ALDLAND is here with a pre-tournament podcast. We might be too late to give you much advice for this year’s bracket, but there is still good information and strategies in here for next year or for when you fill out that all important NCAA hockey tournament bracket. Upsets, final four teams and whether you should wear IU pants to the bar when IU isn’t playing . . . it’s all here.


Download the ALDLAND podcast at our Podcasts Page or stream it right here:

The NCAA still wants you to believe its rules carry the force of law

This is a topic that probably deserves further extrapolation, but for now, just take a moment to remember that a violation of NCAA rules, to which most of us are not subject, is not the same thing as violating the law. This was the lesson of the Nevin Shapiro foul-up. That doesn’t mean that the NCAA doesn’t want you to think they can’t act with the force of law, though. [Note that lawyers receive bonus law points for triple negatives. - Ed.] The latest example came this afternoon:

That’s the NCAA’s official news account, and the tweet contains a link to the NCAA’s Sports Wagering Brochure, which is not a legal advice document from a lawyer or the government. Its text says that a variety of gambling-related acts may constitute violations of NCAA rules. That’s fine. So is eating too much pasta.

The brochure’s images and layout attempt to tell a different story, though:


Point shaving is a federal crime, and sports gambling, like just about everything else, is a regulated activity. To say that the NCAA’s brochure clearly parses people’s obligations under the law, as compared with their obligations under the NCAA’s rules is as much of an understatement as Mercer is an underdog to win the NCAA tournament. Take a look at the full brochure layout and see if you agree.

Do you think the NCAA cares that it might have caused confusion about the extent of its enforcement authority vis-a-vis state and federal law? Don’t bet on it.


There’s not a lot going on in the sports world this week . . . OR IS THERE? Join your two favorite cohosts as we discuss the biggest piece of sports fiction to come out in, well, ever: “A Win for the Devils” by Jeremy Francis. We also discuss conference tournament season and share some of our picks to surprise in major and mid major tournaments across the country.


Download the ALDLAND podcast at our Podcasts Page or stream it right here:


Hello ALDLAND listeners, its the ALDLAND Podcast team, and we have quite the episode for you this week. Lip service is paid to the end of the Olympics and Canada is blamed for things that are assuredly their fault. If that’s not enough, your two favorite co-hosts get deep into discussing the NCAA tournament bubble.


Download the ALDLAND podcast at our Podcasts Page or stream it right here:


After an extended break the ALDLAND podcast is back and better than ever. College basketball is finally on the menu, as is discussion of a big trade in the MLB. And as always, listen for ALDLAND’s college football picks of the week.


Download the ALDLAND podcast at our Podcasts Page or stream it right here:

#2 Michigan State beats #1 Kentucky in the Champions Classic


In their second game of the season, the Michigan State Spartans jumped out to an early 10-0 lead and never trailed the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats en route to a four-point win, 78-74. For the most part, MSU looked like a typical experienced Tom Izzo team. They were physical, they caused and capitalized on turnovers, they were as effective as ever on scoring on inbound plays, and the team’s designated leaders led. Point guard Keith Appling showed that, from a positional standpoint, this is his team. Adreian Payne showed that he can control a game from any position on the floor. Sophomore and former Big Ten Freshman of the Year Gary Harris showed that he can be an even more complete player than he was last year. (Marcus thinks he can be the National Player of the Year this season.) Branden Dawson is back as a reliable gap-filler.

In listening to and watching tonight’s game, I noticed two things that were slightly different, at least in comparison with last year’s team. One is these Spartans’ ability and willingness to push the ball. Izzo’s Michigan State teams never have been strictly half-court operations, but the frequency with which they ran tonight, and the speed at which they did so, were notable. The second thing is that, as good as Payne is, he’s not going to be able to run the gauntlet of this season alone. Basically no big man can, and the absence of Derrick Nix clearly hurts the Spartans’ depth in the paint. (Nix, for his part, made his presence known online shortly after the final buzzer with the most Michigan State tweet ever.)

