Monday, March 18

Analyze This

Gotta love those egotistical sports analysts declaring 1 and 2 seeds in the final four of the 2013 NCAA tourney.  Many imply the lower seeds aren’t worthy of their time.  Some make it sound like the bottom half of the 64 teams should be erased—snuffed out like a Cub fan’s dream of a World Series.

You’d think even sportscasters are familiar with keywords like upset or sleeper team.  Plus, there’s the worn out words of anything can happen at tournament time.  Overused, but true.  If these experts showed a bit of wisdom, they wouldn’t focus all their precious expensive time pouring over data from the supposed Big Guns. They’d spend more time with Cinderella.
Fans representing every tourney team could present a list of reasons why their team is a potential winner.  A few seem so obvious you’d think even those swollen heads of sports analysts wouldn’t be able to block the glare.

Case 1

Take a close look at the10 seed in the West, the Iowa State Cyclones.  Yup, they lost to Kansas three times. Twice in overtime. Kansas won the second game via a blatantly incorrect foul call (causing the sportscaster to fly into a hissy fit rage) allowing Kansas to shoots free throws to tie the game.  Just in case you suspect I am bias, check out the replay in the film clip here Controversial no-call late in regulation derails Iowa State’s bid to upset Kansas or here Kansas Jayhawks – Elijah Johnson Rises Above Controversy.  Shoulda been a charge. Iowa State wins in regulation. Instead, in the last few seconds, a ref hands the game to the Jayhawks.
Hilton Colseum in Ames, IA is home to ISU.

Wait a minute.  So, why aren’t the 22-11 Cyclones taken seriously? If Kansas is a number 1 seed and Iowa State took them into overtime, you’d think they might get a quick look.  If you don’t like the Kansas overtime analogy, consider these reasons validating Iowa State as the sneaky sleeper.
  •   Iowa State ranks fourth in the country in scoring offense
  •  ISU beat three Big 12 teams consistently ranked throughout the season (Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Kansas St)
  •  Any of the top 6 Cyclones are excellent 3-pt shooters
  •  Iowa State has strong bench.  My favorite player, Tyrus McGee, is the sixth man

    •  Their coach is motivational, wise, personable, popular, classy, highly respected, knows the game as player and coach is dedicated to the team and community (and many more accolades).  The highly regarded Fred Hoiberg is known as The Mayor in hometown Ames. And, he’s got a great smile

    • This team is a team that plays as a team. In other words, it does not consist of a big-name star with four peons feeding him.  These Cyclones support each other. They concentrate on team goals instead of individual stars. (This is not an objective provable fact so just take my word on this one) 
    • I have family connections at ISU-son works there, daughter-in-law’s undergraduate degree from there.

    Case 2
    Check out the Jack Rabbits from South Dakota State University with a 25-9 record.  Winners of the Summit League’s conference tournament, they are going to the big dance as an atomatic bid for the second year in a row. As a 13 seed in the South bracket, the Jacks don’t grab a great deal of national media attention due to moving up to DI status less than 10 years ago, conference is not well known, and . . . well,  they're located in the state of SD with a total population less than the number of people living in Polk County Iowa. Regardless, Nate Wolters is making his mark on SD State and Jacks are making a mark in DI basketball. They claim some great stats. The Jacks are capable of pulling off a stunning upset-if they can stay composed in hostile territory.

    •  Standout Nate Wolters scores the country’s fourth highest  average points per outing charting 22.7 points per game
    • Jacks are 10th in the country in 3 pt shooting percentage with a .394
    •  They beat a ranked team, New Mexico, on their turf in Albuquerque
    •  Big underdogs, the Jacks have nothing to lose 
    • I was born and raised in SD. Still have fam there. A few are connected to the university
    So keep an eye on these two sleepers. Are there others? Sure. But it's 4 in the morning. I am tired and these are my favorites. At the moment I don't care so much about the others.

    If you need a copy of the 2013 NCAA Tournament bracket go to The Bracket.


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