The Anti-Bracket: Rachel Nichols Regional

rachel nichols espn

The Sports Bank’s third annual Anti-Bracket (formerly known as the Douchebracket) celebrates all that is wrong in the world, most prominently in the sports world.  Four regionals will chosen by an esteemed panel of TSB contributors.  With your input, the field will be narrowed down to a Final Four where our readers will choose the winner of the 2011 Anti-Bracket.

Past winners of the Rachel Nichols Regional include Rachel herself and last year’s winner, Luke Harangody.  Help me figure who will earn that honored distinction this season by leaving a comment below as to who you think needs to advance to the Final Four.

By: David Kay
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Notre Dame Hoops Media Day Notes, Quotes and Observations

mike brey

When it’s 85 degrees outside, it’s somewhat difficult to think about college basketball season, but practice is underway and Notre Dame Media Day is already over.

It was interesting to see if ND Head Coach Mike Brey would still rock his trademark mock turtleneck underneath a sport coat today, as this afternoon was shorts and flip-flop weather.

And the light-hearted banter I walked in on (a bit late unfortunately) was all about the topic of wardbrobe, the NBA’s new dress code for coaches and how the mock doesn’t work for men who are out of shape.

Then the press conference officially began and it was all business. Well, basketball actually, because that’s the business at hand.

By Paul M. Banks

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Douchebracket: David Kay Regional Final

The NCAA Tournament has been rocked with upset after upset.  Supposed super powers Kansas and Syracuse did not even advance to the Elite 8 and two five seeds are in the Final Four.  However, the David Kay Regional of the Sports Bank’s Douchebracket saw no such thing.  Click here to take a look at the complete regional.
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Chicago Well Represented on Oscar Robertson Award Finalists List

By Paul M. Banks

ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has announced finalists for the 2010 Oscar Robertson Trophy, to be presented to the association’s national player of the year.
Three of the 16 finalists hail from the Chicago area: Ohio State’s Evan “His Royal Smoothness” Turner, Kansas’ Sherron Collins, and Duke’s Jon Scheyer. There’s a second member from the Big Ten, Purdue’s Robbie Hummell. And another rep from a quasi-“Chicago area team”  Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody.

Luke Harangody named National Player of the Week

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Luke Harangody Reacts to 1st Loss of Season

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By Paul M. Banks

Luke Harangody received more votes for the AP All-American team than any other player in the nation. The 2 time All-American senior forward is also the Big East preseason player of the year. Here’s how he reacted to #23 Notre Dame’s first loss of the season, coming at the hands of Northwestern, who beat the Irish 72-58. Harangody led the Irish with 21 points, but shot an ugly 7-19 from the field

Does Luke Harangody Have A Future In The NBA?

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by: David Kay

I dislike Luke Harangody.  Immensely.  I can’t stand how he bitches about every foul he commits and every call he doesn’t get on offense.  His putrid looking turn-around jumper makes me want stab my eyes out with an ice pick.  The fact that he plays for Notre Dame only adds to my loathing.

I dislike Harangody more than Peter Christian dislikes the Oklahoma City Thunder; more than Mischa Barton dislikes food; more than Jack Bauer dislikes terrorists.  You get the point.

Even with that said, I cannot deny that he is a great college basketball player.  But will his success translate to the next level?  Click here for a complete breakdown of Harangody’s game and how it might carry over to the NBA.

The Big East’s Battle Tested NBA Prospects

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By Paul M. Banks and David Kay

During the 2008-2009 season, the Big East set itself apart from any other conference in the history college basketball.  It became the first conference in NCAA Tournament history to not only send five teams to the Sweet Sixteen, but also advance four schools to the Elite 8.  At one time, eight Big East teams were ranked in the AP Top 25, the first time a conference had ever accomplished such a feat. In the first week of January, the conference topped their own mark, as nine teams were voted into the Top 25.

With that sort of resume, it should come as no surprise that the Big East will hear a record number of player names called during this year’s NBA Draft.  While only four players from the conference were drafted last year and just six selected in the 2007 Draft, our most recent mock draft has 12 players being drafted. (The previous high was 11 in 2006; ten of which being among the top 33.)  That number could be even higher if underclassmen Luke Harangody of Notre Dame or Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds stay in the draft, but both are expected to return to their respective schools for their senior seasons as they have left that option open by not signing an agent. “We talk off and on. He’s doing his thing, I’m doing my thing. We communicate a little bit, but it’s kind of shaky what he’s feeling,” Villanova’s Dante Cunningham said of his former teammate at the NBA Draft Combine.notre_dame20harangody20beasley

Having played in undoubtedly the toughest conference in the nation should greatly benefit these future NBA’ers at the next level as they will enter the league battle-tested.  Former UConn point guard A.J. Price summed it up best during our exclusive chat at the combine, “Running through the Big East Conference is like you said, kind of like a mini D-League because there were no easy games, a lot of guys who played in that league will be pros if not this year, then eventually, and it prepared me for this time and I’m glad we got a chance to do that,” Price said.

