2013 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Regional bracket breakdown

louisville big east champs

Warning: I will not be responsible if you copy these brackets and are out of your NCAA Tournament pool by Sunday.  However, if you do listen to my college basketball wisdom and win some money, I want 20% of the pot or at least a shout-out on your twitter or facebook page.

Louisville earned the number one overall seed in the entire tourney and is the top seed in the Midwest Regional.  With Duke and Michigan State in the region as well, it won’t be an easy ride to the Final Four for the Cardinals.

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#12 Duke Blue Devils: College Basketball 111 in 111

coach k

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Here’s a major reach of a statement; The Duke Blue Devils are going to be good this year.  (Although they were good last year and shocked in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament by 15 seed Lehigh.)  Do they have enough talent to be a true title contender though?  I just don’t see it.

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Cavs Kyrie Irving backs off earlier remarks about his, Coach K.’s Team USA future

kyrie-irving

Kyrie Irving had to clarify remarks he made Monday night on Mike Krzyzewski’s future with the U.S. Olympic basketball program. The Cavaliers franchise point guard and #1 pick in the #NBA draft this past June, had to back off earlier made comments by saying he spoke prematurely in saying Krzyzewski would coach the 2016 U.S. Olympic team.

“I spoke to Coach K (and) he did tell me he was coaching, but I prematurely spoke on that,” said Irving, who played at Duke last season. “But I know he’s going to be part of USA Basketball. That’s the most important thing. That’s what made my decision easier.” He’s going to be part of the USA staff anyway whether he’s coaching or not. That way it’s easy for me,” he was quoted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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Duke Blue Devils, 903 and Mike Krzyzewski: Class Acts

Duke NCAA Champions

In 1990, I was a grade-school student who loved sports, and had many teams. However, when it came to college basketball, I was at a loss.

I grew up in Chicago. I love Notre Dame football, but beyond David Rivers and LaPhonso Ells, ND basketball left a lot to be desired. In the mid-80’s I loved Dallas Comegys and Rod Strickland, but after their respective departures, DePaul hoops became lost in a vacuum.

So, when Georgia Tech, Arkansas, Duke and UNLV met in the 1990 Final Four, I was a fan without a team. Sure, I rooted for ND and DePaul, and have since, but everyone enjoys cheering for a winning team.

The ’90 Final Four was held in Denver, CO, the boyhood home of my father. And my dad had managed to land tickets to the final round of the tourney.

As my dad and I entered McNichol arena that Saturday night, I was disappointed. I had chosen to root for UConn because my best friend had recently moved to Chicago from Connecticut. But Christian Laettner ended Tate George’s and all other UConn’s fans’ hopes with his first Elite 8 buzzer beater.

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#5 Duke Blue Devils: College Basketball 111 in 111

duke blue devils cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Despite losing Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith, and the top overall pick in the NBA Draft, Kyrie Irving; it will be business as usual for Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils as they once again figure to be in the national title picture.

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Duke Blue Devils to Play Summer Exhibitions in China and Dubai

Duke NCAA Champions

Duke University will circle the globe in August 2011, with games scheduled in China and Dubai, Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White announced Friday.

The highly visible college basketball team will tip off August 17 in Kunshan, China, a suburb of Shanghai and the location of a new Duke-affiliated campus expected to open in 2012. On August 19 the team will play in Shanghai ’s Mercedes-Benz Arena, former home of the Shanghai World Expo Culture Center.

On August 22, the team will play its third game in China, in Beijing ’s MasterCard Center, (wow Chinese Arenas have even worse/soullessly corporate names than the Big East, go here for more on that) where Duke Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski led Team USA to a gold medal during the 2008 Olympics.

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Carlos Boozer can be Robin to Derrick Rose’s Batman

So many failed experiments, and finally the Chicago Bulls have found their big man.

