Thursday, June 12, 2008

Something to think about

I came across this on and found it pretty interesting. Our ever-changing world is tough to keep up with....Where are we heading?.....Where have we been?....What are we doing now? This little film is one person's perspective but I suppose what we should all do at some point is take some time to reflect on our world and the changes we experience, the changes we cause, and just to be more personally, societally, and globally aware. Let me know what you think.

Monday, June 09, 2008

CTV and TSN Now Own The HNIC Theme

The CBC recently had the term contract rights to the Hockey Night In Canada (HNIC) theme song come to an end and have failed to renegotiate deal that would see the song remain on the CBC television show.

Dolores Claman's song has been one of the most recognizable tunes on Canadian television and the round-up call for millions of Canadians to gather around the tv sets for an evening of hockey. To many people, the song is the unofficial anthem of hockey and some I'm sure would love to see it take the place of O Canada even. The song cost the CBC around $500 for every time that it was played on the air in their contract. The CBC apparently was not keen enough to keep the song safe under their own contract and even publicized the idea that they might be accepting applications in a contest to create a new HNIC theme.

Today, CTV and TSN announced that they have purchased the rights to the song, ending the nearly 40 years of the CBC's theme. This is one more battle lost by the CBC in the sports television competition as TSN is beginning to solidify itself and forge ahead in the NHL television market. It will forever remain as the Hockey Night in Canada theme for Canadians...we'll just be seeing it on another channel now. Will we soon see Grapes and McLean leaving as well?'s come close to that before.

Here's a track of the HNIC theme from the 1970's and 80's to bring back some memories of the good ol' days.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Severn Suzuki - Rio Earth Summit 1992

I received this video in an email today and although I've seen it a number of times before, I thought it was worth a posting on the Bloggopotamus. The video is the speech of Severn Suzuki, the daughter of Dr. Dave Suzuki, back in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit where she spoke to delegates from many of the United Nations countries gathered in Brazil. She was only 12 years old at the time. What a powerful and passionate speech!

Since then she has continued to be an incredible youth activist. For more information on Severn Suzuki...feel free to visit these sites as a starting point.

Earth Pioneer

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bloggopotamus Bracketology - Saddling Up the West Region

We're on the cusp of the tournament now with the opening play-in game in the East region going tonight between Coppin St and The Mount. The game will be on the Score at 8pm EST...can't wait...let it begin.

I still have to get through two more regions before Thursday so I'm lookin at posting my thoughts on the Midwest Region today and then finishing off with the South Region tomorrow. Then I have to finalize my bracket selections in my various pools, buy a huge amount of snack food and beverages, work in my couch spot a little more and take care of all miscellaneous distraction ahead of time so the tournament goes uninterrupted from the outside world.

Here we go with a round up of the Midwest bracket...

#1 UCLA (31-3) vs. #16 Mississippi Valley St. (17-15)

Here's another blowout game in waiting. Miss Valley St is really fortunate to have won the SWAC tournament with a 59-58 win over Jackson State (14-20). They have won 9 in a row entering the tournament but they were absolutely crushed by Pittsburgh early in the year and they only managed 26 points in a 71-26 loss to Washington State. They don't have a chance in this will likely be the most lopsided game in the first round in my opinion.

UCLA has won their last 10 games including an impressive but not unexpected run to the PAC-10 regular season title and tournament title. Many "experts" are hinting toward the Bruins being the national champs at the end of the tournament. They are experienced, powerful, composed, and all around a great team. Kevin Love leads the way averaging 17 and 10 but they've also got 3 others averaging more than 12 pts a game in Darren Collison, Josh Shipp, and
Russell Westbrook. They have played high quality opponents and have beaten nearly all of them. They will storm through this one winning by a whopping 96-43.

#8 Brigham Young (27-7) vs. #9 Texas A&M (24-10)

I think the Aggies are the better team in this one and I can't really call it a real upset since often the 8 v 9 games are more of a coin flip than anything else. Brigham Young has had a great season indeed including a win over Louisville early in the year. They challenge shots well and have two solid 15+ pt guys in guard Lee Cummard and center Trent Plaisted. Unfortunately they did not look that great against UNLV in the Mountain West tourney.

Despite the Aggies 8-8 conference record, they have played pretty solid basketball lately and when they're on...they're a real tough team. Their guards are a little spastic at times in their decision making but I think they've got themselves in a good spot mentally right now and are playing with more confidence. Also something to note that they started the season 15-1 and not against really weak opposition. They were ranked I think even in the top 10 at one point in the season before going through a tough spell. I'm predicting the Aggies in a mild upset 61-60.

