Brad-ketology: February 16th Edition

The teams below are displayed below on an S-curve, so they are ranked from left to right within each seeding line.  The italicized teams are ones predicted to win their conference tourney and gain an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.  You will notice that some of these squads are also listed in the NIT bracket.  The reason for this is two-fold.  First and foremost, it shows how close those teams are to getting at-large bids in the NCAA tournament field.  Secondly, it shows where those squads would be seeded if in fact they lost in their conference tournament and garnered an automatic bid to the NIT.

Also, just to clarify, my bracket projection is intended to project the NCAA Tournament field if it was chosen today.  Unlike some bracketologists, I am not trying to predict how each team will finish the season and then seed the teams based on that.  There is one slight exception to this rule, however, and that is that I have always chosen to award the projected automatic bid for each conference to my projected best team in that conference, and not the team who is currently leading the conference standings.   Given how unbalanced conference schedules are, it just seems like common sense to project that the best team in a conference will win the league championship, not the squad currently in first place.

Brad-ketology columns will be published at least twice a week (typically on Mondays and Fridays).  This bracket projection has been updated through all games played on Thursay February 15th.

NCAA Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Virginia, Xavier, Villanova, Auburn

2-seeds: Kansas, Purdue, Duke, North Carolina

3-seeds: Clemson, Texas Tech, Michigan State, Tennessee

4-seeds: Cincinnati, ArizonaRhode Island, West Virginia

5-seeds: Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas A & M, Ohio State

6-seeds: Seton Hall, Creighton, Nevada, Kentucky

7-seeds: Arizona State, Miami, FL, Arkansas Providence

8-seeds: Wichita State, Alabama, Gonzaga, Butler

9-seeds: TCU, Houston, Florida State, Michigan

10-seeds: Louisville, Florida, Washington, Saint Mary’s

11-seeds: Texas, UCLA, Southern California, Temple, NC State, Baylor

12-seeds: Middle Tennessee, Buffalo, New Mexico State, Loyola-IL

13-seeds: South Dakota State, Vermont,  Belmont, East Tennessee State

14-seeds: Rider, UL-Lafayette, College of Charleston, UC Santa Barbara

15-seeds: Bucknell, Montana, Northern Kentucky, UNC-Asheville

16-seeds: Florida Gulf Coast, Penn, Nicholls State, Savannah State, Grambling

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Syracuse, St. Bonaventure, Virginia Tech, Utah

2-seeds: Middle Tennessee, Marquette, Kansas State, Nebraska

3-seeds: Georgia, Western Kentucky, Mississippi State, Boston College

4-seeds: Boise State, Buffalo, New Mexico State, Loyola-IL

5-seeds: South Dakota State, Notre Dame, Colorado, LSU

6-seeds: Maryland, Vermont, UCF, Oregon

7-seeds: Penn State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, SMU

8-seeds: Belmont, East Tennessee State, Rider, UL-Lafayette

Ranking of Other Postseason Contenders: College of Charleston, South Carolina, Brigham Young, Tulsa, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford, Northwestern

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Best Sports Moments of My Life

The beginning of the year is always a time for reflection so here’s my list of favorite sporting moments of all-time.  List of worst moments is soon to follow.

