Your Really Late College Basketball “Preview”

20 12 2009

So we managed to get all kinds of busy over the last three weeks, thus explaining the lack of posts. But no worries, we’re back just in time for the holidays with some thoughts on college basketball. We meant to do an actual preview on the topic, but since most teams are at least a third of the way through the year, we’re going to do the bullet point thing with the top 25 and some of our favorite teams. Let’s get it started.

John Wall - Well Worth The Price of Admission

– We’ll start with one of the blue bloods of college basketball, the Kentucky Wildcats. We’re actually surprised that a team this young is playing this well, but we still think there’s some dents in the armor. They’ve played two good teams, UNC in Lexington and Connecticut at MSG, and both have been really really close games. They nearly blew a massive lead against a UNC that’s not built for a big comeback. From what we’ve seen in the couple of games we’ve watched, they’re way to reliant on John Wall (who is living up the hype so far). It seems like Patrick Patterson disappears late in the game, and  DeMarcus Cousins seems to be a bit of a loose cannon. We don’t think a team this young will win a National Championship (or go to the Final Four), but at this point tune in to watch John Wall, and try not to any grease from Calipari on you.

– Does anyone think Purdue is really a top 4 team? We know it’s early, but does this really look like a #1 seed in March? The overrated rant could go the same for Florida. These teams haven’t really played anyone (Purdue escape Tennessee, while Florida squeaked by a young Michigan State team and was promptly demolished by Syracuse). They’re not terribly deep, they don’t have a true game breaker, and they’re kinda soft inside. Purdue feels like a 3 or a 4 seed right now, Florida maybe a 5. Rankings wise, both of these squads are overrated.

Sorry Gator Fans...These Guys Aren't Walking Through That Door.

– Conference Thoughts: The Big 10 is crazy deep, while the Big 12 seems like Kansas, Texas, and bunch of mediocre to bad teams. The Pac 10 and the SEC are terrible, but the Pac 10 is worse off since they don’t have anybody at the level of Kentucky or even Tennessee. We’ll put the over/under on tourney bids from these conferences combined at 8. That’s out of a possible 24 teams. Is that bad? It’s not good.

– Lastly, an update on our favorite team, the Indiana Hoosiers. Right now, they’re a whole lot better than we thought they’d be. They’re surprisingly competitive, and some of the kids look real good. Maurice Creek looks like a future stud, and Verdell Jones has progressed well from the inexperienced mess we watched all to often last year. We’d like to see a little more assertive play out of Tom Pritchard, along some more playing time for Jordan Hulls and Matt Roth (Devan Dumes is a great story and all, but we’re playing for the future, so get the juco senior off the floor). We could see them winning 6-8 conference games. Based on what we’ve seen, they should be able to beat Iowa, Penn State, and should be able to play with Northwestern. The other wins are coming from us guessing that they might surprise one of the middle of the pack teams (Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, maybe even Ohio State without Evan Turner) when those teams travel to Assembly Hall.

Along with Maurice Creek, This Guy Will Be A Star.

That’s all we’ve got for now, as we’ve got a pressing engagement of the NFL on the couch. Hit us up with your thoughts in the comments, and take confidence that we’re back.





Playing A Little Catch Up

28 11 2009

Sorry for the slow (ok…nonexistent) posts over the last few days. Chalk it up to sleep deprivation and the holiday. We had some ideas for posts, but due to the above reasons plus apathy we decided against them. So this is what we’re thinking: what will probably be a long(er) quick hit series of our take on the many, many things we’ve missed. Let the bullet pointing begin.

Retired?

Allen Iverson to retire…kinda. We’re honestly kinda sad to see AI hang them up, if he actually does. It seems obvious to us that he’s still got something left in the tank, but playing in Memphis wasn’t going to help anybody. Some of his old coaches reportedly want to discuss his future with him, and we’re all for that. If, and this is a huge if, he can get in the right mindset to come off the bench and be a team player, he could be great off the bench for a contender. If he’s actually done, then he’ll go down as one of the best pure scoring guards in NBA history. Points wise, he’s the second highest scoring active player, behind only Shaq (Kobe will likely pass him soon). We’ll remember him as a dominant player, and one of the few guards we recall who could totally take over a game and carry a team (along with Kobe).

