March 29, 2011 - 4:43 PM
Well, my last term of college is officially underway, and I can't help but thinking about the fact that I just had my last, first day of school. It's a strange feeling, because I feel like I was just a freshman yesterday.
It is now Tuesday, so I have had a chance to experience one session of each of the four classes I will be taking this term. My MWF schedule is pretty relaxed, as I work from nine until one in the afternoon, and then I head over to the recreation center for my weigh training class. I had this class yesterday, and it seems like it should be pretty fun. I haven't really been hitting the weights as much as I should be, so this will be a nice opportunity for me get huge before the summer months roll around. My Tuesday and Thursday schedule is a little more brutal, because I basically have class all day until four in the afternoon. I am taking two English classes to complete the literature requirement for the Journalism School, as well as an upper division journalism elective class. One of the English classes is an introduction to poetry, while the other is a introduction to film studies. Both should be pretty easy, as I wanted them to be. I am done with my upper division requirement, and this is my last term of college so I'm not exactly trying to take any "brain busters."
My journalism elective class is all about social media, which should be pretty useful because the world is currently amid the social media revolution. I am not a huge user of Twitter,for example, but with this class I'll be able to learn everything there is to know about it and How companies can use it effectively. I know that being literate in these media platforms is encouraged by employers, so it is probably a good thing that it will be fresh in my mind after I graduate and begin looking for jobs.
The College Basketball Invitational's final series has begun, and unfortunately it began with a loss for the Ducks in Omaha. I guess we just didn't have what it took to get past Creighton in game one, but luckily for us, the series is coming to Eugene tomorrow, where we will hopefully be able to get a win in front of what should be a relatively packed house. If we win tomorrow, the game for all the marbles will again be played in Matthew Knight Arena, so we will have home court advantage for the rest of the series. I know Duck fans would really like to see Coach Altman snag a few wins against his old crew, so I'm hoping that tomorrow will present the Blue Jays with one of the rowdier crowds they have played in front of this season. The seniors could have one or two games left, depending on how we perform, and I'm hopeful that they will have the opportunity to play two more games as Oregon Ducks.
March 24, 2011 - 11:33 AM
The College Basketball Invitational continues on as the Oregon Ducks have found themselves in the tournament's championship round. I'm not exactly sure how this championship "series" works, but it has been fun to watch the Ducks advance as far as they have and hopefully we can bring home the hardware.
On Wednesday in Eugene, the Ducks took on a known foe in Duck Nation, the Boise State Broncos. After the 08-09 debacles on the football field against Boise State, those are the first memories that come to mind when these two schools meet. It's a different sport obviously, but the rivalry is still somewhat fresh and it's fun to watch these two schools compete.
The Ducks came out hot and developed a lead that was close to 20 points at one point. Boise State kept fighting and kept themselves in the game, eventually narrowing the margin to only six. Oregon was able to hold on for the win, and senior forward Joevon Catron threw down late in the second half, which jolted the crowd because he rarely dunks.
It is interesting that Oregon has found itself in the CBI championship series, because the Ducks' first game will be against the Creighton Blue Jays, the team that Oregon's head coach left to take the job at Oregon. It seems as though maybe the CBI decision makers were hoping for this match up in the finals, because Boise State wasn't even supposed to be on our side of the bracket. We were supposed to play Creighton on Wednesday night, but the Broncos were for some reason switched to our side of the bracket instead. The switch may have been made because Boise is much close to Eugene than Omaha, but I can see why maybe the CBI bracket makers may have made the switch to try to create the ultimate match up for the CBI finals.
The CBI's big brother tournament picked up again yesterday for the Sweet 16 rounds. Jimmer Fredette's 32 points weren't enough to get the Cougars past Florida, and the San Diego State Aztecs fell to Uconn in a game that was much closer than the final score showed. The shocker of the night was watching the Duke Blue Devils fall to the five seed Arizona Wildcats. Trailing after the first half, the Cats went on a tear in the second half and beat Duke by double digits. I had Duke advancing to the next round, but it's nice to watch Arizona represent the Pac 10 conference, and hopefully they can bring it to the Huskies (not UW) tomorrow night. A conference like the Pac 10 only looks stronger when one of its teams is able to knock off someone as nationally renowned as Coach K's Blue Devils.
In my opinion, this is when March Madness becomes exciting because only the best teams are remaining. Every game will be close as each team fights to stay alive. As the games continue tomorrow, I'm excited to see who will get sent home and who will get to keep on dancin'!
March 23, 2011 - 3:44 PM
Luckily, I was able to make it back from Sin City in one piece...but my wallet sure didn't. Quality vacations are rarely free, so my bank account took the hit that it was expected to before I left. Not necessarily because of the gambling aspect of Las Vegas, but simply because everything there is so expensive. A tiny beverage full of ice cost me $15 at one of the restaurants in our hotel. It was all well worth it, but that is why we decided to spend only three days there, compared to a man we met in the elevator who had been there for two weeks.
The MGM Grand was everything I was expecting it to be, and the pool area was the best part. I call it an area because that is really what it was. There was not one pool, but four, not including the creatively designed lazy river that ran its way around the pool courtyard. Unfortunately the sun was only shining the day that we got there, but we were there early in the morning so we had a chance to take advantage of it.
March Madness is always a great time to be in Las Vegas, and I think it is safe to say that the majority of the bets made at the sports book were made on college basketball teams. There were people all over the place sporting their college basketball jerseys to show a little support for their favorite teams. The sports betting areas were packed full of people while the tournament games were being played, and were then deserted once the day's games were over. It was crazy hanging around this area in our hotel because people were constantly yelling and screaming in joy and disgust every time a crucial moment in the game came around. I'm sure it wasn't because everyone watching was a huge fan of the teams playing, but rather that the majority of the people residing in the sports book for the games had money on one team or another. To me this is one of the most fun places to hang out during the day (other than the pool) and those who have been to a casino sports book before know that there are television screens covering everything from basketball to horse racing.
