Posts Tagged ‘NCAA’

In the words of college basketball color commentator Clark Kellogg, “Watching these two teams shoot is like watching paint dry”.

I believe we can all agree, especially Greg Anthony, that this was one of the worst NCAA championships of all time. 53 to 41 points. 34% versus 18% field goal percentage. UConn’s winning mark was the lowest scoring win since World War II era with Wisconsin’s 39-34 win over Wazzu in’41.

Rather than bash the atrocious scoring efforts of both teams, watching this game helped make a comparison, aside from the title game, that the 2010-11 Huskies resemble the roster make up of the 2009-10 Los Angeles Lakers.

2011 NCAA Champions

Of course, the most notable, yet most controversial comparison lies between junior guard Kemba Walker and shooting guard Kobe Bryant. Naturally there are physical differences (Walker stands at a mere 6’1” while Bryant towers over him at 6’6”), playing level, experience, and team composition.

However, both have one common, “umbrella” characteristic that branch out into other minor feats: they both know how to control the game. Walker’s 23.7 ppg in the regular season, with an incredible 26.3 ppg within the Big East/NCAA tournament resonates to Bryant’s 27.0 ppg last season accompanied by a 29.2 ppg average in the post season, both roughly a 7% increase.

Next up, Walker’s stellar performance through out the entire March Madness earned him the “Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four” while Bryant’s magician-like showing during the 2010 post season earned an “NBA Finals MVP” accolade. Not enough? Let’s move on.

Incorporating teammates is another critical component to the two play makers’ style of play. Dishing out around five assists a game and an above 1.5 assist to turnover ratio reflects that the two sharp shooters aren’t all about the stats.

Speaking of teammates, there are some uncanny comparison in some UConn to LA players. Freshman forward Jeremy Lamb’s clutch 2nd half against Butler and hard-nose defense resembled Lakers’ forward Ron Artest and some of his 4th quarter heroics. Sophomore big man Alex Oriakhi’s near double-double season average and capability of shutting down Butler’s paint play echoed center Pau Gasol’s wall-like presence down low against the Celtic’s Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins.

2010 NBA Champions

Not only do their rosters show commonalities, but their coaches seem to share some redeeming qualities as well. Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun became the oldest coach to win a NCAA basketball collegiate title at age 68, making it his 3rd title overall. On the flip side, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson isn’t drinking from the fountain of youth either- at age 65 was able to win his 11th NBA title. Yes, the numbers are a bit skewed, but the only NCAA coach to come close to that number is UCLA legend John Wooden with 10.

Digging further in the two teams’ alikeness, both have had a roughly the same roller coaster of a history the past 10 years. UConn’s 2004 winning year with Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon parallels the Lakers 1999-04 Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal era. The two teams both have had down falls and with a few rebuilding seasons, returned to national glory.

Who knows if Walker will replicate Bryant’s NBA career of any sort or will share even remotely the same impact #24 has had on the Lakers, or if UConn will be a collegiate powerhouse as the Lakers are to the NBA. However, if one thing is for certain, Walker’s leadership and performance of the Huskies tournament run shows at least a glimpse of what the guard has in store for the basketball world to see.

guard Kemba Walker

So we can all agree that Boise State’s shocking 27-24 loss to the Nevada Wolfpack this past Friday was one that shook not only Bronco Nation, but the entire Football Bowl Subdivision. The Broncos gave up a 24-7 lead at half to literally deflate on defense and witness senior kicker Kyle Brotzman choking on the poison of pressure and shanking two, sub-30-yard field goals, one to win it and one to tie it up in overtime. But there’s already chaos and catastrophe from that by itself so I won’t delve into it.

This stunning defeat created a horrific domino effect for Boise State. Rather than dominating the WAC like they consistently have for the past years, they must settle as co-champions with Nevada. But what about that BCS title game? Out of the question. How about a BCS major bowl game? Not a chance. Oh and the millions of dollars that was to supposed to come with it? Maybe in Monopoly money.

The 11-1 Broncos must settle for a minor bowl game, such as The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl played in San Francisco or the The Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl played on their own blue turf, an ended 24-game win streak, and the departure of many key seniors, such as sack master Ryan Winterswyk, defensive leader Winston Venable, and big time receivers Austin Pettis and Titus Young, who will never get the taste of national title glory.

You may be thinking all is lost in Boise and moving into a depleted Mountain West Conference is the icing on the cake for bleak seasons to come. But there is some light in the Treasure Valley.

Let’s begin with the up and coming bowl season. Even though Boise State will not be playing in any of the major bowl games, they still have the opportunity to be matched up against an SEC or Big 10 powerhouse such as Michigan State, who they will play in the 2012 regular season, Alabama, LSU or Florida. A win against any of those “proven” teams would show not only the Nevada loss was a fluke, but a solid rebound back onto their quest for the national title.

With ex-Heisman-hopeful gunslinger Kellen Moore returning for his senior year to lead the men in blue and orange into the 2011-12 season, Boise State starts off the year by playing Georgia in the Georgia Dome. A win away from Bronco Stadium in SEC territory would continue the stride back into BCS title recognition. And with it being the Bronco’s first season in the MWC, they’re guaranteed to play TCU, who consequently won the competition of the top non-automatic qualifying team,  a solid Air Force team and San Diego State, who gave TCU a run for their money earlier this year.

