Thursday, March 26, 2009

"C.S. Lewis Scholar" Now Appears on My Resume

Back in 2006, my three-year seminary education had not yet siphoned off my mental enthusiasm, and I wrote a very thorough article on C.S. Lewis‘ perspective on the Atonement—that is, on the reality and significance of Jesus’ death on the cross. Eager to share my findings with the world, I posted an excerpt on my blog.

Then, several months later, a British intellectual (allow me to flatter myself) contacted me and told me I should get the article published somewhere. I thought, Heck yeah, we could use some money to make rent. So I sent it in to Touchstone, an ecumenical theological magazine with a soft spot for Lewis scholarship. The subtitle reads, A Journal of Mere Christianity. I thought this was a good sign. The mag also happens to be endorsed by J.I. Packer, a man I greatly respect.

Then-editor David Mills replied to my query, Dear Mr. Vanderhorst, I believe we have a spot for your article. I was like, Dear Mr. Mills, Right on! At which point I eagerly and tongue-in-cheekly announced to the world that I would soon be a published theological author. But apparently these things take time.

Cut to Spring 2009. Mills had stepped down as general editor. I wasn’t told. My article languished in Supposedly Being Published Limbo. I got angry every time I thought about it, which was about once every four months, since I was busy doing other things like graduating, planting a church, and trying to make rent. Then, in January, I had my quartlerly thought about the Lewis article for the first part of 2009. I decided to throw over Touchstone and David Mills, who would not answer my emails (because he was gone) and go find another publisher.

Then, the very next day, Touchstone’s new editor contacted me, said nice things about my article, apologized profusely, and told me he wanted to get it published. Well, OK, I said. But only if you pay me more than a dollar. So we had a deal.

My Lewis article, Mere Atonement, will appear in the April edition of Touchstone, but you can read it for free online. I am planning to go read it myself in order to discover what Lewis’ perspective on the Atonement is. After all, I wrote this piece about 5 years ago. Still…better late than never!

Cross-posted on

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NCAA Bracket Intuition: Hatred

This guy is hilarious, and captures the reason I have Duke losing to Texas and North Carolina losing to Butler. If I had the time, I'd write a column just like this. :)

Picking against Duke just because you hate Duke is ridiculous — except that in this space in 2006, I correctly used that theory to pick VCU to beat Duke in the first round. And in 2007, I correctly used that theory to pick West Virginia to beat Duke in the second round. It is, in fact, my single most successful strategy over the past few years. So until I’m proven wrong, I’ll stick with the “hate” approach. (And, let’s be honest: It is SO much more fun that way. It’s hating Duke! It’s watching them lose! It’s earning office-pool points on your bracket for hating Duke and watching them lose!)

Worked for me the last couple years as well! Also, the bit about getting gunned down by your 3-yr-old rings true. Aidan always beats me, and his strategy is devised entirely of choosing the better mascot. Some things are just not right in this world.

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I Am Not Crazy: KU Will Make the Final Four

Despite the Wall Street Journal's number-crunching, which reveals that KU had better not overlook North Dakota State, I was thrilled to discover that I'm not the only one picking the Jayhawks to make the Final Four again.

Disregard the Spock pseudonym and you'll realize this guy makes some excellent points. :)

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No Respect for Big 12 Basketball documents the tendency of lazy national sportswriters to view the Midwest as "football country" and the tendency of East and West-coast homers on the selection committee to send Big 12 basketball teams further afield.

Of course, this is not exactly news for Big 12 fans.

I think the Jayhawks played themselves out of a Kansas City birth with late season losses to Texas Tech and Texas A&M. But the gist of the article is correct: The national NCAA spotlight always gravitates toward West and East coast teams, where most of the national media is located.

Just more incentive for KU or OK to go win a national title this year. Heck, all the Big 12 teams should do their part. For Oklahoma St and Texas A&M, that means wining one game. For Missouri and Texas, that means winning a couple.

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2009 NCAA Bracket Picks: Final Four, Championship

It's been a long road. Sweaty palms, favoritism, and excessive caffeine, offset by some very real basketball savvy, have brought us this far. (See my Round One NCAA Bracket Picks, Round Two NCAA Predictions, and Elite Eight Bracket Predictions.)

