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Who’s #1?

Posted by Nathan Atkins on March 15, 2009

Louisville, Pittsburgh, North Carolina and Connecticut have all received #1 seeds in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

NCAA Men’s brackets have been announced today and Rick Pitino and his Cardinals are the number one overall seed in this year’s tournament. 

Though I’m not a Big East fan, I must admit that this is their year. Three of the four overall number one seeds are out of the Big East. 

Louisville made it clear that they deserved to be the number one this year after going 28-5, 16-2 in conference play, and destroying all challengers in the Big East Tournament: 73-55 against Providence, 69-55 against Villanova and 76-66 against Syracuse in the championship game. Louisville will the the number one seed in the Midwest Region, playing their games in Indianapolis.

Pittsburgh had a strong case for the number one as well. They were the regular season number one for three months during the 2008-2009 season. until they lost to Louisville 63-69. But after a 28-4 season (15-3) they were recognized as the second best team; not only in the Big East, but in the tournament as well. Pittsburgh has been awarded the number one seed in the East Region, playing their games in Boston.

Louisville, Pitt, North Carolina and UConn all been seeded number one in the 2009 Men's Basketball Tournament.

Louisville, Pitt, North Carolina and UConn all been seeded number one in the 2009 Men's Basketball Tournament.

 

North Carolina, the only number one team not from the Big East was the number one team during the regular season as well. In the highly competitive ACC, The Tarheels were dominant. In route to winning the ACC, Carolina posted the best record going 28-4  (13-3). The second place team in the conference, (Wake Forest #4 seed) went 24-8 and 11-5 in conference play. With the way Carolina handled the ACC this year; beating the #2 seed Duke twice during the regular season, they are more than deserving of a number one seed.  

Carolina will be the number one seed in the South Region hoping to make it to the regional championships in Memphis.

Last but not least, another former regular season number one: UConn. 

Connecticut fought hard this year in the Big East going 27-4 (15-3). The first, second and third place team in the Big East are all number one seeds this year, a testament to the dominance of the conference this year. 

The Huskies played games against both Louisville and Pittsburgh this year, beating the Cardinals 68-51, and splitting their series with Pitt, losing 76-68 in February. But the Huskies rebounded in March, beating the Panthers 70-60.

UConn rounds out the tournament with the number one seed in the West Region.

Though their seemed to be more parity last year, it doesn’t seem as if this year’s tournament will be much different than last year’s. 

The number one seeds look to be the most dominant teams, and will probably advance to the final four. 

The tournament is losing its parity, in the last few years Non-Power Conference teams are losing “At-Large” bids. 

Five years ago in 2004, there were twelve.

Last year there were six, this year, four. 

Remember the excitement of the 2004 tournament? 

St. Joseph’s led by  guard tandem Jameer Nelson and Delonte West making it to the Elite Eight?

Manhattan knocking off SEC power Florida in the first round 75-60? 

Nevada beating Michigan State and Gonzaga to make it to the Sweet Sixteen?

Seton Hall beating Arizona in the first round? 

Alabama upsetting Stanford and Syracuse to make the Elite Eight?

It truly was Madness in 2004, and in 2008 as well. 

Remember Siena’s upset Vanderbilt?

Davidson’s upset Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin to make the Elite Eight.?

Western Kentucky’s upset Drake, and beat San Diego in route to the Sweet Sixteen?

San Diego upsetting Connecticut in the first round?

Now there will only  four Non-Power Conference teams thanks to the Selection Committee. 

I’m excited for the tournament, but in the future will it actually be “March Madness” ? 

-Nate 

(Bracket’s coming soon….)

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cutting Good Quarterbacks, One at a Time

Posted by Nathan Atkins on March 10, 2009

MISSING: JEFF GARCIA

Have you seen this man?

Jeff Garcia was last seen in Tampa Bay on Februrary 16, 2009.

He was cut to make way for Luke McCown, who we now realize is unproven.

Garcia was last seen throwing for 2,712 yards, 12 TDs and 6ints in 2008.

He was also last seen wearing a red #7 jersey.

If seen contact Raheem Morris at (813) 879-2827

Poor Tampa Bay, they have already made a terrible decision, a decision that reflects terrible on new coach Raheem Morris.

Jeff Garcia started twelve games for the Buccaneers in 2008. He threw for 2,712 yards, 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, he had a disgusting completion percentage of 64.9. These stats are nothing new for Garcia, he has a career average 61.9 completion rating, has amassed over 25,000 career passing yards, and has thrown 161 touchdowns.

Perfect reasons to cut him; Tampa Bay decided to move forward in 2009 by removing Garcia from the roster.

They chose instead to replace Garcia with Luke McCown.

Why haven’t you ever heard of him?

Well he’s only thrown for 1,617 yards in his career. Not to mention a weak nine touchdowns, complemented only by his ten interceptions.

McCown’s been in the NFL for six years; and in those six years, he has never played more than five games.

Before Tampa Bay, McCown was in Cleveland where he started a career high five games.

