Monday, February 1, 2010

Weekend Hangover - Love/Hate


- College basketball put on quite a show this weekend. Without any football (and my wife away for the weekend), there was no reason to do anything except watch college basketball. And I took full advantage of it, watching 8 of the top 11 teams in the country on Saturday. And it was a heck of a performance by college basketball itself, with multiple buzzer beaters, overtimes and great players.

- Kansas will make it to the Final Four. Why? What do Sherman Douglas, Khalid El-Amin and Mateen Cleaves have in common? They have all won in the Final Four, and they are all short, fat point guards. Kansas is led by Sharon Collins, a short, fat point guard. And if you don’t believe that, then how about their overrated, slow, white center, Cole Aldrich? He’s a perfect match for Eric Montross, Greg Ostertag or Tyler Hansborough – all overrated, slow white centers with Final Four appearances.

- Jimmy Dykes is the best college basketball color analyst in the country, and it’s not even close. Dykes typically covers the SEC for ESPN games along with Brad Nessler, and he has the ability to break the game down, pointing out the real nuances of the game (rebounding, defense, the extra pass and free throw shooting) that make the difference between winning and losing. Dykes also is not afraid to criticize a player or coach for a bad decision, which I think shows confidence in his knowledge of the game. Dykes played under Eddie Sutton at Arkansas before spending years as an assistant college coach and a pro scout, so his knowledge of the game is solid. Yet, he’s also highly entertaining, with the ability to let a big moment speak for itself with an understated excitement in his voice. He is the exact opposite of ESPN’s flagship blowhard, Dick Vitale. While I appreciate the enthusiasm Vitale brings, he clearly has lost the motivation to prepare for games, instead focusing on promoting his friends who donate to charity and yelling for the purpose of yelling. It’s a shame ESPN continues to promote Dicky V, and Dykes goes underappreciated by most. Vitale is more washed up than Jennifer Lopez – who by the way, looked like she couldn’t breathe in her dress last night at the Grammys.

- Ohio State’s Evan Turner is the best player in the country. He missed some games earlier in the season with a back injury from falling after a dunk, but he is back, healthy and as dangerous as anyone in the country. He can shoot from the outside, get to the hoop off the bounce, play defense (4 steals in the first half against Minnesota on Sunday), and rebound. Of all the players I watched this weekend, he has the most talent and the most complete game. He fills up the stat sheet the way Carrie Underwood fills up a dress for an awards show – no one talent outweighing the full package.

- As long as we’re talking about Carrie Underwood, for those of you that watched the Grammy Awards, it was a really amazing Michael Jackson tribute. As impressive as it was, I had a couple of questions that need to be answered. What was up with the weird 3-D thing they tried to do? It was lame – I didn’t have 3-D glasses – so it was all blurry and I felt like I was drinking backstage with Kings of Leon. And they had an extremely impressive group singing with Celine Dion, Smokey Robinson, Usher, Carrie Underwood, and Jennifer Hudson. Yes, Jennifer Hudson. How did she make the cut? I have no idea. I mean, she can sing I guess, it just seemed like a bigger star would have been more appropriate.


- Kansas State will be an early flame out in the NCAA tournament……again. Why am I so sure? Everyone loves the emotions and weird faces of their coach, Frank Martin, yet that is the reason his team will not advance deep into the March tourney. The Wildcats have taken on the personality of their fiery coach, yet their emotions run too hot and it costs them on the court. In their overtime loss to Kansas this weekend, mental errors cost the team over and over again, from two lane violations during free throws to out of control shots and turnovers at crucial times. Their starting point guard – who happens to be the second cousin of Roberto Clemente – plays at a frenetic pace that is even too fast for himself, leading to terrible shot selection – like Saturday when he went 4-15 from the field.

- Remember when Billy Donovan was relevant? After taking one exceptional recruiting class to a couple of titles, Billy has sat back on his laurels and is now just an egotistical pudgy look-alike for Eddie Munster. His current Gator team is good enough to scare some teams if they get into the dance, but they won’t last long. And I’m not really sure Billy cares. He was content to trade interest from Kentucky into more money from Florida a few years ago, and appears to have lost some of his fire.

- I think Rick Barnes of Texas went to the Lane Kiffin school of coaching. Or maybe it is the other way around? Either way, both guys have a knack for recruiting an insane amount of talent to their programs, yet they are not good coaches. Texas has as much, if not more, athletic and talent than any basketball team in the country. Yet they have no idea how to play together, they lack focus (as evidenced by their 19-31 free throw performance in their OT loss to Baylor on Saturday), and they don’t play any defense. Damion James has all the tools (he put up 20 points and 19 boards against Baylor) but his teammates have no idea how to get him the ball with a chance to score, and the Longhorn offense wastes Dexter Pittman inside. It seems like Rick Barnes might be more useless once the ball gets tipped than the white(ish) guy in the Black Eyed Peas. I had to look up that his name is Taboo.

- So much for that Coach K and his teams that play such fierce and intelligent defense. The Dukies got shredded by Georgetown in D.C. with the president in attendance, and the Hoyas shot a blistering 72% from the field. I have no idea how Duke wins as many games as they do. I think they intimidate teams that aren’t mentally tough and teams that are surprised to be on the court with them, because they have the least athletic team in the country that doesn’t play in the Ivy League. They always flame out in the tourney once they get up against teams that know they are better than Duke, just like they got run off the floor by the disciplined Hoya team. Just like they lost earlier in the year to Bo Ryan’s disciplined Badger team.

- Bryant McKinnie getting kicked off the Pro Bowl team. What an assclown. I mean, at least have the dignity to fake an injury like the rest of your peers instead of going down to Miami and just partying and skipping practices.

For those of you new to the site, every Monday I recap the events of the weekend broken down into whether those events or thoughts are a “love” meaning I enjoyed them or it was good or whether they are a “hate” meaning it is poor behavior or annoying play. Thanks for stopping by, come back often, spread the word and become a follower on this site or a fan on Facebook.

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