Now it's time to make maybe the hardest NCAA bracket picks of all. Who makes the Final Four? And who will be watching the Detroit games from a hotel room?

Glad you asked. Here's what happens.

In the Midwest, #3 Kansas shocks Rick Pitino, Terrance "Al Pacino" Williams, and the nation, by punching the #1 Cardinal in the mouth early and defending their margin of victory in the second half.
In the West, #1 UConn defeats #3 Missouri as the tough, defensively minded Tigers are decisively outclassed by Thabeet.
In the East, #7 Texas' massive Dexter Pitman goes toe-to-toe with DeJuan Blair and neutralizes him, and #1 Pitt has an attack of the paralyzing inconsistency that has plagued them this season.
In the South, #9 Butler upsets #2 Oklahoma, and super-talented Gordon Hayward emerges as a tournament darling.

Here's how the Final Four goes down in Detroit.
#9 Butler faces off against #7 Texas, and at this point it surprises no one when the lower seeded team pulls the upset.
#1 UConn gets the better of #3 Kansas, but only barely. Thabeet blocks a shot as the clock expires to seal the win.
Final pick.
In the 2009 National NCAA Championship, it's #1 UConn over #9 Butler, as the deeper, more balanced UConn outlasts the upstart.

So there you have it. We've predicted every round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. We made some daring upset picks, gave the favorites their due respect, and ultimately awarded the title to a team with a dominant player (Hasheem Thabeet) and a stellar supporting cast.

Good luck with your brackets!

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2009 NCAA Bracket Predictions: Elite Eight

UPDATE: My Final Four & Championship Bracket Picks are now up.

After a couple rounds of frenzied picking, we now have our Sweet Sixteen teams. (See my First Round NCAA Bracket Predictions and my Second Round Bracket Picks.) But the remaining picks will make or break our brackets. In 2008-2009, parity has been the name of the NCAA game, and with each round, winners become harder and harder to identify. It's like trying to pick out the dark horse in a group of gray horses in a huge unlit stable at dusk...if you know what I mean.

Worried yet?

Well, you shouldn't be, because everyone else is in the same boat. Let's predict our Elite Eight with bravado, and avoid those moments of tournament paralysis that can nail the best hoops fans. Got your pencil? It's too late for second-guessing now. Let's do this.

Here's who emerges in the Midwest Region.

#1 Louisville beats #4 Wake Forest. Wake is tough and loaded, but the top team in the Big East guts this one out.
#3 Kansas beats #2 Michigan St. When the Spartans and Jayhawks clashed earlier this season, Bill Self's young team got beat up. But this young KU team has gelled since then and they want payback.

Who comes out of the West? Here's who:
#1 UConn beats #5 Purdue. Purdue is hot, but the Huskies have four players averaging 13ppg. And they have Hasheem Thabeet, who wreaks havoc in the paint.
#3 Missouri beats #2 Memphis. Memphis has won 25 straight. But the Tigers are aggressive, hungry, and don't give a darn that Calipari thinks his team was disrespected. They win by 2, shocking 95% of the national pundits.

Here's how it the bracket crumbles in the East Regional.
#1 Pitt beats #5 Floridat St. FL guard Toney Douglas is a game-changer, but DeJuan Blair, Levance Fields, and Sam Young put this one out of reach.
#7 Texas beats #6 UCLA. After knocking off Duke, the Longhorns are riding high, and they prove again that when all pistons are firing, they can beat anyone.

Finally, here's what happens in the South, formerly known as the "UNC Bracket."
#9 Butler beats #4 Gonzaga. Neither of these teams were favorites to reach the Elite Eight, and Butler capitalizes, riding the efforts of 6'8" guard-forward Gordon Hayward to a dark horse victory.
#2 Oklahoma beats #3 Syracuse. Fatigue finally catches up with the Orangemen, as Blake Griffin and guard sidekick Willie Warren get the better of Johnny Flynn and Co.