– Thanksgiving NFL Action. The Lions did what they’ve recently done on Thanksgiving, and lost. But looking beyond the score, we think Jim Schwartz and the Lions might be building something there. The foundation is there. Playoffs in two to three years. The second game of the day reminded Raider fans everywhere that Bruce Gradkowski, is not that good, although he certainly is better than JaMarcus Russell (not that hard).  The Cowboys looked good, but not great in winning an easy game. The last NFL game of the day, seen by approximately 9 people because it was on the NFL Network, provided a lot of insight into who both teams were, and are. The Giants have no idea who they are, as they appear to be a power running team who can’t run the ball – it looks to us like Brandon Jacobs aged 10+ years over the offseason. We’re not exactly sure what to make of the Broncos – the passing game looked good against the Giants secondary, but who hasn’t? The running game was solid if unspectacular (more carries for Knowshon please). Defense looked good, in shutting down a talented, in enigmatic Giants offense. We like them to finish up at 10-6 (7-4 now, with two left against KC and one against OAK)

We Only Talk About Stafford to Post Pictures Like These...

– College Football Rivalry Weekend. A lot of these games are close, which is why we love this weekend, even if the games aren’t great on paper. #3Texas and Texas A&M staged a classic shootout that prevented our nap on Thanksgiving. Auburn and #2 Alabama went down to the end yesterday afternoon. West Virginia took down highly ranked Pittsburgh in The Backyard Brawl. Boise State and Nevada also kept us up late last night (we’re suckers for blue turf and some pistol offense). Right now we’re watching South Carolina try and hang on at home against a vastly superior Clemson team (ranked #18) [UPDATE: South Carolina just rubbed it in a little, throwing a TD pass on 4th and goal with 2:40 left, now 34-17]. Mississippi State is taking #25 Ole Miss behind the woodshed in the Egg Bowl. Oklahoma is beating #12 Oklahoma State in the Bedlam game, which we’re all for since it ups Boise’s chances for a BCS game. Coming up later today and tonight, #1 Florida hosts Florida State and in the best named game of the year, #7 Georgia Tech hosts Georgia (game is called “Clean, Old Fashioned Hate” – just better than the “Holy War” between BYU and Utah – also played today). These games make college football, and we try to watch them all.

The Iron Bowl

 

– The Heisman Trophy. We’ve debated doing a full post on this, but we’ll shorten it up to get it in this post. We think Mark Ingram might have cost himself the Trophy with his game against Auburn yesterday(16 carries for 30 yards). Colt McCoy, on the other hand might have won it for himself with a dominant performance on Thursday night (470 total yards, 5 TDs). We personally don’t think that Tebow belongs in the conversation based on numbers, but he’ll be invited at the very least – based on his leadership, his ministry, and his ability to yell in the locker room. We’d vote for John Nesbitt (QB – Georgia Tech), Ndamakong Suh (DT – Nebraska), or CJ Spiller (RB – Clemson) before Tebow, and maybe one of them will manage to pull an invite.

We think we’ve covered most of what we missed. We’ll have our NFL picks on Tuesday, along with a preview of next weekend’s “championship weekend” in college football. We’ll also try to get up some College Basketball Stuff, as we’ve totally neglected that so far.





NFL Picks – Week 12

24 11 2009

After a rough week last week we rebounded this week for a nice 12-4 last week. Now that we’ve got our swagger back, let’s get down to what really matters.

Tried finding one of Stafford in uniform, but she's too hot to not post.

– Green Bay over Detroit. We’re too lazy to back this up, but it seems like Detroit plays better with Stafford. Add to that Calvin Johnson being up in the air, and we’ll take the Pack.

– Dallas over Oakland. While Oakland certainly looked better against Cincy, we’re going to keep riding Dallas until they collapse. And they’re at home.

– Giants over Denver. Let’s get this out of the way…Denver isn’t making the playoffs. 6-0 start was nice, but they look like we all thought they would now. And the Giants need this one.

