Uncategorized: March 2011 Archives
When I was a young teenager in 1999, I remember a particular Sports Illustrated being delivered to my house with Shaquille O'Neal and rapper Ice Cube on the front cover. The caption read: "Why athletes want to be rappers and rockers, and rappers and rockers want to be athletes." This statement has never, ever been more true. As the years have gone on, athletes and entertainers are becoming homogenized to every degree. You don't have to look far, especially when it comes to Hip Hop artists. Some recent overt examples are mega-star rapper Lil Wayne making entire songs dedicated to the Los Angeles Lakers and Green Bay Packers and Jay-Z paying the Kentucky basketball team a visit in their locker room moments after an Elite Eight win of North Carolina. The most popular members of the Hip Hop industry sit court side at all the biggest games and, most importantly, everyone must look the part…at any cost. That's why I wasn't really surprised when 1st team all knuckle-head Dez Bryant found himself back in the news this week for Blowing Money Fast (Rick Ross reference) on his bling bling. Remember that scene from Spike Lee's film 'He Got Game' when the Italian agent attempts to entice high school baller Jesus Shuttlesworth with a Rolex watch with what he describes: "Platinum and diamonds. It's like having speed and power. That's a $36,000 watch. That's like having a Corvette on your wrist." Well said. I guess we all get the point of stars 'getting their shine on', but what I don't think we fully understand is the lengths that these guys will go to show you and I how many 'Corvettes' they can hang from themselves at once. A perfect example is Kendall Langford of the Miami Dolphins. Do you remember the story of a player losing his $50,000 earring on the practice field, causing him and his teammates to comb the grass with rakes (seen right)? Well that's my boy Kendall. Dude was in his first year in the NFL and spent nearly 20% of his salary on those lobe-lights. Think about what you would spend 20% of your yearly earnings on. It's probably not disco balls for your ears. What these guys fail to realize is that those Hip Hop stars they see in the videos can usually afford the ice, and often times it's even rented or borrowed jewelry! But as I said, looking the part is often more important to these guys than their own reality. So anyway, back to Dallas's Dez Bryant. Good ol Dezzie made 2.8 million in base salary and bonuses last season and another $50,000 from an endorsement with Under Armor. Now I've never been a math wiz (Anything that can be done with a calculator is my specialty, and not those big ones with all the signs that look like hieroglyphics), but I don't think Bryant can afford the outstanding loan of $850,000 he borrowed in order to floss his bling and be seen court side (Which is what the details of the debt entail). Isn't that approximately 30% of his earnings? No wonder these guys declare bankruptcy so often. It can't be cheap to get a custom made '88′ chain that reads 'Dez' within the numbers (seen left). Could you imagine what he spent on his cars and his home if he's spending $850K on the extra long Jesus pieces dripping from his neck? Hot Damn! For whatever reason I doubt he tucked money away for his kids' college fund. I normally consider myself a sympathetic guy, but when it comes to Dez Bryant, and others like him, I have none. So in spirit of his poor decisions and for the sake of our humor, lets take a peek at three of my favorite, most outrageous, offensive, 'look-at-me' type jewelry.
This is my boy Rick Ross. A rapper who by every account can floss with the best of them. Normal chains just won't do when you're talking about 'Ricky Rozay'. This fat rapping gangster had a custom chain made of…yes, you see it…Rick Ross!!!! I always thought that anyone besides the President getting a picture of themselves painted was weird enough, but getting your own face blasted with white and yellow gold and diamonds, in the form of a necklace, then turning around and wearing it yourself is behavior that I can only respond to with a salute. But not to be outdone, Mr. Ross went and out did himself. Wearing a necklace with just one of your faces seems a bit understated in the eyes of the "Teflon Don", so dude went and got a specially made chain that has the upper body of Rick Ross wearing another chain of… Rick Ross!!!! Don't act like you don't see it calling your name on the right of the screen. And to answer the question you should have just asked yourself: Yes, when he wears this on his chest, we're talking three Rick Ross's, total. Just envision yourself having enough moxy to rock a chain of yourself, rocking another chain of yourself!! LEGENDARY.
Meet the rapper Camron (left). Now meet his necklaces. After the 31st chain I lost count of how many this clown was wearing. After seeing this picture I'm almost embarrassed to say that I've liked a few of his songs over the years. But never as embarrassed as his mother must be for her son looking like he had all of Egypt poured on his chest. Killa-Cam's lyrics mostly consist of his running tally of women, the amount of money he's willing to throw up in the air, how easily he'll pull out a gun, and of course, how many chains he has and you don't. There's only one other 'Fool' that takes the cake concerning the amount of Nantucket that can be worn at one time. Do I even have to say his name?
I've saved the best for last. The following man is a walking stand-up comedian, although he doesn't know it. The name: Gucci Mane. That's the equivalent of re-naming myself Poppa Polo, or 'Hella-Hilfiger'. Why Gucci has become one of the most popular Hip Hop artists, we'll never know. But what we do know about "Gucci Mane the G" is that his jewelry must be imported from another planet. This man makes Dez Bryant look like Pee Wee Herman. What you see to the left of your screen is real. Gucci gives new meaning to being 'frosted'. A Frosted Flakes necklace covered in Fruity Pebble-esque stones!?!?! If I didn't see it myself I wouldn't believe it. Can we even call this jewelry? When you're eligible to eat out of your necklace, you deserve your own category. To further build the image, Gucci is seen in this photo wearing his pants backwards and also has the EA Sports video game logo tattooed across his throat. Respect. Gucci's entire life work seems to be poured into being "Icy". Not only was that the title of one of his hit singles, but he literally went out and got a tattoo of a triple scoop ice cream cone inked into his freaking face! Are you understanding who we're dealing with yet? Dude is a mainstream artist! Can you imagine what your grandparents would have said? To think that just 45 years ago, older Americans were concerned about long hair and the Beatles' rebellious attitude. Gucci makes the Beatles look like the Teletubbies. To top it all off, Gucci has lightning bolts shooting from the Ice Cream, with the word "Brrrrr" under it, a phrase that he consistently yells out in between lyrics. He does this to remind us that he's so icy, he's metaphorically shivering. And that's not a joke. Welcome to 2011.
