Sunday, March 30, 2008

Final Four Semis - Uni Tourni Style

So, I've gotten a chance to sleep on my uni tourni final four. And having watched the real Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games this weekend, I'm now ready to proceed with crowning my inaugural Uni Tourni Champion. First, the semi-final matchups...

First Semi-Final

(1) UNC vs. (12) Villanova

I'm now somewhat sick of the SOD. It looked good when it came out, but now it looks a little silly to me. Why? For one, there's no trim on the uniforms. And there's really no continuity. Sure, it's fresh and clean and simple, but it takes away a little bit from what a uniform should be....and while UNC still maintains that continuity with the paisley going along the sides (contradicting everything I stood for above), Villanova's unis are just a better presentation. The SOD design has a squarish (is that a word?) look. If I could compare UNC's unis from only a few years back, before the terrible shoulder horns, they'd beat this year's version. Meanwhile, Nova shows off two shades of blue, and has this neat alternate type of mesh material. It adds to the look. I think UNC took a step back in going to the SOD (like they had a choice, right?). Nova took a step forward with these. Upset city, baby!

Winner: Villanova

Second Semi-Final

(2) Texas vs. (8) BYU

Everything I said above applies to the 'Horns SOD unis. It's a solid look, but now that we're in the finals, I have to mention the burnt orange. It's unique, but I'm simply not feeling it. And I am still in love with BYU's classic design. I wish more schools would switch (back) to this. So maybe the message here for both matchups is to Nike - bring back the normal shoulder straps to these uniforms. Let the players breathe again. And the ones that still prefer to wear undershirts will now feel less ridiculous doing so.

Winner: BYU

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Here's Looking at You, NBA

Who's in need of a uniform change in the NBA? Forbesy does a quick rundown...

Can't Touch This
Boston
- Too classic. I like the St. Patty's Day version and the alternates, but there is no need to change anything.
Toronto - The look is fine for now. I think the purple shouldn't have been scrapped, but I might be in the minority on that one.
Cleveland - I'm OK with the wine and gold. It was definitely a few notches up from what they were working with in the late 90s.
Chicago - No need to change this great design. It's all about the shorts.
Indiana - Great update a year or two ago. No need to change.
Orlando - Recent tweaks have made this a solid look.
Miami - Terrible team, but nice unis.
San Antonio - Although they play a boring style, this former ABA team sports a great look. I couldn't imagine any way to improve.
Memphis - Solid update with the Stanford-ish font. Great color scheme. No need to change at all.
Utah - I actually would love to see an updated 80s uni, but the latest change of a few years ago was a huge improvement from earlier this decade. And I love the light blue alts.
Seattle - I'm glad they came back to the current unis. The Payton-Kemp era ones were a little too cartoonish.
L.A. Lakers - I like how they've updated their great look over the years. Most teams should take a few notes on this.
Golden State - These have grown on me, and I'm cool with the look. If they sprung "The City" on us or even brought back the unis from the Run TMC era, I'd be down with it. Who wouldn't?

Needs Improvement
New York
- Similar to what the Lakers have done, but I think they need to get rid of the side panels. Go back to the days of Ewing and simplify.
Detroit - Again, they're trying to bring back the old look, but the new font just kills it. It makes me nauseous. Block letter it, people.
Milwaukee - I was excited when the new red and green unis came back, but they're a little too shiny for one, and they needed to update the "Bucks" on the front. Make it all one font size. Or mix in a "Milwaukee" like in the days of Big Lew.
New Orleans - I think we need to darken up the look a little. And maybe tweak the font, as it seems a little too weak. Something's slightly off with these unis, and maybe I didn't nail it.
Denver - I prefer the alternates, but the powder blues are nice. Maybe take away the shinyness as powder blue is a striking look as it is.
Portland - I think they need to go back to the lowercase "blazers". I never liked the latest update.
Sacramento - Solid unis, but I prefer the ones from the Webber days. Or bring back the Reggie Theus, K.C. Kings ones!!!