Greatest Sports Moments of Life
1 Wake wins ACC Football Championship (2006)
2 Kentucky wins NCAA Basketball Title (1996)
3 Andy Murray wins Wimbledon (2013)
4 New England Patriots win first Super Bowl (2002)
5 American Pharoah wins horse racing triple crown (2015)
6 Chicago Bulls win 6th NBA Championship (1998)
7 New England Patriots beat Falcons in epic Super Bowl comeback (2017)
8 South Carolina basketball upsets Florida to make first-ever Final Four (2017)
9 Kentucky wins NCAA Basketball Title (1998)
10 Norfolk State and Lehigh pull off simultaneous upsets (2012)
11 Andy Murray wins Olympic gold (2012)
12 South Carolina wins first NCAA Baseball Championhip (2010)
13 Wake Forest upsets Texas in NCAA Tournament (2010)
14 South Carolina football beats Alabama (2010)
15 New England Patriots win first Super Bowl in 10 years over Seahawks (2015)
16 Andy Murray wins 2nd Wimbledon (2016)
17 Kentucky wins NCAA Basketball Title (2012)
18 Andy Murray wins U.S. Open (2012)
19 Kentucky football ends drought against Tennessee (2011)
20 Boise State upsets Oklahoma in Fiesta Bowl (2007)
21 George Mason upsets Connecticut in Elite 8 of NCAA Tournament (2006)
22 15-seeded Hampton beats Iowa State in the first round of the NCAA tourney (2001)
23 Stanford pulls off biggest upset in college football history over Southern Cal (2007)
24 Florida Gulf Coast becomes first 15 seed to make Sweet 16 (2013)
25 Webb Simpson wins golf U.S. Open (2012)

Biggest Moments of Each Olympics

Every Olympics, no matter if its Summer or Winter, there is always one or two moments, stories, or events that leave an indelible mark on us as sports fans.  While many of the events and sports blend together from year to year there is at least one “Olympic” moment that reminds us why we all love this sporting event so much.  Here is a listing of those moments from the 1960 Olympics onward.  Feel free to disagree and dicuss.

Year Olympics Moment
1960 Winter (Squaw Valley, California) U.S. wins first ever gold medal in Olympic hockey
1960 Summer (Rome, Italy) Cassius Clay wins olympic gold in light heavyweight boxing
1964 Winter (Innsbruck, Austria) Terry McDermott wins first speed skating gold for U.S. in 12 years
1964 Summer (Tokyo, Japan) Billy Mills becomes only American ever to win 10,000 meter race
1968 Winter (Grenoble, France) Peggy Fleming wins U.S. women’s figure skating gold
1968 Summer (Mexico City, Mexico) Bob Beamon flies to world record 29 foot gold medal jump in the long jump
1972 Winter (Sapporo, Japan) Japan wins first-ever olympic winter medals in front of home crown in ski jumping
1972 Summer (Munich, Germany) United States gets screwed out of olympic basketball gold by USSR
1976 Winter (Innsbruck, Austria) Dorothy Hamill wins women’s figure skating olympic gold
1976 Summer (Montreal, Canada) Nadia Comaneci gets first perfect 10 en route to women’s gymnastics gold
1980 Winter (Lake Placid, NY) Miracle on Ice: U.S. Men’s Hockey Team wins gold medal
1980 Summer (Moscow, Soviet Union) Allan Wells wins first British 100 meter gold since 1924
1984 Winter (Sarajevo, Yugoslavia) Scott Hamilton wins men’s figure skating olympic gold
1984 Summer (Los Angeles, CA) Carl Lewis makes olympic debut and wins four gold medals
1988 Winter (Calgary, Canada) Bonnie Blair makes olympic debute and wins speed skating gold
1988 Summer (Seoul, South Korea) Roy Jones Jr. gets screwed out of olympic boxing gold
1992 Winter (Albertville, France) Kristi Yamaguchi wins women’s figure skating gold
1992 Summer (Barcelona, Spain) The Dream Team wins U.S. men’s basketball gold
1994 Winter (Lilehammer, Norway) Nancy Kerrigan vs. Tonya Harding saga
1996 Summer (Atlanta, GA) Kerri Strug lands vault on one foot to win team gold for U.S. gymnastics
1998 Winter (Nagano, Japan) Hermann Maier wrecks in downhill but comes back to win two gold medals
2000 Summer (Sydney, Australia) Rulon Gardner wins shocking greco-roman wrestling gold medal with incredible upset
2002 Winter (Salt Lake City, UT) Sarah Hughes wins shocking gold in women’s figure skating
2004 Summer (Athens, Greece) U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball team falters to bronze medal
2006 Winter (Torino, Italy) Shaun White dominates olympic snowboarding half pipe en route to his first gold
2008 Summer (Beijing, China) Michael Phelps sets record for 8 gold medals in one olympics
2010 Winter (Vancouver, Canada) Lindsey Vonn wins first U.S. gold in women’s downhill
2012 Summer (London, England) Andy Murray wins first British tennis gold medal at Wimbledon
2014 Winter (Sochi, Russia) Canada women’s hockey completes shocking comeback over U.S. in gold medal game
2016 Summer (Rio de Janiero, Brazil) Michael Phelps wins 5 golds in Olympic swan song
2018 Winter (Pyeongchang, South Korea) Chris Mazdzer wins first-ever U.S. olympic men’s singles luge medal