On the other side, Kentucky is a good team that will get even better, perhaps much better, before too long, and games like this, whatever, the outcome only serve to benefit John Calipari’s current project. Julius Randle, in particular, seemed to be everywhere for the Wildcats, especially in the second half, when he scored twenty-three of his twenty-seven points. Randle led all players in scoring and in rebounds, with thirteen. One aspect that Kentucky must improve is its free-throw shooting. They managed to bring their average above 50% thanks in part to plenty of opportunities (thirty-six overall, versus seventeen for Michigan State) to shoot from the line in the second half.

Looking forward, the sky may be the limit for young Kentucky, while Michigan State fans have to hope their very good, veteran team hasn’t peaked.

Vanderbilt basketball takes a hit

After losing Sheldon Jeter due to a transfer this spring, Kevin Stallings’ Vanderbilt Commodores lost two starters this week. The team’s leading rebounder last season, Kevin Bright, is off to play professional basketball in Germany, while Kedren Johnson, maybe the team’s best player, has been suspended from the team and is no longer enrolled at the university.

Vandy basketball may have been on a downswing after last season, but there were pieces to build around. Now, though, it looks like the tough times will last a bit longer at Memorial Gym.

Is Rick Pitino trying to sink his player’s draft stock?

russ smith louisvilleAfter Louisville guard Russ Smith’s team won the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, it was a little bit surprising when Smith’s father announced right after the game that his son was entering the NBA draft. It felt for whatever reason like a kneejerk sports parent move– just let the kid enjoy the moment for a while– and besides, Smith hadn’t had a great game and is a bit on the small side to boot. He was one of the best players on the best team this year, though, so it wasn’t surprising when Smith confirmed his dad’s statement the next day.

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino confirmed it too, until he didn’t. ESPN reports:

“Russ, I think, is 50-50,” [Pitino] told Sports Radio 790 in Louisville [today]. “He’s a very confused young man in terms of his decision right now. He didn’t want his dad to say that about him coming out. He wanted time to think of it.”

Yeesh. Does Pitino, who has coached at major college programs and in the NBA, think he’s helping his player with those statements? (He’s not.) Is he trying to force Smith to return to Louisville? (Maybe.) Is he showing early signs of tattoo ink poisoning? (Possibly.)

Why can’t college basketball coaches in the state of Kentucky leave well enough alone when it comes to their players declaring for the NBA draft?

A dozen thoughts on the NCAA national championship game: Louisville defeats Michigan 82-76

untitledLast night, Louisville outlasted Michigan to win the national championship game. A few thoughts as we awake from our Rick-Pitino-is-getting-a-tattoo nightmares:     Continue reading

Charging for content? The WSJ agrees: Addition by subtraction is the way to go

Sometimes I like to rag on the Wall Street Journal (recent examples here and here), but when their lead sportswriter comes out in agreement with an expressed opinion of mine, for the same reason, no less, you can be sure I’ll link to the article. From their NCAA tournament championship preview article today:

You will watch Monday night’s final even though there were some dodgy calls at the end of those Saturday games. Syracuse got hit with an offensive foul call in the final minute, down just two points. Now there are people who believe it was an honest-to-goodness charge and people who believe it was not a charge, arguing that the Michigan defender was not set, and the proper call would have been a block, sending the Orange to the line with a chance to tie. It was not the worst whistle or the best whistle ever—it was simply not clear. What is clear is that referees truly enjoy calling the offensive foul—it’s a showy call, with a flashy arm maneuver that looks like a dinner theater actor pointing the way to the restroom. Perhaps the solution to the pervasiveness of offensive foul calls is to make it less exciting to call. If a referee only got to slightly rub his or her temples, would ringing up a charge lose its appeal?

Read the whole article here. Watch a truly absurd officiating moment that would have lead this post had it been a charging call in a college game here.