Archive for March, 2009

Dear Scottie Reynolds

I haven’t written anything for The On Deck Circle in a long time. After this weekend’s Pitt-Villanova game I had to once again fire up MS Word and let the Internet, and more specifically Scottie Reynolds, know how I feel.

Before you read my letter to Scottie, know that I am a Pitt basketball fan. I went to high school in Pittsburgh and started following them when they were a Big East also-ran playing in the pressure cooker known as Fitzgerald Fieldhouse. The turning point for the program was the 2001 Big East tournament, when Brandin Knight, Ricardo Greer, and Issac Hawkins led the Panthers on a surprising run to the championship game (where they were pumped by Troy Bell’s Boston College Eagles).

I remember that run because we were vacationing in Mexico at the time, and whenever Pitt was on my Dad and I would desperately scour Playa del Carmen for a bar showing ESPN’s coverage of the tourney. Whenever you’re turning down sunny beaches for very unspectacular sports bars to watch a team in the bottom third of the Big East, you might just be a Pitt fan.

That run in the Big East tournament set the stage for the program’s success in this decade. This year was supposed to be the culmination of that success. Pitt had two excellent senior leaders at key positions and one of the nation’s best big men. They were built for tournament success and battle tested in the Big East all year. They achieved their first ever number one ranking during the season.

This was the year for Pitt, and then Scottie Reynolds and Villanova happened. Let’s just say that I wish American could have finished them off.
More after the jump!

Revised Madness: What If The Age Limit Always Existed?

As all basketball fans realize, the past decade of NCAA basketball has given us an overabundance of incredible finishes, groundbreaking plays, and historically great teams. We as fans have been spoiled by the exceedingly talented players that have descended on the college hoops landscape, and we have but one man to thank: Kevin Garnett.It was Garnett who, back in 1995, chose to bypass the college experiment altogether in favor of bumrushing the Association.

The move forced David Stern’s hand and changed the college game forever. Stern worried that Garnett would serve as a blueprint every prep star would try and emulate. These high-schoolers would not be physically or emotionally mature enough to handle life in the NBA, which would hurt his company’s market offering and their bottom-line.

Instead of an awe-inspiring young talent entering the NBA primed and ready for greatness, Stern saw that he would have been forced to promote a league whose talent level was watered-down and whose youngsters did not understand fundamental aspects of the game. He simply would not stand for this reduced level of play and the impact it might have.

What followed of course was am infamous and lengthy legal showdown, as the league sought to impose an age requirement on the Draft that restricted players under 20 from consideration. The Players Union and a group of prep stars fought the motion’s validity tirelessly on the grounds of antitrust and competition laws, but ultimately they were ignored.

The two season requirement in college ushered in a new period for the Association, now full of known-commodity veterans and more fundamentally sound play. It also created the Golden Era of College Basketball.

More after the jump!

We're Still Here

In the words of Hacksaw Jim Duggan….”TAKE IT EASSYYYYY!!” Sorry for the lack of articles last week and to begin this week…it’s been kind of a busy week or two, and with no other writers writing the content has slowed.

We’re still here, I’m still the man…just don’t expect every day content moving forward…maybe 3-times-a-week, or more when the mood strikes or the bench produces.

Smiles!!! Xoxo

The ODC March Madness Pool

Update: Because everyone is having trouble with Yahoo, I’ve moved the pool to CBS Sports as well. Head to:


join the group The On Deck Circle (aka theodc12) and the password is blake


Today is Selection Sunday. That means Thursday starts the best time of year…March Madness. Try to block out the nicer weather, the impending baseball season, and the wild NBA playoff races, and make some picks for…you guessed it, bragging rights.

Click here to join the pool. It’s on Yahoo, the group ID is 79402 and you don’t need anything to sign up.

And a big thank you to Joe, who runs SportsBlogNet (our host), who has offered up $20 without entry fee to the winner of the ODC Pool, so long as you’re a member of Sportsblognet.com by the time the tourney starts, you can win a 20-piece. Boom Tho.

