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Entries in March Madness 2011 (36)


Jim Nantz: Who Said What On Twitter?

Picture Of Jim Nantz

One Great Season

America doesn't hate Jim Nantz, but Twitter does.

As long as he keeps it basic and focuses on the nuts and bolts, Nantz is an excellent play-by-play guy and anyone would love to have his job.

But when he tries to get cute, that's when his many critics grow fangs. The funny thing is, the times where he tries to go off-script are the times when he seems the most painfully rehearsed.

His "Walker, Texas Ranger" and "Top Dog" and "Best In Show" lines only sounded scripted because, well, they were. And Twitter lit him up for it without hesitation. Here's a sampling:

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National Championship Game: Who Said What?

One Great Season

The OGS Twitter Recap team compiled a sampling of some of the better Tweets during and after Monday's national championship game. Enjoy!

+ @BrettmcmurphY: "If this was football, this would be the best Independence Bowl ever!"

+ @bomani_jones: "'Both of these teams are prone to droughts' = 'neither of these teams is very good.'"

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The Ultimate Morganette Is ...

Picture of Morganette Kelly

One Great Season

The men's basketball champion won't be crowned for another hour or so, but the Captain Morgan BracketMaster Challenge winner has been announced.

Representing Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Kelly has earned the title of the 2011 Ultimate Morganette.

OGS and our partner Morganette, Toledo Katie, extend a huge congratulations to Kelly, as well as her partner blogger, Josh Estrin, of and Celeb Buzzz.

OGS thanks once more the fine people at Captain Morgan and Taylor Strategy, as well as those who voted for the OGS-Katie team, and congratulates every Morganette and partner blogger who competed:

Jenny - Hugging Harold Reynolds
Alanna - Blogs With Balls
Niki - Ego TV
Katie D. - Gunaxin
Katie P. - One Great Season
Emily - Socially Superlative
Monica - Brahsome
Roxanne - Terez Owens
Danielle V. - BroBible
Rachel - Busted Coverage
Heather - Don Chavez
Danielle B. - Arrowhead Addict
Maya - Sports Crackle Pop
Katherine - Sports Hernia
Erin - The Rugged
Alexis - With Leather
Mary - Black Sports Online
Kelly - Examiner
Ashley - Guyism
Erica M. - Man Jr.
Tiffany - Next Round
Luiza - PlunderGuide
Brenda - The Bachelor Guy
Jeannine - Uncoached
Nicole - COED Magazine
Jacquelyn - Deuce of Davenport
Stephanie - Hoop Doctors
Natalia - Joe Sports Fan
Angie - Mankind Unplugged
Erica V. - Midwest Sports Fans
Hope - Strait Pinkie
Yeni - That Sports Babe


Predicting Jim Nantz's Horrible Call Tonight

Picture Of Jim Nantz

One Great Season

Remember when Connecticut won its last national championship in 2004? Emeka Okafor was the star of that Huskies team, and as the final seconds counted down and UConn had its win over Georgia Tech sealed, CBS play-by-play veteran Jim Nantz barked out "The mecca (see what he did there?) of college basketball is in Storrs, Connecticut."

And a few years earlier, when Mateen Cleaves and Michigan State won it all, Nantz tried a little "You can leave it to Cleaves" gag that was equally weak.

When it comes to the nuts and bolts of the job, Nantz is obviously a skilled broadcaster. But when he tries to venture out and do what he surely thinks is clever, that's when he gets in trouble. Just because a pun or any kind of word play is available, it doesn't mean you have to say it out loud.

MORE: Complete NCAA Tournament Coverage

So what do you think his call will be tonight? Here are a few guesses from the OGS Fortune-Telling team:

If Butler wins:

+ "The Butler Did It"
+ "Howard's End"
+ "Mack The Knife"

+ If Connecticut wins:

+ "Walker, Texas Champion"
+ "Walker This Way"
+ "Yes, U-Conn"

Share your guess with OGS.


The 10 Best NCAA Championship Games Since 1979

One Great Season

Last year, we counted down the top 10 NCAA Championship games since 1979.

Today, we give you the list once more for easy Friday page-views (click on the game for a short summary):

  1. Michigan State over Indiana State, 1979
  2. Connecticut over Duke, 1999
  3. North Carolina over Georgetown, 1982
  4. Syracuse over Kansas, 2003
  5. Michigan over Seton Hall, 1989
  6. Kansas over Memphis, 2008
  7. Indiana over Syracuse, 1987
  8. Arizona over Kentucky, 1997
  9. Villanova over Georgetown, 1985
  10. North Carolina State over Houston, 1983

Survey: What's Your Most Memorable March Madness Moment?