Coming up within the hour, Final Four and Championship bracket picks. At this point, our bracket is looking good. We've acknowledged the star power of heavy favorites like UConn and Pitt, but have called some surprising upsets as well (UNC, Memphis). And we're paying homage to the "little guy" by putting Butler in the Elite Eight (but keep in mind that Butler was in the Top 25 for much of the season).

Check back soon for the Final Four and NCAA winner, coming up. (You can bookmark or subscribe to stay posted.)

UPDATE: My Final Four & Championship Bracket Picks are now up.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

NCAA Bracket Predictions: 2009 Second Round

UPDATE: Third Round (Elite Eight) Bracket Picks are now up.

It's a beautiful St Patrick's Day in Kansas City, and time to throw some more fuel into the NCAA buzz machine. Here are my bracket picks for the second round.

If you missed 'em, you can still scan my NCAA Bracket Predictions for the first round. Beginning in the Midwest region, here's how things will go down.


#1 Louisville beats #9 Siena. Louisville is playing like a team of destiny.
#4 Wake Forest beats #12 Arizona. With their first round victory, Arizona proved that they belonged in the NCAAs, sorta. But that doesn't stop them from getting buzz-sawed by Wake.
#3 Kansas beats #6 West Virginia. After ending North Dakota State's Cinderella story, KU confronts another national darling of recent years. And mercilessly beats them too.
#2 Michigan St beats #10 USC. USC has been white hot lately, but they get out-toughed by the Spartans.

Here's the script for the West Region.
#1 UConn beats #9 Texas A&M. For the Aggies, just getting here was a victory. But Thabeet and the Huskies have bigger fish to fry.
#5 Purdue beats #4 Washington. Purdue is rolling, in this very minor upset.
#3 Missouri beats #6 Marquette. Here's where the loss of Dominic James catches up with the Golden Eagles, and where MU's tandem of Leo Lyons and DeMarre Carroll take over.
#2 Memphis beats #7 California. Memphis plays their "can't get no respect" card yet again for a 10 point win.

In the East, here's what happens.
#1 Pitt beats #9 Oklahoma St. The Cowboys put up a fight, but Blair is too much of a load inside.
#5 Florida St beats #4 Xavier. Xavier is on a roll. FL St is hotter.
#6 UCLA beats #6 Villanova. Collison and the Bruins are just hitting their tournament stride.
#7 Texas beats #2 Duke. In the biggest upset of the second round so far. This pick isn't for the faint of heart, but the Longhorns have the guns to pull it off.

Finally, here's how the bracket develops in the South.

#9 Butler beats #1 North Carolina. Roy Williams' teams can run and gun with anyone, but they are upset prone, and Butler proves it in this shocker.
#4 Gonzaga beats #5 Illinois. In this battle between two streaky teams, Gonzaga puts together the better second half.
#3 Syracuse beats #6 Arizona St. Johnny Flynn is the Orangemen's best player, but his supporting cast steps up to put this one in the bag.
#2 Oklahoma beats #10 Michigan. Just making the tourney was a huge victory for MI, and Oklahoma sends 'em home with their token first-round win.

Coming up, regional and national semifinal picks. If you're reading this, I assume that you're already in a bracket competition somewhere, but you're also welcome to join one of mine. Sign up at the Review Journal site, then join the "public group," Downtown Kansas City.

Good luck with your bracket predictions, and stay tuned!

UPDATE: Third Round (Elite Eight) Bracket Picks are now up.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

NCAA Bracket Predictions: 2009 First Round

UPDATE: NCAA Bracket Picks for the second round are now up.

All right, we've reached the moment when I steel my nerves, peer over my bracket with wrinkled brow, and dive into the mad speculation and educated chaos of NCAA bracket picks!

As usual, I'll be taking a round at a time, and since the first round gives me 32 games to pick, any commentary will be off the cuff. Other than my pure love of the game, I'm receiving no payment for this, so consider sending me a cut of the winnings you'll undoubtedly steal from your coworkers. ;)

Now, while I have spent approximately a third of my life playing basketball and several months filling out brackets, I am an amateur--so don't bet your house on my advice. Your car, your condo, or the small shack in your backyard? Sure, but not your house. That ended badly for one dude last year.

