Entering the Sweet 16: Florida Gulf Freaking Coast University

I’ve lost plenty of games already and there are still 16 teams left to play.

As far as I’m concerned, I’ve already squandered my opportunity to win in any of the pools I’m in.

But on the opposite end of the spectrum from me sits Florida Gulf Coast University. They, my friends, have already won. A pair of improbable upsets have unofficially branded the Eagles as this year’s favorite Cinderella. In tribute to their success so far, I’ve written a quick piece for Mud, Sweat and Beers — the MatchPint blog.

It’s not too heavy and hardly comprehensive, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless. Click here to check it out.

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Should the NHL mandate visors?

Yes. Here’s two simple equations to illustrate the point:

Vision = good.

Blindness = bad.

Ever since New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal took a puck to the eye on March 5, the hockey world has been buzzing about whether or not the NHL should grandfather in a mandatory visor rule.

Staal will make a full recovery, but after watching the video, it’s no surprise plenty of players don’t have an issue with that mandate.

Since 2006, the AHL has demanded that all its players wear visors. The majority of draft picks that reach the NHL do so via a call up from the AHL, so anyone who has played in the AHL from 2006 on is used to wearing the devices – that’s a large portion of NHL players. And according to the NHLPA, 73 percent of NHL players already wear the protective plastic that partially or fully cover their faces.

That percentage reflects the fact that NHL players are wising up. The game is getting faster and more dangerous as players continue to evolve into even greater athletic marvels than their predecessors. The puck is traveling faster and sticks are getting lighter. Odds are greater that a deflected puck or an errant stick will inflict major damage to an unfortunate skater in their paths. Just ask Bryan Berard, Manny Malhotra and Chris Pronger.

But there are still a number of players who oppose a mandatory visor rule, despite an overwhelming amount of evidence that supports the change.

Many of these players are grinders, fighters and checkers. They are men employed to beat guys up, protect super-stars and take up space to block shots and prevent offense. They value toughness and the respect they garner from other players around the league.

These players cite a variety of reasons why they don’t want visors. Here are their excuses and my responses:

1. “Visors obstruct my vision and ability to play the puck.” You aren’t in the league for your ability to play the puck. You take the body. You knock guys down. You block shots. And even if you are a skill player and think a visor obstructs your vision too much to effectively play the puck, ask the elite skill players in the league like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk and the other 73 percent of players how much negative impact a visor has on their vision. If they can get used to some fogginess and water droplets in front of their eyes, so can you.

2. “If I wear one, my peers will think less of me.” This isn’t high school and being a tough guy isn’t everything, even in the NHL. Do you want your kids to have a cyclops father? How would your mother feel watching you scream in agony on live TV because of an accident that could have been avoided? There are much worse things in life (like, I dunno, blindness) than guys like George Parros or Colton Orr thinking you’re a sissy. Blaze a path and be a leader that other tough guys can follow. If you make your living by protecting other players on the ice, rallying for mandatory visors would make you a greater protector than any fist you’ve thrown or any check you’ve delivered.

3. “If I instigate a fight while wearing a visor, I’ll get an extra two-minute penalty. Plus it’s hard to challenge anyone with a visor on.” This is actually a legitimate point. According to Rule 46.6:

If a player penalized as an instigator of an altercation is wearing a face shield (including a goalkeeper), he shall be assessed an additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Should the player (including a goalkeeper) who instigates the fight be wearing a face shield, but removes it before instigating the altercation, the additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty shall not apply.

In the heat of battle, nobody with a visor is going to take off their helmet before defending a teammate who just took a cheap shot. And fighting someone with a visor on is considered dirty. This is situation the NHL to needs to remedy by removing the instigator rule and mandating visors. That’s what they did in the AHL and it hasn’t changed players from being physical or fighting. And since the NHL doesn’t want to cut out fighting altogether, it should make those changes.

4. “It’s my body and I should get to decide how to best protect it.” This is true in theory, but in professional sports, commissioners and other league officials have the duty to protect their players the best way they see fit, such as the mandatory use of the HANS device in NASCAR or the helmet rule in the NHL, which was grandfathered into the league in 1979. And here’s the beauty of grandfathering in the visor rule: If you didn’t wear a visor prior to whenever the rule was enacted, guess what? You’d be allowed to play without one! It would only affect players who signed their contract after the rule was placed. You’re old school? Fine, don’t wear one and accept the consequences if something bad happens. Everyone else? Too bad, these are the rules and we’d like you to have both eye balls and a lengthy career. All professional sports need to move forward in protecting their players because this isn’t ancient Rome, it’s the 21st century. A league’s investment in player safety is an investment in that league’s longevity.

