Archives for April 2020

MOTSAG Pretend CFP: First Round; #8 Memphis versus #9 Boise State

The only matchup between two non-Power 5 teams, 9th seeded Boise State faced off against 8th seeded Memphis.  Both teams entered the game with matching 12-1 records with their one loss coming in upsets; Temple knocking off Memphis and BYU beating Boise State.  In this first year of the new 12 team format, both schools felt a lot of pressure to show that the non-Power 5 programs deserved to be included.

Boise State got on the board first with a passing touchdown by quarterback Hank Bachmeier on the opening drive of the game.  After a couple stalled drives by both teams, Bachmeier hit leading receiver John Hightower for a 60 yard touchdown to put Boise up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter started with both teams struggling to get anything going on offense but Memphis took advantage of a better punting game to win the field position battle and midway through the second quarter, the Tigers started a drive at midfield and quickly took advantage thanks to a 6 play drive that ended with quarterback Brady White finding receiver Kedarian Jones in the corner of the endzone to make it a 14-7 game.  Boise State’s offense couldn’t do anything on their next drive but their defense came up big, intercepting a Tiger pass to give the Broncos the ball deep in Memphis territory.  However the Bronco’s offense could only manage one first down and they had to settle for a field goal to give themselves a 17-7 lead.  Boise State looked like they had the chance to score again late in the half but Bachmeier was intercepted and Memphis took advantage, putting together an excellent final two minutes that culminated in Brady White hitting leading receiver Damonte Coxie for a 27 yard touchdown right before half.  Both teams headed into the locker room with Boise State up 17-14.

Memphis received the kickoff to start the second half and a nice 30 yard return set them up in good field position.  The Tigers continued their momentum from the end of the first half, putting together a nice drive that culminated with running back Kenny Gainwell punching it into the endzone from the 2-yard line to give the Tiger’s their first lead of the game, 21-17.  The teams exchanged punts before Gainwell once again showed off, this time breaking a few tackles to turn a short pass into a 60 yard gain and a 1st and goal at the 4.  After an incomplete pass by White, Gainwell finished the drive himself with a 4-yard scamper to extend the Memphis lead to 28-17.

Boise State was on the ropes and after a three and out, Memphis landed what looked like the knock out punch as White and Gainwell teamed up for what would be the third touchdown of the day for each of them, giving the Tigers a 35-17 lead to start the fourth quarter.  The Broncos weren’t done though, keeping calm despite the large deficit, they put together an efficient mix of running and passing plays that ended with Bachmeier’s third passing td of the day to make it a 35-24 game with 8 minutes to go.  Momentum seemed to be swinging the Broncos way as they forced a three and out and then quickly moved the ball into Tiger territory.  The clock was becoming an issue though, forcing Boise to abandon their running game and rely on the passing game, which had been hit or miss all season.  This time it missed as Bachmeier threw his second interception of the game, ending the Broncos drive.  Memphis managed to burn a few minutes off the clock, ending the Broncos hopes and coming away with a 35-24 win to advance to the second round.

Memphis quarterback Brady White and running back Kenny Gainwell were the stars of the game.  White had 325 yards passing and 3 touchdowns, with only 1 interception, while Gainwell ran for 2 touchdowns and caught one other.

MOTSAG Pretend CFP: First Round; #7 Oregon v. #10 Appalachian State


It’s the final #6 CFP and winners of 3 straight as well as PAC12 champions taking on winners of 7 straight and winners of their fourth straight Sun Belt Conference title, finishing the season 20th in the final committee poll.

Both teams combined only lost 3 games all season and present a pretty good challenge for each other with their high scoring offenses and conference MVP’s in tow. Justin Herbert and Darrynton Evans put on a good show for everyone.

Justin Herbert gave himself some more publicity for the 2020 NFL draft finishing the game 18 of 21 for 242 yards, 4 TD’s and no INT’s.

Darrynton Evans finished the game with 26 carries for 154 yards and three scores but it wasn’t enough as the Ducks stopped a late drive to defeat the Mountaineers 35-28 to move on to round two.

They await their fate until the rest of the first round is finished. Stay Tuned!