#5 Drake University (28-4) vs. #12 Western Kentucky (27-6)

Both of these teams have very impressive records coming into the tournament but like many small/weak conferences, it is really tough for them to prove themselves nationally unless they have a really tough non-conference schedule. Neither really did.

No one really had Drake on the radar until halfway through the season which was when I saw them televised for the first time. I was really impressed and love the old school basketball they are executing with great success. After starting 1-1, the Bulldogs when on a tear winning 21 straight games. They are solid all over the court...can drive to the hoop..can shoot from outside...make terrific cuts on the court...and are now one of my favourite teams to watch. 4 guys in double figures at multiple positions makes them able to punish you from any spot that you happen not to defend well.

The Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky are no slouch from the Sub Belt conference with a 16-2 conference record, both losses coming at the hands of South Alabama (reg season champs), but they successfully navigated the conference tournament. They have been on a roll winning 17 of their last 18 games. It should be a really good game and despite the closeness of their records, there is a reason Drake is the 5-seed. This is potentially upset material for those searching for the opportunity but I'm not giving in to the temptation...I like the Bulldogs too much. Drake moves on 76-71.

#4 UConn (24-8) vs. #13 San Diego (21-13)

Again..some pundits are predicting a potential upset in this one. Are you kidding me? The Huskies didn't start off great with losses to ranked teams like Memphis, Notre Dame, and G-town but since then...they've beaten the following ranked teams.... Marquette, Indiana, Louisville, Pitt, and some revenge on Notre Dame. They have developed greatly over the year and look really scary with Hasheem Thabeet in the middle. I remember a game against Syracuse where Thabeet had Arinze Onuaku so scared inside he just simply passed the ball back out to the perimeter rather than risk being swatted. That's what a 7'3" sophomore who keeps improving can do to you.

San Diego comes in on a roll after beating Gonzaga in their conference final and they have one 13 of their last 15 but the Tereros are going to have monster games from Brandon Johnson and Gyno Pomare in order to pull off a shocker. I am interested to see what all the fuss is about Brandon Johnson in this game but I know how strong the Huskies are. I don't think this will be a real close game but I don;t think a blowout is here either. Connecticut moves on 77-68.

#6 Purdue (24-8) vs. #11 Baylor (21-10)

The Boilermakers finished 2nd in the Big Ten regular season and have two freshman in the starting lineup leading the way. They are defensively tough and have come out on the positive side of many risk-reward situations this year. They've beaten Wisconsin twice!!! What?? They've beaten Louisville and Michigan State. They lost to Wofford!! Who? What? You never know what game you'll get with them...they have the potential to suck out and the potential to make a real run.

The Baylor Bears in the tough Big 12 conference have had a solid season a are in the tourney for the first time since 1988...that's 20 years folks! they did beat Notre Dame earlier this year but since then had some key losses against Washington State, Kansas, and Texas twice. I'm happy they made the tournament but this is as far as they go in my bracket.... Purdue wins 66-60.

#3 Xavier (27-6) vs. #14 Georgia (17-16)

No one was more impressed than I watching Georgia make the NCAA tournament after the drama in Atlanta last weekend where they pulled off 2 wins in one day and then beat the Razorbacks to win the championship. I'd love to see them make a run in the tournament because they're already playing beyond expectations but this is a team that lost 10 of their last 12 games going into the SEC tournament.

Xavier on the other hand has had a great season and despite a loss to St. Joe's in their tournament...they are a quality team and although I don't know if they should be a 3-seed...they are so much better than their opposition. They are so solid and their bench is deep. They have 6 guys averaging double figures in scoring...something remarkable and that is a huge part of their success. Xavier shouldn't have too much trouble unless Georgia plays out of their minds again. I see Xavier going through 84-66.

#7 West Virginia (24-10) vs. #10 Arizona (19-14)

Here's an upset I'm going to call. Granted West Virginia can shoot the three and they can score pretty evenly, I'm just not impressed by them throughout the season and they also were crushed by Georgetown in the Big East tournament 72-55. They have beaten Marquette, Pitt, ad UConn...but they've also lost to those teams as well. I also don't really like the way they play from the games I've seen.