McCown’s competition in Cleveland was journeyman Kelly Holcomb (now retired) and Josh Harris (rookie in ’04, retired in ’06. Zero career starts).

Eerily enough those five games that  McCown did start for Cleveland in 2004 , occurred after a certain quarterback got hurt..

That quarterback? Jeff Garcia.

Garcia was the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns in 2004. He threw for 1731 yards, 10 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.

Luke McCown came in the last five games and threw for 608 yards, 4 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

In 2005, Garcia signed with Detroit and later Philadelphia before heading to Tampa Bay.

During his time in Philly, Garcia led the Eagles to an NFC East championship; throwing for 1309 yards, 10 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

McCown on the other hand in 2005, was beat out for the starting job by Charlie Frye and traded to Tampa Bay.

In 2007, for the first time in two years, McCown was able to once again see the field.

He finished the rest of the season with 1009 yards, 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in five games.

Is it now becoming clear why the Bucs cut Garcia for McCown?

No?

Thought so.

The Bucs have tried to improve the offense for 2009 by re-signing Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton.

They should continue this trend by begging Jeff Garcia to come back.

Bryant, a former first round pick from Pittsburgh has finally lived up to his hype seven years later.

After 83 receptions, 1,248 yards and 7 touchdowns, he will be back in 2009.

Clayton has underachieved since his rookie year but has shown potential (80 rec, 1193 yds, 7tds in 2004). Clayton blamed his lack of production on former coach John Gruden. Now that Gruden is gone, its time for Clayton to produce.

The Bucs have also been busy in Free Agency, recently signing Cleveland tight end, Kellen Winslow Jr.

The Buccaneers have improved their offense by re-signing wide receivers Antonio Bryant (top), Michael Clayton (bottom left), and free agent Kellen Winslow (bottom right). Though the receiving core has been improved Tampa Bay still does not have a quarterback after the release of Jeff Garcia.

The Buccaneers have improved their offense by re-signing wide receivers Antonio Bryant (top), Michael Clayton (bottom left), and free agent Kellen Winslow (bottom right). Though the receiving core has been improved Tampa Bay still does not have a quarterback after the release of Jeff Garcia.

K2 as he is called, caught 82 passes for 1,106 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2007. But, an injury in 2008, and inconsistent quarterback play limited him to 428 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Notice anything strange about these wide receivers?

They have all caught more touchdowns than Luke McCown has thrown in his six year career!

Chances are McCown will not get these recievers the ball. Which is absolutely the worst thing a team would want when they have a receivier who appears to be in his prime (Bryant), a reciever who hates not getting the ball (Winslow), and a reciever desperate to regain his 2004 form (Clayton).

Inconsistent quarterback play will not only anger these three, it will leave the Bucs watching the playoffs from home.

Oh, Coach Morris.. I hope you know what you’re doing, because it certainly doesn’t look like it.

The bright spot for Tampa Bay could come this year in April at Radio City.

It is projected that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will select Josh Freeman in the first round though, which would be a great decision.

There is one problem though, Josh Freeman is a project quarterback. He will need time to develop.

Last year Tampa drafted another project quarterback; one that will need even more time than Freeman to develop, none other than Josh Johnson out of  Division 1-AA San Diego.

If Freeman is drafted, Johnson’s chances of starting will be slim to none.

It is highly likely though that Morris will select Freeman; Morris was a part of the Kansas State coaching staff when Freeman started at quarterback in 2006.

At 6 feet 6 inches and 250 pounds, Freeman has everything NFL scouts are looking for.

On top of that the K-State quarterback has a monster arm.

The only problem with Freeman is consistency.

Similar to Georgia’s Matthew Stafford his stock is up one day and down the next.

Josh Freeman threw for 2,945 yards, 20 touchdowns and 8 interceptions at Kansas State. He is projected to go to Tampa Bay in the first round, filling their hole at quarterback

Josh Freeman threw for 2,945 yards, 20 touchdowns and 8 interceptions at Kansas State. He is projected to go to Tampa Bay in the first round, filling their hole at quarterback

In a game against the 2008 Big XII Champion Oklahoma, Freeman was extraordinary.

The Wildcat quarterback threw for 478 yards, 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Not to mention he completed 29-51 for a completion rating of 56.9.

Kansas State hit the road the next week, traveling to Lawrence to face the rival Jayhawks

Boy was Freeman was pathetic; he had a solid completion percentage of 59.6,  and threw for 207 yards, but had three interceptions in a 52-21 loss.

The week after K-State traveled to Missouri, his gametime performance was lack luster to say the least.

Freeman threw for 121 yards and 0 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, he also only completed 50 percent of his passes in another loss. This time 41-24.

Freeman will be a project quarterback no question. But, can he be any worse than the six year veteran who has only thrown nine touchdowns?

With the nineteenth pick in the first round, Tampa Bay should select Josh Freeman, quarterback from Kansas State.

But while they’re at it, the should call Jeff Garcia.

If they can find him.

On the clock: San Francisco

-Nate

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