commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

Nate Silver joins the Ohio State NCAA win crowd….

How We Made Our N.C.A.A. Picks


I participated in my first N.C.A.A. tournament pool in 1992 when, as a 14-year-old, I correctly predicted sixth-seeded Michigan to reach the Final Four.

I don’t particularly remember what went into the prediction, other than that the pool offered some ridiculous bonus for picking lower seeds — and also, since I grew up in East Lansing, Mich., I could be pretty sure that nobody else would be willing to go all-in on the team from Ann Arbor. I’ve never been asked to return the 75 “units” I took in for finishing first, despite the fact that Michigan’s Fab Five had to forfeit its wins for recruiting violations.

This year, we’ve decided to do something a bit more scientific, analyzing the results for all tournament games since 2003 (a total of 512 games) and evaluating which factors best predicted success. Our forecast is here.

The goal is to have a system that makes good statistical sense and also makes decent basketball sense, as opposed to identifying a bunch of spurious correlations. There’s no Da Vinci code for winning the tournament; it’s just a matter of playing good basketball.

Let me give you an overview of the system; there’s more elaboration down below for those interested in the gory details.

The Simple Version

– First, we create a power rating for each team. The power rating is an aggregation of four computer ratings and two human ratings, all of which have performed well at predicting tournament games in the past:

Objective (computer) ratings:

a) Jeff Sagarin “predictor” ratings;
b) Ken Pomeroy Pythagorean ratings;
c) Joel Sokol LRMC rankings;
d) Sonny Moore power ratings.

Read more…

This From Polticaldog101…


March 15, 2011 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Entertainment, Media, Men, Polls, Projections, Sports, Updates | , , | Leave a comment

In Defense of Duke…….


I’m going out in few hours to watch the Duke University Basketball team try to get to be one  of the NCAA March Madness College Championship tournament two teams viewing for the title….

I am happy to see the team get this far…..

And I have suffered being a fan of the team for the last ten years….

But despite the team being kinda light, and coach K bitching about calls……

They are my team……

And they win…..

More so than just about another college basketball team…

Here’s a piece on why others can love the team also….
We all need villains.

If it isn’t Iago or Lex Luthor or Ivan Drago, it’s somebody else. It’s your neighbor. It’s your boss. It’s an entity you set yourself against, because in doing so, in making that decision and relishing that impulse, one makes an articulated stand about what is true and right of the world and its injustices. It becomes the New York Yankees, or the Detroit Red Wings, or it’s Notre Dame.

Or it’s the Duke University men’s basketball team, and its leader, the progenitor of Duke’s modern era of success, Coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Coach K.

It is a known fact that Duke is the most hated college basketball program in the country. If you tell someone you’re a Duke fan, you could get a mean look, or you could get some profanity. I know, because I am a Duke fan myself. I own two Duke sweatshirts, and I don’t wear them around too often, for fear of getting beaten up by a pack of club-wielding Maryland fans, or anyone from the state of Kentucky.

Duke hatred is a fact of college basketball, just as hatred of Notre Dame is of college football and hatred of the New York Yankees is of baseball. It’s not quite as widespread, but yes, it is there. If you are in the state of North Carolina, and you tell someone you’re a Duke fan, there is a 15% chance (slight exaggeration) he or she will say to you, to your face, “Fuck Duke.” Literally. Out loud. There aren’t a lot of other things in life that’s true for.

There are many reasons to hate Duke, and I am familiar with all of them. I went there for four years, and I got my taste.

More from The Atlantic piece by Chris Good……

April 3, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Counterpoints, Entertainment, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Sports, Travel, Updates | , , | 5 Comments

