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NCAA Bracket Picks

Okay, after a ton of research I have come to the realization that I need to just make my picks and hope for the best. Should there be an upset in Tuesday or Wednesday's first round games I will update any changes by late tomorrow night. I am considering Clemson over West Virginia should they get past UAB. Same goes for USC if they beat Virginia Commonwealth.

Good Luck!!!!

Second Round Winners

Ohio State

Villanova

Clemson

Kentucky

Marquette

Syracuse

Washington

North Carolina

Duke

Tennessee

Arizona

Texas

Cincinnati

Connecticut

Temple

SDSU

Kansas

Illinois

Vanderbilt

Louisville

Georgetown

Purdue

Florida State

Notre Dame

Pittsburgh

Old Dominion

Kansas State

Wisconsin

Gonzaga

BYU

Michigan State

Florida

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NCAA Bracket

I am working the phones for last minute information to make the best possible selections I can for the NCAA Tournament. I will have my picks up by tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. and I will update them after the 4 first round games are completed on Wednesday night as most pools are not using them in their brackets.

Thanks! Kap

WOW. Just, WOW.

If you haven't seen this video yet, this is one you'll show everyone you know.  Trust me.  This takes trick shots to an art form.

Enjoy.

Without Further Adieu....My Bracket 2010 (Note: Updated Final Four)

After a full day of research crunching numbers and examining trends of the 65 teams in this year's NCAA Tournament I have come up with my picks for this year's edition of March Madness which begins on Tuesday night with the Play In game between Arkansas Pine Bluff and Winthrop.

The field is as wide open as I have seen in a long time with a number of high seeds ripe to be upset in the early rounds of the tournament. However, for all of the upset possibilities there aren't many teams that can put together 3 great weeks to cut down the nets in Indianapolis. Instead, I see a handful of teams that have the ingredients necessary to handle all of the challenges that will be thrown their way in the three week sprint to a title that is the NCAA Tournament.

So click on the pictures and reveal some of my thoughts. March Madness 2010 is here....

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A Look at The NCAA's (My Bracket to Follow)

I am sitting at my desk doing research on the 2010 NCAA Tournament and I keep coming up with reasons why the number of upsets will be more than we have seen in a long time. However, just as I get ready to pick several shockers I crunch the numbers and realize that the upper echelon teams are going to be very tough to beat.

So I am going to continue research the teams in hopes of giving you the best possible picks so you win your office pool. Below are some of the games that I am crunching the numbers on:

East Regional
Texas/Wake Forest
Temple/Cornell
Washington/Marquette
Clemson/Missouri

Midwest Regional
UNLV/Northern Iowa
Tennessee/San Diego State
Oklahoma State/Georgia Tech

West Regional
Butler/UTEP

South Regional
Texas A+M/Utah State
Purdue/Siena
Richmond/St. Mary's

I have a handful of teams that I can see making a deep tournament run but before I commit to taking them I have to crunch a few more numbers to bolster my argument for choosing them. For example, I love Kansas State and their outstanding coach Frank Martin. However, can K-State beat a very good Pittsburgh team should they meet in the Sweet Sixteen?

How about Ohio State going a long way in the tournament? The Buckeyes have perhaps the nation's best player in Evan Turner but they have no depth and in a tournament format that could catch up with them in a hurry. I am leaning towards having them exit in either Round Two or in the Sweet Sixteen.

Can Siena shock Big Ten Co-Champion Purdue? Siena is always a tough out in the tourney and Purdue is without their best player, Robbie Hummel. Hummel tore his ACL and is gone for the season so the Boilermakers do not have a true go to star to carry them through the tough times that always pop up in the NCAA's.

More to come tonight....  










NCAA Tournament Picks Coming Soon

I have seen a lot of college basketball over the years and this season has been no exception. I write the college basketball preview for Playboy magazine and I call games for ESPN so I get to see some of the best teams in the country up close and personal. I am staying up late Sunday night working the phones and crunching the numbers to bring you my best effort at a well thought out bracket for your NCAA pools.

I will have my completed bracket up on this sight by 4:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon so please tell your friends to check in. Either I will give you some great picks or you can have a laugh at my expense. I will also be Tweeting throughout the tournament with my picks against the point spread so please follow me @thekapman on Twitter and ask your friends to do the same if you want access to the inside info that I get.

