Archive for March, 2010

UH football staff changes

March 30th, 2010
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The biggies are Nick Rolovich to offensive coordinator, and as the Star-Bulletin reported a few weeks ago, Dave Aranda to defensive coordinator.

Others are Tony Tuioti to defensive tackles, Cal Lee to defensive ends and assistant head coach, and Ron Lee to assistant OC and receivers.

You guys have probably read some of what I think. What are your thoughts?

–By Dave Reardon

Elite Eight picks and analysis

March 27th, 2010
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Our budding bracketologists go beyond the call.

Sean Eyman:

Michigan State over Tennessee.  Tom Izzo has the Spartans poised and rolling.  They’ve been there before.  Five Final Fours with a chance for their 6th.  All I keep hearing from the Volunteers is how this is the farthest they have ever come.  I’ll take the team that has been there and done that.  Michigan St in the Midwest.

Kansas State over Butler.  Butler hasn’t lost this calendar year.  It’s been a helluva run by the Bulldogs,  but it stops here.  A Kansas team will be in the Final 4, it’s just not the one everybody expected.

Duke vs. Baylor is the elite 8 game I am looking forward to the most.  Duke has squashed every opponent so far.  Baylor destroyed St. Mary’s yesterday.  Duke’s 40-8 as a number 1 seed.  And have reached the Final Four in 5 out of 11 times playing as a number 1.  I’m going with Duke in the South.  But wouldn’t be shocked in the least if Baylor pulled rank and danced on through to the Final Four.

The Big East Blues will continue as the Wildcats will dispatch of Huggy Bear and his crew to reach the Final Four.  Kentucky will March on out of the South!

Matt Furuto:

In the round of 16, I was hot the first day, and way cold the second.  Hopefully, I’ll do better as we head to the Final Four…
Kansas State is well known (and deservedly so) for their backcourt duo of Clemente and Pullen.  But, their inside game is way underrated, and this will prove the difference against Butler.  The Bulldogs’ dream of becoming the first true “home” team to play in a Final 4 will end prematurely.
In a game which I don’t think will live up to the hype, Kentucky will run past West Virginia.  Bryant’s season ending injury will be evident here, as the Wildcats will turnover the Mountaineers, and the end result will be a quick 2, via the dunk or layup.
In another Midwest nailbiter, I got Tennessee over Michigan State.  Izzo has done another masterful job with this year’s squad, but they’re just too banged up.  Tennessee seems to be getting hot at the right time, and will head on to Indy.
Baylor the de facto home team playing in Houston will prove too athletic for Duke.  In the tournament, backcourt usually rules the day, and the Bears duo of Carter and Dunn is hot, and should be able to trump Duke’s Scheyer and Smith.

Jet Wong

Kentucky/WVU – Kentucky pulls it out here. WVU committed way too many turnovers against Washington and right now, they have no point guard with Bryant out for the year. Mazzulla, Butler and Ebanks will have to carry that load again because if they turn the ball over 20 times, there’s no chance you stay with Kentucky with their speed and athleticism especially down low with Patterson, Orton and Cousins. Kentuckyt thrives themselves in the transition and if they can force the turnovers and run the ball, they’re very hard to stop. If this is going to be a tight game and I like to think it will be, Kentucky can’t hit free throws…only 60% during the tourney while WVU is hovering near 80%.

Butler/Kansas State – Will Kansas State have the energy after that double overtime game on Thursday to pull out another win? Butler’s a good defensive team. The have to contain K-State’s 2 guard combo of Pullen and Clemente, both of whom played well and came through in the clutch on Thursday. K-State’s big men of Sutton, Samuels and Kelly should be able to work their way inside against a very good Butler defense. Also, Kansas State is one of the top teams in the nation as far as committing fouls goes. Alot of their guys were in foul trouble all game on Thursday and if they don’t stay out of foul trouble, Butler has a shot here. But, K-State will eke this one out.

