Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Damn! I wish I hadn't lost Janikowski's phone number.

Last night we had a night game against the Mets, which was pretty fantastic when you consider that 70% of the 8,100 people in the stands were horrible, annoying New York and New Jersey transplants. God, I'm glad that's over. I can't stand those self righteous pricks. I'll gladly deal with the New York/New Jersey attitude when I'm up in their neck of the woods, but once you've moved down to Florida (or anywhere else for that matter), you immediately lose all right to pontificate on the merits of the New York-New Jersey Metro area. Nobody made you move down here, and nobody wants to hear about how great Long Island shut your filthy pasta slurping mouth. In case you haven't noticed, I love all the different fans who venture into our facility on a weekly basis.

The only good thing that came from the evening is that the Mets brought utter crap up to the game and pissed off all the "diehard fans" (their words, not mine) who couldn't name a single prospect or non-starter. Major League Baseball requires that the visiting team during spring training bring at least 4 players off of their 25 man roster. So what did the Mets do? They brought three middle relievers and Miguel Cairo. Willie are truly a great man.

We have another game today against the Atlanta Braves and I've heard that the Braves are bringing a pretty decent roster so I may sneak out of the office and take in an inning or two. Other than that, there is not alot to report about my life or the currently dead sports scene other than the fact that I finally broke down and purchased the NBA League Pass for the remainder of the season this morning. Last night I suddenly realized that there will be no sports that I enjoy regularly watching on TV (baseball sucks on TV, unless its the fall) available after Monday night and after grabbing a towel to dry off all of the cold sweat that had engulfed my body, I figured that I'd go ahead and pay the $49 for the League Pass. I usually buy the League Pass at the beginning of each season but decided against it earlier this year because of a less than stable living situation. Well, that problem has been solved and now I just have to figure out how I'm going to convince my girlfriend on why it's neccessary that I stay up for the Warriors-Clippers game until 1:30 on a tuesday night. I think it may be time for me to break out the old GHB recipe again. Now if I can only find my old college notebooks.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Random Tournament Thoughts: Vol. II

That was the best weekend of basketball (on any level) that I can ever remember watching. Just after Patrick Sparks knocked down his double pump desperation heave, my sister called to commiserate on the weekend’s events. “I had to wake up Toby (her husband) last night to see the end of the Illinois game because he missed the end of Villanova-UNC and I was going to have to file for divorce if he slept through that game too. I just want this thing to go at least one more OT.” Well, you got your wish Penny. Now if we could only get your husband to stop sleeping so much we’d be in good shape. Actually, I’m not thinking that's very likely. He IS Mexican after all.

- The thing that impressed me the most during Illinois’ comeback was the play of Luther Head. He would not let the Illini lose. We hear announcers talk about guys willing their team to victory alot but it is often just overused hyperbole. Everybody else on Illinois began to hang their head around the four minute mark and seemed to be losing hope. Head, on the other hand, never stopped working on defense and came up with a couple of crucial steals that really got the momentum turning. Head also showed some serious onions (say it like Raftery) by having the courage to take a couple of threes that could’ve ended Ilinois’ run before it even began if he had missed. Which he didn’t, by the way.

- I’m not saying that Sean May isn’t a spectacular college big man, he certainly is. I am not, however, completely sold on his pro potential. It’s a crapshoot when it comes to wide bodied, undersized college big guys. You could get Elton Brand or you could get Marcus Fizer. I must say that a large part of my trepidation is a result of my torrid love affair with the pro prospects of Byron Houston during my early teen years. I think we all know how that turned out.

- If Bill Raftery sold an afternoon with him on Ebay, similar to what Jose Canseco once did, I would probably take out a loan in order to win the auction. That guy just cracks me up.

- Bruce Weber commented that the one player that he could least afford to lose from this Illinois team is Deron Williams. This makes a lot of sense since Williams is the guy who sets everybody else up. Well, Bruce you’d better enjoy him for the next two games because Williams is a lock to enter the NBA Draft after this year. His stock will never be higher than it is right now. He ‘s got a real shot at ending up in the Lottery. All of this got me thinking about Dee Drown and what he’ll do regarding the NBA Draft this summer. As I can tell, there are two distinct schools of thought regarding this decision with the first being (1) Stay for his Senior Season: Brown would undoubtedly be the star and could get a full year of playing the point, thereby alleviating some of the concerns about his ability to handle the responsibilities of running the point in the NBA. If he is able to do that while also helping next year’s Illinois team gain an NCAA tournament berth, then he could end up as a top 15 selection in the Draft. Especially, when you consider how much deeper this year’s point guard class is in comparison to next year. Of course there is another school of thought which says that Brown should (2) Declare for the NBA Draft: Brown will never be as front and center in the minds of NBA scouts as he is right now. Brown has also played very well in this tournament while displaying a full complement of his skills. If Brown were to return to next year’s Illinois team, he would be the focus of every defense in the Big Ten and is likely to see a lot of double teams when you consider the lack of quality young depth on Illinois. A year of lower shooting percentages and higher turnover numbers could drop Brown out of the draft completely. If Brown were to declare, he could attempt to prove his ability to man the point by playing at the pre-draft camp in Chicago over a span of four days instead of over six months where NBA scouts and GMS have a lot more time to pick apart your game. If Brown were able to play well during the aforementioned four days in Chicago he could possibly land a first round guarantee from a team that fell in love with his speed and long range shooting ability. It only takes one team to fall in love with your game in Chicago to get you drafted in the first round. Don’t believe me? Go ask Steven Hunter…and while you're there, punch him in the face for me. Honestly, I can see the sides to both arguments and can’t really fault Brown for whatever decision he makes. Personally, I think that Brown sees what is returning for Illinois (not much) and decides to declare along with his good friend Williams.

- Larry O’ Bannon doesn’t get nearly enough credit for the kind of player he is.

Caution: Pittsnogle Alert

- If I had to draw or describe (because I’m not a very talented artist) what I think the average West Virginia male looks like, it would end up looking exactly like Kevin Pittsnogle.

-I can’t wait to see Kevin Pittsnogle on Dream Job 2021, hosted by Stuart A. SmithScott.

-Kevin Pittsnogle looks like he walked into a tattoo parlor and said something like, “ I have $800 to spend on tattoos but I can’t spend more than $75 on any single one, what can you do for me?”

Entering a Pittsnogle Free Zone

-He hit his free throws yesterday, but there’s something about Raymond Felton’s body language and general demeanor in late game situations that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

-If I could go back in time and watch the high school games of college players, the Proviso East games including Shannon and Dee Brown would at the very top of my list.

-Lemonade Gatorade is excellent. I have steadfastly boycotted every single new Gatorade flavor since the introduction of Citrus Cooler. Mostly because I’m a really irrational guy who likes to protest stupid things. With that said, I had to give the Lemonade at least one try. I did and all I can say is…wherever this Gatorade stuff was invented must be a bastion of academic integrity and America’s foremost cradle for bright young minds.

- It is totally inexcuseable for both Lute Olson and Tubby Smith to have designed such unimaginative plays in their respective game ending situations. Times like those are the exact moment when coaches earn their salaries. Substitution patterns are neat and we all get a kick out of Tubby’s crazy eyes routine, but both of these guys dropped the ball in a major way. I’m not saying that they are better coaches but I’d bet that Bob Huggins and Larry Eustachy, if Hoosiers has taught us anything, could’ve gotten their guys a wide open look in the same situation. The sauce is very underrated for these types of things. Who do you think has a better, more original late game play? Lute Olson who goes to bed every night after Wheel of Fortune or Bob Huggins who is doing shots of Jack and scribbling plays onto a cocktail napkin at 1 am in an off-campus dive?

