Wanted to drop a note and give you fun bit-o-news. I have signed on to be the lead blogger at Dunking with Wolves, a Minnesota Timberwolves blog. This blog is part of a great team blog network at FanSided.com which covers the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and more.
I have enjoyed have a solo-blog and trying to create interest myself, but I am excited to be a part of a team and really refine my craft by focusing on a team that I love and followed for many years.
Please stop and drop a line.
Looks like it is time for my monthly post. :) Sorry, I have been away and not blogging, but then I again, I have no idea if anyone reads this. So there.
I added Twitter to the right column. Though it might be a nice way to give a thought in 140 characters or less and not blog on it. In that way of thinking, I am doing to does this blog a variety of topics, with 140 characters or less in each response. If you think I am lying, enter it into your twitter account.
NBA Playoffs -
Cavs Vs. Bulls: I hope Chicago enjoyed their only win of the series. Expect the Cavs to win next game by 20 pts or more. Bulls=younger Cavs w/out LeBron.
Magic Vs. Bobcats: If the refs can loosen up a bit, the Magic should run away with it. Actually, they will anyways, even w/Howard only playing 25 mins a game.
Hawks Vs. Bucks: Bucks will got 1 in Milwaukee, but that’s it. This series is over in 5. Jennings can’t do it alone, so who is going to help him? Salmons?
Celtics Vs. Heat: Unless the Heat sign a max player tonight – this series will be over in no more than two games. I feel bad for Wade. He looked tired.
Lakers Vs. Thunder: Is Kobe injured? Is the the Thunder just that good? This seems to be the best series of Round one -expect Thunder to be around for awhile.
Mavs Vs. Spurs: These teams always play tough games. I expect the next to be the same, but I don’t see how the Mavs come back to take this series.
Suns and Blazers: Is Brandon Roy the 6 Million $ Man? The Blazers are totally different when he is healthy. This series goes seven – Suns win.
Nuggets Vs. Jazz: George Karl is missed. Nugs are lost without him, Jazz playing more physical ball. DWill is nice – Melo needs help. Mr. Big Shot?
All in all the playoffs have been very good – even the Magic and Bobcats series. Here are the key factors to this playoffs so far:
- Match-Ups – how the individual is able to exploit an advantage.
- Team Is Greater – we are saw this in March Madness and we are see all over the NBA.
- Coaches Do Matter - If George Karl is on the bench, that series is very different. Look at Scott Brooks with the Thunder *Same can not be said for the Bulls – they would get beat with Phil Jackson.
- Physical Play - How teams can adjust or adapt to refs letting more physical play go.
- Deeper Teams Can Handle the Load - When Jason Terry went down holding his ankle – the Mavs season was done – it will be done very quickly anyways – but they still believe there is a chance.
NFL Draft: Vikings were disappointing to me. Lions drafted well on paper. ESPN sucked every moment they possible could out of the draft, and Mel Kiper.
MLB: The Twins are World Champs. Maybe not – yet. Love the line-up, new stadium & uniforms. Would love another legit starting pitcher. Anyone?
An NBA draft piece will get that out once the lottery balls fall in place . And while the TWolves have a very good chance at the No. 1 pick, I am not sure they want it. WHAT? No John Wall? There will be more to come and I sure David Kahn will say things that only kinda-sorta make sense. But I have hope!
I love this time of year. It is starting to get very nice outside, golf courses are opening, and my life has been crazy busy. I will not bore with that, because I am sure we ll can say the same thing – but it has been worse than usual.
I stayed up way to late watch the double-overtime game between Xavier and Kansas State. What a crazy game. It was maybe one of the best games I have seen all year. Just as it should be!
Thoughts of Madness
I have been so busy that I did not even get invitations out for my bracket from CBSSports.com out to all the people involved, and I have had it for 3 years. Oh well. On my work brackets, I am boarder-line screwed. I picked Kansas to win and well….DAMN IT!
Here is my quick run down of how things are going at this moment.
No. 1 Seeds – DAMN IT! We have lost the two teams most thought would make it to the Final Four. I wonder how long it will take for Kentucky’s Final Four appearance to be erased due to violations of something?!
