Monday, February 15, 2010

Reflections of this Blog on My Birthday and the Sweet 16 Power Poll

I couldn't ask for a better birthday present. My older son Matthew drew this for me at school and my wife framed it. Matthew gave it to me this morning and it's a picture of Matthew and I playing basketball. It's something we love doing and unfortunately we can't play outside as still there is a lot of snow on the ground.

Today, I turn Reggie Jackson's NY Yankee jersey number. If you don't know what that is, last year I was Richard Petty's car number. Better yet, to be relevant to this blog site, if you take Charles Jenkins' jersey number and multiply it by two, you get my age.

To be honest, though the two best birthday presents I ever received are right to the left (and yes, those are two Ballys that I bought off the Mid Majority site). I am hoping that both will eventually share my love of college basketball, but if they don't that's ok too. Right now, the older one, Matthew loves superheroes and loves to draw. My younger one Jonathan loves cars. Especially race cars and NASCAR. Neither knows backdoor cuts, zone presses and the transition game. Maybe someday.

This is my first birthday since my mom passed away. Charles Jenkins jersey X 2 years ago, I had the good sense of staying in mom's womb an extra two hours, otherwise I would have been born on Valentine's Day. My mom used to kid about that every year on my birthday. And now I miss that greatly.

I never liked Valentine's Day or my birthday when I was a teenager. You see, I never had a girlfriend in high school. It wasn't for the lack of trying. Just never worked out. My first steady girlfriend was in college and the lasting memory is that Tieff and I dated two girls from St Francis Prep that were friends. Thankfully it didn't work out for either of us. Tieff ended marrying a friend of ours from college. Then in 1994, I met Chelle and sixteen years later for some reason she still deals with me. And then there are those two gorgeous kids she has blessed me with.

I guess I am reflecting on all of this due to my birthday. It was in December 2005 when my friends Tieff and Mal challenged me to start writing a college basketball blog because they thought I knew a lot about college basketball. As a result I have been fortunate for over four years to write this current blog and somehow I have maintained this through some personal difficulties such as a brief bout with depression, my younger son born with a kidney problem and some other issues.

Until last year, I had my site on Typepad. I decided to move over to blogger to cut down on some expenses due to financial constraints. Thankfully that has passed by due to our refinancing of our house. A lot of things have occurred in these four years. Thankfully, the financial problems are gone, Jonathan is completely healthy, my depression is gone thanks to a great therapist and I am at a happier place. My point is that it all works out in the end. You need to keep faith that there is a reason and a purpose for everything.

Through it all has been this blog. So as the Moody Blues might say, I want to thank all of you that have been a part of this journey so far. Or as I call you "The few the proud, that read this site". Actually, I am surprised at how many that has turned out to be. It's due to all of you that I have been able to take something that started as a result to a challenge and watch something evolve into a site.

You have been able to read about all the years at the CAA Tournament in Richmond. You were there when I was at Raleigh for the NCAA First Round Regional, aka "The Stephen Curry Show". You have been there when Tieff and I were at the first ever Charleston Classic and various place up and down the East Coast. You've been there when I saw C.W. Post make the Division II Elite Eight. It's a site that is linked to by other terrific blog sites. And I am proud to say a blog that is read daily by the sportswriter I admire the most.

I don't just want to regurgitate games and give the highlights. This site is all about stories that paint a picture, or challenge people to think what's really sexy, to rise up against the No Clue At All, to give views on what other people think or to tell coaches that as much as we love college basketball, it's only a game, not life or death.

To be honest, in the next couple of years, I don't how much longer I will be able to write this blog, at least certainly on a daily basis during the college basketball season. My kids are growing up and soon their activities will become my activities. But I will try my best to keep this going throughout the next several years. And I hope you will be there with me as we share our love of "The College Hardwood".

Now, it's time for the weekly Sweet 16 Blogger Poll that I am a contributor to on Yahoo Sports "The Dagger". Here's my Sweet 16.

1) Kansas - It was a week of runs for the Jayhawks. A 22-0 run in Austin sends Texas reeling while a 14-0 home second half run buries Iowa State. The win over the Cyclones was Bill Self's 400th career win. Safe to say, he is going to get a lot more.

2) Kentucky- Cousins and Wall each have double doubles in the win over Bama while Eric Bledsoe's 16 second half points sink Tennessee. Kentucky is now an impressive 17-0 at home.

3) Villanova - It was Scotty Reynolds week for the Wildcats. Reynolds puts up 21 as the Wildcats blitz West Virginia with 57 percent shooting in a big win at Morgantown. Then Scotty follows it up with 22 in another road win at Providence.

4) Syracuse - If it wasn't for a generously given timeout, Syracuse might have lost two games at home this week. Luckily for the Orange, they still have the upper hand on a #1 regional seed.

5) Purdue - Big week for Jajuan Johnson propels Purdue. Johnson has 19 in a win at Michigan State. Then Johnson gets a double double in a 23-point win over Iowa. Boilermakers have now won seven straight.

6) Duke - Jon Scheyer scored 24 points in each of the Blue Devils' wins over North Carolina and Maryland. Duke especially made turtle soup out of the Terrapins, leading by as many as 24 points before winning 77-56.

7) Kansas State - The Wildcats had a quiet week just playing one game, a 17-point win over Colorado. Jacob Pullen had a double double with 15 points and 10 assists.

8) West Virginia - Rough week for the Mountaineers. First they lose at home to Nova, then they blow a five-point lead at Pitt with 30 seconds left in regulation and lose in triple overtime.

9) Michigan State - Only two weeks ago, the Spartans had a three game lead on the rest of the competition in the Big Ten. After the loss at home to Purdue, the lead has evaporated. Hopefully the road win over Penn State puts Michigan State back on the right track.

10) Ohio State - Two road games, two road wins. How much of a rout was the Buckeyes win over Illinois? At one point, the Buckeyes backcourt outscored the Illini backcourt 32-1. Of course shooting 11 for 22 from beyond the arc always helps.

11) Georgetown - The Hoyas shoot 52 percent from the field to knock off the Friars. Then the Hoyas lay an absolute egg against the next to last team in the Big East Rutgers. Might have just cost themselves a two seed.

12) Butler - All the Bulldogs have done is win fifteen games in a row, clinch the Horizon League regular season championship and win as many games on the road as they have at home, eleven. Matt Howard has come alive for Butler, averaging 17 points per game in the last three games.

13) Gonzaga - All the Zags did this week was dominate St Mary's and perhaps end the Gaels at large bid hopes, then follow up with a 19-0 start in their win over San Diego. In those two games, Matt Bouldin shot 15 of 24 from the field (62.5 percent)

14) New Mexico - The wins at UNLV and Utah make the Lobos the big bad wolves in the Mountain West. In the two wins, the Lobos shot 19 of 36 from beyond the arc (52 percent). New Mexico has now won nine games in a row.

15) Wisconsin - The loss to Illinois at home ended an 18 game home winning streak. The Badgers bounced back with a drubbing of Indiana. Jason Bohannon was terrific in both games. Bohannon followed up a 6 for 10 shooting performance vs. the Illini with an 11 for 17 performance including seven threes vs. the Hoosiers.

16) Temple - The Owls shoot an amazing 68 percent from the field against the Rhode Island and hold the Rams to a season low scoring total, as Temple sweeps the season series. Four of Temple's last six regular season games are on the road.

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