- During the Illinois comeback CBS was showing Bill Murray going crazy and generally embarrassing everybody around him, which was fun. After CBS showed Murray for the fifth time in ten seconds, I noticed that I recognized the man standing behind him. It was none other than former Florida and current Illinois Head Football Coach Ron Zook. As the comeback continued I couldn’t help wondering if, despite his newfound loyalty to Illinois, Zook felt bad for Lute Olson and the Arizona players. Because if anybody knows about blowing huge leads in big games, it is Ron Zook.

- Billy Packer mentioned on Friday night that Paul Davis had 19 blocks on the season. That’s right…19! It is an absolute joke for a fairly athletic seven foot starter in college basketball to have only 19 blocks over the course of a season. Greg Hildebrand could get over 20 blocks in a full college season. Davis has played pretty well in this tournament so far but that stat is embarrassing.

- I am in the running for two separate pools (my sister’s and the grounds crew at our stadium) because I picked UNC, Illinois, and Louisville to make the Final Four . I also picked Michigan State to make the regional final in the grounds crew pool so I'm betting that I'm in real good shape there. In fact, I’m going down to the grounds crew building right now to check on my status because as my grandfather used to say, “never, ever trust a man that cuts grass for a living.” My grandfather also made J. Edgar Hoover look like Rob Deer.

Well...this blows...bad.

I just spent about an hour typing up a post based on this past weekend's events (mostly basketball related) and then blogger crapped out on me when it came time to publish the post. It's probably lost for good at this point. Oh well. I guess you'll all just have to imagine what I would've written about. Come to think of it, that's probably a good thing since you kids don't use your imagination nearly enough these days.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

This post is SOOO hot!!

Maybe I'm just a little too overjoyed about this whole Pat O' Brien thing (actually I know that I am), but I swear that I heard Jim Nantz making a passing reference to it last night during the MSU-Duke game. Early in the second half, as CBS was going to commerical, Nantz says something to the effect of Duke has come ready to play tonight but...(here it is) Michigan State wants Duke to know that "they're soooo into this tonight" as the music plays. If you listened closely enough you could hear Billy Packer snicker in the way you would if somebody cracked a gay joke about the closet case in your office. I swear that I'm not making any of this up and that I was doubled over laughing at the thought of Billy Packer and Jim Nantz discussing what a weirdo they always knew Pat was. Can't you just hear Packer saying something like, "I should've known something when he told me I would look sexy with a mustache too." No? It's just me. Screw you then!

I like Louisville to win by about ten tonight over the Inbreeders...oh I mean the Mountaineers. Its been a nice run for them but Louisville is just playing too well right now and should have no problem getting out on all the perimeter shooters for West Virginia since the Cards see that style of play (abundance of shooters, not the Pricneton offense part) in practice on a daily basis. I also don't think that West Virginia has anybody who can cover Frank Garcia...and yes, I know I just called him Frank. It's easier and I'm lazy, get over it.

Illinois vs. Zona should be very interesting to watch. I think that Salim Stoudamire will give Illinois alot of trouble tonight. Luther Head is clearly not close to 100% (did you see him get blocked from behind on a fast break on Thursday night?) and without him to defend, Stoudamire could get a ton of open looks on the perimeter. I don't think that Dee Brown or Deron Williams match up with Stoudamire very well on the defensive end. With that said, I still am picking Illinois to win tonight because they just seem like the best overall team that I've seen in this tournament...and I want to win the pool that I'm in and that won't happen with Arizona in the Final Four.

Sorry that this isn't much of a post but I'm working on a Saturday so you'll probably have to deal with your dissapointment on your own time. Mine is way too valuable to waste on anything other than appeasing annoying fans and pulling tarp in driving rainstorms.

Friday, March 25, 2005

My Grandchildren are beautiful by the way!!

I bought the greatest thing that I've had the pleasure of purchasing in quite some time yesterday afternoon and it absolutely made my day. This is an item that I'd been searching for since I bought my new car in late August of last year. Since I live in Florida, I didn't think it would take me much time to get my hands on this item, but it proved a much more scarce commodity than I had ever anticipated. Quite frankly, I'd given up hope for finding this item and was about to stat searching the internet. Then yesterday afternoon as I was purchasing a Cobb salad at Wal-Mart (not as bad as you'd think, really...and yes I only started eating Cobb salad's because of the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode involving them) when I decided to make one last ditch effort in hopes of finding my lost treasure. So I walk over to the rack, spin it around and...there it is! More beautiful than I had imagined and the last one to boot.

I quickly pick it up and take it to the counter where a slightly confused clerk looks at it, looks at me and then just goes ahead and checks me out while looking slightly bemused. No matter, I have what I came for and I couldn't be happier. What is this object of my affection you ask? A license plate. A license plate for the front of my car. A license plate that reads: "Ask me about my Grandchildren".

Not much more time to write anything today as I ended up pulling tarp on three separate occasions this afternoon and am now to tired to attempt to write anything remotely intelligent and/or funny, not that my normal attempts at such things are very successful to begin with.

Zona-OSU was a great game to watch. I only hope that we can get a couple of more games like that before the tournament's paced, well played and right down to the wire. Oh yeah, and I was wrong. I know.

As for tonight's games:

-I am thinking UNC over Nova, though I would really like to have seen Nova with a healthy Curtis Sumpter. Unless Jason Fraser packed his oujia board and is once again able to summon the ghost of Wilt Chamberlain, I think that the May-Williams combo will just be too much for the smaller, quicker Nova team to handle. Nova could try and speed up the game, but that plays right into Carolina's hands since they are a much better team when they don't have to play in the half court.

-Wisconsin vs. NC State: Bo Ryan's team will put me to sleep but 'll wake up on my couch just in time (causing me to look alot like Herb Sendek does everyday of the year) to see the Badgers beat NC State as "Orange Julius" Hodge shoots under 35% for the game.

-Duke vs. Michigan State: I know that I said that I don't think that Michigan State is very good ( I still don't) but I feel like they'll get Shelden Williams in foul trouble and throw enough defenders at JJ Reddick to make his life miserable, thereby causing him to force up bad shots in a Duke loss. One caveat here: Duke can win if Daniel Ewing goes to the basket consistently and stops settling for his streaky/shaky long range jumper.

- Kentucky vs. Utah: I have no clue here. Kentucky is overrated and so is Andrew Bogut but I think that Andrew Bogut love parade has one more stop on it and the Utes finally win a NCAA tournament game while Rick Majerus downs 4 meatball subs and three baked potatoes...before halftime.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I don't give a SHIT about the University of North Carolina right now!!

I have been in a trance all day thanks to Pat O'Brien. I heard the voicemail messges yesterday and that alone was enough for me to join the Pat O'Brien fan club. Then today I come in to work and read a NY Daily News article that detailed many of his other exploits while working on "Access Hollywood". If you haven't read up on Patty, take some time to google his name and I promise that you'll never look back on old NCAA Tourney games running on ESPN Classic the same.

In case you haven't heard the Magic have completely imploded as team and are now out of the playoffs (if they started today). This all began with the Cat Mobley trade and continued when Dog (oh, I mean Doug) Christie went on the IR with sand in his vagina. The final straw occurred two nights ago when the Magic not only blew a fourth quarter lead against the lowly Charlotte BETcats but also lost Hedo Turkoglu for the season with a broken wrist. Sure, Steve Francis will come back in a couple of games but he hasn't been the same since they traded his boyfriend and Johnny Davis switched him to the off-guard position. Which, apparently, Steve thought meant he had to be off his game.

