March Madness Central


March Madness Central

Day 1 of the March Madness Tournament is in the books. Surprisingly, Im still smiling. I was 13-3 with my predictions. The biggest upset on Day1 was (12)VCU defeating (5) Wichita State (62-59). Overall the Big East had a very bad day. The Marquette Golden Eagles were sharp, but the other Big East teams, that played Thursday, appeared to be overrated. The NCAA Selection Committee should feel embarrassed after selecting nine Big East teams for the tournament.

In my opinion, the Big East looked like a big joke Thursday. The 1 seed in the East Region, Syracuse, trailed 16 seed UNC Asheville by 4 points at the half. Syracuse went on to win (72-65). Although 4 Louisville was never in serious trouble they beat 13 Davidson by only seven points. The Gonzaga Bulldogs crushed West Virginia by 23 points and (8) Iowa State spanked Connecticut (77-64). In other words, the Big East is not worthy of having nine teams in the Big Dance. My advice to the NCAA Selection committeecmon man, show the teams from the West some love! Whats up with the East Coast bias?

I admit I was way wrong

I picked West Virginia to upset Gonzaga. I thought this was a no brainer since the Mountaineers gave several Top 25 teams problems this year. I was way wrong! West Virginia did not belong on the same court as Gonzaga. The Bulldogs punished the Mountaineers 77-54.

Wofford hits the Bullseye

Thursday I picked (5)Wichita State vs (12)VCU as one of my games to watch. For the second straight year, Shaka Smarts VCU Rams are breaking opponents hearts. The Rams had a 9 point lead at the half. Wichita battled hard, but came up short. Everyone in the newsroom was standing around the TV watching this game. VCU will face the Indiana Hoosiers in the second round. That should be a good game. Hoosiers dominated New Mexico State from start to finish Thursday night.


(7)Saint Marys (27-5) vs (10) Purdue (21-12)

I dont want to see either of these teams lose, because I covered both teams in my career. Man, this is hard to do, but Im predicting the Boilermakers will get the victory. One thing is for sure, both teams are well coached.

Score Prediction: Purdue 62 Saint Marys 54

(8) Creigton(28-5) vs (9)Alabama (21-11)

All of my friends like Creighton. Sorry but I dont believe the hype. Alabama has been inconsistent this season. They need a big game from Senior JaMychal Green.

Score Prediction: Alabama 77 Creighton 72


(2) Duke (27-6) vs (15) Lehigh (26-7) Lehigh will feel pretty low when this game is over. Coach Ks Blue Devils are entering this tournament with an attitude. Duke has lost two of their last three games. One of those losses was by 18 points to North Carolina. Theyll take their frustration out on Lehigh Friday.


(6) San Diego State (26-7) vs (11) N.Carolina State (22-12) I made a horrible prediction in this category Thursday. This time Im going to get it right. You can quote me, NC State will beat San Diego State Friday. In their most recent game, NC State lost to North Carolina by 2 points. Thats all I need to know about this matchup. This game has upset written all over it.


Im picking three guys who should put up nice numbers Friday.

CJ Leslie 68, 209, Sophomore

He can score, rebound and hes extremely physical. If youre not ready to battle then you better stay away from CJ Leslie. He has scored at least 18 points in 7 of his last 8 games.

Robbie Hummel 68, 215 Senior

This kid refuses to quit. He has battled serious knee injuries in college, but Robbie keeps coming back for more basketball. Hes a great person with a huge heart. Hummel will score at least 20 points vs Saint Marys.

Austin Rivers 64, 200 Freshman

Doc Rivers son has never seen a shot he didnt like. Sometimes Austin shoots too much but he can hit the 3 from NBA range. Austin is a one and done type of player who is looking to put on a show. Look out!

Enjoy the games. My next blog will be posted Saturday morning.

For all the scores from Day 1 of the NCAA Tournament, click here.

Walton wins debut as Lakers finish off Rockets


Walton wins debut as Lakers finish off Rockets


LOS ANGELES -- Jordan Clarkson scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Lakers won coach Luke Walton's debut, holding off the Houston Rockets 120-114 on Wednesday night.

D'Angelo Russell scored 20 points and Julius Randle added 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the young Lakers, who got off to an exciting start in the franchise's first season without Kobe Bryant since 1995.

With a revamped roster coming off the worst season in the 16-time champion team's history, Los Angeles surged in the fourth quarter of an auspicious opener under Walton, the 36-year-old former Lakers forward.

