(A)ctuary, (B)aseball, (C)ollege Basketball

Well I haven’t really posted much about what is going on recently so I’ll try to hit as many of those as I can in this post. Gonna cover my ABC talk here… a little regarding my actuary test that I really need to start studying hardcore for, probably gonna talk a little baseball (who wins what division and makes the playoffs) and a tournament called March Madness.

I finally registered for my first Actuary exam. It’s called Exam 1/P – Probability. You can guess what topic is covered on there, but it’s a 3 hour test of rigorous stuff which I am not looking forward to at all. I’ll probably cut back on this blogging a little bit just a little bit because I really need to start studying for that. I am on Chapter 2 of the book which is really well written and I think there are like 10 in total and the exam is the 2nd week of May. Not a lot of time left and I know I will look for every opportunity to try not study, so if you see or talk to me where I am wasting time, tell me to go and study for my test. It’s really cool stuff though (yes I’m a math major) but the concepts and what not and calculating the probability of this event or that event happening given that you already know this or that about the situation. What else could you want?

Anyways, enough math talk and back to sports. I’ve woken up the past few days and really tried to get back to watching ESPN in the morning with my “breakfast” whether that be at 8am or 1pm and you can really tell baseball stuff starting to creep their way into the news. Before the season officially starts over here in the US, I’ll put up a little prediction for each division and why.

AL: Boston (East), Detroit (Central), Los Angeles (West) and Toronto (Wild Card)
NL: New York (East), Chicago (Central), Los Angeles (West) and Philadelphia (Wild Card)

I know I’m gonna hear a lot from my Yankee friends about how could I leave them out of the playoffs but here is why. Andy Pettitte is experiencing problems already before the season starts, you already can’t count on Moose after the season he had last year plus you throw in two rookies in the rotation and you are asking for trouble if you expect them to carry a team to the post season. Mariano isn’t getting any younger and what’s Joba gonna do if the pitchers that pitch before and after him can’t get the job done?

As for Boston and Detroit, they both just have ridiculous offenses that will carry the team. Boston I like their pitching more with Beckett having a solid minor league outing two days ago and Papelbon ready to slam the door shut in the bullpen. Detroit concerns me with their pitching injuries but I think they can overcome that in the early going with their monstrous lineup that they will field everyday with Magglio, Cabrera, Sheff, and company. For the West it was a toss up between Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim or Seattle and I went with Angels simply they have been there more often recently and even with the loss of Escobar and Lackey being injured in the early going, I think the West has fallen significantly talent wise and it will be a disappointing season for that division. Wild Card where most people certainly could through the Yankees in there but I think the East can produce three 85-90+ win teams and I think if Burnett can stay healthy, and the addition of Eckstein and Rolen on the left side of the infield from a team that won the World Series not too long ago should help Wells rebound and let’s not forget Rios who is about to sign a long term extension to stay with the team.

As for the NL, I don’t understand how teams don’t automatically have the Mets representing the NL in the World Series… some are even doubting if they will win the division. Here is a team that if they didn’t have the biggest collapse of all time would have easily won the division with 3 weeks to a month to go in the a season and now they go on and add without a doubt one of the most dominant pitchers in the league right now. How does that not improve the team? How does that not make them the front runner by a long margin in the NL? I just don’t get it. In the Central, could the 100 year anniversary of the Cubs winning the World Series mean something to the city and its fans? Can they stay healthy long enough to do something down the stretch of the season and make the playoffs? I think Kerry Wood will be a solid closer for them now that he is hitting 90+ on his pitches again in spring training, this team has a potential to run away in the Central. For the West, you could randomly choose any team (minus the Giants) and they have just as good of a chance to winning the division as any of the other 3 teams. The reason I chose the Dodgers are because they finally added a power hitter in Andruw Jones as their CF and let’s not forget who is managing this ball club now. Joe Torre knows how to win and you know he wants to stick it to the Yankees by having a very productive season on the West Coast. I probably would have taken Phillies to win the division had the Mets not made their move and I certainly don’t see too many teams giving them a problem although they could face an in-division foe in the Braves for that wild card. I don’t really see it but people have said to keep an eye out on them.

Finally, some March Madness. Yesterday wasn’t a good day for me… both Tennessee and West Virginia lost for me and today started off real well with impressive wins by Davidson and Texas but what a let down Michigan State was against Memphis. They really just blew them out of the water in that first half up 50-20. Intriguing matchups here in teh Elite 8 with all 4 #1 seeds still alive. Make a note that never in the history of the tournament have all 4 #1 seeds made it to the Final Four… and I don’t think it will happen this year either. I’m counting on either Texas to really use that home court and explosive offense to slow down Memphis just enough to pull out a victory where a #2 beating a #1 isn’t that much of an upset. My Upset special however comes at the hands of the Wildcats from Davidson. Kansas needs to be put on notice. Curry can light it up and he did against Wisconsin in the first half and that just led to more trouble in the second half. What I liked for Davidson was that other players stepped up as well and they will need to do that again if they want to eliminate a #1 seed. UNC and UCLA really shouldn’t have many problems even though UCLA gave me a score by allowing Western Kentucky to stick around that late in the game. UNC has really showboated their way through the tournament and nothing would make me happier to see Louisville beat them, but I just don’t see it happening.

An update on the 8th grade kid who went 16/16 on his Sweet 16 teams… he went 7/8 this round – his only incorrect pick being Tennessee losing to Louisville. This kid has made only 8 incorrect predictions out of 72 games that have been played so far. That is a remarkable 89% accuracy. Simply amazing. Congrats kid.

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