Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL


March 20, 2013

Dueling Brackets: Braden Layer


SOUTH - Spoiler alert! This region contains my national champion (shocked it's not OSU?). I could rave on and on about what I love about Georgetown, but I can best sum it up in three words. Otto Porter Jr. Watching Porter dissect Syracuse in the last regular-season matchup between the two Big East rivals was truly a thing of beauty. He effortlessly flicked the ball through the hoop with a sound midrange game not often seen in college basketball. And if you need him to step back and hit a 3, he'll do that too, currently at a 42.7 percent clip.

He's also pretty angry coming off a disappointing loss to said Orangemen in the Big East semifinals, a game in which he went just 4-of-13 from the field. An upset, determined Otto Porter will take the floor in the NCAA tournament, and opponents won't enjoy that. I have Georgetown heading back to their first Final Four since 2007 with wins over Florida Gulf Coast, San Diego State, Florida and Kansas, in that order.

UPSET SPECIAL - Eleventh-seeded Minnesota over sixth-seeded UCLA. The Bruins have no momentum after suffering a bad loss to Oregon, and they also don't have freshman guard Jordan Adams after he went down with a broken foot. Look for Minnesota to finally get the monkey off its back and win a big game, something they haven't yet done with Tubby Smith at the helm.

EAST - If you have read my columns, you may have noticed that I picked Indiana to win the Big Ten title, which they did in the regular season. Predictably, I have Tom Crean cutting down the nets again, this time with a smile, as the Hoosiers advance to the Final Four. No team is loaded with as much offensive talent, and no team is as remarkably efficient and fun to watch than when Indiana is rolling. Every player that starts is capable of going for 20 points in any game, but Christian Watford will determine just how far the Hoosiers go. If he isn't aggressive offensively, they may slip, but if Watford plays to the level he is capable there isn't a more talented team in the land. I like Indiana to beat LIU-Brooklyn, Temple, Syracuse and Marquette in that order.

UPSET SPECIAL - Temple over NC State. So it's not a big upset, but I really had no others to choose from, I see the seeding working out pretty well in the East.

FINAL FOUR- Ohio State over Louisville, Georgetown over Indiana.

CHAMPIONSHIP- Otto Porter caps a season to remember by winning it all and riding off into the sunset with an NBA lottery pick in his future.


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  • Groce.jpg Illini coach Groce stops in Effingham; Speech focuses on team building

    A crowded ballroom met for "An Evening with John Groce” Thursday inside the Thelma Keller Convention Center.
    Groce has been the men's basketball coach at the University of Illinois since March 2012. Prior to that, he was the head coach at Ohio University, where he led the Bobcats to a Sweet 16 appearance in 2012.
    His speech was focused on team building and Groce said it was the a variation of the same speech he will give Sunday evening at his beginning-of-the-year players' meeting.

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • MadisonBushue.jpg St. Anthony second at Charleston scramble

    In their first meet of the season, the St. Anthony Bulldogs came out firing, taking second place at the Charleston Invitational Thursday afternoon.
    The tournament was a scramble at Charleston Country Club, and the hosting Trojans took home the tournament with a combined score of 72. St. Anthony was five shots back, shooting a 77. Effingham finished fourth with an 88, and Teutopolis took ninth with a 98.

    August 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Ryan.jpg Czachorski: Lunt the right man at QB

    There haven't been many times I've put pen to paper — or I guess more fittingly finger to keyboard — and written about the Illinois Fighting Illini.
    Part of it is due to their football team's struggles, as it's hard to have an opinion on them outside of "man, they went 1-7 in the Big 10 last year" or "I remember that one time they went to the Rose Bowl, but that's about it." Part of it is staying in my wheelhouse, which is MAC football and my alma mater Central Michigan Chippewas, a topic that doesn't concern many, if any, around here.

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NeogaGresens.jpg Neoga prepares for upcoming volleyball season

    Another area team finds themselves with a new coach holding the clipboard this season.
    Susan Hutchinson is the new volleyball coach for the Neoga Indians, but she isn't new to the game of volleyball. Hutchinson coached at Mattoon for seven years when they were still in the Big 12 Conference. She said her new players had to get used to her coaching style very quickly.

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bulldogs fifth at ISU

    St. Anthony took to the links for the second-straight day and had a strong showing at the Raider/Redbird Classic.
    The Bulldogs finished fifth among a 20-team field, shooting a 318. East Peoria shot a 312 to win it, Normal U-High and Lincoln each shot 315s with Normal winning the tie-breaker, and Bloomington took fourth with a 317.

    August 21, 2014

  • DonovanHammer.jpg St. Anthony will lead with speed

    For the last five years, Eric Morales has been the assistant coach of the St. Anthony Bulldogs soccer team. But this season he will have his chance at the helm and try to help lead the Bulldogs to their first regional title since 2010.
    St. Anthony is missing six seniors from last years team, including its leading goal scorer and starting goalie.

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • JakeLinders.jpg Flaming Hearts win St. Anthony Invitational

    The Flaming Hearts of Effingham were the overall winners and also had the medalist. Effingham shot a team score of 312 to beat the host Bulldogs by nine shots. Hearts senior Jackson Wendling finished with a 72 to take medalist honors.

    August 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Willenborg.jpg Teutopolis takes opener against St. Thomas More

    Teutopolis took the course with a new coach and four players, but as coach Becky Probst said, it takes four to score.
    And those four Lady Shoes took their first match of the year, topping Champaign St. Thomas More 216-227 in both teams' openers at Cardinal Golf Course in Effingham.

    August 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • callawaysmith.jpg Time to tee off, golf season starts fall sports campaign today

    The fall sports campaign kicks off in earnest Monday afternoon, with the first area varsity contests being held in Windsor and Effingham this afternoon.
    The St. Anthony Invitational boys golf tournament will be held at Fox Prairie Golf Course at 1 p.m. in Windsor, while the Teutopolis Lady Shoes host St. Thomas More at Cardinal Golf Course at 4 p.m.

    August 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • AndrewBingham.jpg Flaming Hearts' flexibility a plus; Effingham prepping for upcoming soccer season

    Three days into the practice season, Effingham soccer coach Aaron Witges sees a lot of flexibility.
    It was something his squad had last year, with 10 seniors but young players forcing their way into the lineup as well.
    Coming off a 10-8-3 season, some of those young players will find themselves in new positions for the Flaming Hearts this season.

    August 16, 2014 1 Photo

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