OK, let's do this. Starting in the Midwest region, here are my bracket predictions. With a little luck, they'll help you dominate your pool, even if it is of the above-ground canvas variety.

Here's how things will go down in the Midwest Region.

#1 Louisville beats whichever poor schmuck wins the play-in. Pitino losing in the first round would be like the Godfather getting pick-pocketed.
#9 Siena beats #8 Ohio State. This one's a toss-up, and this year, in a toss-up game, I'll be typically picking the lower seed. Being the underdog is the new advantage.
#12 Arizona beats #5 Utah. Every year, a #12 beats a #5, and Arizona has the NBA athletes to pull it off. The fact that they "don't deserve to be here," in Dick Vitale's words, ensure that they win one game anyway.
#4 Wake Forest beats #13 Cleveland St. Remember when Wake was ranked number one in the country? There was a reason for that.
#6 West Virginia beats #11 Dayton. True, Huggins is greasy. But WV knows how to succeed in the tourney.
#3 Kansas beats #14 North Dakota St. The story of how North Dakota St weathered adversity and beat the odds to reach the tournament is heartwarming. But the Jayhawks know better than to overlook teams whose names start with "B." So they tear the Bisons' heart out of their chest and stomp on it.
#10 USC beats #7 Boston College. Boston College has beaten some good teams, but this match-up falls in the toss-up category, which means, you got it, we will be going with USC.
#2 Michigan St beats #15 Robert Morris. No brainer.

Here's who dies and survives in the West Region.
#1 Connecticutt beats #16 Chatanooga. This one won't be pretty.
#9 Texas A&M beats #8 BYU. A&M is better than people think.
#5 Purdue beats #11 Northern Iowa. No 12/5 upset this time. Purdue is tough.
#4 Washington beats #13 Mississippi St. This one will be closer than Washington would like, but they'll get the W.
#6 Marquette beats #11 Utah St. A lot of people think Marquette will blow this one after losing their star, Dominic James. I think they'll win for the same reason.
#3 Missouri beats #14 Cornell. Mike Anderson's squad is primed for a run in the tourney.
#7 California beats #10 Maryland. Maryland will try, but not replicate, it's surprising moments of success in the ACC.
#2 Memphis beats #15 Cal St Northridge. Tyreke Evans could almost beat CSN by himself.

Here's what transpires in the East Regional.
#1 Pittsburgh beats #16 East Tennessee. Remember that Blair guy? He won't need to pitch anyone over his back to win this one.
#8 Oklahoma St beats #9 Tennessee. It's just a bad year for Tennessee.
#5 Florida St beats #12 Wisconsin. Florida St is too hot to fall victim to the 12/5 ambush.
#4 Xavier beats #13 Portland St. Last year the Vikings got beaked by the Jayhawks, this year they get Xed.
#6 UCLA beats #11 VCU. Simply because my friend Will would hate me if I didn't advance his team through the first round. Actually, UCLA is good.
#3 Villanova beats #14 American. You've probably never heard of American. For a reason.
#7 Texas beats #10 Minnesota. This one will be a slugfest, but the Longhorns have the NBA caliber talent to pull off the victory.
#2 Duke beats #15 Binghamton. Kyle Singler is too much for the hapless Bearcats.

Finally, here's how things will go down in the South Region.
#1 North Carolina beats #16 Radford. Although they may get a scare first.
#9 Butler beats #8 LSU. Our underdog rule is back in effect here, as Butler pulls off an upset that really isn't.
#5 Illinois beats #12 Western Kentucky. Because I have several friends who are Illini fans.
#4 Gonzaga beats #13 Akron. The Bulldogs have the firepower to do some damage.
#6 Arizona St beats #11 Temple. We are close to our upset quotient for the first round, so we'll go with the favorite here.
#3 Syracuse beats #14 Stephen F. Austin. A polite Southern gentleman like Mr. Austin is no match for the tenacious Johnny Flynn.
#10 Michigan beats #7 Clemson. This is our final upset for Round 1, based purely on the fact that Michigan is so juiced about being back in the tournament after a decade in the cold.
#2 Oklahoma beats #15 Morgan St. National POY Blake Griffin takes it upon himself to ensure the Sooners advance.

