And Then There Were Four...

Down to the nitty-gritty here now you guys - the Final Four is upon us!

First, let me say that I was 100% sure that all of the No. 1 seeds were NOT going to make it to this point (and shame on you if you thought they were)! Second, let me say that I am absolutely salty that Louisville let me down (go back to the Yum Yum Center boys) because I had so much faith that they would make it here and they didn't. My bracket thanks you, not!

Anyway, we have Kentucky, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Duke. 

Up to this point I really thought that Kentucky was going to breeze through this tournament without a problem. So I was wrong (you'll probably never hear that from a woman again, ha). Notre Dame really almost put the Wildcats to bed the other night. And had the Irish not used that last timeout so early and/or Grant not taken that terrible shot with three defenders around him we may be discussing them and not Kentucky. But we're not. 

Again, anyway, Kentucky is a team that can be defeated and we saw that the other night (and several other times this season) but it seems as though their opponents are always running out of gas in the last 3 minutes. But if Kentucky plays the way they did against Notre Dame - Wisconsin will be in the championship and they will have that one loss lingering over them FOR-EV-ER!

On the other side, Sam Dekker has been playing phenomenally and if someone doesn't put the lid on him - the Badgers are going to the big show. And Wisconsin has other players that Kentucky should worry about as well - Frank Kaminsky, Nigel Hayes, Treason Jackson, just to name a few. And with the slow style of play it could go either way honestly. My bracket is pulling for Kentucky though, duh!

Now with Duke and Michigan State - my bracket says Duke but we can't think of the Spartans as an underdog per se. Izzo has those young men on a momentum high. I mean who thought the No. 7 seed was going to make it this far really? And then even beating teams like Virginia, Oklahoma and Louisville (that all had Final Four potential). Duke has a great offensive set on their side but the Michigan State defense has answer for that from what I can see. As the coach in my favorite movie says "Offense sells tickets but defense wins games" (that's Love and Basketball for all those that may be lost). 

Anyway, I'm 3 for 4 in the Final Four and I really want the championship to be Kentucky/Duke as i predicted but I honestly think, for the sake of excitement, I would be ok with any outcome. 

It's The Most Wonderful Time...

It's here, it's here! You guys don't even know - this is like Christmas in March for me! #MarchMadness is here!

So first thing, you guys have to join the #PNPBracketChallenge! Of course you're doing a bracket - I know people who don't watch basketball at all that do brackets, it's that real! Why not enter your bracket into the challenge for a chance to win some great prizes? It's free AND you can win a prize? Need I say more?

There will be two winners just like last year: first place will win their choice a PNP Variety Pack or a PNP t-shirt and a $25 Nike gift card. Second place will receive copies of ESPN Films: The Announcement and ESPN 30 for 30 Bad Boys. You can enter the challenge --->here<--- up until Thursday at tip-off!

Now, with the tournament starting I also wanted to add what I think is going to happen of course. I have Kentucky winning - duh!

Honestly, yes they're perfect record coming into the tournament helps me make this decision but it's really the consistency of the team. I don't see any other team being as consistent as the Wildcats. Yes, we've seen them ALMOST lose a few games but the only team I honestly feel like can give them a run for their money is Duke (sorry not sorry). 

I do think Wisconsin is a big factor this year as well but I just don't have them getting over on Kentucky. So my Final Four teams are Kentucky, Wisconsin, Duke and I'm calling probably a super upset and going with Louisville. Tell me who your Final Four teams are? 

Tuesday Tid Bits

Alright so I just wanted to touch on a few things since there are so many things going on in the world. 

First, this whole Sigma Alpha Epsilon thing. I will say let me applaud the school for trying to do the right thing as far as disciplining the students that were involved. What is crazy to me is that people are really shocked like these boys just became racists over the weekend. Uh no. 

And for Oklahoma it's terrible that they will lose students over this. Jean Delance had committed to coach Bob Spoons in November and actually just visited the school this month. After the video surfaced of students that Delance would be around once he gets to OU he decided that wasn't where he wanted to be. And even though those few students don't reflect the entire student body no one should have to be around that kind of bigotry. I don't think Delance is wrong for changing his mind (not that anyone is saying that he is). I'm very interested to see if other players take that same road. 

Second, Texas Southern and Southern. First if you haven't seen it you can watch the video here.

So behind this brawl, the NCAA handed out 15 suspensions which is the biggest number of suspensions in NCAA women's history. Texas Southern decided to pull out of the SWAC tournament that is set to start tomorrow and Southern has dismissed player from the team altogether.