Ohio State looks tough. They are not deep, but they may have the best starting five left in the tourney and the match-up with Tennessee will be showcase some very good match-ups. UT’s Wayne Chism vs. OSU’s Dallas Lauderdale. UT’s Scottie Hopson vs. OSU’s Evan Turner.
General Theme of Tourney: Playing as a Team > Team of Talent.
Northern Iowa did want NDSU was not able to do last year. I think they can run to the Final Four – we will find out tonight. This is not the Michigan State from last season – even with Kalin Lucas. I remember Ben Jacobson when he was playing at UND – I liked him then.
West Virginia is looking legit and I still not sure why and a Match-up with Kentucky will be physical!
St. Mary’s has legit size and skill, I could see them getting past Baylor and Duke. First things first. Baylor and St. Mary match-up very well. but remember the “General Theme of the Tourney”.
Duke has beat Purdue the last two times they met, and that was with Robbie Hummel. Duke is too tough in the front-court – don’t think that has been said in the last 5 years.
Final Four Predictions – West Virginia, Ohio State, Kansas State and the toughest call…Baylor. Not very legit when I do it so far into the game, but I don’t care. I will probably end up one-for-four.
I have enjoyed watching this tournament more than many in the past. There have been great games all over the place regardless of seeding. My brother and I were talking about a month a go and we said that any one team in the Top 25 could either win, or loose in the two rounds.
I am not sure we have seen the playing field so level as it has been this year.
Part of being popular in sports media is writing shocking and negative articles – take a look at Jason Whitlock. But Doug Gottlieb’s latest blog post on ESPN.com is not shocking, it just highlights the elephant in the room. While some may find it shocking, Gottlieb points some very “interesting” penalties and asks “Why do they always feel the same?”.
Here is the theme of Gottlieb’s blog post: When large college basketball programs get in trouble, it is to cover the ass of the football team.
“After watching USC take down eight consecutive opponents, including winning the Diamond Head Classic and starting off 2-0 in conference play, it seemed the tales of the demise of SC hoops had been greatly exaggerated. Then just like that — in a move swift, decisive and thorough — athletic director Mike Garrett announced there would be no postseason basketball for this rag-tag group of second-chance Trojans.
Garrett’s move is an attempt to precede the NCAA in their ultimate findings, but it also reeks of both hypocrisy and a soullessness that leaves most in college basketball thinking the same thing: USC does not care about its current basketball players or its basketball program. Instead, USC simply believes — at least in my mind and that of many others in the sport — that by giving up its hoop dreams, the NCAA will go light on the school’s football program.“
Gottlieb also points to other schools and their own issues. But when it came to the punishment, it was not the football teams who had scholarships taken away or postseasons taken away, but the sport that does not bring in as much money.
“Think about it realistically for a second. Look at the scandals in college sports over the past 20 years. Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio State and Indiana have all been on basketball probation in the Big Ten alone (and Northwestern had a point-shaving scandal), yet no one in the league has broken a rule so severe that there has been a major scandal on the football side? Come on.“
I do not have any inside information, but it is tough to believe that, with all the suspensions and teams that have been on probation, that the rules were only broken by players and coaches who were sneakers and shorts and not cleats and helmets.
“But again, how do you punish the current team for the past team’s NCAA violations? I just don’t get it. There must be consequences, but where is the accountability of the athletic department? It seems as though the coaches and players on the current team are the only ones truly accepting the blame for past transgressions.”
Busy Basketball Weekend
The college basketball teams ranked No. 3-6 and 8, 10-14, 16-18, 19-21 and 23 are all playing on Saturday. Then on Sunday the No. 1, 7, 9, 15, 19, 22, 24, and 25 teams have games. And there are match-ups on ranked teams all over the place - some on television.