At this point the Magic might as well feed Dwight Howard the ball 30-40 times a game and let him continue to develop as a go-to-guy on offense because they are NOT going to get back in the playoffs and will most surely look to trade Francis this offseason. I was with Magic GM John Weisbrod on many of his moves this summer (even the Drew Gooden trade because he needed a new atmosphere, though they SHOULD NOT have included Anderson Varejao but that is besides the point ) but the Mobley trade has been devastating to this team in two major ways:

(1) Chemistry: He should've known that Francis was going to pout for a solid month once Mobley was traded. Do you think that Siegfried would've been able to carry on with the show as if nothing happened if the StarDust brought in, say, Wayne Newton to team up with him. You think I'm joking here...I'm not. Francis and Mobley had a weird man-love thing going on that I will not even attempt to fully comprehend Yet, this is not nearly as big an issue as the second reason which is (2) Offense: Alot was made about the Magic needing more defense, which was true, but this was often in the same breath as people proclaiming that they were just fine offensively. This could not have been further from the truth. The Magic were an average (at best) offensive team that fooled people by quickening the pace. Essentially, the Magic had four good offensive players who were all fairly inconsistent in Steve Francis, Grant Hill, Cat Mobley, and Hedo Turkoglu. Each of these guys are capable of carrying a team for stretches but they are also all very capable of going 2-14 on any given night as well. The Magic needed contributions from all these guys to be a dangerous offensive team especially when you consider what little offensive contribution the Magic's frontline have given them. As young as he is, Dwight Howard has been the most consistent offensive presence on that frontline all year long which is not a postive sign for anybody, other than Dwight.

Essentially, the Magic were a decent perimeter oriented offensive team who needed all the points that they could get because of some glaring defensive weaknesses. Wesibrod reasoned that by subtracting one offensive player for a defensive player, he could make the Magic better on defense without losing much on offense. Well, he was wrong. Very wrong.

Here's why: Mobley was one of two real three point threats (along with Turkoglu) that the Magic had. The threat of him shooting kept defenses honest, thereby allowing Francis and Hill the kind of space they needed to get into the lane. When this threat dissapeared, so did the driving lanes and with it the ability to improvise that are so vital to both Hill and Francis's game (especially Francis). In Christie, the Magic got not only an over-the-hill defender but also a half-man/half-bitch who couldn't move on like a professional should after being traded. He can talk about his bone spurs in his ankle all he wants but everybody knows that he just quit on the Magic. Even when he was playing, Christie was showing his age on defense while also displaying that his lack of offensive skill had been covered up by the very skilled passers and cutters who he'd been playing with in Sacramento.

When it all shook out, the Magic ended up trading their most dangerous perimeter threat for a defensive stopper with eroding skills and a bad attitude while also asking a great bench guy like Turkoglu to change his role mid-season and become a primary offensive weapon, which he has never, ever done before.

Yep, that's a pretty good way to sabotage a season. Success (even marginal) was fun while it lasted.

As for tonight's NCAA tournament games:

Louisville-Washington should be unbelievably exciting. Of course, Georgia Tech-Louisville was suppossed to be great as well, and we all know how that turned out. This game has the potential to be very euro-centric, what with all the great shooters and ballhandlers on the floor coupled with the fact that neither team has a true post presence. Don't get me wrong, the post guys on both teams have alot of skill but none of them are traditional in the back-to-the-basket sense. If any game can be as overall exciting as Wake-WVU, this is the one. I have the Cards going to the Final Four so I'll stick with them here but they'd better get 20 each from 2 of the big 3 (Garcia, Dean, and O'Bannon).

The other game that really excites me is the OSU-Arizona matchup because it will feature a nice contrast in styles. OSU is best when they are playing tough man-to-man halfcourt defense while Arizona will gladly match points with you all day. If Channing Frye's balls finally drop tonight then the Cats could put a hurting inside on a very undersized Cowboy frontline but I still think that OSU will win in a close one. My reson for this is twofold: (1) OSU's defense, which has been discussed (however briefly) and (2) John Lucas Jr., who has really won me over this past year. I never thought he was that good and I still think he has very little NBA future, but he has proven to be a very good college point guard who is as clutch a player as you will find in the college game today. He is sooo much better late in the game and I think he's the difference tonight.

One last thing about this game: JamesON Curry is extremely good (waaay better than I had imagined last year) and I think he'll be a first round draft pick (at PG) within a few years. The rest of the country should send a thank you note to the Eastern Alamance County Sheriff's Dept. for busting him last year. If he hadn't been busted for doing his best Sir Smoke Alot impression last February he would be playing in Chapel Hill and you could pretty much have put a bow on the ACC in January. Roy Williams also wouldn't have to curse at Bonnie Bernstein again in a couple of weeks either.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I'm an idiot...

You knew that already but it was definitively confirmed when I didn't change the title to the last post. Here's my solution: Use your imagination to think up a new title for me. It will be like you're my editor, except neither of us get paid and I won't listen to any of your suggestions. Other than that, it will be exaclty like you being my editor

I think we might be missing a REALLY drunk guy

I don't have a single thing to add to the online world today, other than my rugged good looks. Then again, you can't actually see me through this computer screen so you'll just have to imagine how cool I look when I type (hint: not very).

The reason for this is that I am busy preparing for my office fantasy baseball draft, which commences in a little less than an hour. I didn't participate in the office league last year since I figured I'd get enough of baseball with the 80-plus games that I see in person each year. Of course, I'll still see over 80 games this year but I decided to throw my hat into the ring anyway. Basically, I'm playing fantasy baseball so I can make fun of everybody's picks tonight and also to have yet another reason to avoid doing the things that this company pays me (poorly) for. It should be interesting tonight as there are thirteen teams involved this year and we even have a guy from Kentucky participating in our draft via speakerphone. I can't emphasize enough that I'm really only in this for the material that tonight will provide me. Maybe, if I'm not too lazy and anyone who knows me knows how unlikely this now becomes, I'll jot down some of the especially ridiculous picks from tonight's action.

I was just about to title this blog in reference to the lack of a ridiculously drunk guy in this year's draft but one of our interns just walked in (he had the day off) with a six pack in hand and a pretty healthy buzz on him already. I'm actually giddy as a result of this latest development. Now all we need is somebody who spends half the time on the phone with his girlfriend and I'm pretty sure we have that one taken care of already.

Oh yeah, thanks for making Barry Bonds jump off a bridge...I hope you're all very proud of yourselves!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Are you too good for your home? Answer me!

As you may have noticed, I've done some spring renovations to the site which is a sure sign that I'm avoiding the work on my desk at all costs, but would you really expect anything less from me? I certainly hope not.

I don't really have alot to add today so I figured that I'd share a pretty ridiculous anecdote about one of my co-workers from last week. I have a shaky stomach that doesn't always react well to the foods I eat and often leads to me spending an inordinate amount of my afternoon perched on the throne. Well, last Friday was one of these days as the quesadillas that I ate at lunch decided to make my afternoon a veritable water closet relay race. I must have hit the bathroom five times in a three hour span. This was especially annoying because I was trying to waste company time by watching basketball, not by dropping off the Cosby kids at the pool.

