Saturday, April 24, 2010

biggest comeback of the year

so this was a grind. Almost 7 hours and almost 7k hands. At the low point I was down about $6k. Finished up $75 and just immediately decided I was done. It was a gross session of a lot of coolers, and I had a rare moment of tilt. I don't think I played particularly bad even when I tilted, just I realized that I wasn't giving every situation maximum focus.

I guess it's an accomplishment in a way.

first baseball scrimmage of the year in a little bit. I got run cause I'm going to be late.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Now when the sun come up...I'll be there to say what up

up up & away - kid cudi

I had a great time at my 5th year college reunion over the weekend. it was great to see some of my best friends that I hadn't seen much of in almost half a decade. Especially to see everyone without the stress but with a ton of free time to relax and hang out. I wish I had been able to make it in for thursday night but tax week is always stressful. uncle sam got a huge chunk of change from me which is a double edged sword. the upside is that I am extremely blessed to have had the financial success that I've had over the last year. the downside is that so much of the money that I earned is going to a government that I believe is rife with bureaucratic inefficiencies. but enough tax and politics talk.

I've put in three sessions since being back and I'm definitely running well. I also think I've taken advantage of a few days away from the table to find some mistakes that I had gradually developed. it's easy to develop bad habits over time, and sometimes just stepping back and trying some new things or watching the game a little closer can reveal some mistakes. I also think I'm running pretty good right now, so thanks again to the poker gods.

last but not least someone is apparently opening my mail. I've gotten two pieces of mail from american express the last two days with offers for free airline tickets if I signed up for something. Both had been opened. I'm not sure if something had been removed, but as far as I can tell there was nothing of value for the person to take.

however being a past victim of identity theft I'm a little disturbed about this. I guess my only recourse is to go down to the post office and file a report. if anyone has had to deal with this in the past please post a comment with any advice or thoughts.

thats all for now. just got back from a late night bullpen. next update will probably have some baseball info.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

good session, must read article, and Gus Johnson

Had a really good session. Felt like I played well and had very good results. Clearly the poker gods were smiling on me.

but the real reason for the post is a couple of links. first is an interview with shane battier discussing things to do that could improve the NBA. It's really a must read as the guy is ridiculously smart and has some fantastic ideas. Frankly after reading it I just want to see all of his suggestions immediately implemented.

the second link is the gus johnson soundboard. if you haven't messed with it I highly recommend it. just plan on losing a few minutes of your day.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm on the pursuit of happiness and I know... everything that shine ain't always gonna be gold. I'll be fine once I get it, I'll be good.

(pursuit of happiness by kid cudi)

its been a weird 6 weeks.

I'm going to my 5th year college reunion on friday. So getting on that flight will be the 4th time in 6 weeks that I've been out of town for 3 or more days. Honestly I'm pretty exhausted with flying.

Combined with getting the flu a few weeks ago and I'm really behind schedule for my play this year. I'm also behind on prep for baseball this summer. I threw a pen last night and felt pretty good about where I'm at considering I'm almost a month behind schedule. I'm just going to have to crank up the prep and get caught up.

Also trying to turn my normal 2-3k hand grind sessions into 5-6k hand grind sessions. I figure if I can make that my norm for the next couple of months I'll get closer to where I wanted to be in terms of hands played at this time of year.

Also had the crazy up and down that was a week in which my sister got married, duke won the national championship, and then my grandfather passed. His death wasn't a shock as I've watched his body slowly deteriorate for the last few years. And with all of the travel and lack of sleep when the news hit me I was just kind of numb. I felt the loss more when I was home with family, especially my mom and uncle. But I'm not sure it has really hit me. He was such a wonderful man, a role model, and one of the important supports in life. It's hard to imagine that he's really gone. I guess what's really weird is to think that I've been operating for a few years now essentially without him because his body just couldn't consistently support him.

I'm not really sure where all of the above is going, but I can't deny that it feels somewhat cathartic to write some things down. there are a lot more thoughts I have on my grandfather. And I've definitely reflected on a few things since he's passed. but some of these things are personal and certainly don't belong in a blog. especially if I can't quite wrap my head around them.

I think this is definitely a loss that I'll feel more in the near future than I do right now. The combination of being emotionally and physically exhausted by the time I flew back to WV (where I just flown from 48 hours before) and not being shocked with the news definitely somewhat limited the emotional penetration. I think I'm going to find thanksgiving, christmas, etc much more difficult.

