Category Archives: Quick Hits

Quick Hits: 9/28/09

NFL Bits of Info

  • Brett Favre is the first Vikings QB to throw for 300 yards since Daunte Culpepper did it in 2005 – that was 63 games ago.
  • Terrell Owens played a games without a catch fo the first time since is rookie season in 1996 – 185 games ago.
  • The Detroit Lions won!

Lamar Odom Married Khloe Kardashian

What?  Not sure I care enough to really want to know that details.  But here is the article from ESPN.com.

Minnesota Twins Still In The Chase

The Twins are only two games back and start a four-game series with the Detroit Tigers to determine the AL Central Championship.

While neither team has a great record, this will make for the most interesting baseball to watch in the remainder for the regular season.

For a solid preview on the series, take a look at ESPN.com’s breakdown.

CENTRAL W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10 POFF
Detroit 83 72 .535 - 48-26 35-46 714 705 +9 Lost 1 5-5 77.0
Minnesota 81 74 .523 2 45-33 36-41 765 727 +38 Lost 1 8-2 23.0
Chicago Sox 75 81 .481 8.5 43-38 32-43 700 720 -20 Won 1 3-7 0.0
Cleveland 64 91 .413 19 34-44 30-47 752 825 -73 Won 3 3-7 0.0
Kansas City 64 92 .410 19.5 33-48 31-44 662 799 -137 Won 1 5-5 0.0

2010 Recruiting Class/Conference Rankings

ESPN.com has put it’s ranking for the college basketball recruiting classes of 2010 and the Big Ten have four of the top fifteen – Ohio State is No. 1, Illinois at No. 4, Michigan State at No. 9, and Michigan at No. 14  (Purdue is No. 20).

I made some statements last year saying that Big Ten is getting better very quickly and this is just more proof.  The Big Ten is going to be a very dangerous conference top to bottom, and this years BigTen/ACC Challenge should be very competitive – just like last year – minus the UNC and Duke games.

Jay Bilas has the Big Ten ranked as the No.1 conference in the country and here are his points.

The Big Ten always has been strong at the top, but the bottom of the league often has let the league down. For too many seasons, the Big Ten has been unfairly criticized for its style of play and the relative weakness of the lower third of the conference. Not this season. There is nary a doormat in the league, as Northwestern, Iowa and Indiana all will be much improved and much more competitive nationally. Michigan State and Purdue are the two best teams in the league, and the Spartans make a great case for being the best team in the country. Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio State will be in the national discussion all season. It should have happened long ago, but the conference should finally win the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, an annual irritant to the Big Ten’s reputation. If a team survives this league’s slate, it truly will be among the nation’s best teams.”

To see Bilas’ full blog post, click here.

US Soccer

The US National Team has a massive game against Honduras October 10th, in their attempt to close the deal and book their tickets to the World Cup this summer in South Africa.  But due to security concerns, the game may be moved to a neutral site.

Depending on which site you read, some report that FIFA officials are ok with the game, and other report that there is much more concern and the game will be moved.

Here are a couple of articles highlighting the US Team and Goalie Tim Howard.

From ESPN’s Outside the Lines: Fever Pitch by Wayne Drehs.

Article on US and Everton goalie, Tim Howard: Howard’s game growing in stature at Everton by Ken Lawrence.

The Beckham Experiment by Grant Wahl

I am about two-thirds the way through the book and here are some thoughts so far.

  1. The book is a deeper look at somethings we already knew.
  2. I like Landon Donovan even more than I did before.  He tells it like it is.  Check out his website.
  3. Alexi Lalas is smarter than we give him credit – but I still don’t like to hear him talk.
  4. Beckham seems like a down to earth guy – as down to earth as a guy who made $50 Million in 2007.
  5. The “getting-to-know-you” aspect of the other players like, Donovan, Alan Gordon and Cris Klein is maybe the most important piece that fans don’t get on a regular basis.
  6. The dealings of the Galaxy, 19 Entertainment, AEG and others can be very shady at times.
  7. I make more money than a good chunk of LA’s roster – sad.

