Friday, February 27, 2009
And so the Kellen Winslow II era in Cleveland has come to an end. In short order the new Mangina era shipped out the Browns best offensive player. K2 has been at the heart of a number of a number of controversy's from his injuries, to battles of staph infections, to new contract demands. However on the field there has been no more consistent and productive offensive player (since his return). The Browns received in exchange "undisclosed draft picks" which is probably short hand for a 2nd and late rounder although who knows about that. Coupled with the rumor orgy surrounding the Browns best (only?) defensive player Shaun Rogers, rebuilding at Berea is in high gear which I assume is kowtowing to Mangina or getting shipped. I fully expect Brayleon Edwards and a number of other players to be shipped or cut. Full house cleaning after all for Mumbles Jr.
The problem in all of the circumstances (or one of them) is communication, given Fortress Browns, is missing. Fans are left in the dark, the local media is the in the dark, players are in the dark, etc. The only source of information is gossip websites and very large gossip websites (ESPN). Who know whats happens, why its happening, etc. Making major moves and not explaining yourself is not the way to treat a fan base - certainly not if the goal is to have fans.
NBA and the Economy
While the Clowns suckitude is a personal issue a bigger issue (in terms of the number of fans) and economically (more cities) is the NBA's current problems. While I'm loathe to do it, I recommend a read through on Bill Simmons column today on the state of the Finances of the NBA. I assume the article has come out of NBA's recent $200 million increase in credit line. Simmons notes that not only will the bottom line be the only issue pushing NBA franchises but also it will increase the likelihood of a NBA strike in 2011 and an increase in mobile franchises. As someone outside the sports finance world, it appears the NBA is poorly positioned relative to the other major sports. With quickly vanishing level of spending (but corporate and individual) that will last for a long time, its hard to gauge how severe the ramifications will be. The modern sports era has simply never faced an economic situation of this magnitude and its uncertain what it means. If Simmons is correct in that " Someone In The Know told me that 20 of the 30 NBA teams will lose money this season …" than is fairly ominous rumblings already for the NBA as at minimum the next season (and probably the next few seasons AFTER that) will be AT BEST no better
The browns have traded kellen winslow to tampa bay for draft picks. i am beside myself with anger over this move.
the messed up part is that draft day hasnt even come yet, and ive already posted 2 stories in a week about how utterly stupid the browns management has been.
im in shock.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Trade Deadline Winner/Losers
Stop wasting ink. If the biggest impact on the NBA season at this moment is Rafer Alston well then you need to find new topics. Nelson ended his year with shoulder surgery and left a gaping hole in Orlando land. They were still a few steps behind the Big 3 (statistically and its hard to imagine the team would outperform in the playoffs) so short of one of their current players exceeding how they're playing stick a fork in them
Somewhere Red is chuckling. Boston has become the place to be for free agents and as such they appear to be on the verge of bringing in two cast off veterans in Miki Moore (PF) and Starbury (rouge PG). If basketball were baseball there's simply no risk to bringing in fresh faces let alone somehow there's an I in Marbury but its not. How players interact (i.e. share the ball, rotate on defense, etc.) matters a great deal. Will the moves payoff? I'm coming around to the idea that Boston will win a championship in which case the moves will be deemed a success
I realize the Spurs are making a big push as of late but to channel Steven A for a moment (ughh so dirty) I just don't it. The Spurs didn't have enough last year and the Lakers improved more than the Spurs did since last year ergo..... The NBA playoffs first round honestly might be the most boring playoff round in the history of sports this year (ok done channeling Steven A)
Cavs Road Trip
The Cavs have a combination of crisis and opportunity (Crippotunity?) as they play a huge road stretch (8 out the next 10 away from the Q) at the same KG is crippled with swimmer's ear or whatever. Can they push ahead or at least stay even? A potential Game 7 in Cleveland is a big deal and the next few weeks might determine that.
This article tells how much probowl defensive tackle Shaun Rogers hates the "new regime" under Mangini and wants out of Cleveland. What a great way to start a new season. The owner cleans house and brings in new coaches and management across the board, and right away one of the team's top players says "F*** it, I'm out!"Just wonderful. You know, it's crap like this that makes me actually consider becoming a Steeler fan. I know it's blasphemous, but I've actually considered it. It's not like the Browns are in a temporary funk, the team just keeps falling on its face, and I really don't a way out in the next few years. Ridiculous.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Also note... based on an article I read by Luke Winn on SI, it appears that I should be including an extra stat (kenpom's offensive and defensive ratings). Winn claims that "No Final Four team in the past five years has been ranked outside the top 25 in adjusted defensive efficiency (a competition-adjusted figure). And only two Elite Eight teams in the past five years have ranked outside the top 50 in adjusted defensive efficiency." Winn also claims that "contenders" have offensive AND defensive ratings in the top 20.
Michigan St, Sag #8, kenpom offense #24, kenpom defense #15, 1st in conference at 10-3, 20-5
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Texas, Oklahoma St, Kansas, Minnesota (twice), Ohio St (twice)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Maryland, UNC, Northwestern, Penn St, Purdue
3P% - 36.4%, Reb. Margin = +9.9 , FT 75.9%, FG 46.0%, Opp. FG 41.7% –
Mich St relies on sophomore 6'0" PG Kalin Lucas who gets 14.8 ppg, 4.7 assists, 1.9 TOs, and shoots an average? 37.1% 3P%. Mich. St. then has 4 other players who averge between 9ppg and 11ppg. Their bigs, 6' 8" F Raymar Morgan and 6'10" C Goran Suton, get 6.0 rpg and 7.4 rpg to help them maintain an awesome rebounding advantage. Michigan State is always a solid team, with a great coach. The enigma with this year's team is that they lack any marquee wins outside of Texas, as they got blown out by UNC.