Kansas Jayhawks win 6th NCAA Title

Dominating run by National POTY runner-up Udoka Azubuike against the national POTY Obi Toppin propels Jayhawks to title.

1 Kansas vs. 1 Dayton- Udoka Azubuke continued his “disappointed he did not win the NPOTY award” tour and wasted little time taking down Obin Toppin and the Flyers.

Azubuke accounted for all but two of the Jayhawks points through the first ten minutes of the game but held Toppin in check on the big stage. Devon Dotson had another remarkable game from the free throw line and matched Azubuke in scoring as they both finished with 19 a piece.

The Jayhawks continued their destruction of other teams offense and held Dayton to their lowest point total of the season with 61 and Toppin with 15 points and 6 turnovers. Kansas moves on to their 12th NCAA final(5-6) 79-61.

1 Gonzaga vs. 3 Michigan St.- Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman took on Filip Petrusev, Corey Kispert and Killian Tillie in a showdown for the ages.

Both teams already knew the winner would get Kansas but did not want to spend everything they had on this victory. They traded punches early and often and Xavier Tillman hits a three at the buzzer to end Gonzaga’s season.

The Spartans move on to take on Kansas in the title game and not with many fresh legs after several OT’s to get there. MSU 98-95 3OT.

Championship Game:

1 Kansas vs. 3 Michigan St.- The Spartans and Jayhwaks have faced each other 14 times in historic fashion. The series is tied 7-7 with the last win coming for the Jayhwaks in 2018 via 92-87.

This rivalry is one that can go either way every-time the two teams meet(kansas leads in scoring 1125-1118) and the match up between two future HOF coaches in Bill Self and Tom Izzo is one to enjoy.

It also provided us fans with a one on one match-up between Udoka Azubuke and Cassius Winston and neither player backed down.

Regulation would not be enough and the Spartans had no answer for Azubuke in OT as the Jayhawks made everything in the extra period and MSU couldn’t make anything. Kansas wins their 6th overall title 89-81 in OT

The last time they met – November 2018

Dancing By Theirselves: Gonzaga Wins It All!

With the Final Four matchups set, a memorable run is pitting two NCAA Basketball powerhouses against two teams vying for their first title since piecing together their respective teams. One side of the coin has the #1 seed Dayton Flyers from the East Region going up against the #1 Kansas Jayhawks from the Midwest Region. From the West the #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs will face-off against the South Regions #3 Michigan State Spartans. At stake is a spot in the NCAA Basketball Championship Game.

In the first matchup Dayton goes up against Kansas for all the marbles. Coming into this matchup, Dayton has never gotten this close to the title game since 1967, where they defeated North Carolina to reach the big game where they fell to UCLA. Recently, the closest they’ve sniffed was this game, but since falling to #1 Florida in 2014 in the Elite Eight, it has been nothing but a string of first and second round exits.

For Kansas, their last title was won in 2008. There has been mixed results and in 2016 and 2017, they fell in the regional finals and haven’t been as consistent as past teams. The consistency was not there, but this year they gutted through with the talent on the roster. You can never discount their ability to get into the ears of any prospect in the nation and year after year, they flex the ability to do just that.

On the opening tip, it gets a little chippy. Trash-talk central as the bigger dog begins to chat it up and bark before the initial tip-off. Dayton comes in focused and ready for a fight and they basically punch Kansas in the mouth from the get-go. Despite Kansas controlling the opening tip and scoring on the opening possession, the Flyers never wavered. Devon Dotson controls the flow of the game throughout as his teams builds a near insurmountable lead at the half. Dayton goes into the half down 14–56-70. They surely looked dead in the water and the buckets weren’t there for them, but they persisted on.

To open the second half, Obi Toppin and Jalen Crutcher take the Jayhawks to school. Three after three, a heat check was inevitable, but they kept hitting when they needed it the most. There were perfect sequences throughout from the Jayhawks, but they were shut down by stifling defense and double-teams from the reinvigorated Flyers team. Eventually momentum began to swing in Kansas’ favor as they get key blocks from Azubuike that turned into a quick 5-point swing. Two driving layups and a free throw tie the game at 81 each with just under two minutes remaining. Dayton makes a stop on the defensive side of the ball and converts it into three points. Kansas attempts to answer with a few precious seconds remaining, but Toppin flies in to swat a desperation heave to help Dayton advance. 87-84 Dayton.