Soon after qutting time, I ventured over the the weight room to get in a quick workout before heading home for more basketball viewing. When I arrived in the weight room, I shared the story of my trying times with Calvin and Joe who were already working out. After I almost made Joe pee his pants with the especially graphic details of my struggle, the converstaion turned to unfortunate stomach ailments and the various techniques we use to quell these disturbances. At this point, everything is moving along as well as can be expected (we were talking about poop, so draw your own conclusions) when Calvin pipes up with this gem. Mind you, I'm paraphrasing here but this is a pretty reasonable facsimilie of what he said.

Calvin: "You know when I am having trouble and I think that there is still some more left in there but I can't get it out, do you know what I do?"

Me & Joe: "No. What?"

Calvin: "I just punch myself in the stomach a couple of times to get it moving"

At this point I pretty much just dropped the weights that I was lifting and began to laugh hysterically at the idea of Calvin punching himself in the stomach while sitting on the can. Then Joe piped up and said, "Do you say anything when you're punching yourself? You know, like Nobody likes you so get outta here or I hate you just leave already." You have to understand that Calvin is among the more unbalanced people that I know and the thought of him uttering such things is far more plausible than it is farfetched. Needless to say, I immediately went to the bathroom and punched myself in the stomach four or five times.

Actually, I just laughed for another five minutes and went home.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Nice of you to earn your 'ship there Fraser.

Well, Florida's season is over so I can talk about the team without fear of endangering their future prospects because, well there aren't any future prospects, not for this exact team at least.

I liked this Florida team much more than any of the past three seasons, they played with heart and desire that far surpassed anything we'd seen on the court from a Billy Donovan coached team in quite a while. David Lee was the major reason for this transformation. He began, in this his senior season, to finally play with the passion and intensity that Florida fans had always wanted from him. As a result, this team followed his leadership and was able to accomplish some things that nobody would've thought possible after Lee put up 4 points and 2 rebounds in an early January loss to FSU. I truly believe that Florida was a better team than Villanova, it just so happens that Villanova severely outplayed Florida yesterday. Lee did his best to keep the team in the game and had he gotten some offensive help, then the Gators may have had a shot, even with Jason Fraser doing his best Wilt Chamberlain impression.

What ended up killing the Gators is that their leading scorer, Anthony Roberson, went ice cold during the final 5 games of the season. He simply couldn't hit anything, inside or out and his confidence clearly waned in the first round matchup versus Ohio. You can get away with not having one of your "Big Three" playing up to par but you certainly can't get by with two of those three struggling and that's what happenned yesterday as Matt Walsh struggled to get his shot against the more athletic and aggressive Wildcat defenders. This was no surprise to anybody who has watched Florida on a regular basis. Walsh just doesn't possess enough quickness to create his shot against high-level defenders, even his big games in the SEC Tourney were more a product of him being freed by set plays and great screening. Was Villanova a better team than Florida? No. Did Villanova deserve to win yesterday? Absolutely. Make no mistake about it though, this was not the same type of Florida that crumbled in the tournament because they were too soft and lazy. No, this Florida team had enough heart to win this game and maybe even one more, it simply lacked the offensive firepower to stay with a very good Villanova team. Then again, when the conference's leading scorer gets 5 points in a second round matchup there are not many teams who would be able to overcome that and still walk away with a victory.

Most Florida fans' minds have already turned to spring football and the debut of Urban Meyer and his vaunted offense. I'd be lying if I said I haven't been reading practice reports for the past three days and I wasn't planning on being in Gainesville on April 9th to watch the annual Orange and Blue Spring Scrimmage (I have been and I am) but there are a few things that I want to address before we close the door on this year's Florida Basketball team.

- Congrats on the SEC tourney title, you made Gators everywhere proud.

-David Lee will end up being drafted in the mid-to-late first round, due to a combination of a fantastic finish to his senior year and his predictably sensational pre-draft workouts. Pretty impressive when you consider he wasn't even likely to be drafted at all in the middle of the year.

- Anthony Roberson: You had a very nice year but you are kidding yourself if you think you're ready for the NBA. Stick around one more year and improve your overall ballhandling ability and come back ready to average 24 ppg in the SEC, then you'll have a much better shot at making it in the NBA. Look at what coming back for one more year did for David Lee.

-Matt Walsh: Take a page out of JJ Reddick's book and come back next year in the best shape of your need every physical advantage you can get.

-Corey Brewer: He has the potential to be a superstar if he can continue to progress offensively. Based on his athleticism and overall work ethic, the sky is the limit. As is his unintentional comedy potential, as my friend Vitas said on Friday he's "already the hands down team leader in unintentional comdedy." I agree...keep up the good work.

-Al Horford: Already a serviceable SEC Center with the potential to be a double double machine as he becomes more comfortable and proficient offensively. The thought of him and Chris Richard (has the light come on?) beating people down on the block next year actually makes me giddy with excitement over the possibilities.

I knew this Gator team wasn't going to win it all, but with the Kansas and UConn going down, I began to think that maybe the Gators had a magical Final Four run in them. Alas, it was not to be and we'll have to sit through another year of hearing how Florida can not win in the tournament. It's a load of crap but unless you can shutup the critics then you just have to grin and bear it. Hopefully all the upperclassmen come back with a big chip on their shoulder and and even better year than the one which just passed.

Tournament thoughts...

Random thoughts from the weekend that was...

- Bill Simmons is a lazy bastard. I wish I could only do half (or less) of my assigned work because I found it boring. It's work, its supposed to suck.

- Mike Gansey may have singlehandedly willed West Virginia to victory over Wake Forest, but does he have his welding certificate? I didn't think so. No wonder he had to leave St. Bonaventure.

-What exactly caused Rudy Gay to fall down on that last play against NC State? Did he slip on a banana peel?

-Did anybody catch the pregame man hug between Villanova Coach Jay Wright and Billy Donovan's dad? Holy awkward Batman. It exceeded the standard length of a heterosexual man hug (as set forth in the Geneva convention) by a good 20 seconds. I had to manufacture a burp just to feel like I wasn't watching Lifetime or something.

- I wish I could've bet my car on "the freshman point guard from Bucknell will miss the front end of this one-and-one with 4.3 seconds left". He was lucky he didn't pee his pants on the walk up to the line.

- The Mascot Death Match method was looking pretty sweet on Friday night with Vermont and Bucknell winning. Yet, as of today I am down to one remaining Final Four team in that particular bracket. Oh well.

-Wisconsin-Milwaukee: The Feud is over.

- During Saturday's victory, Luther Head became the all-time single season leader at Illinois for three pointers made with 97. That's quite an accomplishment when you consider that Head was nothing more than a dunker and slasher when he arrived at Ilinois. Very impressive to see someone identify their weaknesses and round out their game accordingly.

- I kind of missed on that Pacific-Washington upset, which means...that I'm just as smart as Seth Davis. Hey Sports Illustrated: Can I have a job now?

- If Francisco Garcia doesn't go in the top 15 of the NBA Draft, then I may have to stage a West African style coup on the front offices of numerous NBA teams.

-Winsome Frazier of Mississippi State is one sketchy looking dude. Seriously, look at his picture, on hair alone this guy could get convicted of numerous crimes by just about any jury below the Mason-Dixon line.

-Salukis are originally from Egypt? Really?

-I find it hard to believe that New Mexico couldn't find a scholarship for Ronald Ross. How is that possible? I can't name one guy, other than Danny Granger, on the entire New Mexico team but we're suppossed to believe that Ross wasn't worth a scholarship offer coming out of high school? There's got to be more to this story and I, for one, would love to hear it. Of course, considering the current state of sports journalism we'll probably end up with a story about Jarrious Jackson and his unlikely friendship with the former Notre Dame QB of the same name.