The Wildcats have had a really rough season with numerous injuries that affected the team but now that they're healthy...they've been playing really well. Having Jerryd Bayless back makes a huge difference and Chase Budinger is an awfully nice guy to have on your roster. They are small and will have difficulty matching up against big teams...not a problem against West Virginia. They can run and score....their defense is suspect but I think they've got enough to upset in this one. Arizona wins 81-72.

#2 Duke (27-5) vs. #15 Belmont (25-8)

Poor Belmont!! They come rolling into the tournament on a 13 game winning streak, and Atlantic Sun title, a tournament title and they are about to hit the spike strips when they meet the Blue Devils. They are used to being the underdogs...they're fine with that...but they are a young team. They are facing Duke...a high scoring team that can score from all over the court against a small team and are incredible at swinging the ball for a 3 point dagger. No need to go into details..this game is over. Duke wins 90-53.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bloggopotamus Bracketology - Breaking Down The Midwest Regional

We are now only a couple of days away from the Madness. I heard on the radio on some miscellaneous talk show that a study was done on the estimated cost of lost time, wages on betting, and whatever else as a result of the NCAA tournament. They estimated the figure at $1.7 billion. At first, I thought "No way!!", but then again I don't know of any other tournament structure that can sweep the nation and beyond like this one. I've already filled out 3 brackets so far in various friendly pools with friends and I imagine I'll hop in on a couple more in the next day or so.

Ready for the next region of breakdowns? Here comes my brief synopsis of the matchups in the Midwest Region...

#1 Kansas (31-3) vs. #16 Portland State (23-9)

Kansas arrives as the #1 seed in the Midwest and for good reason sporting an impressive 31-3 season thus far with a national rankings of #4 by the AP and #5 in the coach's poll. They ran through the Big 12 tournament finishing with a very demonstrative win over highly ranked Texas 84-74. Led by guards Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers, Kansas started the season 20-0 and even though they didn't play many games against ranked teams...their competition was very solid all year long.

The Portland State Vikings arrive in the tourney out of the weak Big Sky Conference where they were regular season and tournament champions. Given the calibre of play, they were only able to garner a 16 seed which is a really tough draw for them pitting them against a #1 seed. They didn't have any significant wins and lost to UCLA and Washington State in their only games against ranked teams. Jeremiah Dominguez is a nice little guard for them and can be a thorn in the Jayhawk side if he's on. I don't however see this being a close game by the 10 minute mark of the first half. Kansas steadily runs away with this one from start to finish 83-55.

#8 UNLV (26-7) vs. #9 Kent State (28-6)

This is another really close pairing and many people are highlighting this matchup as a potential minor upset favoring the Golden Flashes of Kent St. I don't know if I can hop on that wagon but I'm running alongside it for the moment and I may hop on. UNLV lost a huge chunk of their team from last year's squad and surprised many by finishing 2nd in the regular season standings in the Mountain West Conference behind BYU but then went through the MWC tournament winning the final against BYU in convincing fashion 76-61. Wink Adams has been playing phenomenal basketball well above expectations but the Runnin Rebels haven't played many really tough teams except Louisville whom they lost to 68-48 back in November.

Kent State won the regular season MAC title and the tournament rolling Akron in the final 74-55. They did lose to UNC and Xavier in their marquee games but that isn't a surprise. Four starters for the Golden Flashes average double figures in points so they don't have just one guy that needs to be shut down. I imagine this will be a pretty tight game down the stretch with plenty of high energy and emotion throughout. What the heck...Kent State pulls it off 69-64.

#5 Clemson (24-9) vs. #12 Villanova (20-12)

I have to say I'm already biased in this one. I want Villanova to lose this one, they are responsible for my Orangemen not in the tournament....wait...rewind...Syracuse is solely responsible for their own demise. Nevertheless I am anti-Nova this year now. Villanova comes in after finishing the Big East in 8th place!! Their win against Syracuse in the Big East quarters put them on the better side of the bubble teams. This team has ability to pull off upsets and they have beaten Connecticut and Pitt during the regular season. They are led by Scottie Reynolds who loves to drive and get to the line.

The Clemson Tigers have got to be feeling good about themselves right now. Sure they lost to UNC in the ACC final but they were with them to the end. This is after they surprised Duke in the semis and demolished Boston College by 34 points in the quarters. The versatile K.C. Rivers will lead them into the tournament here and to a victory in the first round. I predict a high scoring affair with the Tigers winning 92-81.

