Sunday, February 28, 2010

Big 12 - Facts, Stats, and Attempted Analysis 2010

I'm going to finally start posting all the info on some of the NCAA-worthy teams from the Big 12, ACC, Big East, Big Ten, and then a Pot-Luck focusing on A-10, SEC, and the Mountain West.

Sag #1, kenpom offense #3, kenpom defense #5, 1st in conference at 13-1, 27-2
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Temple, Kansas St, Texas
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Tennessee, Oklahoma St
3P% - 40.0%, Reb. Margin = +6.9, FT 69.2%, FG 48.8%, Opp. FG 37.6% –
Led by Sherron Collins, a 5'11" Senior, who averages 15.3 ppg, 4.3 assists, and 37.8% for 3. They also get balanced scoring from Xavier Henry (6'6" freshman - 14ppg, 40% for 3-pointers), Marcus Morris (6'8" sophomore 12.6ppg, 6.2 rebs), and Cole Adrich (6'11" junior - 11.4ppg, 10.0 rebs, 3.7 blocks). They are serious contenders obviously, being ranked in the top 5 all year long.

Kansas St, Sag #6, kenpom offense #18, kenpom defense #16, 2nd in conference at 11-3, 24-4
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Dayton, Xavier, UNLV, Texas, Baylor, Missouri
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Ole Miss, Missouri, Ok St, Kansas
3P% - 36.0%, Reb. Margin = +5.4 , FT 66.0%, FG 45.9%, Opp. FG 41.3% –
Led by a great backcourt with Jacob Pullen (6'0" junior - 18.5 ppg, 3.8 assists, 39.2% 3p) and Denis Clemente (6'1" senior - 15.8ppg, 4.1 assists, but 33.7% for-3pointers). The main players getting minutes are all under 6'8", but as a team they tend to still hold a rebounding edge. They have had an unexpectedly great season but the numbers don't look like they support them going to the Final Four.

Baylor, Sag #12, kenpom offense #8, kenpom defense #46, 2nd in conference at 9-5, 22-6
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Xavier, Arizona St, Arkansas, Texas, Texas A&M (split)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, K St
3P% - 39.5%, Reb. Margin = +7.2, FT 71.6%, FG 48.2%, Opp. FG 37.7% –
Three guys lead the way - a point guard (Tweety Carter - 5'11" senior - 15.7 ppg, 6.0assists, 39.4% 3p%), a swingman (LaceDarius Dunn - 6'4" junior -19.1 ppg, 4.8 rebs, 42.2% 3p%); and a center (Ekpe Udoh - 6'10" junior - 13.5ppg, 10.1 rebs, 4.4 blocks). This team has solid numbers across the board. Their defense looks solid, but the kenpom defense number is a bit low for some reason. Nonetheless, I like their personnel and how the numbers break down.

Missouri, Sag #15, kenpom offense #37, kenpom defense #3, 3rd in conference at 9-5, 21-8
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Illinois, Kansas St (split), Texas,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Richmond, Vanderbilt, Oral Roberts (by one!), Oklahoma, Kansas
3P% - 38.6%, Reb. Margin = -1.8 , FT 72.7%, FG44.8%, Opp. FG 40.1% –
I'm not wasting my time with this team... 6 players average between 8 and 14 ppg, but they don't rebound well. Interestingly though, they have three shooters who shoot better than 38% from 3-point land.

Texas A&M, Sag #22, kenpom offense #40, kenpom defense #29, 3rd in conference at 9-5, 20-8
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Clemson, Minnesota, Baylor (split), Texas (split)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: West Virginia, New Mexico, Washington, Kansas St, Kansas
3P% - 32.6%, Reb. Margin = +2.5 , FT 65.4%, FG 43.8%, Opp. FG 40.8% –
Led by Donald Sloan (6'3" senior - 18.1 ppg, 36.5% 3p%) and Bryan Davis (6'9" senior - 10.0ppg, 8.0rebs, 1.8 blocks).

Oklahoma St, Sag #32, kenpom offense #29, kenpom defense #61, 6th in conference at 8-6, 20-8
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Utah, Kansas ST, Kansas
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Tulsa, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Texas (twice)
3P% - 35.6%, Reb. Margin = +2.7 , FT 71.5%, FG 45.2%, Opp. FG 41.3% –
Their top three 3-point shooters are also the top 3 scorers (James Anderson - 22.6ppg, 6.1 rebs, 36.6% 3P%, Obi Muonelo - 13.5 ppg, 5.2 rebs, 44.1% 3p%, Keiton Page - 10.8ppg, 38% 3p%). No real PG. That spells trouble, as does the defensive issues.