I usually take all the views of radio and television hosts in stride. After all, you'll never find a host whose views are perfectly in line with yours, and if you do, that show probably sucks and you'll hate it shortly. For example, someone like Skip Bayless is supposed to make your blood boil. Executives that are smarter than you and I know this well. So when I was in the car the other day and heard my favorite show host, Colin Cowherd, absolutely killing Jimmer Fredette, I uncharacteristically wanted to reach through the speaker and claw his eyeballs. I couldn't help it. The idea of Jimmer getting slammed doesn't bother me one bit, but it was actually Cowherd's empty statements that set me off. According to 'The Herd', it was Jimmer's unique name that was a major factor in receiving all his praise. Cowherd also claimed that all the love Fredette was shown was attributed to the lack of one dominant team in the tournament and subsequently the media needed a feel-good story to cover. One of the characteristics that makes me a fan of Cowherd is also one of my biggest knocks against him: his idea that everything is black and white. Only speaking in absolutes. No gray areas. This or that. Period. But in life, as we know, this isn't always the case. I understand Cowherd has to take a position, and he took it. Fine. But it wasn't only Cowherd verbally mauling Jimmer. Rick Reilly (Another one of my favorites for 10 years running) took to blasting Fredette as well in his article entitiled 'Jimmer gets Dimmer': "So that's the end of Jimmermania. Saw it for myself. Caught the closing act. Not impressed." Now these are both men I respect and admire, but we couldn't be further apart on this issue. First of all, forget the NBA talk just for a second. Not impressed by Jimmer? Media creation? Do these guys even watch the games? Did the media create Jimmer's ball handling? The way he creates space? Did it give him a helping hand when he put 49 on Arizona? 37 on Florida? 43 on SDSU? 52 on New Mexico? No matter who you are, if you score over 1,000 points, in one season for a top 25 team in the countrym I don't care if your name is Jimmer or Joe, you deserve every bit of glory. Shouldn't leading the nation in scoring on that ranked team disqualify you from ever being called a gimmick? To say he was a product of a clever name is damn near asinine. Last time I checked 'Kemba' or 'Kyrie' aren't run of the mill names either. Did those names also contribute to their stardome? Why Jimmer? Since that media "needed a feel good story", did they plant their seed in the fall when Jimmer was voted as a pre-season All American? Or after the regular season when Jimmer lead the voting for first team of All-Americans? Can you imagine what BYU would look like without Fredette? Probably similar to UConn without Kemba. Instead of highlighting what he didn't do against Florida, think about why that sweet 16 game ever went into overtime in the first place?!? Not one other player from BYU was in double figures. This man scored 98 points in three NCAA tournament games, and the moment the Cougers lose, these guys crap on him? Pretty shallow if you ask me. As far as the NBA goes, we'll really just have to wait and see. Not Rick Reilly, you, or I have any idea who will last in the league and who won't (The examples of this are endless). But Doug Gottlieb asked something very interesting on Mike and Mike this past week. Why aren't we asking if Kemba Walker's game will translate to the NBA? Harrison Barnes? Why do we only compare white players with other white players? I thought it was a great question that takes courage to ask on national radio. The white to white comparison is clearly unfair. Forget the skin, the hair, the religion, and the comparisons. If we judge Jimmer impartially on his basketball resume alone, it's impossible to not come out with a favorable ruling. Plain and simple.
OK, so I had to throw this video up here. Shannon Brown is allergic to gravity…
Just another boring chalk tournament right? It took all of 10 hours or so to hear national media already bringing up the question: "Is this the best way to crown a national champion?" Are you kidding me? I cannot say this more bold, this is the whole point! A #4, #11, #3, and a #8 seed. Hence the 'Madness' in March Madness. If you add up the seeds of these final four teams, you get the number 26! The numbers arn't probable, so what? If you added up the total seedings from the 2008 final four, you would end up with just 4 (Memphis, Kansas, North Carolina, and UCLA were all #1 seeds ). This is just the other end of the tournament spectrum, three years later. I was in a large NCAA pool with 92 people from the company I work for, and the brackets sitting at the top have just one final four team! 69 of the 92 brackets have zero final fours left. Were all screwed, so at least were in this together. But even so, how could people not be in even more love with this tournament after this year? Who cares if neither Butler or VCU's conference name starts with the word 'Big'. Hell, VCU didn't win their own Colonial conference. Matter of fact they didn't even finish second…or third. If the VCU Rams played Kansas 10 times, I'm fully confident that they would lose 7 or 8 of those games, but the point is that they didn't. The point is that they hit 9 freaking 3-pointers in the first half and ended up shocking the world and screwing my bracket at the same time (And Obama's). Know what I call that? SPORTS! Sometimes the Giants beat the Patriots, Appalachian State beats Michigan, and Buster Douglas knocks out Tyson. Sometimes that thing that doesn't happen 90% of the time, finally happens that 10% of the time. So when that slim chance does happen, you wont find me shedding tears over a fallen Goliath, but rather running his pockets while he's knocked out and celebrating with David.
Brad Stevens is great, but let's not forget about John Calipari. There's one thing besides controversy that goes hand in hand with Calipari: Winning. If you can just play along for a second and forget his recruiting antics and his 'snake oil salesmen' reputation, this is a guy, if evaluated on performance alone, who is probably the best coach ever not to win a national championship. Coach Cali has now brought 3 different teams to the Final Four. We have to remember that after he plops down in those 5-star recruit's living rooms and wins over the parents and grandparents and gets these kids on campus, he still has to coach them practice by practice, game by game. We forget that good 'ol Cali won 193 games at UMass and won the Atlantic 10 five times with the same amount of tournament appearances. The smooth talking coach oozing with charisma then coached his team to 252 wins at Memphis and is currently killing it at arguably the more prestigious school in college basketball. And look who he's doing it with. All new faces. No matter the year, Calipari has the blue chip freshmen that come in and make instant impacts, yet are gone faster than Rick Pitino losing a tournament game and ending up in the TV studio doing round-table analysis. But it clearly works for Calipari. I have to give him credit, he does what he does and does it well. Dislike him all you want, but you know when it's March the Coach will have his latest moldings from his basketball factory that is Calipari Hoops Inc.