Hoops Addict Article - The Impending Rise of Ricky Rubio

Sorry for the delay posting this Trev, I didn’t notice it until today. I know, I’m the worst HA writer and ODC editor you’ve ever known. Sorry.

To everyone else, I have three words about this article: Absolute. Must. Read.

So do it.

ODC Pre-Madness Link Madness

We’re doing things a little differently at The ODC today. I was busy doing my bracket, so instead of an article, you’re getting three VoDs and a major link dump. This is that link dump, with a handful of non-Final Four articles I’ve thoroughly enjoyed lately.

What a study reveals about the optimal baseball lineup - I agree for the most part, although I’m of the opinion, personally, that your best three hitters should hit 1-2-3 in some order. The article’s reasoning to do otherwise is sound, I just feel your best players should have the most plate appearances, period.
An extremely interesting study showing losing leads to winning - okay, it’s not that simple, however, the results are astounding in that people (and teams, apparently) perform better when they are behind by a slight margin, compared to when they’re winning or being blown out.
Bullets can’t keep Carl Landry down - there’s no punchline here. They seriously can’t.
The top pro factories - that is, the college basketball programs that have produced the most/best NBA players.
A crazy look at the indecency involved with player agents - Mayo, Love, many more, I’m sure, have been victimized by a system with ass-backwards incentive schemes and evaluation methods.
The ultimate Pops Mensah-Bonsu scouting report - the full low-down on Notorious PMB aka King Daddy Bonsu aka Poppa Diddy Pop aka The Greatest Raptor Ever aka Whale Slayer.
Lesser known NBA nicknames - as submitted by other fans/blogs. There are some bad ones, and some misses (WoSo in Case Y’Aint Know So, all of my PMB nicknames, etc), but this is fun. I will eventually challenge myself to come up with a nickname for every player ever.
Some signs your favorite team sucks - like, Sign #1A: you cheer for the Toronto Raptors.
A review of the MIT Sports Analytics Conference - that is, the review of Dorkapalooza…I was absolutely drooling at the thought of how awesome it would be to attend this next year.
Roko Ukic is getting better - so we Raps fans have that. I guess.

Heavy Gold - Video of the Day 3

We’re doing things a little differently at The ODC today. I was busy doing my bracket, so instead of an article, you’re getting three VoDs and a major link dump.

Dwight did it! “I did it!”

Courtesy NESW again

Rollins Henderson - Video of the Day 2

We’re doing things a little differently at The ODC today. I was busy doing my bracket, so instead of an article, you’re getting three VoDs and a major link dump.

See, y’all know Ricky Henderson, but Jimmy Rollins knows Ricky Henderson.

Courtesy of NESW Sports

Cody's Box Jump - Video of the Day 1

We’re doing things a little differently at The ODC today. I was busy doing my bracket, so instead of an article, you’re getting three VoDs and a major link dump.

This is A-Rod’s replacement, Cody Ransom. I can’t speak for his ability but, uhh…this is sick.

Welcome to the Gus Johnson Region

What is the best part of March Madness?

Some would say the potential for upsets. Some would say filling out brackets. Some would say the game of basketball itself.

But really, the reason we’re all so drawn to March Madness is the drama. You probably know this. What’s unclear sometimes is how exactly we experience said drama. Our bias towards teams or players, our surroundings, or our personal comparison points can alter the level of enjoyment we take from a game. Personally, I feel the two most important non-game factors are your viewing situation (with friends, big TV, good snacks, etc), and the announcing crew.

Alex, Stu, Josh…you see where this is going already. Thanks to Awful Announcing, I’ve gotten a sneak peek at the announcing teams for the first weekend of March Madness. I’ve opted to forego a tourney-wide preview. Sad, I know. Instead, I’ll give you an in-depth preview of the portion of the bracket with the highest potential for drama, based on announcing alone, the Minneapolis Region, henceforth known as The Gus Johnson Region.
More after the jump!