Purdue, Sag #10, kenpom offense #79, kenpom defense #2, 2nd in conference at 9-4, 2o-6
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Boston Coll, Mich St, Davidson
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Oklahoma, Duke, Illinois (twice), Penn St
3P% - 34.4%, Reb. Margin = -0.5 , FT 70.5%, FG 44.9%, Opp. FG 37.1% –
Purdue has more expectations this year, as all the freshmen from last year became sophomores. The most important stat for Purdue? They are 2-3 without 6'8" F Robbie Hummel (w/ losses to Penn St [outrebounded by 15], Ohio St [outrebounded by 16], and Illinois), who gets 12.3 ppg, 7.1 rebs, and a solid 38% 3point %. 6'10" F Jajuan Johnson and 6'4" G E'Twaun Moore lead the way with both getting 13 ppg and 5.9 and 4.9 rpg. Purdue lost in OT to Xavier in the 2nd round of last year's tourney, and if they stay healthy, I look for them to build on their success. The one concerning thing is the rebounding margin. With big star players, they should be able to do that better.
Illinois, Sag #19, kenpom offense #97, kenpom defense #5, 3rd in conference at 9-5, 21-6
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Missouri, Purdue (twice), Vanderbilt,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Clemson, Michigan, Mich St, Penn St (in an ugly 38-33 loss)
3P% - 34.4%, Reb. Margin = +0.7, FT 71.4%, FG 46.0%, Opp. FG 39.2% –
Illinois have 4 players in double figures, led by 6'9" F Mike Davis at 10.6 ppg, 7.8 reb, and 51.9% FG%. Senior 6'2" G Trent Meachem is their lone 3-point threat, at 42.3%, and knocks in 10.0 ppg. This team plays fantastic defense but has problems offensively (as evidenced by that despicable 38-33 loss to Penn St. I guess the good thing is they got it out of their system, right? I don't think this team has as high of a ceiling, mainly because of that game.
Penn St, Sag #53, kenpom offense #72, kenpom defense #65, 4th in conference at 8-6, 19-8
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Penn, Georgia Tech, Purdue (split), Mich. St (split), Illinois
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Rhode Island, Temple, Wisconsin (twice)
3P% - 37.4%, Reb. Margin = +3.3 , FT 65.5%, FG 44.0%, Opp. FG 42.3% –
Penn St relies on 3 players and gets almost no production from anyone else. 5'11" G Talor Battle gets 17.3 ppg, 5 assists, 5.2 rebs, and an average 37% 3point%. 6-5" F Jamelle Cornley does 14.6ppg, 6.6 rebs and 6-1" G Stanley Pringle (can't believe he's still playing) gets 12.7ppg, and a blistering 46.7% 3p%. Penn State is an interesting team that is suprsingly above .500 in Big 10 play. If they continue that kind of play, they probably could make the tourney. They don't exactly play good enough defense to think they can win any games in the tourney.
Wisconsin, Sag #27, kenpom offense #14, kenpom defense #60, 4th in conference at 8-6, 17-9
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Wis. Milwaukee, Va. Tech, Michigan, Illinois (split), Ohio St,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: UConn, Marquette, Texas, Iowa, Northwestern
3P% - 37.0%, Reb. Margin = +3.2 , FT 71.4%, FG 44.8%, Opp. FG 43.7% –
Wisconsin's had a bizarre season, as they had a 6-game Big 10 losing streak in the middle, but are now on a 5-game winning streak. Good luck figuring out this Dr. Jekyll and Hyde. Wisconsin has balanced scoring amongst their top 5, and have two 38% shooters in their backcourt (Hughes and Bohannon).
Ohio St., Sag #28, kenpom offense #44, kenpom defense #54, 6th in conference at 7-6, 17-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Miami (FL), Notre Dame, Butler, Michigan (twice), Purdue, Minnesota
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: West Virginia, Minnesota, Mich St (twice), Northwestern
3P% - 37.1%, Reb. Margin = -0.5 , FT 68.6%, FG 48.3%, Opp. FG 40.3% –
With Ohio State, they have been inconsistent all season. They beat Notre Dame when they were a top-10 team and Michigan when they were ranked, but have also lost some games by wide margins. They lost David Lighty to injury and there's no word on if he's coming back this season. If he does come back, Ohio State could certainly make noise in the tourney. Ohio State is led by 6'7" Evan Turner who gets 17.2 ppg, 7.3 rebs, and 51.9 FG%. OSU also has two sharpshooters in Buford and Diebler who shoot 36% and 42.6% from 3-point land. In addition, OSU has 7'0" center BJ Mullens who is a bona fide NBA prospect but is extremely inconsistent. He's very skinny and only getting 9ppg and 5 rebs.
Minnesota, Sag #38, kenpom offense #82, kenpom defense #48, 7th in conference at 7-7, 19-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: S. Dakota St, Virginia, Louisville, Ohio St (split), Illinois
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Mich St (twice), Northwestern, Penn St, Michigan
3P% - 34.7%, Reb. Margin = +1.5 , FT 70.8%, FG 44.6%, Opp. FG 40.0% –
Minnesota's marquee victory is over Louisville, when they were in a bit of a struggle early on. They use a lot of players (10 players that play between 12 and 24 minutes per game). It's hard to stereotype them, but it seems like everyone has to chip on the rebounding as they have no real dominant big men.