Extreme Makeover
N.J. Nets - Well, they're moving to Brooklyn soon, so I'm expecting big things from Jay-Z and company. Just don't let Diddy design the alts. I'd take the Otis Birdsong/Micheal Ray Richardson/Buck Williams unis over these current ones any time.
Philly - Where do I begin? I worked at Modell's the year they came out with the logo that they use now (1997). Whereas the update in piping and the cut looks better than last year, these guys seriously need to "throw it back". Mo Cheeks and Moses Malone are on the bench. World B. Free is in the organization. The fans are starting to care about this current group. With Iverson gone, it's time for a new look. My wish? Bring back the 1977 look. It would be PERFECT today.
Washington - Too cartoonish. And the gold and black alts don't help one bit. I don't care that they're not called the Bullets anymore. Do you disagree that "Wizards" wouldn't work with the old Jeff Ruland/Wes Unseld unis? There were stars all over those things. It screams "Wizards" to me.
Atlanta - WTF? There's no rhyme or reason to these new unis. Everyone is insulted by them. I know your team stinks, but the one thing you do have in your corner is the Human Highlight Reel and all the nostalgia that he'll provide for the next century. Bring back the red and yellow.
Charlotte - Try a simple, classic look. I think your team is blinded by these atrocities and you can see it in the win column.
Houston - The Yao era is here to stay, but these unis are very flimsy. I like the attempt, but there's no boldness.
Dallas - Throw these back to the Derek Harper days. You can easily update this look. The piping on the current unis is terrible. Too much going on and it's not a balanced look. I actually prefer the Diddy alternates. I need to stop mentioning Diddy.
Minnesota - Terrible font. The "Wolves" look of the Laettner days works a lot better. The unis are too cartoonish and need a change. It's been way too long. And that Garnett guy is gone, so time for an update.
Phoenix - I'm very partial to the classic Suns look from the days of Majerle, KJ, Chambers and Connie Hawkins. No reason why we can't see those come out every year. I like the attempt with the current ones, but they seem too futuristic to me.
L.A. Clippers - This team needs a major shake-up. Maybe changing the unis would be a start. I'm not opposed to the cursive "Clippers" but the side panels are boring. Maybe too thick. It's like they just pasted blue and red together and thought that would be good enough. Do something, Clippers. Anything!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Helping out the State Schools

I touched on this during my uni tourni. Both Washington State and Mississippi State have such annoying clusterfucks on the front of their jerseys.

Couldn't Mississippi State have tweaked this?














And why couldn't Washington State have made this simple adjustment? (Please excuse my horrible editing skills. As a popular YouTube videographer has said, I suck at photoshop)
















It's really not that hard to make a solid uniform.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Uni Tourni! - Final Four

In a tourney filled with seed upsets, but merely a few true major upsets, we've reached the Final Four. I believe you have a great representation of today's college basketball uniform. You have the fresh, new look of the Nike S.O.D. (System-of-Dress, in case you had no idea what this meant all along!), the unique trademarks that make a school stand out, some experimentation, and a classic template that, to be honest, all schools with more than one word names should take a look at (I'm talking to you, Mississippi State and Washington State!)

Here are the matchups:

East Region Winner
(1) UNC

versus

Midwest Region Winner
(12) Villanova


South Region Winner
(2) Texas

versus

West Region Winner
(8) BYU

I'm gonna sleep on this for a day or two. Feel free to comment in the meantime.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Uni Tourni! - West Region

How the west is won...

First Round
(1) UCLA over (16) Miss. Valley St.

Pretty simple one. Hard to beat UCLA.

(8) BYU over (9) Texas A&M

BYU has a classic look. Texas A&M has way too much going on with their side panels.

(5) Drake over (12) West. Ky.

WKU a little disproportionate. Drake keeps it simple.

(4) UConn over (13) San Diego

USD may have taken this if they had stuck to one shade for most of their trim and numbers.

(6) Purdue over (11) Baylor

Baylor trying too hard to be Oregon. Purdue is classic with a modern touch.

(3) Xavier over (14) Georgia

Bulldogs look a little lost with these. And the shoulder panels!!! Ugh!!

(7) West. Va. over (10) Arizona

Shame on the Wildcats for switching to the SOD. Their old unis were fantastic.

