Tag Archives: Utah Utes

The first college basketball stock report of 2013

Conference play is officially underway in most conferences, which means that it’s time to evaluate whether it’s time to buy, sell or hold stock in some of the country’s top college basketball teams.

BUY

Butler

Brad Stevens has the Butler Bulldogs looking up as they head into A-10 play. (Image courtesy of http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1446736-butlers-brad-stevens-the-most-job-secure-coach-in-college-basketball)
Brad Stevens has the Butler Bulldogs looking up as they head into A-10 play. (Image courtesy of http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1446736-butlers-brad-stevens-the-most-job-secure-coach-in-college-basketball)

The Bulldogs’ two losses came in the team’s first five games and since their loss to Illinois, who is currently ranked eleventh, Brad Stevens’ squad has rattled off nine straight victories, including a win over No. 1 Indiana. Butler is playing their trademark tough defense and the Bulldogs have wins over Marquette, North Carolina and Northwestern in addition to knocking off the Hoosiers. Butler is the favorite to win the A-10 and its stock can continue to rise with a good conference record.

VCU

The Rams suffered three early losses to Wichita State, who is likely the second best team in the Missouri Valley, Duke and Missouri. However, VCU rebounded and is 12-3 with favorable chances to win a wide open Atlantic 10.

Minnesota

The Golden Gophers started the season unranked but have won their way to the ninth spot in the rankings. Their lone loss was to Duke, which is certainly nothing to be ashamed of considering the Blue Devils’ success this season. Minnesota is on a nine game win streak and has won six consecutive games by double digits, with the latest being a 76-63 home win against No. 18 Michigan State.

Kansas State

In Bruce Weber’s first year as head coach of the Wildcats, Kansas State is off to an impressive 12-2 record. K-State lost to Michigan and Gonzaga early in the season but have put those behind them with wins over Florida and Oklahoma State. The Wildcats will be in the mix of teams competing for second place in the Big 12 behind Kansas.

Kentucky

UK was way overrated at No. 3 in the preseason but the Wildcats have had time to work out some of their kinks in their non-conference schedule. Ryan Harrow gives them a good option at point guard that they were missing early in the season. They lost to Duke and Louisville, two of the top four teams in the country, and Notre Dame in their first true road test. Many of the growing pains are out of the way and a top three finish in the SEC isn’t out of the question as the will compete with Florida and Missouri for the conference title.

SELL

Ohio State

Brandon Paul and the Fighting Illini handled their business against Ohio State and make basketball fans wonder how good the Buckeyes really are. (Image courtesy of http://www.toledoblade.com/Ohio-State/2013/01/05/No-11-Illinois-rebounds-with-home-win-over-No-8-Buckeyes-74-55.html)
Brandon Paul and the Fighting Illini handled their business against Ohio State and make basketball fans wonder how good the Buckeyes really are. (Image courtesy of http://www.toledoblade.com/Ohio-State/2013/01/05/No-11-Illinois-rebounds-with-home-win-over-No-8-Buckeyes-74-55.html)

The Buckeyes have faced three ranked teams-Duke, Kansas and Illinois-and lost all three games. With six ranked teams in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes will have to win big games, especially on the road, and they haven’t proven that they’re up to the challenge just yet.

Pittsburgh

The Panthers cracked the AP Top 25 with an appearance at No. 24 but it will be short-lived after losing to Cincinnati and Rutgers in their first two Big East games, which makes then tied for last place in the conference. Pittsburgh had two freshmen in the starting lineup, which could make for a slow start to conference play.

Cincinnati

Mick Cronin’s Bearcats reached as high as eighth in the rankings but Cincinnati lost to New Mexico and St. John’s in the team’s last three games. UC has a challenging next matchup when it hosts No. 21 Notre Dame on Monday.

Wisconsin

The Badgers entered the season in the AP Top 25 but fell quickly out of the polls after losses to Florida, Creighton, Virginia and Marquette. Wisconsin plays Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State in consecutive games in January, which bodes for a difficult month and a bad start to Big Ten play.

HOLD

Duke

The Blue Devils have passed every test that has been thrown at them this season but they can only move down in the rankings from the No. 1 spot. Duke will be expected to win the ACC but North Carolina State, North Carolina or Maryland all have the talent to upset the Blue Devils in conference play.