#4 Vanderbilt (26-7) vs. #13 Siena (22-10)

I am so tempted to put Siena through on a major upset here but I just don't know they can pull it off. I do think they'll be able to run with the Commodores but down the stretch may prove to be just too much for the Saints. Siena makes it into the tournament after demolishing Rider (reg season champs) 74-53 in the MAAC final. Edwin Ubiles leads the Saints with 17.3 ppg but my problem with the Saints is that they are hot and cold. They did beat Stanford in an impressive early season win but were seriously humbled by Memphis 102-58 on January 3rd...that stings!! Siena will have to be hot all game long and hope Vandy is real cold.

Vanderbilt is also a hot and cold team...hotsy at home...notsy on the road. They've played in the tough SEC conference and although they lost to Tennessee by 20 in January...they beat the Vols a little over a month later to exact some revenge. Shan Foster (SEC MVP)and freshman center A.J. Ogilvy (17.0 ppg and 6.8 reb) will be the keys to Vandy success and the team will only go as far as they take them. I do think Vanderbilt gets this one 78-66.

#6 USC (21-11) vs. #11 Kansas State (20-11)

This is touted as likely the best opening round game in the Midwest Region. It will feature a boatload of young talent full of energy and excitement. The only reason people talk about Kansas State is because of Michael Beasley who is averaging 26.5ppg and 12.5rpg which rank him third in the nation in scoring and tops in boards. He is almost certainly NBA bound as a lottery pick but I'm sure he'll want to prove himself..uhh..I mean his team in the tournament. The problem I have with the Wildcats are their losses to George Mason, Notre Dame, Xavier, Kansas, and Texas. They did pull off one victory against Kansas however..very impressive. I just think they're too young and too reliant on one guy and I think USC will have the answer for that...although they'll really have to work for it.

USC finished 4th in the formidable PAC-10 conference before fallin to UCLA 57-54...that's a good result in itself. The Trojans are now healthy after having numerous injury woes but they still are not a really deep team...maybe that won't matter now that it's tourney time anyway. O.J. Mayo will try to counteract the Beasley factor and with a healthy supporting cast around him, he won't have to go over the top to make things happen. The key is going to be defense and USC coach Tim Floyd is notorious now for throwing unorthodox and strangely-timed defensive sets to frustrate opponents. You will see some of this I'm sure. USC has a number of losses against ranked teams but did take Memphis to OT and also pulled off wins against UCLA and Stanford during the season. I'm going with USC in this one 81-76 in a really exciting game.

#3 Wisconsin (29-4) vs. #14 Cal State-Fullerton (24-8)

CSF had a strong season in Big West which has seen Pacific University into the tournament the past couple of years I believe. They tied with two other for the regular season title and defeated unexpected finalists UC Irvine to win the Big West tournament. With no major wins to their credit, they earn a #14 seed. They've won 10 of their last 11 but are nothing special as far as I can tell...haven't seen them play though either.

Wisconsin on the other hand is a scary team defensively and they manage the clock so well usually. After being embarrassed by Duke in November and losing to Marquette shortly after, the Badgers beat Texas, Indiana twice, and Michigan State twice. They did however lose to Purdue twice as well...but that also shows that their four losses have come to ranked teams. I don't see this being a major challenge for them and I imagine the CSF Titans will have to work for every basket. Wisconsin lacks star power but are well-rounded and will dominate defensively...they're all big inside....not monster big...but all big enough to be annoying around the hoop. Wisconsin wins a boring game 62-43.

#7 Gonzaga (25-7) vs. #10 Davidson (26-6)

This is an excellent spot for an upset and I'm going for it. I think Davidson is the better team in this one despite the seeding. Davidson went 20-0 in conference play in the Southern Conference which granted is not all that strong but undefeated is nice. They lost to Duke and to UCLA during the regular season but weren't blown out by any stretch of the imagination. They are led by Stephen Curry who's been knocking down 25 a game and also shoots close to 45% from 3-point land. Yeah..he's pretty good. P.S...3 pointers are in the genes I think. Guess who his papa is? Think Hornets.

Gonzaga...Gonzaga...everyone loved them years ago as a Cinderella...then they weren't a Cinderella..they were just a pretty good team. Now I just don't really care. They won the WCC regular season title and lost in the tournament final to San Diego. I think Saint Mary's is the better team out of the WCC actually. I find Gonzaga uninspiring and I don't know many people that really think they'll do much this year. Based on the lack of hype for the Zags and my interest in seeing Davidson take it to them...I'm going with Davidson on this one 80-73.

