happened to schedule some games during the season against UCLA, Memphis, Tennessee, and LSU. That's essentially what the Lady Terps did this season. You wanna cry about the Terps getting a #1 seed Stanford and LSU??? I didn't see you playing practically half your non-conference schedule against top 25 teams, mostly on the road.

The juvenile humor cackles at the President holding up a womens basketball jersey that says "Bush."

So the Lady Terps will play the first two rounds at Comcast Center. Their first-round game is a matchup against Coppin State. This is totally not fair. It's essentially taking the Honorable Mention Baltimore Sun All-Met team against a squad of girls who were each #1 in their state. The last five ladies on the Maryland bench could probably beat the starting five for Coppin State by about 30. Well, this is womens basketball, so maybe 20.

The best thing about the preliminary games is that Duke got assigned to Comcast Center for their first two rounds. This is fantastic, and once again proves that the NCAA Selections Committee really do make some decisions with their heads up their asses. It's worse than making Duke play two games on the road. It's making Duke play two NCAA tournament games in a hostile environment. If you all thought that the animosity for Duke was reserved for mens basketball, you're wrong. The Comcast Center will be booing and going crazy rooting for the upset when Duke comes in. Especially given that Duke upset the Lady Terps in the ACC Tournament.

Am I going to the games? No. Should I? Probably. I guess I should put my money where my mouth is. The problem is that for as much of a Terp fan as I am, I am utterly and totally bored by womens basketball. I have mad respect for the Lady Terps and love how well they represent our school. It's just that if I had to choose something to do on the weekend, there's about 25 things that I would pick before going to a womens basketball game, even if it is the NCAA Tournament.

So Lady Terps, thanks for salvaging some dignity to Comcast Center. And Gary... less time at Dewey Beach, more time recruiting. Maybe we can duct tape that Rick Maese column in the Baltimore Sun to your office door that called out how Brenda spends twice as much money on recruiting as you do.

Idol: Song Choices for the Top 11

We've seen week 1 of American Idol's take on the Lennon/McCartney songbook. But what should the contestants sing for week 2? I'm glad you asked. The rules are that no songs from last week can be used.

Really, there is a simple formula here. Sing a Beatles song that everyone knows, and try not to screw it up. If you can do that, you'll be around next week.

David Archuletta - Yesterday
David bombed last week, but he can erase that memory by knocking this one out of the park. Yesterday is the song I was most surprised didn't get sung last week. I think it's perfect for David and will get him back on track.

Carly Smithson - Blackbird
I'm sure she won't sing this one, but I think it would be awesome. She could tone things down a bit from the last few weeks but still bring the house down.

David Cook - While My Guitar Gently Weeps
He could rock out a bunch of different Beatles songs, but I think he'd be great on this one.

Jason Castro - Here, There, and Everywhere

I was listening to Revolver today, and the falsettos in this song would be perfect for Jason.

Brook White - A Day in the Life
Hey Jude would be perfect for Brook, but she has to mix things up a little bit this week. She's not in danger of going home, so she really has an opportunity to shine.

Michael Johns - You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
I had a really hard time coming up with a good song for Michael. It seems like he would be good at anything, but I'm not sure which song he could really stand out on. I think this one would be good, but I'm not sure about it.

Amanda Overmyer - Helter Skelter
She should have sung this last week, but she can make up for it tomorrow. It's right in her wheelhouse and no one will notice that she can only sing one type of song.

Syesha Mercado - Hey Jude
Syesha needs to take a risk and stand out this week. What better way than to take one one of the most famous Beatles songs? She could do a great job with this, or she could be gone this week.

Chikezie - With a Little Help from My Friends
I thought about giving Chikezie one of the fun Beatles songs (Mr. Mustard or Carry That Weight), but I think this will work better for him. He'll be able to show some personality, which is the only thin keeping him around still.

Ramiele Malubay - Julia
She has a ton of great slow ballads to pick from. Eventually she'll need to stand out from the crowd, but this week she'll be fine just playing it safe.

Kristy Lee Cook - Can't Buy Me Love
It's going to be tough for Kristy to stick around for another week. To do it she's going to need to look comfortable on stage and sing a Country-ish song without turning the audition into a hoe-down. I think this is the song for her, but it won't guarantee her a place in the final 10.

March 16, 2008

NCAA Hates the State of Maryland

Even though the University of Maryland struggled this year and won't make the tournament, the smaller schools throughout the state have been impressive during Championship Week. Mount St. Mary's, Coppin State, and UMBC all won their conference tournaments and made the NCAA tourney. Basketball fans in Maryland were looking forward to cheering for the three long shots next weekend.

Unfortunately, that won't happen. ESPN just announced that Mount St. Mary's and Coppin State will face off in the play-in game on Tuesday. Leaving aside the fact that the play-in game (or the "opening round game" as the NCAA insists on calling it) is an abomination, clearly two teams from the same small state shouldn't play each other in the game.

I'm not claiming that those aren't the bottom two teams in the tournament. I haven't seen either one play this year, and it's possible that they both suck. But for basketball fans in the Baltimore area, it feels like a slap in the face. Instead of having three scrappy underdogs to root for in the tournament, we're guaranteed only two. If only one of the teams had ended up in the play-in game, at least we could have had a rooting interest in the crappy Dayton shootout. With both teams making it, we're stuck watching two local teams face off for a spot in the real tournament.

For local fans still suffering from a disappointing year for the Terps, this feels like a slap in the face.