Texas, Sag #10, kenpom offense #32, kenpom defense #12, 6th in conference at 8-6, 22-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Iowa, Pitt, USC, UNC, Mich St,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Kansas St, UConn, Oklahoma, A&M
3P% - 35.2%, Reb. Margin = +6.6 , FT 61.9%, FG 46.9%, Opp. FG 39.0% –
Major injury issue...and this team can't shoot Free throws... this team has no chance now! They still do have Damion James (6'7" senior - 17.5 ppg, 10.3rebs, 41.7% 3p%)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cheers and Jeers: Through the Looking Glass Edition

"I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, Sir, because I'm not myself you see."

I wish I could explain the pull Olympic Hockey has on me. I'm not exactly Mr.Jingoism. I don't follow the NHL that closely. I don't even like the cold. However I love Team USA Hockey. Today they play the hated Finnish Somethings (does Finland have a Mascot?) So at 3 I shall be donning my red, white, and blue and calling for the death of a tiny Scandinavian country for no apparent reason.

"Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you're at."
Yes Big Z is at the moment the hottest free agent in the NBA. Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, and the Cavs are all hot on him. Given the importance size plays in the playoffs teams will be offering multi-year contracts for a backup center. The Z storyline might be one of the more important questions of the next few weeks.

"We're all mad here."
Only a few weeks till the Madness. Purdue, a few days ago, seemed on the verge of clinching a #1 seed. Now their hopes for the season lay torn, much like Robbie Hummel's ACL. So might fill that spot? There are two at the moment. Duke and K-State. Duke has the RPI numbers but K-State has more wins against quality tournament teams. I imagine if Duke wins the ACC, they'll get that spot. Booo.

"Sentence first -- verdict afterwords."
The IOC is non too plussed at the Canadian women celebrating this gold medal with Molson on ice. Who doesn't like a good cigar and Molson beer? Yes off with their heads for celebrating in the tiniest bit!

"I don't believe there's an atom of meaning in it."
There's not but down the rabbit hole I'm willing to go

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Injuries, NBA Notes, and Olympics

Significant Injuries -
Purdue's Robbie Hummel is out for the season... sadly, that's the end of Purdue as a Final Four Contender.

Cleveland's Shaquille O'Neal has a "significant" thumb injury. I have no idea what that means, but what I do know, is that the Cavs will now be using their PFs at center until he comes back.

NBA Games -
I've slacked off on this...
From two weeks ago:
The Lakers beat down the Jazz on 2/10... w/o Kobe!; The Cavs beat the Magic on 2/11 behind great defense and a ridiculous 20 pts from Hickson and 16 from Varejao; OkCity beat up on Dallas on 2/16, but Dallas hadn't fully integrated Caron Butler or Haywood;
From last week:
Denver beat the Cavs in OT on 2/18, as the Cavs shot 57% from... the FT line!; Boston beat the Lakers on 2/18 in a defensive slugfest, despite being outrebounded, as Ray Allen got hot; Dallas beat Orlando on 2/19 as Haywood posted a +20 and Howard a -7; Orlando beat the Cavs on 2/21 in a close game, though the Cavs were still figuring out how to use Jamison but certainly could not contain Dwight Howard (and looked like they missed Z in this matchup); Denver beat Boston on 2/21 behind 19 pts off the bench by JR Smith; Dallas beat the Lakers on 2/24 as they outrebounded the Lakers and Jason Terry and Jason Kidd hit just enough 3-pointers; Cleveland beat Boston on 2/25 as Boston was in control... until the 4th quarter when Mo Williams caught fire.

Olympic Hockey
Apparently, NBC's Mike Milbury said the Russians (who lost 7-3 to Canada), played like "Eurotrash." Yeah... that could cause problems.

I think even more shocking than Russia's exit... was defending champion Sweden lost in the quarterfinals to... Slovakia? Who is on this team? Apparently, Miroslav Satan, Marian Gaborik, Pavol Demitra, Marian Hossa, Ziggy Palffy. What's even more amazing? Peter Forsberg played for Sweden and even made it into the box score!

Women's Olympic Hockey
I'd encourage everyone to check out this link to a slideshow of the Canadian women's team celebrating their gold medal victory... on ICE! Yes, they smoked cigars, drank Molson Canadian, and rode the Zamboni long after the fans had departed... but before the media had departed! Nice!

Honestly, I'm really annoyed at how the videos of the Olympics aren't on youtube or any other normal place. So, instead, I'm showing this thrilling video of curling. Enjoy!

It's a Trap

How awesome is this? Admiral Ackbar could possibly be the Ole Miss mascot. As much as I hate the SEC, if this happened, I would become an Ole Miss fan.