NCAA Mens Basketball March Madness Championship Update……

+ Click on game links for box scores

March 18-19 March 20-21 March 25-26 March 27-28 April 3 April 5
1 Kansas
16 Lehigh Kansas 90-74
9 Northern Iowa UNI 69-66
8 UNLV UNI 69-67
5 Michigan St MSU 85-83
12 New Mexico St MSU 70-67
13 Houston Maryland 89-77
4 Maryland MIDWEST
3 Georgetown
14 Ohio Ohio 97-83
11 Tennessee Tennessee 62-59
6 San Diego St Tennessee 83-68
7 Oklahoma St Ohio St 75-66
10 Georgia Tech Ga Tech 64-59
15 Ohio St Ohio St 68-51
2 UCSB Indianapolis
1 Syracuse April 3-5
16 Vermont Syracuse 79-56
9 Florida St Gonzaga 67-60
8 Gonzaga Syracuse 87-65
5 Butler Butler 54-52
12 UTEP Butler 77-59
13 Murray St Murray St 66-65
4 Vanderbilt WEST Butler 63-59
3 Pittsburgh Kansas St 101-96
14 Oakland Pitt 89-66
11 Minnesota Xavier 65-54
6 Xavier Xavier 71-68
7 BYU Kansas St 84-72
10 Florida BYU 99-92
15 North Texas KSU 82-62
2 Kansas St
1 Kentucky
16 ETSU Kentucky 100-71
9 Texas Wake 81-80
8 Wake Forest Kentucky 90-60
5 Temple Cornell 87-69
12 Cornell Cornell 78-65
13 Wofford Wisconsin 53-49
4 Wisconsin Kentucky 62-45
3 New Mexico EAST WVU 69-56
14 Montana New Mexico 62-57
11 Washington Washington 80-78
6 Marquette Washington 82-64
7 Clemson WVU 68-59
10 Missouri Missouri 86-78
15 Morgan St WVU 77-50
2 West Virginia Indianapolis

1 Duke April 3-5
16 Winthrop / UAPB Duke 73-44
9 Louisville Cal 77-62
8 California Duke 68-53
5 Texas A&M Purdue 63-61
12 Utah St A&M 69-53
13 Siena Purdue 72-64
4 Purdue SOUTH Detroit, MI
3 Baylor
14 Sam Houston St Baylor 68-59
11 Old Dominion ODU 51-50
6 Notre Dame Baylor 76-68
7 Richmond SMC 75-68
10 St. Mary’s SMC 81-70
15 Robert Morris Villanova 73-70
2 Villanova


From CollegeHoopsnet.com…..

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Entertainment, Media, Men, Other Things, Sports, Updates | , , | Leave a comment

The Game of the Night was Xavier vs Kansas State..not Kentucky vs Cornell…..And Xavier won even though they lost!……..

The  Dog watched  College Basketball last night happy to be finished with the darn Healthcare Bill and crazies who can’t accept its passage…..

And I had very good night……First of all……The Syracuse  Butler game……

My oldest son…..who doesn’t have team…..his team is anybody that beats up Duke….decided that his team was going to be Syracuse……well first got schooled by Butler in the first half….then …after falling behind the came back to hold on and post a win…getting themselves into the ‘Big Eight‘ of the NCAA championship…..

Then the big hype game….Kentucky vs Cornell…..no contest…..Cornell an Ivy League school was never really in it…..conceededing the middle down low the first half and then CBS was merciful in switching to the best game of College Basketball I have seen in a long…long…long time…..

Xavier vs Kansas State……


Back and forth they went…..Xavier’s Hollaway and Crawford vs Kansas State……

Kansas would score and first Holloway would answer with a jumper…..then Crowfort would follow…thriple over time……starergy….Annoucers waiting for the next last-minute jumper from the two Xavier’s stars…..

This was THEIR game….never mind the score…..they led the opera!

But in the end it wasn’t enough……

The two could not hold back the entire Kansas State team effort and the last shot didn’t make it……

March Madness

Hell of better game than politcs….ANYTIME!……

Here’s the blogged play-by-play from the AP for both games…..Link……..…..

March 26, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Counterpoints, Entertainment, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Projections, Sports, Updates | , , , | Leave a comment

Duke needs to win……

[ Kyle Singler and top-seeded Duke (31-5) face No. 4 seed Purdue on Friday in the South Region semifinals. ]

My favorite College Basketball team goes to the dance everyear…and goes home early…..

It’s not that coach Mike Krzyzewski does not do a good job….he does….

It’s just that Duke teams simply do not have the killer instict……to tell the truth….they never do…..

That is hard thing to carry around….

But that’s the way it is……..

“Your standard as a program is always your best season,” Painter said. “And for him and Duke basketball, that’s a national championship. If they don’t win the national championship, people look at it as a failure. With that being said, I think that’s a backhanded compliment.”

The Purdue senior guard Chris Kramer said he believed that Kentucky now had that distinction as the gold standard program. His fellow senior guard Keaton Grant said teams like Kentucky are now getting the recruits that the Blue Devils once attracted.