Ranking of Super Bowl Halftime Shows

After getting in a Facebook debate regarding just how wretched the Justin Timberlake Super Bowl halftime show was this year, I decided to review all 52 of the Super Bowl halftime shows and rank them from best to worst.  The best I can tell is that there is not another list this comprehensive on the web anywhere.  Several websites rank the modern concert-type shows (post 1991), but I couldn’t find any that rank all 52.  If you scroll down my blog a few days, you will see that I recently ranked all 52 Super Bowl games as well, and ironically, the worst halftime show on this list corresponded with the worst game on that list.  It took a little work to find some clips of the other older shows on You Tube, and it is hard to compare the old marching band shows to the current live concerts but here’s what I came up with.  Feel free to comment or debate.

Greatest Super Bowl Halftimes in NFL History
1 Super Bowl XXVII- Michael Jackson
2 Super Bowl XLII- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
3 Super Bowl XLIX- Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott
4 Super Bowl XXXVI- U2 (9/11 Tribute)
5 Super Bowl XXXIX- Paul McCartney
6 Super Bowl XXXVIII- Jessica Simpson, Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Kid Rock
7 Super Bowl XLVI- Madonna. LMFAO, Nicky Minaj, Cee Lo Green
8 Super Bowl XLI- Lady Gaga
9 Super Bowl 50- Coldplay, Beyonce, Bruno Mars
10 Super Bowl XLIII- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
11 Super Bowl XLI- Prince, FAMU Marching Band
12 Super Bowl XXXIV- Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton
13 Super Bowl XLIV- The Who
14 Super Bowl XL- The Rolling Stones
15 Super Bowl XXII- Chubby Checker, The Rockettes (Something Grand)
16 Super Bowl XXIV- Pete Fountain, Doug Kershaw (Salute to New Orleans)
17 Super Bowl XVI- Up With People (Salute to the 1960s and Motown)
18 Super Bowl XXXVII- Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting
19 Super Bowl XXXI- Blues Brothers and ZZ Top
20 Super Bowl I- University of Arizona and Grambling Marching Bands
21 Super Bowl VI- Ella Fitzgerald “Mack the Knife” (Salute to Louis Armstrong)
22 Super Bowl XVII- LA Drill Team (Kaleido superscope)
23 Super Bowl VII- Michigan Marching Band “This Land Is Your Land”
24 Super Bowl IV- Southern Marching Band “When Saints Go Marching In” (Mardi Gras)
25 Super Bowl III- Florida A & M Marching Band (America Thanks)
26 Super Bowl V- Southeast Missouri St. Marching Band with Anita Bryant
27 Super Bowl XXI- Walt Disnery (Salute to Hollywood’s 100th Anniversary)
28 Super Bowl XXVI- Gloria Estefan (Salute to the 1992 Winter Olympics)
29 Super Bowl XVIII- Walt Disney (Salute to Superstars of Silver Screen)
30 Super Bowl XXX- Diana Ross
31 Super Bowl XXXII- Boyz II Men, The Temptations, Queen Latifah
32 Super Bowl XXXV- Aerosmith, N’Sync, Brittany Spears, Mary J. Blige, Nelly
33 Super Bowl XLV- The Black Eyed Peas, Usher
34 Super Bowl XV- Southern Marching Band (Mardi Gras Festival)
35 Super Bowl II- Grambling State Marching Band
36 Super Bowl VIII- Texas Marching Band (A Musical America)
37 Super Bowl XII- Apache Band (From Paris to Paris of America)
38 Super Bowl XXXIII- Gloria Estefan and Stevie Wonder
39 Super Bowl XX- Up with People (Beat of the Future)
40 Super Bowl XLVII- Beyonce, Destiny’s Child
41 Super Bowl X- Up With People (Bicentennial)
42 Super Bowl IX- Grambling State Marching Band (Tribute to Duke Ellington)
43 Super Bowl XIX- Tops In Blue (World of Children’s Dreams)
44 Super Bowl XLVIII- Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers
45 Super Bowl XXV- New Kids on the Block (Small World Tribute)
46 Super Bowl XIV- Up With People, Grambling Marching Band (Big Band Era)
47 Super Bowl XXVIII- Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt
48 Super Bowl XLII- Justin Timberlake
49 Super Bowl XIII- Ken Hamilton (Salute to Caribbean)
50 Super Bowl XI- Walt Disney “It’s a Small World”
51 Super Bowl XXIII- Elvis Presto (1950’s Rock and Roll)
52 Super Bowl XXIX- Patti Labelle, Tony Bennett (Indiana Jones)