I am very intrigued how MJ feels about this article. I seem to remember him being a Star Wars fan, but also hating Eli Manning (who went to ole miss)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Odds for 2011 College Football

Well Vegas has spoken and as of now Alabama is the odds on favorite to win it all in 2011

Early Odds to Win 2011 BCS Championship
Alabama (7-2)
Ohio State (13-2)
Boise State (12-1)
Oregon (12-1)
Texas (14-1)
Nebraska (15-1)
Southern Cal (15-1)
Florida (16-1)
Virginia Tech (17-1)
Oklahoma (18-1)
TCU (18-1)
Iowa (20-1)

At the rate Oregon is going there might not be anyone left to play. I will say I find it interesting that odds makers believe that Boise will be given the chance to play in the championship. Anyway begin the countdown to college football 2011....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Flash Facts: Unfortunate Truths

There are number of truths out there that simply (and unfortunately can't be ignored). Here are few (that wonderfully intersect with my observations from the weekend.
#1 Orlando is Still a Contender
I should get my biases out of the way. I hate Orlando. Not just because they beat the Cavs but Stan and his brother grate on my nerves with their frenetic spastic ways. I find Dwight Howard the dirtiest elbower since Karl Malone. And then there's Vinsanity. The hope (and the prediction) that with Vince chucking up shots instead of Hedo's play making Orlando would step back. The Truth is that as of today...not really. They have the #2 defense (by FG %) and slowly realizing that Howard is the center of the offense. Coupled with Nelson and Carter improving in efficiency (Carter's shooting 51% in February) and Orlando is simply one of the few teams that can win the championship.

#2 The Bobcats will Make the Playoffs
Speaking of annoying coaches...Larry Brown. Larry Brown did this year what Larry Brown normally does. Rearrange the team, complain , and get his team to play defense. And it's worked. Under the radar Felton is feeding to great wing players and now with the added defensive presence of Tyrus Thomas, the Bobcats - who have the 3rd best record in the East since the new year, seem poised to make the playoffs. Sigh.

#3 Kentucky is Red Hot
Let's be honest John Calipari gives snake oil salesmen a bad name. This year he cajoled, bribed, massaged, etc. 2 of the 3 best freshmen in the country to play for his Wildcats. While John Wall has gotten more hype, I'd argue Demarcus Cousin (who averages a double-double) is just as if not more important to the teams success. With wins of Miss State and Vandy....Kentucky has all but secured a number 1 seed in the tournament

#4 Oregon Ducks In the Running for Worst Image in College Football
Where once University of Miami sat alone for criminal behavior, their fall from grace (both on and off the field) has left things open. The Oregon seems hell-bent on taking on that title. While everyone remembers Blunt's sucker punch, this offseason seem to have to have topped that. Within a month, 4 separate players have been arrested or had incidents. And not just minor things like DUIs or racist facebook rants but things like stealing computers and strangulation (which according to research is in fact illegal in Oregon). Big thumbs up guys on trying to secure #1 in the college football ranking of most out of control program.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Knick Dilemma

As everyone surely knows, the Knicks were able to acquire Tracy McGrady’s expiring contract which now gives them between $32.2M and $34.2M, depending on if the salary cap is set at $50M or $52M (reports vary between the two sums). In other words, the Knicks will be able to afford two maximum player contracts which is code for James or Wade and a second premium player of their choosing.

But what if James or Wade resign with their respective teams or decide to move to a city not named New York? Peter Vecsey of the New York Post sums this up nicely:

“[I]magine if the Knicks can’t entice Wade as James’ partner, or by his lonesome, or can’t secure either of them? I know Chris Bosh perceives himself as a franchise player. Clearly, he’s vastly improved and is definitely the best player on the court many nights. But, with all due respect, he’s a textbook No. 2 All-Star for a championship challenger.

Same goes for Joe Johnson, Carlos Boozer, Amar’e Stoudemire and any other free agent-to-be you want to cite not named Dirk Nowitzki (who has committed publicly to remaining a Maverick) or Yao Ming (who's too fragile to think about investing yards of yen in him).

Once more with feeling: If the Knicks are unable to get James or Wade they might as well save the cap room for Kevin Durant in 2012 when he becomes unrestricted, because all the above false saviors aren't remotely worth Max Factor or Maxwell Smart.”

I couldn’t agree more with Vecsey (although I'm not convinced on Durant, but that’s besides the point). Bosh, Johnson, Stoudemire, Boozer or anyone else available this summer just won’t cut it. None of these players are franchise-changing players by themselves and, frankly, even when paired together, they don’t seem to be able to get you much past a first or second round playoff exit.

After years of dysfunction and incompetence, Knicks fans shouldn’t have to settle for second-level free agents or role players masquerading as Alpha Dogs. If they can’t get one of James or Wade, they should sit on the money and wait for the next crop of franchise-changers to come up for negotiation.

Eddy Curry’s $11.2M contract expires after next season. If the Knicks don’t spend their money frivolously on players this summer, they’ll be even further under the cap next summer. Without the benefit of draft picks, the Knicks will surely get worse in the short term. But I’d rather the Knicks get worse and rebuild the right way than chain themselves to the misguided notion that Bosh, Johnson, Stoudemire, Boozer or someone else will be good enough to make a difference.