- Colorado at No. 2 Texas
- Georgia at No. 3 Kentucky
- No. 4 Purdue at No. 20 Wisconsin
- No. 5 Duke at No. 17 Georgia Tech on ESPN
- Marquette at No. 6 Villanova
- No. 8 West Virginia at Notre Dame
- No. 10 Kansas State at Missouri
- No. 11 Michigan State at Iowa
- No. 13 Connecticut at No. 12 Georgetown on ESPN
- UNLV at No. 14 New Mexico
- Miss. St at No. 16 Mississippi
- No. 18 Gonzaga at Portland
- Boston College at No. 21 Clemson
- No. 23 BYU at UTEP
- No. 1 Kansas at No. 15 Tenn on CBS
- South Florida at No. 7 Syracuse
- Virginia Tech at No. 9 UNC
- No. 19 Florida State at Maryland
- No. 22 Washington at Arizona
- No. 24 Butler at Detroit
- No. 25 Temple at Rhode Island
Duke at GT – GT had one of the best recruiting classes this year, headlined by the want to see GT’s super-freshmen Derrick Favors play. Favors was the No. 2 recruit in the nation last year and while he is not getting the headlines like other freshmen (John Wall and Xavier Henry), Favors is averaging 12.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg and 2.2 blocks per game.
Kansas at Tennessee – Does anyone know what is happening or going to happen to the players arrested? I think they are suspend indefinitely, so this match-up may not be as close as it would be with Tyler Smith in the line-up. Still these are both talented teams, but Kansas is just bigger than Tennessee. Update – Smith has been dismissed from the team.
Purdue at Wisconsin – I know that Big Ten basketball can be very painful to watch, but this is the Boilmakers first real road test at the toughest place to play in the Big Ten - i.e. Duke in ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
UNLV at New Mexico – I know nothing about either of these teams, but there is buzz surrounding both teams. Should be a tough conference game.
NFL Playoffs Getting Started
The first round of the playoffs are also happening this weekend. And there are two rematch from last week with Philly and Dallas and Green Bay at Arizona. A lot people are picking upsets and home teams losing. Here are match-ups:
- NY Jets at Cincinnati
- Philadelphia at Dallas
- Baltimore at New England
- Green Bay at Arizona
Every match-up really could go either way, but here are my quick thoughts.
- New York beats Cincinnati, I have no real thoughts about this game.
- But the Philly/Dallas game is very interesting. Was what we saw last week real with Philly? I am not sure. But I think The Eagles go back to Dallas and upset the Cowboys.
- New England could struggle without Wes Welker, but I am not confident in the Ravens offense. So, I am picking New England.
- Green Bay rolled over Arizona – or did the Cardinals roll-over when they knew there was nothing to play for? I think Green Bay wins again.
The Vikings will play either Dallas, Arizona or Green Bay next Sunday. I fear only the Cowboys – but the Cardinals beat the crap of the Vikings and it is very hard to beat a team three times in a season. But the Purple are playing at home.
Minnesota Timberwolve GM David Kahn Podcast
I listen to a lot of podcasts – ESPN has a ton – and one that I listen to is the NBA Today with Ryan Rusillo. He however is not the reason that I listen. Rusillo just thinks to much of himself and kind of drives me nuts, but he gets a lot of good guests on the podcast.
he latest podcast features an interview with T’Wolve GM David Kahn and they discussed the team and his thoughts on the future of the team. Click here to get to the NBA Today podcast page.
I saw this on ESPN.com the other night and I heard he was visiting this week. Jay Harris is ranked as the No. 15 point guard in the nation and No. 64 overall.
The 6’0″ guard from Oswego, IL, is looking at NDSU as well as the University of Northern Iowa and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
“Harris has a great feel for the game with his ball handing, passing, the ability to finish in transition and making plays one on one. Harris can also score in a variety of ways in addition to his ability to get his own shot. He can spot up behind the arc on the side of dribble penetration, come off screens and attack the basket in transition. Harris is terrific at scoring over or around taller defenders although his must get stronger in order to be as successful on the next level. Playing with Boatright really allowed Harris to be very productive at the shooting guard position although he is a true point. Harris also displayed the ability to defend both guard positions and he came up with a couple on ball and cover down post steals with his quick hands. Harris has the talent and basketball IQ to be a terrific college lead guard but he must make the weight room a priority” From ESPN.com.
If Harris signs, he would be the first Top 100 player to commit to the play in Fargo starting in the 2010 season, and the single biggest signing in NDSU basketball history.
Trayvonn Wirght, the 6’7″ 175 pound power forward from Waterloo, IA, has already signed to play for coach Saul Phillips and is rated as the 77th best power forward in the country.
