Head to Head look at 8 Games Ahead


Down to 16 teams – 8 games over the next few days to whittle it down to the elite 8.  Here’s a look at the history of the 8 matchups.

  1. Loyola-Chicago v. Nevada. The two teams have never met.
  2. Kansas v. Kentucky. Kansas remarkably has never beaten Kentucky in 7 tries.  The two teams last met in the Second Round in 2014 with Kentucky winning 56-49.
  3. Florida State v. Gonzago.  Florida State is 0-1 against the Zags.  The last time the teams played was in the First Round of the 2010 tournament with the Zags winning 67-60.
  4. Michigan v. Texas A&M. The teams last met 56 years ago in a game the Wolverines won 82-79.
  5. Villanova v. West Virginia. Villanova is 22-20 against the Mountaineers. They last met in 2011 with West Virginia winning 83-69.
  6. Texas Tech v. Purdue. The teams have only met twice with the Boilermakers winning both contests. They last met in 1988 with Purdue winning 63-54.
  7. Kansas v. Clemson. Oddly, the two teams have never met.
  8. Syracuse v. Duke. The two teams have met 11 times with Duke winning 6 of the meetings. They last met in February with Duke winning in convincing fashion 60-44.

16 Teams & 16 Oddities: March Madness

From the Sporting Desk of Ribbie’s Weblog


  1. There could be an all TX Final – Texas Tech v. Texas A&M.
  2. There could be an all KS and All Big 12 Final – Kansas State v. Kansas.
  3. There could be another All Big 12 Final – Kansas State v. West Virgina or Texas Tech.
  4. There could be an All ACC Final – Florida State v. Clemson, Syracuse, or Duke.
  5. There could be an All Big Ten Final – Purdue v. Michigan.
  6. There could be an All 11 seed Final – Syracuse v. Loyola-Chicago.
  7. The two teams with State in their names are 9 seeds: Kansas State and Florida State.
  8. Texas and Kansas are the only states with more than 1 team represented, both w/ 2.
  9. Half of the teams in the Sweet 16 are from the ACC and the SEC, each with 4.
  10. The East is the most competitive region left – seeds total 11.
  11. The South is the least competitive region left – seeds total 32.
  12. Nevada has no players from Nevada on its roster.
  13. Duke has no players from North Carolina on its roster.
  14. Texas A&M has 13 players from Texas on its roster; Texas Tech has 8.
  15. Syracuse has 1 Senior on its roster.
  16. Duke has 1 Senior and 8 Freshmen on its roster.

Top 10 Reasons Patriots Win Super Bowl

10.  The Patriots have experience in the Super Bowl, winning 4 of 6 under Belichick with Brady at QB.

9. The Falcons are 0-2 in Super Bowls. Dan Quinn as a Head Coach and QB Matt Ryan have never participated in a Super Bowl.  As Defensive Coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks, Quinn lost to the Patriots in the 2014 Super Bowl.

8. The Falcons have a mediocre defense, ranked 27th out of 32 teams in points against.  The Patriots have the 3rd ranked offense in the NFL.

7. The Patriots have a superior defense to combat the Falcons superior offense. Turnovers will be key. The Pats have forced 23 turnovers, 2 more than the Falcons.

6. The Patriots have home field advantage having won the Super Bowl in Houston in 2004. Plus, 7 players on the Pats’ roster played college ball in Texas, 2 for The University of Houston, including Tackle Sebastian Vollmer.

5. Belichick is 22-3 when facing a head coach for the first time. He will be facing Dan Quinn as a head coach for the first time.

4. In 21 playoff games, the Pats’ kicker Gostkowski is 29/31 in made field goals. Matt Bryant, the 41-year-old kicker for Atlanta has had very few pressure kicks in playoff games – only 10 field goal attempts in his career.

3. Belichick is regarded as the best coach in the history of the game; Brady, the best Quarterback in the history of the game.

2. Brady is out to prove something after DeflateGate.  His feud with the commissioner is personal.

1.  That Matt Ryan won the MVP over Brady should provide just the little extra motivation needed for Brady to perform herculean feats.  Pats over the Falcons 35-24.