My bracket is officially off the tracks and busted. My only positive at this point is that the team I felt most strongly about, Kansas, is still playing very well. I can only hope that by the time you read this the Jayhawks will still be in contention. In the midst of grinding my teeth over the lack of Elite Eight teams hit with my highlighter, I switched channels to watch the guys who get paid to play. I'll never get that time back. The Knicks/Bucks game was some of the worst basketball I've seen this season. Admittedly I didn't watch the whole game, but my sample size was good enough. I'm not sure what's worse: How piss poor the Knicks were on both ends of the floor, or the fact that I threw down ten dollars on the outside chance that they would actually win a game in the Garden against the Bucks… is that too much to ask? I should have known better. I found myself asking the question, what does this team do well? I literally can't think of an answer. The Knicks are now below .500 and are free-falling, and I don't mean in a care-free Tom Petty sort of way. I had someone under the name "Danny" hop on the comment board a few days back proclaiming how right he was when saying the Knicks should have never traded their "role players" to Denver, and effectively selling their soul to snatch Carmelo. While I think that the Knicks made the right move for their franchise in the long-term, there's something to be said for what "Danny" was barking about. How many games have to be played before we can start judging this team for what they are without the hedging statement of, "Hey, it's early" or "They're figuring it out." My issue is that the eye sores in New York right now are all controllable. I'm not talking about timing on passes or chemistry issues, but more like terrible shot selection, zero rebounding and not even attempting to play defense. New York is 7-11 since acquiring Melo while Denver is 12-4 since the trade. Curious isn't it? Somehow a Milwaukee team that is 30th in the league in assists managed to dish 21 dimes against the Knicks Friday night (NY had 13). That same Milwaukee team is 30th in the league in points per game, but naturally put 102 on New York. In the spirit of letting opponents do whatever the hell they want, Brandon Jennings had 37. A great stat I saw from the Elias Sports Bureau said that the Knicks have allowed an opposing player to put 30 on them 24 times this season, the most in the league. Don't get me wrong, the Knicks are miles ahead from their 23-59 record under Isaiah Thomas a few years back, but just because they're better than they were doesn't mean they're good now. So what's the problem? Is it the coach and his run and gun fundamentals? Is it the lack of role players? The fact that Amare has reached 10 rebounds in a game just 6 times in his last 29 outings? That Melo has snagged 10 boards one time in his last 15 games? Yes, Amare and Melo are scoring the basketball, but just about everyone who has played in D'Antoni's system has put up numbers. Why don't you try doing something else? Something that won't bring you glory. Like making an extra pass, boxing out, or playing help side defense just to name a few attributes of winning teams. Attributes that are conveniently absent in present day New York.
One of my favorite terms in the English language is 'Mall Rat'. Think about the term fundamentally. It's hilarious. I've always been in awe of those kids who chillax in the mall for what seems like days on end. The boys just checking out the chicks that pass by, whispering what they would do to them if they had the chance, or the girls with the struggling self image laughing way too loud just to get your attention and make you wonder what it could be that has them in stitches. There's two different categories of mall rats. You can usually find them either decked out in their all black gothic gear, with oversized metal or plastic that's been driven through their face and ears, or those who just roll with the too-cool-for-school, G-funk approach. Both looks are staples for any mall worth a damn. Wide receiver, and millionaire, Dez Bryant from the Dallas Cowboys is grabbing headlines and the attention of the high-end North Mall security in Dallas for acting a fool. For what you ask? Shoplifting? Denied credit card? Nope. Try busting a sag. Yes, thats right. The over-sagging of his entourage's jeans and flaunting of their underwear 'forced' security to come and ask Dezzie's crew to yank those oversized Polo's northward. It sounds to me like Dez Bryant and his clique fall in the category of the G-Funk mall rat. When stopped by mall security, Dez reportedly was cursing, refused to leave, and then went and did what anyone in a dispute with mall security would do…he strong armed the system and hogged the fire lane outside of the entrance. His street cred skyrocketed. First of all, mall security is something in itself to marvel at. Anyone wearing black pants and a blue shirt is qualified. The training required is knowing how to operate a flashlight, being able to open the change hub in the arcade in case quarters get jammed and having the endurance to lug around that key ring with enough keys on it to open every single door in the Northeast. If you find yourself in any sort of a dispute with mall security, like Dez Bryant did, just roll with what they say. You don't want to be that guy arguing with security over how much of your undies should be allowed to drip out your jeans. A wise man once told me, "don't argue with fools, because people at a distance can't tell who is who." In this case, Dez Bryant was the fool. But not just for this incident. Since this dispute, Dez Bryant's history of repeated mall-based rebellion has been leaked to the public. Some of Dez's past 'mall-marks' include having police get involved in a situation where he apparently cut in line. Some things should never be mixed. Oil and milk, orange juice and toothpaste, and the police getting involved for someone who is cutting in line. Another major disturbance was when police were called to the mall over a dispute between Dez and an unknown woman in a mall restuarant. And of course, parking in the fire lane, which I'm sure Dez thought was his reserved spot. Dez Bryant is first-team all mall rat. Being the researcher I am, I had to check out the definition of a mall rat in my Bible, better known as the Urban Dictionary. I cant be making this definition up: "A surly teenager who spends all of his or her time at the mall with friends. Typically seen standing around glaring at customers — sometimes these fascinating creatures will pick fights with mall security and call them "fascists" for enforcing the mall's loitering bylaws. Also often seen intimidating the elderly people in the clothing stores, they flock back to the "baggy pants with mile-long wallet-chain" section of the clothing store when an employee threatens to call the police." This is wayyy too funny not to be true. And wayyy too accurate not to be Dez. I can't be too critical, because there was a time when the mall was the best option on a Friday night, and busting a mean sag in my Hilfigers seemed like a solid idea…But then age 16 or 17 rolled around and I checked myself out in a full length mirror on my way to the mall for a Timberland run (Not that there's anything wrong with Timbs), and I realized this wasn't working. Reports that followed Bryant's incident claim that he was banned from the North Mall in Dallas for three months, but Dez (seen left chucking up the dueces) and his camp deny that report. And in true mall rat fashion, Dez Bryant hopped on his Twitter and claimed he would be back at that very mall the very next day to "…get these Lebrons." You go Dez, you go.
My favorite quote from the weekend came from the voice of an announcer who I couldn't recognize, but his creative words stuck with me: "The best way to keep Cinderella from going to the dance is to hide the slipper!" Better change the hiding spot. What an opening weekend of the NCAA tournament. There is no other sports event that is as interesting, for as long. "We hold these truths self-evident" by looking no further than a team like Virginia Commonwealth or Richmond. Only in March Madness do we get to know an otherwise invisible division I basketball program. If the puppet masters behind the scenes were to structure my favorite tournament in sports the way that they set up the college football Bowl Championship Series, the VCU's and Richmond's of the world would remain unknown. In fact, if the setup for post-season basketball mimicked that of college football, Richmond would have fallen out of contention to compete for a national title after their third game of the year in November when the Spiders lost to Iona. An even better example would be Virginia Commonwealth (Whose name, by the way, makes me think of some historic battle for independence involving the Red Coats). In February alone the VCU Rams had lost games to Northeastern, Old Dominion (twice), George Mason, Drexel and James Madison! Fast forward one month and this VCU team from the Colonial Athletic Association is beating Purdue (Big 10) and Georgetown (Big East) by 18 points apiece. Of course it screwed up your bracket, mine too, but this is the very thing we love, love, love about this tournament! And remember, by going nuts because your bracket is spoiled, only shows you care right? I mean who could have predicted that in a pool as big as March Madness that these little Nemo's would swim their way into the sweet 16? Forget my bracket, "just keep swimming."