For the second contest, it pitted #1 Gonzaga against #3 Michigan State. Like the other side of the bracket, it is for a spot in the championship game. Both teams have has memorable runs, but the underdog was the higher seeded team Gonzaga. Since their formation in 1907, they have been big dance 22 times with one trip to the big dance that ended up not being meant to be as they fell to North Carolina. For Michigan State they ended up getting into the Final Four but they fell to Texas Tech in 2019. From a talent standpoint, the Spartans have the slight edge. Winston is a monster and a playmaker and Gonzaga has to be ready to combat their talent and depth.

Upon the opening tipoff, Michigan State controls the ball and gets a quick shot up to take the lead. This game was back and fourth with Petrusev kept them in the game for the half. This game felt like it was all Michigan State up until the Bulldogs came storming back just before the half, effectively seizing the momentum for them and the lead. To open the second half Gonzaga leads 51-50, but the Spartans open up on a 11-0 run to rattle their opponent. The combination of guards, bigs and depth really exposed Gonzaga as the began to wear down. Time out Gonzaga. After a fiery speech during the time out, the Bulldog players embrace the challenge of defeating Goliath. David drew out his stone and began working.

Possession after possession, they slowly begin to claw back into the game, forcing Izzo to a timeout to attempt to stop the bleeding while clinging onto a 77-73 lead. The time was right and Petrusev seized the moment as he ripped Winston and took it straight to the rack. On the ensuing drive, he forced a bad pass from Winston again and he found Woolridge on the wing for a corner three to take the lead 78-77. Winston answered back with a dunk from the baseline, but the damage was done. Petrusev hit another open player for another three and they never looked back. The firepower was enough and the Spartans could not overcome it as they fall 86-81.

In the Championship Game #1 Gonzaga will face #1 Dayton. Overmatched with talent, the big stage once again was too big for the Flyers. The Bulldogs controlled the game from the beginning and the Flyers never came close to getting back in the game. By halftime the game was very much over with Gonzaga shutting down the offense by holding them to 29% shooting from three and 33% as a whole. The whole team rebounded from that sluggish start against Michigan State and put on the performance worthy of a title run.

The second half was much more of the same. Timely buckets coupled with suffocating defense. Dayton was still very much dead in the water. In the waning minutes, they successfully create havoc as they try to storm back with a 10-0 run to make the final score look pretty. They showed heart stopping Gonzaga as the game clock hits zeroes as they fall 91-67. Gonzaga finally gets over the hump and they secure their first title!

Michigan St reigns as NCAA men’s basketball tourney champions for the first time since 2000

Final Four Matchups:

1 Kansas vs. 1 Dayton-Dayton 86-80: Dayton takes down Kansas in a back and fourth matchup that featured a few ESPN top 10 Obi Toppin Dunks.

1 Gonzaga vs. 3 Michigan St.- Michigan St 79-75 (OT): Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman provide 50 of the 79 points scored to lead MSU to the title game.

Championship Game:

1 Dayton vs. 3 Michigan St.- Michigan St 81-79: Tom Izzo captures his first National Title since 2000 behind All American Cassius Winston.

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have voted on the polls and have followed along with us on the site!

Dayton wins the Natty!

MOTSAG Pretend March Madness: Final Four Scott Style
The Final Four is set and three of the four teams are perennial powers that shocked nobody by advancing: Kansas, Gonzaga, and Michigan State.Then there was the Atlantic 10 Engine That Could, the Dayton Flyers. Always a top 25-30 team in attendance, one of the winningest teams in the NCAA in the 1960s, and the team that’s hosted the most NCAA Men’s Tournament games, Dayton, despite losing just twice — in overtime on neutral courts – was a prohibitive underdog in a rematch with another No. 1 seed, Kansas. The Jayhawks were one of two teams to beat Dayton during the regular season, with Colorado being the other.
The second matchup features Gonzaga and Sparty.

