August 1, 2014

Kyrie Irving mastering the art of “The Return”

Kyrie Irving Orlando Magic 20140402

It was just three years ago, almost to the week back in 2011, when an 18-year-old Kyrie Irving took to the basketball floor for the first time in what was a three-month span. Having sustained multiple torn ligament in his right big toe, Irving, one of the college game’s most heralded prospects, rejoined his team during the men’s Division I tournament, one of the most celebrated win-or-go-home stretches of play in all of sport. As Irving’s teammates filled in admirably in his absence, lifting the Duke Blue Devils to the top seed in the region, questions surrounded his decision to return—team chemistry notwithstanding, with an NBA paycheck in his not-so-distant future, was Irving risking too much by lacing them back up?

[Read more...]

Video: SNL roasts Stephen A. Smith

Jay Pharoah was absolutely hysterical as he took a shot at doing Stephen A. Smith last night on Weekend Update. I even enjoyed when he lost his composure and cracked a small laugh and a smile. The only downside to this clip? It didn’t include last night’s host Louis C.K. who had some really hysterical bits.

Can you spot the problem with this Ohio State basketball jersey?

Hmmm…. something seems off. This gives all new meaning to the term “March Madness.”

Honestly, it took me a second to see it. I wonder if it’s just one or if there are racks and racks of these that look just like this?

No more-deserving Cinderella than the lovable Dayton Flyers

devin oliver dayton

Why not Dayton? This was the question asked for decades by the renowned Flyer Faithful. While the once-storied program consistently disappointed, mid-major after mid-major blasted through the gates of the NCAA tournament’s first weekend into the hearts of the nation.

[Read more...]

Nike Zoom Irving, Alex Mack’s Free Agency, and Fred Hoiberg Dancing (Kind of): While We’re Waiting

WFNYBanner www

Good morning and good week, my friends. I’m back, Captaining the Good Ship While We’re Waiting after a weekend full of Madness. Before you even begin to scroll, let’s make sure you threw WFNY a few votes for Best Sports Blog and Best Podcast for Cleveland Scene’s Best Of for 2014. Now, as we head in to our final week without regular season baseball, we should take a look at the lay of the land, focusing on the important and ancillary. Let’s dig in…

[Read more...]

Animated: Dayton is dancing after defeating Syracuse

THE University of Dayton is living a dream right now in the NCAA tourney. After defeating Ohio State, the Flyers took down Jim Boeheim’s three seed Syracuse Orangemen 55-53.

Oh, and they’re dancing. Literally.

Dayton will play the winner of Kansas vs. Stanford, which tips off today just after noon.

Brackets for the Cure: Turn $20 into $1,000, help fight breast cancer

UntitledIn addition to our annual WFNY March Madness pool (which is free for all fans and readers), WFNY, in its ongoing efforts to give back to the Cleveland community, is helping promote a unique opportunity that comes in the way of Brackets for the Cure. Susan G. Komen’s Northeastern Ohio Affiliate is holding a March Madness challenge, sponsored by Tucker Ellis, LLP, that provides the entrants to turn their $20 tax-deductible donation into $1,000.

One-hundred percent of the donations will go to the Affiliate in their fight against breast cancer throughout the region. Brackets can be purchased here. You will, at some point subsequent to the donation, receive an email with a link and password to the CBS Sports-hosted challenge page. Complete and submit your bracket any time between Selection Sunday, March 16 and the start of the tournament on Thursday, March 20. Brackets must be completed no later than March 20 at 11 am to be eligible for prizes. Standings will be updated daily on the host site in addition to the Komen NEO Facebook page.

WFNY thanks you in advance for your support. Don’t hesitate to holler with any questions. Cheers!

Join the WFNY NCAA bracket pool 2014

2014 Final fourI have no idea what WFNY will be giving the winner of the 2014 WFNY NCAA pool, but I’m (nearly) positive that it won’t be $1 billion. I’m also nearly positive that nobody else will be giving away $1 billion either, but that’s a different conversation for a different day. What I do know is that you can join WFNY and fill out a bracket for a chance to actually win something in a much smaller pool where a winner will actually be crowned.