Speaking of dead fish, this Notre Dame team kills me. In the very paragraph in my last post before the opening weekend, I wrote that those of us who had selected the Irish to have some sort of post season significance, needed to pray. That prayer was the only real answer for their tournament woes. I guess not enough folks hit their knees. Think about it. ND was the #2 seed in the Southwest region, had the most Big East conference wins in ND school history, have a player with NBA potential in Ben Hansbrough, had beaten a handful of the nations top teams (UConn, Pitt, Nova, Cincy, Gtown, Wisconsin, Louisville), and yet loses again to an inferior opponent. Why can't Notre Dame get it done? A better question may be, when have they ever been able to get it done? I don't even mean to win a national championship, but at least make some noise! Besides having a losing record throughout their tournament history (Which is embarrassing enough for a school of ND's caliber), they've only made it out of the second round of the tournament an average of once a decade since 1980. And yet it feels like every year I pencil those two letters of 'ND' deep into my bracket, and feel a deeper disappointment when they continue to fail me. What sports are the Irish great at these days anyway? I hope this isn't blasphemy, but damn you Notre Dame. Damn you straight to the NIT.
My national championship pick, Kansas and the Morris twin terrors, are moving right along, but instead of pounding you with Jayhawk material, I have to shine a light on another breed of beast. Derrick Williams from Arizona is a man child. I heard his name being talked about from the college basketball know-it-alls all season, but never really sat and watched a full Arizona game until this weekend. Wow. This dude is a next level talent for sure. A likely lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft, Williams put Zona on his back in the final seconds of wins over both Memphis and Texas. The block in the last seconds against Memphis reminded me of Hakim Warrick. The 'And 1′ finish to beat Texas with under 10 seconds to go was D-Wade-esque. I can't name one other Arizona player if I can be honest with you, but do I need to? The new 'DWill' is carrying his troops like The Octomom did hers. #Respect. Below is a video that will give you an idea how athletic Derrick Williams is, and why he's what we call: "A Leaguer."
We all know the kid, or have been the kid ourselves, who jumps out of bed at 6:00 a.m. on Christmas morning with a rush of adrenaline that equates to being in the first 'car' of a peaking roller coaster. The NCAA tournament is my Christmas and I have gone Benjamin Button, returning to my 7-year-old giddy self. My bracket is filled out and I have nothing else to offer besides both sets of index and middle fingers tightly crossed for good luck. But as the opening first and second round games open up, I thought just for fun I'd share a few of my good luck/bad luck ideas to embrace or avoid.
Firstly, for most of us, our brackets will be busted. The key is to not to overreact to soon. "Let the game come to you." Just because you lose one final four team opening weekend doesn't mean your donzo. My suggestion: Crumple, don't tear! Your sheet/bracket is your lifeline. Feel free to show the world your anger by rolling up your paper and kicking it across the room when your elite 8 gets blown out by 17. But keep your senses. Go pick up the crumpled potential golden ticket, peel it back to form, cross off your loser and keep it moving. It's been my opinion that a once crumpled sheet has more depth to it, more personality. It shows you care. You know how the Express brand of clothes sell jeans with holes and stains on them, like they've been worn for years? Same idea here. DO NOT TEAR YOUR SHEET. It's just disrespectful.
Another tip: DO NOT highlight or circle your winner until the final horn goes off! What is the downside in waiting the extra 5 minutes? Believe me, I know how bad we want to circle that potential winner with 3:41 left up by 11, but in doing so you'll add "jinx juice" to embers and coals which can quickly turn into a bright flame should the potential loser hit back to back three's. The rule I'll hold myself to this year will be that my potential winner will have to be up by 14 or more with under two minutes before I do any highlighting whatsoever. No exceptions. I'd also be careful of jinxing yourself by changing the channel away from a game for more than 3 minutes at a clip, if that said game has 10 minutes or less left. Stay on top on your games. Don't let the ticker at the buttom of the screen be your boss. You're better than that.
Lastly, If you picked Notre Dame to get out of this opening weekend, here's my suggestion. Pray. Notre Dame is a religious institution that, come tournament time, relies on your little conversations with the Almighty. For as good as we think this team is, we've seen this movie before. This 'blessed' team always seems to fall on their face in March, and I believe it's a lack of falling on our knees. Since 1980 the Irish have participated in March Madness 14 times. In 11 of those tournaments, Notre Dame has been booted in the first or second round and has never once in those 14 appearances been to the elite 8. Hail Mary's, Our Father, whatever you choose, the Irish will surely appreciate it. May luck be with you. (And also with you).
I've changed my mind. Yesterday I attempted to break down an entire region, and to fit that into a blog post is near impossible to do if done correctly. So instead, I won't bother filling your brain with the tendencies and percentages of Morehead State or Wofford (I honestly had no idea Wofford was a institution, and neither did my spell check) because I don't have a clue. Instead, let me explain to you why you and I should have the Kansas Jayhawks cutting down the nylon and bathing in confetti come April 4th. Lets start with the fact that they have won 32 of their 34 games this season, most coming in the Big 12, certainly a tough conference. When deciding on who could prospectively advance in a tournament of this size and magnitude, something to ask yourself is: Is this team battle tested? For as many times as Kansas has beaten the pants off opponents (23 games this season were won by 10 points or more), 7 times they have been in games that were decided by 5 points or less, and conveniently they've have won all 7. And let's be honest, one of the games they lost this season to Kansas State was more or less a fluke, in my opinion. I use the term fluke loosely, but seriously, Kansas State was unranked, had lost 4 of 7 coming in, and Jacob Pullen, who hadn't scored more than 24 points all season, went and drank some of that special Space Jam drink and poured in 38. But that one loss is neither here nor there. The overall umbrella point is that this Jayhawks squad isn't just showing up and winning 30+ games because it says "Kansas" on their jerseys. Have you seen the Morris twins? Right before the college season kicked off I wrote about these brothers, Marcus and Markieff, but could never have envisioned the dual success they've had this season. One brother is 6'9″ tall, the other is 6'10″. It takes watching these brothers for about 5 minutes to see how active and hard they play. When the shot goes up, both are fighting tooth and nail to snatch the rock off the rim like two rabid pitbulls fighting for the same chew toy. There are possessions where I can't even tell them apart. On the back of their jerseys, they both say 'Morris', and traditionally you could just put their first initial in front of the last name. Well, both first initials are 'M'. So of course one jersey says MC. Morris, and the other MK. Morris, which I think is great. Admittedly I have a soft spot for these two brothers, and those with siblings know how special that relationship can be…now imagine you were both playing at the highest level of basketball, on a #1 seed, you're both having great seasons, and both are projected as first round NBA draft picks! (Momma hit the jackpot). You talk about good genes?!? These two make the Olsen twins look like starved nobodies….wait…nevermind. Marcus Morris was selected player of the year in the Big 12, but his brother Markieff is the league's leading rebounder! And this Kansas team is no 2-man show. Point guard Tyshawn Taylor is top 5 in the Big 12 in assists per game and is playing some of his best basketball coming down the stretch. In fact, dude's highest point total (20) this season came in the Big 12 championship this last week when Kansas waxed and buffed Texas by double digits. Oh, and the fact that Kansas has a guard with the last name 'Morningstar' has positivity and Karma written all over it… just a thought. I wrote yesterday about how important it was in this tournament to be taking good shots and not putting all of your eggs in three-point baskets. What's so encouraging about this Kansas team is that in all of Division I basketball, they are number 1 in field goal percentage. High percentage shots equal more points on the scoreboard which equal more wins. Simple enough? In that same field of division I college hoops, which I'll remind you is over 345 teams, Kansas is number 2 in assists. And one more thing: Coach Bill Self. Not only is he the Big 12 coach of the year, but he's been king of the mountain before by winning the national championship in 2008. Quick recap. Point guard play? Check. Big men who rebound and score? Check. Discipline shots? Check. Hall of fame coach? Check. The NCAA tournament is as uncertain as the stock market, where futures change in an instant. But if there's one team that's been consistent as a mutual fund and promises to earn your bracket dividends, in my humble opinion, it's the Kansas Jayhawks.