“Back in the day when they had the Jay Williamses and Carlos Boozers, it was almost like looking at Duke in awe,” Grant said. “I think less teams are doing that now and just looking at it more as an opportunity to knock off Duke.”

When asked about Duke’s not making the Final Four since 2004, Krzyzewski said there were two words that were interesting in competition: “since” and “never.”

“Try to look at those words and see which category you would rather be in,” Krzyzewski said.

He added: “You’re not always going to win a national championship and you’re not always going to get to a Final Four. Those are difficult things to do.”

And while Krzyzewski said he did not feel any increased pressure this season, he jokingly dismissed whether his team’s senior class struggled to lived up to expectations by comparing himself to not being able to live up to his wife’s former boyfriends when he dated her.

“We’re not the Yankees,” Krzyzewski said. “Thank goodness we’re not the Cubs. It’s different. It’s college. They’re different kids. Just give them an opportunity.”


Update……Duke beats Purdue 70 to 57…..to play Baylor next……

March 25, 2010 Posted by | Counterpoints, Entertainment, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Sports, Updates | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Syracuse loses to Butler in the NCAA March Madness!

Butler forward Willie Veasley celebrates with guard Shelvin Mack (1) and teammates after defeating Syracuse.

Butler forward Willie Veasley celebrates with guard Shelvin Mack (1) and teammates after defeating Syracuse.

What a game!

Butler schooled Syracuse the first half…staying at least 10 points up on them most of the time….then fell behind in the beginning of the second half only to pull ahead towards the end and hold on ……..Jim Boeheim goes home early another year……

March 25, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Entertainment, Media, Men, Sports, Updates | , , , | Leave a comment

The Match-up will be Kentucky vs Cornell tonight in the NCAA Basketball Sweet Sixteen……

Yea everyone is hyping the Brainiac’s from Cornell ……..

Lets see if they can cut it against Kentucky’s not so smart..but very well financed athletic five?

With No. 12 Cornell in the Round of 16 of the N.C.A.A.tournament and facing No. 1 Kentucky on Thursday, the matchup creates a near-laughable contrast. Kentucky’s and Cornell’s talent, budget and pedigree are worlds apart. Cornell’s biggest edge may come from a togetherness forged by floors covered in Gummy Bears, trash cans overflowing with Krispy Kreme cartons and hallways filled with salt-stained work boots.

All eight Cornell seniors live in the same 15-bedroom house, where rents are $520 to $600 per month. But the priceless part is that the Big Red can boast a unique veteran experience and togetherness to combat Kentucky’s starting lineup of three freshmen, one sophomore and one junior.

“I think that’s why they’ve done what they’ve done over the course of their careers,” said Randy Wittman, the father of the senior star guard Ryan Wittman and a former college star at Indiana and N.B.A. coach. “The closeness and caring they have for one another.”

Kentucky players are leery of the news media’s angle projecting the Big Red as the heady players against the talented but less savvy Wildcats.

DeMarcus Cousins, the star Wildcat freshman big man, said the game would not be determined by “who can read the fastest.”

Cousins added: “We’re here to play basketball. It’s not a spelling bee.”

The game is on CBS tonight……. I believe at 10:00 or so DST……


March 25, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Counterpoints, Entertainment, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Sports, Updates | , , , | 3 Comments

John Calipari….The Kentucky Basketball Coach….. REALLY believes in Facebook and Twitter……

The Kentucky Basketball team this year is the odds on favorite to be in the final four in the NCAA March Madness College Basketball Championship Tournamnet…..The team is led by a colorful, driven coach that happens to be a a bigger fan of the social networks leaders Facebook and Twitter…

This has enabled coach Calipari to reach around the world with his story….and connect with team fans …..

Calipari has 1,113,647 followers on Twitter, 138,325 fans on Facebook, and his Coach Cal application for the iPhone andiPod touch sold more than 6,000 applications in its first month, making it the top paid sports application on iTunes less than a week after its debut last month.

His Web site, CoachCal.com, which went up in July, receives more than 100,000 page views each week. It has been visited by people from more than 100 countries, even Kyrgyzstan, which borders China.

Calipari, who was first encouraged by Indiana Coach Tom Crean to become active on Twitter, says social networking helps him connect with Kentucky fans, who are famously rabid.

“If you’re not doing it, you’re behind,” said Calipari, who had 1,300 people wish him happy birthday in 25 minutes on Facebook last month.