So head on over to Yahoo’s NCAA bracket challenge website, enter the super-secret password “wfny” and have some fun with us.

 

[Related: Buckeyes land a No. 6 seed for 2014 Men’s NCAA Tournament]

Your 2014 (Offseason) Champion Cleveland Browns: While We’re Waiting

WFNYBanner www

Tell me how my Ben Tate: So how about these free-spendin’ Browns? While some national types will want to parse apart the $7 million given to Ben Tate this past weekend  (Phil Dawson money!), Cleveland locked up a 25-year-old without much in the way of mileage on his tires. Sure, those tires have had trouble staying affixed for the last few years, but we’re talking about a guy who thrived in a zone blocking scheme in Houston, who will now be given feature-back carries in a similar offense with chip on his shoulder and a chance to prove his worth. Plus, HE’S ONE OF US.

Sign me up.

Speaking of, this may deserve more in the way of an in-depth discussion, but there’s something to be said about the front-loaded nature of these Browns free agent deals. The bulk of Karlos Dansby’s money is up front; Donte Whitner’s appears to be relatively similar. Same can be said for the two-year deal given to Isaiah Trufant and the four-year deal offered to Andrew Hawkins where $10.8 million (of the $13.6 million) will be provided to him in the first two seasons. I don’t have the energy or desire to analyze what the Browns’ situation looks like beyond 2016, but things appear to be mighty flexible. I would imagine this means good things for the Josh Gordons and Joe Haden’s of the world.

Ouch: Talk about a bi-polar road trip. While you were counting sheep, the Cavaliers were shocking the world on a West Coast swing, coming up with wins against the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors. Unfortunately for Cleveland and any remote playoff hopes, not only did they fall victim to the always dangerous Los Angeles Clippers, Kyrie Irving may be done for the season with a biceps injury. Brother left Staples Center on Sunday night with his left arm in a sling. Also not helping matters: This week’s schedule brings both the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder to The Q.1 Enjoy the road show, folks.

Ohio State: I’ll obviously be pulling for the Buckeyes this weekend when they look to escape the first two rounds (Yes, they’re the first two rounds—nothing the NCAA will change what normal—read: non-paid individuals—call them), but it will certainly be a tough road. If they can scrape past the Dayton Flyers, they’ll be forced to tackle the zone defense of Syracuse. They may not score 40 points. Someone has to provide the Scarlet and Grey with a consistent scoring option—you can only live on Aaron Craft’s defense for so long. The missed free throws certainly will not help. Here’s a March Madness prediction: Several shades of red emanating from Thad Matta’s high-definition face this weekend. Book it.

And just because… Cricket: A sport Brandon Weeden could actually be good at.

___________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  1. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Tristan Thompson who bottomed out in Sunday’s loss, scoring just two points on 1-of-6 shooting with one rebound and three personal fouls in 20 minutes of action. Over the past four games, shooting 8-of-28 from the field with more fouls (12) than combined assists, steals and blocks (nine). Come celebrate his birthday this Thursday! []

Buckeyes land a No. 6 seed for 2014 Men’s NCAA Tournament

craftdiveiowa

Though things have seemingly been a nightmare since our own TD proclaimed Ohio State as a National Championship contender, the Buckeyes were made aware of their fate on Sunday night as they were handed a six-seed in this year’s NCAA men’s tournament.

Ohio State meets 11th-seeded Dayton in the “second round” of the NCAA tournament’s South Region as the teams meet Thursday in Buffalo, NY.

The Buckeyes (25-9) have been one of the most up-and-down teams in the field, rising to No. 3 nationally after a 15-0 start only to lose five of six and fall out of the Top 25 all together. Their Big Ten Tournament run came to an end on Saturday afternoon when they fell to the Michigan Wolverines in what many would call a “nail-biter.”