Michigan, Sag #43, kenpom offense #61, kenpom defense #77, 7th in conference at 7-7, 17-10
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: UCLA, Duke (split), Illinois (split),
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Ohio St (twice), UConn, Mich St, Penn St
3P% - 32.3%, Reb. Margin = -2.1 , FT 75.9%, FG 42.1%, Opp. FG 43.3% –
Michigan has to get to .500 in conference play and finish strong to get an at-large that once seemed guaranteed. Victories over UCLA and Duke should power them through with just an at-large. Michigan is led by 6'5" Manny Harris who gets 17.2 ppg, 7.1 rebs, 4.2 assists but 3.3 turnovers and only 41.5 FG%, and 6'8" DeShawn Sims who gets 14.5 ppg, 7.3 rebs. They have 5 different players who jack up at least three 3-pointers per game and NONE of them shoot over 34.7%. They also get outrebounded all the time. Yuck. They will need to get to .500 in conference and win at least a game or two in the big-10 tourney to advance.
Northwestern, Sag #58, kenpom offense #48, kenpom defense #100, 9th in conference at 5-8, 14-10
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: DePaul, Minnesota, Mich St, Wisconsin, Ohio St
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Butler, Stanford, Iowa, Purdue, Mich St
3P% - 39.1%, Reb. Margin = -5.2 , FT 68.2%, FG 45.2%, Opp. FG 42.6% –
They have three 3-point shooters, and all of them are needed (38%, 43%, and 41%) because they get outrebounded by one of the largest margins I've seen. They also will need to get to .500 in conference and win at least a game or two in the big-10 tourney to advance. They are a a real longshot.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Best trade for a contender
Orlando gets PG Rafer Alston, Houston gets PG Kyle Lowry, Memphis gets a 1st round pick of Orlando's.
I think this was an absolute steal on Orlando's part. Orlando lost PG Jameer Nelson and had been using a bunch of awful PGs... and this had resulted in the Magic losing 4 of their last 7 games. The Magic had to do something, and they miraculously got a bona fide starting PG. But at the cost of a low 1st round pick? And Alston's only due $5 mill this year, and $5 mill next year? This was a major steal and makes me scared for the Cavs playing Orlando again. Yes, Alston isn't as good as Nelson, but it still was amazing the Magic could land such a productive player for basically nothing.
As for Memphis, I'm just so angry at them. They just cut $1.1 mill and $2 mill from next year's salary but they could have at least gotten a player in return. It's almost like they aren't even trying. No wait, we already know they aren't trying. At least they have Marc Gasol, OJ Mayo, and Rudy Gay. You can make fun sentences with those three last names.
Most Confusing Trade
Chicago getting PF Brad Miller, SG John Salmons, Sacramento getting Nocioni and Drew Gooden
I just am having a hard time wrapping my head around this one. The Bulls swapped PFs (Brad Miller and Gooden). Now the Bulls have another SG. Now the Bulls have Hinrich, Salmons, and Ben Gordon to play opposite PG Derrick Rose. I'm just not sure that this is such a big boost. Is Salmons getting minutes over the other guys? I guess so. Is that a big improvement? I have no idea.
As for the Kings, Everyone knows the Kings did this just to save money next year.
Most Comedic Trade
Chicago getting Tim Thomas, Jerome James, and A. Roberson, Knicks getting Larry Hughes -
This was the most comedic move of the night. This was a complete wash salary-wise but was more like two teams just trading parts they don't want. The funniest thing was remembering that when Tim Thomas was last in Chicago, crazy coach Scott Skiles wouldn't let him play and he sat at home for half a season before waiving him in 2006, and then the Suns promptly picked him up. Tim Thomas was then awesome in the playoffs which led Thomas to his current contract ($6 million per year). I wonder if Tim Thomas will be allowed to play this time?
The Premature Celebration Trade
Hornets don't get Wilcox and Joe Smith, Oklahoma City Thundercats don't get Tyson Chandler
The Hornets were dumping Tyson Chandler for two expiring contracts due to financial problems... only thing is, the Chandler failed his physical because of a turf toe condition so the trade never went through.
The funny thing is: The doctor who failed Chandler is the one who performed the surgery on the toe.
And the funnier thing is: Chandler says the doctor told him "I have no doubt you can play on it. I'm just saying it could take a turn for the worse if you come down on somebody's foot or hyperextend it or something".
The sad thing is: As much as I was lamenting the end of Chris Paul and the Hornets having any chance at getting out of the 1st round, I started getting real psyched about the Thundercats' chances of making the playoffs. I even went to youtube.com and watched the theme song for old times sake.
I mean, they would have had Tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant, PG Russell Westbrook, and SF Jeff Green! They would quickly become one of the favorite teams to watch as well as succeed with a bona fide center who could play defense against anyone. Now, I'm just sad that I can't get excited about the Thundercats (but I should be happy for Chris Paul). At least we still have the theme song!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I propose that the back seat drivers all come up with a scheme to make it even more interesting. I suggest that everyone submits picks before the tournament as to their picks for the sweet sixteen, picks for the final four, and the champ. Each of the rounds counts for a certain amount of points. After the tournament, whoever has the most points is the winner, and is worthy of a reward on the blog. For example, everyone else has to write a blog article at the winner's choosing (it can be the same for everyone, or individualized).
I don't know, it could be fun. Anyone on board with this, or have any alternate rules/suggestions?