Olympic Medals Made Of Chocolate

What if those medals all the Olympians win were made of chocolate?  The gold medal would be made of the highest quality chocolate from Switzerland.  The silver medal, perhaps, would be of Belgian extract, although the Italian’s might take issue.  The bronze, well, nobody wants a bronze and so it wold have to be made of a common American chocolate, something like a Hershey’s Kiss, you know, a kiss for a good try, or the unheralded and quite delicious Zero bar, which apparently it still being manufactured, though it’s hard to find where I live.

Were this to come to fruition in the 2020 Toyko games, athletes would no longer have to pretend to take a bite out of their medals; in fact, they could peel off the foil and eat their medals right on the podium stand.

Steeplechase Reimagined


Here’s the thing – the Steeplechase race needs a modern twist.  Jumping over a hurdle into a pool of water is so not very challenging. It’s time for an overhaul of the event. So here are some suggestions for a new course that will surely make the steeplechase the hottest event at the summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Ok, jumping into a pool of water is pretty cool, I have to admit, but what if, right before the water pit, runners had to jump through a ring of fire?  The water would help them cool off. Now the running and hurdling are fine, but quite boring if I’m being honest, so why not have the runners also run backwards for 100 meters?  It’s harder than it looks, but fun, ask any runner. Now, the high hurdle is really not a very big deal, so why not up the stakes and require an actual high jump, followed by a triple jump and a broad jump along the way.  Of course, all the runners would be motivated to chase a gold-plated electronic steeple whizzing around the track, not unlike the bone greyhounds chase at the the races.

Are you with me?

Some “sports” are not Olympic


The summer Olympics have begun in Rio where it is technically winter.  And as I watch the games, I am struck for the first time by all the sporting events that shouldn’t be in the Olympics in my judgement.  If you take issue with my commentary, know that it is somewhat tongue in check…somewhat.

  • Archery – pretty cool to watch.  It might have been one of the original Greek events, so it’s in.
  • Badminton – seriously?  It’s a picnic game!  If badminton is in, croquet should be too.
  • Basketball – of course. Too bad there’s no longer a U.S. U.S.S.R rivalry. I’d like to see Brazil do well.  Whatever happened to Oscar, or is it Oskar? He was like the Oscar Robertson of team Brasil back in the day.  And while I love watching basketball in the games, it somehow doesn’t seem fair for NBA and WNBA players to play.  I thought the Olympics were supposed to be for amateur athletes.
  • Beach Volleyball – definitely, especially in a place like Rio.
  • Boxing – hell yes. Those leather helmets are classic and keep the fighters’ head on straight…literally.
  • Canoe slalom and sprint- wtf?  Sailing, fine.  Rowing, ok.  Canoeing (is that how you spell it?) That’s something you do on a vacation.  Not a sport.
  • BMX and Mountain cycling – nope.  That’s for the Red Bull drinking X Games crowd.
  • Road and Track Cycling – ok.
  • Diving –  absolutely and as long as Cynthia Potter is the analyst.
  • Equestrian –  I love horses.  Actually, I’d like to see rodeo competition in the games. Bull riding and bull running would also be fun events, but I’m not a fan of bull fighting. I’m not.
  • Fencing – intense.  I’d also like to see deep water diving with those cast iron helmets.
  • Field Hockey – nope.  Too elite prep school for my taste.
  • Golf – nope.  They already have too many tournaments – and the thing takes all day.
  • Gymnastics – yep.  Lots of flips and stuff.  It’s always hit or miss.  High drama. Made for TV. But not the rhythmic thing.
  • Handball – never heard of it.  Isn’t that a penalty in soccer?
  • Judo and Taekwondo – yep.
  • Rugby Sevens – sounds like a card game, but it’s the next best thing to American football, so I say yes to the rough and tumble sport, mate.
  • Sailing – a Christopher Cross song, not a sport.  Nope.
  • Shooting – shooting what, the breeze? Not a sport.
  • Swimming – yes.  synchronized, no.  Might be good for a Disney show but not for the Olympics.
  • Table Tennis –  you mean Ping-Pong?  Sure, why not.
  • Tennis.  No. Same reason as Golf.
  • Track and Field – yes all day long.
  • Trampoline – no, beause with diving and gymnastics it’s redundant.
  • Triatholon – ok.
  • Volleyball – only beach volleyball.
  • Water Polo – NO. It’s just silly, like handball or dodgeball in the water.  They should use a nerf ball in my opinion.
  • Weightlifting – definitely. I especially like when they drop the dumbells in disgust.
  • Wrestling – ok, but I’d like to see some tag team championship wrestling.  And why isn’t grappling an event?

