Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Don't know where to start in picking winners in those NCAA Tournament brackets? Let veteran bookie Carlo AA guide you.
1. "The biggest mistake you can make this season is picking Florida, which is a No. 1 seed, to win it all. They're not that good. They breezed through the SEC but the SEC stinks. There's only one other good team in the SEC and that's Kentucky. Going undefeated in that conference means nothing.
"There's another reason not to pick Florida. They finished the season No.1 in the polls. Only a few teams that finished the season ranked No.1 have ever won a national championship. When it comes to winning the national championship, finishing the season ranked No.1 is the kiss of death."
2. "Another big mistake is picking Wichita State to win it all. This is a very good team but if they were in a better conference, they'd have four or five losses. They might make the Final Four but that's it. To win it all you have to play tough teams on the road game after game. State is good enough to go far but not all the way. Also, they're undefeated this season. To win it all, they'd have to finish the entire season undefeated. That's just not going to happen."
3. "In picking the Final Four, never pick all four No.1 seeds. Only a few times have all No.1 seeds made the Final Four. But include at least one No.1 seed in your Final Four. Only a few times has there been a Final Four with no No.1 seed. That happened a few years ago, in 2011, and it was weird. It screwed up a lot of brackets.
5. "Something else that never happens. All 2-seeds almost ever make it to the Sweet 16. So when you pick your Sweet 16, include just two or three 2-seeds."
4. "People love to pick upsets. They like to brag about their upset wins. They're really tough to pick. It's a crap-shoot. The best bets for upsets are a 13-seed over a 4-seed, an 11-seed over a 6-seed or a 12-seed over a 5-seed. In fact, that 12-seed over a 5-seed happens so often, you might pick two of them. The worst bet for an upset is a 16-seed over a 1-seed. That never happens.
5. "Don't include low seeds in your Final Four. That's reaching and betting with your heart. Don't pick any seeds in your Final Four lower than a 9-seed--and picking a seed that low is pushing it.
6. "If you're picking by conference, don't go with a team from the Pac 12 or the Big Ten to win it all. It's been about a dozen years since a team from one of those conferences won a national championship."
7. "When you pick the national champ, pick a No. 1 seed. The national champ is usually a No.1 seed. Once in a while it's a 2-seed or a 3-seed, but never lower than a 3-seed.
8. "Do some research. Find out which teams, among the best teams, have the best point guards. Those are the teams that will make the Final Four and win the championship. Without a very good point guard, you're not going to win it all.
9. "When you're dong research, find out which teams were playing badly at the end of the season. Syracuse, for instance, was playing badly at the end of the season. Don't pick them to go very far."
10. "Don't use poll rankings to pick winners. Poll rankings are misguided. They're made by people who don't see all the games. A lot of these people are supposedly experts but some of them don't know what the hell they're talking about.
Posted by Dennis Hunt at 3:48 PM
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Jim and Jeanie Buss, who run the Los Angeles Lakers, are at war. They may try to appear cordial and pretend all is well, but it's not. Jeanie, who heads the team's business operations, and Jim, who makes the basketball decisions, are waging a bitter conflict.
The center of that conflict? Jeanie's boyfriend, ex-Laker head coach Phil Jackson.
Jackson's proposed move to the New York Knicks, as head of basketball operations, has made the bad relationship between the Buss siblings take a turn for the worse. Sources close to several people inside the Laker organization report that the siblings are really at each others throats now that Jackson is on the verge of signing with another NBA team.
The Busses barely talk, report the sources, and when they do there's nothing but venom and nastiness. Apparently Jeanie thinks her brother is a stubborn jerk who's running the team into the ground with one bad decision after another, beginning with the hire of head coach Mike D'Antoni, who's been a disaster.
Early last season, the Lakers figured in NBA championship discussions. Now they're prominent in lottery discussions. This is a bad team and Jim has had a hand in dragging it down.
Clearly the Lakers desperately need help. No question Jackson could be the answer. Jeanie has been pushing for him to be hired by the Lakers in some front-office capacity so that the team could take advantage of his considerable expertise. But Jim, who'd have to approve, opposes such a move. He claims it's a business decision but it's no secret that he doesn't like Jackson. In fact he never has. When Jackson, during two terms as Laker head coach, was piling up championships, Jim still didn't like him.
Jeanie is mad at her brother for keeping Jackson out of the Lakers' front office. She has never forgiven Jim for bypassing Jackson in November, 2012 in favor of D'Antoni for the head-coaching job. Legions of Laker die-hards agree with her. They see Jackson, with more championship rings than fingers, as the savior who could lead the team out of this dark period. Some one has to make smart decisions in the next few years. The die-hards don't think Jim is capable. Apparently, neither does Jeanie.
The sources report that Jeanie isn't happy with Jackson's proposed move, which would create an incredibly awkward situation for her. Imagine, she's a Laker exec and her boyfriend runs another NBA team. Would she, a Laker, go to New York, sit among Knicks' fans and support that team? If Jackson does take that job, it's not clear how she's going to handle that situation.
Jeanie, though, doesn't blame Jackson. She knows he'd prefer working with her on the Lakers--but the team isn't offering him anything. With the Knicks, the team he once played for, offering him complete control, it may be an offer that he can't refuse.
Some observers think Jackson talking to the Knicks is just a ploy to push the Lakers into making him an offer. That, however, is doubtful. This Knicks' situation is for real.
Will Jackson take the Knick job sometime in the next few days? Probably. According to reports, he and the Knicks are putting the finishing touches on a deal.
If he takes that job, Jeanie's life suddenly becomes miserable. In that case, look for the war between the Busses to escalate.
Posted by Dennis Hunt at 5:16 PM