Posted in Sports

5 Ways to Fix the NCAA Tournament

As I sit here watching the Sunday games of the NCAA tournament and i reflect on the first five days of this years tournament i can’t help but wonder how much better this tournament would be if the NCAA fixed a few of the flaws this event has. I’ve been a College Basketball fan since about the age of 12, Go Tarheels!, and i have always enjoyed March Madness the way the NCAA has presented it. Who doesn’t love no-name kids from the smallest colleges around hitting end of the game buzzer beaters to upend big name schools in a tournament designed for big name schools to win, anyone have a clue where Bryce Drew is these days?. Outside of a couple rivalry games in February and a few beginning of the season tournaments, the regular season has become increasingly meaningless. Why does the Conference champion have to prove itself again in a conference tournament?. This is one of 5 areas of the tournament that i will give my opinions on how to fix.

  1. Make the regular season mean something by at least giving the conference champion an automatic bid.

I have never understood why the champion has to prove themselves twice!!. If the best team in a lower tier conference has an overall record of 26-5, a 13-1 conference record and then gets beat in the championship game of their conference tournament that team no longer has a shot at an at-large selection because 14-18 University got hot for four or five days. This is not selecting the best 68 teams to participate in the tournament like the committee likes to tell us. What the NCAA should do is award the regular season champion with an automatic bid to the tournament and if another team proceeds to win the conference tournament, then that team may be a possible at-large selection. Thus we are insured the beat team from that conference gets to play in the big tournament and the team that gets hot can sit and wait if the committee deems them tournament worthy. With this process the regular season would mean something and we would actually get the best 68 teams in the field.

  1. Make the final 8 “bubble” teams play each other for the right to get into the field of 64.

Another process i have never understood since the NCAA expanded to 65 and now 68 teams. Why does a team who proved itself by winning their conference tournament now be relegated to play in the “play-in” game?. Bubble teams are called bubble teams because they have not done enough in the regular season to be considered a definite at large selection. The NCAA should take a page out of the ESPN created Bracket Buster weekend ( created for smaller schools to add a signature win to their resume) and now make the final 8 bubble teams play each other to which the winners of these games are added as the final 4 teams in the field, more on this one below. This seems like the biggest no-brainer of all the quirks with this tournament.

  1. Create intriguing storyline matchups purposely.

I have heard many an expert say the committee pays no attention to possible storylines for matchups, why is that? wouldn’t it make sense to add even more of a reason to give people to watch your event? Not that everyone would care about every possible storyline the committee could create but wouldn’t it be nice if Steve Lavin of past UCLA coaching fame could now take his St. Johns team into the tournament and possibly face UCLA in a 7-10 first round match or give these teams an even bigger incentive to win their first round game with a possible second round matchup? There are a plethora of opportunities for this including..

  1. Get rid of the rule that same conference teams cannot meet until the second round.

Who’s terrible idea is this? Lets say in a down year ( i know it doesnt happen much for either team) that Duke and North Carolina have midlevel seasons by their standards, why wouldn’t the NCAA match them up in an 8-9 first round matchup for even more intrigue!!. UCONN vs Syracuse to go to move on to the 2nd round? or how about Tom Izzo vs Thad Matta to advance out of the first round? possibilities are endless and this would go with #3 of creating intriguing storylines/matchups/rivalries…and finally

  1. Retool the whole bracket to eliminate the 1 vs 16 and 2 vs 15 matchups.

Yeah a 15 seed has won four times in this format, but not since 2001 and a 16 seed has never won against a number 1 seed, with only a small handful of those games that could be considered competitive. Give the #1 seeds a bye into the round of 32 automatically and play the remaining 64 teams first. This way we can eliminate the never competitive, always boring after 3 minutes of play 1 vs 16 matchup. To make this work they could still take the final 8 bubble teams and pit them against each other in an opening round format with the winners becoming part of the 60 field, minus the four #1 seeds. The winning bubble teams become the 16 or 15 seeds, and i believe this would make the games more competitive and more enjoyable for all to watch.

Would these 5 changes work? maybe, maybe not, but i think anything besides what we have now could make the tournament as a whole more enjoyable for the college basketball loving fan in all of us.

Just try out these new changes for a change and I am sure things will change for the better as long as you do so regularly with occasional visites to 토토사이트 to warm things up a bit with your buddies will make practice sessions far more enjoyable and entertaining.

