Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day 2011

Do you remember when the MLB held opening day in Japan?

...that was stupid.

This year, we've got a slate of six games. And they'll all be held in America.

As exciting as opening day is - and it sure is exciting - there's still one huge knock on baseball. It's the classic MLB problem: so many teams are already out of the running, and no one's even thrown a pitch. That said, here are the Sports Casual MLB predictions:

American League
East: Boston Red Sox
Central: Minnesota Twins
West: Texas Rangers
Wild Card: New York Yankees

National League
East: Washington Nationals
Just Kidding: Philadelphia Phillies
Central: Cincinnati Reds
West: San Francisco Giants
Wild Card: Atlanta Braves

Wow! Those are some bold picks. But seriously. I'll take the Kansas City Royals over the New York Mets in the world series. And by that I mean the Boston Red Sox over the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Can we just play for a couple months and then skip right to the playoffs?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bill Self, Leonard Hamilton, Matt Painter, John Thompson III, & Kevin O'Neill Confess: "We Had VCU In Our Office Pools"

Maybe Jay Bilas was right after all.

In the latest NCAA scandal, the basketball coaches of Kansas, Florida St., Purdue, Georgetown, and USC are all under investigation for their actions during recent tournament games. Apparently, each one of these coaches had picked VCU to be in the Final Four in their high-roller office pools.

The buy-ins for these pools are rumored to be between $25,000 and $50,000, with the winners taking home over seven figures. Each coach is currently near the top of the leaderboard. Though it is unclear how, Tim Donaghy is almost certainly involved with this scandal.

We caught up with Kansas coach Bill Self to discuss these accusations.

"Sure," Self said. "I picked VCU to be in the national championship. I figured we'd lose to a 'Northern Iowa' before we had to play them. But I wasn't about to take any chances in that pool. That's why I told my guys to play as soft as they could and constantly heave up horrendous shots."

These actions, though reprehensible, sure do explain a lot. Bracketeers across the nation have been scratching their heads in disbelief, trying to figure out how a team could go from First Four to Final Four despite strong but not outstanding talent. This could be the answer we've been looking for.

The NCAA has recently released this statement: "We've already launched an investigation. It will probably drag on for way too long. Admittedly, we don't actually punish coaches, so we'll likely just put them on probation, whatever that means."

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Greatest Video Ever?

Today, a video. Tomorrow, a real post. Gotta ease back into things. (Thanks to Mr. Joe for the video.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Break Time

Sports Casual is going on a brief hiatus. It could have something to do with 2 midterms, 2 projects, and a paper. Enjoy March Madness; we'll be back soon!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March Madness Day 2: Business As Usual

Day 2 of the tournament was, by NCAA standards, a bit more routine. We saw only 4 upsets, and most of them were fairly predictable ones. The day started off strong, but the action certainly lagged when the one seeds hit the court. While the action wasn't always compelling, we did get to watch several exciting games throughout the day. And hey, we got to see Gus Johnson go nuts.

Here are a few thoughts from the day:

Villanova - That's SO embarrassing.

Marquette - Fun fun fun fun, looking forward to Syracuse

Tennessee - I remember my first basketball game. And the search for a new coach starts...NOW!

Michigan - Where was this for the last 15 years?

Georgetown - You are rapidly becoming the perennial first round upset pick.

Washington - Phew.

Ohio St, Duke, Kansas - Winning like a 1 seed should win.

Sports Casual March Madness Leaderboard

Boomshackalacka *
12-5 Upset special
Gators bitches be usin Jimmers
I know what I'm doing...
24----Notre Dame24182
The Saskatoon Totem Pole
Sen Ditin Je Rome
please scrowe me
Bieber for 3
Lowest Scoring Bracket Ever?
10----Boston U.1012

Friday, March 18, 2011

March Madness Day 1: A Few Thoughts

It's the most wonderful time of time year. The tournament is finally underway. On Day 1, we already saw 9 single-digit margins of victory, 4 last (or near last) second wins, and 3 upsets. Here are a few team-by-team thoughts from day 1.

Butler - Seriously, this again?

Princeton - Hats off to the Tigers. Nobody expected you to win, and you didn't. But nobody expected you to be competitive, and you were.

Louisville - Yikes. Yes Morehead State was a pretty good team for a low seed, but you really dropped the ball on that one. Thanks for busting brackets everywhere. (P.S. Yes, it was a foul).

Michigan St. - At last, the season mercifully comes to an end.

St. Johns - Too bad they can't play all the tournament games at Madison Square Garden.

Pittsburgh, UConn - Well, that was exactly as boring as everyone expected.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sports Casual March Madness Bracket

Don't forget to sign up!!!

Yahoo ID: 11095
Password: he'sheatingup

Good luck!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

NFL Labor Talks Break Down

In case you didn't hear about it 36 times in one hour of SportsCenter, the doomed-from-the-start player/owner collective bargaining sessions finally broke down yesterday. The players' union has decertified and followed an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL

You are tearing me apart, NFL.

It's hard to say what's going to happen to the 2011 NFL season. We do know a few things: (1) there won't be any immediate progress, (2) the NFL Players' Association has replaced its website with this depressing graphic, and (3) Roger Goodell has made good on his promise and taken a $9,999,999 pay cut.