I know this hasn't been much of a pick me up. and this might be a weird time to end a post, but that's what's happening.

hopefully I'll have a big session this evening and that will give me something to post about.



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Great Team

"What the hell," Krzyzewski said with a sigh, "it worked." He looked happy and dazed and proud and like he was not entirely sure what had happened. This victory takes his already legendary career one more step up -- now he has four championships, more than his mentor Bob Knight and as many as Kentucky icon Adolph Rupp. Krzyzewski did not want to talk about all that ... he said reminiscing about his own achievements is for another time, once he's retired, once he can look back.

What Krzyzewski did want to talk about is that, after the game, he went into the locker room and looked hard at the players on his team. There was all sorts of emotion. They all realized that they just had won one of the great games ever. They all realized that for the rest of their lives they would be connected by this game and this championship and that final heave that did not go in. And, as everyone quieted down, Krzyzewski said to them in his craggy voice the words he had been waiting all year to say.

He said: "You are a great team."

Monday, April 5, 2010

This is it...

Final game of the year, and I couldn't be more pumped. I just finished watching the Butler-MSU game so I'll try to compile my thoughts and give my take on the championship game.

First off the most interesting thing to me was how unimpressed I was with both teams. Frankly I didn't think it was a particularly well played game and I don't think that either of those teams could have beat the best 4-5 teams in the country if they brought that level. I was much more impressed with Butler against Syracuse and MSU against Tennessee because both teams offense looked much much better in those games. That is likely due to the fact that both teams play good enough defense that they dragged the game to a crawl. But even if we assume that is the case I still am shocked that Butler was able to win the game with almost no offense besides the free throw line for almost 10 minutes of the second half. They make little to no effort to rebound on offense, despite being a very good defensive rebounding team. Butler really put all of their eggs into one basket: defense. They prevent nearly all transition points, they challenge every shot, and they help very well on drivers.

Frankly they look a lot (and I mean a whole lot) like the Purdue team we faced two rounds ago. They have a couple of skilled scorers but really don't shoot the basketball well. They play tenacious defense in your face on the perimeter and really stifle guards. They try to force turnovers and turn them into transition buckets. And they don't have a lot of size but attempt to fend off post play by fronting and preventing passes into the post. In fact the simulations of the game give really similar results to purdue with the difference being that Hayward is a better player than anyone on the boilermakers, and Butler does a much better job of not turning the ball over.

So I think it's going to be another ugly, slow, struggle of a game. Fans of high flying transition basketball are probably going to be turned off. But if you like the drama of games within 10 pts you'll probably be happy. Even if Duke is outplaying the bulldogs I doubt they'll get out to more than a 10 pt lead. Unless we shoot the ball like we have over the last 3 halves of basketball. If duke is rebounding and shooting like that this game could get out of hand. Simply put Butler can't win a game in the 70s, and they are going to have trouble winning a game in the 60s.

The key matchup everyone is looking for is obviously hayward vs singler. Hayward is a really impressive player and remarkably similar to single both in body type and skills. Hayward is probably a little stronger and has a little more vertical game when attacking the basket, but Singler definitely is a better shooter and has an edge in D and rebounding. I expect both players to play well, but Butler needs Hayward to really have a big game since he'll likely control 40% or more of the teams offensive possessions. If he's shutdown their in trouble, whereas Duke still has a chance if singler has an off night.

I think the other interesting matchup will be Jukes and Howard against Zoubek, Thomas and the Plumlees. Frankly this is a really big mismatch in Duke's favor. Duke's big guys have a significant advantage in size, athleticism, and fouls to give. They should be able to get a lot of O-rebounds and either kick it out for 3s or get relatively easy putbacks. Howard needs to try and stay out of foul trouble so that the can create some offense, but honestly I think Butler might be better when they go small. At least with a small lineup they can go for steals, transitions baskets, and try to get the Duke bigs in foul trouble while attacking the rim. If they try to match size with us Howard and Jukes are going to have to play at a level that we've yet to see from them in the tournament. I don't think Butler's coach Brad Stevens is expecting that, so I would guess he'll go small often.

I do think that we won't see the devils have the same kind of game from behind the arc. Butler does too good of a job of contesting 3 pointers and our guys typically try not to take contested 25 footers. I think the game is going to be slow (think less than 60 possessions) and you'll see both teams working deep into the shot clock. Duke can have a good offensive game by working high post screens, getting offensive rebounds, and taking advantage of their size when attacking the rim. If Duke scores more than 1.15 pts per possession they'll very likely win the game. It's a very interesting matchup because Duke has (and has had all year) the most efficient offense in the country. And Butler has one of the most efficient Ds and has been outstanding all tourney.