5. “It’ll take too long to get used to it.” How long is too long? Two days? Three? If the rule is enacted, it will be done so during the offseason in the summer. That will give all of the remaining holdouts months to adapt to their new protective devices. Just ask Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, a perennial tough guy who’s played more than 600 NHL games without a visor. He began wearing one in practice a few days after the Staal incident. A day later, he was comfortable enough to wear it during a game on March 14. He’s worn it for every game since. He said there was no noticeable difference and his play hasn’t suffered, either. And coincidentally, he was hit with a shot near his face during a matchup against the Rangers three days after he began using the visor.

Who knows what would have happened otherwise.

The GMs have already agreed on grandfathering visors and the NHLPA will poll players this summer to decide on whether or not to do the same.  If the players and the competition committee decide to approve the change, it will be up to the NHL Board of Governors to give the thumbs up before it is inked into the rule book.

The remaining 27 percent of visor-less players stand to be the only people that could block the rule. They need to stop making excuses and realize how precious their health is. This requires the abandonment of antiquated hockey tradition and the adoption of progressive thinking to protect themselves for their own sakes and those of their families and fans.

Like Orpik told Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “I guess there really isn’t a valid excuse to not wear one anymore.”

March Madness preview on MatchPint

It’s that time of year, music fans.

The time of year when one rock/alternative band gets to ride the financial wave of the well-timed popularity of a sports related song!

Specifically…

Also, it’s March Madness time. Well played Muse.

I’m no bracketologist and if that’s your job, you’re the sports analyst equivalent of being a mixologist. But I enjoy the NCAA basketball tournament just as much as anyone. That’s why I branched out to write my first ever basketball blog on the tournament for Mud, Sweat and Beers — the blog of the British website, MatchPint.

In all honesty, I covered very little about this year’s tournament in the blog, but it’s a fun little read and there are at least a few bullet points about some stuff to watch for while you’re killing your productivity by watching basketball at work.

There will be some additional installments as the tourney goes on so keep checking back after the conclusion of each round for some quick, not so deep thoughts.

And if you’re curious about my picks for the tournament, I’ve posted my bracket below.

Don’t expect much success.

(Click to enlarge)

Pete's 2013 March Madness Picks

Regular season NCAA men’s basketball upsets (2012-2013)

There were 147 top-25 upsets in NCAA D-1 men’s basketball this regular season.

Here’s every one of them and the ESPN story about it.

 

NOVEMBER (19 UPSETS)

1. (23) Connecticut 66, (14) Michigan State 62

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323140041

2. South Alabama 76, (25) Florida State 71

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323140052

3. (9) Duke 75, (3) Kentucky 68

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323180096

4. (21) Michigan State 67, (7) Kansas 64

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323182305

5. Colorado 60, (16) Baylor 58

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323210239

6. Saint Joseph’s 79, (20) Notre Dame 70

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323210087

7. Oklahoma State 76, (6) North Carolina State 56

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323230152

8. Georgetown 78, (11) UCLA 70

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323240046

9. New Mexico 66, (21) Connecticut 60

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323240041

10. Butler 82, (9) North Carolina 71

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323250153

11. Virginia Commonwealth 78, (19) Memphis 65

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323270235

12. Oregon 83, (18) UNLV 79

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323282439

13. Minnesota 84, (19) Memphis 75

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323280235

14. (5) Duke 76, (2) Louisville 71

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323290097

15. Charleston 63, (24) Baylor 59

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323290239

16. Cal Poly 70, (11) UCLA 68

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323300026

17. Boise State 83, (11) Creighton 70

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323330156

18. Miami (FL) 67, (13) Michigan State 59

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323332390

19. Notre Dame 64, (8) Kentucky 50

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323340087

 

DECEMBER (17 UPSETS)