- Everything about the idea of watching Wisconsin play basketball bores me to tears. Come to think of it, everything about the idea of watching Wisconsin play football bores me to tears as well. Thats it...I'm boycotting the entire Wisconsin Athletic Department...and for no good reason.

-Curtis Stinson needs to take a cue from Clark Kellog and just start shaving his head. Even with the headband, you aren't fooling anybody Curtis.

- Does Tom Izzo have some sort of deal with the devil that allows Michigan State to advance to the Sweet Sixteen every year? I'm completely serious about this. Michigan State hasn't been a team I would describe as "good" in about four years but every year the manage to make it through the first weekend. I need answers over here.

- I've changed my mind on Will Bynum. If he can just pass every now and then, he has a real shot at being an off the bench combo guard in the NBA. Shit, Troy Hudson and Eddie House are collecting regular paychecks doing the same thing and I think that Bynum is just a bit more talented than those two gunners.

- When does Mark Few stop getting a free pass for all his tourney flameouts? Now seems like a good time. Do you realize that Gonzaga hasn't made it past the second round since 2001, even with the sweetheart seedings that the Tournament committee keeps handing them? If Few was coaching the the SEC or Big East, that would be all the media could talk about.

-I know that its become cliche' to talk about how (insert undersized power forward here) would be a great NFL tight end, but I really, really think that Jason Maxiell would be unbelieavable as a tight end...for whatever thats worth.

I'm sure I'll think of more random thoughts from the weekend but I also have to maintain the appearance of work today, for at least a couple of hours, so I'll check back in later.

Friday, March 18, 2005

When describing Two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the year and Defensive Player of the year, Jim Spanarkel just uttered the words, "What a package, what a package!". I have no joke here.

I don't believe you.

Just for the record, I don't think that Coack K actually signs his American Express Card "Coach K" like we are led to believe in the commercials. That would be illegal, or something.

By the way, I had LSU upsetting Arizona in the second round...umm, yeah that worked out well.

I'm talking about you!! Paul.

There were some candidates for great games last night but, other than WVU-Creighton, they all fizzled out pretty spectacularly. Creighton should feel horrible this morning. They absolutely blew that game last night.

-As I was watching the Winthrop-Gonzaga game, I was imagining the Winthrop huddle and I kept thinking that at some point the phrase, "These white boys ain't shit!" was being uttered by one of the upperclassmen leaders.

- Even with the horrible implications that a Gonzaga loss would've had for my bracket, I would have really loved to have seen them go out to Winthrop, if only because its always good to see the "experts" be totally exposed for the clueless jamokes that we all are when it comes to the tournament.

-Winthrop was/is a very talented passing team.

-Chris Paul has alot of Isiah Thomas in him. I don't mean that in reference to his game either. Isiah was more a scoring point guard while Paul is a little more of the traditional pass first point guard. They are both capable of being the lead guy or the setup guy on a team, they just have different natural tendencies. What I mean is that both Isiah (early in his career) and Paul are guys who the media seems to love and always talk glowingly about. Yet, if you watch Paul you'll see that he does alot of little shit that would lead you to believe he's a bit of a punk. We all know about him roshamboing Julius Hodge and he also got into a scuffle with Daniel Ewing earlier this year, but those things happen from time to time in basketball and can be excused as lapses in judgement. What bothered me last night is that he was doing alot of jawing with the guys on Chattanooga and following that up with stupid little things like grabbing the ball out of the hoop after every basket. It seems like nothing to most fans but it really struck me as unneccessary for a player of his caliber. He completely reminded me of the guy in pickup ball who makes it no fun for everybody else to play because he's turning it into a personal battle between him and the entire oppossing team. Of course, this wasn't a pickup game and I'm sure his own teammates didn't mind one bit. I'm not totally sure what my overall point is but I know that I think Chris Paul is an undercover punk who hides behind his nice schoolboy image, just like Isiah used to, I guess I could've said that alot more quickly.

That's it, I need to feed this mini-hangover before it expands and ruins my entire morning. I'll be back later.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Rain is so AWESOME!!

I feel like the guy on that Tiny House commercial...this is pretty awesome!

Today is working out swimmingly already. I woke up about 15 minutes later than normal so I rushed around the house in order to get to work on time...didn't happen, of course. That normally would be a horrible way to start the day except, in this case, nobody noticed so I slid into work and filled out yet another bracket (#5) while checking my email. By the time I finished this up, the game which was scheduled for today (and bound to disturb my tourney viewing) had been cancelled due to the epic rainstorm that has engulfed Florida for the past 15 hours or so. Anyway, with no gameday responsibilites for me to handle, I can now concentrate on two key things: (1) Setting a good base for all the drinking I plan on doing this evening (early Vegas line for the over/under on # of car bombs: 3...psst, take the over) and of course (2) watching basketball. With all the free time that I have today, I may even grab a long lunch while watching some early afternoon tournament games as well. Anyway, here are a few of the upsets that I picked in what I'm calling my #1 bracket, followed by a couple of upsets I wanted to pick but couldn't pull the trigger on:


Wisconsin-Milwaukee over Bama: I just don't think Alabama is playing very good basketball right now, they seem like they peaked in mid-January. UWM screwed me two years ago against Notre Dame so we'll see if they can make it up to me here. I have taken UWM in the second round as can all feel free to point and laugh.

Creighton over WVU: Not much of an upset here. The MVC is a very good conference (not three teams in the NCAA tourney good mind you) and I think WVU blew their wad in the Big East Tournament.

New Mexico over Nova: I talked about this earlier in the week. I'm going with the "John Wallace Best Versatile Big Upperclassmen" theorem here, which clearly applies to Danny Granger who should be far too much for anyone on Villanova to handle. By the way, Dick Vitale wants me to tell you that Villanova Coach Jay Wright is a "very good looking man". Uhhh, thanks Dick...I guess.

Near picks:

Vermont vs. Syracuse: I really wanted to pick this one but couldn't quite get over the sting of picking Manhattan to upset the 'Cuse two years ago in the first round. That ended up killing my bracket since, you know Syracuse won the whole damn thing and all of that. With that said, I do think that Vermont is Taylor-made (get it, Taylor, like Taylor Coppenrath...I'm so witty) to beat the Syracuse zone with the shooters they have, especially if Tomm Brennan sticks Coppenrath in the high post on offense.

Oklahoma vs. Niagara: I talked about Niagara last week and how I was thinking of taking them, all the while spelling Niagara incorrectly. That's a public school education for ya. This is just a bad matchup for the Purple Eagles though. Juan Mendez is a hell of a player but I see him having some serious trouble matching up with both Bookout and Gray inside. Simply put, Niagara doesn't have enough size inside to take Oklahoma deep into the second half.

ODU vs. Michigan State: I think Michigan State is very overrated and I also think that ODU is good enough to beat a bunch of teams in this tourney. Here's the problem: ODU's best player is PF Alex Loughton who will be matching up with Paul Davis and the assorted thugs that Tom "I married my mexican maid" Izzo brings off his bench. Doesn't look good for the Monarchs inside. Seriously, you could matchup MSU with just about any other 12 and I pick them to lose and I really , really like ODU, but its all about the matchups and I don't like them in this one. Sorry.

