Breath it in

Posts Tagged ‘March Madness’

Spring is in the Air

Posted by mvetack on March 29, 2010

This coming weekend (we are counting Monday this time) is like the Boondock Saints of the sporting calendar.  It is a very enjoyable three day stretch that does not get too much attention.  Boondock Saints is one of those movies that a lot of people have yet to see but once they do they realize how undervalued it is.  That is what this coming weekend is to me.

Saturday is the two final four match ups.  Duke taking on West Virginia and everyone’s tournament darling Butler taking on Michigan State.  This is five solid hours of great basketball.  Sparty vs Dogs, Dickie V’s Dukies vs the Mountaineers and their Beers,  whats not to be excited about.  After your fill of college basketball Sunday, like the good Lord intended, will be a day of rest.  That is until darkness falls upon us.

Thats right come nightfall the 2010 baseball season begins.  And what a way to kick off the season.  One of the longest and fiercest rivalries in baseball will take place at Fenway Park.  The Yankees will take on the Red Sox in their first action since celebrating their 27th world championship.  Of course this being a Red Sox Yankees game you know this one is going to carry us into Monday morning.  As the final pitch in Fenway is thrown and everyone gets their sleep, they wake to a glorious day of sport.

This is like Christmas morning and only comparable to the first two days of the Big Dance in March.  This is Baseball’s official opening day.  In parks across America gates will be opened and fans will flood them to catch a look at the team that will play with their emotions all season long.  Seeds will be spit, pine tar will be rubbed, strikes will be called, the lines will be chalked, and home runs will be slugged.  This my friends is opening day.

After getting your fix on April baseball don’t give up on this amazing stretch of sports.  For the nightcap we will crown the new College Basketball Champions.  The final game of the season will truly determine who has fought the hardest, played the best, survived the longest, and earned the right to cut down the nets and enjoy their one shining moment.

If have yet to experience this spectacular stretch of sport please take a seat, grab some grub, and enjoy.  And if you have time, watch Boondock Saints, it truly is a great movie.


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Butler Wins, Butler Wins!

Posted by mvetack on March 25, 2010

Butler came into the game riding by far the nations longest win streak at 22 games.  Despite this, they came in as under dogs to the high powered attack of Syracuse.  Butler got off to a hot start defensively while getting easy shots on the offensive end.  Just under four minutes in and Butler lead by 12.  Butler’s defense saved them in this game on their way to a four point victory.  Besides Butler’s defense, I though they played poorly (maybe thats an exaggeration).  They did do some things poorly.

At the onset of the game Butler showed us how they were going to attack the “best” zone in America.  Their strategy was working beautifully.  Two guards up top with the third guard/forward running the free throw line.  Howard posted just below the elbow, and Heyward ran th baseline and spotted up in the corners.  This allowed for two or three chances to pass into the interior of the zone.  As the game went on, Butler changed to having three guards up top just standing and swinging the ball, Howard posting in the paint, and Heyward running the base line.  The result was al lot of deep threes that did not fall.

Butler shot just under 40 percent for the game and this is a big reason why.  Rarely did they penetrate from the wing.  Which they had many times.  Every time a wing guard caught the ball on Rautin’s side there was a lane that Butler could at least penetrate to draw two defenders and, sorry do not remember his name, the short lefty would be open in the corner every time, or Howard would be able to get better position.  At the least this would allow for kick outs to threes from the arc not three feet behind.

There is no point really in breaking down how I, not a qualified coach by any means, would attack the Syracuse zone the way they played it tonight.  The Cuse are heading home and Butler played their style ball and are on to the elite 8.

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March Madness lives on in the NBA

Posted by mvetack on March 10, 2010

March Madness is officially here.  If you were lucky enough like me to be home this afternoon (well maybe its not luck that has you home) but either way if you were home today lucky or unluckily, your TV was probably tuned to ESPN for a while.  Thats because the Big East Tournament has begun.  The early rounds just started getting played out in the premier conference in the NCAA.  When March Madness arrives there is a group of guys in the NBA that will always pop into my mind.

These guys are not necessarily the best college players of all time and they are not necessarily only going to be known for their college careers, but for some reason or another to me they will not be forgotten as long as the Big Dance is still around.

Jameer Nelson of the Orlando Magic guided one of the most memorable college basketball seasons in my 22 years on this earth.  St. Josephs came out of no where and road the back of their leader, all 5 foot 11 of him, to a near undefeated season. Finishing the regular season at 27-1, St. Josephs entered the tournament as the number one overall seed and reached the Elite Eight where they were knocked off by number 2 seed Oklahoma State.  Despite not making it to the National Title, Jameer took us all on an unbelievalbe ride, as we watched him and his teammates take over college basketball during the 2004 season.

Tayshaun Prince of the now lowly Detroit Pistons first entered our living rooms as the lanky forward at power house Kentucky.  Prince was a guy that could completely change a game at will.  In one game against North Carolina, Prince made 5 consecutive three pointers on the way to a 20 point blow out lead.  Playing at Kentucky meant that Prince was always around when it came tournament time.  He seemed to play college ball for about 8 years and besides his chase down block on Reggie Miller (my last memory of Reggie Miller the basketball  player) the image in my head when hearing Tayshaun’s name is him playing ball at a high level as a Wild Cat.

Mike Bibby of the Atlanta Hawks was a player from one of my earliest memories of the NCAA tournament.  Being a young guy loving basketball, I played more in the drive way then I actually watched on TV.  Before the tournament began my Uncle put every team in a hat and we all (about ten family member) drew teams.  My brother got the Kentucky Wildcats and my Uncle got the Arizona Wildcats.  This is memorable because the two teams met in the National Championship.  All Freshman Mike Bibby lead Arizona to the championship victory over Kentucky and resulted in my brother winning second place.  My brother and I followed that tournament so closely and Bibby was on our radar the whole tournament knowing that our Uncle had that Arizona squad and that we might end up facing them down the road.  Bibby was probably the first enemy I developed in college basketball.

There are more guys that will be added to this list in the future and there are definitely some guys that will always come up at some point in my mind in March but never made an impact in the NBA.  Gerry McNamara, Khalid El-Amin, Ed Cota, and Mateen Cleeves just to name a few.  March is a perhaps the greatest month of the year for competition and I look forward to adding more memories for the future in the 2010 Big Dance.

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