Here is a not-too-shabby list of 15 buzzer beaters from NCAA tournaments past.
Even though I consciously promise myself every year right before I fill out my bracket that I won't pick the top seed in each of the four divisions, I usually end up coming pretty close. This year is no different. The West region starts with Duke. The Blue Devils are a deserving number 1 seed, and have the necessary components to cut down the nets. What do I mean by necessary components? There's a few characteristics I consider. Firstly, do you have a point guard? Do you have a center? And do you play defense? Of course there are other limbs that branch off from that foundation, but those components are the bottom of the pyramid. Duke has the guard play. In my eyes Nolan Smith is the best guard in the ACC and one of the best in the country. Not only does the senior distribute the rock (2nd in ACC in assists) and score it (1st in ACC in scoring), but this dude plays defense like a rabid dog. In the ACC championship against the Tar Heels, Smith would barely let Kendall Marshall bring the ball over half court in the first half. The Dukies will need that defense to advance out of their region. Secondly, Duke has the big men. Both 7-foot Plumlee brothers combine for 40 plus minutes, more than 13 rebounds per game, while both shooting above 50% from the floor. Duke is a mentally tough club who leads the ACC in field goal percentage…impressive considering they have attempted 725 three pointers this season alone. Out of the four #1 seeds, Duke may have the first or second easiest route to the Final Four (if there is one). In the end, I have Duke coming out of the West, because I know exactly what I'm getting from Coach K and his veterans. Don't forget the Plumlee brothers, Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and Ryan Kelly all all have the experience of contributing to that national championship team in 2010. It's these kinds of variables that have me penciling in Duke to play in Houston on April 2nd.
The fact that Penn State is in the NCAA tournament is remarkable. Not only is Penn State one of three teams in the whole tourny that has yet to win 20 games, but they are also tied for the most losses of anyone in the tournament (19-14). It begs the question whether the Nittany Lions would have been invited had they not advanced to the Big 10 tournament championship. Some analysts had them in, some had them last out. I don't think they would have been in had they lost to Michigan State and finished with a 18-15 record. Although they have the momentum of winning 7 of their last 10, I don't see them passing Temple. Regardless of who wins, I don't have either team getting past San Diego State. It always scares me when an NBA player is still in college and is surrounded by other good players who want to win. Kawhi Leonard from San Diego State is that player, and his supporting cast is scary. They have two players averaging 8 rebounds or more and three players with the ability to score 20-30 points on any given night (And that's no exaggeration). They're fast, strong, athletic, and for the most part, pretty smart. That's always a frightful combination for opponents. This Aztec team is also feeling pretty good about themselves after pounding BYU in the Mountain West championship this past weekend by nearly 20 points (Btw, did anyone see Jimmer and Kawhi Leonard exchanging words as the buzzer sounded? I'm sure it went something to the effect of "I bet I get drafted higher than you")… The West region's #3 seed, UConn, is also riding high, but what happens if King Kemba has a bad game? I fully understand he just put the whole university on his wide shoulders for five straight games to capture the Big East title, but can you expect a meer mortal to do that again? Where's the help? No other player for the Huskies scores more than 10.3 points per contest besides Walker, making UConn too much of a risk to write deep into my bracket.
The East region is below this post, with more to follow…Who will be this year's George Mason? Let this video refresh your memory of who I mean…
Grab your pencil and your bracket. March Madness is here. And while the storyline the day after the field is chosen is nearly always "the most notable team that wasn't selected by the committee", I'll be focusing largely on who did make the tournament. I have to say that after hearing the arguments, I agree that Colorado and Virginia Tech should be in the tournament and VCU and UAB should be out. But the reality is that the selection committee has just under forty at large bids to deal out after the automatic bids, and there will be snubs every year just as there is in all-star games, Bowl Championship series, and Hall of Fame voting. So let's dive right in to the tournament starting with the East section of your bracket, with the Southwest, West, and Southeast sections to follow..