No. 1 Dayton 76, No. 1 Kansas 72: This game was just as exciting as the first meeting early in the season. Neither team could build more than a five-point lead. Kansas tried to neutralize Obi Toppin by bringing double-team help from weird angles, hoping he wouldn’t be able to kick the ball out to the open player.
But Toppin, a likely NBA lottery pick, showed that he’s more than highlight-reel dunks and silky smooth three-point chucks. He continued to find the open man, but the Flyers struggled from long range early on, looking like Shaq at the free throw line.
Meanwhile, Kansas couldn’t solve Dayton’s ball-hawking defense, turning the ball over 8 times in its first 10 possessions.
However after the under 12 media timeout, both teams made adjustments and Kansas enjoyed a 30-28 lead at halftime.
Both teams scrapped their first-half game plan in the second half and Toppin and Udoka Azubuike took over. Topping scored 20 of his team-high 25 points in the second half, while Azubuike scored all 17 of his in the second, many times going one-on-one at both ends.
Dayton tried to pull away midway through as a Jalen Crutcher three pointer gave Dayton a 50-45 lead. Kansas went on a 10-0 run in about a minute to open a 55-50 lead before Dayton eventually tied it two minutes later.
From there, the teams traded baskets, misses and turnovers, heading into the final four minutes tied 70-70.
Dayton came out of the final timeout with possession and ran the picket fence to get Toppin a three pointer. Azubuike made a layup at the other end and was fouled, but he missed the free throw keeping the score at 73-72.
That remained the score until Trey Landers buried a three pointer as the shot clock was about to expire with 14 seconds left in the game. Kansas, without any timeouts, rushed the ball up the court and got two shots off, neither of which went in and time expired sending the Flyers to their first championship game since 1967.

No. 1 Gonzaga 87, No. 3 Michigan State 44
Nobody was shocked to see Michigan State in another Final Four, the school’s ninth under Tom Izzo. But everyone had to be shocked at how easily the Bulldogs dismantled Sparty. Gonzaga jumped out to a 19-2 lead, forcing turnover after turnover, totally befuddling Michigan State.
At one point, Izzo looked over at Gonzaga Coach Mark Few and shrugged his shoulders and laughed.
Gonzaga led 42-20 at halftime and continued to sizzle in the second half, making 65 percent of its shots while turning the ball over once.
Izzo was so frustrated with his team that at the under 12 timeout, he sent his five starters to the locker room and was heard telling them not to come out until they were ready to play. Five minutes later they returned and did play better, but by then they trailed by 40. In keeping with the regular season theme, six Bulldogs scored in double figures, led by Joel Ayayi’s 15. Cassius Winston scored 20 to lead Michigan State.

Dayton 70, Gonzaga 65, OT
Dayton wins its first NCAA Men’s Tournament title by outscoring Gonzaga 5-0 in the overtime period. Gonzaga discovered that there is stoppin’ Toppin, holding him to 11 points. But the Bulldogs couldn’t figure out Crutcher and Landers, who combined for 42 points and Dayton received great support from the rest of the roster.
Ayayi again led Gonzaga in scoring, pouring in 20 points, while Filip Petrusev added 15. But the Bulldogs struggled with consistency the entire game, turning the ball over 20 times and making just 38 percent of its shots.
Dayton wasn’t that great either, committing 17 turnovers and shooting just 65 percent from the free throw line.
Leading 34-31 at halftime, Dayton started the second half on a 10-2 run to open up an 11-point lead, but Gonzaga battled back by intentionally putting Dayton at the free throw line and converting second-chance opportunities at the other end.
Gonzaga took a 45-44 lead with 11 minutes left and neither team led by more than four the rest of regulation. Both teams had chances to win the game in the final minute, but Dayton missed three free throws and Gonzaga missed a three pointer and a somewhat-uncontested layup.
Crutcher made a three pointer to start overtime and then made a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to ice the title.

MOTSAG Pretend March Madness: Elite Eight (West Region)

With all but eight teams remaining in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the top two seeded teams out west remain in the fight. This has been a long hard road and with both teams overcoming two scrappy teams, do they still have gas remaining in the tank?

In a duel of two great programs, it is just mere minutes away from tip-off. The #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs and the #2 San Diego State Aztecs have locked onto each other in what could shape up to be a heated contest with the last two teams in the west.