#2 Georgetown (27-5) vs. #15 UMBC (24-8)

UMBC is who? Where are they from? Oh...I guess they are Univerity of Maryland-Baltimore County from the America East conference. They have never been in the NCAA tournament before. They are the UMBC Retrievers and I have a feeling they'll be pretty solid and retrieving the ball as it drops through their own net. UMBC is remarkably better this year than last apparently...since their 24 wins this year is better than their past two seasons combined.

Georgetown won the Big East regular season title but their past few games have been very shaky. They don't have a "go-to guy" but they are pretty solid all around and Roy Hibbert is a scary presence inside. Defensively, I see Georgetown holding UMBC to under 60..if not under 50. Georgetown will win this one easily probably by about 20 or so....let's go with the Hoyas 73-52.

What do you think? Comments..questions..rebuttals? All are welcome!! :)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bloggopotamus Bracketology - The NCAA East Regional

To quote a Christmas classic that is more apt for March in my opinion, "It's the most wonderful time of the year". Despite my Syracuse Orangemen failing to reach the March Madness of the NCAA Tournament this year after a sloppy second half performance in the Big East Tournament against Villanova who by the way pulled off a 12-seed in the Midwest region, I am a huge fan of NCAA basketball in general. I always anticipate this time of year as it comes at a perfect spot in the school year for me and gets me through til the beginning of April. Then it's playoff time in the NHL and then the's a beautiful thing!!

As I did last year, The Bloggopotamus will attempt to become a publishing analyst of the matchups throughout the tournament. I'll break down each round for each bracket as best I can and as time permits. I welcome any comments, questions, complaints, and any other feedback people want to give as we surf the wave of Madness over the number of weeks. Enjoy the ride!!

Here is the East Region schedule which are the Thursday/Saturday games this week with one exception of Tuesday's Play In Game between Coppin State and Mount St. Mary's. Let's get the ball rolling with this game....

Mount Saint Mary's (18-14) vs. Coppin State (16-20)

This play in game features two teams who won't be going any further than this game but for both of these teams to make it to the dance is an accomplishment in itself. The Mountaineers of MSM started off the season 0-4 and then played .500 ball the rest of the way but did not beat nor play anyone important really outside of their weak NEC. Well..they lost to Oklahoma and Oregon. They did however roll over Robert Morris (the regular season champs) by 18 points in their tournament. They're led by guards Chris Vann and Jeremy Goode averaging around 14 a game. They got into the tournament by beating Sacred Heart 68-55 in the NEC final.

The Coppin State Eagles I think are the only team to make it into the tournament with a losing record at 16-20 and as of Feb 4th they were an embarrassing 4-19 when they lost to Delaware State. Ugly!! Since then however they gone on a really solid run into the MEAC tournament and upsetting regular season champs Morgan State. Tywain McKee is the key for the Coppin State offense which has played against Marquette and Indiana this year getting pounded by 47 and 27 points respectively.

Both of these teams are on a roll and I've only seen MSM play once this year. I know they can score in bunches and I don't know that Coppin State can so I'm going to go with the Mountaineers for the win in this one. Doesn't really matter because the winner will face UNC on Thursday night. Mount Saint Mary's wins 61-51.

#1 UNC (32-2) vs. Mount Saint Mary's/Coppin State

This game will be an absolute blowout from start to finish in my opinion. The Tarheels are the #1 seed overall for good reason playing out of arguably the toughest conference in the ACC. They were the regular season champs, the tournament champs defeating an uppity Clemson Tigers squad in the final who disposed of Duke in the semis. UNC has a potential player of the year candidate in Tyler Hansbrough who has carried this team marvelously this year. His supporting cast isn't too shabby either with solid production coming from Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson. There is no doubt however that Hansbrough is the man in UNC and will take them far. This game will be over within the first 5 minutes and I can see the Tarheels hitting the century mark in this one. I'm predicting a whopping 102-56 thrashing in this one for UNC.

#8 Indiana (25-7) vs. #9 Arkansas (22-11)

This is an interesting matchup because I think that Arkansas has been seeded a little high. I know that they made it to the SEC final against Georgia and the SEC is no joke but they lost to Georgie by 9 in the final after Georgia had played 3 games in two days. Georgia is not a great team either so I question Arkansas. Interestingly enough though for Arkansas, they have beaten a number of ranked teams like Mississippi St., Florida, Vandy twice, and Tennessee in the SEC semi. I don't know how Patrick Beverley and Gary Ervin are going to stack up against Indiana's guards, Eric Gordon, Armon Bassett, and Jordan Crawford.