Posted in Sports

As Stars Fade, They Can Still Shine And Glow

This past baseball off-season, Derek Jeter engaged in contract talks with the New York Yankees on what could be the final contract he signs in his career. Ever the polite and classy professional, Jeter never returned volley on the negative publicity dished out by his General Manager Brian Cashman and co-owner of the Yankees Hank Steinbrenner. Eventually, Jeter did express his displeasure during the press conference announcing the re-signing of their captain. One thing is certain, one day Jeter will hang up his cleats, but will he do so after moving out of his position as Yankees’ shortstop. How will the end of this successful era end? A quick look at other aging New York athletes will give a few clues.

In 1992, the New York Rangers acquired the captain of the Edmonton Oilers Mark Messier. Messier, a five time Stanley Cup champion, was to be the perfect man to win the Rangers their first Stanley Cup in 52 years. Messier would lead the Rangers to the best record in hockey and win the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP, but would not win the Stanley Cup. The following year, the team finished in last place and Messier took a lot of criticism. In May of 1994, he declared his team would win a key game facing elimination, and delivered a hat trick that would win the game and make him immortal in New York sports. A month later, he scored the goal that won the Rangers the Stanley Cup, but after three more successful years, Messier left New York as a free agent. During his negotiation, MSG President Dave Checketts proclaimed, “How long do I have to pay for the 94 cup?” Messier would return to a video tribute from the Rangers and a hero’s welcome from the fans in November of 97, but would don a Ranger uniform again in 2000 after three years in Vancouver. This time would not be as successful. The Rangers would not make the playoffs in Messier’s final four seasons and the highlights were personal highlights for Messier as he’d pass Gordie Howe to leave only Wayne Gretzky ahead of him in points. The decision of when to step aside was left to Messier, not by General Manager/Coach Glen Sather, as fans eagerly tried to nudge him into coaching. Messier wasn’t the player once was and never topped 43 points in his final three seasons in New York.

No one could argue that the acquisition of Mike Piazza in 1998 from the Florida Marlins was the most important for the New York Mets since 1983. It’s likely on the short list of best acquisitions in the organizations history. Piazza would lead the Mets to the playoff twice in 1999 and 2000, having MVP-type seasons in both. In 99, his .303, 40 HR’s and then team record 124 RBI’s was among the best statistical season in Mets history. In 2000, he finished third in the MVP voting with his .324, 38 HR’s and 113 RBI’s. Piazza was the superstar the Mets lacked since Darryl Strawberry. His presence in the Mets lineup was critical as their lone big bat, but in 2003 he began his decline, aided by wear and tear due to catching and tearing his groin dodging a pitch. In 2004, the Mets tried him at first base as well as catching, but the experiment was a failure as Piazza couldn’t adjust to the infield. In 2005, his power numbers dropped below 20 for the first time in his career when he played a full season. He was dropped to seventh in the order often by manager Willie Randolph and Piazza saw the writing on the wall that the Mets were ready to move on. Piazza returned to Shea Stadium in 2006 as a member of the San Diego Padres. He received a standing ovation by the Mets crowd and took Pedro Martinez deep for two homeruns. For most of the season, Piazza hit .300, but would finish at .283, proving he could still catch and lead a team back to the playoffs. In 2008, he’d retire after a year with the Oakland A’s. The retirement process also involves the verification of the websites for Sports. For this purpose, the websites like will have an important role.

Perhaps the path Jeter will walk is one the he’s already seen from his former teammate Bernie Williams. Williams was slowly making his name in the baseball world until the 1996 AL Divisional Series. After losing Game 1 to Texas, Williams hit 3 Hrs and hit a walk off homerun to beat the Orioles in the ALCS. Williams’ career numbers from 1996-2002, he averaged 143 games, .323 batting average, 25 Hrs and 103 RBI’s. He was always in the heart of the lineup and was known for his great clutch hitting. However, in 2003 Williams’ batting average dropped to .263, which would be his highest average as an everyday starter for the rest of his career. Over the next three years, he averaged 136 games, .253 batting, 16 Hrs and 66 RBIs. It was becoming obvious Williams’ days as the Yankee center fielder were numbers. In 2006, the Yankees signed Johnny Damon to play center field and Williams saw spot duty in the corner outfield positions and designated hitter, but never again as a center fielder. In 2007, Williams wanted a guaranteed roster spot, but the Yankees offered him only a chance to make the team and he declined the non-roster invite. Williams’ next appearance in Yankee Stadium was on September 21, 2008 when he helped close the stadium and received a standing ovation. Today, Williams holds the post season record for RBI’s (80) and extra base hits (51). He held the record for post season homeruns until Manny Ramirez passed him.