I will review the book more when I finish the book.   Here is a link to Wahls Sports Illustrated archive.

Quick Hits: 8/28/09

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 thosCesc Fabregase 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

Here is a sold write about LeBron James’ documentary by Fanhouse’s Will Bronson.

World Football Daily

steven-cohen

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.

www.worldsoccerdaily.com

You can listen to Friday’s podcast by heading to this page.

Other Peoples Work

  • NBA Most Overrated as Written by Charley Rosen at Foxsports.com

In this article, Rosen argues that KG, CP3, and Chris Bosh – and others – are overrated.  Rosen’s article has a few legit points, but he has no real proof to his argument.  What is his standard?  

In the article Rosen claims that KG is not clutch and does not come through in important games.  He also states that CP3 does not play defense and is very ineffective in half court offense out side of a pick and roll. 

Anyway.  Take a read.    

  • Sporting News:  Top 50 Coach’s of All-Time

“Headlining the new issue of Sporting News Magazine: our list of sports’ 50 greatest coaches of all time, as selected by a panel of 118 Hall of Famers, championship coaches and other experts.”

This is a very interesting article by Jeff D’Alessio which lists coaches from all the major sports – i.e. NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, and college basketball and football.

Here is the Top-11 from the list, they only question I have.  Don Shula?  Really?  

1. John Wooden, college basketball

2. Vince Lombardi, NFL
3. Bear Bryant, college football
4. Phil Jackson, NBA
5. Don Shula, NFL
6. Red Auerbach, NBA
7. Scotty Bowman, NHL
8. Dean Smith, college basketball
9. Casey Stengel, MLB
10. Knute Rockne, college football
11. Pat Summitt, women’s college basketball

  • All-Metrodome Team

Tyler Mason, from MLB.com, put together an 18 man team of the best players that played in the Metrodome starting in 1982.  It mostly players from the 1987 ’91 Championship Teams, Paul Molter and Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan.   Kirby Puckett

I am good with 98% of the list.  Gladden is questionable when you look at Shane Mack.  But I am not sure where Morneau fits on the team, but he does deserve it – AL MVP. 

Paul Molitorat DH is the biggest question mark.  He had one great season in 1996 and then fell off quickly.   But I am not sure there is a better choice available than Molitor.

  •  Chili Davis 1991-1992
  •  Paul Molitor 1996-1998
  •  David Ortiz 1997-2002
  •  Roy Smalley 1982 & 1985-1987
  •  Dave Winfield 1993-1994
  • Here is the complete ballot.

    PS – Brett Favre = Still Retired.

    Quick Hits 7/28/09

    Brett Favre Staying Retired

    Good god.  Is it over?  A few of the major sports outlets – i.e. ESPN.com, yahoo.com, etc. – are reporting that MN Vikings coach Brad “Why do I still have a job” Childresshas confirmed with the Star Tribune that Favre is staying retired.

    This is really an unlikely outcome to the drama that has played on between Minneapolis and Mississippi.  I really did expecthim to sign with the Vikings, but lately the rumblings were that he was become more and more concerned with his legacy andthat the move to MN would destroy any relationship with the Packer Nation.

    So, those suppose No. 4 Vikings jersey are going to be collector gold if they were actually made.  I have no feeling either way, but I am glad that it is over.

    Mexico 5-0 Over US in Soccer

    This game fell on it’s ass in about 5 minutes.  But they USA were fielding their “C” squad, with none of the players from the Confederations Cup in the stadium.  So take it with a grain of salt.

    Mexico did look amazing with Tottenham’s Givoani Dao Santos and Arsenal’s Carlos Vela looking like they were playing against a JV High School defense. 

    US looked tired in the second half and only Stuart Holden and Kyle Beckerman looked like players who deserve to have a chance to play on the “A” squad.Kevin Durant

    Team USA National Basketball Try-Outs

    The word on the street is the Kevin Durant is dominating the US Try-outs.  And Durant’s his shooting ability is something the team lost with Michael Redd going down with injury – Durant shot 42% from distance this season. 

