Monday, April 5, 2010

Weekend Hangover - Love/Hate: NCAA Championship


- Like Audrina Patridge in a bikini, you don’t have to like her to admit she looks good. Duke played their best game of the season on Saturday night and absolutely dominated West Virginia. They were on fire from the perimeter, they dominated the boards and completely manhandled the supposedly tough Mountaineers team. The Blue Devils looked like a team that belonged in the NCAA Championship game and that’s where they will be tonight when they take on Butler. I’m done with predictions since my predictions have been worse than once Audrina opens her mouth.

- Congratulations to Ms. Jessica Mack for winning the first Sports Addict Bracket Challenge! She was the only person to pick Duke to win the title and regardless of the result tonight, she has locked up the title. She will win University of Wisconsin gear and a some Sports Addict swag.

- Play Ball!!!! It’s officially opening day!! People everywhere are playing hooky from work and firing up the grill at the tailgate outside the stadium. The start of the baseball season is always a poetic time – the smell of the grill, the smell of the freshly cut grass, the feel of the peanut shells crunching under your shoes, and the taste of that first or tenth flat Old Style beer……….(okay maybe my memories are more of the old County Stadium bleachers than it is the newer stadiums like Miller Park where you can get all the flavors of Lienie’s or a premium beer)

- The Lakers are struggling lately, causing concern after cruising along as the best team in the Western conference most of the year. Is the Ron Artest crazy train the reason? Is Kobe beginning to tire out? Is Lamar Odom running out of Skittles to keep his sugar high? Or did Lamar finally realize he married the ugly Kardashian sister and now that Kim is single he’s having second thoughts? Either way, the best part is that it opens up the Western Conference playoffs and it wouldn’t be overly surprising to see Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, San Antonio or Utah right up there with the Lakers.

- Coach K is NOT taking the Nets job. Yes, the Russian playboy owner of the Nets is offering a ridiculous amount of money – like $12 to $15 million per year. Yet at the end of the day, there is no upside for him going to the pros. He turned down the Lakers job in 2004 when they already had Kobe Bryant and Shaq on the roster. The Nets have Devin Harris and Robin Lopez. He will be able to coach as long as he wants at Duke and will never be fired. He has been there for 30 years. Why would he mess up his legacy with a failure with the Nets? The number of failed former college coaches includes current college coaching stars….Rick Pitino, John Calipari, Mike Montgomery. Eddie Murphy was a successful comedian and actor, but the worst decision he ever made was an attempted music career. A choice he probably regrets as much as Coach K would regret a move to the Nets.


- The Donovan McNabb trade is such an indictment of McNabb by the Eagles it is incredible. Not only did the Eagles feel McNabb is not good enough to lead them to the promised land, they also showed they don’t think he’s going to be that hard to beat by trading him within the division!! There are tremendous differences between this and the Packers trading Brett Favre, not the least of which is that Favre was a lock Hall of Famer, and Donovan is possibly in the discussion. The Packers also knew that Favre still had gas in the tank and therefore wanted no part of playing him and traded him out of the division and out of the conference to the Jets (Favre still weaseled his way back into the division a year later by faking retirement ….again) While the media is spinning it that the Eagles showed respect for McNabb by not trading him to the Raiders, I think they showed him extreme disrepect by trading him within the division. Or maybe they just noticed the decline from 54-19 (.740) as a starter from 2000-04 to 36-26-1 (.579) from 2005-2009, and 17 games missed in the most recent 4 years with only a 2-2 playoff record.

And let’s immediately put away the ridiculous thought that the Redskins may be better than the Eagles next year. It’s not even close. The Redskins have a horrid offensive line, have awful wide receivers (Santana Moss? Malcolm Kelly? Compared to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin?), a talented TE coming off an injury, and a collection of washed up running backs – Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker. The Eagles still have tremendously more talent than the Redskins, but Washington definitely improved with this trade. Putting Jessica Biel into a terribly written and directed movie with a weak supporting cast does not make it a great movie.

- The first national semi final game on Saturday night between Michigan State and Butler was a hideously ugly game. It was worse than watching former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich trying to turn on a computer or send a text on the Celebrity Apprentice. (side note – has anyone seen this? The guy was a former governor and has absolutely no idea how to operate a computer or a cell phone. Who knew that his lack of tech skills would be more appalling than that awkward haircut? What the …….) As visually appealing as the Duke victory was, the first game was the exact opposite. It was a slugfest between two stout defensive and physical teams, which we knew coming in. What we didn’t know was that Michigan State was going to lose the game more than Butler was going to win the game. Michigan State missed lay ups they don’t normally miss, missed free throws, turned the ball over in uncontested situations, and had some painful looking jumpshots (sorry Draymond Green, those were some hideous bricks you threw up from the top of the key). Butler shot 30% from the field and won the game. Michigan State shot only 42%. Ugh. Michigan State had 16 turnovers, 5 of which were credited to Korie Lucious and I think the score keeper was being generous.

That being said, I don’t like whining about the officiating, but Green was fouled on his last drive to the hoop. As a coach, with 20-odd seconds remaining and down by one, you want a shot going to the basket so you either make the shot or get fouled and get to the line. Green did exactly that and got hit on the arm and didn’t get the call. It didn’t cost them the game – the turnovers and shooting 10-18 from the free throw line did that – but it was a terrible missed call at a very big moment.

- I watched a little bit of the opening night game between the Yankees and Red Sox last night, and nothing was more annoying than the ESPN feed being blacked out, forcing me to watch the game on the YES network. Michael Kay is among the worst announcers I have ever heard in my life and he ruined the opening night experience for me. He barely pays attention to the game and instead spends the entire broadcast name dropping to show off that he’s buddies with the players, and babbling on about random topics that don’t pertain to the game in front of him. It’s like he’s the annoying guy at the bar that keeps rambling on about the time he met a celebrity when you’re just trying to watch the game. We get it Michael, you have an enormous ego and you know a bunch of athletes that you sometimes have dinner with. He’s like the rest of the Jersey Chasers that used to go to the KK in Madison to try and work the football players in the back corner of the bar. Instead of the majestic call from John Miller and Joe Morgan, I was forced to listen to this idiot. I couldn’t stand more than a couple innings before I switched it off and never returned.

- The Milwaukee Bucks were playing the best basketball they had played since 2001. They were hot and have developed a chemistry between coach Scott Skiles and their team combining young talent like Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings with veterans Jerry Stackhouse and John Salmons. They were poised to put a major scare into either Boston or Atlanta in the first round of the playoffs. And now that has all gone up in flames when Andrew Bogut shattered his elbow in an injury that brought back memories for me of Larry Krystowiak blowing out his knee in Game 3 of the playoffs against the Pistons in 1989. Krystowiak worked hard to rehab the knee, including not cutting his hair in the back until he got back into a game the following season. So maybe Bogut could grow a mullet for next season?

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