Check back for the second round, regionals, and national semifinals, coming up. (You can bookmark or subscribe to stay posted.) Good luck with your own NCAA brackets, and if in doubt, take a few risks with your picks. A handful of good upset predictions never hurt!

UPDATE: NCAA Bracket Picks for the second round are now up.

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2009 NCAA Tournament Links

Great article on the chaotic euphoria/heartburn of March Madness, brackets, and the Kansas Jayhawks from the KC Star's J. Brady McCollough. Gotta give the local writers some love.

In addition, CBS' Gary Parrish has a nice piece breaking down the 2009 NCAA Tournament Bracket. Who knows, maybe some of his suggestions will make their way into my personal bracket predictions, which I'm hoping to get to later today.

What are you reading for your tournament preview?

Side note: Regular subscribers, if you've been with me for less than a year, you may not be aware that this blog transforms mid-March into an unabashed NCAA basketball site. Hopefully you're along for the ride. If not, you can go away and come back in a few weeks when the lingering smell of sweat and leather has evaporated.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

NCAA Tournament Bracket 2009: Pick 'Em!

Update: My NCAA Bracket Predictions for the first round are now up. Check 'em!

Bam! The official NCAA 2009 Bracket has dropped, and the consensus seems to be that the committee did a good job. (You can download this bracket my right-clicking and choosing "save file as...")

It's unfortunate the little, deserving teams like San Diego St and St Mary's didn't make the cut, but hard to argue against the additional power-players that received at-large bids (Arizona, for example).

Personally, I'm enjoying the fact that six Big 12 teams made it into the Tournament. Don't know if I will be advancing Texas A&M and Oklahoma St more than one round in my bracket, but Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri are capable of doing some serious damage.

I filled out my first bracket of 2009 a minute ago at I admit, I am still waffling on whether to advance KU to the Final Four or not. The Jayhawks that waxed MU and out-punched the Longhorns could make it to Detroit, but the Jayhawks that went shaky against Texas Tech and got pummeled by Baylor would be lucky to make it past the Bisons in their first round match-up.

Look for my NCAA Tournament Bracket Predictions later this week. And let me know if there are any great bracket pools I should know about, preferably ones with plasma flat screen TVs, Vespa scooters, or lots of cash involved. ;)

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NCAA Bracket 2009: Last Call

Here's one more shot at the 2009 NCAA Bracket from the folks at Bracketology 101. Now all you need to do is get comfy, devise a bracket strategy, and wait half an hour for the selection show.

I'll hold off on commentary until the official tournament bracket drops.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

2009 NCAA Bracket: Bracketology 101

Here's another Tournament bracket from the brilliant people at Bracketology 101. This one takes into account the various conference tournament upsets that took place you'll notice, for example, that Kansas is a #4 seed instead of a #2 or #3. Sigh.

For my money, this is probably the best speculative 2009 bracket I've seen so far.

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2009 NCAA Bracket: ESPN

Well, it's clearly time to start up the bracket watch. The official 2009 NCAA Bracket is being developed as we speak, and will be revealed during the Selection Show on Sunday. However, that doesn't keep the nation's best and brightest bracketologists from engaging in some educated speculation.

This take is from ESPN's Joe Lunardi. The text-only bracket doesn't translate to single-column all that well, so you will have to scroll down a ways. Automatic bids are in ALL CAPS, and records are Division I only. I'll add my few, amateurish comments at the bottom.