Starting with East division (Upper Left) of your bracket, a much deserving Ohio State team snags the #1 overall seed. In March Madness anything can happen: Ohio State can steamroll to the Final Four or just as easily be tripped up in the earlier rounds. That being said, I love Ohio State at least to the elite 8, after that I'm not making any promises. If you look at their team, they have all the necessary components to win a national title. It's not only the fact that they have 32 wins, were the most consistent team in the nation in a tough conference, but it's the way they've done it. They get great, high percentage shots each and every game, mostly because their horse, Jared Sullinger, takes so many shots inside the paint. I'll tell you why this bodes well for Ohio State in a tournament format. People always say "hey, this team or that team lives and dies by the 3-pointer", and while the Buckeyes certainly have the ability to shoot the long ball (Set NCAA record last week for consecutive three's in a game), they don't need to do that to win games. They have the third highest field goal percentage in all of Division I basketball (over 345 teams), so chances are they'll continue to get those high percentage shots the way they have all year. Add in some three's from Jon Diebler, who literally shoots 50% from behind the arc, and you're going to be very tough to beat. Furthermore, the Buckeyes have 4 players averaging nearly 12 points a game. How many teams can say that? Inside and out, from Seniors to freshman, Ohio State is arguably the toughest team in the nation. Even though a number 1 overall seed has only won the national champinship one time in tournament history, I'd still write their name in pen deep into the bracket. Below them I love the second round matchup between West Virginia and Kentucky. They say that in the NCAA tournament you need a guy that can win a game for you. I'd argue that Kentucky has two of those guys in Terence Jones and Brandon Knight. You saw the way Kentucky manhandled Florida in the SEC championship right? The Wildcats beat them on the glass, in steals (6 to 1), blocks, had half the turnovers and used their speed and athleticism to romp to a 16 point win over a Gator team that some analysts have in the final four. It would be an extremely interesting head to head matchup, should Kentucky get by West Virginia and face Ohio State in the Sweet 16. I could see Syracuse or UNC, who are likely to square off in a Sweet 16 matchup, to challenge Ohio State in the Elite 8. Anytime that a team (like Syracuse) has good guard play and a solid big man, you have a legit shot at making a run. 'Cuse big fella RickJackson, who won Big East defensive player of the year, is averaging an impressive double double and has been the anchor of the Orange all season. Meanwhile Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph and Brandon Triche all average double figures. One thing that scares me is that Jackson's rebounding has tailed off a bit, only reaching double figures once in his last 9 games. That will certainly need to change if Syracuse plans on making a run, as Jim Boeheim's squad doesn't have one other player besides Jackson who's averaging more than 5 boards a game. But where's the upset going to come from? Surely the top seed favorites aren't going to win out…so will it be Georgia? George Mason? Someone in the East is going to embed themselves in tournament lore, but who is it? I love George Mason over a Villanova team that stumbled into the tournament, losing their last 5 (though it should really be 6 for the fact that they went into overtime with Depaul). In my gut I feel like a speedy/athletic Xavier team could make noise. In the end, I love UNC and Ohio State to come out of the ashes and meet in the Elite 8. (Bracket views subject to change, all rights reserved).
This is a short video from last year when Ali Farokhmanesh from # 9 seed Northern Iowa buried # 1 Kansas with his three pointer in transition with under a minute to play. The true meaning of 'bracket buster'…
It takes the calendar to roll around for the excitement to hit me again, and to realize that this is by far my favorite time of the year. When a human with no tolerance can easily overdose on basketball. I would not be one of those humans. College basketball is reaching its zenith and the pro game is coming down the home stretch and becoming just as exciting across the board. This weekend we'll get a taste of what's to come. Conference championships. The prelude to March Madness. This Monday I will toss, turn and toil over brackets, brackets, brackets. Kemba Walker gave us a taste of what's to come, but I'm not sure if the taste he gave can be replicated. I'm sure we've all seen the move and shot he buried against Pitt (If you haven't, the video is below), which I can comfortably say was the best move/game winning combo I've seen all year. Kemba freaking Walker. This guy is amazing, and I've underappreciated him this season. His scoring dipped a bit compared to what he was posting at the start of the season, but his numbers are still outrageous. This is a UConn team that stumbled into the conference tournament, losing 7 of 11 games. Since then they've won 3 straight, 2 of which were against teams in the top 25. During that three game stretch, Kemba Walker became 1 of 5 players in the last 15 seasons to score 20-plus in three straight Big East tournament games. In his last 5 games alone dude has dropped 134 points! Talk about playing your best when it counts. Did you know that UConn honored Kemba Walker at senior night? I've never even heard of a non-senior being called out to be honored in the same fashion, but that should be the boldest indication that the Junior from the Bronx isn't coming back to school. And he shouldn't. He'll be a first round draft pick for sure after scoring nearly 800 points this season alone. (800 points in one season is absurd). Only once all year did Kemba not reach double figures (8 pts vs. Syracuse). When dude is scoring like that all season, you knew it didn't bother him that on Thursday he had missed his 4 previous shots before hitting the dagger. And while we're at it, the move he put on Pitt's big man McGhee was silly. The cross, the hesitation…actually when you watch the replay, Kemba could have clearly gotten a shot off after the first move, but he waited for McGhee to build momentum, come back toward him, then hit him with the step back and dropped on his @$$ (literally) for an even better shot. Winner winner chicken dinner. Enjoy the rest of your weekend full of conference tournaments, your selection Sunday and your bracket filling Monday…see you then.
It was 24 years ago when my mother was trying her best to squeeze little Zachy out of the oven. Shoutout to my Mom for bringing me into this cruel world! Just kidding. I told myself that if I didn't have to, I would stay away from anything work related on my birthday, and I'm sticking to that. But what's a birthday anyway? When I was younger I always imagined that somehow balloons would fall from heaven, breakfast would be hot on the table, I would get high fives from every seat on my way to the back of the bus and my class would sing a special birthday song that they had been practicing for weeks behind my back. Instead of balloons, of course I had the sun pierce my eye lids, breakfast was some oat/grain based cereal, the bus driver told me to take a seat and the class didn't sing. (BTW How did I get stuck with passing out YOU people cupcakes! It's my freaking birthday!!) As I got older it became less and less of a big deal, to the point of me not giving it a second thought until Wednesday when my parents called and asked me to meet them for dinner. I feel like if I keep moving in this direction, years from now I'll be avoiding March 10th for making me that much closer to death, like I'd curse the odometer on my car for clicking another ten thousand miles. In both cases we lose value lol. Speaking of losing value, guess who else shares a March 10th birthday? Osama Bin Laden! (May he suffer) Yup, that's me and my fellow March 10th babies! Of course im being sarcastic, but hey, "it's my party and I'll cry if I want to." (That in no way should be interpreted as a knock on the Miami Heat. Like I said the other day on the radio, I'd much rather my favorite team care enough about the game to weep like a baby after a tough loss as oppose to giving secret handshakes with the other team after agreeing which club to meet up and pimp/pop bottles at that night…just saying). Anyhow, I just have to thank everyone out there who has shown me some form of support over the last few months with the Times Union Quick Takes, ESPN radio, as well as this blog. We are quickly approaching 20 thousand hits to this site since mid-November, and that is certainly something to be thankful for. I'll keep working hard, and you can do me the continued favor of checking out the site. You're the best. Sure, there's a forecast for rain all freaking day, but I also checked the sports forecast and it looks like we'll experience heavy amounts of Big East basketball mixed with some Lakers/Heat warnings. An added perk: I just found out me and Chuck Norris share a March 10th birthday as well… always nice to have a 'Texas Ranger' on your side.
My favorite birthday performance of all time was when Shaq turned 28 and on his special day poured in his career high of 61 points against the Clippers. Seeing Shaq in his prime is very similar to the way Dwight Howard plays the game with force and power. This video below brings me back.
