Tuesday, September 13, 2016

2009 NBA All-Star Game Tickets: How to Get Yours

2009 NBA All-Star Game Tickets are a hot commodity. If you haven’t yet gotten your 2009 NBA All-Star Game Tickets, there still may be time, but you had better hurry before they are all snapped up. The 2009 NBA All-Star Game is taking place at the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix. Tickets are going fast, but the websites below may be able to assist you if you hurry.

Stubhub.com

Stubhub.com may be just what NBA fans are looking for. Tickets are bought and sold by NBA fans, making it sometimes possible to find rare tickets at the last minute. User-generated ticket sales can be beneficial in that there are times a basketball fan has tickets, but is unable to attend. They then put out their tickets on a site like Stubhub.com, so others can take advantage.

CoastToCoastTickets.com

2009 NBA All-Star Tickets also can be had at CoastToCoastTickets.com. This website searches for tickets, even down to the last minute to make them available to the public, even for sold-out events. The 2009 NBA All-Star Game is sure to be one of those games in which tickets are hard to find, especially at the last minute.

Ticketmaster.com

Ticketmaster, of course, will be supplied with 2009 NBA All-Star Game Tickets. Ticketmaster is a long-time trusted company to buy tickets for many different venues. 2009 NBA All-Star Tickets likely will sell out fast, so act quickly. Ticketmaster also is, as fans know, the official ticket partner for NBA action

RazorGator.com

RazorGator.com claims to have the best seats for the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, AZ. Tickets to the 2009 NBA All-Star Game will be hard to get, so don’t miss out! Many fans will miss out on tickets, especially tickets with good seating arrangements. Don’t let that be you.

TickCo.com

If you are looking for premium seating at the 2009 NBA All-Star game, TickCo.com just may be your answer. It’s easy to see what type of tickets you are getting because the site offers a chart of exact seating locations. Choose from live inventory tickets, as well as general seating.

TicketCity.com

Tickets to the 2009 NBA All-Star Game also can be found at TicketCity.com. The 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix is sure to be a can’t miss event for NBA basketball fans. Hurry and get your tickets before everyone else beats you to it.

Tags:2009 NBA All-Star Game Tickets: How to Get Yours

2009 NCAA Sweet Sixteen Predictions: UConn, Villanova Will Advance

With the field now reduced to the Sweet 16, the 2009 NCAA Tournament has given us quite a few memorable moments. With each region’s top three seeds all advancing, the games will only get better.

Starting in the Midwest Region, number one seed Louisville will face off against the 12th seeded Arizona Wildcats. There was much talk about Arizona not fully earning a spot in this year’s NCAA tournament, but they have silenced those critics. Louisville has played well, although Siena put up a great fight in their second round match-up. With Louisville on a roll, I would look for the Cardinals to beat the Wildcats.

Kansas will face off against Michigan State in the other Midwest region game. Kansas, last year’s champs, looks very tough so far, while Michigan State had a tough time against USC in the second round. I would take Kansas over Michigan State in this match-up.

The West region has their number one seed UConn playing five seed Purdue, which upset Washington in the second round. UConn has been unstoppable so far in this tournament, winning both games by a combined 82 points. The Boilermakers of Purdue squeaked by 12 seed Northern Iowa in round one before defeating Washington in round two by two points. I like UConn in this game.

The other West region matchup features Memphis against Missouri. Memphis had a close round one game, but then crushed Maryland in round two. Missouri easily handled Cornell in round one before getting some last second help against Marquette in round two (Lazar Hayward wished he was a size 8 shoe at this point). I like Memphis in this game.

The East region features their number one seed Pitt, who will take on the four seed Xavier in the Sweet 16. Pitt has had a shaky start tot heir NCAA Tournament thus far, as they squeaked by ETSU by only ten points, and beating Oklahoma State by eight. Xavier, however, has easily handled Portland State and Wisconsin so far. If Pitt can play to their potential, then they should be able to beat Xavier. If not, Xavier will upset the number one seeded Panthers.

The other East matchup pits three seed Villanova against two seed Duke. ‘Nova had a tough game against American in the first round before pulling away, and then they man-handled UCLA. Duke won easily in round one, but defeated Texas by only five points in round two. I like Villanova in this game over Duke.

The South region has two great games in the Sweet 16. One seed North Carolina will face Gonzaga. The Zags easily handled Akron in round one, but barely got by 12 seed Western Kentucky in round two. UNC got a huge boost by the return of guard Ty Lawson in their second round match-up against LSU as they went on to win by 14. Look for another good game from Lawson as UNC will pull this game out.

The other game in the South Region will have number two seed Oklahoma facing off against number three seed Syracuse. This game looks to be an instant classic. Both teams have been playing very well in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, but with the run Syracuse has been on, they have what it takes to upset Oklahoma.

If the Sweet 16 is anywhere near the excitement of the first two rounds, I can’t wait to see what happened next! Thursday and Friday cannot come here soon enough!