 20. Baylor 64, (8) Kentucky 55 (Baylor ends Kentucky’s 55-game home streak)

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323360096

21. Virginia Tech 81, (15) Oklahoma State 71

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323360259

22. Wyoming 76, (19) Colorado 69

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323362751

23. (13) Illinois 85, (10) Gonzaga 74

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323432250

24. Tennessee 69, (23) Wichita State 60

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323482633

25. Butler 88, (1) Indiana 86 (Butler upsets No. 1 Indiana on Alex Barlow’s late jumper in OT)

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323500084

26. (8) Arizona 65, (5) Florida 64

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323500012

27. Texas 85, (23) North Carolina 67

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323540251

28. Temple 83, (3) Syracuse 79

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323570183

29. (9) Kansas 74, (7) Ohio State 66

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323570194

30. Kansas State 67, (8) Florida 61

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323572306

31. (12) Missouri 82, (10) Illinois 73

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323570142

32. South Dakota State 70, (16) New Mexico 65

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323570167

33. New Mexico 55, (8) Cincinnati 54

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323622132

34. UCLA 97, (7) Missouri 94

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323630026

35. North Carolina 79, (20) UNLV 73

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323640153

36. Saint Louis 60, (20) New Mexico 46

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=323660139

JANUARY (45 UPSETS)

 37. Purdue 68, (11) Illinois 61

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330022509

38. (11) Illinois 74, (8) Ohio State 55

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330050356

39. St. John’s 53, (14) Cincinnati 52

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330052132

40. Marquette 49, (15) Georgetown 48

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330050269

41. (25) Kansas State 73, (22) Oklahoma State 67

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330052306

42. Rutgers 67, (24) Pittsburgh 62

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330050164

43. Pittsburgh 73, (19) Georgetown 45

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330080046

44. (25) New Mexico 65, (24) UNLV 60

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330090167

45. Oregon 70, (4) Arizona 66

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330102483

46. (20) North Carolina State 84, (1) Duke 76 (C.J. Leslie, NC State hand No. 1 Duke its first loss)

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330120152

47. Ole Miss 64, (10) Missouri 49

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330120145

48. Wisconsin 74, (12) Illinois 51

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330120275

49. Connecticut 65, (17) Notre Dame 58

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330120087

50. (15) Ohio State 56, (2) Michigan 53

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330130194

51. Evansville 71, (23) Wichita State 67

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330130339

52. Wisconsin 64, (2) Indiana 59

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330150084

53. St. John’s 67, (20) Notre Dame 63

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330152599

54. Maryland 51, (14) North Carolina State 50

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330160120

55. UNLV 82, (15) San Diego State 75

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330160021

56. Northwestern 68, (23) Illinois 54

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330170356

57. (6) Syracuse 70, (1) Louisville 68 (No. 6 Syracuse rallies to knock off No. 1 Louisville)

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330190097

58. (13) Butler 64, (8) Gonzaga 63

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330192086

59. (18) Michigan State 59, (11) Ohio State 56

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330190127

60. Wichita State 67, (12) Creighton 64

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330192724

61. Cincinnati 71, (25) Marquette 69

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330192132

62. Georgetown 63, (24) Notre Dame 47

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330210087

63. Villanova 73, (5) Louisville 64

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330220222

64. Wake Forest 86, (18) North Carolina State 84

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330220154

65. (25) Miami (FL) 90, (1) Duke 63 (No. 25 Miami stuns No. 1 Duke in historic blowout)

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330232390

66. La Salle 54, (9) Butler 53

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330232325

67. Northwestern 55, (12) Minnesota 48

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330230077

68. Drake 74, (17) Creighton 69

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330232181

69. UCLA 84, (6) Arizona 73

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330240012

70. Richmond 86, (19) Virginia Commonwealth 74

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330240257

71. Villanova 75, (3) Syracuse 71

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330260222

72. Georgetown 53, (5) Louisville 51

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330260046

73. Iowa State 73, (11) Kansas State 67

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330260066

74. Wisconsin 45, (12) Minnesota 44

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330260275

75. San Diego State 55, (15) New Mexico 34

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330260021

76. La Salle 69, (19) Virginia Commonwealth 61

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330262670

77. Indiana State 68, (15) Wichita State 55

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330292724

78. Kentucky 87, (16) Ole Miss 74

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330290145

79. Virginia 58, (19) North Carolina State 55

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330290258

80. Stanford 76, (10) Oregon 52

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330300024

81. Saint Louis 75, (9) Butler 58

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330310139

FEBRUARY (49 UPSETS)

 82. (3) Indiana 81, (1) Michigan 73 (Indiana knocks off No. 1 Michigan, will likely regain top ranking)