One Great Season

Just a few days left of the NCAA Tournament. Despite a hectic few weeks rocking the BracketMaster Challenge, the OGS Survey Team found a minute to reach out to friends and compile this collection of their most memorable March Madness moments:

Len Berman, Sports Broadcasting Legend — Two-part answer: Single game, Villanova's monumental upset of Georgetown. Single moment, Jimmy Valvano running around the court after NC State beat Houston.

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March Truly Mad In Kentucky

One Great Season

Wondering what it's like to work in news in Kentucky during the NCAA Tournament?

OGS did for a few years, and it can be tons of fun, but it's certainly not without a high level of stress. We reached out to some old Louisville friends to get their thoughts on what it's like to cover the madness of March in the hoops-mad Bluegrass.

Mike Mudd, assistant sports editor, the Louisville Courier-Journal:

I make it a point never to schedule a doctor's appointment or a health screening or anything like that during March. And with good reason: I would be scared to death to see what my blood-pressure reading is during these couple of weeks of March Madness.

During the three weeks of the NCAA Tournament and the boys' and girls' Sweet 16 high school tournaments, the atmosphere here in the office to produce and process all the sports sections is like watching the movie Apollo 13. It's like the controlled chaos of mission control at NASA. And much of the time, something is going wrong or not working out like you thought it would. Stories don't fit, breaking news happens, upsets happen, copy and photos run late or — even worse — they crash and disappear in the publishing system. It's all part of our own March Madness.

During a given evening in March, we may have both Louisville and Kentucky playing NCAA games, our local women's teams playing, high school state basketball tournament games (sometimes early in the tournament numbering four games a day), and that's not counting the rest of the tournaments and the rest of the sports world to try and fit into the paper. We start each day at about 5 p.m. and don't stop sprinting on our computers until about 1 a.m. During that time, we may have switched our plans how to play everything three or four times. Editors juggle up to seven or eight stories per night, and layout folks juggle up to six or seven pages.

To give you an indication of how much manpower it takes to produce all this, it's a long-standing tradition at the C-J that the entire month of March is blacked out for vacations. Reporters, editors, clerks, layout editors, head-honchos, you name it, no one is allowed to take time off. In fact, an average overtime total for the month of March just for the night sports desk can run upwards of 60-70 hours.

If you like the adrenaline of deadlines and the real rush of sustained stress, there's no better place to be than in a sports newsroom during March. It's all the more reason why I tell people I don't root for any single team to win; I root for all of them to lose!

Kent Taylor, Sports Director, WAVE-TV:

March Madness in Kentucky is just that — MADNESS!

You could work for 30 days in a row, doing your own laundry on the road. Or a last-second shot could send you home early. It's a magical time because there is so much hope and anticipation, which results in the highest of highs, or the lowest of lows. And it's like hitting a wall when it's over.

From the celebration after Kentucky won the 1996 national title, to the disappointment of Louisville getting manhandled by Michigan State in the 2009 Elite Eight.

As long as I've been in this business, I'll never have a year like 1996. My trip began with a five-hour drive to Memphis for the Conference USA Tournament. Then it was six hours to Milwaukee, where U of L needed overtime to beat Tulsa by two, then upset Villanova two days later. That meant a 12-hour drive to Minneapolis, sleeping on a cot with three to a room. It also meant that Tim Duncan and Wake Forest were next for the Cards. UK was waiting for the winner in the regional final, but the Cards fell, 60-59.

The Cats manhandled Wake, so it was back on the road. Back home, and then a 14-hour trip to New York. We arrived in Manhattan, maneuvered through the traffic and got to the Marriott Marquis in Midtown, only to find out, when we get to the third floor check in, that our engineer had switched our hotel to one adjacent to the Meadowlands across the river.

Fred Cowgill, Sports Director, WLKY-TV:

I've done TV sports for 30 years, and March Madness is my favorite event. Been to almost every major U.S. city but Las Vegas. I've seen Indiana and Kentucky win national titles. Worth all the bumps, dinners at 3 a.m., satellite feeds crashing, Internet feeds crashing, almost getting hit by lightning in Indianapolis. We also had a typhoon during our special the night UK won the title in NYC in 1996. And we almost froze to death during a special in Atlanta. Lots of memories. All worth it.


NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Forecast

One Great Season

I can't remember a regional that lacked sex appeal the way the Southeast does, but that doesn't mean there aren't storylines aplenty.