From ESPN.com’s Eamonn Brennan:

Aaron Craft is a smart dude with enough perspective to be able to laugh at something as visually hilarious as a high-level college basketball player missing a last-second 3 because the ball goofily slips out of his hands. The gifs won’t haunt him. But Craft’s slip in the final Big Ten game of his career Saturday was revealing about the Buckeyes as a whole. Thad Matta’s team defends like crazy, but it doesn’t score like crazy. There is no go-to finisher on call. That’s why Craft has to hoist the unlikely last-second 3-pointer in close games and why it’s hard to trust the Buckeyes with one of your bracket’s precious Elite Eight spots.

The Flyers (23-10) lost in the Atlantic 10 tournament quarterfinals to keep them on the NCAA bubble. Dayton last made the tournament in 2009. For either team to make it to the Final Four, they will have to also take on the Syracuse Orangemen, Kansas Jayhawks and top-ranked Florida Gators. Just a few days before we find out which team will have the chance to wear the ever-coveted glass slipper.

Martin Rickman talks media, targeting rule, and NCAA basketball – WFNY Podcast – 2013-10-24

WFNY Podcast LogoAlways good to catch up with Martin Rickman. Today we found ourselves talking about sports and media and college football.

Event at the Happy Dog

Enjoying the interview style of Scott Raab and Zac Jackson

The player interview

Trying to cover younger players

Covering Jameis Winston and how much he has it in terms of talking to the media

Interviewing vs. writing

The targeting rule and Martin’s opinion on it

The yellow card red card scenario

Roby’s celebration and reaction

Owning up to the head injuries

Getting sick when hits like that happen

Are you more basketball than football?

Check out this episode

WFNY Stats & Info: Easiest roads to the Final Four

With Ohio State’s dramatic win over Arizona last night, I’m certain many of you are asking this question: Who else has played only 6 seeds or worse en route to a possible Final Four? As usual, I have the statistical research for the answer today.

Dating back to the start of the 64-team bracket style in 1985, there have been 116 regions including this year. Out of those 116 regional winners that then advanced to the Final Four, Ohio State would be the 11th winner that didn’t play a top-5 seed. Thus, on average, it occurs about every three years. Here’s the list thus far:

Year Region Seed Team W #1 W #2 W #3 W #4 Result?
1986 E. Rutherford 1 Duke 16 8 12 7 Runner-up
1990 Oakland 1 UNLV 16 8 12 11 Champion
1990 Dallas 4 Arkansas 13 12 8 10 Final 4
1991 E. Rutherford 1 N. Carolina 16 9 12 10 Final 4
1993 Seattle 1 Michigan 16 9 12 7 Runner-up
1999 E. Rutherford 1 Duke 16 9 12 6 Runner-up
2001 Atlanta 1 Mich. State 16 9 12 11 Final 4
2004 Phoenix 2 Connecticut 15 7 6 8 Champion
2008 Detroit 1 Kansas 16 8 12 10 Champion

 

I had previously tweeted that Kansas in 2008 was the last such team to accomplish this feat. Their most difficult opponent was a No. 8 seed in the second round, then won in the all 1-seed Final Four. Two other teams — 1991 North Carolina and 2001 Michigan State — didn’t play any teams ranked better than No. 9.

Oddly enough, these teams then went 7-3 in the national semifinals, followed by 3-4 in the championship game. Those numbers obviously are slightly better than just average.

Of course, many high-ranked seeds lost to low seeds en route to their hopeful Final Fours. So these are just the 10 success stories against easy schedules in the first 28 years of the 64-team bracket style.

Ohio State still has one difficult task en route to their second straight Final Four — that’s No. 9 Wichita State, the same one that took down No. 1 Gonzaga last weekend. The Shockers are now ranked #20 in Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency rankings and already had impressive wins over VCU and Creighton during the regular season.

[Related: LaQuintessential! Ross Sends Bucks To Elite 8 on Second Straight GW Shot]

The Diff: NCAA tournament Sweet 16 odds

Over the month of March, The Diff has been all about college basketball. First, it was the bubble odds, then an update of said bubble odds, and most recently, initial tournament odds. With the Buckeyes tipping off in the Sweet 16 tomorrow night in Los Angeles, I’m back with another round of updates today.

