Preview of the BE Tournaments

The start of both men’s and women’s Big East tournaments are about to get under way. Since I have seen most of these teams first hand, it made sense to set out a little prediction for the finals.

I will start off with the ladies bracket. The two number one seeds get a bye (Notre Dame and West Virginia) while each two/three matchup is very nice.

Notre Dame will get the winner of the Seton Hall or Cincinnati/St. John’s. Big drop off in teams for the Irish to play in the second round. Looking at it I would probably have to take the Red Storm to advance to play Notre Dame. Either way, Notre Dame should have no trouble in this bracket. Once they move on they will get the winner of the Villanova/Marquette. I think the Golden Eagles at home are a little too much for the Wildcats (who I still feel are one of the more overrated teams). But I will sneak Nova in with the upset.

So, the first semifinal will have Notre Dame and Villanova.

The second part of the bracket shows West Virginia getting the winner of the Pittsburgh/Louisville game. I like the Cardinals in this match but don’t sleep on the Panthers. This one could go either way but it shouldn’t spell trouble for West Virginia with either team. WVU should move on and play the winner of the UConn/Rutgers. UConn in an unfamiliar role, going on the road for the conference tournament. I still think they can beat the Scarlet Knights on the road and advance to play WVU.

The second semifinal will pit WVU and UConn.

I like Notre Dame and WVU to win their semi’s and Notre Dame to win the Big East. The Irish are just too strong and will look to push for a National Title. Don’t get me wrong, WVU is good and I still stand firm on my final four projection for this squad but they have to show that they can beat a strong oppenet like UConn before they can even think to beat a Notre Dame.

In the Men’s Bracket…things are a little differnet. First round matchups are interesting all across the board.

First up is the USF/Seton Hall matchup. The winner will play WVU…in this one I have to take the home team in USF. The Bulls haven’t been the team that I expected them to be from the begining of the season but should be able to muster up a win at home against a Seton Hall team that has been up and down all season. I do expect WVU to beat either one of those teams fine, and thus sending the Mountaineers to the semifinals.

Next is the most lopsided of the first round games, Notre Dame and DePaul. The Blue Demons aren’t much of anything and Notre Dame should have no trouble getting by and will go on to face Rutgers. I like Rutgers since they should use their homefield advantage to perfection. Not to mention they will have the homefield throughout the Big East tournament. However, I believe Notre Dame will get by on the road…yes…I know…its a tough pick but I wouldn’t mind seeing another Irish/Mountaineer clash again this season.

After that is the Louisville/Providence match, the winner will play Cincinnati. I like the Friers in this one, though I believe Cincinnati will prevail and move on to the semifinals to face….

UConn. The Huskies should have no problem with the winner of the St. John’s/Pittsburgh match. I will go ahead and say St. John’s will win and play UConn, pitting two solid storied clubs against one another.

So, in the semifinals, I like WVU over Notre Dame and I like Cincinnati over UConn. I am sticking with my pick from almost two months ago saying that the Big East final will be WVU and Cincinnati, and now I will preject WVU winning it all. Homer pick, sure, but I think this team can do it.

Post Season Soccer Info

Alright, both the men and women have wrapped up their regular seasons.  Both did very well this season. The men won their first ever Big East regular season title, going undefeated in conference play (only loss of the year was at then-#1 UVA). The women won their division outright and will host the winner of Louisville/Pitt next Sunday at 1 pm.

As for the men’s next game, they will not play Pitt in a make up game tomorrow night. There was basically no need for that game so it will not be played. Instead they will get the week off and play on Saturday against the winner of the Seton Hall/USF game. That game will be at 7pm, again on Saturday.

After that if both teams will I will be traveling with the men’s team to New Jersey for the finals of the Big East tournament. I will have more info on that as it comes up! Just keep checking back for more!

MLS Playoff Preview

In what I hope is the last of the eight team playoff format in the MLS. I felt it would be the right time to take and preview things for the upcoming playoffs that start later on today. First round games are two legs, meaning you play a home and home with whoever you are playing. Some interesting matchups and some that are just so typical and boring that I would rather not care to watch.

Anyways, I will just start in the East and move my way West to preview things here.