Michigan State/Tennessee – I’m teetering on a side right now. Michigan State’s defense stepped it up big time without Lucas and held N. Iowa without a field goal for the last 10 minutes of the game. But they’re fighting the injury bug as well with Roe and Morgan playing with injuries as well. Lucious has stepped up as the floor general of this team and hit a clutch shot late to ensure Michigan State’s win. Tennessee played very well against Ohio State with clutch shots and tough D to keep them in the game and pull out a victory at the buzzer. They’re long and athletic with Chism, Williams and Prince down low. I think Michigan State will find a way out of this one. Izzo’s a veteran coach in this spot and I’m sure he’s got something planned.

Duke/Baylor – Baylor totally BLEW St. Mary’s out the door. That game was over quickly. Baylor has a slight home court advantage here playing in Houston near their campus so I’m sure there will be alot of Baylor fans in the stands on Sunday. They play a great 2-3 zone which Duke will have to exploit and in the years I’ve watched Duke play, they have done exactly that. Sure, some teams play better zone defenses than others but Duke always finds a way to break that zone. Baylor’s tough inside with Udoh and Acy but Duke has been monsters on the board with Zoubek, Thomas and the Plumlee brothers (outrebounded Purdue by 20). It was also nice to see Scheyer snap out of his slump and score some key points. If Duke can exploit the zone defense, cut down their turnovers, grab those rebounds and convert 2nd chance points, and knock down their perimeter shots (and they HAVE to do that)….punch their ticket to Indy. Unlike previous years, they’re not living off the 3 point shot but they will hit their share to pull out a victory.

Tokuda not leaving Mules, No QB Club Banquet, Amemiya feted

March 26th, 2010
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Here’s one of those rumors that won’t die: People keep saying Nolan Tokuda has stepped down as the Leilehua High School football coach.

Technically, it’s true. But Tokuda told me last night he will be back as Mules head coach in plenty of time for the start of next season. The reason he’s not officially the coach right now is because he has a temporary post in the Leilehua administration, and the OIA does not allow administrators to be coaches.

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Unfortunately, one of the best sports gatherings of the year isn’t going to happen this year; the Honolulu Quarterback Club has canceled its annual Banquet of Champions.

The Quarterback Club has always operated on a shoestring budget, but I was told last night that’s not the main reason for the cancellation.

“It just kept getting pushed back because of conflicts with other events,” said longtime QB Club officer Mark Zeug.

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Outstanding OIA Foundation celebration dinner last night at the Sheraton Waikiki. Nearly 1,000, including the governor and mayor, gathered to honor outgoing HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya.

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–By Dave Reardon

Jet’s and Matt’s picks … Linkner joins UH staff … NFL OT: What took so long?

March 24th, 2010
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Here are bracketologist Jet Wong’s picks to win the Sweet 16 games, followed by his comments.

Michigan State, Ohio State, Syracuse, Kansas State, Kentucky, Washington, Duke, Baylor

It’s gonna be a good Sweet 16. We’ll see if Northern Iowa, St. Mary’s and Cornell can defeat their opponents and move on. I still like Michigan State even though they lost Kalin Lucas for the year because they’re a veteran team but we’ll have to wait and see. I picked Kentucky but there’s no doubt I’ll be cheering on Cornell to continue their magical run. If Kentucky moves on, I think they’re the favorite to win it all even though I hate to say that.

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Here are the thoughts of another guru, Matt Furuto:

Never thought I would say this, but I’m gonna take Butler over Cuse.  I believe that the Onuaku injury catches up to the Orange here.  Butler has that look this year, and we’ve already witnessed too many upsets to just brush this one aside.  Hayward can go shot for shot with Johnson, and Butler has a lot of other shooters who can exploit the famed 2-3 zone Syracuse runs.  This will be a classic.
Washington is hot, but so is West Virginia.  I’m gonna go ‘Eers here, and hope that everyone else doesn’t rack up too many points with this pick.
No reason to change my KSU pick now.  Pullen and Clemente are as dynamic as any backcourt left.
To cap off Thursday’s games, it’s Big Blue over Big Red.  As good a story as Cornell is, there’s no way they knock out Kentucky.  Calipari is a master motivator, and there’s no way is team will overlook the best Cinderella story in sometime.