Brad-ketology: February 12th Edition

The teams below are displayed below on an S-curve, so they are ranked from left to right within each seeding line.  The italicized teams are ones predicted to win their conference tourney and gain an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.  You will notice that some of these squads are also listed in the NIT bracket.  The reason for this is two-fold.  First and foremost, it shows how close those teams are to getting at-large bids in the NCAA tournament field.  Secondly, it shows where those squads would be seeded if in fact they lost in their conference tournament and garnered an automatic bid to the NIT.

Also, just to clarify, my bracket projection is intended to project the NCAA Tournament field if it was chosen today.  Unlike some bracketologists, I am not trying to predict how each team will finish the season and then seed the teams based on that.  There is one slight exception to this rule, however, and that is that I have always chosen to award the projected automatic bid for each conference to my projected best team in that conference, and not the team who is currently leading the conference standings.   Given how unbalanced conference schedules are, it just seems like common sense to project that the best team in a conference will win the league championship, not the squad currently in first place.

Brad-ketology columns will be published at least twice a week (typically on Mondays and Fridays).  This bracket projection has been updated through all games played on Sunday February 11th.

NCAA Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, Clemson

2-seeds: Auburn, Purdue, Kansas, North Carolina

3-seeds: Duke, Michigan State, Texas Tech, Tennessee

4-seeds: Ohio State, Rhode Island, Cincinnati, West Virginia

5-seeds: Oklahoma, Arizona, Seton Hall, Texas A & M

6-seeds: Kentucky, Miami-FL, Creighton, TCU

7-seeds: Nevada, Butler, Michigan, Arizona State

8-seeds: Missouri, Arkansas, Wichita State, Alabama

9-seeds: Providence, St. Mary’s, Gonzaga, Texas

10-seeds: Florida, Washington, Louisville, Houston

11-seeds: Florida State, Syracuse, Temple, Mississippi State, UCLA, Southern California

12-seeds: Middle Tennessee, New Mexico State, Buffalo, Loyola-IL

13-seeds: South Dakota State, Vermont, East Tennessee State, Belmont

14-seeds: Rider, UL-Lafayette, College of Charleston, UC Santa Barbara

15-seeds: Montana, Bucknell, Northern Kentucky, UNC-Asheville

16-seeds: Wagner, Florida Gulf Coast, Penn, Nicholls State, Savannah State, Grambling

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: NC State, St. Bonaventure, Middle Tennessee, New Mexico State