So last week I was checking my Facebook messages and found a video my good buddy and college teammate from Virginia sent me of this white kid who plays at a division III school throwing down some dunks. I guess the purpose of the video was to get this kid enough views/momentum to get a bid in the national college dunk contest. As the video went on, I saw what the hype was about. Some of his dunks are crazy! To be honest, a couple of these would have earned 10′s at the NBA's All-Star weekend, especially if he worked out an endorsement deal with the car company sponsoring the event . I know this video has been floating around the web, but if you havent seen it, make sure you watch it all the way through. Although I'm late for the party, the vid is too good not to post, so here's the 'Vanilla Jumping Bean'…(Sorry for those on work/restricted computers who can't see this stuff).
Speaking of great dunkers, last night in the NBA a guy who doesn't get many headlines these days really made some noise. We first got to know him at Syracuse during their run to the national championship and also got to know him from taking opponents faces/upper torso's and turning them into jock straps while throwing down. Hakim Warrick has always been one of my favorite players. Since he came into the league in 2005 he's averaged anywhere from 4 to almost 13 points, coming by way of four different teams. Warrick now plays in Phoenix. Anyone who knows the NBA can tell you Steve Nash gives a boost to the stats of those around him, and Warrick is no different. On Tuesday my dude went out and scored 4 times his average, pouring in 32 points, a career high, while filling in for injured Channing Frye. Sure, he'll never average 21 points per game in the league like he did his senior year at Cuse, but there's no reason why I can't celebrate him for what he is now. And that's a consistent bench forward who will have a 10 year career in the NBA while occasionally finding his way into top 10 plays due to the springs in his legs. So, without further adieu, here is my old buddy Hakim putting down one of the nastiest dunks that have ever been seen on any level. Rock on Warrick! (see a highlight reel of Warrick bangers on the sidebar).
I want to thank everyone one more time for your support these last few days as I filled in on ESPN radio, I had a lot of fun. And as "crygate" hogged most of the headlines Monday and the story of Brandon Davies removal from BYU's basketball team certainly got its fair share of the airwaves last week, there's a guy or two that have really flown under the radar. Kevin Love has continued his pure domination of NBA big men. It wasn't too long ago I wrote a post called "Love, I Don't Get Enough of it" where I just highlighted some of the things he was doing and how he had already surpassed all expectations we had for him in the NBA. Since then, Love has not slowed down a bit. In fact, Love has progressively gotten better as the months have gone on. Take a look at November alone, dude averaged 15 rebounds a game. While that in itself would lead the NBA, it was not yet his peak. By the months of December and January, he was averaging 16 boards a game. When you isolate the months and just measure his productivity within those 30 or so days, you really start to see his growth. He's only played 5 games in the month of March and this un-freaky Love is averaging almost 18 1/2 rebounds. Why would I say un-freak? Because he's not Amare, Tyrus Thomas, Blake Griffin, or whoever else you could name, that have the physical gifts of a 'circus-freak' athlete. Mostly ground-ridden, Kevin Love has shown the world that with technique and hard work, you can not only survive in this league chock-full of the world's best athletes, but you can thrive in it. Hell, Dwight Howard is literally the most athletic 7-foot player in NBA history (Yes, that is true whether you're on board or not), he works hard and is the second leading rebounder in the league and is nearly two full rebounds behind Kevin Love's average!! The third leading rebounder in the L is Zach Randolph and he's a full 3 rebounds away from Love's top spot. Amare Stoudemire is one of the best athletes in the league, is 6-foot 10 inches, and has only hit Love's rebounding average 4 times this season!! Who gives a hoot that the Timberwolves have only won 15 games. I sure don't. Wait, did I forget to mention he's also a top 20 scorer in the league, and has an efficiency ranking of #3 in the NBA behind guys named LeBron and Dwight? Excuse my negligence. So that brings me to Monday when Kevin Love made NBA history by setting the new standard for consecutive double-doubles by recording his 51st straight. That is consistency personified. The mark eclipses that of Moses Malone from 1978! That was over 30 years ago. In 1978 the film "Deer Hunter" was released, The Eagles' "Hotel California" won a Grammy, the "Walkman" had just been invented by Sony and most importantly, Kevin Love was one of a billion sperm deep in his father's loins. So who would figure, after 3-plus decades, that it would be a guy that we didn't even think would start in the NBA who would be the one setting the new double-double water mark. Unbelievable. So here's a big shout out to K-Love, keep working hard and extending YOUR record.
As promised I do have a very short clip from Monday's show in the last hour talking about the Miami Heat. Nothing too special, but here she is..
One more video…On Monday's radio show we were talking about this "Teach me how to Jimmer song"…well here it is, lyrics are great. Very Original.
Happy Monday. Once and awhile someone will say that to me and I'll have the urge to claw their eyes out. I usually hate Mondays. But this one is a bit different for me because I'll be hosting 'Soundoff with Sinkoff' on 104.5 The Team, ESPN radio again from 3-7 pm. It's been a very nice stretch and I have to thank all of those who have been supportive. Whether it's a kind word face to face, something on Facebook, or hopping on the comment board, every little piece of positivity is very inspiring and validates me on a personal level. That being said, we're going to have a huge show today. I'm going to try to get a piece of video from the studio today of me live on air and post it on here tomorrow if everything works out. A huge talking point today will surely be the Miami Heat and their struggles late in games and against worthy opponents. When I woke up Sunday morning and checked the Vegas lines for the afternoon games, I was taken back by the Bulls getting 5.5 points against the Heat. Too many points for me not to hop on. Reports of Miami Heat players crying will make this even more fun. (I'm sure it wasn't LBJ crying, but I couldn't resist putting that picture up, sorry). I was very confident that the Lakers would beat the Spurs at home on Sunday, but I couldn't have predicted the fashion in which they did so. To say that was a "beating" may be an understatement. L.A. was up 32 in the second half and Phil left his starters in with 3 minutes left up 20 something, lol. The final score was a 16 point win, but those who watched know it wasn't indicative of what really went down. Don't look now, but the Lakers have won 7 straight. It was just 48 hours before the game when the Spurs were lashing the Heat by 30. So by my calculations, the Lakers are about 50 points better than Miami, haha just kidding (40′s more like it). When Kobe was asked after the game why he wasn't more excited over the win: "Why should I be?" Umm, maybe because you just cracked the best team in the league? LOL classic Kobe. Today on the show I also have to touch on Ohio State's 3 point contest on Sunday against #10 Wisconsin. 14 straight trey-bombs? If you can do something 14 times in a row, I don't care if it's making crumpled paper into the trash, I'm impressed. We'll cover that among a slew of other topics involving college basketball. Forgive me if the post is shallow, but I'm saving the breakdowns for the radio this afternoon. If you get a chance check it out. Below is a video of a good friend of mine and former teammate Steve Dagostino showcasing components of the workouts he does. Dude plays in England professionally and is starting a summer program where kids trying to get better can work out with him in small groups for undivided attention. Take a look at some of the coordination work he does with the ball. I've never seen most of this stuff ever before, and I was so impressed I had to throw the video up. See you soon.