References: http://ift.tt/2cLW8hM

Tags:2009 NCAA Sweet Sixteen Predictions: UConn, Villanova Will Advance

2009 NBA Playoffs Matchups and Picks

This regular season was one for the ages. We had the Cavs post an unearthly 39-2 record at home. We had miraculous buzzer beaters from Devin Harris, Brandon Roy (twice in one game), and other players. We had injuries to key guys like Gilbert Arenas, Tracy McGrady, Jameer Nelson, Andrew Bynum, and Kevin Garnett. We saw great point guards swap places in Iverson and Billups. We saw Steph Marbury find a home in Boston. We witnessed the beginning of a new era of players, such as OJ Mayo, Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon, and Brook Lopez. And we saw the revival of Dwyane Wade.

All these stories are great, but now comes the time for the page to be turned, and we start a new chapter in this year’s book of basketball. The NBA Playoffs are starting soon, and the sky is the limit for many teams. All eyes are on the Lakers and Cavaliers to maintain the greatness they have represented so far this year. The Celtics, too, are still favorites, even without their vocal leader Kevin Garnett. The Nuggets have been spectacular with Chauncey at the helm. The Blazers and Mavs are blooming at the right time. The Pistons have struggled to come up with the Answer. And yet, here we are, with 16 teams remaining. The West is stacked with the 2-7 teams being separated by only 3 games. The East is separated but could be closer than you think. So who’s going to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy this year?

The Western Conference, as usual the past decade, was stock full of competitors. The standings and seeds came all the way down to the last game, and the pressure has only intensified since then.

1.Los Angeles Lakers vs. 8. Utah Jazz.
The Lakers have been nothing short of superb this year. Kobe Bryant has played out of his mind for the last year, leading the United States to a gold medal (with Wade and James) and now hoping to win the West for the second straight year. The Jazz, on the other hand, have come on as of late, and are finally looking like a team with 3 all-star caliber players. Deron Williams was injured early, Boozer was out until March, and Kirilenko has had up and down minutes year round, but if they all 3 can collaborate for a 7 game series, they just might pull something off. However, with the re-emergence of Andrew Bynum and the overall depth of the Lakers, I see L.A. winning this series in 6 games.

2. Denver Nuggets vs. 7. New Orleans Hornets.
After the trade of Tyson Chandler to OKC was failed, the Hornets have pulled themselves together under the masterful play of Chris Paul. CP3, along with Chandler and David West, has N’awlins playing well finally. The Nuggets, however, are the clear favorites in the series. They have a great point man themselves in Chauncey Billups, who came to Denver in a trade for Iverson. Under Billups, the Nuggets have made a team with low expectations a contender in only 5 months. And don’t forget Carmelo Anthony and Kenyon Martin, both playing nicely as of late. Throw in the scoring options off the bench for Denver (JR Smith) and you can see why the Nuggets will take this matchup in 5 games.

3. San Antonio Spurs vs. 6. Dallas Mavericks.
With names like Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker on the Spurs, you can see why they always play so well. Given that their prize free agent of last year, Roger Mason Jr, is a clutch shooter as well, and they have a defensive stonewall in Bruce Bowen, you’d think they were the favorites to win it all. However, the odd-year title streak must come to a close this year. The Mavericks are firing on all cylinders with Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, and Jason Kidd. Josh Howard is no slouch either, making the Mavs offense as potent now as it has been ever in the past. I know Popovich will inspire his Spurs to play D like no other coach can, but right now Dallas is too good to stop. Mavericks in 6 games.

4. Portland Trail Blazers vs. 5. Houston Rockets.
In Houston, Yao has been your typical Chinese 7’6″ center all year, earning yet another All-Star Game appearance. Ron Artest, too, has been playing his usual NBA Defensive 1st Team defense. But with Tracy McGrady still out with a leg injury, I see the Rockets road ending in the 1st round yet again. The Blazers have by far the youngest and most talented team overall in the league. With all five starters totaling only 18 years of experience (8 of those from Joel Pryzbilla), Portland looks like it will contend for years to come. This year, Brandon Roy teams up with Rudy Fernandez and had one of the best back courts in the league. Rudy led all rookies in 3 point field goals made, with 156. Roy had his second all-star year in a row, and is showing the world that he is truly great. Add in the stellar play from the big men LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Oden, Channing Frye, and Pryzbilla, and there is really no solution to stopping the Blazers. I see Portland winning this series in 7 games, however the will power and fight left in these Rockets will make this an interesting series.

The Eastern Conference is having a relatively great year, despite its playoff teams having a significantly lower total record than the West’s. Although the Cavs, Celtics, and Magic had brilliant seasons, the rest of the conference lagged behind. But with injuries to clutch player like Kevin Garnett and Jameer Nelson, the first round might actually be interesting.