His team isn’t doing too bad either…..

…….his top-seeded Wildcats (34-2) have shown in the N.C.A.A. tournament entering Thursday’s game in the East Region semifinals against No. 12 seed Cornell (29-4), the competition is not close.

He, he, he…..the funny thing is the coach  ( who has has a up and down history ) is computer challanged…..

The results of Calipari’s efforts to raise money through technology have been a step in revamping his often controversial image of a coach who took Memphis and Massachusetts to the Final Four, but both programs were ordered to give up their victories in those seasons because of N.C.A.A. violations.

“He’s using it for good, not evil,” Scott said. “There’s ways to use it not just to keep people informed, but to get people to realize that this is bigger than basketball.”

It is even more amazing considering that the 51-year-old Calipari does not use a computer and struggles to type on his Blackberry. He is helped in his technological adventures by Scott, who moved to Lexington from the Boston area when Calipari was hired in April.


March 24, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Education, Entertainment, Media, Men, Other Things, Sports, Travel, Updates | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NCAA Basketball College March Madness Tournament Scores#3……


Wisconsin's Jason Bohannon (12) goes for a basket as Cornell's Ryan Wittman (20) defends during the second half of an NCAA second-round college basketball game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, March 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

[ Wisconsin’s Jason Bohannon (12) goes for a basket as Cornell’s Ryan Wittman (20) defends during the second half of an NCAA second-round college basketball game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, March 21, 2010. ]

SUNDAY, MARCH 21ST 2010All Conferences

(22) Gonzaga 65
(4) Syracuse 87
West Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
Georgia Tech 66
(5) Ohio State 75
Midwest Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
(13) Michigan St 85
(20) Maryland 83
Midwest Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
Missouri 59
(6) West Virginia 68
East Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
Cornell 87
(16) Wisconsin 69
East Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
1st Half 5:12
(25) Xavier 28
(18) Pittsburgh 18
West Regional Second Round
Preview |  GameTracker
1st Half 9:29
Texas A&M 19
(10) Purdue 13
South Regional Second Round
Preview |  GameTracker
1st Half 10:22
California 15
(3) Duke 18
South Regional Second Round
Preview |  GameTracker

(scoreboards will automatically update every 60 seconds)

Louis Dale scored 26 points, Ryan Wittman added 24 and No. 12 seed Cornell upset fourth-seeded Wisconsin 87-69 on Sunday, becoming the first team from the Ivy League since 1979 to advance to the round of 16.

The Big Red (27-8) will play top-seeded Kentucky in the East Regional semifinal Thursday in Syracuse, N.Y., about an hour from Cornell’s campus. It could be a tough ticket, though, since Kentucky’s basketball-crazed fans got a head start when the Wildcats advanced Saturday.

Cornell wasted little time taking care of its end.

The Big Red controlled things from the opening tip, picking apart Wisconsin’s vaunted defense the same way they did Temple in the opening round.

Cornell had a 12-point lead early, a 20-point lead late and very few moments of concern in between. The lopsided affair should make for some interesting conversation this week at the “Dog Pound,” the nickname given to the three-story, off-campus house that 13 players and a team manager call home.

Cornell became the lowest seed to advance to the round of 16 in this year’s tournament and the first Ivy League team to get that far since Penn 31 years ago.

Wisconsin (24-9), meanwhile, failed to get past the opening weekend for the fourth time in five years.

Jon Leuer led the Badgers with 23 points, including the team’s first 12. Jason Bohannon added 18, Ryan Evans chipped in 11 and Trevon Hughes finished with 10.

But Wisconsin’s problem was defense.

Cornell shot 61 percent from the field, 53 percent from 3-point range and just dominated every aspect of the matchup. Anyone believe the Big Red were seeded correctly now?

Jeff Foote had 12 points and seven rebounds. Chris Wroblewski added 12 points, and Jon Jaques finished with nine before fouling out.