(2) Duke over (15) Belmont

Belmont puts up a solid fight, but Duke's unis are pretty classic.

Second Round
(8) BYU over (1) UCLA

I have some explaining to do. Or maybe UCLA does. It's one thing to celebrate your school's 100 national championships. It's one thing to do it amongst your school. It's another thing to do it so passive aggressively, showing off in front of the country, and have it affect a perfectly classic uniform. The "C" doesn't necessarily ruin it, but it screams pretension. It makes me slightly irritated when I see them take the floor. Meanwhile, BYU's uniforms are fantastic. BYU in an upset!

(4) UConn over (5) Drake

Drake's name plate is a little too NBA-ish for me. UConn has a fresh look, although the lines create a maze or something.

(3) Xavier over (6) Purdue

Apparently, Xavier changed up their secondary color this year. They also changed up their uniform, but it still beats Purdue.

(2) Duke over (7) West. Va.

Duke's unis are great. They've made some tweaks over the years, and I think the font has changed for the worse, but not enough to sway me here. WVU has some solid unis. The football team can take a lesson in fonts from these.

Sweet 16
(8) BYU over (4) UConn

Here's where UConn's maze doesn't work. It's forward-thinking, but I'm not there yet, and I'm not sure many are.

(2) Duke over (3) Xavier

Last year's Xavier uni would have possibly won this, but not this year's.

Elite 8
(8) BYU over (2) Duke

Here's where the Duke unis of the 1990s would have easily won. A little luster has been taken off their unis. Meanwhile, BYU's unis have a class and balance that I love. Michael Jackson's favorite school goes to the Final Four!

West Region Winner
BYU

Close Runner-Ups
Duke, UCLA

Uni Tourni! - South Region

The dirty, dirty...

First Round
(16) UT-Arlington over (1) Memphis

Memphis has some serious imbalance going on, and their collar is awful. I know I hate shoulder panels, but UTA's overall look is better.

(9) Oregon over (8) Miss. St.

This isn't football, so the Ducks' unis are slightly more bearable. But more importantly here, MSU needs to put that number in between the "Mississippi" and "State".

(12) Temple over (5) Mich. St.

In a close call, Temple moves on. I favor Michigan State's first iteration of the "State" unis after they won it all in 2000.

(4) Pitt over (13) Oral Roberts

ORU!!! It's just too big on there. Pitt has a solid look. I think they have the same template as Temple, so we'll see how that shakes out next round.

(6) Marquette over (11) Kentucky

Marquette is on to something with those pretty side panels, although the shoulders are a little unnecessary. Kentucky had better ones in the 90s.

(14) Cornell over (3) Stanford

Bring one home for the Ivy League. Stanford gave up on a solid look a few years back.

(7) Miami over (10) St. Mary's

The goth font isn't working for me.

(2) Texas over (15) Austin Peay

Go Peay! Or just go home.

Second Round
(9) Oregon over (16) UT-Arlington

I'm in favor of a bold look with shoulder panels over just plain shoulder panels.

(4) Pitt over (12) Temple

Pitt comes with a little less clutter and a better color scheme. Sorry, Temple. Sorry, Mom.

(6) Marquette over (14) Cornell

Just prettier to look at, although the white name on white jersey might start getting to me.

(2) Texas over (7) Miami

Orange and green are tough colors to work with. Texas keeps it simple and crisp.

Sweet 16
(4) Pitt over (9) Oregon

The unevenness now works against Oregon. Pitt has more balance and is just a nicer uniform. You can't even see Oregon's names on the back of their jerseys, even though they're there!!

(2) Texas over (6) Marquette

Classic and simple beats colorful, yet odd. Take away the shoulders for Marquette and color in the team name, and it may have swung the other way. Dare I say - follow Syracuse, and Marquette would have advanced.

Elite 8
(2) Texas over (4) Pitt

I don't want to sound redundant here, but the 'Horns have a cleaner look and maintain their identity. Pitt is solid, but not solid enough to advance.

South Region Winner
Texas

Close Runner-Ups
Pitt, Marquette


Uni Tourni! - Midwest Region

We continue with the Midwest region...