1.Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 8. Detroit Pistons.
Perhaps the biggest mistake in Joe Dumars’ career as Pistons GM was trading Billups, the team leader the past 6 years, to Denver for Allen Iverson. In Detroit, Iverson is clearly not the Answer. After acquiring A.I. from Denver the Pistons went a lousy 35-43. They would not have even made the playoffs if not for the 4 games Chauncey played for them early on in the season. The Cavs, on the other hand, are coming off the best season in franchise history. Although they hold homecourt advantage throughout, I doubt they will need to use it this round. LeBron leads the Cavs to a 4 game sweep of Detroit.

2. Boston Celtics vs. 7.Chicago Bulls.
Alas, we get the most intriguing 2-7 matchup in a while. Although the Celtics finished 20 games better than the Bulls, Boston is missing their general and intimidator, Kevin Garnett. This opens up a hole in the Celtics lineup that Chicago, oddly enough, can actually attack, using mid-season acquisition Brad Miller and young, talented Tyrus Thomas to work Boston on the inside. Derrick Rose has also played splendid ball all year, and if he can one-up his game to a new level for the playoffs, I would be very afraid. Despite having two all-star wings in Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, I see this upset as one they will have trouble preventing. Chicago Bulls win in a 7 game marathon series.

3. Orlando Magic vs. 6. Philadelphia 76ers.
Yes, Jameer Nelson is injured, and yes, the 76ers are heating up. This seems like it could be a seven game series when you mention the high-flying Philadelphia players Thaddeus Young and Andre Igoudala. But the Magic have an impressive 3-point attack that includes 4 of the 5 starters – Rafer Alston (from Houston via trade), Mickael Pietrus, Rashard Lewis, and Hedo Turkoglu. Orlando also has one of the most unique athletic specimens in basketball history, the ever-dunking Dwight Howard. If you could sum up this series in one word, it would be offense, because there will be a lot. The difference will be the more consistent Orlando defensive presence from Howard, as the Magic should take this series in 6 games.

4.Atlanta Hawks vs. 5. Miami Heat.
In this series we have the MVP-favorite Dwyane Wade going up against the silky-smooth Atlanta Hawks and their offensive threat Joe Johnson. Besides for Wade and Jermaine O’Neal, Miami is young and inexperienced. But this won’t matter as much, because the Hawks are very inexperienced in the playoffs as well. Atlanta will make it rain from downtown and Al Horford would make his rise to greatness seem even more credible if they can come out with a series win. Wade, however, should be the difference in this series, as his playoff numbers more than suggest that he can lead any team to a crown. Miami in 6 games.

We can only hope that this first round of the playoffs will give us enough time to rest between leaving our seats in excitement!

Second round picks will come as soon as first round series results are final!

Tags:2009 NBA Playoffs Matchups and Picks

2009 NCAA Men's Basketball Bracketology - Louisville, North Carolina Head Tourney Predictions

We’re officially within a month of the start of 2009 NCAA Men’s College Basketball tournament. Even with being so close to March Madness, we have not had a consistent number one team that’s been able to stay on top of the AP polls with Pitt losing (again) after obtaining the number one ranking this past week and Oklahoma dropping a game to the Kansas Jayhawks with Blake Griffin having to sit out due to a concussion. Look for UConn to regain the top spot in the polls and for Louisville to move up into the top four and solidify their lock on a Number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament! Even though Memphis may move up to a Nr 4 ranking in the polls, they are considered to be a bit over-rated at this point of the season lacking quality wins over ranked competition. The SEC will be worth watching over the next few weeks to see whether or not South Carolina can hang on to win the East Division Crown and if Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee can hang on to make the 2009 NCAA tournament! This bracketology is based on the RPI, AP polls, and trends of each team over their last five games.

2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Bracketology – Seedings 1-8

1 UConn, Louisville, North Carolina, Oklahoma

2 Memphis, Wake Forrest, Clemson, Duke

3 Pitt, Michigan State, Marquette, Villanova

4 Florida State, Kansas, Missouri, Purdue

5 Xavier, West Virginia, Arizona State, Washington

6 Syracuse, Utah, Texas, Gonzaga

7 Illinois, UCLA, LSU, Arizona

8 California, Butler, UNLV, South Carolina

2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Bracketology – Seedings 9-16

9 Kentucky, Ohio State, BYU, Georgetown

10 Notre Dame, Boston College, Dayton, Florida

11 Tennessee, Niagara (MAAC), Wisconsin, Minnesota

12 Northern Iowa (MVC), Miami (FL), Western Kentucky, Maryland

13 Buffalo (MAC), Charleston (Southern), Northeastern (CAA), Nevada (WAC)

14 VMI (Big South), Belmont (Atlantic Sun), Vermont (American East), Cornell (Ivy)

15 Portland State (Big Sky), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), North Dakota St (Summit), Long Beach (Big West)

16 Robert Morris (Northeast), Morgan St (MEAC), Holy Cross (Patriot), Play In game

2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Bracketology – Last Four Out/In
Sitting with a few weeks left in conference play, the last four teams in to the tournament at this point are Boston College, Penn State, San Diego State, and Maryland. The last four out are Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Temple, and UAB. The SEC teams are worth watching. If Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky, or South Carolina lose out to finish the season they could be NIT bound instead of heading to the Big Dance!