New York Red Bulls v. DC United – Some could be calling this just another year for DC but I don’t know yet. I think the Red Bulls will give the men in black and red a fight. These two are Atlantic Cup rivals and do typically have good games with one another. DC won the season series 2-0-2, but that doesn’t mean the Red Bulls will go down without a fight. I will take DC in this series basically because they have "been there" more times before and have the better talent to win this.
DC advances

Chicago Fire v.  New England Revolution – I kind of yawn when I see this matchup and I feel it is more of a toss up than anything. I know it is the #2 v. #3 match in the East but it so bland this year. Neither team excites me enough to want to pick over the other. Chicago won the season series 2-1-1, so they do have the success against the Revs, not to mention the hunger to erase what happen last year in the Eastern Conferernce finals against the Revs. Look for physical play but don’t expect a lot of scoring. Taylor Twellman needs to step up and show that he can make things happen again for the Revs, while Andy Herron needs to continue having a solid season for the Fire. I like Chicago in this one though, it just seems fitting for the Fire to win.
Chicago advances

Now moving out West…

Colorado Rapids v. FC Dallas – Dallas sure has limped into the playoffs like they did a season ago. And sure enough they face the team that gives them a lot of trouble, the Colorado Rapids. Dallas needs a strong result on the road because they could slip up at home. Sure they have been tough at the Oven this season but they need to learn how to walk the walk in the playoffs before they can talk the talk. A strong showing in Colorado will do just that for the Hoops. They do have the home field advantage for as long as they stay in the playoffs (the MLS Cup is in Dallas this year). They have to keep that in mind and stay hungry.
FC Dallas advances

CD Chivas USA v.  Houston Dynamo – This is one interesting matchup that I will pay attention to. I think there is enough firepower on both sides that will make this series worth watching. Is Chivas the darkhorse to win it all this year? Yes. But Houston is a team that has the players to do the same. They split the season series 1-1-2,  so expect close games with scoring. Razov and Ching will be the two to watch in the attack, but it will come down to Dwayne de Rosario and Pablo Garcia in the midfield leading the way for the two teams. Its a true tossup but I am going with Chivas.
CD Chivas USA advances

Could I be right with all of this? Probably not but we will see. The playoffs kickoff and I can’t wait for the MLS Cup.

Corrections the MLS needs…

With the start of the MLS playoffs coming up in the coming weeks I sat and pondered at the future of this young league and I think its time for some change.

Yes, next year there will be some change. Another new franchise will kick up with Toronto (don’t call us Inter) FC. Looking at how things are going in the league there are currently 12 teams split into two conferences, an east and a west. Right now each year the top four teams advance at the end of the season to the playoffs.

Now conventional wisdom would tell this young league that eight teams in the post season is too many considering you only have 12 teams overall in your league. Not to mention what are the changes with adding an odd number to the mix next year to make it the unlucky 13.

I look at it like this, it is the perfect time for the MLS to finally do what the world does and play in a single table format. Scheduling can still be the same but it is time for what every league in the world basically uses. Having the odd number of teams really allows the MLS to explore this opportunity for at least a season and see how the fans respond to it.

Honestly, in a way they have always had a slight single table format with the competition for the League Shield, which goes to the team with the most points in the regular season. I love the League Shield and want to keep it if the single table format does take place next season.

Sedondly, I think the MLS needs to redo their playoff format. Even if they stick with the current conference format, there should be no reason to allow over half of each conference into the playoffs each season. It’s really a lose-lose situation. It devalues the regular season for most teams, like a FC Dallas or a DC United who basically knew they were going to make the playoffs since about the middle of July.

Single table or no single table, I do like the playoff system. Its an American thing to do, and even some smaller European leagues are doing it for their promotional purposes to their top tier leagues. Keep the playoff system but only take the top teams, meaning that if it is a conference slate, only take the top two teams from each. It will put more emphasis on the regular season and give fans something to cheer a little harder for. Less is more for this type of situation.

And even if things get switch to a single table format, take the top four teams. It would still work in the same capacity. Take four teams, first round be a two legged series (like they do in the opening rounds of the playoffs now) and then have the wonderful MLS Cup.

Once this season ends it will be the perfect time to explore these options. It will only improve the product that is growing more and more each year.

Games this week!!

Alright, I meant to send this out over the weekend but there are TWO games coming up this week!

Mark you calendars for Wednesday at 7 pm…the men face off against Pitt.

And Saturday at 7 pm the men will play again against Marquette.

Again the login and all is:
          MSNsportsnet.com – bottom of the right side…audio links
          username: drew@epp6.com     
          password: soccer06