What ever happened to the notion that true leadership came with a “buck stops here” mentality? Instead of simply taking responsibility for the complexion of the game during his tenure as commissioner, Selig prefers to blame everyone else. That’s exactly the kind of behavior that we’ve come to expect from the used car dealer from Milwaukee.
Bud Selig lacks even one iota of any endearing or sympathetic characteristics. He is a completely indecent, dishonorable, self-interested and corrupt individual and he commands no respect whatsoever. Although I don’t advocate Congressional encroachment onto MLB turf, I would welcome an exhaustive investigation of Selig’s practices with the sole motivation being a potential trap for future perjury charges against him. I’ve never known someone who deserves it more than he does.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Well it's Presidents day which means for many people a day off from work. Or in theory that's what I assume is what used to happen when the Federal government existed beyond hunting down dangerous celebrities. Anyway in honor of President's Day a few pieces of mail from my bag.
Mighty, Who right now is the best NCAA basketball team? Answer me!
This year it's nearly impossible to say who is the best. There's lots of good teams and much like lining up a 100 cans of paint that slowly turn from white to black its hard to say what divides the elites from the potential elite. Nonetheless I recommend everyone to tune in Monday night for Pittsburgh v. UConn. UConn had been my #1 team until one of their best (Dyson) went down for the year. The matchup to watch is Dajuan Blair, who is built and plays like Charles Barkley, short thick PF versus Hasheem Thabeet, an Alonzo Mourning esque scorer and shotblocker. The other team I'd put in that category is UNC who has the best player in the NCAA - Ty Lawson.
Mighty - What's Up with the World Baseball Classic?
-Claire D. Ayre
Well 16 countries starting March 6th will do battle until countries eliminated at first via round robin action or via bankrupcy(whichever comes first). Outside of a slew of players pulling out of the WBC the hoopla has been fairly muted (or at least relative to Spring Training). It should be interesting to see how much interest it generates the 2nd time around.
Mighty - You said you'd call but never did, what's up with that?
- Bar Refaeli
This is more of a public statement. Never piss off a super hot model that knows how to kill people.
Mighty - What's your greatest fear?
The basement horse mutates into a 50 foot tall killing machine.
Mighty - What's the analogy you'd make to Steve Kerr's reign?
Well the easy one is Matt Millen in that we all know not matter how badly he screws up Kerr will be right back on tv cause apparently TV executives feel Americans love watching horrible failures give out their opinion. Honestly short of Kerr getting arrested for being a crystal meth dealer I can't think of a way he could appear to be a bigger bungler.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
In any case, Maury Brown wrote a brilliant open letter to Commissioner Selig. This letter beats the same drum I’ve been banging on for years but it bears repeating because the crimes Selig has committed are so egregious that it’s a wonder the United States Congress hasn’t called him in for a mock-execution style grilling, they way they’re so fond of doing.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Echoing Hitman's comments Pitchers, Catchers and Generally Spring Training is a great time. Despite my feelings that baseball is fake, like boxing, and wish it were more real, like professional wrestling, its hard not to be happy about spring training. There's two reasons I particularly like Spring Training for the over the hill and almost theres. There's just something pure and enjoyable watching as the various minor leaguers try to make a professional roster. You can see the general feeling their way out against their idols, straining to figure out what professional competition is about, and trying to dethrone individuals that have guaranteed contracts. Hope blossoms anew for every .300+ minor leaguer or 97 mph throwing young gun.
However equally enjoyable (at least for me) is the reappearance of over the hills. Usually (at least for the Indians) old time players that I enjoyed rooting for as a youth try out their managerial and tutorial skills in spring time. This year Frank Viola, for example, will be teaching the art of throwing while wearing a mustache, in Arizona to young Indians. And how can you not be excited about that?
As always the Indians must overcome the basement horse to succeed at Jacob's Field
Jeers: To media navel gazing. Of all the A-Rod spectacle I think one of the more annoying is the trend of analyzing A-Rod's "performance" with his interview with Peter Gammons. " Did A-Rod act contrite enough?" seems to be the common theme which really exposes the kabbuki of it all. Find the athlete, shame him, force him into an interview where he apologizes and then the media can begin the great healing process. The navel gazing just shows how faux the press outrage really is.
Jeers: To this year's QB draft Class. When Matt Freeman of K-State and proud parent of over 34 INTs is considered borderline First Round Status you know its an empty class.
Jeers: To potential rules changes. The NCAA is considering making (some?) taunting fouls a live ball foul which would mean touchdowns would/could be negated. Which is categorically stupid.
Cheers: To Joaquin Phoenix on Letterman. I'm not sure why you decided to go all Andy Kaufman but I salute your insanity
And your cheers and Jeers gal of the week is.... whoever your hanging out with for Valentines Day (provided they are wearing red lingerie)
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
We've been reading so much about how (a) the economy is affecting free agency, and (b) in particular, the poor economy is why so many players who might be commodities in other years are finding themselves without contracts as spring training begins. We're expecting that most of these guys - Bobby Abreu and Dunn among them - would eventually sign for much less than they'd have received in past seasons.
So what the hell are the Nationals doing paying $10m for a guy who's probably desperate for half of that? That the Nats need his power, and may be able to swallow his poor batting average, isn't the point. You can't expect to compete when you throw away money, especially if you're not a big-spending team. Washington just paid as much as $5m a year more than they needed to. That's enough for a veteran player that now they can't afford to sign.
In other words, more of the same from a wayward franchise.
Here is yet another example of horrendous sports reporting, once again courtesy of ESPN.com.