Please check back on Monday afternoon. Thanks for reading the blog! Kap

The Latest on the DePaul Job

I am hearing that DePaul is ready to put up the money to land a big name head coach for their men's basketball program. In addition to a multi million dollar contract proposal for a new coach the school is also investigating a handful of locations that could be the right spot to build a new basketball arena near campus.

The Finkl Steel Company is relocating to the south side of Chicago and their current location at Clybourn and Cortland is within walking distance of DePaul's Lincoln Park campus. An 8,000-10,000 seat arena is something that the university higher ups are considering. Real estate experts that I contacted today told me that the Finkl property is intriguing because it may not be suitable for residential use due to In addition, a recent post in a Chicago real estate blog TheChicago77.com discussed the Finkl property as it relates to DePaul University. The site says: The Finkl & Sons site is located on the east bank of The Chicago River at Southport Ave, and Cortland Street within steps of DePaul's main campus and due to its heavy industrial use over the past 100 years the site is believed to be to contaminated for many real estate re adaptations. So it seems the current thinking is that instead of removing all the over-sized foundations so closely positioned by the rivers edge that it might be far simpler and safer to just remove all the top soil, pave over the site and any possible contamination.

"If DePaul builds an arena near campus it is over. They are the biggest sleeping giant in college basketball. A new arena will make that one of the best jobs in the country," said ESPN analyst and former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps.

"That is the only job I ever wanted after I left Notre Dame. I spent 6 hours with DePaul's AD back in 1997 after Joey Meyer left and I had people in the city of Chicago who were ready to help me get the program back on track," Phelps told me. "Imagine an on campus arena packed with 8,000 fans and a great student section wearing DePaul blue shirts with a Demon on them and the pitchfork in bright red. We could call the student section Digger's Demons. I love Chicago and I know that program can be turned around."

Pictured below are the names that I am hearing are on DePaul's current shopping list. Keep in mind that once teams are eliminated from post season play more names could come into play as some coaches leave jobs while others move into new vacancies. This so called "domino effect" could put some big names on the market.

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Breaking: Wainwright out at DePaul

UPDATE At 10:48 p.m.

I have confirmed that Jerry Wainwright will be replaced as head basketball coach at DePaul. The announcement will be made at an 11:00 a.m. press conference on the DePaul campus. Both DePaul Athletic Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto and Wainwright will attend the press conference.

Wainwright leaves during his fifth season at DePaul, after replacing Dave Leitao, who left to become the head coach at Virginia. Wainwright won 20 games in his second season as the head coach of the Blue Demons. But things have gone downhill since, culminating with last season's team going 0-18 in the Big East Conference.

This season the Blue Demons are off to an 0-3 start in conference play and are 7-8 overall. Wainwright is under contract through the end of the 2011-12 season at a reported salary of nearly $800,000 per year. The Chicago Tribune reported this week that Wainwright suffered leg injuries in a sideline collision during DePaul's loss to Villanova.  

Webster, in his first season on the DePaul staff, was a prep star at Thornton HS in suburban Harvey before playing at Wisconsin, where he was named to the All Big Ten team three times. He had been an assistant coach at Illinois, Purdue, Kentucky, and Ball State before being named a DePaul assistant last April.

Tune in to Sports Central at 7:00 p.m. Monday evening for the latest. 
 
Original Post

Sources in the college basketball coaching world have confirmed to me that Jerry Wainwright will be replaced as DePaul's men's basketball coach at an 11 a.m. press conference tomorrow.

Both Jean Lenti Ponsetto and Wainwright will be in attendance at the press conference.

Assistant Tracy Webster is expected to take over for the remainder of the season.

The Best of the Decade in Chicago Sports

As the first decade in the 21st century comes to a close, let's take a moment to reminisce about the best and worst moments and athletes of the past ten years in Chicago Sports.

Best Team: 2005 Chicago White Sox

Only one Chicago team could call itself champions in the first decade of the 2000s, and that team plays at 35th and the Dan Ryan.  The White Sox magical run to a world championship in 2005 erased an 88-year drought of glory on the south side.  Everything went right for Ozzie Guillen's club that year, as his starting staff of Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, Jon Garland and Freddy Garcia each won 14 or more games in the regular season, leading the club to a 99 win campaign.  Playing "Ozzie Ball", the Palehose used speed and timely hitting to scratch across runs with Scott Podsednik changing the team's offensive strategy.  The White Sox stormed through the playoffs, going 11-1 in October, which included a sweep of the then-defending champion Red Sox, and the Astros in the World Series.  Their bullpen was rock solid all year, as Bobby Jenks burst onto the scene as a bona fide closer, and earned the save on October 26, 2005 to earn the Sox a ring.