One more thing: I finally broke down and picked one of my brackets using a completely ridiculous method which should guarantee me a first place finish if history is any indicator. So how did I pick this bracket you ask? Simple, the Mascot Death Match Method. It all comes down to who would win if the two mascots had to battle to the death. For example, a Bucknell Bison would stomp a Kansas Bucknell advances. I've always wondered what it would be like to be my Mom...and now I know. If I do well with this method (based on my example, thats not very likely) I may never use my brain to pick a bracket again.

Tommorrow I'll discuss some of the second round upsets that I have picked because, well, I will be really hung over and stuck at work so I might as well bore you all to death with my idiotic ramblings.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

All Digger, all the time.

Digger Phelps wasn't matching his tie with his highlighter last night, which was nice. He was, however, busy comparing Channing Frye and Salim Stoudamire to Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon. How can someone who is paid to analyze basketball make such an innane blanket statement? He works for ESPN, that's how. It seems like Digger just looked for the best inside-outside combo of upperclassmen and tagged them this year's version of Okafor and Gordon, because the while the games of these two groups may resemble each other on the surface, there is no comparison when it comes to the overall ability and consistency.

I'll start with Gordon and Stoudamire: Yes they're both somewhat undersized shooting guards. Here's the difference, Gordon possessed the ability to run the point for long stretches at UConn while also being lethal at creating his own shot off the dribble. So much so that many had Gordon pegged as a combo guard in the Gilbert Arenas mold when he entered the draft last summer. Stoudamire, on the other hand, is a shooter first and foremost. He can do a little creating off the dribble but his game is primarily of the catch and shoot variety. Lute Olson would sooner run off and get married six months after his wife died of cancer than ever let Stoudamire run the point for Arizona. Wait, that's a bad analogy...well, you get the point. Simply put, Gordon and Stoudamire have very different games with one major similarity: they can both shoot very well. Yeah, them and 75 other 6'3" guards in the country.

Frye vs. Okafor: If I was Emeka Okafor, I would find Digger Phelps and impale him with antlers like Slippery Dan on Deadwood this past Sunday. Its insulting to everything that Okafor accomplished in college to put him on the same level of a chronic underachiever like Frye. Okafor was the consensus National Player of the Year while Frye couldn't even make First Team All-PAC 10 this year. The PAC-10, by the way, wasn't exactly making Pete Newell drool over thoughts of the potential its young big men possessed this past year. Okafor was the most dominant player in all of college basketball last year, hands down. Frye could never be described using the word dominant other than, maybe, a phrase such as, "Channing Frye was was the dominant disappointment in the underachieving recruiting class of 2000 at the University of Arizona." It is an insult to the intelligence of college basketball fans as well as to Emeka Okafor to ever compare Channing Frye and Okafor. Hell, its and insult to compare Frye to Loren Woods. Other than both being black and over 6'9", there are no viable comparisons between Emeka Okafor and Channing Frye.

I truly believe that the only reason more people don't hate Digger Phelps is that his sublime stupidity is outshone by the endless (and pointless) rantings of Dick Vitale which have overshadowed him for so many years, thereby safeguarding him from the public scrutiny that his awful analysis truly deserves. I can't believe people like him get paid to misinform thousands of unsuspecting people for 8 months a year. Actually he works for ESPN so I can believe that...I guess I should be surprised that he doesn't have his own channel yet.

Monday, March 14, 2005

I stand corrected. That was a dumb question.

I never get tired of that Miller Lite commercial. I wish I could say the same thing about Miller Lite.

-I can't tell you how excited I am that I won't have to hear about the "bubble" for the next 350 days. Actually, I can but it isn't really all that interesting so I'll just save all of us the trouble.

-I hate Notre Dame with a totally irrational fervor but I, too, agree that they got screwed pretty good by the selection committee. 9-7 in the Big East against that schedule is pretty damn good.

-The Pit looks like an Auto Parts store from the outside, seriously. I know its all underground but damn, spice the entrance up a little bit. You are hosting a regional final there fellas.

-Louisville deserved better than a #4 seed, much better. I thought they had a real shot at a #2 and maybe even a #1 seed, how they only garnered a #4 is beyond me. Am I the only person who wished they could have heard Francisco Garcia yell out "Dios Mio!!" when the bracket was unveiled? I didn't think so.

-I would love to talk about the Florida Gators but my own rules for this blog prevent that in any manner. This is what I will say: Congrats on the SEC title, you guys deserved it. What you didn't deserve however was to get stuck in the same bracket as UNC, UCONN, Kansas, and Villanova. Is that suppossed to be some kind of reward for winnng the SEC tourney while beating Mississippi State, Alabama and Kentucky (twice) in an eight day span? Gee, thanks committee guys...maybe you'd like to kick Billy Donovan's dog while you're at it.

- I haven't watched a ton of Washington games but I refuse to believe them as a #1 seed, its obviously my blantant East Coast bias. The only reason they even were considered for that spot in the first palce is that the PAC-10 was the #2 rated conference in the RPI which I don't understand in the least but still feel comfortable calling a total sham. I have no journalistic integrity and it feels quite good.

-Cincy-UK in the second round has the potential to be the ugliest game in recorded human history. If the over under on that game is anywhere in the 90s...I'm putting my kidneys up for the collateral on my bet. Then again, Sean Elliot's brother is my bookie so we operate on a slightly different system than your standard betting service.

-I really, really like New Mexico to beat Villanova. Danny Granger should be too much for anybody on that Wildcat frontline to handle.

- What's the over/under for the number of technical fouls in that Charlotte vs. NC State game? 6? 7? Ok, it might not be that chippy but you've got to believe Charlotte comes into that game with a huge chip on their know since ACC coaches would rather eat glass
than play a home and home against the 49ers.

-I refuse to believe that the Missouri Valley Conference deserved three teams in this tournament. If you ask me (and you didn't) that is nothing more than blatant pandering to the mid-major masses by the committee. I know its a good conference with very underrated players but in no way should a ten loss team that lost in the conference tourney quarterfinals of the MVC be receiving a bid.

-I guess I'm just not that smart but I don't understand how Illinois is the #1 overall seed in the eintire tournament but they're not playing against the winner of the play-in game. Can anybody explain this to me? If you can, please feel free to insult my intelligence (or lack thereof) all throughout your explanation as I clearly deserve to be aired out for my lack of bracket acumen.

-The tournament starting and St. Patrick's Day falling on the same day has legitimate potential to be the end of my current career. How do you explain getting fired because you left work for lunch and returned four hours later with a healthy buzz and a "Fuck me! I'm Irish" Button when you're going through the process of finding a new job? Whose to say that I would even seek a new job. Being unemployed is extremely underrated...believe me.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Can I punch you in the head!

I'm at work on a saturday morning so I'm clearly looking for ways to waste time when I mosey on over to and notice a new mail bag from Bill Simmons. I love his mailbags, probably my favorite aspect of his column, other than his ramblings. I am reading along and enjoying myself quite a bit when Simmons starts discussing Nirvana. Now, I'm sure you can read so I won't bore you with the details but he calls Nirvana's performance on MTV Unplugged "mediocre" and follows that gem up with this comment "It actually mad me sad the first time I watched it." WOW!!! Umm, I guess there's a reason why he's not called "The Music Guy". What a fucking idiot. Is he aware that they covered a ton of those obscure songs specifically for the performance or that they did it all in one take (everybody else on this show always did multiple takes to get their songs to come off just right), or is he really that fucking stupid? I will never, ever feel the same about Bill Simmons. Stick to the Celtics and the Sox you fucking dumbass.

Friday, March 11, 2005

I bet Dick Gephardt doesn't talk to people that way!