2-seeds: Marquette, Kansas State, Virginia Tech, Baylor

3-seeds: Utah, Georgia, Nebraska, Western Kentucky

4-seeds: Boise State, Colorado, SMU, Maryland

5-seeds: LSU, Notre Dame, Boston College, Buffalo

6-seeds: Loyola-IL, South Dakota State, Oregon, Vermont

7-seeds: East Tennessee State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, UCF

8-seeds: South Carolina Penn State, Northwestern, Belmont

Ranking of Other Postseason Contenders: Rider, UL-Lafayette, College of Charleston, Wyoming, Brigham Young, Tulsa, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford

Brad-ketology: February 9th Edition

The teams below are displayed below on an S-curve, so they are ranked from left to right within each seeding line.  The italicized teams are ones predicted to win their conference tourney and gain an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.  You will notice that some of these squads are also listed in the NIT bracket.  The reason for this is two-fold.  First and foremost, it shows how close those teams are to getting at-large bids in the NCAA tournament field.  Secondly, it shows where those squads would be seeded if in fact they lost in their conference tournament and garnered an automatic bid to the NIT.

Also, just to clarify, my bracket projection is intended to project the NCAA Tournament field if it was chosen today.  Unlike some bracketologists, I am not trying to predict how each team will finish the season and then seed the teams based on that.  There is one slight exception to this rule, however, and that is that I have always chosen to award the projected automatic bid for each conference to my projected best team in that conference, and not the team who is currently leading the conference standings.   Given how unbalanced conference schedules are, it just seems like common sense to project that the best team in a conference will win the league championship, not the squad currently in first place.

Brad-ketology columns will be published at least twice a week (typically on Mondays and Fridays).  This bracket projection has been updated through all games played on Thursday February 8th.

NCAA Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, Purdue

2-seeds: Clemson, Auburn, Kansas, North Carolina

3-seeds: Tennessee, Duke, Texas Tech, Ohio State

4-seeds: Michigan State, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Oklahoma

5-seeds: Cincinnati, Seton Hall, Kentucky, Arizona 

6-seeds: Miami-FL, Creighton, Texas A & M, Butler

7-seeds: TCU, Nevada, Michigan, Arizona State

8-seeds: Washington, Missouri, Providence, Arkansas

9-seeds: St. Mary’s, Wichita State, Gonzaga, Texas

10-seeds: Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Louisville

11-seeds: Houston, Syracuse, Temple, NC State, Mississippi State, Southern California

12-seeds: Middle Tennessee, New Mexico State, Buffalo, Loyola-IL

13-seeds: South Dakota State, Vermont, East Tennessee State, Wright State

14-seeds: Belmont, Rider, UL-Lafayette, College of Charleston

15-seeds: UC Santa Barbara, Montana, Bucknell, Wagner

16-seeds: UNC-Asheville, Penn, Florida Gulf Coast, North Carolina A & T, Nicholls State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: UCLA, Marquette, Georgia, Kansas State

2-seeds: St. Bonaventure, Middle Tennessee, New Mexico State, Utah

3-seeds: Boise State, SMU, Nebraska, Buffalo

4-seeds: Western Kentucky, Colorado, Virginia Tech, Maryland

5-seeds: Loyola-IL, South Dakota State, South Carolina, Oregon

6-seeds: Vermont, East Tennessee State, LSU, Notre Dame

7-seeds: UCF, Baylor, Boston College, Wright State

8-seeds: Northwestern, Penn State, Stanford, Oklahoma State

Ranking of Other Postseason Contenders: Wyoming, Belmont, Rider, UL-Lafayette, College of Charleston, Brigham Young, Iowa State, Tulsa

Potential March Madness Cinderella Stories 2018- Early Edition

Each season, I chronicle the potential March Madness Cinderella Stories by writing two articles that detail teams across that could become a feel-good story come March.   The first article is written around the midpoint of the season (late January/early February) and the second is published  just as the conference tournaments begin.  Here is the first of those two annual editions.