– Atlanta over Tampa Bay. Tampa just fired another coordinator (DC Jim Bates). Atlanta is coming off a tough loss at home. This one could get ugly.

– Miami over Buffalo. Buffalo has hung around in the last couple games, but we’ll take the streaking Dolphins who are still technically alive for a playoff berth.

– Cincinnati over Cleveland. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but the Bengals are better than they played against Oakland. They just got caught up in hearing how great they were. Bounce back week.

– Seattle over St. Louis. Seattle is one of the easiest picks. They beat who they should beat, and lose to who they should lose. They should beat the Rams, and they will.

– Carolina over the Jets. We think the Jets might be playing for a draft spot (read: tanking). And Carolina should be able to run all over the Kris Jenkins-less Jets front.

– Philadelphia over Washington. Down to their third string back, the Redskins are going to have to put the game in the hands of Jason Campbell. And that’s not a good thing.

– Indy over Houston. We’re thinking that Monday Night loss might linger for the Texans. We also think Indy is due for a good performance off a string of decent, but not spectacular games.

Don't Look Now But...He's Back.

– San Diego over Kansas City. Don’t look now, but San Diego is rolling again. And LT’s looked like a living person the last couple of weeks.

– San Francisco over Jacksonville. The game of the weekend for smash-mouth football fans. We’ll take Singletary’s motivational skills in what should be a close game.

– Minnesota over Chicago. We’re going to set the over/under on Cutler picks in this game at 3. We’ll take the over. And a huge game for Purple Jesus.

– Tennessee over Arizona. The Titans seem to be rolling, with the combination of Vince Young and Chris Johnson. With Warner’s status still up in the air, we’ll take the minor upset.

– Baltimore over Pittsburgh. Big Ben is supposedly playing, but he’s not going to

Uncoverable?

be at 100%. This is another game that Baltimore needs, and we like a desperate Baltimore team.

– Patriots over Saints. We’ve gone on record as saying that the Saints don’t lose at home, and trust us – we don’t want to pick the Patriots. But the one question we keep asking is about the Saints defense. Who covers Moss and Welker??? Given that we’ll take the Pats, reluctantly.

Last Week: 12-4

Overall: 102-59





Forecasting – Tim Tebow

23 11 2009

With the final home game for one of the most decorated college football players in history this Saturday, we’ve decided to look ahead to what will be the future for Tim Tebow in the National Football League.

There are two basic ideas that we want to get across about Tebow.

1) He’s not a first round NFL draft pick.

2) Barring a change in his skill set, Tim Tebow is not an NFL Quarterback.

That being said, a little exploration of our statements is probably necessary. We do not think that Tim Tebow belongs in the first round of the draft. That does NOT mean that we think he will be taken later. In all likelihood, he will go somewhere in the 20’s. Perhaps to a team like Jacksonville, which is in dire need of headlines and good press and could play the “local boy” angle to get some fans in the stadium. We also think that it would be best for Tebow if he did not go in the first round. The change to an NFL style offense will be rough (and a possible position change, but we’ll cover that later), he doesn’t need the pressure of being a first round pick and potentially a “franchise savior.”

Tebow's Future?

On our other point, it’s the truth. (You see what we did there?) Urban Meyer’s offense is unique, and that means he’s not helping his QB’s if their goal is the NFL. Look at the most recent Meyer QB to go to the NFL, Alex Smith. Right now Smith is a career 55% passer with a QB rating of 66.5 (stat link) Not quite JaMarcus Russell bad, but still not close to good. Even this year, when he’s supposedly playing “well”, he’s only thrown two more TD’s than INT’s, and he’s had a passer rating higher than 90 once. (Week 7, in the second half @ Houston). We’re not saying that Tebow will be Smith, but it’s a comparison.

Which bring us to the idea of a possible position change. He’s essentially to slow to be a running back in the NFL, not to mention his running style would lead to a short shelf life in that role. We do not know how good his hands are, but Tight End is certainly an option. He’s quick enough to get open, and physical enough to block. Still we’re not buying it.