First Round
(16) Portland State over (1) Kansas

16 seeds can win in this tournament. Kansas messed up a good thing, especially changing their font this year. Throw it back, Chalkers!

(9) Kent State over (8) UNLV

Golden Flashes move on. The Rebels may as well have flasing lights and a scrolling marquee on their backs.

(12) Nova over (5) Clemson

In a touchy battle, with Nova's unequal shoulder stripes and Clemson's uniform being marred by their terrible shoulder panels.

(4) Vandy over (13) Siena

Not sure what Siena is doing with lots of yellow and white, and thank goodness Vandy didn't go with the home gold's, cuz they have the shoulder panels!

(11) K-State over (6) USC

In a matchup that Nike was moist over, K-State takes the cake (say that 10 times fast) with a slightly sharper edge.

(14) Cal-State Fullerton over (3) Wisconsin

CSF with the more classic look here.

(7) Gonzaga over (10) Davidson

Zags on thin ice, though, with the thick trim.

(2) G'Town over (15) UMBC

Hoyas switching to the SOD just in time, as UMBC would have made this a tougher decision.

Second Round

(9) Kent State over (16) Portland State

In a weak matchup, Kent State's bolder look prevails. Not much more to say here!

(12) Nova over (4) Vandy

Nova's color scheme is just bolder and more pleasant to look at. Vandy's font is boring and a little small. Let's see an SOD with "Vandy" on the chest!

(11) K-State over (14) Cal-State Fullerton

Too loud with the "Fullerton". K-State a much crisper look.

(2) G'Town over (7) Gonzaga

Gonzaga's trim is too thick. They had a better shot a few years back when we were still amazed at their success. Perhaps it's gone to their heads in the uni department. G'Town's home grays and paisley are tight, and look good with the SOD unis.

Sweet 16
(12) Nova over (9) Kent State

Weak matchup - Kent State is too busy with the side panels. Nova has a crisp look and I continue to love their color scheme. I hope no one is sensing a Philly bias here.

(11) K-State over (2) G'Town

It's Nike vs. Nike. SOD vs. SOD. I think the deciding factor was how the Hoyas' unis are a little off with the side panels. Sure, the paisley is there, but it's almost too bland. K-State is simple and dynamic.

Elite 8
(12) Nova over (11) K-State

Kudos to the risky double-colored shoulder stripes for Nova. Still manages to be simple and crisp. K-State bows out here being a little too boring - there's no real distinction in their unis, and the K-State novelty has worn off.

Midwest Region Winner
Villanova

Close Runner-Ups
K-State, G'Town






Uni Tourni! - East Region

In the spirit of not making these posts humongous, I'm going to provide links in the team names. So either you can see for yourself what I'm talking about or just take my word for it. I'm going with the uniforms that the teams are actually wearing for the first round game. In later rounds, I'll get into the full repertoire. Let's get it on...

First Round
(1) UNC over (16) Mt. St. Mary's

Hard to pick against UNC's classic ditties right now.

(8) Indiana over (9) Arkansas

In a battle of the same friggin' uniform, I have to side with the more storied program.

(5) Notre Dame over (12) George Mason

You'll soon discover that I have an aversion to the silly shoulder panels. Plus, Notre Dame might bust out the sweeter "Irish" uniforms later on.

(13) Winthrop over (4) Wash. St.

Too busy up front and numbers too big on the back for Wazzou.

(6) Oklahoma over (11) St. Joe's

I might have to make a personal visit to Hawk Hill to burn these uniforms.

(3) Louisville over (14) Boise St.

Shoulder panels!!! Gotta pick one, and the Cards have a sharper look going on. Barely.

(7) Butler over (10) South Alabama

Bulldogs with a solid look. USA's font size is too tiny. Otherwise, this would have been closer.

(15) American over (2) Tennessee

Maybe it's the color scheme, but the Vol's need to go back to the basics, IMO. Or, maybe it's my allegiance to Jeff Jones! Wahoowa!

Second Round
(1) UNC over (8) Indiana

In a squeaker, the Heels move on. I love the classic look that the Hoosiers bring, and it's a shame this is only a second round matchup, but the Carolina blue and argyle combo is hard to beat.