Keeping in mind that Tim Graham wishes to convince us that the Jets’ acquisition of Brett Favre was “an utter failure”, let’s run down the inaccuracies and obfuscations in bullet-point style, just as the author does:
● The acquisition of Brett Favre was finalized on August 6, 2008. The acquisitions of Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, Tony Richardson, Calvin Pace and Kris Jenkins took place on March 1, March 2, March 6, March 3, and February 29, 2008, respectively. I don’t see how five players who predated Favre on the roster – all by no less than five months – can be attributed as “consequences of the decision to bring Favre aboard.” That’s what I call a fuzzy timeline!
● In 2007, the Jets top two quarterbacks (Chad Pennington/Kellen Clemens) combined for 19 interceptions in 309 pass attempts. Favre threw two more interceptions in 2008 than the 2007 Jets duo in 213 more attempts. Perspective is important sometimes.
● The defense gave up an average of 24.4 points a game in those final five games (DEN, SF, BUF, SEA, MIA). According to their ranks among all 32 NFL teams in total offense and points scored, these five opponents were ranked an average of 18th and 21st, respectively, in those two categories. You can blame Favre all you want, but he can’t control what happened to a defense that couldn’t stop some of the NFL’s weaker offenses.
● Hindsight much? Chad Pennington had an incredible season for the much-improved Miami Dolphins. But to expect that same season from Pennington in New York had he not been cut would’ve represented nothing short of wishful thinking. You can’t just transplant statistics from one team to another.
● The fact that people lost their jobs is totally irrelevant. Eric Mangini’s firing had as much to do with his previous work and his personality as it had to do with the Jets’ acquisition of Favre. Furthermore, his safe landing in Cleveland is even less salient a point in the current discussion.
● I won’t even address this feeble attempt at humor.
● Injuries happen. Chad Pennington would tell you that too…
● I can’t speak to the tension Favre may or may not have created in the Jets locker room. But you can’t argue that point and then cite Thomas Jones’s public criticism of Favre as evidence of Favre’s having created tension. Wouldn’t that be Thomas Jones creating tension in this case?
● Is a third-round draft pick that steep a cost for one season of Brett Favre?
Please note that this post is not intended to exonerate Brett Favre for his role in the Jets collapse down the stretch. Certainly, the Jets’ inability to make the playoffs after such a good start to the season was embarrassing to the franchise and a collective failure on the parts of all 53 players, their coaches, and everyone else involved. But to somehow label the acquisition of Favre as a failure for the reasons cited makes no sense to me. The end result didn’t work out but the decision to bring him to New York – for what amounted to be only a third round pick – seems not only defensible to me, but absolutely the right move to have made.
My dislike of Favre is well known. But I can’t stand sloppy reporting. I won’t tolerate assholes at ESPN spinning stories and fudging information to prove a point.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Anyway, from what little info I've been able to gather to this point, the mid-majors (aside from Gonzaga, Davidson, Butler, and St. Mary's) are a complete mess this year and there is a real lack of candidates for at-large bids from the mid-majors. As a result, I'm skipping the MVC this year and here are the conferences I'm looking to cover this season:
Week of 2/9 - ACC
Week of 2/16 - Big 10
Week of 2/23 - PAC-10 & Mountain West
Week of 3/2 - Big East
Week of 3/9 - Pot Luck
Before we get into the ACC, I do want to touch on the fact that my statistical winning team in 2008, based on stats, was Notre Dame. They ended up losing in the 2nd round by 20 to Washington State. In 2007, I selected Maryland, but I did disregard their rebounding margin for some mysterious reason. Maryland lost in the 2nd round as well that year. Though Notre Dame had a great rebounding margin, I think the problem that doesn't get analyzed is the PG play. I will try to take PG play, or at least ball handling, into account this year by focusing on assists and turnovers per game for the team.
As for the ACC... it's currently the highest rated conference in the nation according to Sagarin (though the Big 10 and Big east are just fractional points behind).
UNC, Sag #3, kenpom offense #1, kenpom defense #21, 1st in conference at 7-2, 21-2
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Notre Dame, Mich St, Clemson
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Boston Coll, Wake (their only loss)
3P% - 38.8%, Reb. Margin = +7.5 , FT 74.9%, FG 48.8%, Opp. FG 40.0% –
Obviously, UNC is very talented and has the potential to win the whole thing. It's amazing how well they are doing considering they've already lost like 3 players to injuries.
Duke, Sag #2, kenpom offense #7, kenpom defense #15, 1st in conference at 7-2, 20-3
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Purdue, Xavier (by a lot), Georgetown
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Michigan, Wake, Clemson
3P% - 33.6%, Reb. Margin = +6.1 , FT 72.4%, FG 44.9%, Opp. FG 40.0% –
Duke is interesting this year. Benching senior PG Greg Paulus in favor of Nolan Smith was working out... but then Paulus ended up starting against Miami (FL) last weekend in an OT win. Duke is one of the better teams this year, but the shaky PG situation would suggest to me that they will be pressured into losing before cutting down the nets.
Clemson, Sag #6, kenpom offense #10, kenpom defense #43, 4th in conference at 5-3, 19-3
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Illinois, Miami (FL), Duke
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Wake, UNC, Florida St.
3P% - 36.8%, Reb. Margin = +1.7 , FT 67.9%, FG 46.4%, Opp. FG 41.0% –
Clemson still has senior KC Rivers (one of those players who's great in college, but probably won't do anything in the NBA). Rivers is taking a little less shots and actually the scoring load is distributed over 3 players this season, including 6'7" F-C Trevor Booker, and 6'2" Guard T. Olgesby. Rivers and Oglesby both shoot 3s at over 38%. Rivers is having a down season at 38% from 3-point land. If he can get back into form, Clemson may actually do something this season in the NCAAs.