Refs

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Tags:2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Bracketology - Louisville, North Carolina Head Tourney Predictions

2009 Nebraska Wildlife Restoration Grants

The Wildlife Restoration Program, which is also known as the Pittman-Roberson Act of 1937, awards grants that fund projects that restore, select, improve and rehabilitate areas of water and land to be utilized for resting, breeding and feeding areas for wildlife species. The funding for these grants comes from an 11% tax on firearms, ammunition, bows, quivers, broadhead arrows and points, 10% tax on handguns, revolvers and pistols and $.43 on arrow shafts plus interest earned on the Wildlife Restoration Fund. This type of funding makes this program one that is used and funded by the same people.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for the administration of the Wildlife Restoration Program grants that are awarded to agencies throughout the nation, such as the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. In 2009, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission was awarded seven Wildlife Restoration Program grants. These grants are the Administration of Program Land Grant, the Hunter Education Grant, the Wildlife Surveys and Inventories grant, the Technical Assistance in Habitat Restoration Grant, the Acquisition of Upland Game Management Areas, the Management Access Program and the acquisition of Upland Game Management Areas.

The administration of Program Land (In-Lieu of Taxes) Grant is $312,000 and extends from March 1, 2009 through February 28, 2010. This grant provides funding for managing and coordinating payments to Nebraska “counties in-lieu-of taxes for lands acquired for wildlife management purposes to meet the requirements of Section 37-335 of the Revised Statutes of Nebraska.”

The Hunter Education Program Grant is $413,564 and extends from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009. This grant provides funding for Nebraska’s Hunter Education Programs including Firearm Hunter Education Programs, Bow Hunter Education Programs, Advanced Hunter Education Programs and Firearms and Bow Hunter Education Instructors Programs.

The Wildlife Surveys and Inventories Grant is $375,000 and extends from March 1, 2009 through February 28, 2010. This grant provides funding for gathering information on Big Game population, Upland Game population, waterfowl population, furbearers population, Natural Heritage Program surveys, wildlife diseases and parasites an wildlife management and coordination.

The Technical Assistance in Habitat Restoration Grant is $455,250 and extends from November 1, 2008 through October 31, 2009. This grant provides funding for technical assistance related to wildlife habitat restoration for government agencies and private land owners.

The Acquisition of Upland Game Management Areas Grant is $168,000 and extends from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009. This grant provides funding for acquiring 120 acres in Johnson County to become part of the Hickory Oaks Wildlife Management Area and 640 acres in Sioux County to become the Fort Robinson Wildlife Management Area.

The Management access Program Grant is $750,000 and extends from November 1, 2008 through October 31, 2009. This grant provides funding for enhancing and increasing hunting access located on private property.

The Acquisition of Upland Game Management Areas Grant is $493,520 and extends from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009. This grant provides funding for acquiring 888 acres in Scott’s Bluff County that will become a Wildlife Management area and for acquiring 640 acres in Sioux County that will become Fort Robinson Wildlife Management Area.

The Wildlife Restoration Program, which is responsible for funding many grants, enable a cycle to be complete, a cycle that begins and ends with the user of the facility that received the grant. This grant is used for many projects that are in place to improve public use, wildlife resource access and wildlife management programs funded by the Wildlife Restoration Program and the funds are calculated using an apportionment formula which includes taxes, land area and number of paid license hunters of each state that apply for these funds. These grants are disbursed to the states and insular areas on a reimbursement basis of up to 75% for the states and up to 100% for insular areas of America and with conserving the wildlife species and their habitats for many years to come.

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2009 NBA Playoffs: Eastern 2nd Round Predictions

Outside of the Bulls and Celtics series, there was little excitement in the East during the first round of the playoffs. Here are predictions for the teams who will emerge victorious and advance to the Conference Finals.

Hawks vs. Cavaliers:

The Cleveland Cavaliers came into the playoffs with the best record in the league and as expected, they were able to overwhelm Detroit in four quick games to advance to the second round of the playoffs. They come into this match up against the Hawks after a week off and will be well rested for the fourth seeded Hawks. The Hawks on the other hand, needed seven games to defeat Wade and the Miami Heat in a series where each team won their games by a double-digit margin. The Cleveland Cavaliers were clicking on all cylinders in the opening round against the Pistons as James had no problem getting to the basket at will or setting up his teammates when the defensive coverage collapsed in the paint in attempt to prevent him from scoring inside. The Cavaliers defeated the Hawks in three of their four regular season meetings the Cavaliers’ big three of James, Williams and Ilgauskas averaged nearly 66 points against the Hawks during the regular season. However, the Hawks may not be an easy out as most would think. They have a good trio in their own right in Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, and Josh Smith all who are capable of kicking the Atlanta’s offense into another gear from both inside and outside. The key to winning the series for both teams will be the ability to holding the opponent to half court game as both teams excel in the open court. If the Hawks can force Lebron to carry the offensive load and limit Cleveland’s perimeter shooters, they may have a chance at making this a long series. My prediction is that the Cavaliers will defeat the Hawks in 6 games to move on the next round.