Indiana is another anomaly for me because I've seen them play great in back to back wins against Michigan State and Purdue but I also saw them get pounded by Michigan State 103-74 albeit on Senior's Day in Spartan country. They've also fallen victim to Wisconsin's tough D on two occasions this year. Eric Gordon is one of the top freshmen in the country this year and always brings his game. Which D.J. White are we going to see? That is going to answer the question of victory in this one. It's a real tough call but I think I'll have to lean on history with this one maybe and since I've played in the HoosierDome before...I'm going to give this to Indiana in a close one 64-60.

#5 Notre Dame (24-7) vs. #12 George Mason (23-10)

I watched the Fighting Irish beat my Orange back on Feb 24th and discovered a 3 point sniper in Kyle McAlarney and of course they have a star in Luke Harangody who's averaging over 20 points a game. This team can shoot and averages about 80 a game which is pretty impressive however they are only 2-5 against ranked teams. That is likely enough to get them past the Patriots but I don't know how deep they can go once they get in to some tougher competition.

George Mason comes out of the CAA as tournament champs but are relatively untested against ranked competition losing to Nova but beating Kansas State early in the year. They have a couple of guys averaging 15 a game so the scoring isn't all in one place but I don't know that they can hang with high scoring team from the Big East down the stretch. Notre Dame should advance to the next round...let's say 76-63.

#4 Washington State (25-8) vs. #11 Winthrop (22-11)

First of all..I vote that the Big South Conference be absorbed into other conferences. I'm tired of Winthrop getting into the tournament. The Big South is George's...aka....craptastic. They did play Miami-FL and won...but that team sucks too. The only other competition in their conference was seeing how tall they were against NC-Asheville's 7'7" behemoth Kenny George. Besides that, Winthrop has a nice little player in Michael Jenkins but they can't hang in this tournament. No...a Cinderella Story is not in the cards this year.

The Cougars on the other hand are legit. They're in a really tough..maybe the toughest conference in the PAC-10 and made a nice run into the PAC-10 tournament before losing to Stanford by 7 which is very respectable. They did not do well against ranked teams at all in their conference but they did start out the season 13-0 with a key win against Gonzaga. I think a 4 seed is really generous of the tournament committee for them but they can still run with many of the big ball schools. Their guards lead the way with all three of them averaging double figures in scoring including Derrick Low who's at 14 a game. They should easily dismantle the Eagles in this one although the score may be fairly close at the end. Wash St. gets the "W" in a game in the mid 60's....69-64.

#6 Oklahoma (22-11) vs. #11 Saint Joseph's (21-12)

This is one of those games where you could really mess up your bracket either way. Both teams can be extremely dangerous if they get hot and start playing with confidence. I'm really looking forward to this game because as soon as rationalize things in my head and am about to come to a conclusion, doubt creeps in. Not good. As soon as I choose one...I have a bad feeling about it.

Oklahoma comes from the tougher Big 12 conference and they did beat Gonzaga and West Virginia. Counter point: They've been smoked by Texas twice and have a number of losses against ranked teams such as Memphis, USC, and Texas A&M. Blake Griffin with almost a double double average and they do have Longar Longar, yes..his real name, at center who is a regular contributor.

St. Joe's comes into the tournament losing in the Atlantic-10 final to Temple but they did knock off Xavier in the semis. They also beat Xavier at the beginning of March but other than that, their results have been mixed. Pat Calathes is their leading scorer and this team can score averaging 73 a game.

For some reason however I think the Sooners have had tougher matchups throughout the year and as long as they play some solid D which they are capable of..I'm going to give this to them in a tough battle. Likely some free throws toward the end and a missed 3 pointer to tie by St. Joe's. Oklahoma comes away with the win 65-62.

#3 Louisville (22-8) vs. #14 Boise St. (25-8)

Not sure if you caught the WAC championship between New Mexico St and Boise St. but it was a triple OT thriller which saw Boise St take it 107-102. I think that's as far as the drama will go though this year. The show is over...Boise St. exit stage left please. The only quality win Boise St really had was against BYU and I don't know how quality that is...kind of like a day old panini sandwich....might taste ok...but meh.