On Butler's offensive end they must avoid turnovers. Each possession is important to them because they are typically one shot and out. They need to find their stroke from behind the arc (extremely difficult against the best 3 point defense in the country) and they need Veasley, Nored, and Hayward to attack the glass and get the Duke bigs moving their feet. They also need to attempt more FTs than Duke because that is one of the ways that they can overcome a poor shooting night.

It should be a good game. I expect a slow, low-scoring defensive struggle. If Duke plays up to its capability it could turn ugly, if Butler plays to its capability Duke could be struggling to score and trailing most of the second half. My prediction is a close game most of the way, but Duke's offense and rebounding will prove too much late. I see the devils winning something like 70-62. But if Butler keeps us under 65 pts it's anyone's game and I'm sure I'll be pacing the apartment at the end of the game.

go devils and lets bring one home to cameron.

getting ready to watch butler game, my take to follow

didn't really get to watch much of MSU-Butler the other night (I was too busy enjoying my sisters wedding reception). but they're replaying it on CBSCS in a few minutes so I'll get a chance to watch. I'll be giving my breakdown afterwards.

Wasn't able to make it to indy for a couple of reasons some standard and some personal. But needless to say I'll be just as excited to watch the game with katy tonight. I'm planning on screaming and fist pumping at the TV all night, and hopefully the team can continue the excellent play that I saw on saturday night. If Duke plays like that there is no team in the country that can beat them. Butler has been proving people wrong (myself included) for 5 games now so I don't expect an easy game.

back with a detailed analysis in a few.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

my thoughts on the game

much thanks to ken pomeroy and basketball prospectus. They really do the best most comprehensive breakdowns of the games and teams.

Both teams are coming into the game leading the tourney in rebounding margin, and especially offensive rebounding margin. This obviously makes rebounding the focal point and I think you'll hear the announcer allude to this fact repeatedly. The advantage Duke has on the boards is size and numbers. Duke is bigger on the blocks, and can bring in more big athletes to go after the boards. The helps as we can be more aggressive on 50/50 balls without fear of foul trouble. WVU definitely won't back down, but whether the game is called tight or the players are given free reign I think a physical rebounding struggle leaves duke with a slight edge. A lot of this is predicated on both Plumlee's giving us solid minutes as they did against both Purdue and Baylor. Both have improved their defensive discipline and help defense throughout the season and that will be very important when they see the floor to spell Thomas and Zoubek.

I think the second big factor will be mismatches, and this is a much tougher comparison. WVU's two biggest threats (imo) are Kevin Jones and Desean Butler (not Ebanks). Jones is a problem because he's the same athletic play away from or near the basket type of forward that gave us problems against Baylor. The difference is he can also shoot the 3. In the Baylor game I thought Zoubek should have sloughed off of Acy and Udoh much more and tried to remain under the basket where he could be more effective on help defense as well as avoid some of his reaching and late-hacking fouls. However if he gets matched up with Jones he'll have to follow him out to the arc as the guy is too good of a shooter to be left alone. The Plumlees and Thomas are much better matchups in this department and I expect Coach K to do his best to avoid having Zoubek chase these athletic forwards 25 ft from the basket.

Butler is arguably the biggest scoring threat on the floor, and I think K will put singler on him hoping to slow him down like he did against Dunn last week. Really the only other choice is Lance Thomas, but that leaves singler playing under the basket a lot on defense and Lance less available for rebounds. Scheyer isn't quick enough and Smith isn't big enough, but Singler should be ok if he can avoid reaching and picking up early fouls like he did last week. I think it is very likely his wrist was reinjured in the Purdue game (his shot has been a wreck ever since he fell on it in the second half) so I wouldn't be surprised to see him putting more of a focus on defense and rebounding since his shot may not be falling. I think his offensive impotency in the Baylor game affected his focus on the defensive end, but I don't think that will be a problem this week. Also it will be incumbent for him to attack the basket when given a step on offense to both create space for himself on the perimeter in the future, give Duke a chance to get Butler a few fouls, and to create offensive put-back opportunities for all four of our big men.

One thing I don't expect is to see Joe Mazzulla have the kind of impact he did two years ago or last week in the UK game. While I think Mazzulla has a really quick and strong move to the basket, he's going to face a more disciplined and focused help defense effort this week from Duke. Duke's team two years ago wasn't really comparable to this group now, so we really can't draw many conclusions for that. But Mazulla isn't a huge threat from the outside, and if Smith stays in front of him and forces him right I think he can to a large extent neutralize his offense. I think last week's game against UK was more of a testament to John Wall's undisciplined defense than to Mazulla's potency as a scorer.

