Hi. My name is Justin VanLaere (don't try to pronounce it, you'll butcher it like everyone else). I am an I.T. guy by day, avid Hawkeye Blogger by night. My first love is sports, specifically the Iowa Hawkeyes and NCAA Basketball. Come March Madness, I predict the field of 65 and analyze the Bubble Teams (98% correct bids since inception). I follow Hawkeye recruiting closely, and moderate on Hawkeyenation.com. These are my Hawkeye Ramblings... enjoy my insanity.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Men's BB: 2007 ACC / Big Ten Challenge
FYI - Only one Big Ten team has a winning record in this series. Mich St is 4-3. Duke has never lost. Wake is 6-1 in the series.
Iowa Indiana Minnesota Virginia Duke Clemson Michigan State Maryland BC UNC VaTech
I think the Big Ten jumps out the big lead, but can't sustain during the end of day two and through day three.
3-0 to start 3-3 tie 4-3 BT lead... then it gets tricky. I think the Illinois/Maryland game can go either way, as the same with VaTech and PSU.
Ultimately, looks like 4-7 ACC or 5-6 ACC. If the BT can steal those two games I mentioned, they can pull the upset. And would it ever be an upset. The Big Ten has some good home court advantages in this year's series.
75% of the 2008 class at this point is from Minnesota, with local Iowa City kid, Matt Gatens, the only non-MN commit. Gatens, along with Andrew Brommer and Anthony Tucker signed their National Letters of Intent yesterday. Jermain Davis signed his letter today.
IOWA 2008 RECRUITING CLASS:
(photo courtesy of Scout.com)
Matt Gatens, 4 Star guard from Iowa City, IA. Has all the intangibles to be the next "Hawkeye Great". Top 100 recruit. Plays for Martin Bros. AAU squad. Does everything well on the court. Local kid, who's been a Hawkeye fan all his life. Will be consistent the day he steps onto the floor of Carver Hawkeye Arena.
(photo courtesy of Scout.com)
Anthony Tucker - 3 Star guard from Minnetonka, MN. Plays for Carr's 43 Hoops AAU Squad. Very smooth stroke, great ball handling skills, and high basketball IQ. Has NBA potential in his game (think of a young Arenas). Big fan of Tuck.
(photo courtesy of Scout.com)
Andrew Brommer - 2 Star forward/center from Rosemount, MN. Decommitted from Minnesota when Tubby Smith was hired. Teammate of Tucker's on the 43 Hoops AAU Squad. Very, very smart individual. Not expecting him to be a star player, he has a lot of potential to be a solid contributor, however.
(photo courtesy of Rivals.com)
Jermain Davis - 3 Star guard from Plymouth, MN. Played at Southeastern before transferring to Kirkwood. Decommitted from UNI this summer. Has a terrific all-around game. Can shoot, can handle the rock, can finish. But where he excels is on the D end. He will be an instant contributor for the Iowa Hawkeyes next season. City's Gatens leads Hawks' recruiting class
UNC lost 16 out of their last 18 games last year, last year's Purdue team smoked them. I am not trying to come out overconfident (and neither will the Iowa team), but we are talking about a team that won only 4 games last year (2 in conf) and ended up last in the Big Sky. They aren't supposed to be that much better than last year.
Media Poll School (First-place votes)Points 1. Montana (14)218 2. Weber State (8)200 3. Portland State (2)183 4. Northern Arizona (2)155 5. Montana State114 6. Idaho State111 7. Sacramento State74 8. Northern Colorado56 9. Eastern Washington55
If Iowa (a Big Ten team) cannot beat a team predicted to finish in the lower 2/3rds of the Big Sky conference AT HOME... we are in worse shape than I thought this year. We might not win many others if we lose this one. Personally, I think Idaho St is better than UNC.
Double Header This Weekend: Season Opener for Mens Basketball and the Battle for Floyd
I'll be making the trip back down to Iowa for a fun little double header.
Friday night, Iowa fans will usher in a new era of basketball as Todd Lickliter mans the bench for his first official game as the head coach of the men's squad. While this season isn't projected to be one of the ages in regards to wins, there is a certain buzz back around Carver Hawkeye Arena. Ticket sales are already ahead of where they were last year. There was good article in The Sporting News on Coach Lick, entitled "Lickliter trying to change culture at Iowa." So Tony Freeman is out for 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his 5th metatarsal, which means the Hawks will be without arguably their best player. Worse yet is that it puts the roster size down to a paltry 10 players. Make no mistake, all ten players will have a role on this team. Jeff Peterson is the obvious candidate to step up and fill Tony's shoes. I, for one, am a huge fan of his. The kid is mature beyond his years; I am very excited to see him on the court Friday. Other than that, I would expect a low scoring game (somewhere in the high 50s to mid 60s). I don't think Iowa will blow out the Bengals, but I do see a double-digit win for the Hawks.
I'll get some shuteye and then wake up bright and early to do some tailgating at the Myrtle lot and get ready to see Iowa become bowl eligible. Who would have thought that was possible four weeks ago? Minnesota comes in with one of the worst defenses in the entire nation, and one win on the season (over a MAC team in OT because of a missed FG). Minnesota is hobbling into Kinnick. All three defensive captains - Mike Sherels (linebacker), John Shevlin (linebacker) and Willie Van De Steeg (defensive end) - won't start this week because of injuries. Well, they won't start at least... they are on the depth charts, but they are still nursing injuries. Also, Thomas is doubtful, Bennett is hurting and it looks like Pinnix might not play. Brinkhaus is still loopy from a concussion and is questionable. And if Brinkhaus doesn't play (he is day to day), then MN's line (one of the best in the nation) is going to have a huge hole in it. Iowa should be able to put pressure on Weber, who is closing in on a lot of passing records.. he needs just over 450 passing yards, 3 TDs, 87 total yards, and a few attempts to break them. However, Minny gave up 4 sacks last week to Illinois. Their defense is awful, though... just reeling right now. Very inexperienced and is going to set a record for most yards given up. I know I've been begging Ken O'Keefe to give it to Albert Young, but this week we need to air it out. Minny's defensive backfield is so green, you think it was spring time. I do not want to get overconfident about this game, but I really don't see Iowa losing to the Gophers. On a side note, Albert Young is closing in on 3,000 career rushing yards; here's hoping he hits that plateau this Saturday.