Arizona

Sean Miller’s Wildcats are the best team out West but San Diego State, Colorado and Utah’s close losses have shown that Arizona is vulnerable and it could suffer its first loss to a PAC-12 opponent this month.

Illinois

The Fighting Illini are a very difficult team to examine. They won by double digits against Butler and on the road against Gonzaga. Then Illinois lost to Missouri and Purdue in a three-game stretch, followed by a dominating win over Ohio State. Illinois is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten but their up and down play gives the impression that they will have their share of impressive wins and tough losses this season.

Oklahoma State

The Cowboys blew out North Carolina State early in the season but have lost consecutive games to No. 10 Gonzaga and No. 25 Kansas State, which means that Oklahoma State still has room for improvement in the remainder of the season.

Michigan

The country’s No. 2 team is off to a 15-0 start but it is only a matter of time until the Wolverines lose their first game. The Big Ten schedule for every team is a mine field–one bad step or slip up and Michigan can receive the first blemish on its 2012-13 campaign. However, the Wolverines are one of the best teams in the country and will give Indiana a run for its money to win the Big Ten.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sports.Eat.Sleep.Repeat.!

December 2nd Vlog

I talk about the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, whether the Chiefs-Panthers game should be played as scheduled, the passing of former NCAA men’s basketball coach Rick Majerus, if this year’s Kentucky squad is the worst under John Calipari, and whether Duke or Indiana should be ranked number one.

Hoosiers Experience Growing Pains at the Bulldog Classic

Last weekend’s Bulldog Classic, which was hosted by the University of Georgia, gave the Hoosiers women’s tennis team the opportunity to compete against some of the country’s top collegiate talent despite a last-minute scheduling change.

The tournament was originally supposed to feature the University of Utah as the fourth team but the Utes backed out at the last minute.

“In thirty-nine years of coaching, I’ve never experienced a tournament with such poor organization as this,” IU Coach Loring said. “It wasn’t the fault of any of the coaches or players at the Bulldog Classic but was the result of Utah not showing up.”

Coach Loring said that the Bulldog Classic was a great experience for the team despite the poor organization of the tournament. Courtesy of http://www.iuhoosiers.com/sports/w-tennis/spec-rel/092111aaa.html

Georgia and Virginia brought four players each, six of whom are nationally ranked, to IU’s eight, which meant that the Bulldogs and Cavaliers intermingled to form a singles order of eight players. Coach Loring cited one example where one of the IU players who played in the team’s seventh position competed against another team’s second best player, which would never happen in a typical tournament, barring extreme circumstances.

Despite the last-minute organizational changes to the tournament, Coach Loring said that the women got great experience from playing tough competition in every match in Athens, Ga.

“With the exception of Leslie, I’m not sure that any of our players were favored in any of our matches last weekend,” he said. “At the Adidas Hoosier Classic, we were favored in about half of our matches, which is the best that you can hope for in a tournament. However, the difficult matches gave the team a lot of opportunities to learn and to be coached.”

Match play started Friday afternoon in Athens. Senior Leslie Hureau and sophomore Alecia Kauss both won their first sets against their ranked opponents before falling in three sets. Georgia’s No. 53 Lauren Herring defeated Hureau 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Virginia Cavalier Li Xi, who is ranked No. 77, knocked off Kauss 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

In the other singles matches on the first day of competition, Georgia’s Maho Kowase, who was the highest individually ranked player in the field at No. 37, beat Katie Klyczek 6-2, 7-5. Her teammates Kate Fuller (No. 62) and Makenzie Craft defeated Jithmie Jayawickrema and Shannon Murdy in straight sets.

Virginia’s Stephanie Nauta won her match against Sohpie Garre 6-2, 6-2. No. 103 Erin Vierra of Virginia bested Carolyn Chupa 6-0, 6-1 and fellow Cavalier and the No. 99-ranked singles player in the country, Maria Fuccillo, topped Gabrielle Rubenstein 6-3, 6-0.

