Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March Madness Bracket Breakdown

For you number crunchers out there (Rotten?) here is a graphic that illustrates the tournament history by percentages and seeds since the 64 team format was first introduced in 1985. For those of you not yet in the Spitblood March Madness Bracket Challenge CLICK HERE now to sign up. Spots are filling fast.

March Madness betting

Created by Silver Oak Online Casino. Read the whole blog and other infographics by Silver Oakhere.

The Ed K Saga - GOAT - Part V - Safeties


No position on defense has been altered by the arrival of Gary Patterson and his 4-2-5 defense more than safety. Not only does it employ three safeties, but one – strong safety (like White, Hodge and Jones) – is more like an extremely fast linebacker. Pre-GP, you can almost count on one hand the number of hard-hitting, fast and sticky-fingered safeties TCU has had.

1 -- Tejay Johnson (’11): The most amazing fact in the amazing career of Johnson is that as a sophomore he was the only member of TCU’s defensive 11 to NOT be named all-conference. And he wound up being the best of the bunch. Consensus All-American in 2010 and two-time All-MWC, he was the defensive “quarterback” at free safety on the nation’s best defense in ’08, ’09 and ’10 – the only starter on all three top-ranked squads.

2 -- Marvin White (’07): If not for Johnson, it would be a no-brainer who TCU’s best-ever safety was. Check out YouTube if you want to see the famous WHAMMY he put on TTech’s Robert Johnson – if you dare. No safety has ever been better in run support. He was ALWAYS around the football. A two-time, All-MWC wrecking machine, he led the Frogs in tackles AND interceptions on that awesome ’06 defense.

3 – Frank Horak (’67): Grim-faced No. 19 was a second-team All-American and two-time All-SWC performer (in ’65 and ’66) for the great Abe Martin. He led the Frogs with six picks in ’66, often baiting quarterbacks to throw his way. The Caldwell native was also one of four players in TCU history to return a kickoff 100 yards. Hey, the guy made Playboy’s 1966 All-American team too, so there.

4 – Lyle Blackwood (’73): Better known for his long, productive NFL career, especially with the Dolphins, he was All-SWC in 1971 and 1972 and a second-team All-American in ‘72. Known for his acrobatic interceptions (he had five in ’71 alone), he once intercepted two Washington Huskies passes for a TCU-record 104 return yards.

5 -- Stephen Hodge (’09): Maybe the hardest-hitting Frog safety of all time, he was a two-time All-MWC performer, who also excelled on special teams. Can you say bone-crunching? He’s most remembered for his outstanding play – and huge interception off Kellen Moore -- against Boise State in the ’08 Poinsettia Bowl.

6 -- Byron Linwood (’85): The quiet menace from Pittsburg, Linwood was the defensive heart of Jim Wacker’s best team, the 8-4 1984 squad. All-Southwest Conference that season at strong safety, he flew to the football and hardly ever missed a tackle.

7 -- Sam Baugh (’37): Dutch Meyer called him the “greatest athlete I ever saw” and who are we to argue? No. 45 from Sweetwater was a two-time All-American (consensus in ’36) and College Football Hall-of-Famer. Not only a legendary passer and punter – yes punter! – but ol’ Sammy was a pretty doggone good tackler and defender as a safety. Fun fact: He was twice All-SWC in baseball!

8 -- Colin Jones (’11): Already a special teams star, injury cost him much of his junior year, but he came back with a vengeance as a senior -- seemingly playing better every week – climaxing with a peerless performance in the 2011 Rose Bowl. Only a Mountain West second-teamer, he nonetheless typified the “hybrid” safety under Patterson – linebacker tough and cornerback fast.

9 – Falanda Newton (’89): The 1988 Rogers Trophy winner as TCU MVP, the dude could cover A LOT of ground – fast. He was a 1987 All-Southwest Conference choice for the rebuilding, NCAA-sanctioned Frogs and hauled in 15 career interceptions for a school-record 274 return yards, including an 85-yard return against Houston in ’86. He had 302 career tackles, 20 in one game.

10 (tie) -- Reggie Hunt (’00): Patterson’s first star safety (when he was defensive coordinator), he was a first-team, All-WAC pick as a junior and a second-teamer as a senior on TCU’s co-conference champs in 1999. Also a talented kick returner, he finished with 271 career tackles, three interceptions and three sacks.