The trip was over before it felt like it had even started, but they say that time flies when you're having fun. The nightlife on the strip was spectacular as it always is, and I can never get enough of the Las Vegas lights. It seems like spring break just began but tomorrow is already Friday and I'll be back in class before I know it. I've had a great break so far and hopefully there is more to be had. I'll be heading up to Portland for the next few days to try to enjoy the remainder of my break before I embark on my last term as a college student (which is still weird to say).
March 18, 2011 - 8:53 AM
Ahhh, another blog from the spacious cabin of a Southwest Airlines jet. Today's voyage through the skies will bring me to Sin City for another spring break adventure.
We are currently on our way to Spokane, Wash., America's most exciting city, where we have a not-so-brief two hour layover before making the final leg of the trip to McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. Our flight left Portland at seven in the morning, so we left my buddy's house in Lake Oswego at around five a.m. to make it to PDX in time. It's been a rough morning for everyone, including the infant in front of me that has been steadily crying for the last 20 minutes. I pounded a delicious late before I got in the plane and luckily it has helped to shake out some of the early-morning cob webs.
Our flight is expected to get into Vegas at around 1, and the first bullet point on the agenda is to hit the pool at our hotel, the MGM Grand. We have been told that this casino has the nicest pool on the strip so I'm pretty stoked. There are few things that are better than a nice float in the lazy river under the desert sunshine.
March Madness is officially underway, so I plan to spend a little bit of time at the sports book catching up on all the action. As it usually is, my chance for a perfect bracket is already ruined after only one round. Thanks a lot Louisville. The four-seed Cardinals lost to 13-seed Moorehead State. It's games like these that always throw a kink in everyone's bracket. No one that thinks logically could have possibly picked this upset, and I know many people had Louisville advancing a few rounds farther in the tournament. Kentucky barely held on to a win over Princeton and the smell of upsets is in the air. Tournament time is always a frenzy but I can't think of a better place to watch the tournament madness than Sin City.
It's nice to be done with another winter term, but the end of finals week was a little more hectic than I originally anticipated with the Oregon men's basketball team participating in the CBI Tournament in Eugene. We won our first match up against Weber State and are scheduled for another game on Monday. Unfortunately it is on me to find a halftime group for the game, which should be difficult considering that all of the Eugene schools are on break. Regardless, it's exciting that the Ducks will move on and it would be fun to see them win it all.
I unfortunately don't know my grades for the term yet because I forgot to fill out my course evaluations. That is the University's way of forcing students to do them. If you don't, your grades are withheld. It's hard to remember during finals week and this definitely isn't the first time I have done this. Hopefully I'll be able to see them soon and they are as solid as I am expecting them to be. Until then, I'll be enjoying the weekend in sunny Las Vegas for the start of my last official spring break.
March 13, 2011 - 2:22 PM
So, remember when I told everyone that college basketball was over at Matthew Knight Arena? Well, I lied...CBI baby!
I was just informed this morning that the Oregon Ducks mens' basketball team has accepted its bid to play in the CBI Tournament beginning this wednesday. Its official name is the College Basketball Invitational presented by Zebra Pen, and it includes a total of 16 teams that will all play first round games beginning on Wednesday. The tournament includes teams like Rutgers, Miami and Creighton (Coach Altman's old team), and it should be exciting to see if the Ducks can make a little run.
I'm not too sure of how the logistics of the tournament work exactly, but I know that we are facing off against Weber State in Eugene on Wednesday night. I heard that depending on whether we win or not, we could be playing second round games in Eugene again or at one of various other locations (pretty random it seems). I was ready for the Duck basketball season to be over, but I'm glad the team will get one last chance at a tournament championship after an impressive run at the beginning of the Pac 10 tournament played in Los Angeles last week.
While the Ducks are preparing for their upcoming game, the grand-daddy of all college basketball tournaments is set to kick-off this week. Yesterday I watched the release of the brackets on ESPN and suddenly, like that, the March Madness mayhem was back in full all across the country. I, like thousands and maybe millions of others, printed off a bracket right after it was released and began making picks. I took my time, went slow, and analyzed every pick carefully. I may fill out another bracket before tournament time technically begins, but as of now I have Kansas winning it all over San Diego State after the Aztecs run the table in their sector of the bracket.
Tournament time is always a streak of madness across America. People lose their minds over their picks and make new bracket after new bracket. Already the commercials have come out showing the different, goofy ways that some people go about making picks. It really is up to a higher being it seems, because there are shocker games every year that throw a kink in everyones bracket. For example, last year I was sitting around a table watching everyone cringe over Kansas' loss to Northern Iowa, especially the people who had Kansas doing some damage.
As there seems to be every year, this year there were some very questionable decisions made by the tournament committee. My Buffs in Boulder got snubbed for Virginia Commonwealth and UAB. Seriously guys? Give me a break, the Buffs beat Kansas State THREE times this season, and recently defeated the top 10 Longhorns in Boulder. Even in a loss in the Big 12 tournament, the Buffs lost to Kansas by single digits. I'm just disappointed they won't have a chance to be a bracket buster, but the tournament should be interesting anyway, considering that all of the analysts have agreed that the talent in this year's tournament is somewhat weak (way to spice it up guys).
I don't mean to make everyone jealous before I head out, but I'll be in an airplane to sunny Las Vegas the next time you hear from me...talk to you then.