While almost all mid-major NCAA teams have the chance to play Cinderella come Christmas Day (aka the first round of the NCAA tourney), it is particularly special when these teams have an inspiring sentimental storyline.  Often times this involves a squad making its first trip to the Big Dance (see Northern Colorado in 2011).  Other times there is a likable coach who warms the hearts of the nation (see Pete Carril in 1994, Andy Enfeld in 2012).  Inevitably, when the second week of March comes around, these stories will come to fruition.  In the meantime, it’s worth looking at the standings and checking out which mid-major conference leaders/contenders and other probably NCAA Tournament teams could inspire us during the first few weeks of March.  Only teams currently in first or second place of their respective conferences or squads currently in the hunt for an at-large bid will be included in this column.  They are listed in alphabetical order by conference.

Hartford (America East)- The Hawks have never been to the Big Dance before but currently sit tied for 2nd in their conference standings.

Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun)- The Dolphins have been dancing since 1986, but they are now alone in 2nd place in the conference standings.

TCU (Big 12)- The Horned Frogs haven’t danced since 1998, but Jamie Dixon has them firmly in position for an at-large bid in just his second season.

Charleston (Colonial)– Would you believe that despite all the success Cremins and others have had at C of C the Cougars haven’t danced since the 1990’s?  They are currently the frontrunners in this year’s Colonial Standings and also get to host the conference tournament.

William & Mary (Colonial)– The Tribe are joined by St. Francis (NY), Army, and The Citadel as the only four original teams to have played NCAA Division 1 basketball when the tournament started and have still not made the Big Dance.  This could be their year as they are just a game back of the forementioned Cougars in the Colonial standings.

Rider (MAAC)– Neither of the top two teams in the current Metro Atlantic standings have danced since the mid-1990s.

Canisius (MAAC)– Neither of the top two teams in the current Metro Atlantic standings have danced since the mid-1990s.

Toledo (MAC)- Buffalo is garnering all the headlines in the MAC this season, but the Rockets of Toledo are quietly dominating the league’s other division as they seek their first tourney berth since 1980.

Savannah State (MEAC)- These Big Dance Virgins have flirted with a tourney bid before as they won the MEAC regular season championship in 2012 before being upset in the quarterfinals of the conference tourney in Winston-Salem (I was actually in attendance for that game).  These Tigers are hoping for a better postseason showing this season as they are currently tied for first in the league standings with North Carolina A & T.

Loyola-IL (MVC)– The Ramblers not only have one of the best nicknames in college sports but they also have a rich NCAA history as they actually won a national championship in 1963.  Unfortunately, the Ramblers haven’t been back to the Big Dance since 1985, but this year’s squad should break that streak as they have the deepest and most talented team in the MVC.

Colgate (Patriot)– The Raiders haven’t danced since NBA journeyman Adonal Foyle graced their roster in 1996.  This year’s squad however sits tied for second behind Bucknell in the Patriot standings.

Nicholls State (Southland)– Ever since Stephen F. Austin’s reign of terror in the Southland ended with the departure of Brad Underwood in 2016, this conference has become wide open.  Last year, New Orleans claimed its first tourney big in over 20 years, and this season Nicholls is attempting to do the same as they currently sit alone atop the conference standings.

Grambling State (SWAC)– Believe it or not, this historical football powerhouse has never made it to an NCAA basketball tournament.  That could chance in 2018 as the Tigers sit alone behind a very beatable Arkansas-Pine Bluff squad in second place of the SWAC standings.

South Dakota (Summit)– South Dakota State is definitely the class of this conference right now but these Big Dance virgin are alone in second and ready to pounce if their in-state rival stumbles in the conference tournament.  Interestingly, only three teams in the current Summit League have ever gone to the NCAA tournament (Oral Roberts, South Dakota State, and North Dakota State).

Grand Canyon (WAC)– The Antelopes have never been dancing but former NBA superstar Dan Majerle has gotten them off to a strong start in conference play this year as they currently sit alone in 2nd place in the WAC behind New Mexico State.  The issue is that I am not sure anyone in that league can beat the mighty Aggies this season.