The past two days have been fantastic filling in for Brian Sinkoff on the Capital Region's ESPN affiliate 104.5 'The Team.' We had some really great topics to cover, and the best part for me is that I get to come back and do the show again on Monday. I couldn't be more excited, considering what kind of weekend it is in sports, especially on the basketball side. Saturday is chuck full of college basketball matchups that have me more giddy than a 8-year-old in 1996 seeing a 'Tickle Me Elmo' for the first time. You already know im siced (Combo of stoked and excited) to see how BYU reacts after taking that woodshed spanking from New Mexico. I knew it was the worst home loss for BYU in years, but I didn't know that it was the worst loss a top 3 team in the nation had suffered in the last 3 seasons. I'm sure BYU's coach Dave Rose will have a definitive plan to beat Wyoming, who I saw Vegas has as a 20.5 point underdog. I'm caught in the middle between betting Wyoming, because lets face it, 20 is a lot of points. But at the same time you know the Cougars are going to come out like a ball of fire after the nation has pretty much written them off (as far as national contention goes). The Davies story has taken the light away from Jimmer Fredette who, in the loss against New Mexico, had his 17th career 30-point game, tying the all-time record at BYU. The grand daddy of college basketball games is Saturday night when Duke squares off at UNC. This game, any time of year, is a can't miss game, but the fact that an ACC regular season title is on the line makes it a 'can't can't miss miss'. I think Dicky V's head may explode. Who could have guessed that UNC would be a national contender? That Duke would be able to weather the storm of Kyrie Erving going down for the year? (BTW it's shaping up that Erving, should he choose to enter, would be a top 3 pick in the NBA draft after playing only 8 games). Even without Erving, these two teams give you all the star power you need. Is it weird to think that Nolan Smith may be one of the best players in ACC history? For some reason I'm still getting used to hearing that, but it's true. Smith has the chance to be the first player in conference history to be a leader in points and assists. Although I think Duke will take it, I'm just rooting for a good game. Combine those games with Kansas vs. Missouri, Michigan State vs. Michigan and I won't let you forget #10 Wisconsin vs. #1 Ohio State!!! Lets GO! Then I'll wake up Sunday, pop an Aspirin, grab a coffee and settle in for the NBA games which pit Chicago against Miami, followed by the Lake Show against the Spurs. I'm putting some money on Miami Sunday, because they can't lose 5 out of 6 can they? Enjoy your weekend, see you Monday!
Had a really good show yesterday on 104.5 'The Team' ESPN radio, and I'm about to begin doing prep work for today's show from 3-7 pm. Obviously it's a four hour time slot, but the amount of work that goes into the show to fill the slot and do a thorough job is pretty extensive and I don't have much time to blog. I just wanted to throw something up here and touch back on the BYU story, which I promise you is not going away. If you ask me, BYU is no longer a national championship threat without Brandon Davies playing down low. You saw the way they got pounded on the glass against New Mexico, which will surely be a recurring theme in the coming games. BYU came into that game 16th in the nation in rebounding, yet their starting forwards were out rebounded by New Mexico's starting forwards/center 24-7. New Mexico is an athletic squad and BYU struggles with those types of teams in general. Take away your 6-11 sophomore who runs and jumps like a deer and now you're really going to struggle. Keep in mind that New Mexico has a losing record in the Mountain West, so I don't like the Cougars chances against teams from the Big East, Big 10, ACC or any team that has good big men. The BYU frontcourt reserves simply can't compete on a large scale. Today on the show we're most certainly are going to talk about the Magic comeback against the Miami Heat, Obama's response to the NFL CBA and a slew of other topics. If there's anything else you think we should cover, I'm willing to listen to your idea's on the comment board. Thanks for the support, see you soon enough!
Since I've already gone over the deep end in putting my picture up there, why not a video too! LOL, I cant believe this is almost 9 years ago in a dunk contest in Schenectady, New York. It's safe to say that Blake Griffin nibbled on my swag. Please don't take me too seriously, enjoy.
BYU and their honor code. I have to say that I'm disappointed in this whole situation. Brandon Davies was dismissed from BYU Tuesday for violating the schools code of conduct. We're not sure exactly what starting forward Davies did to 'dishonor' BYU, but whatever it is, I hope it's serious enough to warrant messing with not only his life, but the 11 other Cougar players who were on a fast track to a #1 seed and making a serious NCAA tournament run. The trouble with BYU is that dishonoring the University could involve drinking coffee, missing church, not shaving, cursing or having a cup of tea. Yes, a cup of tea.
Hell Heck, you're in violation of the conduct code even if you do all of those things right, but don't encourage others in "their commitment to comply with the honor code". Pretty rigid standards to say the least. Details have yet to come out, but I'm sure they'll be leaked on the world wide web soon enough. If Davies was hosting orgies in his dorm room with pinatas full of roofies, than OK, toss 'em out of school. I just hope he wasn't caught sneaking out of his dorm past 10:00pm to sneak a cup of Raspberry Zinger (My favorite tea). The ramifications of this 'boot' are paramount. Even with Davies, BYU wasn't stacked down low. Davies was playing great, but besides him they have absolutely no depth in the frontcourt. There's only two guys on this third ranked team in the nation that are absolutely irreplaceable. Jimmer and Davies. Period. Hartstock and Emery are great, but in major division 1 basketball you must have a point guard and big man. Davies is an athletic 6-11 sophomore who plays 25 minutes every single night, is BYU's third leading scorer and their leading rebounder. His replacements? Stephen Rodgers and James Anderson. Keep in mind that Brandon Davies averages are solid but not out of this world (11 points, 6 rebounds). BYU will ask Rodgers and Anderson to pick up the slack, even though their combined averages of minutes per game, rebounds and points don't equal that of Brandon Davies. I have a feeling that the game plan of opposing teams will be to work it inside. Especially come tournament time, who will guard opposing big men? Furthermore, BYU's offense becomes even more one dimensional than it was already. Davies was clearly one of Jimmer's favorite targets, and I don't think he'll have the same confidence in Stephen Rodgers, who has never had more than 8 rebounds in a game and has scored in double figures 5 out of 29 games this season. I haven't made it a secret that I'm rooting for Jimmer, for a multitude of reasons, but I firmly believe the school's decision will prematurely end their season. And it's too bad, because I find myself not upset at Davies, but with BYU. Of course this feeling isn't yet justified because we're not sure what the offense is, but that's my knee jerk reaction to all of this. According to Latter Day Saints beliefs, I'm sure whatever Davies did will affect his afterlife anyway, isn't that enough of a punishment? I hope as the days go on BYU can present something legitimate justifying their decision.