Who will lead Florida over BYU? Walker, Boynton, Parsons, Macklin, Tyus? Or will Cougars' scoring machine Jimmer Fredette eliminate the Gators for the second straight year? I expect Billy Donovan's group to have an interesting game plan to stop — OK, slow — Fredette. Florida will have had five days to prep for the nation's most dangerous offensive threat. If Fredette gets 30, Florida doesn't deserve to win. But he won't. Gators advance.

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The OGS Sweet 16 Power Rankings

One Great Season

Here are the OGS Sweet 16 Power Rankings. Consider these a guide to how the remaining teams stack up against each other right now, not necessarily who will win the national championship or lose in the next round. Come back on Tuesday for those predictions.

  1. Richmond — Spiders a decent team, but their cute run will end Friday.
  2. VCU — Quit crying about Jay Bilas.
  3. Marquette — Eagles soar while Big East mates gag.
  4. Florida State — Best defensive team left in tournament.
  5. Butler — Do not ever count this team out.
  6. Wisconsin — Avoided Belmont upset and earned nice win over good K-State team.
  7. Arizona — Dangerous when star forward Derrick Williams is on.
  8. Kentucky — Imagine UK with any of last year's freshmen on this year's team.
  9. BYU — Cougars good enough to win twice in New Orleans.
  10. San Diego State — Aztecs will enjoy home-court advantage in Anaheim.
  11. Florida — Perhaps over-seeded, but Gators boast nice balance.
  12. Connecticut — Catching up on rest, the Huskies could win the West.
  13. North Carolina — Emerging point guard Kendall Marshall holds the key.
  14. Duke — Legitimate title contender even before Kyrie Irving's return.
  15. Kansas — Jayhawks are far more than a two-man show.
  16. Ohio State — Most complete team in college basketball.

March Madness Notebook: Day 21

March Madness Logo By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season

Outside the typical NCAA Tournament talk of upsets and buzzer-beaters, one of the top conversation points is the Big East and whether it's overrated and deserved the 11 bids it got.

I said it on Twitter last night and I'll say it again here: apples and oranges, brah. These are separate debates. The answer to one has nothing to do with the answer to the other. The league is overrated, and I said that here a month or two ago. Collectively, it underachieved on opening weekend by advancing only two teams to the Sweet 16.

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March Madness Notebook: Day 20

March Madness Logo

One Great Season

It's funny that when the NCAA Tournament field was unveiled last week, of all the top seeds, Pittsburgh looked to have the easiest path to the Final Four. But those cute little Panthers did what they do best on Saturday; they underachieved in the postseason and became the first No. 1 team to be eliminated.

Give Butler much credit, but not all of it. Pitt needs to stop gagging in the tournament.

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March Madness Notebook: Day 19

March Madness Logo By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season

There's some debate whether a 7-4 record is acceptable for the Big East's 11 teams in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and I contend that it is. I do believe the conference is over-rated, but if 16.18 percent of the 68-team field came from the Big East, and now 21.88 percent of the 32 remaining teams are from the conference, then I'd say the second round was a success.

And even if only three teams advance to the Sweet Sixteen, that's still 18.75 percent, slightly better than the initial entry. But if the Big East only sent three teams to next weekend, that would have to be a disappointment even if the math might indicate otherwise. At least four teams should be the goal.

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NCAA Tournament: Where To Watch Ohio State

One Great Season

So you're nowhere near the great state of Ohio but you want to watch the Buckeyes in the NCAA Tournament with fellow fans and alums? 

Have no fear.

The OGS Travel and Research teams have joined forces to bring you this list of where to eat, drink and watch the tournament's top overall seed when it  begins postseason play on Friday at 4:40 p.m. ET.

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Bracket Breakdown: West Region

Bracket Breakdown: West Region By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season

Duke deserved the top seed out west. Once it became clear that BYU wasn't deserving of it, OGS never considered San Diego State for this top line. The Aztecs are a neat team this year, but it's doubtful they'll win this region, even if Kyrie Irving doesn't return for the Blue Devils.

Here's what you need to know:

Top Seed: Duke (30-4, ACC tournament champions)

Best Second-Round Game: No. 4 Texas vs. No. 13 Oakland

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Bracket Breakdown: Southwest Region

Bracket Breakdown: Southwest Region By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season

Ohio State may have grabbed the tournament's top overall seed, but I think Kansas is the best team in the country. Texas gave a worthy chase, but the Jayhawks were pretty much in the driver's seat for this top seed the last month of the season.

Complete March Madness Coverage

Unlike last year, when KU gagged in the Round of 32, Bill Self's squad will breeze past the first weekend. A Sweet Sixteen matchup with Louisville likely awaits, and it could be the best game of that round. The Jayhawks advance and beat Notre Dame in the Elite Eight.

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