10 (tie) – David Roach (’08): Sometimes lost amid the White/Buchanan/Bonner/Coleman/Hodge buzzsaw, Roach was a killer open-field tackler and blitzer at both weak safety and free safety. He was second-team All-MWC in 2007.

10 (tie) -- Brian Bonner (’08): Versatile (he played all three safety positions) and quick, Bonner also had some of TCU’s biggest hits. Remember? KA-POW! Second-team All-MWC as a junior, he was also a two-time, all-conference selection as a punt returner.

Honorable Mention -- Jimmy Lawrence (’36), Marvin Godbolt (’05), Curtis Fuller (’01), Allanda Smith (’84), Jeremy Modkins (’06), Tekerrein Cuba (’12)

School Dance TONIGHT.

At 7:00PM this evening Daniel Meyer Coliseum will host its first post season basketball game since... well... maybe ever? Have the Frogs ever hosted an NIT game? The world may never know... The Frogs' matchup with the Horizon League's Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers is, to this point, the high water mark of what has been the second best TCU Basketball season in 20 years. The Frogs enter the game in a 2 game skid after having their home win streak snapped by SDSU and getting pasted by tourney bound CSU in the MWC tournament, but are hoping to use that DMC mojo to extend their season. Playing in what could be his last home game, you'd expect Hank Thorns to come out and prepared and use the bad taste the past week has left in his mouth to grab a W. The CSU game was always a dangerous matchup as the Rams were playing for an at large NCAA bid while the Frogs were pretty much CBI or bust, but it was still disheartening to watch them fold like they did. Five more wins could rewrite that story in a big way.

The Panthers enter the contest 20-13 and 11-7 in the Horizon League where they finished in a tie for third during the regular season. Like the Frogs, the Panthers were also embarassed in their Conference tourney, losing 71-49 to Butler, and are looking to avenge a poor end to their season with a post-season run of their own. With a starting line up featuring on Juniors and Seniors , the Panthers have tested themselves all season, losing tough games to Michigan State, Wisconsin and Marquette, any of which could find themselves in New Orleans at the end of the month. Seniors Tony Meier and Kaylon Williams lead all Milwaukee scorers with 11 a piece, although they under-performed a bit as the season wore down. Look for them to come out firing.

As for what the "experts" think, it's pretty fairly matched. Heck, if you believe ESPN's "accuscore" system, the Panthers covering is a lock and there is only a 1% discretion between the Frogs winning and losing. The Frogs enter the game as 4 point favorites, but you'd have to think this one would be closer to one or even on a neutral court. TCU holds the edge in three of the four major statistical categories - points per game, assists and FG percentage- and rebounding is fairly close with the Panthers pulling down two more per game.

Where the Panthers kill you, though, is on defense, something the Frogs are rarely interested in, if ever. Particularly, the Panthers are interested in 3-point defense, where they rank 6th nationally. Considering how often the Frogs live and die by long range shots, this is particularly ominous. Even more problematic, though, is that the Panthers play the same style as TCU, jacking up 22 3's per game vs. our 20... and TCU doesn't defend the perimeter well. At all. The Frogs allow opponents to convert 38% of their 3 point attempts. As a reference, if a team shot 38% on threes for the season, it would be close to an NBA record. That's, how you say, not good. Typically when a team shoots as many threes as the Frogs and Panthers do, it's because they're lacking physically underneath. However, both teams feature length under the basket, so this one could come down to who wins the rebounding battle, a staple of TCU victories this season.

I'll be honest - I don't feel great about this. Yes, TCU has played solidly at home and yes they have pulled some upsets. However, the UNLV victory in OT came after a furious comeback and the SDSU game was only forced into OT because of a similar comeback. Milwaukee is by no means the caliber of team that those two are, but they are experienced and play solid D. I think it'll come down to the wire and could go either way. Could a TCU win be the yin to SMU firing their version of Doherty's yang? Can home court advantage push the Frogs to their first post-season win since 2005? YOU can help decide by showing up tonight. See you guys there.

Spitblood Discussion Question: Seat Selection Progress/Process

You Think Patterson Got To Pick First?
We haven't touched on the seat selection process in a while.  We also haven't had a daily discussion in a while so I figured I'd try to fire everyone back up.  As things kicked off this week, there seems to be a lot of worry/speculation/and frustration with the process.  What are your thoughts on the seat selection process so far?  Where are you hoping to be able to sit?  When do you pick?  Let us know anything and everything about where you hope to rest your cheeks come Frog Football Season.

Morning Dump