Magic vs. Celtics:

The defending champion Celtics advanced to the second round by way of thrilling seven-game series against the Chicago Bulls while the Magic emerged as the victor in six games against the Philadelphia Sixers. In the first round, the Celtics were able to win the series with the inside play of Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis who consistently found themselves open a few feet away from the basket. Don’t look for the Celtics to enjoy this kind of advantage against Orlando as they did against the Bulls, as the Magic are bigger in the frontcourt with Howard and Lewis. Another factor that may play in Orlando’s favor is at the small forward position. Turkoglu who will be difficult for Paul Pierce to drive on, as he is quicker than Salmons was in the last series who was had been hampered by groin injury and is capable of hitting the deep shot with more consistency than Salmons on the offensive end as well. The Celtics may have the advantage in the backcourt in Rondo who nearly averaged a triple double against Chicago and Allen who always seems to find a way to hit big buckets when the team needs them the most. If the Celtics are to win this series, they will need not only need the same inside scoring punch they had in the previous round but I think they will also need Pierce to average at least 20 points per contest. It’s hard to go bet against a defending champion especially since they’ve been battle tested as each of their playoff series dating back to last season has gone at least 6 games and 3 of them have gone to the seventh and deciding game. However, I am going to go out on a limb and pick that the Magic will win the series in seven games.

Source:

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TNT Sports

Tags:2009 NBA Playoffs: Eastern 2nd Round Predictions

2009 NCAA March Madness Schedule Underway at 12:20 p.m.

The 2009 NCAA March Madness schedule is finally ready to get started today. After weeks of bracketology, March Madness 2009 is here at last. Office workers are now rearranging their schedule so they can catch as many NCAA Tournament games as possible, and root for their office pool champions. Today, the first portion of the 2009 March Madness schedule begins with the traditional 16 first round Thursday games.

There are three 2009 NCAA Tournament games premiering just after noon today, to start March Madness. The very first NCAA Tournament game starts at 12:20, in the South Region. Eight seeded LSU, the SEC regular season champions, faces a traditional NCAA Tournament spoiler, the ninth seeded Butler Bulldogs.

Five minutes later at 12:25, the Memphis Tigers begin their run through March Madness against the West’s 15’th seed, Cal State Northridge. At 12:30, the West’s 8-9 game in Philadelphia has BYU facing Texas A&M for the second year in a row at March Madness.

Four games are on the 2009 March Madness schedule sometime between 2:30 and 3, depending on when the first games end. Two of these games feature top seeds, with North Carolina taking on Radford in the South, and Connecticut going up against Chattanooga in the West region. The two other games in this time slot are in the West region, with Purdue vs. Northern Iowa, and Cal clashing with Maryland.

Afterward, the March Madness schedule has just one game at 5 p.m. The fourth seed Washington Huskies in the West region, take on surprise SEC tournament champ Mississippi State. After that, 2009 March Madness goes into prime time.

At 7:10, Clemson faces Michigan in the Southern region, while Texas takes on Minnesota in the East. At 7:20, Villanova plays in front of a de facto home crowd in Philadelphia, against American University. At 7:25, Gonzaga takes on Akron.

The final round of March Madness games on day 1 takes place sometime after 9:40. Duke will headline this last grouping, facing NCAA tournament newcomer Binghamton. Oklahoma also begins their tournament run against Morgan State. Finally, UCLA faces VCU, and Illinois matches up with last year’s surprise Sweet 16 player, Western Kentucky.

Among these first batch of games on the March Madness schedule, there are several powerful teams expected to make a run to April and the Final Four. For those in the office pool, the games projected as possible upset picks largely take place tomorrow, unless teams like Northern Iowa, Mississippi State, VCU, or some really shocking team out of nowhere pulls some miracles today.

The 2009 NCAA Tournament is once again, exclusively on CBS. The network will go back and forth between each of the games, depending on where a viewer is watching from. But the CBS website March Madness On Demand allows online viewers to watch each game from a live feed.

Sources

Newsday- “NCAA Tournament TV schedule for Thursday (Off the Glass)” http://ift.tt/2cDbIyP

March Madness On Demand- mmod.ncaa.com/

Tags:2009 NCAA March Madness Schedule Underway at 12:20 p.m.

2009 NCAA Tournament Surprise Selections: Wisconsin, Arizona, Minnesota

When the selection committee released the field of 65 on Sunday, there were several teams who were NCAA tournament surprise selections. Here are three of the biggest surprises and why they should have been regulated to the NIT instead of playing under the lights of March Madness.