Cheers and Jeers: Penguin Edition

(Not a Penguin but still cute)
Cheers: To NBA Trade Winners - Dallas, Cavs, Charlotte all improved for a playoff run

Guarded Cheers: To NBA Trade Cap Clearers - (everyone else). A number of teams reached their goal of clearing cap space. I believe there are over 8 teams now that have the cap space to make a run at a max contract. Which is short hand for a lot of teams are going to be unhappy or over pay

Jeers: To Covering the Tiger Press Conference. Everyone fails in this. Tiger is using a Friday to help make himself more money. It's his life but let's no confuse this with some noble gesture. Every network is covering it like Tiger will announced a treaty between Israel and the Palestinians. Don't like that. And people will tune in like Tiger will give the secret of how to convince a porn star to get into the muddy wombat position. There's so much fail.....

Cheers: To the flying Tomato and his gold medal. USA! USA! USA!

Jeers: To Doc Rivers criticizing the NBA rule that potentially allows the Cavs to resign Z. In 2005 the Celtics traded Antoine Walker for Gary Payton and then resigned Walker following a buy out. But I guess that's fine because it helps Doc Rivers....

And your C&J moment of irony...I give you NBC Olympic Coverage


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jamison Comes to Cleveland

It's not often for a former all-star currently averaging 20-8 to be traded to a team that has the best record in the league (let alone when it happens to Mighty's hometown team) so more in-depth analysis is needed.

The Z Factor - First off I understated is how beloved Z is here in Cleveland. From overcoming injuries, to willingly changing his role, his taking a pay cut to stay in Cleveland, to his work in the community. He has played more games than anyone else for the Cavs. At minimum there's a certain sadness to have him traded The rumor going around is that Z is going to be bought out by the Wizards. Dallas and Denver alongside the Cavs will be pitching to gain his services. If Z returns to the Cavs, then karma would be restored

Ferry and Trade Magic - My biggest thought is how masterful of a job Danny Ferry has done. Most GMs apparently spend their days trying to avoid accidently sticking a pencil in their eye , not Ferry. Last year Phoenix waited to the last second before saying no to the Cavs for a trade so when Phoenix waffled on trading Amar'e Ferry had the stones to walk away. Secondly, Ferry's creative usage of the Clippers (and Al Thorton) meant that the Cavs got to keep their promising young PF. The Cavs got Jamison for an expiring contract and a very very low draft pick. Amazing when you think about it.

Overall Outlook
- The only question that really should be asked about the trade - does it help the Cavs win a championship. The road to the Championship for the Cavs runs through Orlando and LA. In that regard the Jamison trade seems to be a winner. Jamison is a better matchup against Rashard Lewis. He should force the Lakers to avoid their twin tower lineup (Bynum and Gasol). He improves their half court offense (a must in the playoffs). His professionalism means the Cavs have flexibility in using the right matchup (i.e., playing Sideshow or Powe). With the Z issue still unresolved there remains some downside risk but as of this morning the trade seems like a grand slam.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NBA Trade Deadline 2010: The Color of Money

NBA Trade Deadline 2010 is all about the Benjamins! We knew that going in though.

Instant Analysis: Cavs get Jamison, Mavs get Butler and Haywood
Wizards: Big winners. They suddenly only have $28 million in commitments for next summer... meaning they could theoretically sign TWO max players. If they somehow void Arenas contract, they'd only have $11 million committed! It's unreal, they could become the top destination suddenly. Of course, they could also end up with nothing and with Al Thornton being the top player, but they want to be players this summer.

Mavs: Big winners. They got two solid starters (Caron Butler, Haywood) for a bunch of crap (an expiring Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, and spare parts). Excellent. Should push them to win at least 1 round in the playoffs.

Cavs: winners, maybe? If Z gets bought out (as expected), and he returns to the Cavs (big if?), then the Cavs only gave up a 1st round pick and a Euro prospect... for Jamison! If Z goes elsewhere, or stays put, not really sure what to say. Shaq can't play 35 minutes per night and Varejao isn't nearly as effective at center as he is at PF (especially against Orlando and Lakers - see last season's evidence). Ultimately, the Cavs will only be looked at as winners if they win it all... and there's no way LeBron will EVER have as stacked a team as this one (Mo, Shaq, Jamison, Varejao, Delonte, J. Moon, ... and don't forget Leon Powe among others). Plus, they picked up an extra emergency PG (Sebastian Telfair). I give Danny Ferry an "A"... he got a spare PG and Jamison for almost nothing. Now, if Z returning to Cleveland is a 70% chance, Ferry just has to keep his fingers crossed for 30 days.

T-wolves: They traded for Darko! I love Darko stories.

Bucks: Suddenly became SPENDERS (not savers) and traded two expiring contracts for SG John Salmons. Verdict: Unclear

Biggest winner: the one that gets McGrady's huge expiring contract!

It will still be interesting if the Celtics or Spurs are actually able to do anything... and if the Orlando Magic will actually use their trade exception. One more day left!

Keeping Tabs: 2/17

A few links to keep you entertained now that Lent is keeping you away from booze or Brazilian floats.