2015 NCAA Selection Committee Suffering From March Madness

Well the field of 68 has been whittled down to 66, with two games left in the first round, also called the First Four.  As I look at the brackets, I see something a bit odd.  Some of the second round games, which will be the first games for 60 of the teams, will be played in cities that are not located in the region they represent.  For example, some second round games for the West Region are held in Jacksonville, Florida, which, to my thinking is more South or East than West.  About the only place near the U.S. where one would have to travel West to get to Jacksonville would be the island nation of Bermuda.

Another example is Omaha, NE, which hosts a second round Sub Regional game in the West.  Ok, Nebraska is more Westerly than Jacksonville, but it feels more middle western to me.  Oddly, Omaha also hosts a Midwest Sub Regional game.  How is that fair?  When did Nebraska become a basketball mecca?  It doesn’t even have a team in the tournament.  No, Creighton (Barrel) did not make the cut this year.  Somebody in NE knows someone with powerful NCAA connections.

Looking at the South Regional, we have more of this March Madness shenanigans in play.  Seattle, WA and Portland, OR play host to South Sub Regional games.  I was not a Geography major in college, but from what I can remember, the only place that can call Seattle South is Canada.  I suppose Portland was approved because it is South of Seattle.

And because of these geographic fails on the part of the NCAA tournament logistics committee, some teams have a clear home court advantage in Sub Regionals that were not earned.  Let’s look at the “West” games being played in Jacksonville, Florida.   Wofford, out of Spartanburg, SC, the 12th seed, practically has a home game against 5th seeded Arkansas, and were they to win, would have a slight home court advantage over 3rd seeded UNC.  Wisconsin sent to the West Region got the least respect having to play in Omaha, a good 7 hour drive from Madison.  All the other 1 seeds get second round games in their home state and Villanova, plays just 30 minutes from campus in Philly.

A couple of Texas teams – Stephen F. Austin (12) and SMU (6) have smooth sailing back to Texas if they advance to Houston for virtual home court advantage – both Dallas and Nacogdoches are only a few hours from Houston.  And of course all of the Indiana teams (how did they get 5 in?) could advance to Indianapolis.  There must be some big wigs on the NCAA committee from the Hoosier state.  I mean really, how did Indiana even get an invitation with 13 losses?  And Valparaiso, isn’t that a city in Chile? Come on, and they didn’t play a single ranked team all year.  And if you think Butler has a chance of advancing very far, well I think you are delusional or put another way, suffering from an acute case of March madness.  And to demonstrate that I too may not be quite right in the head, here’s my prediction:  Cat v. Dog – Villanova Wildcats (1) v. Wofford Terriers (12) with the Wildcats winning it on a buzzer beater, 45-44.  You watch.

2015 NCAA First Four – Bird of Prey vs. Founding Father

Robert Morris

JS Bach

The Robert Morris Colonials play the North Florida Ospreys in one of the first games of the NCAA tournament in what is known as the First Four Round. It’s a play-in essentially to the Second Round, with the winner of the game playing the top seeded team from the South, Duke. So who wins? A Colonial versus an Osprey.  A formidable bird of prey should have no problem with an colonial unless said colonial is armed with a hunting rifle.  But the colonial in question was not just any colonial, he, Robert Morris to be precise was a founding father and U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania who signed the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.  A man who bears a striking resemblance to J.S. Bach, Morris was said to have largely financed the American Revolution but ironically landed in debtors prison some years later. Given the outcome, I would have thought he’d have gotten a more favorable return on his investment.

Morris lived in Philadelphia just a stone’s throw from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, a wildlife preserve for birds of prey in Kempton, PA.   As a prolific dealer in land, and a Naval proponent, I have to believe that Mr. Morris had enormous respect for wildlife and birds.  As such, I do not believe he would have any animosity toward the Osprey.  Nor do I believe the Osprey have any particular qualms with Robert Morris or other humans as these particular hawk species only attack and eat fish.

