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Happy President’s Day from your Bureaucrat on Sports, the Hokie Guru, only on Govloop!!

Hola!! It’s been a few weeks since the Hokie Guru has blogged here on Govloop… I’m back for a little while… the Guru’s been busy with all things named Georgetown Public Policy Institute (Master of Policy Management – Inspectors General Program). But I’m back today to talk about a potential government shutdown (which is the nervous time for all federal employees… and realize that the Guru’s opinions are his own and he’s not speaking for the government) and then the Guru will turn to all things college basketball.

Potential Government Shutdown

Want to know about the impact of a government shutdown? Here is some required reading from the Congressional Research Service. The report addressed some of the causes and effects of a government shutdown. Several important funding streams, such as social security, veteran’s benefits, and education funding, can be stopped (or at best, delayed substantially) during a shutdown. Passport and visa applications go unprocessed, national parks are closed, and the federal hiring process (that many say is already broken) grinds to a halt. Ed O’Keefe from the Washington Post has a great article on the impact of a government shutdown in the Washington, DC/Maryland/Virginia (DMV) area.

Federal employees (and many contractors) are not paid during the shutdown, but will most likely get back pay upon return to work. You are not permitted to work during the shutdown and if you do, you will be fined (agencies cannot accept volunteer work). I was employed during the last shutdown (which should tell you how long I’ve been in government… smh, it’s going to be 16 years in May 2011) and I really thought that no political party wanted to go there again. However, partisan tensions are among the worst I’ve seen in Washington in several years.

How do you prepare for a government shutdown (knowing you might not get paid for a while)? This is a good time to stop eating at restaurants, limit the use of your credit cards, institute that savings account, maybe not go on that big vacation you planned, don’t make any big purchases, etc. I have to think that cooler heads will prevail because a government shutdown would indeed have a debilitating impact on the economy.

You can also prepare for a government shutdown by: 1.) Reading the great material on Govloop!! and 2.) Watching sports and getting your mind off work, which is what I’m going to do below!!

NCAA Men’s Basketball

Chris Dobbertean of SBNation’s Blogging the Bracket has an excellent S-Curve model for who will be in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament… you can see that right here. And as usual, some familiar names are on the bubble. The Guru is looking at you, Virginia Tech haha (the Guru will be in Blacksburg on Saturday for ESPN’s College Gameday… more on that later).

In my view (and we’re about 3 weeks from the beginning of March Madness), the following teams will be the tournament’s top seeds: Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Texas or Kansas (depends on who wins the Big 12 Tournament), and Duke. Pittsburgh, who has 12 wins and 2 losses in Big East Conference Men’s Basketball, should be the tournament’s top overall seed (much deserved as the Big East, the toughest conference in the nation, could have between 9 and 11 NCAA tournament bid).

So let’s get to my viewer’s guide on what you should look for in the next week:

1.) 2/21/2011 – Syracuse vs. Villanova (7 PM EST – ESPN) – The long, lanky Orangemen match up zone vs. the team with the best backcourt in America. The Guru likes Villanova at home.

2.) 2/23/2011- Temple at Duke (7 PM EST – ESPN2) – A rare non-conference matchup of a high caliber in February. The Owls are in the NCAA tournament and are basically playing this game vs. Duke for a higher seed more than anything (the Devils want to hold onto a #1 seed). The Guru is taking an upset in this game; Temple wins on the road.

3.) 2/24/2011 – Marquette at UConn (7 PM EST – ESPN2) – Marquette, if it gets into the NCAA tournament, will probably be one of the last teams in… much will depend on whether the Golden Eagles can get to .500 in the Big East (or a little above). This is a must win for Marqutte, but the Guru will be taking UConn at home.

4.) 2/24/2011 – Penn State at Northwestern (9 PM EST – ESPN2) – Can Northwestern make the NCAA tournament? Northwestern has NEVER made the NCAA tournament… ever… ever. That, alone, is reason enough to watch this game, right? Both the Big Ten teams are on the “bubble”; both need a win to increase chances for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The Guru, being the academic he is, will take Northwestern to win at home.