Buckeyes v. Boilermakers - Two teams tied for First Place in the Big 10 play tonight as Purdue's all conference Robbie Hummel takes on the Buckeyes' all universe Evan Turner. While the Big 10 doesn't have any truly elite teams that have four (Wisconsin and MSU being the others) that seem on pace to grab a 2 or 3 seed in the tournament.

USC to Face Committee - After years and years of investigating Reggie Bush, USC will finally go before the NCAA Infraction Committee this weekend. While the committee won't announce what the punish will be they will announce if USC will be punished. Most likely punishment a spanking.

NBA Trade Soap Opera - With a little more than 24 hours left before the trade deadline there appear to be 4 story lines that bear following
1) Amar'e - Will almost certainly be traded to either Cleveland or Miami. Miami is currently scrambling to top the Cavs offer
2) Cavs - If the Cavs strike out with Amar'e they will probably pivot and trade for Jamison, Troy Murphy, or Maggette
3) Chicago and New York - appear to be fighting over the corpse of Tracy McGrady to clear cap space and for the right to practice weird medical experiments
4) The Spurs and Celtics - the former champs appear to have admitted that they are too old to compete and are looking for ways to make themselves relevant again.

Contrary to Conventional Wisdom
- The Four Greatest Words in the English Language are - " It Finally Stopped Snowing" followed closely by "Free Chicken Finger Day"

The Four Greatest Words in the English Language

"Pitchers and Catchers Report"

Happy spring, everybody!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

NBA Trades and Rumors

With only a few days left till the NBA trade deadline, rumors are flying right and left. Here's a quick run down of trades, potential trades, and contender's looking.

Dallas Sends Howard, Gooden, 2 Scrubs to Washington for Haywood and Butler
For the better part of 2 months Dallas has been a .500 team seemingly destined for a first round exit. As such Dallas was in many ways compelled to make the move. This is largely a classic salary dump trade for Washington. They get a series of expiring contracts that will save them $15 million while given luxury tax implications Dallas is taking on $30 million. In exchange for helping out the Wizards monetarily Dallas improves on both sides of the ball. Butler and Haywood are needed defensive stoppers. In addition Butler is a large upgrade of a washed up Howard.

The move makes Dallas good enough to be in the "Hey, maybe under the right circumstances they can challenge the Lakers" but you'd be hard pressed to push them any farther.

Proposed Trade: Amare to Cleveland for JJ Hickson and Part of Z's Contract
Ah here's the great unknown. The Cavs are right now the best team in the NBA but it's unclear if they are good enough to win the NBA Championship. On the table is Amare for JJ Hickson, a young but talented PF and an almost certain trade followed by buy out of Z. Which is the inevitable question does Amare improve the Cavs? Well offensively the answer is yes. Amare, while not the player he was, still finishes well and shoots extremely well from mid-range. In some ways it seems like a no brainer- Amare for a raw unproven young guy? On the other hand Amare has long been a defensive liability and would keep the Cavs second best player (Sideshow Bob) off the court. In addition would Amare has been known to be a selfish player unwilling to put the team first and is currently looking for a max contract. Which basically translates to adding Amare to the Cavs seems like Orlando adding Vince Carter - it only looks good on paper. So the Amare trade could and would be high risk high reward where you could go blind looking at stats and thinking it over. If a trade is getting done it'll happen early this week according to my sources....

Possible Trade: Boston's Ray Allen For ??
Boston since December has also been .500 team. KG's knee isn't getting better, Wallace isn't finding the fountain of youth, and the injuries keep piling up. Boston has fallen beyond Cleveland, Orlando, and Atlanta. Danny Ainge realizes this and has been shopping around Allen's expiring contract. Jamison, Amare, Ellis, Iguadela, and others have all been linked to Boston. The problem is that all the Celtics have is expiring contracts which doesn't seem to be enough. Without a move look for Boston to make a second round the latest.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Perfectly Awesome Friday

I can't believe that the Bengals are giving Pacman Jones a tryout. How perfect would that be? The Bengals, who are known far and wide as having players who are better at breaking the law than breaking a tackle, dont need any more bad seeds. Their "star" linebacker Malaluga just got caught drunk driving. It will be quite hilarious if they do end up signing him. MAKE IT RAIN!

Also, wanted to take a moment to reflect on how perfectly awesome the Cavs are. 13 straights wins, and a thorough stomping of the Magic last night, all without Mo Williams and Delonte West (except West played yesterday). I have to say that Lebron has been inhumanly awesome lately. His outside jumper has been so dominating, it is amazing to watch him. I can't remember a player who took over a game like he does since Jordan.
Should be a fun all-star weekend.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

NBA Report - 2/10/2010

The Super Bowl has ended and it's now time to pour full attention on Basketball! I will be doing some NCAA conference previews soon, but for now, we'll just check in with the NBA...