“But couldn’t he be a Pat White type ‘Wildcat’ QB?” Simply put…no. Teams run the wildcat to confuse defenses in an effort to create big plays. Pat White helps this effort because he is a gifted open field runner. Tebow is not.

Tebow will NOT be this.

Pat White is also rather fast. As we’ve already covered, Tebow, while not “slow” certainly isn’t “fast” either. If teams wanted to average three yards and a cloud of dust with their wildcat playbook, then Tebow would be the guy. But that’s not the goal of the offense. So to say it again, Tim Tebow is not a QB in the NFL.

To wrap this up, we think Tebow will go in the first round, but he doesn’t deserve to be there. He’ll probably have to change positions, TE is a possibility, as is a defensive front seven position, but that would likely take awhile. Our best guess – you won’t see Tim Tebow making an impact on a football field after the National Championship game for at least three years.





Box Score Browsing – Thursday Night

19 11 2009

Sorry for the late post tonight, we were traveling for most of the day. This will be a regular post when we’re burning the late evening oil. We’ll look at and give knee jerk reactions on most of the box scores of the action on that night. Essentially what we’d be doing anyway, only with pictures!

CBB: (21)Dayton 63, (19) Georgia Tech 59. We’re still transitioning into college hoops mode, but why is Tech ranked? Gani Lawal is good, Derrick Favors is supposed to be good, but who else is on this team? Good win for Dayton, particularly on an off night from Chris “Top Flight” Wright (8 points on 2-8 shooting).

CBB: (5) Kentucky 102, Sam Houston State 92. Kentucky’s got offense, 100 points proves that, but where is the defense. Sam Houston state should win the Southland conference, and make the tournament by virtue of the auto-bid, but giving up 92? Kentucky also got zero points from their bench. Games like this raise some red flags for us. Defense and depth win national championships. In other observations, huge night for DeMarcus Cousins – going off for 27 points and 18 boards in 27 minutes.

CBB: (24) Syracuse 95, (12) California 73. Wow from Syracuse. Didn’t expect anything like this. Nice to see the hyped Iowa State transfer Wesley Johnson play well (17 pts on 7/12 shooting, 11 boards). We would have liked to see more from the massive ‘Cuse frontline of Onuaku and Jackson (combined 20 points and 7 boards). Those guys should be able to push around a smaller team like Cal. Still, hard to find too many faults in a 22 point win.

CFB: Colorado vs. Oklahoma State (in progress). Looking over the numbers from this game, one question jumps to our minds…What happened to Kendall Hunter? One of the OSU “triplets” along with Zac Robinson and Dez Bryant, Hunter ran for 1,500+ yards and 16 TD’s last year. Going into tonight, ESPN project Hunter will finish with merely 264 yards. He missed 5 games with an injury in the middle of the year, but still. His average has dipped by nearly 3 YPC. We’re guessing he’s not fully healthy, or Dez Bryant being on the field really took commanded the focus of the defense. [UPDATE: Tonight’s game just went final. Ok. State prevails, 31-28. Kendall Hunter finished with 11 carries for 47 yards, 4.3 yards/carry]

– We were going to do a small write up on the NFL game tonight, but it’s not exactly riveting. With 3 minutes left, Miami is leading Carolina 24-14. It would appear that Ricky Williams will finish with over 120 rushing yards and two TD’s. Carolina has been running well with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, but Jake Delhomme is playing poorly (currently 16/33 with a pick). We didn’t even watch this game, because the NFL Network is on approx 9 televisions nationwide.

– Quickly, some thoughts on the NL Cy Young announcement today. We’ll throw up our reaction, and leave it for you to ponder. Any of the three candidates (Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, and Tim Lincecum) could have won and we wouldn’t have taken a major issue, but we think the voters got it right by giving it to Lincecum.





Odds and Ends – 11/18

18 11 2009

Mike Shanahan

Not a whole lot of time today, so let’s get right to it.