The Diff

On one side of the argument, it was an exciting weekend for upsets and the average college basketball fan. 15 Florida Gulf Coast shocked the world and their jump into the spotlight almost seems like it has to be a Hollywood script. The success of 9 Wichita State, 12 Oregon and 13 La Salle also has been a fun surprise for many, even if their brackets were busted. Which then brings me to the other side of the argument — the success of stat predictions. I warned last week that I’ve never been very good at brackets. And thus far, the stats have been way off. [Read more...]

WFNY Stats & Info: Elite 8 of NCAA tournament facts

There truly is no better time of the year than March Madness, right? Exactly. And that’s why today, after my spree of statistical #tournyhistory tweets @udjrosen last night, I’m here today at WFNY to share some notable facts as we enter the Sweet 16. Here you go with my Elite 8 of neat facts:

——————————————————————————————————–

No. 1: The 2 Ohio State-6 Arizona matchup will be the 27th between a 2-seed and a 6-seed since the tournament expanded to the 64-team format in 1985. In the previous 26 matchups, 2-seeds have a 20-6 record. This includes Ohio State’s victory over 6-seed Cincinnati in 2012.

No. 2: The 2013 tournament is the first ever with three 12-or-lower seeds to make the Sweet 16. (h/t @SportsCenter) In fact, a total of 15 teams seeded 9 or lower have made the Sweet 16 in the last four seasons. In the previous six, only 13 such teams had made the Sweet 16. Parity, eh?

No. 3: With three sub-12 seeds making the Sweet 16, I thought it’d be appropriate to rehash how these teams have done in this round: 1-25 (4%) all-time. Yikes. (More on this one win in a moment) It’s then significantly better for 10-11 seeds: 12-48 (20%). Logically, this would be because 12′s or 13′s historically are faced with a more daunting schedule in the regional semifinals.

No. 4: Now, the story of the tournament: the amazing 15-seed Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. They’re obviously the first-ever 15-seed to make the Sweet 16. All-time, since 1985, 15-seeds now have a 7-109 (6%) record in the first round. They’re now 1-6 (14%) in the second round.

No. 5: Keeping with FGCU: Surprisingly, per ESPN, 0.95% of brackets submitted to their website had the Eagles in the Sweet 16. As crazy high as that may seem, it might actually be about right. Out of 116 regions, this is the first 15-seed to make the Sweet 16. So 1/100 is approximately about right. Good job, America.

No. 6: Also a first in 2013: Our first ever matchup between a 9-13. The 9-seed Wichita State Shockers will play the 13-seed La Salle Explorers in Los Angeles for an Elite 8 berth. Lowest-ever seed to make an Elite 8? That would be a 12-seed, once: 2002 Missouri. With an easier than normal matchup, La Salle could break that record.

No. 7: Speaking of La Salle, they became the second First Four team to advance all the way to the Sweet 16. Of course, 11-seed VCU also accomplished that feat in 2011 all the way to the Final Four. Also including 12-seed South Florida’s first-round upset in 2012, that makes First Four winners a combined 7-5 in three seasons (thus far).

No. 8: Finally, a nod to the only 1-seed that bowed out over the weekend: Gonzaga. The ‘Zags have actually made it to 15 consecutive NCAA tournaments, but only appeared in one Elite 8. Their record by round: 13-2 in Round of 64; 5-8 in Round of 32; 1-4 in Sweet 16; 0-1 in Elite 8. As my friend Nate pointed out too, that lone Elite 8 was actually the first of these 15 years as a 10-seed in 1999.

——————————————————————————————————–

[Related: The Diff: Ohio State’s March Madness odds]

Animated: Aaron Craft sends Ohio State to the Sweet 16

It was the ultimate “No no no no no no… YES!” shot. Aaron Craft is not known to be a three point shooter. He wasn’t even going to be known as a free throw shooter much as he missed some of those down the stretch of this game. But, in this one time with this moment in front of him with a tie game, Aaron Craft stepped up, waved off his teammates and drained a three point shot with almost no time remaining.