Wisconsin Badgers

When the season concluded for the Badgers, their regular season record was 19 – 12 and were able to finish in a three way tie for third in the Big Ten with a 10 – 8 record. Yes, the Badgers had a solid RPI of 44 with big wins over Illinois and Michigan. The Badgers also closed out the season with a 7 – 3 record over their last 10 games. With that kind of success, why should they be considered one of the major NCAA tournament surprise selections?

Despite the better than average winning percentage, the Badgers were not successful against teams ranked in the top 50 where they had a 4 – 10 record. If you take it a step further and look at the teams ranked in the top 100, the Badgers still had a losing record with 9 wins versus 11 loses. Let us not forget that the team went on a six game losing streak against other teams from the Big Ten. There were far more deserving teams who should have been given the chance to earn a trip to the tournament.

Arizona Wildcats

At the end of the regular season, the Wildcats boasted a 19 – 12 record while earning the sixth spot in the Pac-10 with a 9 -9 conference record. The loyal supports of the program continually touted how this team had key victories over Kansas, Gonzaga, Washington, and UCLA. Arizona was sure to take advantage of home field, earning 14 of their wins on their home court. But what is it about this team that makes them a NCAA tournament surprise when the brackets were released on Sunday.

A bubble team at the end, the Wildcats continued to try and choke away their chances by ending the season losing 5 of their last 6 games. When it came down to their record versus the top 50 teams in the nation, the Wildcats were 6 – 10. As for their record against teams ranked in the top 100, the Wildcats managed 8 wins versus 12 losses, again another team with a losing winning percentage. And do not forget, the Wildcats limped into the NCAA tournament by losing 5 of their last 6 games.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

The last of the NCAA tournament surprise selections, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, completed the regular season with a 21 – 9 record to go with their 9 – 9 record in the Big Ten. The lone signature win of this team came back in December when the Golden Gophers were able to upset Louisville on a neutral court. Unlike the other two teams on this list, the Golden Gophers were the only ones to win a game in their conference tournament. But what makes their selection to the big dance a surprise?

For starters, the Golden Gophers played miserable down the stretch, owning a 4 – 6 record over their last 10 games. When they played team ranked in the top 50, the Golden Gophers earned a 5 – 8 record. If the teams were ranked in the top 100, the Golden Gophers were only able to record 8 wins versus 10 losses. If the NCAA selection committee was looking for another Big Ten team to join the big dance, they would have been better off selecting Penn State.

Statistics Courtesy of CBSSportsline.com

Tags:2009 NCAA Tournament Surprise Selections: Wisconsin, Arizona, Minnesota

2009 NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics Vs. Orlando Magic Preview and Predictions

The Boston Celtics escape their 7-game first-round NBA Playoff thriller versus the Chicago Bulls to meet the Orlando Magic in the second round. Surviving the greatest first round series of all time further cements the career legacies of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and the Championship pedigree of the Boston Celtics franchise at-large. Ironically, I feel that this second round series versus the Magic is a better draw for the Celtics than their aforementioned fist fight with Chicago.

Although the Orlando Magic sprinted to a 59-23 record and the third seed, this ball club has been largely dismissed from the L.A. Lakers / Cleveland Cavaliers / Boston Celtics looming NBA Finals matrix. The Magic’s first round series, though overshadowed by the Boston-Chicago bracket was filled with late-game heroics and drama in its own right. The Magic finally put away the scrappy 76’ers bunch in six games without the services of franchise centerpiece Dwight Howard in the final close out game.

Still, the road ends here for Orlando. After going 820 for 2148, or 38% from three during the regular season, the Magic are clearly dependent upon hitting from deep to balance their inside-out attack. Over reliance upon perimeter jump shooting has never been the perfect equation for post season success.

These are the key match ups for the 2009 Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic NBA Playoffs series.

#3 2009 NBA Playoffs Boston – Orlando Key Match up: Dwight Howard vs. Boston Big Men

Dwight Howard will destroy the Boston Celtics.

The decimated Celtics front line has no answer for this man-child in the paint. Glen “Big Baby” Davis is an undersized power forward, Mikki Moore is rail thin, and Kendrick Perkins will need all 6 fouls merely to corral Howard. Boston has nothing in terms of depth behind these already limited options, due to the injuries of Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe.

Dwight Howard is a double-double machine that has implemented the jump hook, drop step, and up and under move to his offensive repertoire. Of course, Dwight Howard is a match up nightmare for the Boston Celtics based upon sheer athleticism, alone. Lastly, this beast is the NBA’s reigning defensive player of the year.

Still, Boston’s bigs will make the man work. Big Baby and Kendrick Perkins must knock down outside shots to draw Howard away from the basket, enabling Rondo to freely penetrate the lane. The Celtics offense will grind to a halt if Dwight Howard is allowed to roam the paint and protect the rim as a straight-up shot blocker.