Worst Team: 2000-2001 Chicago Bulls

After a historic run of six world championships in the previous decade with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, things went very bad and very fast for the Bulls after the nucleus of the team left the Windy City.  The team did have Elton Brand, who averaged 20 points per game, Ron Mercer, who could still contribute, and Ron Artest--who by his own admission--was drinking on the job.  The team went 15-67, bad enough for a miserable .183 winning percentage, and ranked dead last in the NBA in points per game (87.6).  Need any further proof this team was a disaster?  This team only had three players average double-digit scoring, and Ron Artest barely qualified in double-digits with just over 11 points per game.  Also, how about these names that contributed minutes to Tim Floyd's club that year:  Dragan Tarlac, Khalid El-Amin, Dalibor Bagaric, A.J. Guyton, Jake Voskuhl.  Need I say more?

Best Athlete: Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears

Say what you want about Urlacher's attitude, or problematic character at times.  It's no question this city could have embraced him far more than they did over this past decade.  But when it comes to the best athlete in Chicago sports over the last ten years, Urlacher takes the cake.  After being drafted in the first round out of New Mexico in 2000, Urlacher immediately emerged as a standout linebacker for the Bears and quickly vaulted to the top of the NFL.  He had more than 800 tackles in the decade, 37.5 sacks, and 17 interceptions.  He was one of the most feared defensive players in the league for the majority of the decade, and led his team to multiple playoff appearances including a Super Bowl berth in 2006.  Note: Honorable Mention goes to White Sox ace Mark Buehrle, for a consistent and successful decade.

Worst Athlete: Corey Patterson, Chicago Cubs

Corey Patterson had a three good months as a Chicago Cub.  That's it.  Otherwise, his career as a Cub could really only be described as a debacle.  The 3rd overall pick in the 1998 draft figured to solve the Cubs center field problem for the long haul.  All we read and heard about him coming up was that he had great speed, great power, and could be a five-tool superstar type player to anchor the Cubs outfield.  Instead, he was a free-swinging, undisciplined, stubborn liability for the Cubs for parts of five seasons.  Other than the 83 games in 2003 in which he hit .298 with 13 homers and 55 RBIs, he was detracting from the team's success.  (And funnily enough, when Patterson got hurt the Cubs acquired Kenny Lofton, who was a catalyst and a big reason why the Cubs nearly reached the world series that season.)  In 2004, he was a microcosm of the team's shortcomings, and his 2005 season was one of the worst statistical seasons put forth by an everyday player in history.  He's still toiling around baseball, last seen with the Brewers this past season.  The Cubs traded him to Baltimore before the 2006 year, and the Cubs have still not found a long term solution for center field.

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Chicago Sports Needs Some Personalities

While I consider Rick Morrissey a colleague and a friend, we usually disagree on most of the topics we discuss in the sports world. However, his column this morning in the Chicago Tribune was outstanding. For a world class city with the best sports fans in the world, we sure don't have much in the way of colorful personalities who are compelling enough for even the casual fan to pay attention. How big would Chad Ochocinco be on the national stage if he played in Chicago or New York? He would be a mega star.

Outside of Ozzie Guillen, name me one guy who you think really keeps it interesting, and is engaging not only with the media, but in the way he acts on the playing field. Let's examine the coaches and managers first, then we'll look at the players who call Chicago home.

Managers and Coaches

Ozzie Guillen

He may not be everybody's cup of tea, but I find him so entertaining to watch and to cover that he would probably the guy I'd hire if I owned a baseball team. Ozzie is honest to a fault, and he says what most fans are thinking even if his players don't like his frankness. His personality keeps the White Sox in the headlines even when his team may not be great. Plus, he has a World Series ring on his hand. So those who don't like him can't really argue much, because he accomplished something that no one else has done in this city in a very long time.
 
Lou Piniella

When Lou was hired by the Cubs, many fans and members of the media (myself included) expected a Mike Ditka-like presence in the Cubs dugout based on what we had seen of Sweet Lou during his time as the manager of the Seattle Mariners. However, with rare exception, we have seen a much more mellow Piniella, especially in 2009 when his lack of public anger frustrated many fans. When he shows his emotion, he is a colorful "Chicago type" personality. And that is what he needs to show in 2010.
 