Today we had yet another Spring Training game in our facility. By this point in Spring Training, its all become pretty much the same routine on a gameday with the only difference being the crowd size on a particular day which has a direct correlation with two things: (1) weather and (2) opposing team. Well today's weather was beautiful and the St. Louis Cardinals were in town, which meant that we would have a an above average (size wise) crowd in attendance today. There was however one thing that was a little different than normal, there were a few minor celebrities in attendance. We get celebrities from time to time but normally, somebody's agent or secretary will call and inform a member of our staff that so-and-so is planning on attending today's game and ask if we could arrange for a luxury suite or special parking privleges.

Today was different, there were two minor celebrities in attendance and neither had anybody call ahead to inform us. One was former politician Dick Gephardt who just sauntered in and sat down in a box seat, enjoyed a beer or two and then left without ever being bothered or noticed. The second celebrity was John Goodman. John was not nearly as lucky as Mr. Gephardt because, as we all know, a whole lot more people have seen King Ralph than the number of people who could even name there own representatives and senators, much less one from Missouri. Well, needless to say, Goodman was quickly noticed and after fighting off autograph hounds and well wishers for the better part of seven innings decided it best if he vacated the premises shortly after the seventh inning stretch. Our staff generally hands out pocket schedules to people exiting the stadium during the final two innings and happened to already be manning the gates in the bottom half of the seventh. As Mr. Goodman was on his way out, he strode through the exit and past my colleague Calvin who says to John, "Hey Walter, tell the Dude I said hi." Without missing a beat a clearly annoyed John Goodman blurts out, "Blow me!". Well, Calvin and fellow staff member Joe both hear this and erupt into laughter as John Goodman walks away feeling just a little bit better about himself. What an awesome dude.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

WOW, there are advantages to this job.

I'm actually thinking taking in some Major League Baseball this afternoon. The reasoning behind this departure from my normal routine is that the Marlins are in town to take on the Nationals today. I know that alone doesn't exactly scream "must see" but today's pitching matchup is a good one, with Dontrelle Willis starting against Livan Hernandez, thereby producing the odd combination of personal interest in a spring training game (very rare for me) and the ability to get out of the ticket office and sit down to watch a few minutes of early inning baseball (even more rare). When you work at a spring training site the games themselves lose alot of luster. Especially when, by the time you get to actually watch baseball, the field is full of guys wearing numbers like 78 and 67 who will no doubt be playing for the Savannah Sand Gnats by May.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I bet he never banged Roger Dorn's wife though.

Evidently, Anderson Varejao has been nicknamed "Wild Thing" by the good people in the Cleveland Cavaliers marketing department. They even go so far as to play the song whenever young Mr. Varejao does something of note, like last night when he committed a loose ball foul by taking out Steve Francis' legs while diving for a loose ball. Jeez...What an abomination. Rick Vaughn must be rolling over in his grave...or at least the duplex that he shares with Willie Hayes.

Some guy pops out of your bathroom like a goddamned magic show!!

On Monday evening there was quite a lengthy discussion over at Jerry's Wheelhouse ( available @ ) on the topic of female related feuds between athletes.

Needless to say, it was a very interesting read. Jerry's Wheelhouse is a well-written blog whose comments section serves as a message board of sorts for a group of friends, which includes both of the blog's contributors. Anyway, the discussion on the message board included stories about such well known feuds as the Jason Kidd-Jamal Mashburn-Toni Braxton love triangle of years gone by and a number of other feuds, some more well known than others. I suggest going by the page listed above and reading some of the discussion. The point of me telling you all of this is simple: As I was watching the Magic mail in yet another road game versus the Cavs, my thoughts turned to Jeff McInnis and the journeyman start to his NBA career which invariably led to me remembering a female related feud that included Jeff McInnis and then to another feud invloving Jeff and somebody else's lady friend. Don't ask me why I find this sort of thing completley enthralling. That's like asking a bird why it flys. They don't know why, they just do. Well the same goes for me and my love for smutty stories involving athletes. So without further ado, I present you the (admittedly sketchy) stories of Jeff McInnis and his one-eyed tarheel.

Circa 1999-2000: Jeff is playing for the Los Angeles Clippers and the Toronto Raptors are in town finishing up a west coast swing. On the morning of the game between LA and Toronto, the Clippers are finishing up their morning shootaround as the Raptors arrive to begin theirs. Soon after arriving in the gym, the Raptors are preparing to take the floor. As the Clippers are walking off the court, Charles Oakley walks right up to Jeff McInnis and doesn't say a word but instead punches McInnis square in the face, knocking McInnis to the ground. In typical Oakley fashion, Charles never says a thing to Jeff and continues on his way to the other end of the court. McInnis eventually gets up uninjured, though slightly dazed. It later comes out that Jeff and Charles were, uh, sharing the same plate of seafood if you know what I mean. Source: More than rumor as it was reported by numerous NBA beat writes who were present for this exchange.

1996: During his junior year at the University of North Carolina, McInnis was the third member of an elite triumvarate, that included Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse, that all would end up declaring for the NBA draft after their junior seasons. While Wallace and Stackhouse were sure-fire lottery picks, it was widely assumed that McInnis declared due to a combination of academic ineptitude and reticence to play with a new cast of characters. While I'm quite sure that McInnis wasn't in danger of making the honor roll at anytime, there was a much larger reason for Jeff's early departure from Chapel Hill. Evidently, McInnis wanted to stick around for his senior year in order to boost his NBA stock into the first round area but was informed soon after the season by none other than Dean Smith himself that he would no longer be welcome in the Carolina program. The reason for this is that Jeff had allegedly been caught "practicing the four corners" with the wife of UNC's All-Time leading scorer and assistant coach Phil Phil himself. Apparently this led to a minor scuffle between the two men and ultimately resulted in Jeff being asked to leave the Carolina family. Source: I lived in North Carolina during this time and this story was fairly well known among people with ties to the the university of North Carolina.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I hope Carlos Arroyo was watching!

I really enjoyed watching the some of the conference tournaments finals last night as these games are akin to what the regional final games are for the high-major programs. By that I mean that these aren't the final destination for these teams, but they are (at most) two games away from the final destination. Unless you're in a league like the Missouri Valley Conference or the Mid-American Conference, then you really don't have much chance of surviving past the round of sixteen, at all. As a result of this, the intensity and passion on the floor is very similar to what you will see in late March.

Two of these games intrigued me throughout the night. The VCU-ODU matchup promised to be a good one, these were clearly the two best teams in the Colonial Athletic Conference and I had watched their earlier matchup during one of the ESPN Bracket Buster Saturdays. This game featured former Dukie Jeff Capel coaching against his father's former school (one of many for the elder Jeff Capel) ,Old Dominion, while trying to take VCU to the big dance for the second straight year. I liked ODU in this one, based on the star power of both PG Isiah Hunter and PF Alex Loughton. The game ended up being as anti-climactic as any overtime game that I've ever seen based soley on the fact that VCU did absolutely nothing during the extra period. It was almost like they realized they blew their shot when they had ODU on the ropes with about two minutes left and were totally spent when ODU forced OT, causing VCU to come out totally flat for the biggest five minutes of their season, which is inexcusable. Even with that, it was still a fun and exciting game to watch, until the last five minutes at least. ODU could definitely do some damage in the tourney, maybe even sneaking into the sweet sixteen if the matchups fall just right. By the way, I say that Capel is coaching in the ACC within three years...but I also predicted that he would be playing in the NBA after watching him during his freshman year at Duke, so I am clearly either (a) in love with Jeff Capel or (b) not fit to pontificate on matter's involving former Duke point guards. Sadly, its probably a little of both.