SOUTH (Memphis)
(16) MOREHEAD ST (17-15) / OVC
(8) Butler (25-5)
(9) Dayton (25-6)

(5) Illinois (23-8)
(12) NORTHERN IOWA (22-10) / MVC
(4) UCLA (24-7)
(13) AMERICAN (23-7) / Patriot

(6) LSU (25-6)
(11) New Mexico (21-10)
(3) Villanova (25-6)
(14) ROBERT MORRIS (24-10) / Northeast

(7) California (22-9)
(10) UTAH ST (26-4)
(2) Oklahoma (27-4)
(15) CORNELL (19-9) / Ivy

WEST (Arizona)
(1) LOUISVILLE (25-5)
(16) CS NORTHRIDGE (14-13) / Big West
(8) Utah (21-8)
(9) Boston College (21-10)

(5) XAVIER (24-6)
(12) Penn State (21-10)
(4) Missouri (24-6)
(13) NORTH DAKOTA ST (24-6) / Summit

(6) Tennessee (19-11)
(11) Minnesota (20-9)
(3) WASHINGTON (23-7)
(14) EAST TENN ST (21-10) / Atl Sun

Kansas City
(7) West Virginia (22-10)
(10) Texas A&M (22-8)
(2) MEMPHIS (28-3)
(15) MORGAN ST (20-11) / MEAC

MIDWEST (Indianapolis)
(1) Pittsburgh (27-3)
(16) Play-in Game
(8) Oklahoma St (21-10)
(9) Wisconsin (18-11)

(5) Florida St (23-8)
(12) Arizona (19-12)
(4) GONZAGA (25-5)
(13) CLEVELAND ST (22-10) / Horizon

(6) Syracuse (23-8)
(11) South Carolina (21-8)
(3) Duke (25-6)
(14) BINGHAMTON (21-8) / Amer East

(7) Texas (21-10)
(10) SIENA (26-7)
(2) MICHIGAN ST (25-5)
(15) PORTLAND ST (20-9) / Big Sky

EAST (Boston)

(1) Connecticut (27-3)
(16) BOWLING GREEN (16-12) / MAC
(8) BYU (23-6)
(9) Ohio State (20-9)

(5) Purdue (22-9)
(12) VCU (24-9) / CAA
(4) Clemson (23-7)
(13) WESTERN KENTUCKY (23-8) / Sun Belt

(6) Arizona St (22-8)
(11) Michigan (18-12)
(3) Wake Forest (24-5)
(14) STEPHEN F. AUSTIN (17-7) / Southland

Kansas City
(7) Marquette (24-8)
(10) UNLV (21-9)
(2) KANSAS (25-6)
(15) RADFORD (18-11) / Big South

As a Big 12 fan, I'm happy to see a total of six Big 12 teams in the bracket: Kansas (2), Oklahoma (2), Missouri (4), Texas (7), Oklahoma St (8), Texas A&M (10). The good news is that the number could swell to seven if Baylor succeeds in running the table and wins the Big 12 Tournament outright.

The bad news is that with yesterday's first round losses to Baylor and Oklahoma St respectively, both Kansas and Oklahoma are likely looking at #3 seeds, if they don't drop down into the bargain basement as #4 seeds. Not quite the finish either team was looking for in the Big 12 Tournament. It's unlikely that KU will be playing in Kansas City at this point.

Some great potential match-ups jump out at me, mostly in the second round. If Pitt (1) met Oklahoma St (8), the nation's top team would have a dogfight on their hands. Likewise with a Duke (3) vs Syracuse (6) face-off. As evidenced in last night's six-OT win over UConn, the Orangemen have some pit bull in them. Then, if Michigan St (2) met Texas (7), I would be tempted to smell an upset and choose the Longhorns. Same deal if West Virginia (7) squared off with Memphis (2). WV always seems to be good for an NCAA upset.

Then, in the third round, UCLA (4) vs UNC (1) would generate a lot of hoopla, and Ty Lawson would face the prospect of being out-quicked by Darren Collison. And Oklahoma vs Villanova (3), where Big 12 superiority could be put on display.

All right, I'm done for now. Keep your eyes open for more promising 2009 NCAA brackets as we approach the selection show. Never hurts to pick a bracket strategy early!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

2009 Big 12 Bracket Predictions

OK, as promised, here are my predictions for the Big 12 Tournament (bracket) which starts tomorrow. We'll start at the beginning, with the first round games, featuring a majority of Southern Big 12 Conference teams...that's right, the Big 12 North turned out to be stronger this season, despite lots of early criticism. Ha ha.