Wake Forest, Sag #9, kenpom offense #35, kenpom defense #16, 4th in conference at 5-3, 18-3
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: UNC, Clemson, Duke
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Va. Tech, Georgia Tech, Miami (FL)
3P% - 33.3%, Reb. Margin = +5.4 , FT 70.5%, FG 49.1%, Opp. FG 37.6% –
This team is such an enigma. They've already beaten UNC and Duke... but they've also lost to some teams that aren't that good. The secret is out that PG Jeff Teague will be a lottery pick come June, but they need to keep focused if they are going to go far. In addition to the super sophomore, the other top-2 scorers are 6'9" forwards, freshman A. Aminu, and sophomore James Johnson. both get 13ppg and 8rpg to create a nice inside-outside combination for Wake.
Miami (FL), Sag #28, kenpom offense #30, kenpom defense #57, 9th in conference at 4-6, 15-8
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Kentucky, Wake, Boston Coll.
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: UConn, Ohio St (McClinton got ejected at beginning of 2nd half), Clemson, UNC, Va. Tech, NC State, Maryland
3P% - 37.8%, Reb. Margin = +7.7 , FT 68.1%, FG 43.8%, Opp. FG 38.6% –
Senior 6'1" guard Jack McClinton is very talented and is a scoring machine - shooting 47% from the field and 47% from 3-point land. They have a lot of players who don't shoot well though... which is probably why they've lost to many of the tough teams they've faced. I think the Hurricanes will be on the bubble all season.
Florida St, Sag #35, kenpom offense #113, kenpom defense #8, 4th in conference at 5-3, 18-5
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: California, Florida, Cincy, Clemson
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Northwestern, Pitt, Duke, Miami(FL), UNC
3P% - 32.8%, Reb. Margin = +1.8 , FT 70.7%, FG 42.6%, Opp. FG 38.1% –
I can't believe the stats on this team - they have a 20.3 scorer in 6'2" Toney douglas... and then a slew of single-digit scorers. Douglas only shoots 34% from 3-point land though... but still heaves more than 6 per game. Yuck. Team doesn't look too attractive to me.
3/14/09 - Update - In light of FSU's march to the ACC final, I decided to re-look at their numbers. Douglas now scores 20.9 ppg, and is now shooting 38% from 3-point land, meaning he was real hot the last month of the season, as they went 7-3 over the last 10 games (with another win over Clemson, two wins over Bubble team Va. Tech, and a win over UNC). Rebounding margin has shrunk to +0.7.
Boston College, Sag #54, kenpom offense #24, kenpom defense #145, 2nd in conference at 6-4, 18-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: UNC, Va. Tech,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Saint Louis, Purdue, Harvard!, Wake (twice), Miami (FL)
3P% - 34.0%, Reb. Margin = +3.5 , FT 72.4%, FG 44.8%, Opp. FG 41.8% –
The enigma of the ACC - as they beat UNC and then lost to Harvard. Little Tyrese Rice hits 18.8 ppg, 5.5 assits, but also turns it over a lot (3.8). They are 6-4 in the ACC now, but they still have to play Clemson, Duke, and Florida St., and Miami(FL). I tend to think the UNC win was an aberration and that they will be lucky to sustain their success.
Va Tech, Sag #56, kenpom offense #60, kenpom defense #87, 4th in conference at 5-3, 15-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Wake, Miami (FL)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Xavier, Seton Hall, Wisconsin, Georgia, Boston Coll.
3P% - 33.9%, Reb. Margin = +3.7 , FT 71.4%, FG 44.7%, Opp. FG 40.9% –
They have balanced scoring w/ two guards - 6'2" Delaney and 6'6" Vassallo. Both shoot between 36 and 38% from 3-point land. They also have a 6'7" forward who still bangs out 14.7ppg and 8.8 rebounds... after that... there isn't anything on this team. At least they have 3 guys I can talk about. Again, it's hard to tell if they can make the tourney.
Concluding thoughts: I'm no bracketologist, but after the big 4 (duke, unc, wake, clemson), it seems like there should be two bids available for these other 4, which will depend on the rest of conference play.
(1) a buddy-buddy bacchanal of borderline negligent quid pro quo activities (NFLPA);
(2) a spineless cluster of idiots that have no voice (NBAPA); or
(3) a reflexively intransigent group that ends up bumbling away goodwill and legal (not to mention moral) high ground because Congress threatened to de-pants its leadership on C-Span (MLBPA).
If only Marvin Miller were in charge of the MLBPA, there would be far less union tolerance of grandstanding wankers in Congress like the “honorable” Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who wants to get a free photo-op with A-Rod.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Lakers - Despite losing Bynum the Lakers beat Boston in Boston and Cleveland in Cleveland getting tie breakers over both. Simply put the Lakers have the most efficient offense in the league. They have more size, athleticism and more secret weapons then anyone else. They are #1 in the NBA at the moment.
The Current #1 ranked team actually defended its position by winning as the #1. Which hasn't happened in awhile
Duke/UNC - Both the perennial beasts of the ACC don't quit seem to have their mojo at the moment. Winning the ACC gets a #1 seed and that road to the title leads through Chapel Hill and Hell (or wherever Duke is located). This week the teams face off...