– Coaching Change in Buffalo. Dick Jauron was fired yesterday, after a decidedly mediocre run as the Bills’ head coach. The firing probably wasn’t really a surprise to anyone, while the timing might have been. Rumors now are that two time Super Bowl winning coach Mike Shanahan is being pursued as the possible successor.  That move makes little sense for the team, and even less sense for Shanahan himself. The man can pick any job he wants, and no offense to Buffalo fans, but that job is at the top of nobody’s list. For the team, why wouldn’t you go with a younger coach who will 1) require a lower salary (a concern for a team that has considered moving to Toronto) and 2) might stick around for a while. It seems to me like Shanahan would go for a win now team, and Buffalo is not that job.

Jim Tracy and Mike Scioscia

MLB Manager of the Year/AL Cy Young Awards. The votes actually got one right this time, with Zack Greinke winning his first Cy Young.  The guy was 16-8 for a 65 win team. He had 8 no decisions, 7 of which he allowed 3 runs or fewer (4 ER in his last start of the year, a ND) No question there that he should have won, and he did. Surprisingly I also agree with the manager of the year selections. Jim Tracy’s team went 74-42 under him, good for a 64% winning percentage. No competition here. The AL award was a little more open, but you simply cannot argue with the job that Mike Scioscia did this year. He faced the death of a talented young pitcher, Nick Adenhart, and numerous injuries to his pitching staff, including John Lackey and Ervin Santana. He also had to manage a bullpen that lost the record setting Francicso Rodriguez. While Ron Gardenhire will almost always be in contention given his teams consistent winning in spite of a low payroll, Scioscia was the obvious choice here.





NFL Picks – Week 11

17 11 2009

This will be the day that we knock these out from now on. Tough week last week, but you can’t forecast injuries (excuses, excuses) In other news, finally a full week, no byes. That being said, let’s get rolling.

– Carolina over Miami. Not looking good for the Dolphins this week. No Ronnie Brown, going on the road, still starting Chad Henne…

– Dallas over Washington. Never buy into Jason Campbell. The Packers were motivated in beating up the ‘Boys. The Skins…are coached by Jim Zorn and their plays are called by a guy who was calling bingo in a retirement home this time last month.

– Detroit over Cleveland. Detroit has Calvin Johnson. That’s the only reason we’re picking them.

– Green Bay over San Fran. Last week was a good start for the Pack. Plus the Niners are coming off nearly giving up a game where they were +5 in turnover margin. We love this video, think Singletary is headed for great things on the sidelines.

– Pittsburgh over Kansas City. No Dwayne Bowe (PED suspension) for the Chiefs. No LJ for the Chiefs (not that it really matters) Steelers in a blowout.

– Giants over Atlanta. While we think Atlanta is good, they won’t be without Michael Turner and Matt Ryan playing in a funk (11 INTs over the last 6 games). Plus the Giants have to beat somebody, right?

– New Orleans over Tampa Bay. The Saints are still good, they just have some holes. Tampa cannot exploit those holes.

– Jacksonville over Buffalo. Sorry Bills fans. Not riding the “win one for the interim coach” train.

– Indy over Baltimore. Tempting to pick the Ravens here. Colts are just coming off an emotional, hard fought win. Baltimore is a team that out man the Colts along the lines. But in the end, we’ll take #18.

– Minnesota over Seattle. Still early, but Farve for MVP? (Our take – can’t be an MVP when you’re the third best player on your team: see Peterson, Adrian and Allen, Jared.)

– Arizona over St. Louis. Sell on the Rams after the almost upset. They’re not good. Steven Jackson is awesome. Rest of team is terrible.

– New England over the Jets. This could get ugly. A confirmation of how you don’t question Bill Belichick.

– Cincy over Oakland. Benson being banged up hurts, but they didn’t have him for the majority of the Pittsburgh game and still won. They’ve got too much going for them to mess it up against the Raiders.

– San Diego over Denver. Especially if Chris Simms plays. Once he came in, to borrow a line from Anchorman – man that escalated quickly. Denver is too one dimensional right now (pass happy) and that one dimension is one dimensional (short pass happy)

– Philadelphia over Chicago. As bad as the Eagles have looked over recent weeks, the Bears have looked worse. The Eagles are better at the no running game thing.

– Houston over Tennessee. Vince Young Chris Johnson can’t do everything. Too many weapons for the Texans.

Last Week: 7-7 (ouch)

Overall: 90-55