Tennessee has proven to be a good story, but it’s the Buckeyes over the Vols.  Evan Turner is hands down the most dominant player in college basketball this season.  The Midwest seems to be opening up real nice for them.
Saint Mary’s continues to roll over the Baylor Bears.  Samhan will have rack up another huge double double against the long, athletic Bears.  I expect this to be one of the best games of the round.
Northern Iowa will knock out Michigan State.  The injury to Lucas will prove too much to overcome.  And, Northern Iowa can “out-ugly” the Spartans (aka. the best team at playing “ugly” basketball).
Duke will continue its roll big over Purdue.  They’re just better.

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Former Hawaii receiver Dylan Linkner is joining the UH staff as a video assistant. The position will likely be that of a student assistant or graduate assistant.

Linkner, who interned at KITV last year, will be working with former UH linebacker Chris Williams.

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The new NFL overtime rules aren’t that complicated, and should help make overtime closer to being fair.

Anyone with half a brain could see something needed to be done YEARS BEFORE Brett Favre didn’t get onto the field in OT in the playoffs against the Saints last January.

You know why the NFL liked the sudden-death OT, first to score wins? TV (not injuries, like is being claimed now). TV … that’s also why the new OT rule is only being implemented for the postseason. In the regular season, the NFL doesn’t want games too long because of TV.

Yes, I also agree that  the league would rather have quarterbacks determining the outcome more often than kickers in postseason overtime, and that’s another reason for the change.

–By Dave Reardon

First reaction on Gib Arnold hire … Matt, Jet, Sean on MM

March 19th, 2010
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Gib Arnold was being marketed for the Hawaii basketball coaching job weeks before it even opened. Not sure I like that. One thing I do like: his energy. Arnold’s going to hit the ground running; he may have started working already … don’t be surprised if he’s already got a bunch of recruits lined up to join him in Manoa. … We’ve known Arnold got the job less than three hours, and I’ve already spoken with several people who are unhappy with the pick. Let’s see what he’s got first.

–By Dave Reardon

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Matt Furuto was 24 for 32 in the first round of March Madness. Here are his choices for Round 2, followed by some comments from Matt.

Kansas over Northern Iowa, Maryland over Michigan State, Tennessee over Ohio, Ohio State over Georgia Tech, Syracuse over Gonzaga, Butler over Murray State, Xavier over Pitt, Kansas State over BYU, Kentucky over Wake Forest, Wisconsin over Cornell, New Mexico over Washington, West Virginia over Missouri, Duke over Cal, Texas A&M over Purdue, Baylor over Old Dominion, Saint Mary’s over Villanova.

The first round proved that the gap between the supposed “Cinderella” teams and teams from power conferences is obviously closing.  The strongest conference throughout the season had proven to be the Big East, until 2 days ago.  Supposed powerhouse Georgetown was sent packing by #14 seed Ohio screwing up many brackets.  Meanwhile sleeper teams such as Louisville and Notre Dame got knocked out as well.  If the first round taught us anything, it was that no seed is safe.  One of these days, we will definitely see a #16 seed take out a #1.  It’s a lock.  Best of luck to everyone in round two!

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Here are second-round picks and comments from Jet Wong, who got 25 of 32 picks right for the first round:

Kansas, Michigan State, Ohio State, Syracuse, Pitt, Kansas State, Duke, Texas A&M, Baylor, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Washington, West Virginia, Tennessee, Murray State (editor’s note: due to DR’s screwup, Matt’s picks were not made before start of St. Mary’s-Villanova).

It’s going to be interesting to see if Ohio can continue its run and beat Tennessee. I know I picked Villanova for the 2nd round  but I think St. Mary’s can pull it off with how vulernable Nova looked against Robert Morris.  BYU-Kansas State could turn into a shootout like the Florida-BYU matchup and I think I picked Kansas State in that matchup and believe they’ll pull it out in the end. Also if ODU can slow down the game (they seem to be doing that most of the year) and make Baylor play at their pace, they have a good shot at winning even though I chose Baylor.

And teams have got to hit free throws to win. Georgia Tech won today with the defense but also they hit 24/25 free throws which is a major improvement since they team averages about 65% on the year.

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Here are Sean Eyman’s second round picks:

Kansas, Maryland, Tennessee, Ohio State, Syracuse, Butler, Pittsburgh, Kansas State, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Washington (“I just like Washington in this matchup (against New Mexico”), West Virginia, Duke, Texas A&M (“the injury catches up with Purdue here”), Baylor, Villanova.