“Wright excels in open court situations where he can use his athleticism to his benefit. He has the ability to score the ball in the paint with different finishes and uses the rim wisely to protect himself. Trayvonn was able to rebound the ball outside of his area and grab the ball at its highest point. However, he was uncomfortable with physical play and needs to learn how to take advantage of his quickness to combat opponent’s strength. Wright has limitations with his ball handling skills; he has no lateral movement in his dribble and cannot easily shift positions; when cut off on drives, he will spin. He has made tremendous strides since the end of the high school season and has a lot of upside.” From ESPN.com.
Landing those two players would be another substantial building block to the foundation that was laid with the plan to; sit the four seniors, Ben Woodside, Brent Winkelmen, Mike Nelson, Lucas Moormann, win the conference, and play in the NCAA tourney the first year eligible. We could not imgaine the extra hype of Woodside dropping 60 and getting Sportcenter shout-outs. But it helped.
The 2009-10 season may not be as successful in terms of wins, trophies and accolades, but it is necessary in building this program to the next level.
Were are getting closer to the college basketball season kicking off and Kansas is the No.1 team in the country. It is going to be a more competitive season than last season.
Anyway, previews are coming, but here are the preseason rankings for 2009-10 Men’s College Basketball.
|AP Top 25|
|1. Kansas (55) 0-0 1,612|
|2. Michigan State (5) 0-0 1,515|
|3. Texas (1) 0-0 1,397|
|4. Kentucky (3) 0-0 1,372|
|5. Villanova 0-0 1,347|
|6. North Carolina (1) 0-0 1,320|
|7. Purdue 0-0 1,284|
|8. West Virginia 0-0 1,115|
|9. Duke 0-0 1,064|
|10. Tennessee 0-0 897|
|11. Butler 0-0 864|
|12. Connecticut 0-0 844|
|13. California 0-0 800|
|14. Washington 0-0 776|
|15. Michigan 0-0 578|
|16. Ohio State 0-0 465|
|17. Oklahoma 0-0 410|
|18. Mississippi State 0-0 393|
|19. Louisville 0-0 335|
|20. Georgetown 0-0 326|
|21. Dayton 0-0 318|
|22. Georgia Tech 0-0 301|
|23. Illinois 0-0 282|
|24. Clemson 0-0 217|
|25. Minnesota 0-0 172|
Others Receiving Votes
Maryland 171, Siena 112, Notre Dame 107, Florida State 92, Vanderbilt 90, Syracuse 83, Oklahoma State 65, UCLA 63, Florida 53, Wake Forest 50, Xavier 42, Gonzaga 37, South Carolina 28, Kansas State 24, Brigham Young 21, Northern Iowa 16, Tulsa 16, Mississippi 15, Texas A&M 10, Missouri 8, Boston College 6, Pittsburgh 4, Western Kentucky 2, Utah State 2, Virginia Commonwealth 2, Old Dominion 1, Holy Cross 1.
|ESPN/USA Today Poll|
|1. Kansas (27) 0-0 770|
|2. Michigan State (3) 0-0 732|
|3. Texas 0-0 676|
|4. North Carolina (1) 0-0 653|
|5. Kentucky 0-0 635|
|6. Villanova 0-0 620|
|7. Purdue 0-0 586|
|8. Duke 0-0 528|
|9. West Virginia 0-0 501|
|10. Butler 0-0 408|
|11. Tennessee 0-0 406|
|12. California 0-0 370|
|13. Washington 0-0 364|
|14. Connecticut 0-0 361|
|15. Michigan 0-0 279|
|16. Oklahoma 0-0 244|
|17. Ohio State 0-0 241|
|18. Minnesota 0-0 151|
|19. Mississippi State 0-0 149|
|20. Georgia Tech 0-0 136|
|21. Georgetown 0-0 134|
|22. Dayton 0-0 130|
|23. Louisville 0-0 123|
|24. Clemson 0-0 114|
|25. Syracuse 0-0 111|
Others Receiving Votes
Maryland 100, Illinois 83, Siena 72, UCLA 59, Vanderbilt 38, Oklahoma State 29, Missouri 28, Xavier 25, Gonzaga 24, Notre Dame 22, USC 22, Pittsburgh 19, Tulsa 17, Kansas State 16, Brigham Young 16, Florida State 15, Florida 13, Wake Forest 13, San Diego State 8, Creighton 7, Boston College 4, Texas A&M 4, Southern Illinois 3, Utah State 3, Cornell 3, Memphis 3, Mississippi 3, UNLV 2, South Carolina 1, Northern Iowa 1.