By my count, I have ten failures by the organization at the power forward position: Elton Brand, Tyrus Thomas, Tyson Chandler, Drew Gooden, PJ Brown, Andres Nocioni, Michael Sweetney, Lonny Baxter, Antonio Davis and Donyell Marshall. Almost all were expected at one point to deliver the franchise a low post presence, and every one of them has been shown the door out of Chicago.

But things are different now. When that magical ping pong ball revealed in May 2008, despite only a 1.7% chance, the Bulls would have the rights to draft Derrick Rose, the search began to surround the talented point guard with sufficient help.

It’s finally here.

Carlos Boozer, the same Alaskan who sent a recruiting video to Mike Krzyzewski because he wasn’t receiving any attention, is the Bulls‘ new $80 million answer to what seemed to be their lingering problem over the past decade – finding a legitimate and versatile post threat.

By Ethan Asofsky and Paul M. Banks

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Coach K. Exclusive

Paul M. Banks has an exclusive chat with Duke Head Coach MIKE KRZYZEWSKI.

I actually did this interview last April in Chicago, but since I’m about to head off to the Final Four tomorrow (one in which Duke is appearing) I figured it was a good time to update and re-run this. Also, a good portion of my writers seem to be taking this week off for some reason, so that’s always a good time to rerun stuff.

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The 2010 NCAA Tournament Year Book Awards presented by The Sports Bank

This week at The Sports Bank we posed ourselves some NCAA Tournament related “Yearbook Questions” to figure out two things: A) Just how much we enjoy being smart asses and B) well, there really is no B), we just wanted to share our smart ass comments with you in a little bit different format.

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Team USA, College B-Ball Celebrities Descend on Chicago

By Paul M. Banks

Last week, the International Olympic Committee visited Chicago to further evaluate the city’s 2016 Olympic bid. This week, Team USA basketball’s most prominent leaders, along with other basketball celebrities from around the nation, will visit Chicago as the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Foundation holds its inaugural “Court of Honor Gala” at Union Station.

The Tuesday evening Gala celebrates the achievements and contributions of Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and managing director of the USA Basketball senior national team from 2005-2008.

Colangelo, a Chicago native and University of Illinois graduate, assembled the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, coached by another Chicagoan, Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski, who will speak at the Gala. Krzyzewski guided the “Redeem Team” to Olympic gold in Beijing this past summer.

Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors, a member of the Olympic team, will also speak at the event and former Duke star and current ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas will serve as master of ceremonies. I had an exclusive with Bilas at the NABC’s ESPN Zone mixer on Monday night.

“It’s going to be one of those rooms with all the people who have been great doers in the game of college basketball. I think the biggest development we’ve had over the last 30 years in USA basketball is when Jerry Colangelo took over as Executive Director and formed a real program that we can now build on. We’ve had so many great coaches and players over the years in USA basketball, but we haven’t had the structure to give them the tools they need to be as successful as they can be.

I think the program put in place by Jerry Colangelo, working with Coach K and everybody at USA basketball- that was a big home run they hit in Beijing, but it was also over a three-year period. What they did the three years before was perhaps more important: with the structure, organization, how they choose the team, the commitment that all the players made, it wasn’t just a commitment for the summer, it was a three-year commitment,” Bilas said.

Krzyzewski will also lead a group of some of the nation’s top collegiate coaches in the NABC Foundation’s Ticket To Reading Rewards (TTRR) program. The coaches will visit Chicago middle schools to visit with students and the TTRR program, a reading incentive program that encourages Middle School students to read books outside the classroom and obtain rewards for reading.

In addition to Krzyzewski, coaches scheduled to participate include Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, an assistant coach with the 2008 Olympic team; Mike Brey of Notre Dame; Jeff Capel of Oklahoma; Tom Izzo of National Runner-up Michigan State; Bill Self of Kansas, the 2008 NCAA champion; Tubby Smith of Minnesota; Kentucky’s recent hire John Calipari; and Bruce Weber of Illinois.