Animated: Aaron Craft Drops It

[Related: Slammin’ Sammy: Buckeyes Crush Iona’s Will In Tourney Opener]

The Diff: Ohio State’s March Madness odds

As a reminder, The Diff is your weekly Wednesday look into the world of sports statistics. This week’s edition is already my 10th such post at WFNY. In last week’s edition, I shared some updates about the Cavs, Indians, NFL Draft and March Madness. Now, with the bracket set, I’m back again this week to discuss what it all means for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The Diff

Some of you may know that I have a bit of a history with NCAA tournament projections. No, it doesn’t only go back to as far as my version of The Diff two weeks ago about NCAA tournament math. Nor does it merely go back to my days writing at my own blog called The Sports Report and featuring lots of college basketball content. In actuality, it goes back to as early as March 2007 and David Lee Morgan Jr.’s article about me in the Akron Beacon Journal. To make a long story short, however, for being a statistically minded person, I’m actually ended up being pretty awful at bracket predictions. [Read more...]

NCAA tourney primer with Kirk and TD – WFNY Podcast – 2013-03-20

WFNY Podcast LogoThe connection was a bit bad for a few moments as we all tried to figure out who was talking next, but it all got smoothed out pretty quickly. Kirk and TD are two of the more passionate NCAA hoops fans on the site and they wanted to lay out some storylines for the tourney.

  • Quick talk about Phil Dawson’s departure
  • TD and Kirk talk about Ohio State’s number 2 seeding
  • TD talks about Kansas and their draw
  • Which regions are the most brutal?
  • What are the most entertaining opening round games?
  • TD’s final four prediction
  • Kirk’s final four prediction
  • TD and his recommendation / final words on Ubaldo Jimenez

[Read more...]

The Diff: Cavs, Indians, NFL Draft and March Madness

Last week, I was all excited about the NCAA tournament and breaking down the bubble picture. I’ll have a little bit more March Madness today, but also wanted to share a few other stats-related sports thoughts about the Cavs, Indians and Browns. Hope you enjoy.

The Diff

– The Cavs’ much improved turnover ratio

While I’ve written about this topic several times already in the last month (here on 2/20, here on 2/26 and here on 3/2), I don’t think it’s still that clear to the average fan: The biggest in-season improvement for the Cavaliers has been in lowering their turnover rate. [Read more...]

The Diff: NCAA tournament bracket math

Hope you had fun reading through an abbreviated version of my thesis research on baseball attendance last week. I could talk about projected Cleveland Indians attendance numbers all day, especially with an Akron Aeros tie-in. Now, this week, we’re heading over to college basketball.

The Diff

March means madness. It’s one of the most fun sports times of the year. I’m personally a huge basketball fan, but when it’s do-or-die in the NCAA tournament, it’s perfect for any fan. But yet, I have an issue with the way bracket predictions are portrayed in the media. So I’ll cover that today. And closest to home here in Northeast Ohio, we have the Akron Zips. In order to follow up on my Sunday article about their success, I’ll have a more thorough look at their NCAA odds today. Hope you enjoy. [Read more...]

TD talks March Madness, Tribe and Chris Perez – WFNY Podcast – 2013-03-06

WFNY Podcast LogoTD is out and about around the country like he normally is, but hotel rooms have Internet. So, we talked about some sports with TD in the shadow of Jerry Jones’ behemoth stadium.

Here’s a rundown…

  • Scott Raab and his episode of the podcast
  • Selective memory and what we remember
  • TD thought Damon Stoudamire was going to be a bust
  • Andy Marte and his history as a reliever
  • March Madness and the Final Four
  • TD thinks championship week is even better
  • A rotating cast of number ones in NCAA basketball
  • Wally Szczerbiak and the hero tourney storyline
  • Fantasy sports and Twitter
  • NCAA championship game start times
  • The Indians and the Sunday afternoon games
  • Getting “babysitter” credit for taking your kids to the baseball game
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka and his slow delivery
  • Carlos Carrasco starting the season with a five game suspension
  • Spring training game film and highlights
  • Fox Sports 1 is launching in August
  • Mark Cuban and being a regular guy
  • Attending the Masters
  • Chris Perez and the PED rumor talk on Twitter

[powerpress url="http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/WFNYPodcast2013-03-06.mp3"] [Read more...]