Random News: Annoying 'Madness' personalities

Random News: Annoying 'Madness' personalities

Tuesday, March, 1, 2011
9:33 a.m.

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

I am beyond all help when it comes to playing Words With Friends on my iPhone. I am a junkie. The game is taking over every second of my free time. Sometimes Ill have 10 games going on at once. Its sad. If you are unfamiliar with Words With Friends, it is a Scrabble-like game where you get seven lettered tiles (as does your opponent) and you make words based on the letters given and build off each other. Its incredibly addictive.

However, as with most things in life, there are certain 'W-W-F' annoyances you have to deal with. For example, you need the CIA to track certain opponents. Theyll make a move and then fall off the face of the earth for five days. Id start checking dumpsters looking for these people, but Im not sure I care that much. Another annoyance: you might end up getting paired with an intellectual snob who plays words like coz, qi, ag and aa. Yes, according to Words With Friends, aa is a word. I think theres a joke there but Im not going to touch it. Anyway, you take the good with the bad. 98 of the action is fun but you have to put up with the occasional tool every now and then.

March Madness is kind of the same way.

In a few weeks, your family, office or social network of choice will be distributing NCAA tournament brackets. For the sports fan, it might as well be your birthday, New Years Eve, and any Friday afternoon all wrapped into one shining moment. We love the promise and the potential of a clean bracket sheet. We think that we can predict who the next George Mason or Butler will be. Heck, I even likened my wedding invitation list to the NCAA selection committee. Even the passive fans get caught up in the excitement. The office water cooler talk actually shifts momentarily from the weather to the crazy upset that happened the night before. Its an exciting time. And your bracket is never in shambles until the team you picked to win it all goes down in defeat. Theres always hope.

But even Bracket Nation has its share of troublemakers. March Madness is, and will always be, one of the greatest events in sports. But there are five types of people in our NCAA pool that we would rather have eliminated:

The Guy With 20 Brackets

Ugh. It's overkill. This guy is so wrong on so many levels (both literally and figuratively...and we hope he's 0-for-20 when the tournament's over). The 20 bracket guy will never feel bad about losing his final four on his family pool, you know--the one through his dads cousins sons office, because he has 19 others to fall back on. And hell make light of the fact that, although he is getting torched in eight other brackets, he is still in 1,381st place on some national pool with a 100,000 grand prize payout. This guy ends every game with, Dude I called that one! Its not all doom and gloom though, because we all know that the 20 Bracket Guy never wins. And he has to put a third mortgage on the house or sell a kidney or two come April to break even.

The Bracket Novice

This sports gumshoe has Texas Southern, Cincinnati, Vermont and Long Beach State in the Final Four. They also have some interesting upsets, like Kansas losing to McNeese Statein the regional semifinal. Also noted, is their distaste for Duke head coach Mike Krizzy-zew-ski and the fact that their school, Northeastern Maryland State-Havre De Grace Campus, didnt make it into the field. These people are usually harmless until they successfully pick a six seed to win it all. Then the expletives get as loud and distasteful as a Bruce Pearl garage sale.

The Guy Who Picks With His HeartAnd Not His Brain

These people are the best to make fun of come tourney time. And the more hardcore the fan, the better chance for side-splitting comedy. I had a friend of a friend pick Notre Dame to go to the final four last year. I thought it was an interesting pick. Not that it was an insane pick, it was justinteresting. This guy gave me a Zapruder film-esque breakdown of why 6-seed Notre Dame could make it there. I bought it until, out of curiosity, I asked him where he went to school. Notre Dame he says. Then the first round happened: Old Dominion 51, Notre Dame 50. Cue the torches.

Johnny 12-5 Upset Expert

This is also the surly goof that will pitch a fit at the blackjack table if you dont split eights against a king. Yeah, sometimes it workssometimes it doesnt. Johnny 12-5 Upset Expert megaphones to you (and everyone within earshot) about the need to pick the 12 against a 5. What Johnny fails to realize is, while there have been a good number of 12 seeds that have broken through in the first round (roughly 1 in 3 to be exact), the majority go win the first game and potentially have stellar tournaments. Johnny always has a system for picking upsets. Dont even get him started on the 11-6 or the 10-7 scenarios.