Waiting on word on their injured all-star PG. No PG no championship
Mavs - They were struggling and that was before Jason Terry broke his hand
Steve Kerr- Shopping Shaq and Amare? After shipping out all the other stars? Is the object to try to make the worst team in the quickest amount of team? Well done sir. You have now solidified the golden rule never allow sports casters the ability to run franchises as they are idiots...
Sunday, February 08, 2009
With the news, broken by Selena Roberts of Sports Illustrated, that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids back in 2003, baseball is left in a very difficult position. It was always assumed that Barry Bonds’s tainted homerun record would be whitewashed midway through the next decade by the no-doubt clean A-Rod. Unfortunately it appears that this will not be the case; baseball’s next homerun king (if he even gets that far) will have the same clouds of suspicion and guilt hanging over him as does the current monarch, Barry Bonds.
Of course, as with everything else that involves A-Rod, it is not as simple as that. After mountains of anecdotal evidence emerged that there was rampant performance-enhancing drug abuse in baseball, labor (Donald Fehr) and management (Bud Selig) agreed to use the 2003 season as a test case. If greater than 5% of all player PED tests came back positive, the 2004 season would be subject to mandatory drug testing.
Yesterday we learned that 104 players tested positive for the use of performance-enhancing drugs, representing roughly 14% of all MLB players tested in 2003. However, all positive test results from the 2003 PED survey would be kept confidential and none of the players who tested positive would have their identities revealed.
Friday, February 06, 2009
The story reported:
"Ben Wallace was right when he called Mo originally being passed over for the All-Star Game a shamockery," Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said in a tongue-in-cheek e-mail to The Associated Press. "But not naming him as the natural and obvious replacement for the unfortunately injured Jameer Nelson is stupidiculous, idillogical and preposterageous."
I never thought I would say this, but Ben Wallace may have a larger vocabulary than me. crazy.
My general message to sponsors is that they shouldn’t be so fickle. Stand by your guy. He’s a good kid and the best Olympian in history. Because he didn’t commit a major crime, I’m pretty sure this will blow over in a few months and you’ll be sorry you stood on principle for something that most people just don’t care about. Trust me, cereal sales and public perception of your company will not suffer for this.
What really annoys me about this story is how some spotlight-hogging sheriff in South Carolina is talking about pressing charges. Are you kidding me? You weren’t there so you didn’t witness the crime. The crime itself was totally victimless. The act itself took place nearly three months ago. Is this really that important a charge to pursue? If Phelps weren’t a celebrity, would you really be interested in pursuing this? Good grief.
2) In continuing with the theme of hyper-aggressive law enforcement over petty crimes, I’ll let the far more eloquent William C. Rhoden of the New York Times speak for me. And make no mistake about it, I agree with every word he writes here.
3) I watched the second half of the Lakers-Celtics game on TNT last night and saw Kevin Garnett getting into Lamar Odom’s face. It reminded me of last year, when Garnett suddenly acquired the swagger of a player playing on a good team and suddenly had a foul word or gesture for everyone he played against. Think back to the playoffs if you need to refresh your memory: the throat-slashing, the dirty fouls, the cries of “fucking faggot” to opposing players and fans.
What happened to the KG of old? The guy that was fan-friendly and gave off an aura of being pleasant seems to have been replaced by a cocky, trash-talking bully. ESPN The Magazine writer Chris Broussard tackled this issue late last month and I’m glad at least someone in the mainstream media has decided to poke a stick at the formerly likeable but now loathsome Garnett.
(Note: the KG article is for ESPN Insiders. I don’t know if this link will work or not. If anyone wants to read it, email me and I’ll send it along)
4) Finally, to end on a positive note, pitchers and catchers report to spring training a week from today. Baseball season can’t come soon enough. I really can’t wait!
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Nonetheless here's a little breakdown
Class ranking is determined by the number players times the average player ratings. As there are 3 different rating services, not every class has equal number of recruits, not every recruit ends up going to said school (UNC for example over-recruits and will have to "cut" a number of its recruits) , let alone the uncertainty of projecting high schoolers its hard to figure out whats what. Just to put into perspective Penn State's class is ranked #15 by ESPN, #10 by Scout.com and #26 by Rivals. Go figure that one out.
That said there's pretty good agreement on several facts on the ranking front
1) There's a general thinking is that either LSU or Alabma had the best class. The crown jewel in LSU is the reputed best running QB in the land in Russel Shepard while Alabama landed the best lineman in the country (DJ Fluker)
2) In terms of quality USC and Florida (average recruit rating) have the best haul. USC got the "best" QB in the country (Matt Barkley) and Florida got Andre Debose who will replace Percey Harvin.
3) The South dominates again. Those schools located in formerly Confederate territories took 10 out of the top 12 spots in rankings (the Yanks of the group being USC and OSU)
1) North Carolina - Butch Davis, previously seen having a mental breakdown due to coaching the Cleveland Browns, is back in college football and has put together probably the best class in the history of North Carolina. The program is slowly inching its way up the ladder and it will be only a matter of time before you see them in a BCS bowl
2) Tennessee- The surprise here is that Lane Kiffin took the job 3 months ago. You'd expect the class to suffer. You'd be wrong. Kiffin assembled a super team of recruiter offering unprecedentedly large contracts to assistant coaches and as a result cleaned up in recruiting. In essence Tennessee is now a recruiting powerhouse.