In doubles, the Hoosiers came up short in their four matches in the opening day of the Bulldog Classic. Georgia’s No. 30-ranked tandem of Fuller and Herring defeated Hureau/Garre 8-4. Kauss/Murdy went down by the same score to No. 50 Kowase/Lilly Kimbell. Chupa/Klyczek fell 8-3 to Vierra/Macie Epstein. The Rubenstein/Jayawickrema duo was the closest to pulling out a win but was defeated 8-5 by Fuccillo/Xi.

IU picked up its first win of the weekend in a doubles match against Virginia. Hureau and Garre teamed up to defeat the No. 41 team of Xi and Nauta 8-4. Indiana was very close to picking up two more doubles wins. Kauss/Murdy fell 8-6 to Virginia’s Vierra/Epstein and Chupa/Klyczek were also defeated 8-6 by the No. 30 team of Fuller/Herring.

Hureau took her opponent to the third set for the second day in a row but was defeated by Virginia’s Nauta in a tiebreaker 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (3). Kauss was defeated by Kowase 6-1, 6-1 and Garre lost to Fuller 6-0, 6-1. Chupa and Rubenstein also lost in straight sets to Georgia Bulldogs.

Against Virginia, Klyczek lost 6-3, 6-3 to Xi, Jayawickrema was defeated 6-3, 6-4 by Epstein, and Murdy came up short to Fuccillo 7-6 (3), 6-2.

Coach Loring said that he won’t find out how they truly performed at the Bulldog Classic until later in the season but is pleased with the experience and learning opportunities that the Hoosiers gained by playing against top-ranked competition.

Bulldog Classic Preview

After hosting the Adidas Hoosier Classic at the end of September, the Indiana women’s tennis team spent the past two weeks gearing up for the University of Georgia’s Bulldog Classic. The tournament features the No. 6-ranked Georgia Bulldogs, No. 15-ranked Virginia Cavaliers, and No. 34-ranked Utah Utes.

The Bulldog Classic is structured in a format called hidden duals.

“In the fall, teams don’t really play dual matches and dual matches have official scoring that require you to use a play date every time you have one,” Coach Lin Loring said. “We never actually play the same school in singles and doubles on the same day. It will be really loose as far as the lineup and I can do anything with my lineup any day that I want.”

Coach Loring will have flexibility in determining his lineups for the Bulldog Classic. Courtesy of http://newsinfo.iu.edu/web/page/normal/19790.html

In the practices since the Adidas Hoosier Classic, the team worked onstaying up on the baseline, its ground strokes, doing a better job mixing up its drives and lobs in doubles, placement of serves, and keeping their hands at the net in doubles.

One advantage of a hidden dual tournament is that the singles and doubles orders can change every day.

“No one really cares if the other teams’ lineups are in order because it’s not an official dual match,” Loring said. “Everybody just wants to get matches in.”

With the strength of the competition, every match will challenge the Hoosiers. Seven of IU’s opponents from Georgia and Virginia are nationally ranked. The women will be tested against top-notched singles players, including No. 37-ranked Maho Kowase, No. 53-ranked Lauren Herring, No. 62-ranked Kate Fuller, No. 77-ranked Li Xi, No. 95 Hana Tomljanovic, No. 99-ranked Maria Fuccillo, and No. 103-ranked Erin Vierra.

In doubles, Georgia and Virginia each have two nationally ranked doubles teams. The Bulldogs have No. 30-ranked Kate Fuller and Lauren Herringand No. 50-ranked Maho Kowase and Lilly Kimbell. The Cavaliers boast No. 20-ranked Hana Tomljanovic and Erin Vierra as well as No. 41-ranked Li Xi and Stephanie Nauta.

In addition to the tough match play, traveling and playing on the road bring new elements to the Hoosiers in the Bulldog Classic.

“We’re playing on the road, which will help get us ready for when we travel in the conference to Iowa and Nebraska,” Loring said. “Since they’re our only matches that require plane flights in the Big Ten, this tournament will be a good trip to simulate competing away from home.”

As the women’s tennis Hoosiers continue their fall season, Loring says they are looking to keep seeking improvement and to work on their doubles play.

On Friday, IU will face Virginia in doubles and Georgia in singles. The Hoosiers will compete in singles matches against Utah and doubles matches against Virginia on Saturday. Sunday, the final day of the Bulldog Classic, will feature singles matches against Utah.