NBA games of the Week-

Please note, that in all the Super Bowl hoopla of last week was... NBA games of the week!
From two weeks ago "Games of the Week" - Orlando overcame a 16-point deficit and beat the Celtics (and also outrebounded the Celtics 47 to 32);
the Hawks beat the Celtics again, this time by 9 behind 55 by Crawford and Joe Johnson;
OkCity beat Denver pretty thoroughly behind a surprising 39 to 31 rebounding advantage, defensive play (holding Denver to 40%), and another 30 points by Durant;
San Antonio beat the Grizzlies and held Rudy Gay to 9 points; Orlando beat ATL, who really have no one to guard Howard (31 pts, 19 rebs, 3 blocks compared to 4pts, 4 rebs by Horford);
the Lakers rallied to beat the Celtics by 1 but this was really anyone's game (Rondo also feasted on having old-man D. Fisher on him);
the Cavs dominated the Grizzlies on 2/2 but the Grizzlies were finishing up 4 games in 5 nights (and knocking off the Lakers the previous game);
OkCity had a suprising 45 to 35 rebounding advantage and knocked off the Hawks;

for this past week... (these are the games I would have anointed as "Games of the Week")
2/5 - the Nuggets clobbered the Lakers behind a silly 9 3-pointers and 39 pts by Chauncey, and a ridiculous 15 rebs and a +26 by the Birdman off the bench;
2/6 - Utah beat the Nuggets by 10, Billups didn't play, but Ty Lawson had 25 as a starter, but the Jazz's team play resulted in 27 assists and a surprise 22 points from Kirilenko;
2/7 - Orlando beat Boston again, this time more thoroughly, the Celtics just don't seem to be athletic enough and gave up 11 3-pointers on just 22 attempts;
2/8 - Lakers beat the Spurs down, while the Lakers didn't even play Kobe OR Bynum!!! Yes, the Spurs are still struggling at this point.
2/9 - The Nuggets beat the Mavs by 36!; The Mavs were missing Dampier and Marion; the Mavs got outrebounded 47 to 28 and allowed 60% FG% !

This upcoming week...
2/10 - Lakers @ Jazz
2/11 - Orlando @ Cavs
2/14 - all-star game (for whatever it's worth)
2/16 - Dallas @ OkCity

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Flash Facts

With the end of football season its the end of MMBSD and time to turn to Flash Facts......

#1 The NFL is a QB League
As we switch from the 2009-2010 season to the 2010-2011 season (or what will be known as the last season before the Year of the Labor Strife) it's important note that consistency in the NFL comes from QB play. Take a look at the teams that made the playoffs and ask if they have an elite QB, if the answer is No, then put them on the endangered list. In particular eyes will be on Mark Sanchez to see if he can improve his QB play or if the the dreaded sophomore slump will get him.

#2 Jerry Sloan Wants to Punch You in the Mouth
I'm old enough to remember what a tough smart player Jerry Sloan was while playing. Which brings me to the Utah Jazz. Nothing particularly stands out about the Jazz. Yes Williams is an all-star but hardly a super-star. They have a pair of good but not great PFs. However they play great team ball which means higher percentage shots (lead the lead in FG%) and they rotate well (top 10 in defensive FG%). The result is that statistically the Jazz are as hot as anybody right now. They will play the Lakers on Wednesday and from all signs show that despite the star power, the Jazz can give the Lakers a run for their money.

#3 Auburn's Gene Chizik Isn't That Bad
After hiring Iowa State's Gene Chizik, Auburn, Chizik, a bunch of orphans were booed (this is Alabama after all). However Chizik was able to bring in a top 5 recruiting class, often besting Saban for the heart's and mind's of players in Alabama. Not too shabby. Auburn made big strides last season is becoming competitive and if Chizik can continue to recruit like this Auburn might be able to get back to being relevant in the conference crown race.

#4 Spring Game Will Bring QB Battles
The Big 10 will experience a series of QB competitions this Spring. Penn State will have to replace Darryl Clarke with either Sophmore Kevin Newsome or true freshman Robert Bolden. Michigan might have its own QB competition with the nation's best dual threat QB David Gardner enrolling early. Add, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, and potentially Michigan State and that's lot's a QB battles.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Shut Your Piehole! Super Nonsense Edition

Super Bowl XLIV is in the books, and the talking heads now have to make sense out of what happened tonight. ESPN's John Clayton - "The Professor" - begins his column with this nugget of wisdom:

"Although [Peyton] Manning might be one of the greatest game managers and quarterbacks of all time, yet another Super Bowl slipped away."

"Yet another Super Bowl"? Last time I checked, this was Manning's second appearance in the Super Bowl - and he won the first one. Oh, and he won the MVP in that game, too. Which other Super Bowl has Peyton Manning let slip away?

Perhaps Clayton means that Manning has blown opportunities leading up to the Super Bowl, i.e. he missed a chance to even get to the Big Game. Let's look at his playoff statistics. Nope, that doesn't make sense, either: Manning has a career 87.5 playoff passer rating, and in the three seasons since the title in 2006, his lowest-rated game is 87.9. Yes, I see that Peyton had bad games in the Colts' last playoff games in 2002 and 2003 - but are we really going to say that he's a playoff bust based on those old numbers, when he's generally excelled and won a Super Bowl since?