5.) 2/26/2011 – Wichita State at Missouri State (1 PM EST – ESPN2) – Yes, the Guru is going mid-major on y’all here as this is a international blog (#WOO). Sadly, I wish the Missouri Valley Conference could get more than one bid to the NCAA tournament. I agree with Eamonn Brennon, though, that it probably will not. That said, this is a VERY important game. The winner of this game will be on track for the #1 seed in Arch Madness, the Valley’s conference tournament. You want favorable matchups if you have to win the tourney to get the automatic bid. The Guru will be taking Wichita State (!!!) on the road in this game.

6.) 2/26/2011 – Duke at Virginia Tech (9 PM EST – ESPN) – Ah, yes, College Gameday coming to Blacksburg. And the Hokie Guru roadtripping to Blacksburg. There is no bigger game for my Hokies. Every year, we are bubblicious as they say haha. It’s well known, of course, that the Hokies have substantial injury problems… but Jeff Goodman says Virginia Tech has done a good job reinventing itself. The Hokie Guru, much the homer he is, thinks the game will be close throughout, but picks Duke to win by about 8-10 points. I hope I’m wrong.

Coming up later in March? The best conference tournaments in the country… and the NCAA tournament (which will include a bracket challenge on Govloop).

Have a great President’s Day everyone!!

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Matthew Stephen Worner

When you play in that “night in – night out” grinder that is the Big East, against teams like Pitt, Notre Dame (who will likely have a coach of the year candidate in the Big East), Georgetown, Louisville, much resurgent St. John’s (and trust me, the world is better off with a good basketball team in NYC), Georgetown, Louisville, Villanova, Syracuse, Cincy, UConn, WVU, and Marquette, life is pretty darn tough in the USF Bulls conference. Even Seton Hall and Rutgers can give teams a hard night. There is no given opportunity for a win, save DePaul (yet, they took Villanova to OT this past weekend). Winning the Big East regular season title is massively challenging and Bob Knight says that winning the conference tournament is akin to the toughness of an NCAA tournament. The Big East regular season and the tournament are so emotionally grinding because the teams are playing top 20 teams on what seems like every night. By the team these teams get to the tourney, I’m surprised that they have much left (look at Georgetown losing to Ohio in the first round last year… and I thought they were awesome). This is why I love college basketball… for one night, you just have to be better than the other team.

Stephen Peteritas

The big east is the toughest league but when’s the last time one of those teams made a deep run? The only Big East teams with a shot a winning it this year are Pitt and Syracuse (cause if they get a good draw with people who haven’t seen that zone).

I don’t know why but I feel really strongly about Ohio State this year.

Matthew Stephen Worner

I agree, Stephen, although I wasn’t making an ascertation on who would win the national title or make a deep run (e.g. Final Four). That’s kind of what I as saying in comment below to Govloop… the Big East league is so tough, that by the time these teams get to the NCAA tournament, many have been through such an emotionally griding season that they have an off night and lose in the Big Dance (e.g. Georgetown last year to Ohio… another one would be Syracuse to Butler). Success in the tournament solely depends on your talent level, coaching, and most importantly, the matchups in the brackets. I did not think that Duke was the best team last year, but they had favorable matchups in their regional bracket and, subsequently, won the national title. So, teams like Washington, Missouri, St. John’s (who I like more and more) and Tennessee, for example, who are all really athletic and play tough defense on the guards could pull off some major upsets… and if one of them plays Duke (like St. John’s did… who just beat Pitt… they are peaking right now) or any of the other top seeds this year, I might picking an upset in my bracket.

Texas, Ohio State, Pitt, Kansas, Duke (5 of the last 10 national chamions have come from the ACC…I love my contference haha)… they all look pretty good. I’m not sure about Syracuse because I think the team shouts about 50-60% from the FT line and that will destroy a team’s chances when they get to the NCAA tournament (see Butler game… and the Orange might be worse from the line… I’d be fouling Rick Jackson on every single play).

Stephen Peteritas

Agree on FTs that’s one on my big concerns with Kansas (my alma mater). But when I look at the top line I don’t see many great defensive teams sans Texas. But that second line has some teams that could do some work… Purdue and Wisconsin… I also really like the Badgers for a deep run. Also nobody is talking about Arizona but they are a very solid team.