Now what about the empty roster spots from the departing seniors? The 2011 recruiting class brings in defensive back Eric Agbaroji,  running back Jay Ajayi, defensive end Robert Ash, quarterback Jimmy Laughrea, and defensive tackle Jeff Worthy, who have all earned +3 stars on Rivals.com, just to name a few.

It’s been a difficult past few days for Bronco Nation and the image of the missed field goals is branded into their memory. And it will continue to be for a very long time. But with the hard times comes only better ones. The Boise State Broncos will eventually rise from the damage of Hurricane Kaepernick and be the team that will continue to knock loudly on the door of the BCS.

Courtesy of Bleacher Report

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

I know, I know you’re probably thinking: a. this kid is only lobbying for Boise State because he goes there, b. a non-BCS qualifier such as Boise State should not go ahead of a one loss SEC or Pac-10 Conference team or c. may actually agree with me

Anyways, we’re at Week 10 for college football and even before the beginning of this circus-like season, the Broncos have been down talked and patronized since day one. The season is more than half way over and if it were to end today, Auburn and Oregon would play for the national championship while TCU would be ranked higher than BSU and could play the Broncos in any of the major bowls (smells like 2009). Honestly, it is just not right.

Let’s first recognize the Bronco’s opponents: Auburn, who has 13 fewer wins than Boise State over the past five years and who’s head coach, Gene Chizik, needs to go 12-0 to have a .500 career record with the Tigers, Oregon,  who’s near replicated team lost to the Broncos 19-8 last season, and TCU, who fell to the men in blue and orange in the Fiesta Bowl last year 17-10.

The one thing these teams have in common with Boise State is that they’re currently undefeated. But Boise State has more than that. They’re riding a 21 game win streak, the longest in the country as well as hefty 16 game road win streak. Coach Chris Petersen is 56-4 while under control of the Broncos, something any coach aspires to have.

Now there’s the argument of “strength of schedule” and that Boise State has a cupcake schedule. Let me throw a few things out there. Boise State beat #10 ranked, at the time, Virginia Tech at a so-called “neutral” field in Maryland, and even though they lost to a pathetic James Madison team, they’re back on track at #22 and will probably win the ACC.

The Broncos also beat Oregon State, in which they edged the #24 ranked Beavers (at the time) by 13.  Even though they lost their ranking, Oregon State has strong victories against a ranked (#14) Arizona team as well as California and has a potential to beat Oregon on their home field at the end of the season.

But what about that cupcake schedule, you might ask. Well the Broncos take on Hawaii,a 7-2 passing machine and potential ranked team, #23 ranked Nevada squad, who’s running game is as threatening as any legitimate BCS team, and Fresno State, who stand at a respectable 5-2, in three out of the next four weeks. That doesn’t sound so sweet to me.

As for the rest of the Bronco victories, they still stand quite dazzling.  The Broncos have outscored their opponents 334-94, including an impressive 159-20 against WAC opponents, are 2nd in the FBS Rankings for points for (47.7) and 3rd in points against (13.4)

Don’t worry I haven’t forgot about the other “legitimate”teams as well as the other BCS-Buster. Let’s start with Oregon, who leads the FBS in scoring as well as blowing out teams such as New Mexico, Tennessee, Portland State, Arizona State, and Washington State. Those teams go as followed: New Mexico lost to New Mexico State, a team BSU destroyed, Tennessee, which is an SEC nobody, Portland State is an FCS team (Boise State doesn’t even play FCS teams), Arizona State, in which the Ducks gave up 597 yards to , and Washington State, where there only victory is against Montana State. Wow.

Let’s move on to TCU, in which they were pre-ranked to have the easiest schedule for the season (Boise State being 2nd, naturally). The only ranked team the Horned Frogs have played so far was against Oregon State, in which they won by nine compared to BSU’s 13 point difference. As for the rest of their schedule: blowing out Tennessee Tech and Southern Methodist who play in the Ohio Valley Conference and Conference-USA, respectively. I forgot how BCS-legitimate those conferences are. Don’t forget about Colorado State, with a mighty 3-6 record, and UNLV, who has one win. But hey, a win is a win.

Now for the team I probably have the most respect for besides BSU: Auburn. Playing in the SEC is rough in itself, but beating proven teams such as South Carolina, Arkansas, and LSU is something else. Yeah they’ve played some nobodies but everyone should get some breathing room. In my honest opinion, I will have to agree with Mr. Kirk Herbstreit (much to my dismay), that the winner of the Auburn-Alabama game on Nov. 26th should go to the title game.

But it should be the winner of that game and Boise State! We are constantly forgotten, put down, or not given enough credit for what we have done. I mean in more than 2/3 of our games, the selfless Coach Pete pulls Heisman hopeful Kellen Moore as well as the rest of the offensive at the half because the game is already a blow out, not allowing the Broncos to rack up the points to the get those oh-so-worthy “style points”.

Can Moore finally lead this Bronco team to the 'ship?

A side note, Kellen Moore back in April was spotted wearing a Butler shirt, everyone’s bracket buster sweetheart that made it to the NCAA finals. Moore compared Boise State with Butler in that both teams are seen as underdogs but in reality they’re not and that if college football had a playoff system, they’d have their time to shine.

Agree or disagree with me, it still won’t change my opinion. It’s a shame that Coach Petersen doesn’t constantly advertise and pull for his team to be regarded as a BCS contender, because that would help gain some national recognition. All I can ask is for the voters (and the “accurate” computers) to realize what kind of team Boise State is and the potential it has to play (and beat) a nationally-recognized powerhouse BCS team.

Or at least get a playoff system going please.