So of course the fight is a big deal. But tempers flare on the court. I mean I've had those moments plenty of times "back in the day". I think the suspensions and whatnot are fair as well. Can't not be punished for something that big. What I am a bit worried about, and yes I'm pulling the race card again, is some of the things that I've been seeing in regard to the fight. A few Don Imus-like comments have been circulating about the girls on the teams and the fight. In my opinion, race doesn't matter. Those girls could have been white, yellow or blue - if they were going to fight then they were going to fight. It is what it is. But hey, what do I know?

Last but not least - Selection Sunday is this week! Yes! You know what that means? The #PNPBracketChallenge starts on Sunday!

Just like last year I'm doing everything through the ESPN Tournament Challenge. There will be two winners based off of points. The first place winner will receive their choice of a PNP Variety Pack or a PNP shirt and a $25 Nike gift card. The second place winner will receive a copy of ESPN 30 for 30 Bad Boys and ESPN Films The Announcement. 

I'll be reminding you guys as we get closer so make sure you guys are following on Twitter and Facebook. The challenge will open on Sunday as soon as the seedings are released. 

Thanks all for now. 

 

We Are The Champions, My Friend!

Well, CIAA 2015 is in the books! And I must say, it was a great tournament this year! I had fun covering the games, talking to coaches and players and seeing all the excitement. 

On the women's side, the Lady Trojans of Virginia State University grabbed their first CIAA championship since 2002. Now, VSU had a chip on their shoulder from last year when they were bounced out of the tournament on a controversial call at the buzzer. That chip surely showed itself as the Lady Trojans bounced teams out all week long, including the 4-time CIAA champion Shaw Lady Bears. 

I was particularly impressed with the play of VSU's Tiffanie Adair. On the regular season Adair averaged 13.8 ppg. In the tournament, she averaged 11.7 ppg including a huge game against Elizabeth City State where she recorded 21 points and 13 rebounds. Adair was also named the tournament MVP. 

Congratulations to the Lady Trojans and good luck as they advance to the NCAA Atlantic Region Tournament. 

For the men, the Livingstone College Blue Bears recorded their second consecutive championship. The Blue Bears gave zero doubt all week as to who the reigning champions were and that they were there to take home the title again. 

As a team, I have to say that I am impressed with Livingstone (the JCSU alum in me cringed a bit with that statement). The impressive play of players such as Eric DuBose, Eric Mayo, Daryl Traynham and Ty Newman, who was named tournament MVP, was impeccable. The Blue Bears cannot say there was one player that led them to the promise land as it was truly a team effort. Every night there was a different "takeover man" for the team and it played an essential role in their success. 

I will say Traynham had a huge, huge part in the championship for the Blue Bears. Coming off of the bench he put up 23 points, 4 assists and 3 steals. For a player who averaged 8.8 ppg in the regular season to put up numbers like that is a serious thing. 

What may be better for Livingstone is that three of the four aforementioned players will be back next season to defend their title. 

Congratulations to the Blue Bears on their outstanding season and good luck as they enter the NCAA tournament. 

It's That Time of Year Again...

Well it is upon us! #CIAA is here ladies and gentlemen and I believe it will be a good one!

It was a very interesting season as there were co-champions in both men's divisions; Bowie State and Virginia State for the Northern Division and Winston-Salem State and Livingstone for the Southern Division. The CIAA's tie-breaker policy determined that Bowie State and Winston-Salem State would hold the No.1 seeds in their divisions. 

For the women, Lincoln and Virginia State are co-champions of the Northern Division and the tie-breaker policy determines that Lincoln will hold the No. 1 seed this week. Shaw will remain the Southern Division champions.

As I slightly discussed in this post, the Lady Blue Bears of Livingstone had to forfeit 18 of their wins on what was an undefeated season. After a bunch of changes and nullifications, the Lady Blue Bears finished the season with an overall record of 6-10 and 6-4 in the Southern Division. They hold the No. 3 seed in the South and I for one am very interested to see how it plays out for them since a paper record means exactly DIDDLY!

Anyway, games begin tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10 am at the Time Warner Cable Arena and I will be in the building! Unfortunately, not all day because I have to work my "real" job but I will be there joining the HSRN Family! You can listen/watch the games at either TheCIAA.com or HSRN.com!

Be sure to follow @PumpsNPenalties on Twitter for updates, pictures, videos, etc throughout the week, too!

View CIAA 2015 Men's Bracket here.

View CIAA 2015 Women's Bracket here.