The Office Pool Winner

Because your 20 is now in their wallet. Just like last year.

And the year before that.

Or something like that.

Notes from the rewatch: A deeper look at David Accam's big game

Notes from the rewatch: A deeper look at David Accam's big game

It's not often that teams win games in MLS by four goals, especially when a red card wasn't involved.

After the Chicago Fire couldn't score one goal against Orlando when the Lions went down to nine men for more than a quarter of the match earlier this month, the Fire put up a four spot against Orlando at Toyota Park on Saturday. The Fire were dominant in every aspect of the game.

David Accam had one of his best games for the Fire and the team had arguably its best performance of the season.

It takes two for a blowout in MLS

There have been 10 games in MLS this season decided by four goals or more. Out of that group, two of those involved red cards (including the Fire's 4-0 loss at Atlanta in March) and two of those were Minnesota's first two games as an MLS team when it was thought they could be the worst team in league history. Blowouts happen in MLS, but the relatively balanced play in the league means both the winning team had to be very good and the losing team had to be very bad.

The Fire may have had its best performance of the season. Nemanja Nikolic said the team was near perfect after the match (in the video above).

Meanwhile, Orlando was without its leading scorer (Cyle Larin) and was coming off a game Wednesday halfway across the country in Seattle. Those factors, plus an overall lethargic showing from Orlando (coach Jason Kreis said his team "didn't have enough energy" at the start of the match) made the Lions susceptible to the beatdown they received.

The expected goals didn't lie

Soccer analytics are still nascent, but expected goals is one of the stats getting more attention. Expected goals track the position of all shots taken in a match and quantify the likelihood of that shot going in. Shots from close are more likely to score so they are worth more expected goals. Each shot's percentage of scoring is added to produce the team's expected goals total.

Often in blowouts, the winning team's expected goals total is lower than the actual goal total because in order to score a large number of goals it probably took a couple low-percentage shots scoring. Teams don't typically create several high-percentage scoring chances in a match. It takes a screamer from distance or a goalkeeper flub to get a high goal total, and the expected goal total won't go up with that as a result.

However, the Fire's expected goal total from Saturday was actually above four. Including the penalty kick, the Fire's expected goal total finished at 4.26, one of the highest totals in the league this year. Meanwhile, Orlando had a miniscule .16 from three long-distance shots.

The Fire scored two goals early and kept creating chances. Nikolic was denied on a close-range volley in the first half and missed an open shot in the second half or else he could have scored more than the one goal.

Without going deeper into the stats, the takeaway is that this game was a blowout, was always going to be a blowout and didn't require particularly efficient finishing from the Fire to be a blowout.

Accam: "I thought I could do anything on the pitch"

Accam's hat trick got the headlines, but he also had an assist on Nikolic's goal. On the assist he showed something he hasn't done often. Look where Accam received the ball on that play:

This is Accam as a playmaking attacking midfielder for one play. He received the ball just past midfield off a turnover, but it wasn’t a classic counter. Orlando had five players behind the ball and he had two Fire players, Nikolic and Luis Solignac, in front of him. He turned, put a move on Antonio Nocerino to give himself the space to set up Nikolic, made the pass and Nikolic finished with his first touch.

Accam's first goal was about positioning. He found a way to get open in the six-yard box, and the backheel was just the exclamation mark to finish the play. His second goal was classic Accam getting behind a defense and being almost too patient to shoot before scoring into an open net.

He showed a little bit of everything Saturday.

Michael de Leeuw tracking Kaka

Just watch Michael de Leeuw, a natural forward, recognize Kaka running into open space and then cut him off and intercept a pass intended for the Brazilian.

Aaron Judge's batting practice homer flies ridiculously far

Aaron Judge's batting practice homer flies ridiculously far

Aaron Judge's batting practice is quickly becoming must-watch stuff.

The 25-year-old outfielder proved that point on Monday, when he absolutely destroyed a baseball onto the Guaranteed Rate Field concourse. 

Just to recap: That ball flew the bleachers and literally one hopped the jumbotron. And while the jury has already ruled that Judge has ridiculous power, this is next-level skill. 

Judge, who's already blasted 26 dingers this season, and the Yankees are in town this week for four games on the South Side. Let's hope he doesn't actually do that when it counts.