 
Louisville: Clark Bar and T. Will

Louisville, the Big East regular season and conference tournament champions, was one of the two Big East teams to advance to the Final Four.  The Cardinals punched their ticket to Detroit mainly because of their tandem of versatile forwards, Earl Clark and Terrence Williams.  Clark played some of his best basketball down the stretch and shouldn’t fall out of the lottery while Williams will likely be a mid-to-late first rounder.

Williams was very candid at the combine about the big picture of the NBA Draft. “Some others don’t really work out because they feel they’re already secure in a certain spot, and that’s surprises me because you’d think that people who love basketball would play regardless. Other than it’s just everybody going for a job and at the end of the day it’s just business,” Williams said. 

 
Pittsburgh’s Dynamic Duo

Pitt’s DeJuan Blair is an intriguing prospect.  He only measured in at 6-6.5 in shoes which is far from the ideal size for an NBA power forward.  But his physicality and 7’2” wingspan will help wipe away any doubt teams have about his future productivity in the NBA.  Blair is pretty confident: “I don’t think there was a better offensive rebounder by far in this class at all. There’s something about that ball, I go get it,” he said at the combine. A dominating 22 point, 23 rebound beat-down of UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet during the regular season doesn’t hurt either.

NBA Draft aficionados are buzzing about Blair astonishing weight loss (40 pounds in three weeks) during his workouts. At the NBA Draft combine, Blair had a sense of humor about it. “I told my mom that this morning she said did you cut off your leg off? She couldn’t believe it and that was pretty exciting,” Get ready for the next best-selling book: “The DeJuan Blair Diet.”  

Besides being the object of obsession by ESPN analyst Bob Knight because of his outstanding shot fake, fellow Panther Sam Young should be taken in the last first *Nov 21 - 00:05*round and have a solid pro career due to his savvy basketball knowledge and multi-faceted offensive game. “A lot of people don’t think I can play the two, but I think when it’s all said and done I’m going to be a two,” Young said.

 
In like Flynn

Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn churned out one of the gutsiest performances in conference tournament history this March, when he played 67 of the 70 minutes in the six-overtime classic against UConn and following that up by being on the floor for all 45 minutes of the Orange’s OT victory against West Virginia the very next night.  He is the perfect combination of a true point guard who can score in a variety of ways when needed to.  He currently projects as a mid-lottery pick and should make an immediate impact at the NBA. 

Flynn described his game: “I think I have some characteristics of Chris Paul. His tenacity, he’s hard as nails, fiery, fires his teammates up, he really knows how to get his teammates in position to where they can score, where they don’t have to do much to score. Look at David West and Tyson Chandler; where would they be without Chris Paul?”

DoucheBracket David K. Regional

Welcome to the d-bag bracket, a tournament deciding the most insufferable douchebags in all of sports. Please feel free to comment as much as possible, because your feedback will help determine who advances to the Final Four.
This is the bracket compiled by site Vice President David K.

1. Brett Favre as a Jet- This is not a shot at Favre himself, more a stab at how the entire Favre-Packers saga went down last summer.  This past year NEEDS to be permanently erased from my mind.

vs.

16. Cubs fans who blame Steve Bartman-
How about blaming Alex Gonzalez for his crucial error that allowed the flood gates to open instead of some poor guy who happened to try and catch a foul ball that was coming straight at him, just like the twenty people sitting around him?
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8. “Acronym Signs”- Especially with TV Station Acronyms like ESPN, ABC, FOX.  Here’s one for you “Everyone Sucks and is Penned uNoriginal”  It especially chaps my ass when one of the letters is in the middle of the word like I have the ‘n.’

Vs.

9. “Priceless Signs”- This piece of cardboard? 75 cents.  My friend’s face paint? $3  Never having to see one of these overdone signs ever again? Priceless

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4. Around the Horn- Jay Mariotti… Woody Paige… Jackie MacMullen… screaming, yelling, talking over each other, not being funny, not having relative arguments… Tell me when to stop….

Vs.

13. National Signing Day- Maybe it’s just because I am not a college football guy, but didn’t we know this guy was signing with our team when he verbally committed nine months ago?

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5. Luke Harangody- Awkward, Doofus, Frankenstein, Baby are all words that come to mind when I think of Harangody.

Vs.

12. Luke Harandgody’s fadeaway jump shot- As a person who appreciates the pure aspects of college basketball, Harandgody’s jump shot is the worst thing I have seen since Manute Bol.
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3. Rachel Nichols- “After the game, Brett Favre told me… “  No he didn’t you short, non-blinking, over-acting, I only have this job because Diane Sawyer is my mother-in-law pathetic excuse for a sportscaster.  He told all of us during the press conference, not just you.

Vs.

14. Mel Kiper Jr.- It is about more than just the ridiculous hair.  Has Mel ever admitted to being wrong about something?  No.  I would love to see Todd McShay pimp slap him sometime.