What the future holds for Jeter is uncertain. Jeter has handled his career with class as he showed when breaking the Yankees’ hit record and will become the first Yankee to have 3,000 hits solely in their uniform. The fans reactions will become interesting when the skills decline more, but there is no place to currently move him to another position. Regardless of the way it will end, it will end. No matter if he hangs on too long, gracefully steps aside or leaves to play elsewhere for a year or two, Jeter’s place is already written and the exit will not tarnish the days he wore the uniform.

Posted in Sports

Arena Football League: a Remedy for the Post-Super Bowl Blues

er Bowl XLV is coming up, with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers getting set to battle for the NFL championship. For someone who has been watching NFL and college football games since August, there will be a sudden void in my life after the Super Bowl has concluded. It’s similar to the feeling that many people experience after Christmas is over. “Now what?”

For fans like me who will be curled up in the fetal position at the thought of waiting several months for more football, consider taking a peek at the Arena Football League (AFL).

How I Got Hooked

I’m not a fan of basketball, NASCAR does nothing for me, the NHL is barely on my radar, and Major League Baseball is still at least a couple months away from starting their season. For me, this had normally been a dead spot in the sporting year.

Several years ago, though, I decided to try the AFL. The famous story of Kurt Warner’s rise from grocery store stocker and quarterback of the Iowa Barnstormers to Super Bowl MVP first brought the AFL into my stream of consciousness. Then in 2001, the Albany Firebirds moved to Indianapolis–right in my back yard–and became the Indiana Firebirds .

I went to a few Firebirds games and had a blast. The arena game is fast-paced and high-octane. Final scores in the 60’s–for each team–are common.

The Firebirds had a pretty good quarterback named Raymond Philyaw back then, but sadly, in 2004, the Firebirds ceased all operations. Philyaw wound up with the Chicago Rush , and the Rush became my team to follow, both because of Philyaw and because of proximity.

Similar, But Different

I like arena football because it’s similar enough to the NFL that it’s not hard to follow, but it’s unique in many areas in a way that makes the sport interesting without being crazy (such as the now-defunct XFL requiring players to run full speed at a football from opposite directions to determine which team has first possession of the ball).

Eight players take the field at any given time for an AFL team. Many play both offense and defense. One receiver is allowed to get a running start forward before a snap, as long as he doesn’t cross the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped.

The field is only 50 yards long. Padded waist-high walls run right up to the sidelines, and players getting slammed into and over the walls is just part of the game.

The clock continues to run, even when passes are incomplete or players run out of bounds, until the last minute of each half. As a result, the game moves right along.

Arena football is almost all passing. The 2010 Offensive Player of the Year was Milwaukee’s Chris Greisen, who finished with 5146 pass yards (on a 50-yard-long field, remember!) and 107 passing touchdowns. By contrast, the AFL’s leading rusher in 2010 was Tulsa’s Odie Armstrong with 349 yards for the season, averaging 21.8 yards per game. Most running backs in the league average somewhere south of 10 yards per game.

The goal posts in the AFL are half the width of the NFL’s goalposts, and the crossbar stands five feet taller. Kicking extra points and field goals in the AFL is not easy. And with a net hanging in the back of the end zone, any missed kick that comes off the net is a live ball.

There is no punting.

In a nutshell, the Arena Football League game is a faster-paced, higher-scoring, more compact NFL game.

The 2011 Season

I was surprised to learn that the AFL has been in business since 1987 . In 2009, though, the AFL had some financial problems and had to cancel the season. They returned in 2010, with the Spokane Shock winning the league championship, and they’ll open the 2011 season with 18 teams in the league , from all parts of the nation. Finding a relatively local team to cheer for shouldn’t be too difficult for anyone.

The 2011 season begins March 11. Games will be broadcast on the NFL Network , and most games are played on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons and evenings.

For those interested in seeing a game live, ticket prices are quite reasonable. For example, to see the Philadelphia Soul play at home, you can purchase a ticket ranging from a $13 nose-bleed spot to a $50 seat right up close. For $200 a piece, you can get right behind the team’s bench. Try getting into a Philadelphia Eagles game for those prices.

The AFL plays a 20-week regular season schedule, with the championship game, Arena Bowl XXIV, scheduled for August 12.

Perfect timing for the avid football fan. The AFL starts up about a month after the Super Bowl, and the NFL preseason will be in full swing by mid-August, right as the Arena Football League championship is crowned.

Go ahead. Give arena football a try.

It might pleasantly surprise you.To sum up, football is a game of wits and then comes physical exercise, which can only be implemented successfully if the blueprint is ready in the mind and it is clear of fear and doubts. The football index sign up bonus is a nice place where you can learn the nitty gritty of this sport by simply registering to the website.