#3 2009 NBA Playoffs Boston – Orlando Key Match up: Boston Big Men vs. Dwight Howard

Advantage: Dwight Howard and Orlando Magic

#2 2009 NBA Playoffs Boston Celtics – Orlando Magic Key Match up: Paul Pierce vs. Rashard Lewis

Rashard Lewis is a “power forward” in name only.

Whereas the Bull-Celtics series was dominated by Rondo / Rose and Allen / Gordon, Paul Pierce and Rashard Lewis are the most equally matched rivals of this series. Expect these two counterparts to duel often, despite the fact that Paul Pierce vs. Hedo Turkoglu is the traditional small forward pairing per the starting lineups.

Rashard Lewis is a three-point gunner extraordinaire that feasts upon the Magic inside-out game and ball reversal. Lewis led the NBA in both three-point attempts and makes – going 220 for 554 from downtown. The sharpshooter arrived to Orlando in 2007 from Seattle as the big money free agent signing – designated to elevate this roster towards the next level. Rashard Lewis must deliver and make good upon every penny of his six-year, $118 million contract with clutch time play.

Although the forward is lights out from deep, Lewis cannot afford to settle for jump shots. Essentially, the 6’10 star should get down and dirty on the low block, put the ball on the floor, and attack the rim to capitalize upon this length. 11 years into his career, Rashard Lewis must still prove himself as a winner.

Paul Pierce’s NBA Finals hardware proves that he has already been there, done that.

#2 2009 NBA Playoffs Boston Celtics – Orlando Magic Key Match up: Paul Pierce vs. Rashard Lewis

Advantage: Paul Pierce and Boston Celtics

#1 2009 NBA Playoffs Boston Celtics – Orlando Magic Key Match up: Live by the Three – Die by the Three

This series will be loaded with downtown fireworks.

Boston ranks as the number-one shooting team per three-point accuracy at 40% and Orlando is tied for sixth with Chicago at 38%.

The combined rosters feature Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, and J.J. Redick. Redick and Allen will be putting together a clinic entitled “how to move off the ball,” Big Baby will be setting punishing screens to make room, and all of these gunners will be putting the mechanics of the perfect jump shot on full display.

Defensively, both units must fight over the top of screens and close out upon shooters to guard the perimeter. This strategy will then put the onus on the offensive wings to force the issue.

Per the aforementioned Rashard Lewis / Paul Pierce matchup, neither club can afford to live by the three, alone. Aggressive defenders will open up driving lanes to score, create for teammates, and draw fouls on the opposition.

Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen have all bought into the help defense scheme of Boston Celtics guru Tom Thibodeau. However, Rashard Lewis Turkoglu, and JJ Redick will never be mistaken for defensive stoppers.

The Celtics still carry that Championship pedigree that Orlando so desperately covets.

#1 2009 NBA Playoffs Boston Celtics – Orlando Magic Key Match up: Live by the Three – Die by the Three

Advantage: Boston Celtics

2009 NBA Playoffs Boston Celtics – Orlando Magic Prediction:

Boston Celtics – 4

Orlando Magic – 1

Never trust a jump shooting team in the NBA Playoffs.

2009 NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic, Sources:

The Official Web Page of the NBA, http://ift.tt/1rSwWXI

The Official Web Page of the Boston Celtics, http://ift.tt/KEkLga

The Official Web Page of the Orlando Magic, http://ift.tt/2cLXmJL

Tags:2009 NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics Vs. Orlando Magic Preview and Predictions

2009 NCAA Final Four Predictions: Memphis, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Michigan State

Every year as the NCAA basketball tournament steps into the forefront of the sports world, there are always tons of predictions and analysts on which teams will advance and which lucky four can go the distance and place themselves amongst the game’s best that season in the Final Four. In 2008, for the first time, all four number-one-seeded teams reached college basketball’s ultimate round, earning a chance to compete for a national title. This year however all four number one seeds are truly not as strong as those from last season, so the chances of that happening again are very bleak.

Here are the four teams who appear to be poised and ready to make a strong run during this year’s tournament and advance to Detroit, Michigan, the site of the 2009 NCAA Final Four.

The North Carolina Tar Heels would be team number one on this list. The Tar Heels are the number seed in the South Region and finished the season with a 28-4 record, won the ACC regular season title and are looked at by many as the overall favorite to cut down the nets come April 6. UNC has a 6-3 record (in the regular season) against teams that have reached the tournament, including wins over Michigan State, Clemson, Florida State and Duke twice. Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green are ready to win it all especially if Ty Lawson is healthy and at full strength. Look for the Tar Heels to sweep through their portion of the bracket, only enduring a true test in the form of Syracuse in the Elite Eight, and punch their ticket for Detroit.