Hey DTP viewers, or people who landed here by accident.
I am working on a couple of large pieces previewing the NBA and College Basketball. So, I am sorry that I have been a slightly delinquent poster, but I will return!
Quick Bits For You:
1. I am pulling for the Phillies.
2. The Vikings looked amazing in the first half against the Raven and then the defense was awful.
3. The US Soccer team draw against Costa Rica, but should have won by 3 goals, at least!
4. The NBA Preseason is going along, and the Timberwolves made another trade.
6. FIFA 2010 was released and I have not played it.
7. I won two out three fantasy football games.
11. ESPN’s Steve Phillips has got some issues. Amazingly, not on the front page of ESPN.com. Crazy!
12. Mike Sando’s MVP Watch has Brett Favre ranked third and Adrian Peterson tenth.
OK, that is all I have for now. See you soon.
I have a whole lot of college basketball preview and picks to get out there, and I will do that soon.
But first, North Dakota States basketball team will be highlighted on the four hour broadcast on ESPNU and ESPN2.
“Other schools being featured are Connecticut, Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina and Washington. ESPNU anchor Lowell Galindo will host the show with Jim Barbar providing on-site commentary at NDSU.” taken from the Fargo Forum article.
Should be a good time to start the season.
NBA Puts the Brakes on Smith and Richardson
OK. Lame title.
The NBA had to suspend Denver Nugget’s J.R Smith and Golden State Warrior’s Jason Richardson for being horribly stupid drivers.
Smith will be on the bench in street clothes for seven games after pleading guilty for reckless driving and Richardson gets a two game suspension for driving drunk.
Both guys have had issues driving. Smith was in an accident that caused the death of a passenger in his car in 2007 and Richardson drove 90 mph in a 35 mph zone with his three year old son in the back seat WITHOUT a car seat.
Richardson is the bigger idiot, but Smith seems to find his name in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Either way, suspensions were warranted.
Arsenal Vs. Manchester United
For those of you who did not know, the English Premiere League started up again. And this Saturdays match-up at Old Trafford, is the first real test of the season for Arsenal and the first match-up of any of the “Big Four” – ManU, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.
United has already had a bump in the road in the form of recently promoted Burnley, but a match-up against another major squad, may set the Red Devils back on course.
This is also the match of the EPL two longest-term tenured coaches in Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger, who has been there since 1996, and United Sir Alex Ferguson, who has been the head of this giant since 1986.
My Prediction – Arsenal 2 – United 1* United is having issues with the back four and Wayne Rooney has yet to convince me that he is the team leader, but Arsenal needs Cesc Fabregas to be fit.
Dick Vitales Top-40 Teams
I like this list - Short, sweet, and to the point. Here is a quick hint: Kansas is No. 1 and Kentucky is No.2.
Should be a interesting year.
LeBron by LeBron
World Football Daily
After much thought and public feedback, Steven Cohen has decided to move in a new direction. Changing the branding from World SOCCER Daily to World FOOTBALL Daily, the new show will be viewed and heard by paying a monthly subscription.
On a short show today Steven, with co-host Kenny Hassan, explained the changes that are taking place. Highlighting the new shift in programing, the creation of a new company, the revamped focus of the show, and how the show intends to “stay afloat”.
The brief broadcast showcased the greater investment in the show that has been made by the hosts, with a few other, to validate the $9.99 monthly subscription. The greater investment was obviously seen in the higher quality cameras, closer and improved camera angles, and improved sound equipment. Side note: the sound still needs to be worked out however.
Cohen had decided to stop production of World Soccer Daily after threats of all kinds, from a certain group of Liverpool Supporters, had become too intense and were not only directed at Cohen, but also his step-children and their friends. The backlash was from the Liverpool supporters, was based on comments Cohen had made about the tragedy that took place in 1996 known as the Hillsborough Disaster, which involved the death of 96 Liverpool fans.
As I have stated in prior posts, I do not have enough knowledge to have an opinion on the events that took place in 1996 or Cohen’s comments. Either way, the show will have it’s last free broadcast on Monday, August 31st.