James Harden had 34 points, a career-high 17 assists and eight rebounds for the Rockets, who lost in former Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni's debut on the Houston bench.

The Lakers played an up-tempo, aggressive offensive game under Walton, and nobody seized the moment better than Clarkson, who came off the bench in his first game since signing a $50 million contract. His 3-pointer put the Lakers up 116-112 with 1:48 left, and the Lakers hung on while the Rockets missed a long series of open shots in the final minute.

Brandon Ingram scored nine points in the No. 2 pick's NBA debut for the Lakers. Timofey Mozgov had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Luol Deng had seven points in their Lakers debuts.

After matching the franchise record with 14 first-half assists, Harden tied his career high with his 16th early in the third quarter. The Los Angeles native managed only six points in the fourth quarter, going 1 for 5, and his teammates were a combined 5 for 16.


Hall of Famer Bill Walton proudly wore a purple Lakers T-shirt to his son's official coaching debut. Walton's mother and three brothers also attended the game. "The Walton force will be strong tonight," Luke said with a grin. "There's definitely nerves and excitement right now, but mostly there's no time to think about how incredible this is, and the opportunity. It's more focused on watching film and getting the prep work in for tonight's game."


The Lakers fired D'Antoni after he went 27-55 in 2013-14, the first of a franchise-record three straight non-playoff seasons. When D'Antoni was asked before the game about reflecting on his time in LA, the coach quickly quipped: "I try not to. ... No, I loved it. I actually did. Manhattan Beach is probably the greatest place to stay. Great friends. They treated me nice, (Lakers owner) Jim (Buss) and (general manager) Mitch (Kupchak). It just didn't fit. It just didn't work."


Rockets: Clint Capela, the 6-foot-9 Swiss forward, replaced Dwight Howard in the middle of the lineup.

Lakers: Metta World Peace began his 17th NBA season, picking up three fouls in his first two minutes while guarding Harden. ... Before the game, they solidified their young core by picking up their 2017-18 contract options on Russell, Randle and Larry Nance Jr. ... Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, director Peter Berg, YG, Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attended the game.


Rockets: At Dallas on Friday in the opener of a home-and-home series.

Lakers: Open a four-game road trip at Utah on Friday.

Instant Replay: Cousins, Kings cruise in opener vs Suns

Instant Replay: Cousins, Kings cruise in opener vs Suns


The Sacramento Kings rolled into Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort Arena and blew away the Suns on Wednesday night by a final of 113-94. The young upstart Suns tried to make a game out of it in the early fourth quarter, but Sacramento turned to their veterans who delivered down the stretch.

DeMarcus Cousins got into foul trouble early, but still found a way to drop in 24 points and grab six rebounds in 24 minutes manning the middle. Once he was in the flow of the defense, Cousins came to the aid of his teammates, stepping in and cutting off the baseline on multiple possessions.

Like Cousins, Rudy Gay didn’t look great early, but he still managed to score 22 points in the win. There was a sequence in the third quarter when Gay came alive on the defensive end, blocking back-to-back shots on the same defensive possession..

Starting for Darren Collison, Ty Lawson ran the offense better than expected, posting nine points, six rebounds and seven assists in 35 minutes of action.

Garrett Temple filled in as the reserve point guard spot and added 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting.

Matt Barnes provided a spark off the bench, tossing in 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Eleven of 12 players that stepped on the floor for Sacramento scored and nine players players dropped in six points or more in the win.  

Eric Bledsoe had a nice night for the Suns, scoring 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting with five assists. T.J. Warren chipped in 14 points and five rebounds while playing solid defense on Gay early. Devin Booker added 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, but he missed all three of his long range shots.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER -- Cousins couldn’t set the tempo early, but when he got it rolling in the third quarter, it was lights out for the Suns. There are plenty of nights that Cousins will be asked to do more, but with a big lead, the Kings didn’t need a typical showing from their All-Star center.

TURNING POINT -- Sacramento finished the first half on a 16-1 run and took a 57-38 lead into the intermission. The Suns kept it within 20 for most of the night and even made a run at the end of third, but the game was decided in the few minutes leading to the intermission.

INJURY UPDATE -- Sacramento enters the season with a full roster of healthy bodies. Matt Barnes struggled with a rib injury during camp, but played a big 27 minutes for the Kings  in the opener.

WHAT'S NEXT -- The Kings return home from Phoenix following the game where the the San Antonio Spurs are waiting for them. Thursday night’s home opener marks the first official game in the new Golden 1 Center as the Kings look to improve to 2-0 on the season.