(13) Winthrop over (5) Notre Dame

Winthrop wins with a fluid design, as the Irish just couldn't hang on with their lack of trim on those shorts. Need something there, Golden Domers.

(6) Oklahoma over (3) Louisville

Sooners benefit from the SOD with a clean, classic look. Louisville is just a little too busy.

(7) Butler over (15) American

I have a thing with multi-stripe trim, but American put up a good fight here.

Sweet 16
(1) UNC over (13) Winthrop

Not much of a fight here.

(7) Butler over (6) Oklahoma

The more classic uniform prevails, hailing from the more classic Hinkel Fieldhouse. It just all fits so nicely. Here's a template that's hard to go against.

Elite 8
(1) UNC over (7) Butler

Intense battle. UNC's color scheme and argyle are a classic combo that have withstood the tests of time and Nike's attempts to screw it up. If you played this game at Hinkel, I'd stare more at the Carolina blue roads than I would the Butler homes. I feel like I should have a loser's bracket, because Butler could easily crawl back into the mix.

East Region Winner
UNC

Close Runner-Ups
Indiana, Butler

Monday, March 17, 2008

Uni Tourni!

The 65 teams are now set in the NCAA tournament. You've seen my efforts to predict the bracket, and I plan on breaking it down for y'all at some point this week - or at least offering my picks.

In the meantime, it's time to have a little creative fun with this tourney. It's time for my inaugural "Uni Tourni."

Nevermind the seedings or the talent levels of these teams. The only thing that will determine whether they survive and advance are the clothes on their backs. So, without further ado, let's start with the play-in game.

(16) Coppin State vs. (16) Mount St. Mary's
























There's a reason why Coppin State is in the play-in game. WTF is up with that collar? I barely had to look at The Mount's uniforms to make this decision - and obviously, I didn't even consider The Mount's shorts. I don't have to. Mount St. Mary's advances. Bring on North Carolina.

Next up: (1) North Carolina vs. (16) Mount St. Mary's

Bracket Stab Stats

The tourney is ON! I'm pumped, as I hope you are, too.

Below are my stats on how well I predicted this year's field. Important to note - my last "stab" was made at approx 3am on the morning of Selection Sunday. I was out having a few cold ones and watching the championship games at a bar, so missing Georgia was something out of my control. I'm not sure who I would have dropped out with them taking another at-large away. Looking at my last four in, it would probably have been VCU or Dayton, but who really knows?! Anyways, next year I'll try to spend all of Selection Sunday at home, so I can get as close as possible.

Out of 65 teams, I correctly predicted 62. I missed Oregon, Villanova, and Georgia. Instead, I put in Dayton, VCU, and Illinois St.

Here are my seeding stats:

Exact seed: 30 out of 65 (46.2%)
1 Seed Off: 21 out of 65 (32.3%)
2 Seeds Off: 9 out of 65 (13.8%)
3 Seeds Off: 1 out of 65 (1.5%)
4 Seeds Off: 1 out of 65 (1.5%)
Missed Altogether: 3 out of 65 (4.6%)

So, I nailed 51 out of 65 within 1 seed. I can live with that. Of note, I also nailed 2 exact pairings, with the Vandy-Siena and Memphis-UTA pairings. When the brackets were announced, it was like deja vu up in this mother!

Now, let the real March Madness begin...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bracket Stab - Selection Sunday!

It's really late in the evening or really early in the morning - depending on how you look at it - but one thing is for certain...it's Selection Sunday! It's finally here! Seriously, this day is 10 times better than Christmas.

Below are my final predictions for the tourney. After posting this, I'll get some much needed rest and then just wait and see how close I really got to nailing these. Perhaps I'll put those stats up on Monday.

Lay your eyes on these....