    Some people are saying, Durant isn’t good enough to play on Team USA, here is a run down of his stats last season.  48% from the field, 42% 3PT%, 86% from the free throw line, 6.5 rebounds per game, 1.3 steals per game and 25.3 points per game. 

    You may say that his team is a losing team and his stats are not legit, but you can not ignore his shooting percentages, no matter the record of the team.

    NBA Noise

    • Drew Gooden and Tim Thomas signwith the Dallas Mavs:  Who cares?  Not me.  Well, I must a little.  I put it in my blog!
    • Tyson Chandler and Omeka Okafer have changed teams:   It is a wash for now.  I like them both, but I think Chandler will struggle away from Chris Paul’s lobs.
    • The Timberwolves trade Etan Thomas, Damien Wilkins and picks for Chucky Atkins:  I like Chucky, and I like the changes.  Now figure out the Ricky Rubio situation!!

    MN Twins Justin Morneau for AL MVPJustin Morneau

    Please do not get blindsided by the easy coast.  Check out the stats.   Morneau is in the Top-10 in every major oeffesive category. 

    There is no other player has that kind of collective stats, maybe teammate and BFF Joe Mauer.  New York’s first basemen Mark Teixeria and Tampa’s third basemen Evan Longoria are close, but Morneau has to be the leading candidate.

    League Leaders – 2009
    • Ranks 9th in AL in BA (.315) • Ranks 1st in AL in HR (26)
    • Ranks 1st in AL in RBI (82) • Ranks 6th in AL in R (70)
    • Ranks 9th in AL in BB (54) • Ranks 6th in AL in OBP (.400)
    • Ranks 1st in AL in SLG (.595) • Ranks 2nd in AL in OPS (.994)

    PS – The Twins have four of the top 25 homerun hitters in the AL – that more than NY, the Angels and the Red Soxs.

    Morneau – 26, Kubel – 17, Cuddyer – 18, and Mauer – 17. 

    Random Soccer Bits

    Quick Hits 7/14/09

    So I have taken a couple days off, mostly because I was not moved to write.  But with the shocking news of Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo splitting-up, I felt compelled to voice my concerns.

    Jessica and Tony

    So, you’re saying there is a chance?  No, there is not.

    Timberwolves Coaching Search

    The rumors out there is that the TWolves are looking at Mark Jackson, Kurt Rambis and Rockets assistant Elston Turner.  I would be OK with Rambis or Turner, but not Jackson.  HE HAS NO HEAD COACHING EXPERINCE!!

    Maybe Jackson will have the respect of the players, but still, I am not ready to throw the team Mark Jackson.

    NBA Summer LeagueJonny Flynn

    The TWolves rookies have been playing well and Jonny Flynn looks legit.  Wayne Ellington is playing well.  Check out the highlights at ESPN.com.

    Ellington has scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in two games.  Ellington pulled down 8 rebounds in the first game and then scored 22 points in the second.

    In two games Flynn is averaging 11.5 points, 10.5 assists and 6.5 turnovers.  But looks to be able to control a team and get to the basket and finish against bigger players.

    I just wish they would trade Rick Rubio.  Say good bye to the Spanish wonder and get some draft picks or young talent.

    Blake Griffin had a steller debut. 27 points and 12 rebounds.

    I am putting it out there – Rookie of the Year comes down to Griffin, Flynn, Steph Curry at Golden State, James Harden at Oklahoma City and Tyreke Evans at Sacramento.  Girffin may not get as much PT with other bigs in his way. file_23_8

    Soccer T-Shirt

    I am eagerly awaiting this original Landon Donovan inspired soccer t-shirt I bought at www.objectivo.com.

    They have some pretty original shirts.  Check them out.

    FIFA Rankings

    In the ranking releases on July 1st, Brazil claimed the No. 1 spot after their championship in the Confederations Cup in South America.  Moving up from No. 4

    The US moves up two spots to No. 12 while the Spainish team fell to No. 2.