The Pittsburgh Panthers are team number two amongst these Final Four predictions sure to materialize. The Panthers are a very solid team on both sides of the ball and can dominate opponents physically which is displayed by their impressive 28-4 record. The incredible inside-outside combination of Dajuan Blair and Lavance Fields makes Pitt a very tough out in the tourney, while Sam Young is a scoring and dunking machine looking to take his team where they haven’t been since 1941, the Final Four. Pittsburgh boasts a 7-3 record against tournament teams this year including wins over Florida State, Syracuse, West Virginia twice and Connecticut twice. They’ll meet up with fellow Big East member Villanova in the Elite Eight and claim the East Region on their way to the Motor City.

The Memphis Tigers are the third team to make the cut of Final Four predictions sure to materialize. The Tigers are currently playing the better basketball than anyone else in the country and their 25-game winning streak and 31-3 record represent plenty proof of that. Their phenomenal freshman guard, Tyreke Evans is playing incredible since he has been placed at the point guard position and along with upperclassmen Antonio Anderson, Robert Dozier and Shawn Taggart, Memphis will return exactly where they were last year (just in a different city). The only knock on Memphis is who they actually beat this season and their record against tournament teams. Playing in Conference USA their schedule was inferior to the other teams that made this list as well as the fact that the Tigers only recorded a .500 winning percentage against teams in the tournament this year losing to Syracuse and Xavier. None the less Memphis is a competitive team with loads of talent and are in arguably the weakest region (West) so they’ll be headed to Detroit during the first weekend in April.

The Michigan State Spartans round out the four teams that are certain to advance all the way to the Final Four. The Spartans finished the year with a 26-6 record while capturing the Big Ten’s regular season crown. Michigan State may just be however the biggest enigma of the four teams due to the fact that they play inconsistent at times yet they have the best record against tournament teams amongst the four. The Spartans own a 13-4 record against tournament teams including wins over Oklahoma State, Texas, Kansas, Michigan, Purdue, Illinois twice and Minnesota three times. Look for Michigan State to battle it out with a very strong Louisville team in the Elite Eight, but the Spartans should be victorius. With a resume such as that and with players like Kalin Lucas, Raymar Morgan and Goran Suton it’s no wonder why Michigan State is ready to get through the Midwest Region and join North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Memphis in Detroit, Michigan for the 2009 Final Four.

Memphis will knock off Michigan State in the national semi-finals as will North Carolina to Pittsburgh, leaving a national championship match-up between the Tar Heels and the Tigers on April 6. To the dismay of Memphis fans everywhere the Tigers will fall to the same fate which they did last year losing in the final game and watching another team win it all and hoist the trophy. North Carolina is just too much for any team to handle, too talented and too deep. As long as the Heels play defense and hustle on every play; this prediction will certainly materialize as will they all.

Tags:2009 NCAA Final Four Predictions: Memphis, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Michigan State

2009 NBA Playoffs Analysis

So the 2009 NBA playoffs are under way, and boy has it begun with a boom. There have been a fair share of upsets. We saw LeBron and the Cavs take it to the Pistons, as they annihilated them 102-84. Kobe and the Lakers weren’t too far behind as they man-handled the Jazz 113-100. We had our few upsets such as the Bulls winning in overtime over the Celtics 106-103. We’ve seen some minor upsets such as the Magic losing the Sixers at home 100-98. All the games were great, or at least entertaining to watch…for most parts of it. There were blowouts and some close games, but don’t be fooled by the scores.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons

LeBron James and the Cavs should have no problem with taking this one to the bank. Cavs were just too strong in the paint and their transition offense was just too strong as well. Detroit’s players are in the later stages of their careers, and just don’t look strong enough to stop the Cavs from taking every shot they want. Detroit fans are praying for the Pistons can create some magic just like the Spartans, but even Houdini’s magic can’t change this one.
Final Score: 102-84
Series Prediction – Cavs 4-0

2. Los Angeles vs. Utah Jazz

Sometimes when it looks good, it just looks good. Nothing the Jazz do in this series can slow down the Lakers and their quest to win an NBA championship. Their first playoff game since last year’s championship went as expected. Kobe had his usual 28 points, and Trevor Ariza added 21 as the Lakers went on to win by 13. The game was too easy for Kobe and the rest of the Hollywood gang as they dominated the paint and the perimeter throughout the game. Trevor Ariza was spectacular not to mention his nasty reverse dunk with about 2:30 left in the 3rd. Shannon Brown looked pretty good, which should excite the Spartan community just a bit. Unfortunately for the Jazz and its fans, this series is over. They might get a win, but only because Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer will give a valiant effort.
Final Score: 113-100
Series Prediction – Lakers 4-1

Noteable Shoutouts:
Derrick Rose : 36 points 11 assists
Josh Smith : 23 points 10 rebounds
Chauncey Billups : 36 points, 8-9 3pt, 8 assists

Overachievers:
Donyell Marshall : 11 points, 3-3 3pts

Underachievers:
Dwayne Wade : 19pts, 5reb, 5assts

Tags:2009 NBA Playoffs Analysis

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