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6. Fans who don’t take their hats off/are disrespectful during the National Anthem- It definitely is more annoying when it’s an adult, but shut your trap, put your cell phone away, take your hat off, and stand still for two minutes before the game begins.  It’s really not asking that much.

Vs.

11. Fans who yell, “GET IN THE HOLE” after a drive or long iron shot- Hey, that was hilarious buddy… 15 years ago when the 7,429th guy did it.
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7. T-Shirts under Basketball Jerseys- Why?  Seriously?  What are you, eight years old?  Don’t even get me started on the tight-fitting muscle tee’s under the jersey.

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10. The Amount of Charges in College Basketball– I’ll allow my friend Quentin to speak on the matter: “Referees seem to have fallen so in love with the emphatic offensive foul call (buoyed by rambunctious home crowds that respond joyously to it) that whenever they see a defensive player flying backwards, the call is automatic to the point where I no longer even know what is or is not a true foul. The most egregious: two players are running side-by-side 30-feet from the basket, the defensive guy steps in front of the offensive player a half-step early, what gives him anymore right to that space than the man with the ball?”

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2. “That Guy” in Fantasy Football- You know “That Guy”.  “That guy” who wants to tell you about how each of his player’s on his four teams did Monday morning at work.  “That guy” who has nothing else to talk to you about from the months of August-December other than fantasy football.  “That guy” who asks you every Friday who he should start.  I despise “That Guy.”

Vs.

15. The two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl- Is it really necessary to add an extra week of hype to already the most over-hyped event of every year?  As if I need any more reasons NOT to watch SportsCenter.

College Hoops 101

By David K.

Welcome to a weekly article at thesportsbank.net where I will give you the 101 on what has happened in the week of college basketball and what is to come in the days ahead.

Rewind

-I had a bad feeling heading into Marquette’s game at South Florida on Friday night and unfortunately, I was right. That’s what happens when you convert on just 10 of 23 free throws and Dominic James thinks he is actually a three-point shooter. Am I worried? No. One hiccup through ten Big East games is certainly better than anyone expected.

-Funks continue for a pair of expected Big East powers. Notre Dame lost at Cincy and then was demolished by UCLA. Suck it Harangody! That’s seven straight losses. Georgetown ended their five-game skid by beating Rutgers, but then lost at Cincinnati. Both teams are on the wrong side of the bubble right now.

-Also in a surprising rut is Texas. Losses to Mizzou and at Nebraska now has the Horns in a three-game funk. For a team that I picked to be in the Final Four, this is very surprising. But teams have been locking down on A.J. Abrams and the rest of Rick Barnes’ team has not been able to pick up the slack.

-It was a strange Wednesday of blow-outs. Clemson embarrasses Duke by 27 on the same day that Wake Forest is waxed by Miami (FL) by that exact same amount. Without Raymar Morgan, Michigan State stomps Minnesota by 29. No rhyme or reason whatsoever there.


My AP Top Ten (if I actually voted in the poll)

1. UConn (22-1)
2. Oklahoma (23-1)
3. North Carolina (21-2)
4. Pitt (21-2)
5. Duke (20-3)
6. Wake Forest (18-3)
7. Clemson (19-3)
8. Memphis (20-3)
9. Louisville (19-4)
10. Marquette (20-3)

Nipping on their heels:

UCLA (19-4)
Michigan St. (19-4)
Villanova (19-4)
Xavier (20-3)

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Fast Forward

Marquette at Villanova (Tuesday, 6:00 ESPN)
Big bounce back chance for Marquette. Nova is playing good basketball having won five straight and are clicking offensively as they put up 94 points on Providence and 102 on Syracuse last week.

North Carolina at Duke (Wednesday, 8:00 ESPN)
Dickie V’s wet dream game. I don’t even need to pimp it any further.

Xavier at Dayton (Wednesday, 6:00 ESPN2)
Despite the fact that both teams were upset this past week, this game still has a lot of meaning in the A-10 race. Dayton has flown under the radar for a 21-3 team and could get a big boost come seeding time with a win over the Musketeers.

UCLA at Arizona (Saturday, 12:00 CBS)

Don’t look now but Zona has won five straight and is back in the NCAA Tournament picture. A win against UCLA would be a huge boost for their argument to make their 25th trip to the Big Dance.

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The Drive to 225

To update my goal of watching 225 college basketball games this season… By the way, I am going to hit 225 before the conference tournaments even begin. I think I need a girlfriend.

Games watched through 2/8: 170

Games watched this past week: 17
UConn at Louisville
Marquette at DePaul
South Carolina at Florida
West Virginia at Syracuse
Duke at Clemson
Minnesota at Michigan State
Illinois at Wisconsin
Arizona at Oregon State
Gonzaga at Portland
Marquette at South Florida
Villanova at Syracuse
Notre Dame at UCLA
Michigan at UConn
Memphis at Gonzaga
Charleston at Davidson
Purdue at Illinois
Wisconsin at Penn State