    Ranking Team Pts
    Jul 09
    +/- Ranking
    Jun 09
    +/- Pts
    Jun 09
    1 Brazil 1672 4   384
    2 Spain 1590 -1   -171
    3 Netherlands 1379 -1   -63
    4 Italy 1229 0   -63
    5 Germany 1207 -2   -171
    6 Russia 1161 3   -6
    7 England 1135 -1   -90
    8 Argentina 1091 -1   -112
    9 France 1082 1   15
    10 Croatia 1031 -2   -169
    11 Greece 1001 6   79
    12 USA 983 2   36
    13 Switzerland 930 3   -1
    14 Serbia 925 6   55
    15 Denmark 909 9   73

    www.fifa.com

    Random Basketball Awesome Fact of the Day

    Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson are a part of what elite group that Carmelo Anthony has the possibility of joining?

    If Carmelo wins an NBA title, they will be the only three players since 1979 to win a NCAA, NBA and Olympic Championship – I think.  I am trying to find info to say other wise.

    Now prior to the high school revolutiona and the one-and-dones, it was seen more often.  But I am struggling to find others in the last 30 years.

    Quick Hits 7/07/09

    I hope everyone had a safe and happy Fourth of July.  I took the week off and was very much off-line and it was great.  And there is a lot of sports news to filter through.

    American League All-Star 1BJustin Morneau

    I follow baseball very lightly.  I keep track of the MN Twins and have a general understanding of everything else going on.

    I saw the AL Starting Line-Up for the All-Star game and I am going to play the “homer” card here.  New York Yankees first base man, Mark Teixeira, was voted into the starting line-up over Twins slugger Justin Morneau and I have to say that I completely disagree.  I will file this under “East Coast/Yankees basis”, so I thought I would lay down some stats in some of the major offensive categories.

    • Hits: MT – 83, JM – 101
    • HR: MT – 20, JM – 21
    • RBI: MT – 61, JM – 69
    • AVG: MT – .273, JM – .323

    Morneau also leads in OPS, SLG, and OBP.  But I do not really know the calculations that make up these numbers.

    Morneau *Stats pulled from ESPN.

    Ranks 3rd in AL in BA (.323) Ranks 2nd in AL in HR (21)
    Ranks 2nd in AL in RBI (69) Ranks 8th in AL in R (56)
    Ranks 5th in AL in OBP (.399) Ranks 1st in AL in SLG (.601)
    Ranks 1st in AL in OPS (1.000)

    Teixeira

    Ranks 4th in AL in HR (20) Ranks 5th in AL in RBI (61)
    Ranks 6th in AL in BB (48) Ranks 8th in AL in SLG (.546)
    Ranks 8th in AL in OPS (.928)

    Ok, I am done.  I think I have proved my point.  Morneau should start!

    USA Soccer

    I am a huge soccer rub and I watched the US team in the blowouts and the victories of the Confederations Cup and I was very impressed with the turn around Bob Bradley’s team made from the group stage to the finals.

    The US team proved they can compete and are a legit top-15 team in the world, but they need to play more consistent.  As cliche’ as that sounds, the US was incredible versus Egypt, Spain and Brazil and then very “sheepish” against Italy and Brazil – the first time.Landon Donovan

    Landon Donovanshowed he is a European level player, Oguchi Onyewu signed with AC Milan, and Jozy Altidore may get some time in Spain.

    I am not completely convinced that Bob Bradley is the coach that can take the team to their full potential, but he did take a US team to the finals of a semi-major tournament that include soccer power houses.

    There are concerns that the US brass to consider, but my major issue is this:  How the hell is Freddy Adu not on the pitch?  Other than Donovan and maybe Clint Dempsey, Adu is the most creative player on this roster who can create scoring opportunities in open play.

    The back line is solid, goal keeping is top-notch, the mid-field is improved with Ricardo Clark playing the defensive holding midfielder, and speedster Charlie Davies is great counter-part to the strength of Altidore up front.

    We will see how they handle the next step in the evaluation of a potentially strong team in the World Cup.

    NBA Free Agency Grades

    Rasheed Wallace to the Celtics = A.  This makes sense for both sides.  Wallace will get a chance at another title and the Celtics get KG knee insurance.

