Do you all watch these tournament games the smaller schools play in (did you watch over the weekend)?
I personally find them interesting. I won't lie and say I can sit down and watch South Carolina St. battle Bethune-Cookman for 2 hours straight, but flipping back n' forth between ESPN, ESPN 2, and ESPN U and catching some play from these schools is entertaining for me. I feel like I'm doing my share of "scouting" for the tournament and can act like I know something about them in 2 weeks when they're actually playing.
Small side-note: Western Illinois from the Summit League is in their championship game tonight. You may remember them from Michigan's narrow defeat over them back in November. I started to do a bit of research to see which teams faced the most amount of Tournament-bound teams, but I'm not smart enough to do that in a quick fashion. The top rated RPI teams have around 10-12 it seemed, maybe 13 and higher for others I didn't look up. If WIU wins tonight, Michigan will have faced 11 (counting Northwestern). The total number of GAMES against Tourney-bound teams is another matter, maybe someone with time and interest would like to put together before Tourney time.
Can't get enough of Kate Upton...
- Sophomore outfielder Michael O'Neill (Powell, Ohio/Olentangy Liberty) of the University of Michigan baseball team was named the Big Ten Conference's Player of the Week today (Monday, March 5). It marks his second straight conference honor. I am struggling with turning this into a link so sorry about that, but I will try to figure this out.
Title says it all. Here's ESPN's write-up on it. If you've been paying attention to baseball at all, you saw this coming. The new format adds a one-game playoff between the two best non-division-winning teams. Which means, had this format been in place last year, the Red Sox would have played the Rays and the Braves would have played the Cards, with the winner of each game going on to play the respective #1 teams in their leagues.
Here's what The Bud had to say:
"This change increases the rewards of a division championship and allows two additional markets to experience playoff baseball each year," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement.
I mean, I guess so, if one extra game means "playoff baseball" to you. I don't know how I feel about this. On one hand, what does 1 game prove? Not much. Plus, the winner of that game is at a disadvantage since they definitely would not be able to pitch their ace more than once in the divisinoal series. And, depending on the amount of time between this wild card and the LDS, that ace could potentially be pitching for the first time in an elimination game (assuming that he wouldn't be ready to go until game 3). So that creates a competitive inbalance, in my mind.
On the other hand, the last day of the regular season last year was incredible. Both the Rays and Braves were playing for their lives and it led to really compelling and dramatic games. I know I stayed up late to watch those games, and I don't care about either team. So maybe they're trying to establish that sort of excitement on an annual basis. Also, since they had already set the playoff schedule for 2012, adding an entire series for this year could not have worked logistically. So maybe they turn this into a best 3-of-5 series down the road.
What say the rest of you?
I'm going to be making it down to Lakeland for the first time in a while to catch a couple Tigers' Spring Training games. I've heard that they split into 3 different squads, and all 3 squads could be playing on the same day. Is there truth to that? And if there is, is there any way to tell ahead of time which squad I'll be seeing (I'll be at their games against the Mets on 3/12 and 14)?
I don't really care much either way, it will be nice enough to just be watching baseball in warm weather, but I was just curious.
Thanks in advance.
Big Ten baseball looking to playing games in the summer which could cause all teams to miss NCAA Tournament
The dean of Big Ten baseball coaches says the league should move the season to summer, which would likely leave its teams out of the NCAA tournament.
Minnesota's John Anderson said the Big Ten would benefit from playing April to August when the weather is better. He says cold and snow, along with Big Ten recruiting rules, make it difficult for the conference to compete on equal footing with power programs.
Big Ten deputy commissioner Brad Traviolia said Anderson's idea is worth considering.
Traviolia said the Big Ten is working on a proposal that would allow teams across the nation to play up to 14 non-conference games in the fall. The results would carry over to the spring and be used in the NCAA tournament selection process. I am sorry this may be one of the worst ideas ever that I can think of.