Big 10 Recruiting
Along similar lines the big prestigious schools did best. OSU pulled in a top 5 national class, Michigan a top 12, and Penn State similarly a quality haul. The one oddity was Michigan State which got its first top 25 class ever. Meechigan's decision to go national and ignore its home state meant MSU hauled in 7 of the top 10 Michigan high schoolers. A number of Big 10 schools focused their recruiting efforts in Florida (e.g, Purdue, Wisconsin) given the relative lack of talent in the Midwest but obviously only the crumbs were left over after the major powerhouses had skimmed the top.
Random Names to Follow
- DJ Fluker - LT (Alabama) 6'7 350 lbs and can perform windmill dunks. Wow
- Tate Forcier/Denard Robinson - Both are QBs brought in specifically to run the UofM spread offense and one will start right away
- Carlos Hyde/Jamaal Berry - Both RBs are coming to Columbus in to compete for the opening left by Beanie Wells at tOSU
- Kevin Newsome - QB Penn State - Newsome decommitted from Michigan to sign up for JoePa. As such the obvious connection (and rivalry) should continue as Newsome is the heir apparent to senior QB Clarke.
- Ruben Randle WR (LSU) Consesus #1 player of this entire class
Monday, February 02, 2009
The commissioner and his Yankee-hating cohorts rail against the excesses of the New York Yankees yet he sees fit to accept compensation that would’ve made him the fourth-highest paid player in baseball? For what? What does Bud Selig do that justifies such a lavish salary? How can Selig tell people with a straight face that the Yankees are destroying baseball with their supposedly wanton spending yet he was earning more than all but three ballplayers? That is flat-out insanity.
Here’s the kicker, though. Since a commissioner cannot just pick his own salary, it means that baseball’s owners have to collectively approve what they’re willing to pay the man they’ve designated as the “brains” behind the operation. So the next time you hear an owner like Mark Attanasio of the Brewers talking salary cap, remind him that fiscal restraint on the part of management costs would go a long way to improving his own bottom line. Incidentally, baseball laid off 4% of its workforce shortly before the holidays. You think maybe some of that extra cheddar Selig’s earning might’ve helped defray costs at MLB HQ?
Bud Selig makes me sick.
1. Rally or not....the play of the game was at the end of the first half when known seal clubber James Harrison intercepted the ball in the end zone and raced 100 yards to complete the 10-14 point swing. Outstanding fake blitz although I still can't believe Arizona would call a throw over the middle of the end zone. Your begging for an INT.
2. Not to say.... that the refs blatantly made any bad calls but I can't remember a Super Bowl when the refrees were so ubiquitous. From the hoards of holding and personal fouls to the close calls/instant replays in many ways the game seemed to ebb and flow on the ref's calls.
3. Wide Receivers .... to quote Peter King's deep thoughts "Wow". From MVP Santonio Holmes to Fitzgerald's sprint down the middle of the field, to Boldin's solid hands, etc, etc. the hands team made it an enjoyable Super Bowl. Without going into hyperbole probably the best wide receiving exhibition in the history of the universe for all time.
4. Commercials.... were a little disappointing. Maybe it was the economy, or the cold winter froze the ad agencies' brains, or the newest ad research tells us drab monotone commercials work fine but I'm having a hard time even remembering any of the commercials save Ed McMahan's gold toilet (I think that was for Pepsi) and Doritos can help take off women's clothes.
5. Movie Previews.... came through nicely. Apparently the message came out that for the Summer Blockbuster its important to get your ads in early to build up the hype. I'm most excited for 1. Star Trek 2. Transformers and 3. Aliens v. Monsters.
6. NBC was high on the synergy cross-promoting itself and using the entire cadre of its staff to market itself. Luckily thanks to Al Michaels and John Madden I completely and totally tuned out whatever they were saying.
7. All in all fun Super Bowl, enjoyable game (despite the Yinzers winning). Nonetheless congrats to the Rooney's and their organization. Hopefully they catch on with the rest of the league as exemplars as the Mumbles clones seem to ruin everything they touch.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
In response to Bill Simmons' article on who is underrated, and on how the players become overrated as a result of being underrated (e.g. Ben Wallace), I am going to proffer one who is underrated: Zydrundus Ilgauskus.
Yes, Big Z was an All-Star, sometime before the had LeBron, and were wasting picks on doofuses like Derek Anderson & .
Everyone has been talking about how Mo Williams was shafted in the pick for the All-Star game. Some had talked before that about both Z and Williams. Perhaps Z was ignored after that because he made the All-Star team (approximately) 8-10 years ago. His $10 million contract seems like a bargain right now, whereas people had moaned about the difficulties of dumping him over the past several years. Perhaps Zydrunas was ignored because he's completely: UNDERRATED.
I would like to point out a trend on the previous several championship teams... with the possible exception of the Lakers who had the entertaining Kobe-Shaq soap opera, every team has had a big man who can step out and shoot... in addition to his necessary posting up and rebounding.
Example: Duncan... Garnett... Rasheed Wallace... every good team seems to have that threat... including Z and the Cavs.
Zydrunas is money - he can hit the outside shot; he comes up with several tip-ins per game, he spreads the defense, and if truly necessary, he'll come down with the boards - but he's always played with a big rebounder like Ben Wallace, A. Varejao, or . However, Zydrunas owns the Cavs record for the most rebounds... usurping .
If you compare him against the true centers of the last 20 years.... he comes out pretty well. He was a teammate of Danny Ferry - who is now GM of the Cavs! Zydrunas has staying power and he has my vote, for the 2nd most valuable player on the Cavs for the last 30 years - perhaps above & Brad Daugherty, Ron Harper & Larry Nance & World B Free.