The Cardinals on the other hand are really solid from the Big East and have beaten Marquette twice, and Georgetown and Notre Dame once each. They play stingy in their own half court and I think they'll easily tame the high scoring Broncos. They are really well rounded and have excellent depth...that's going to be the key to Louisville's success this year...when guys get tired...they've got guys to go to....many teams don't. I want to see more out of Derrick Caracter but everyone else seems pretty reliable. Louisville advances 73-65.

#7 Butler (29-3) vs. #10 South Alabama (26-6)

The Butler Bulldogs always seem to be the team coming out of the Horizon League. Is this because they are that good? Or is it because the conference is that bad? Butler did win their conference tournament with an easy 70-55 win over Cleveland State and can add victories over the following ranked teams.....umm none!!! In fact the only team they played that was ranked was Drake and they lost 71-64. Granted they do have some wins against close to top-tier teams Texas Tech and Ohio State. Butler...stop walking your way to the tournament and get a real out-of-conference schedule next year please. Mike Green is definitely their best all-around player averaging 14.9 pts, 6.6 reb, and 5.1 ast....but if the Jaguars can get him frustrated or in foul could happen.

South Alabama is in the Sun Belt conference and doesn't have strong competition in house except for Western Kentucky and they beat them twice. They haven't played any real competition out of conference either except for Vandy I suppose and they lost 91-88 in that one. Demetric Bennett averages 20 a game for a team that went undefeated at home this year. In reality however this is an untested team but based on my distaste for the Bulldog resume this year...I'm going to try and sell a 82-80 win for South Alabama...the only upset I'm calling in the East for the first round.

#2 Tennessee (29-4) vs. #15 American (21-11)

American University was the cream of the crap this year in the Patriot League. They did win their conference this year and their conference tournament but in their only game against a ranked team this year...they were throttled by the Hoyas 78-51. They are nothing special though and nothing special will happen against a powerhouse like Tennessee.

The Vols bowed out early in the SEC semis at the hands or Arkansas 92-91 in an excellent game. but they went 14-2 in conference play this year and they're not in a cakewalk conference. They did lose to Texas handily early in the year and fell to Vandy once but they have a long list of impressive victories over Xavier, Mississippi, Vandy, Mississippi State, Florida, and most notably over Memphis...the only blemish on the Tigers' record. Chris Lofton will lead the way as he as done so many times before in a rout of the Eagles from American University. I don't imagine the score will be very close...I'll Volunteer this score 86-57.

Side Notes....
- when I say ranked teams...the teams were ranked at the time they played.
- spoilers always happen...the beauty and devastation of March Madness
- I welcome any comments or opinions people I way off?
- I will post the next region tomorrow night...gotta give my fingers a break.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Soulja Boy in Filipino Prison System

It's now been about a year or so since Soulja Boy rose to popularity with his repetitive and trance-like kettle drum song "Crank Dat". The song and dance took off immediately. I'll admit it is a song that has a great rhythm and sound to it and I'm into a lot of rap so I liked it at first. The lyrics are really lame but that doesn't seem to matter because anyone can repeat the word "Youuuuuuuuu" and if you add some pretty simple dance steps that anyone can've got a hit...especially at the junior high level. For me...the song was played out by can only hear it so many times....but it just won't go away.

We were at a set of exhibition basketball games in December in New Glasgow and they had the song playing in the gym during the warmups. It seems that as soon as the song comes on...junior high students seem to just start movin to the song...Soulja Boy had infiltrated rural Nova Scotia.

We went to a tournament in Yarmouth toward the end of January...and surprise..surprise.. the kids in Yarmouth are all about trying to crank it too. When will this become passe? I hope soon.

Hold Up! Wait...the prison system in the Philippines has something for us now. Apparently, to help inmates occupy their time during their stay in the Filipino prison system at Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, they spend a great deal of time rehearsing choreographed dance routines that are eventually perform for an audience. I suppose there are many worse ways they could spend their time. I've seen them do "Thriller" by Michael Jackson in the past and now apparently it's time for a cross Soulja Boy and Hammer Time medley! For more on this program and its here for an article from the International Herald Tribune.

Lufthansa Airbus Tries To Land

Yesterday in Hamburg, Germany, a Lufthansa Airbus 320 tried to land on the runway during some really windy weather. Take a look at the video and see for yourself the impact of the crosswinds on the plane as it tries to land.