This is yet another example of a journalist trying so hard for the zinger that he ends up making no sense whatsoever. They call this guy "The Professor"? What does he teach - typewriter maintenance at the Rocco School for Women?

John Clayton, we're revoking your tenure. Now SHUT YOUR PIEHOLE!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Super Bowl Preview: Good Guys vs. Good Guys

I realize there are some people out there who hate and despise the Colts, such as Patriots fans and the AFC South opponents. I also realize there are some people out there who hate the Saints, such as maybe some of the opponents from the NFC South.

However, I believe this Super Bowl is as close to two teams representing "good guys," than any other Super Bowl. There's no polarizing figure on either team to root against. It's also hard to root against a mid-western city and a city that's been pummeled by a natural disaster.

So who are these two "good guys?" Is this a Batman vs. Superman situation? No, the Colts are good, but they aren't as good as Superman. And it's not like they have some gimmicky weakness like kryptonite.

Is this a Transformers vs. Gobots situation? No, the Colts are good, but they won't dominate the way Transformers dominated the market and the TV ratings in comparison to Gobots.

I alluded during conference championship weekend the following:
"if quarterbacks are WWE wrestlers, Drew Brees basically survived a "retirement match" last week as Kurt Warner lost and is now contemplating it. It would only be fitting for Brees to win 2 consecutive "retirement matches" in the playoffs, force Favre to contemplate retirement, then beat Peyton Manning in a Ladder Match next week, then come back next season wearing Ultimate Warrior facepaint."

So, the analogy for this Super Bowl is simple... it's Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior in Wrestlemania VI! Drew Brees is the Ultimate Warrior looking for his first championship. Peyton Manning is the older, established champion, who is also the highest paid athlete in his sport. As stated on the WWE website, the fans in Toronto "couldn't seem to make up their minds on which Superstar to root for." I think the fans in Miami won't be able to make up their minds either. Are they Hulkamaniacs? Are they part of the Warrior Nation? I have no idea. They have no idea. And that's what makes this Super Bowl so fascinating, is that these are two teams I want to root for, and more importantly, two of the best QBs to ever square off in the Super Bowl with two of the highest scoring offenses to ever meet in the Super Bowl.

By my unofficial statistical lookup on pro football reference, the top QB ratings for 2 QBs entering the Super Bowl are:
1984 - Montana (102.9) vs. Marino (108.9) = 105.9 average
2010 - Brees (109.6) vs. Manning (99.9) = 104.8 average
2004 - Brady (92.6) vs. McNabb (104.7) = 98.7 average
(NOTE: The QB Rating doesn't seem to score well on the older QBs, who didn't have nearly the same aount of attempts, as both Bradshaw vs. Staubach matchups only average 84.8 and 83.25, which is below many of the other modern era matchups).

By my unofficial statistical lookup on pro football reference, the top scoring matchups entering the Super Bowl are:
1984 - 49ers (29.7ppg) vs. Dolphins (32.1)= 61.8 total ppg
1991 - Redskins (30.3) vs. Bills (28.6) = 58.9 total ppg
1998 - Broncos (31.3) vs. Falcons (27.6) = 58.9 total ppg
2010 - Saints (31.9) vs. Colts (26.0) = 57.9 total ppg
NOTE: Steelers vs. Cowboys from 1975 only had a total of 51.6 ppg (5th and 8th-ranked offenses), and 1978 Steelers-Cowboys only had 46.3ppg. Again, a different era, but these two were 5th and 1st-ranked scoring offenses)

Interestingly... all of the of the other games on the list above ended up being blowouts by the favored team. In this case? The Colts are 5 point favorites, but as everyone in America knows, Dwight Freeney isn't playing, so all bets are up in the air I suppose? Which means I'm still excited about the possibility of seeing a 42-35 Super Bowl!

Game Analysis
Datapoint #1) Defenses
The Colts have a better defense than the Saints (letting up only 307 points this season compared to the 341 by the Saints). The Colts have a pass defense giving up 213 yards per game. The Saints give up 235 yards per game. Again, nothing substantial by statistics, but another slight edge for the Colts. However, most people in America will point out that the Colts defense is indeed better than the Saints, and that could be instrumental if this game comes down to getting 2 stops instead of just 1 stop.
Advantage: Colts

Datapoint #2) Common Opponents in 2009
Both the Colts and Saints played the AFC East. The Colts went 2-2 (but they didn't try against the Jets and Bills). So really they were 2-0, with a lucky 1-point win against the Patriots.
The Saints also went 2-0 against the Dolphins and Pats, and memorably destroyed the Pats on a Monday Night.
The Colts and Saints also both beat the Rams (though the Saints barely did it).
So, in the end... nothing of note here really on "Common Opponents."
Advantage: Even

Datapoint #3) Computer Simulations
According to a simulation on Madden, the Saints will actually win the Super Bowl 35-31 and the Ultimate Warrior will be victorious yet again.
Advantage: Saints

Datapoint #4) Double Agent
You want some bad blood between these teams?... I got it right here! Two words for Saints fans: Jason David!