Just moments before the tip-off, you can feel the tension and the anticipation in the air. With a trip to the Final Four at stake both teams cautiously approach this contest and we are off! The Aztecs gain control of the opening tip-off and the game gets underway. Malachi Flynn wastes no time and gets the initial bucket off of a hard screen from Wetzell. Not to be outdone, Petrusev penetrates the paint and kicks it out to Woolridge at the top of the key for two.

The opening half said a lot about both teams. Both started on fire until about 8 minutes before the half. After that it was all Gonzaga before going into halftime. At the half the Bulldogs are up 54-47. They rode a 7-0 run before the halftime buzzer and they kept control with pesky defense and well-timed buckets to keep the Aztecs at bay.

During the half, the Aztec coach is livid and gives out one of the most fiery speeches of the tournament and his team responded. Coming out of the locker room, the Aztec’s went 5-6 from three and they gained the lead after some stellar defense of their own. Aztecs lead 66-68 before the Bulldogs call a timeout. The well-timed break led to crucial adjustments on Gonzaga’s end that focused on shutting down and doubling Flynn to get the ball out of his hands.

Initially, it had worked out and it forced the Aztecs into a couple of turnovers and eventually a key backcourt violation. Flynn, visibly flustered called a timeout with 3 minutes left in regulation being down 77-70. In clutch fashion, his coaching staff drew some plays up and they executed it resulting in a 7-0 run to tie the game at 77 a piece. Shell-shocked, Gonzaga calls their last timeout with a little over a minute remaining in the game.

The coach drew up an isolation play to send the Aztecs packing in the waning minutes of the game. With 25 seconds left, Woolridge takes it down to under 10 seconds. He takes a pick from Petrusev, he loses his defender in the process and shoots a two at the top of the key… clang… in and out of the basket. Overtime ball for all the marbles!

From the initial portions of overtime, both teams are exhausted and it shows. Hunched over and visibly tired, both teams set-up for the additional minutes. This time Gonzaga controls the ball first. Petrusev wastes no time and knocks down a three in the face of Flynn to put the Bulldogs up 80-77. Flynn responds with a barrage of buckets–a layup and a three of his own to put the Aztecs up 82-80. Back-and-fourth both teams try to start a run, but focused defense is played on both sides.

The last two minute stretch was crucial and neither team was pulling away. With the game tied, yet again at 91 a piece. Neither team has buckled so far. Both a playing fierce defense and their offensive firepower hasn’t shied away. In the highest scoring game of the tournament, Petrusev takes the ball away from Flynn in the waning seconds and with 5 seconds remaining, he chucks it from half court with a prayer. It comes clean off his hands and it looks like it has a chance. The prayer was answered and he connects with the half-court heave to advance 94-92. Bulldogs advance in a thriller.

MOTSAG Pretend March Madness Elite 8/ Final 4 matchups (South Region)

Welcome back to the South Region! Today we have the final 4 teams battling it out where 2 will make it to the Elite 8 of the Tournament. Will 2 B1G teams make it out of this Region? Who will be the South Regions Final 4 representative? Below are the matchups with the final results:

  • 1 Baylor vs. 5 Ohio State: Ohio State 78-77-Ohio State keeps the magic alive and pulls the upset over the #1 seeded Baylor. 3 pt shooting and just enough defense get the job done.
  • 3 Michigan State vs. 2 Creighton: Michigan State 75-68- Michigan State ends the Creighton run with the more tournament experienced lineup. Izzo back to the Elite 8 (has to be some kind of record right?)

To go to the Final 4:

  • 5 Ohio State vs. 3 Michigan State: Michigan State 81-75- Unfortunately Ohio State’s run comes to an end here to the more experienced team . The Buckeyes only trailed by 3 and needed a stop to potentially tie the game. Cassius Winston hit a dagger 3 at the end of the shot clock to put the game out of reach in the final seconds.

South Region Final 4 team: 3 Michigan State

Tune in Next week as we send 2 teams to the championship game and as usual we would love your feedback!

MOTSAG Pretend March Madness: East Sweet 16 and Elite 8

Dayton was one of the country’s biggest surprises this basketball season. And it continued that not-really-a-Cinderella story in the Pretend March Madness as Obi Toppin was simply unstoppable in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8.