March 21, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Entertainment, Media, Men, Other Things, Sports, Updates | , , , | Leave a comment

NCAA March Madness Tournament Scoreboard Updates…..3/20/10…..Kansas loses……

( Reloads every 60 seconds)

North Carolina Audio 76
Mississippi St 74
Nit Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score
St Mary’s Ca 75
(9) Villanova 68
South Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
Jacksonville 64
Texas Tech Audio 69
Nit Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score
Murray St 52
(11) Butler 54
West Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
Ohio 68
(15) Tennessee 83
Midwest Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
NC State 52
UAB Audio 72
Nit Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score
Northern Iowa 69
(1) Kansas 67
Midwest Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
Old Dominion 68
(19) Baylor 76
South Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
Washington 82
(8) New Mexico 64
East Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
BYU 72
(7) Kansas St 84
West Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
Wake Forest 60
(2) Kentucky 90
East Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview

Jordan Eglseder, Cole Aldrich

[ Kansas center Cole Aldrich loses control of the ball as he collides with Northern Iowa center Jordan Eglseder in the second half of play Saturday in an NCAA tournament second-round game. ]

Leading by one point against the colossus of the bracket, Ali Farokhmanesh stood at the three-point line, no one around. The prudent play? Pull it out, burn some clock.

Not a chance.

Taking his shot at history, Farokhmanesh let fly from the wing.


The biggest upset in a tournament full of them was done. Northern Iowa had taken down mighty Kansas.

Playing with poise down the stretch and getting another big three-point basket from Farokhmanesh, Northern Iowa pulled off one of the biggest NCAA upsets in years by knocking No. 1 overall-seeded Kansas from the bracket with a program-defining 69-67 win Saturday.

“If anybody’s going to shoot that shot, I want it to be Ali,” Northern Iowa’s Jake Koch said.

This year’s NCAA tournament has been defined by upsets. Eight double-digit-seeded teams got through the first round. No. 10 Saint Mary’s beat Villanova on Saturday and No. 11 Washington shoved aside New Mexico.

This was the biggest shocker of all.

Winning the tempo tug-of-war, ninth-seeded Northern Iowa (30-4) grounded the high-flying Jayhawks with in-their-jersey defense, then withstood a furious rally for the first win over a No. 1-seeded team in the second round since Alabama Birmingham and Alabama did it to Kentucky and Stanford in 2004.

First-round hero Farokhmanesh had the biggest play of all.

With Kansas charging and its fans roaring, the fearless son of an Iranian Olympic volleyball player caught the ball on the wing after the Panthers broke Kansas’ press. The shot clock still in the 30s, he hesitated for just an instant, then cast his bracket-busting shot with 34 seconds left.

Trailing, 66-62, Kansas had one last chance, but Tyrel Reed was called for an offensive foul and Farokhmanesh sealed it with two free throws with five seconds left, sending the Panthers to the round of 16 for the first time.

Next up is the Michigan State-Maryland winner in St. Louis — and another chance at history.

“This team has done such a great job of turning the page to what’s next, and this would be the biggest challenge of the year,” Coach Ben Jacobson said. “A lot of positive things have happened because of the way these guys played.”

Kansas (33-3) fell behind early and came up just short on one of its anticipated runs, ending a season of national-title aspirations with another disappointing NCAA loss to a mid-major.

The Jayhawks trailed by as many as 12 points and used defense to pull within one with 44 seconds left. But they let Farokhmanesh sneak out for the deciding three-point basket to go down for the mid-major count like they did to Bradley in 2006 and Bucknell the year before, also in Oklahoma City.

Cole Aldrich had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Marcus Morris had 16 points and Sherron Collins ended his stellar career at Kansas with 10 points on four-for-15 shooting.

“Obviously, everybody is disappointed on our team,” Aldrich said. “To work so hard and to go through so much adversity … it’s disappointing that we couldn’t have let Sherron go out in a better way.”

The postgame celebration told the story.

Farokhmanesh, who finished with 16 points, jumped into a huddle of teammates, and Koch embraced older brother Adam to a chant of “U-N-I!” At the other end, Jayhawks Morris and redshirt senior Mario Little crumbled to the court, tears streaming down their faces when they finally rose.

“We never doubted we could play with them at all,” senior Adam Koch said.

Kansas sneaked by Lehigh in the first round, using a spirit-crushing run to turn a scare into a 16-point win.

Northern Iowa had to fight through its three-point win over Nevada Las Vegas in the opener, ending a 20-year NCAA winless drought on Farokhmanesh’s 25-foot basket with 4.9 seconds left.

This game was like opposite poles of two magnets; One of the nation’s highest-scoring teams against Northern Iowa’s stuck-in-the-mud mentality.

Northern Iowa had never played a No. 1-ranked team and no one from its conference had beaten one since 1962.

March 21, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Entertainment, Media, Men, Other Things, Sports, Updates | , , | 2 Comments