Jason David was a cornerback on the Colts 2006 Super Bowl team and then signed for big money to the Saints. He got to the Saints... and all of a sudden the Saints realized they had just been completely burned, and that Jason David was not contributing to the Colts wins at all... as he got burned by multiple big plays and ended up getting waived after just two seasons.

To make things even more insulting to the Saints, the Colts actually worked out Jason David on January 28, 2010, and according to this rumor, Jason David still has "plenty of knowledge" of the Saints defense. If the Colts win, and the win hinges on information given by Jason David, Jason David should go down as one of the greatest Colts ever... for helping winning a championship, then helping another team lose games, and eventually losing a Super Bowl to his "real" team, the Colts. Basically, Jason David is the ultimate double agent as clearly his mission was to collect information for a possible Super Bowl matchup years down the road.
Advantage: Colts

Datapoint #5) The OCNN
The Ocho Cinco News Network, with Ocho Cinco, Chris Cooley, and Ray Rice, is reporting that the Saints may blitz this weekend.
Advantage: Saints

Datapoint #6) The Ladder Match
I think Drew Brees has a low chance of getting a ladder onto the field and being able to jump off the ladder onto Peyton Manning.
Advantage: Colts

Final Prediction
By my count, this game is truly a tossup. Anything can and will happen. I just can't wait to see if Drew Brees can pull off the unthinkable and topple Warner, then Favre, then Manning. In the end though, I think one has to go with the better defense. While my heart will be rooting for Drew Brees and the Saints, my brain keeps saying that the Colts will prove victorious.
Pick: Colts 42, Saints 35
Championship Week: 2-0
Playoffs: 5-5 (terrible, I know)

Monday, February 01, 2010

29 days until spring training

yes, that's right. March 2nd is the first spring training game. So far it has been a pretty uneventful offseason. And the Indians have done pretty much nothing in terms of free-agency. Which is fitting, because they did nothing from April until October of last year as well.
Because it is baseball, I am naturally excited for the upcoming season, however, with the continuing lackluster nature of my Indians, I am torn between excitement and perpetual "sangry". The below video is a pretty good representation of my emotions.


MMBSD: Yearly Hiatus

Well with no football of note this week (MMBSD does not recognize pro bowls games that do not involve hulu girls and/or the Pacific Ocean) it's time to review NBA performances and other odds and ends

NBA at Half-Point
Well we're rocketing past the half way point so while my esteemed colleague looked at the big picture here is my list of the top individual achievement awards at the halfway point

MVP: Lebron James. His stats, his efficiency, his team's record, it's not a contest

Coach of the Year
: Lionel Collins - coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. He got Zach Randolph to play defense. That really should be enough. However he has the Grizzlies in the playoffs which given that that they have no bench is equally impressive.

Rookie Tyreke Evans. Goes to show what NBA scouts know, in a year that supposably Blake Griffin and a bunch of scrubs there's fierce competition for rookie of the year. I'm giving to Tyreke Evans at this point for averaging almost 20-5-5.

Most Improved
Josh Smith and Kevin Durant Is it harder to move from average to good or from good to great? I'm always divided. Josh Smith's improved play is the reason Atlanta currently is fighting for the 2 seed in the East. Meanwhile Durant has improved his efficiency and defense to turn himself into a superstar and give the Thunder a good shot at the playoffs.

Justice Department Looking for Easy Target
According the latest reports the Justice Department will "reviewing the legality of the BCS" I'm sure glad the time for cheap political tricks for the 2010 election has come. Whew. I've talked previously about the role of the federal government and sports (generally bad) or if the feds can try to do real policy with minor issues like the BCS simultaneously (it can't) but the bigger question is should anyone ever listen to Orrin Hatch? And from the department of simple answers to simple question....NO

NCAA Basketball 4+2?

With KU, Kentucky, Villanova, and 'Cuse seemingly ensconced as college elite, one question is can anyone challenge these 4? I'm not sure but I would like to promote to potential candidates. Michigan State and Georgetown. Michigan State struggled a bit this week but remain undefeated in Big 10 play. Izzo squads historically get better as the year goes on so there's good reason to think MSU can go back to the Final 4. Meanwhile Georgetown absolutely dismantled Duke over the weekend. They will have a rematch with Villanova at G-town next week (Feb 6th) and should be a good barometer for f G-Town is Final 4 material

Big Dates for Febtober

Here's a few dates to remember for February: Feb 3rd National Signing Day, Feb 6th G-town v. Villanova, Feb 10th UNC v. Duke, Feb 12th Start of the Winter Olympics, Feb 17th Pitchers and Catchers Report, Feb 18th NBA Trade Deadline, Feb 23rd National Send Mighty a Cheesecake Day