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330330084 *

83. Oklahoma State 85, (2) Kansas 80 (Ok St. snaps No. 2 Kansas’ 33-game home winning streak)

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330332305 *

84. Pittsburgh 65, (6) Syracuse 55

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330330221 *

85. California 58, (10) Oregon 54

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330330025*

*Previous four upsets occurred on same day

86. Northern Iowa 57, (15) Wichita State 52

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330332460

87. Air Force 70, (22) San Diego State 67

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330332005

88. Arkansas 80, (2) Florida 69

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330360008

89. TCU 62, (5) Kansas 55

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330372628

90. Indiana State 76, (16) Creighton 57

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330370282

91. Providence 54, (17) Cincinnati 50

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330372507

92. Illinois 74, (1) Indiana 72 (Illinois upsets No. 1 Indiana on layup at buzzer)

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330380356

93. Colorado 48, (19) Oregon 47

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330382483

94. Texas A&M 70, (21) Missouri 68

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330380245

95. Wisconsin 65, (3) Michigan 62

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330400275

96. Oklahoma 72, (5) Kansas 66

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330400201

97. (25) Notre Dame 104, (11) Louisville 101 (Notre Dame rallies in regulation then outlasts Louisville to win in 5 OTs)

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330400087

98. UNLV 64, (15) New Mexico 55

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330402439

99. Illinois State 75, (16) Creighton 72

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330400156

100. (23) Pittsburgh 62, (17) Cincinnati 52

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330402132

101. California 77, (7) Arizona 69

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330410012

102. Illinois 57, (18) Minnesota 53

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330410135

103. (14) Kansas 83, (10) Kansas State 62

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330422305

104. (8) Michigan State 75, (4) Michigan 52

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330430127

105. Connecticut 66, (6) Syracuse 58

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330440041

106. Charlotte 71, (11) Butler 67

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330442086

107. Colorado 71, (9) Arizona 58

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330450038

108. Minnesota 58, (20) Wisconsin 53

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330450135

109. Maryland 83, (2) Duke 81

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330470120

110. (18) Marquette 79, (16) Pittsburgh 69

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330470269

111. Providence 71, (21) Notre Dame 54

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330472507

112. Tennessee 88, (25) Kentucky 58

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330472633

113. (20) Wisconsin 71, (13) Ohio State 49

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330480275

114. (25) Notre Dame 51, (20) Pittsburgh 42

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330490221

115. Missouri 63, (5) Florida 60

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330500142

116. Saint Louis 76, (24) Virginia Commonwealth 62

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330500139

117. UNLV 61, (22) Colorado State 59

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330512439

118. California 48, (23) Oregon 46

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330522483

119. Saint Louis 65, (15) Butler 61

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330532086

120. Wake Forest 80, (2) Miami (FL) 65

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330540154

121. (11) Georgetown 57, (8) Syracuse 46

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330540183

122. Villanova 60, (17) Marquette 56

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330540222

123. (18) Ohio State 68, (4) Michigan State 60

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330550194

124. (22) Marquette 74, (12) Syracuse 71

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330560269

125. Minnesota 77, (1) Indiana 73 (Trevor Mbakwe shines as Minnesota takes down top-ranked Indiana)

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330570135

126. Tennessee 64, (8) Florida 58

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330572633

127. Xavier 64, (19) Memphis 62

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330572752

128. Penn State 84, (4) Michigan 78

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330580213

129. USC 89, (11) Arizona 78

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330580030

130. Virginia 73, (3) Duke 68

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330590258

MARCH (17 UPSETS)

 131. UCLA 74, (11) Arizona 69

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330610026

132. Virginia Commonwealth 84, (20) Butler 52

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330612670

133. (22) Marquette 72, (21) Notre Dame 64

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330610269

134. Purdue 69, (17) Wisconsin 56

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330620275

135. (14) Ohio State 67, (2) Indiana 58

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330640084

136. Villanova 67, (5) Georgetown 57

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330650222

137. Georgia Tech 71, (6) Miami (FL) 69

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330652390

138. Iowa State 87, (13) Oklahoma State 76

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330650066

139. Xavier 77, (16) Saint Louis 66

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330652752

140. Washington State 73, (23) UCLA 61

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330650265

141. Colorado 76, (19) Oregon 53

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330660038

142. Baylor 81, (4) Kansas 58 (Baylor hands Kansas worst loss in seven years)

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330680239

143. (13) Oklahoma State 76, (9) Kansas State 70

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330680197

144. Kentucky 61, (11) Florida 57

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330680096

145. Air Force 89, (12) New Mexico 88

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330682005

146. Utah 72, (19) Oregon 62

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330680254

147. Temple 84, (21) Virginia Commonwealth 76

http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?id=330690218

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