    Hedu Turkaglu to the Raptors = B.  Portland would have been a good fit, but I the roster is similar to the Magic, it will depend on the style.

    Trevor Arizia to the Rockets = C+.  Should have gone to LeBrons house.  Rockets are in rebuilding mode, but if he stays could be a crucial part of the foundation.

    Ben Gordon to the Pistons = B+.  I don’t know what this means for Richard Hamilton, but Gordon can score and the Pistons needs help.

    Charlie Villanuevato the Pistons = B.  Rasheed Wallace Jr.  He will have the oppurtunity to grow and become a major player.

    Marcin Gortatto the Mavericks = C.  I am not sure why, unless he is there to replace Erik Dampier.

    Ron Artestto the Lakers = A-.  This move has the potential to be messy, but Artest is a good player now.  Solid defensively and better than Arzia offensively.  Lakers are better.

    Over all, the teams made themselves better.  Wallace and Artest are very short-term fixes, but their teams are pushing to the title now.  It will be a tough year in the East and Houston is going to struggle without Yao and who knows what they will get from Tracy McGrady.

    Quick Hits 5/28/09

    Look Who Showed Up To The Party

    Hey everybody, it’s Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.

    Gasol decided to stop holding the ball (LeBron – take note) and was decisive with the ball in the post and Odom actually played well.  They are co-winners of the stat line of the night ; Gasol had 14 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 blocks and 2 steals and Odom had 19 points, 14 boards, 3 assists and 4 blocks.

    Quick stat run down:

    • The Lakers out-blocked the Nuggets 12-5.
    • J.R. Smith shot 3-for-13 from the field and 1-for-10 from three.  He could be so much better.
    • Both teams shot poorly from distance.  The Lakers were 3-for-16 for 18.8 percent and Denver shot 7-for-24 for 29.2 percent.
    • Derek Fischer had two more shots then Chauncey Billups (9-7).  WHAT?!

    This game continued to prove the Lakers can turn it on and off when they feel the need and that Sasha Vujacic will not be back with the Lakers.  Vujacic “highlight of the night” was his reaction to an Odom and-one.  The best thing he did all night.

    Kobe’s non-Kobe night always demonstrates a trend (LeBron – take note), when the superstar scores 45, it is because he has to.  Jordan’s teams rarely won in double figures when he scored 40 or more points.  The best games came when Jordan was finding teammates and they were hitting shots (not to the rest of the Cavs).

    The LeBrons: Get to Work

    The locker before the start of game 5 is going to as tension filled as the season premiere of Jon and Kate Plus Eight.

    What is going with the offense in Cleavland?  Watching the Cavs in the fourth quarter is painful and no point comes easily.  I am not sure what Mike Brown can do, but every player without the last name James, needs to make more shots.  It’s that simple.  Mo Williams and Donte West get looks, but are shooting poorly.  And the post game is just like the Lakers, limited at best.

    The Magic have been very impressive.  The have the size at every position and are quicker at most.  They are a hot team and it will take a LeBron like performance from someone other than LeBron, for the Magic not to advance.  But they will take nothing for granted.

    The Magic are doing the greatest psych job on the Cavs.  They call LeBron the greatest player, saying he is unstoppable, which they haven’t.  But they have stop everyone else.  The more that Stan Van Gundy and the Magic, talk about how unstoppable LeBron is, the more the rest of the Cavs sit back and watch.

    Manchester United vs. Barcelona

    Lionel Messi lead Spain’s best past the English Champions, beating them 2-0 in Rome.  ManU came out strong putting pressure on Barca, but the Samuel Eto’o goal at eight minutes, turned the match on it’s head and Barca looked in control all game.  The game was capped with Messi’s header at 70 minutes from a nice cross from Xavi.

    With the win, Messi should secure the Player of the Year awards.  It was a good game, but United were shell shocked after the first goal.

    DTP NBA Mock Draft

    In the coming days, maybe a week or two, but defiantly before the draft, we will have a mock draft breaking downs the picks for the June NBA Draft.