East Region (Charlotte)

Raleigh
(1) UNC vs. (16) Coppin St. /Miss. Vall. St. (play-in game)
(8) Texas A&M vs. (9) St. Mary's

Tampa
(4) Vandy vs. (13) Siena
(5) UConn vs. (12) Oral Roberts

Washington, D.C.
(2) Georgetown vs. (15) Cornell
(7) USC vs. (10) Temple

Omaha
(3) Wisconsin vs. (14) Winthrop
(6) UNLV vs. (11) Miami, FL

West Region (Phoenix)

Anaheim
(1) UCLA vs. (16) Portland State
(8) Oklahoma vs. (9) Kent State

Washington, D.C.
(4) Pittsburgh vs. (13) Kentucky
(5) Indiana vs. (12) VCU

Birmingham
(2) Tennessee vs. (15) Mt. St. Mary's
(7) BYU vs. (10) Arizona

Tampa
(3) Xavier vs. (14) Austin Peay
(6) Marquette vs. (11) South Alabama

South Region (Houston)

Birmingham
(1) Memphis vs. (16) UT-Arlington or Northwestern St. (Southland Champ)
(8) Davidson vs. (9) Arkansas

Denver
(4) Michigan State vs. (13) George Mason
(5) Butler vs. (12) Baylor

Little Rock
(2) Texas vs. (15) UMBC
(7) Notre Dame vs. (10) West. Ky.

Anaheim
(3) Stanford vs. (14) Boise St.
(6) Clemson vs. (11) Illinois St.

Midwest Region (Detroit)

Denver
(1) Kansas vs. (16) Cal St. - Fullerton
(8) West Va. vs. (9) Miss. St.

Omaha
(4) Drake vs. (13) San Diego
(5) Washington St. vs. (12) Dayton

Raleigh
(2) Duke vs. (15) American
(7) Gonzaga vs. (10) Kansas St.

Little Rock
(3) Louisville vs. (14) Belmont
(6) Purdue vs. (11) St. Joe's

Last 4 Teams in:
Dayton
Baylor
Kentucky
VCU

First 4 Teams Out:
Oregon
Arizona St.
UMass
Villanova

Monday, March 3, 2008

Who's the Best in the Big East?

Simple question, right? As Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast my friend!"

Much has been said about West Virginia's "weak" Big East conference schedule, so I decided to see for myself just how weak that is compared to the other teams in the Big East. While crunching the numbers for this answer, I also went a little further and calculated the RPI for the Big East only, as if they were the only teams in Division 1. Here's what I found below...

Team W L Pct SOS
Notre Dame 12 4 0.750 0.546
Marquette 11 6 0.647 0.535
Villanova 7 9 0.438 0.520
Connecticut 12 4 0.750 0.515
Pittsburgh 9 7 0.563 0.507
St. John's 5 11 0.313 0.503
Rutgers 2 15 0.118 0.498
DePaul 5 11 0.313 0.494
Providence 5 11 0.313 0.494
Seton Hall 7 9 0.438 0.491
Syracuse 7 9 0.438 0.489
West Virginia 9 7 0.563 0.486
Louisville 14 3 0.824 0.484
Georgetown 14 3 0.824 0.484
Cincinnati 8 8 0.500 0.477
South Florida 3 13 0.188 0.452

Out of 16 teams, West Virginia has the 12th toughest schedule. So, yeah, they've played a pretty weak schedule in conference and they only have 9 wins to show for it.

So who's the best in the league? It ain't Georgetown, as most may think. Notre Dame has separated themselves as the team to beat with the highest RPI achieved against the toughest schedule. I say, look out for the Fighting Irish in the coming weeks.

Team W L Pct RPI
Notre Dame 12 4 0.750 0.586
Louisville 14 3 0.824 0.573
Georgetown 14 3 0.824 0.573
Connecticut 12 4 0.750 0.570
Marquette 11 6 0.647 0.554
Pittsburgh 9 7 0.563 0.519
West Virginia 9 7 0.563 0.510
Villanova 7 9 0.438 0.494
Cincinnati 8 8 0.500 0.481
Seton Hall 7 9 0.438 0.480
Syracuse 7 9 0.438 0.478
St. John's 5 11 0.313 0.453
DePaul 5 11 0.313 0.451
Providence 5 11 0.313 0.449
Rutgers 2 15 0.118 0.402
South Florida 3 13 0.188 0.397