I've never seen anything like this before. Apparently the plane had to pull up and make a second landing attempt which was more successful than this one. Some pretty fine piloting...perhaps some poor decision making in the tower not changing the direction of their landing strip, and likely a whole bunch of freaked out passengers.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Respect in the Classroom

I believe that one of the fundamental tenets of teaching and learning is respect. That's a tough concept to teach and a very difficult quality for many to develop and display consistently. I am very proud (not in a boastful way) of the rapport that I am able to develop with 99% of the students that I see.

I don't demand respect from a student at the beginning of the year. If you do that from a position of authority, I don't know that it can called respect in its truest sense but maybe that is simply respect out of fear. Instead I like to think that what I am able to do is command respect from my students and that is done through developing a relationship with them ensuring they understand I have their best interests at heart and in mind. This is an ongoing relationship that needs to be nurtured. There are times of course when conflict occurs in a classroom and how it gets resolved is one of the keys to that respect relationship. The times of conflict actually provide opportunity for growth and development.

If you allow a confrontation to spiral in a negative manner, it becomes more difficult to rebuild that respect later. It can be like an injury that sure it can heal, but it may never be the same. If you allow a confrontation to get the better of you, feelings are hurt, resentments can build, and bitterness and spite can show up in future interactions very easily. I saw this happen recently to a teacher and student where the student overreacted, the teacher was stubborn and condescending, the situation blew up and any sign of positive relationship was gone. Who knows when, if ever, that will heal?

I don't know that I've ever lost my temper in the classroom. I don't know that I could let a situation in that setting get the better of me and I hope that never happens. What kind of example and role model would I be in that sitauation? I shudder at the thought. I'm not there to keep the kids "in line". I'm there to educate and provide an environment that is conducive to growth and personal development. I have a blast doing it too.

As professionals, as teachers, as nurturers, we need to recognize the power and influence that our position holds in the lives of young people always being aware that "little eyes are watching" to use an apt expression. Maybe a better expression is that "wide eyes are watching".

I wasn't sure what this post was going to actually end up looking like. I had some ideas runnin through my head and figured I'd bang some of it out on here. Hopefully, this is somewhat coherent and some sort of message is understood....anyone gettin it?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Jasper and The Weasels

This is my little guy, Jasper, who is rarely ever called by his real name and has acquired a plethora of aliases that he responds to. Despite the notion of some that all cats have little personality and are not affectionate, Jasper eliminates that, in fact he's more like a puppy in the way he acts, plays, loves and craves attention. I'll quickly give you a sample of some of his names.

Rodrigo Dondiego
Double Deuce Goose
Baron Von Frigginfruz
Supersilo Commander Horace Beeswax
Jermaine Puddleduck
Merle Haggard
Julio Jumping Bean Sanchez
Reggie Fanta
Dougie Donair

...there are plenty more...

Today when I got up...I flipped on the television and it was already on Channel 36 (Fox) which was beginning a Wild America program "Weasels: Savage and Sleek". Jasper has a fascination and a hate on for weasels. He also enjoys shows like "Meet the Weasels" and "Meercat Manor". He will sit and watch intently for full shows (30-60 minutes) at times unless its a repeat of course. I took a couple of pictures of him today enjoying his Saturday morning shows.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Skype: My Initial Thoughts

For Christmas, my parents bought me a Live Messenger Webcam which is something I can't believe I didn't have sooner. It was mainly for my wife and I to be able to video chat with her sisters who are going to school in Ontario. We have still yet to connect online with them for a video chat but I've been using it more frequently lately. At first, I experimented using it within MSN which is painless and very user friendly. The sisters however are on Macs and the Messenger version they have doesn't support video conferencing so I investigated Skype a little while ago. I've known about Skype for years but there was no need to ever use it. Now there is. Check it out at

Skype is a fantastic and free software program that enables video conferencing and instant messaging among numerous other features. I've used it a number of times for long distance conversations across the Atlantic or just between myself and friends within the HRM. It's also really easy to only issue is that so few people use it...or so few people that I know use it. I love the idea of being able to see people when I talk to them although the process of talking to the camera as opposed to your screen takes some getting used to. The fact that it is a free program blows me away and I'm not sure why more people aren't taking advantage of it.

I rarely get to go to Ontario to see my extended family and would love some of them to get hooked up....first of all with the internet....second of all with programs like Skype. I guess they need a little more convincing or exposure on both fronts. I'm not sure why Skype hasn't been as successful as I think it should be...I know there is competition from MSN and other instant messaging applications but it is the best one I've seen so far.

How many people that are reading this use Skype? What are your thoughts?