Lovie Smith

While he may know his football, he is one of the most boring personalities we have seen on the Chicago sports scene in a long time. Smith is steady and unspectacular, but his lack of charisma drives fans who remember the days of Mike Ditka crazy, when every news conference and media moment was must-see TV. Smith is true to himself, but I believe that sometimes management forgets that professional sports are entertainment and you need to keep people watching even when you aren't going to the playoffs.

Joel Quenneville


Coach Q is very intense, and will flash a glimpse of his fiery personality from time to time behind the bench. But he does not usually show that side of himself away from game action. His news conferences are calm and informative, but he doesn't do much to garner attention.
 
Vinny Del Negro

Another of the modern day coaches who does not ever say anything to stir the pot. Del Negro is polished and concise in his comments, but like most of his Chicago counterparts he is not must-watch TV when he addresses the media.
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Wow....I Am Stunned at the Controversy Over the Derrick Rose Photo

Thumbnail image for rose gang signs.jpg

Yes, Derrick Rose used poor judgement in posing for this photo at a party when he was a college student but the reaction from the media has been way overblown.

While I agree that Derrick Rose made a mistake in posing for a photo that shows him flashing gang signs at a party during his freshman year at Memphis the fact that people are making a big deal about it absolutely stuns me.

I know that I did some stupid things when I was a teenager or as a college student as many of you did but none of us expected it to be splashed all over the internet and to have to address it to the world through the media as Derrick did this afternoon.

His statement was eloquent and well crafted and while I'm sure that his agents put it together for him, I know Derrick and I have found him to be one of the nicest young men that I have dealt with in sports in a long time. K.C. Johnson, who covers the Bulls as the Tribune's beat writer wrote a great piece about his experiences covering Derrick and after you read it I think you'll agree that Rose was acting like millions of college kids at parties each and every day.

Let's not forget that Rose is still a kid and while he is an incredibly talented basketball player kids are still apt to make stupid decisions. Let's not go over the top about this one.

The Latest on Derrick Rose

Here is the latest on the Derrick Rose scandal: The Associated Press with input from ESPN's Andy Katz reported this today:

Memphis says it should keep the victories from the 2007-08 season which ended in the national title game after an internal investigation turned up no proof that a former men's basketball player cheated on his SAT exam.

"Certainly, the University of Memphis should not suffer a financial penalty or vacation of records for the 2008 NCAA tournament as a result of this allegation," according to a report detailing the school's investigation into NCAA allegations.

The report, released to The Associated Press and other news outlets Tuesday under a public records request, details Memphis' internal probe into accusations that a former player -- widely reported to be Derrick Rose -- allowed a stand-in to take his SAT. The report also looked into charges of grade tampering on behalf of the player.

Here is the rest of the story from ESPN.com:

More to come as this story develops.

Also, listen to my interview with State Rep. Monique Davis on Derrick Rose.


Memphis problems deepening over Derrick Rose scandal

ESPN is reporting this afternoon that the University of Memphis knew as early as May of 2008 that Derrick Rose's SAT score was being investigated by the NCAA. Here is what ESPN reported on its web site today:

One month after Memphis lost to Kansas in overtime in one of the most thrilling national championship games in recent memory, the Tigers were rocked by an e-mail from the NCAA.

It was then that Memphis was first notified that star freshman point guard Derrick Rose, who helped the Tigers to an NCAA-record 38 wins and was soon going to become the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft by his hometown Bulls, had an invalidated standardized test score the previous year at Chicago's Simeon High School, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the e-mail.

The University of Memphis' legal counsel, Sheri Lipman, would not identify the student-athlete as Rose, but said Monday, "for the student-athlete, whoever that was, the first indication that we got was in early May [2008] that his score was being invalidated."

Memphis' administration knew that if this were indeed true, then coach John Calipari's team rode the superstar exploits of an ineligible player to an extraordinary season that was stopped just short of the program's first national title.

I will be discussing the scandal tonight on Sports Central on WGN Radio (720 AM in Chicago) at 7 p.m. so make sure you tune in as I will take calls and get your thoughts on how this could affect Rose going forward.

The Latest in Chicago Sports

Let's see....where should I start? The Zambrano meltdown? The Blackhawks elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs? Derrick Rose's name being linked to an NCAA scandal at Memphis? The Jake Peavy rumors that continue to link both Chicago teams to the superstar pitcher?

Let's start with the Derrick Rose story that was broken by the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper.

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