Round 1 (Wednesday)

Baylor wins out over a scrappy Nebraska squad, the Bears desperately looking to redeem a season that was supposed to feature a deep NCAA tourney run. Baylor 65, NE 62

Texas beats Colorado handily. TX 82, CO 69

Oklahoma State beats a luckless Iowa State team en route to earning a sure NCAA bid. OSU 75, IS 54

Texas A&M beats Texas Tech in the closest game of the first round. Tech puts up a fight, but A&M is hot, and play with the confidence of a team headed for the Big Dance. A&M 69, Tech 67

Round 2 (Thursday)

Kansas crunches Baylor, beating them brutally in the post. So much for the Bears' hopes for post-season redemption. KU 85, Baylor 72

Texas beats Kansas State, because at heart the Longhorns know they are a top 25 team who has under-achieved. TX 78, KSU 69

Oklahoma hangs on to beat their Bedlam Series rival in a nail-biter. Blake Griffin, of course, is the difference maker. OK 76, OSU 74

Texas A&M beats Missouri. Again. The Aggies have the Tigers' number. A&M 81, MU 73

Round 3 (Friday)

Kansas beats Texas, but with more breathing room than last week, when the Jayhawks overcame a 14 point deficit. KU 89, TX 78

Oklahoma beats A&M, as the Aggie momentum runs up against Blake Griffin, the immovable object. OK 69, A&M 64

Tournament Championship (Saturday)

Kansas beats Oklahoma for the second time this season, but for the first time with Blake Griffin at full speed. KU's interior players--Aldrich, the Morris twins, and Mario Little--come in with a chip on their shoulder, determined not to get overshadowed, and play Griffin to a draw. The Jayhawks' superior guard play puts the game away. KU 89, OK 86

After the Big 12 Tournament concludes on Saturday (for the first time in years), the teams kick back and enjoy the selection show on Sunday. Six Big 12 teams make the cut, proving yet again that this conference does not get the national recognition it deserves. The teams everyone knew were in...


Are joined by...

Texas A&M
Oklahoma State

Not really a down year for the Big 12 after all. Coming up next: 2009 NCAA Bracket Predictions.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

2009 NCAA Bracket Speculation

With less than a week to go before the NCAA Tournament Selection Show (March 15), the experts have free reign to start creating mock's one from ESPN's Joe Lunardi. I'd love to see Oklahoma earn a #1 seed, but I don't think it's a done deal yet.

Any other good early brackets out there?

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Big 12 Tournament Bracket 2009

Since the Jayhawks won the Big 12 Regular Season Title outright with a come-from-behind thriller against Texas, it's now time to scan brackets for the Big 12 Tournament, which starts Wednesday.

Some people view conference tournaments as highly-charged college basketball at its best.

Others see at it more as a quick warm up for NCAA Tournament brackets.

Either way, conference tournaments cram a lot of good ball into a few days, and I wish I could be present at this one.

Team Rankings is quick to point out that, with a 30.96% shot at winning the Big 12 Tourney, KU is the odds-on favorite. However, Oklahoma will have something to say about that. As will MU, coming off the shellacking the Jayhawks handed them at Allen Field House. Texas will want revenge as well. And Oklahoma State and Texas A&M are trying to firm up NCAA Tournament spots.

Plenty of drama on tap of you love Big 12 basketball...I'll post my Big 12 Tournament predictions tomorrow.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

U2's New Record on Sale

If you move fast, you can grab one of the year's most anticipated music releases for $3.99. U2's first album in 5 years, No Line on the Horizon, is on sale at Amazon for the next 24 hours or so. Get it.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Plenty of Love for U2's No Line on the Horizon

U2's latest album will be officially released March 3, but it's already pulling in the accolades. From Rolling Stone's 5-star review:

Bono knows he was born with a good weapon for making the right kind of trouble: the clean gleam and rocket's arc of that voice. "It was one dull morning/I woke the world with bawling," he boasted in "Out of Control," written by Bono on his 18th birthday and issued on U2's Irish debut EP.

He is still singing about singing, all over No Line on the Horizon, U2's first album in nearly five years and their best, in its textural exploration and tenacious melodic grip, since 1991's Achtung Baby.

Just so you know.

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