Sports Casual was lucky enough to obtain the footage below. While it is difficult to discern exactly who is on camera, the footage clearly shows the final few seconds before bargaining completely breaks down.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Countdown Friday: The Top 7 Reasons To Love March Madness

7. Upsets - Every year, early round games in particular are rife with surprise endings.

6. Productivity Plummets - Talk about an adverse supply shock. And who doesn't love CBS's "Boss Button."

5. Gambling - Nothing like losing a few bucks because you picked Villanova to make the Final Four.

4. Gus Johnson - America's most enthusiastic announcer is sure to go wild.

3. Cinderella Stories - Butler, George Mason...will there be a new cinderella story in 2011?

2. 67 Games to Watch - Clear your schedule.

1. Buzzer Beaters - There's no thrill in sports quite like that of the buzzer beater. And during March Madness, it seems we get new ones to talk about every day.

(A countdown within a countdown? Now that's wild.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Postseason Push - NCAA

Here we are: part 3 of our postseason trilogy. If you've ever seen one of my brackets, you'll know that picking NCAA basketball is not my forte. But still, I'm going to do my best sports reporter impression and make bold claims with little legitimate evidence and stand by them even after they are proven wrong.

Top 4 Seeds:
-Ohio State: Right now, OSU is playing the best basketball in the country.
-Kansas: Kansas has spent all year in the top rankings and won another Big 12 regular season championship.
-North Carolina: UNC made a late-season run and won the ACC regular season title. With a deep conference tourney run, they'll swipe a #1 seed from Duke.
-Pittsburgh: A #1 seed must be reserved for the best team in America's most competitive conference.

Last 4 In:
-Boston College: BC has been just good enough to make the tournament without any real signature wins.
-Michigan: The maize and blue finished 19-12 with a .500 conference record in the competitive Big 10. UM will seal a tourney bid with a win against Illinois in the Big 10 Tournament on Friday.
-Virginia Tech: The Hokies had an up and down season, but a 19-10 record that includes an upset over then-#1 Duke should be enough.
-Alabama: Alabama had a 20-10 overall record and went 12-4 in the SEC, with a big win over Kentucky, all en route to the best record in the SEC West.

First 4 Out:
-Michigan State: What a disappointment MSU has been. The Spartans had a chance at redemption at the end of the season, but got blown out in a 20-point loss against Purdue and then lost to Michigan for the second time this season.
-Georgia: Georgia < Alabama. The Bulldogs will lose to the Crimson Tide in the first round of the SEC tournament, squashing all March madness hopes.
-USC: USC has a good record, but an impressive RPI will be detrimental to the Trojans.
-Baylor: A sub-.500 conference record really hurts the Bears and significantly undermines tourney chances.

Less than a week until Selection Sunday...let the madness begin!

And don't forget to join the Sports Casual NCAA bracket on Yahoo. The winner will get to publish a guest article and will also receive, I don't know...a soda.

Join here with league ID# 11095 and password he'sheatingup

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Postseason Push - NBA

I'll admit it - this post was a tough one to write. It isn't that I can't get excited about the NBA playoffs. On the contrary, the thought of [finally] getting to watch meaningful NBA games is quite refreshing. But the idea of evaluating bubble teams seems rather futile. The NBA is a very top-heavy league in general, and this year the talent is especially skewed. Honestly, look at current seeds 5 through 8 in each conference and find one that could win a first round playoff series. (Maybe the Knicks, maybe).

But anyways, we might as well take a look at the playoff picture.

Here are the standings as of today:

Eastern Conference
1. Boston
2. Miami
3. Chicago
4. Orlando
5. Atlanta
6. New York
7. Philadelphia
8. Indiana

In the hunt: Charlotte (1 GB), Milwaukee (4 GB)
Maybe next year? : Detroit, New Jersey, Toronto, Washington, Cleveland

Western Conference
1. San Antonio
2. Dallas
3. L.A. Lakers
4. Oklahoma City
5. Denver
6. New Orleans
7. Portland
8. Memphis

In the hunt: Phoenix (1 GB), Utah (1.5 GB), Houston (3 GB)
It's been real: Golden State, L.A. Clippers, Sacramento, Minnesota


Finals Favorites: Boston Celtics, L.A. Lakers
-Until I have a serious reason to believe otherwise, I'll pick the perennial favorites to return to the finals. Many analysts are criticizing the Celtics for trading Perkins and the Lakers for poor play. But the Celtics were without Perkins all season, and have been doing just fine, and the Lakers still have Kobe.

Biggest Threats to the Finals Favorites: Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs
-The Spurs are playing the best basketball in the NBA this year, posting a 49-11 record so far. And San Antonio is no stranger to the postseason. In the East, the Bulls boast a very impressive starting five (Rose, Bogans, Noah, Boozer, Deng). Sure, the Heat have talent, but Miami has failed to beat the league's elite teams.

Don't Be Surprised if they Make It: Milwaukee Bucks, Houston Rockets
-Despite being four games out of 8th place, Milwaukee has a very realistic shot at making the playoffs. Their record is unimpressive, but Milwaukee's roster is loaded with talent. As for the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets are without a doubt the hottest "bad" team, riding a 5 game win streak. Houston doesn't have tremendous size or star power, but the Rockets possess the shooters to remain competitive in any game.

Don't Be Surprised if the Blow It: Indiana Pacers, New Orleans Hornets
-The top six spots in the East are essentially secure. The Sixers have more talent than the Pacers, which leaves Indiana as the most likely team in the East to miss the postseason. The Hornets got off to a hot start, but have since been in a tailspin. Despite being in sixth, New Orleans is only 2 games up on ninth place Phoenix.