No. 1 Dayton 101, No. 12 Richmond 75 The only reason Richmond scored that much was because Dayton played most of its subs late and the Spiders scored a ton of garbage buckets. Toppin scored 41 points and Jalen Crutcher added 25 and 14 assists for the Flyers. Everyone on the UD roster played and everyone scored at least one basket. Dayton began the game on a 21-1 run and led 61-20 at halftime. Blake Francis scored 22 for the Spiders.

No. 2 Florida State 67, No. 3 Villanova 60 Villanova gave Dayton a blueprint for slowing down the athletic Seminoles by displaying a patient offense and zone defense that was tough to penetrate. But Florida State found just enough offense to win while the Wildcats struggled down the stretch. Trent Forrest scored 17 points for the Seminoles, while Justin Moore had 14 for the Wildcats.
Just like the committee drew it up, the two seeds advanced to the East Region final.

No. 1 Dayton 77, No. 2 Florida State 72 Madison Square Garden was transformed into the University of Dayton Arena East as Flyer Faithful packed the place. And they weren’t disappointed. With 10 seconds left and Dayton leading by three, Toppin grabbed a loose ball and led a fast break that ended with an emphatic 360-degree dunk, sealing the Flyers first trip to the Final Four since 1967. Toppin finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five posterizing dunks, earning a standing ovation from dunkmasters Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins, who were in attendance. After playing to a 32-32 first-half tie, Dayton opened a 10-point lead midway through the second half. But Forrest led the Seminoles back, tying the game with a three pointer with four minutes left. The teams seemingly traded makes and misses until Trey Landers made a three pointer to give Dayton a 75-72 lead with 30 seconds left.

MOTSAG Pretend March Madness: West Region, Third Round

With the Sweet 16 completed only the Elite 8 remain. This is the part of the tournament where teams ride the momentum that they have built up in order to advance to the Final Four. In the West Region, only Gonzaga, Yale, BYU and San Diego State remain.

The top two seeds in the bracket remain on a collision course to advance and the lone double-digit seed Yale at #12 continues their storybook run into history. Can they upset the #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs? Or will they fall to a more talented and superior team? In the second matchup #2 San Diego State will face #6 BYU in order to advance further. Both teams are geared up and ready for the upcoming challenges.

First up, #1 Gonzaga versus #12 Yale. This contest was a surprising one as Yale comes out with their hair on fire. Eric Monroe leads the team in assists as he continues to find his shooters as they stay hot in the first half. Petrusev and Wooolridge weather the storm as they fight their way back just before halftime. With solid defense they go into the half down by six points with a little bit of momentum.

Going into the second half Gonzaga caught fire and never looked back. Yale did all they could to keep it close, but a barrage of three’s later, the other Bulldogs found themselves on the ropes. Monroe led a valiant charge, but the defense clamped on him and forced him into turnover after turnover. Atkinson was also wiped out of the game plan whenever he touched the ball, a second defender would double him and force a pass under duress. Gonzaga advances 71-64.

Next up, #2 San Diego State faces off against BYU and this was a game of the back and fourth variety! Jake Toolson led the charge with TJ Haws feeding him in both, space and in traffic. Turning great defense into offense, they got a little bit ahead of the slow starting Aztec team. In a game of runs, Malachi Flynn and Yanni Wetzell ignited the offense with a little defense to offense to ease make it a contest. In a barrage of well-timed blocks and timely three pointers they overtake the lead momentarily. Haws playing the role of the spoiler broke the 10-0 run with a feed to Toolson in the paint for an and-one play.

Momentum began to swell in BYU’s favor until a misplaced pass came on the heels of BYU’s 7-0 run where Flynn took it coast-to-coast for a layup the other way. Another crucial possession for BYU ended up becoming another key error on a charging call that went against them with the game being close at 56-57 with them having the lead. Wetzell inbounded the ball during the waning minutes of the contest. The clock is in the final 24 seconds of the game and Flynn brings it down. 5…4…3…a well timed pick on Haws and a clutch three from Flynn… San Diego State advances 59-57 in a heartbreaker for BYU.