Working in the retail business for all of my college career and a few years thereafter, I had the unfortunate pleasure of being inundated with a playlist of Christmas songs during the holiday season that could drive even the most sane person crazy. By "holiday season", I mean from the beginning of November through the middle of January. Yes, almost three months of the same 20 Christmas songs on repeat. Two weeks into the "holiday season" any full-time employee knew the playlist by heart and could sing every song word for word. Not good. With that in mind, I thought I would offer up my list of Worst Christmas Songs of All-Time. It needs to be done. I like to think of it as a method of therapy for me... I am slowly healed 3 years later. I still get flashbacks whenever I set foot back in any retail store during the "holiday season". I pity those around me when this happens. Without further ado, here's my list.
THE WORST CHRISTMAS SONGS OF ALL-TIME
Carnie & Wendy Wilson - "Hey Santa"
I don't know what is worse, the song or the video.
Paul McCartney - "Wonderful Christmas Time"
I thought I knew how annoying synthesizers were... I was wrong. This song almost single-handedly proves that Paul is Dead.
Band Aid - "Do They Know It's Christmas"
Bono, Boy George, Phil Collins, Paul Young, George Michael, Sting, Duran Duran, Bananarama, among others collaborate to create one of the single worst songs of all-time. Oh yeah, Paul McCartney was in this too... go figure. The chorus is absolutely awful. I would say the lyrics are bad, but I could never understand what they were singing because the damn synthesizers were mixed too loud. Ugh. Awful. One more thing, I forgot Bono used to look like Bobcat Goldthwait back then.
Wham! - "Last Christmas"
I'm not sure which is more ackward, the misplaced jingle bells throughout the song or George Michael with a girl.
Barbara Streisand - "Jingle Bells"
I don't know why I dislike this song so much. It's probably because I don't like Streisand. Oh, and the fact that she butchers this song.
Mariah Carey - "All I Want for Christmas is You"
But it's such a great song... blah blah blah. Mariah Carey sucks and so does this song. However, she was pretty smoking in the Black and White version of the video. My how things have changed. I actually like Olivia Olson's version of the song, though.
NewSong - "Christmas Shoes"
First off, Rob Lowe - nice career move. Wow. Secondly, we've all been affected by someone terminally ill. It can be one of the most gut wrenching experiences you'll ever have to endure in your lifetime. I went through that sort of thing with my grandma. That said, this song was written to prey on the emotions that surround the holidays. It's a crappy song and I don't for once believe it should ever be observed as "Christmas Song", however I had to include it on this list. Crappy ass song. Just crappy.
Celine Dion - Happy Christmas (War is Over)
Leave it up a Canadian to ruin a pretty decent little Christmas song. Lennon is spinning in his grave. Thanks a lot, Celine. You suck. You REALLY suck. Then again, this is the same woman who wanted to take a kayak into New Orleans. Britney Spears - My Only Wish This Year
Ok, I'll admit it. I liked Britney when she first came onto the scene. She was hot, could dance, and was... uh.. hot. This song, however, is junk. Another teenie bop, popcorn and cotton candy fluff song. It's utter crap.
The Barking Dogs - "Jingle Bells"
It was the cutest thing ever... the first time you heard it.
Well, that's my list. A list full of those songs you hear during the "holiday season" that make you wish it was summer. And seeing as Christmas is a time for joy and giving, I'll offer you a few of the songs that I thoroughly enjoy listening to during that special time of the year. I have to prove I am not a Scrooge. THE BEST CHRISTMAS SONGS OF ALL-TIME
There Could Be SEVEN 7-5 Big Ten Teams at the End of the Year
Hypothetically, there could be SEVEN different Big Ten football programs with a 7-5 record when it is all said and done. Talk about weird.
Here's the scenario (upsets must occur):
This weekend (winners in CAPS, new record following team name) -
Indiana [6-5 (2-5)] vs. NORTHWESTERN [6-5, (3-4)] MICHIGAN [9-2, (7-0)] vs. Wisconsin [7-4, (3-4)] MICHIGAN ST [6-5, 2-5)] vs. Purdue [7-4, (3-4)] Minnesota [1-10, (0-7)] vs. IOWA [6-5, (4-4)] Illinois [7-4, (4-3)] vs. OHIO STATE [11-0, (7-0)] PENN STATE [8-3, (4-3)] vs. Temple
Final weekend (winners in CAPS, new record following team name) -
Ohio State [11-1, (7-1)] vs. MICHIGAN [10-2, (8-0)] Penn State [7-5, (4-4)] vs. MICHIGAN STATE [7-5, (3-5)] Purdue [7-5, (4-4)] vs. INDIANA [7-5, (3-5)] NORTHWESTERN [7-5, (4-4)] vs. Illinois [7-5, (4-4)] Wisconsin [7-5, (3-5)] vs. MINNESOTA [2-10, (1-7)] W. Michigan vs. IOWA [7-5, (4-4)]
I realize that some big upsets would have to occur for this to happen, but can you imagine seven teams at 7-5? Crazy. That would be one muddy Bowl picture.