As for Duke's offense I think it comes down to taking more shots, and making open looks. WVU is a fantastic defensive team, but whether they play zone or man-man we're going to get open looks. I expect Huggins will play more man than zone as he won't want duke to be getting the open 3s that he was contest to let UK shoot. At the same time the man will allow our screens to be more effective and also give us a better chance of getting them in foul trouble as we attack the glass. Expect this game to look more like the Purdue game (somewhat depending on the mood of the refs) than the Baylor game. Except WVU has some tougher scorers than a Hummel-less Purdue.

But back to the main point. As ludicrous as it seems to imply that the team that shoots better is going to win, I think there is a good chance that is the case. In the first half of WVU-UK, WVU stayed in the contest thanks in large part to one of their best outside shooting performances in the year. That success lead to a disheartened and undisciplined UK defense in the second half. I think you've got to put the blame squarely on Calipari for UK's failure to make basic defensive adjustments (never mind jacking up 36 3s with a team that was full of bad shooters), and I don't expect you'll see Duke make those mistakes. So in a game in which neither team will be touting their scoring prowess, the team that has the better shooting night is likely to win. That is both the beauty and madness of the NCAA tourney. It's one and done. Any team can get hot at the right time and negate a large portion of their opponents edge.

Duke's only chance if they find themselves shooting like we did for the first 3 tourney games is to look to zoubek, thomas, and the plumlees to crash the glass. It is very likely we could come up with close to 50% of our missed shots as offensive rebounds. And I think we may need to get over 40% in order to have a good chance to win. Nolan Smith as also got to be strong off of the dribble because Scheyer and Singler will have some trouble getting their first step by the quick and strong WVU man defense. If WVU decides to go zone we'll have more opportunities for offensive rebounds, but we'll also need to make shots because we'll certainly see open looks from behind the arc.

Final thoughts, Duke is the better team and has a slight advantage. If the game plays out as expected it should be a grind the whole way and a late Duke run along with good FT shooting down the stretch could be the difference. Much like the Baylor and Purdue games. I think neither team gets more than about 70, and I think Duke is about a 3 pt favorite. But with those expectations this game could easily be won by either team, and I don't think Duke is much more than 60-65% to win.

This should be the toughest most complete opponent either team has faced all year. Both teams are coming in playing their best basketball of the year, and I expect a great game albeit maybe not a pretty one. I think my devils have a slight edge in size, depth, offensive weapons, and coaching. Overall I think those traits carry the day against WVU's quicker and more offensively dangerous forwards.

go devils and here's hoping I get to write another of these before monday.



Friday, April 2, 2010

my sister is hitched

we had the ceremony yesterday afternoon with family and it was a short and very nice. I'm sure everyone agrees, but it is really great to see someone in your family so happy and it really makes days and moments like that very special. Tomorrow we're having a big reception/party with more friends and family so I need to spend the afternoon helping get stuff together and set up.

I'm going to try and get to my Duke vs WV breakdown, but it is going to be difficult with all of the stuff I need to get done. I would have done it last night but I spend 5 hours wrapping up all the tax stuff I had to do on my end and getting it cent to my CPA. I'm hoping (although I know he is swamped) that he can get the info back to me early next week so I can take care of my SEP IRA and get my payments our early. I always feel like I'm running behind with taxes even though I've done a good job of working a few weeks ahead the last few years. I guess it is the closest thing I have to a major final paper (ala college) anymore, so it still induces a little bit of that last minute procrastinating panic.

I'd really like to hit the tables tonight as I've been jonesing to play for awhile. I just haven't found the time with travel, my sisters wedding, etc over the last few days. and by the time I finished my tax stuff last night it was 2AM and I was tired since I had been up since 8:30AM. The sun comes in to my bedroom at home and hits me right in the eye at 8:30AM every morning and wakes me up. Never used to be a problem when I was in high school because there was a huge sugar maple tree in front of that window plus I had to be up for school and to deliver newspapers well before that everyday. But now that I'm used to sleeping in it is definitely a little brutal. We bought some drapes to put up about 4 years ago, but as I'm only home about 3-4 times a year and never for more than a week we haven't really gotten around to it.

aight well I've got to go run errands with my dad. hopefully pregame breakdown to come later.