What this all means in terms of the game is that both Robert Morris and North Florida will play defensively and try to control the pace, but not bloody the opponent.  It will be a low scoring game – say 56-55, North Florida winning in a squeaker, or squawker as it were or will be.

2015 March Madness – 68 of the not so great

Are you mad for March?  Are you ready for March Madness?  I am and so are 68 NCAA basketball teams.  Let’s have a look at who is in and see what we can see.  One quick note:  there are quite a few no and new shows.

    • First timers:  North Florida, UC Irvine, Buffalo.  No offense North Florida, but I didn’t even know you had a school, much less a team, but, nonetheless, welcome….and good luck!  Hey, Buffalo.  We don’t hear much about your college hoops team.  I don’t suppose you folks are the Buffalo Buffalos?  No?  Oh, the Buffalo Bulls, not to be confused with the bad news Buffalo Bills.  Interestingly, the team is coached by Bobby Hurley, of Duke fame, and has a roster of only one kid from the State of New York (Buffalo) who went to prep school in Virginia.
    • Thirty-three states and DC sent teams to the tournament.
    • Texas and Indiana have the most teams in the big dance with (5) – TX: TX Southern, UT, Baylor, SMU and SF Austin; IN: Purdue, Butler, Notre Dame, Valparaiso, Indiana.
    • The Big State of California where basketball does not reign supreme this year has only 3 teams representing: UCLA, UC Irvine and San Diego State.
    • Florida produced one team:  North Florida, the home of the Ospreys – not sure if the mascot is a bird or a helicopter.
    • Tennessee produced one team:  the Belmont Bruins from Nashville.
    • There could be an all Texas and or former SWC conference final: SMU vs. Texas or Ark vs. SMU – but it won’t happen.
    • Wofford has a fitting mascot:  the Terriers!

Let the madness begin!

Deflategate Overblown


Are the New England Patriots guilty of deflating footballs to make them easier for Tom Brady to grip and throw and for the receivers to catch and to prevent fumbles? And if so, should they be penalized, even disqualified from the Super Bowl? In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Patriots fan, but since I did not grow up in New England I think I can be partial.

Before I address some of the facts, I want to go on record as saying that it is absolutely absurd that each team is required to supply 12 game fooballs.  In my view, the game should be played with footballs supplied by the NFL and that both teams play with the same football.  I mean really, how many footballs are needed to play a game?  The referees would be the keeper of the balls and one of them would have the responsibility of checking the footballs for psi say at the commercial breaks or at the change of quarters.

Now to the known facts.  The Patriot footballs were determined to be underinflated at half time, based on a complaint by a Colts defender who made an interception and noticed the ball didn’t feel right.  The footballs were then inflated to the proper psi for the second half.  Just how much of an advantage did the Patriots have?  Put it this way, the Pats scored 28 points in the second half, and held the Colts scoreless.  So even if you erased the 17 points the Pats scored in the first half, they still would have won the game 28-7.  Second, there is no direct evidence that a Patriots employee authorized or instructed someone to deflate the footballs, nor are there any eye witness accounts or video evidence catching a deflater in the act.  In fact, professors at Boston College and MIT say that footballs will deflate naturally if inflated at room temperature and then exposed to an extreme temperature drop, which was the case in Foxboro.  If the footballs were originally inflated to the minimum psi, they might have dropped to below that by halftime. But why weren’t the Colts footballs underinflated?  Well, the logical explanation was that they were inflated to the maximum psi and naturally deflated the same amount but were at the low end of the acceptable range by halftime or whenever their footballs were inspected, if in fact they ever were.  Third, with all the former quarterbacks talking about their preferences for football pressure and such, I can only conclude that football pressure customization is and always has been much more common than any of us are aware. I’m not saying Brady knew, but I am saying that if such practices are common, then no team really has an advantage.  And teams that don’t seek an advantage, won’t win.  But even if the Patriots were found guilty, the maximum punishment they should receive is a three game ban from spiking the football after they score a touchdown.  That’d be hard on Gronk, but a just penalty I think.

Deflate gate is overblown and is tailor made for social media.  Even some of the Colts players seem embarrassed by it all. The reality is that  Tom Brady haters secretly wish he were their teams’ quarterback and if being honest would admit that Bill Belichick is the best coach of all time.  11.5 psi can’t bring a dynasty down.