Niagra-Rider didn't end up being a very good game and normally I wouldn't care in the least about a MAAC Championship game but this game a little different for me. Both Niagra star Juan Mendez and point guard Alvin Cruz played their high school ball in my hometown at a prep school by the name of Florida Air Academy. Since FAA is a prep school they recruit players and one of their most fertile recruiting grounds is none other than the island of Puerto Rico. While the rest of the world was just figuring out that Puerto Ricans even knew what basketball was this summer in Athens, the folks at Florida Air Academy have been scouring the P.R. for hoops talent like George Michael looks for public bathrooms for the better part of a decade now.

Alvin Cruz led FAA to an undefeated state championship season his senior year and then followed his close friend and fellow puerto rican Juan Mendez to upstate New York. Cruz was a much more heralded player in high school than Mendez, even garnering an All-State selection in his classification while also being name the MVP of the state final four, but it is Mendez who is the star of this Niagra team. Mendez was named MAAC Player of the Year while averaging 23.4 pts and 10.4 rbs a game and is said to have an outside shot at the NBA if he performs well in the pre-draft camps in Portsmouth and Phoenix. Regardless of if this happens or not, Mendez is a VERY good post player who is going to give some team fits in the first round of the NCAAs. I still haven't decided if I'm going to pick Niagra in the first round but I'm certainly leaning in that direction. Oh yeah, FAA is a team that you'll most likely be hearing more of in the years to come. They are currently undefeated and seeking their third state title in four years and led by a point guard named Walter Hodge (also puerto rican) who has narrowed his college choices to Florida, Auburn, and Kansas. Kansas is the front runner in my opinion because former FAA center Sasha Kaun is currently a freshman on Bill Self's squad.

At least she doesn't have the, uh, sea cucumber condition...

Now that the Lavernues Coles trade is pretty much a done deal, maybe ABC will bring back former sideline personality Lisa Guerrero so she can ask Chad Pennington what is was like to talk to his former receiver before they faced each other on the field. She definitely screwed the pooch (career wise as she didn't, to my knowledge, actually eff a canine) when she asked Patrick Ramsey that question in reference to Coles (who was actually his new receiver) two years ago. Yet, if she was brought back into the fold for next year she could ask that question to Pennington and regardless of if she dropped Coles's name or that of Santana Moss, she would technically be right and thus could finally save some face actually being a worse sideline reporter than Eric Dickerson.

Monday, March 07, 2005

So tired...Must. Get. Rest.

I'm completely wiped today and have no time to sit down and put together any type of coherent thoughts, so I'm neglecting my responsibilities here know since my job actually pays me to not neglect those responsibilities. I will say that Sean May put together an amazing performance yesterday. I knew it was pretty damn impressive when I was watching but 26 pts and 24 rebounds? Jesus that's sick. If I was allowing myself to comment on Gator Basketball, I would talk about yesterday's upset win at Kentucky but I think we all know I placed a moratorium on that banter a few months back. Lets just say that I was very happy around 4 PM yesterday afternoon and it had absolutely nothing to do with Christian Guzman legging out a triple in the fourth inning.

I gotta go get some sleep, even a beer doesn't sound good right now...what in god's name has become of me?

My bad...

Sorry about the double post of the stuff from yesterday...I'm a huge idiot with much less than an acceptable amount of computer technology skills for a child who was raised in the 80's. I'm working on it though because, as we all know, "Girls only wanna date guys who have great skills."

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Nice bow tie...asshole.

DC Mayor Anthony Williams is in our facility today to check out a game. When a member of our staff asked him if he'd be interested in throwing out the first pitch, his reply was as follows, "I don't want to cheapen myself by throwing out a first pitch before the exhibition game in DC." Ummm, I think the fact that you're only being allowed to throw out the first pitch at an exhibition game cheapens you plenty, thanks.

Here's my bold prediciton for the day: With Florida hosting Kentucky and Duke taking on UNC this afternoon, Anthony Williams will watch at least three more innings of baseball than I do today. I'm in no way saddened by this turn of events.

One last thing: I was walking into a bar last night and noticed it had two empty handicapped, parking spots which got me thinking. If somebody is well enough to drive themselves out for a drink or three, shouldn't they have to park where everybody else does? I'm all for preferred parking for these people at the grocery store and other neccesity type places but at a bar? Really? C'mon...if you want to get drunk with the rest of us then you're gonna have to drag that bum leg a few extra yards to do it.

Nice bow tie...asshole.

DC Mayor Anthony Williams is in our facility today to check out a game. When a member of our staff asked him if he'd be interested in throwing out a first pitch, his reply was as follows, " I don't want to cheapen myself by throwing out a first pitch before the exhibition game in DC." Ummm, I think the fact that you're only being allowed to throw out a first pitch at the exhibition game and not the actual first game cheapens you plenty, thanks.

Here's my bold predicition for today: With Florida hosting Kentucky and Duke taking on UNC this afternoon, Anthony Williams will see at least 3 more innings of baseball than I do. Not to worry, I can still get my baseball fix if I plan know, since their are 84 more games being played in this facility between now and September.

Can a white guy be Mr. CIAA? Please!?

I had my first day off since Super Bowl Sunday yesterday and "it was glorious"...actually it was below average, at best, as I ended moving from 9am until five or six in the evening. Sadly, I'm not even completely moved in and will have plenty of situating to do this evening when I get home. One thing that definitely brightened up my day was tuning in to the second half of the CIAA conference tournament final. Initially it seemed like one of the worst turns of fate possible as I was blessed with the commentating stylings of none other than Stephen A. Smith. I wasn't aware that he even did anything other than yell at Marc Stein and Greg Anthony during NBA Shootaround but boy was I wrong...Stephen A. can yell at viewers while ignoring the action on the court as well.

Within five minutes my eardrums were bleeding and even my dog Tinsley was reaching for the bottle of Xanax...but then the most awesome dude I've ever seen appeared on my TV screen. His name is Abraham Mitchell and he goes by the moniker "Mr. CIAA". Apparently, Abraham is a resident of Suffolk, VA and attends each and every CIAA tourney because...well, its the goddamned CIAA conferencew tourney, that's why! This guy changes clothes every half hour and only wears suits that match the colors of CIAA teams. This is what I read on the internet about him at least. I'm of the opinion that this information may be somewhat erroneous as I'm not sure which CIAA team has pink in its colors. That's right, the man was wearing a pink suit named "bubblicious" and was not just pink but "champale", which I did not know was a color. As you can probably tell these aren't your standard suits but more along the lines of the suits that Mr. Whitefolks wears. How this guy became known as Mr. CIAA is beyond me but I think that the SEC should adopt this promotional tool. I'm quite sure we could find plenty of pimps willing to take a weekend out of their year in order to attend the SEC tourney between the states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and the rest. I wish I was making at least some of this up but sadly I'm 100% serious about all of this, even about the SEC.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Uhh, Friday.

Yeah, that pretty much sums up how Fridays make me feel these days. You know that feeling when you wake up on a Friday and you know that all you have to do is sleepwalk through one more day until you can be free for awhile? Yeah, well I don't...not during this time of year. Fridays actually enrage me at this point of the year. Its not just that I have to work tommorrow and Sunday, its more that every person (outside of work) who I deal with today will end our interactions with "have a nice weekend" or "enjoy your weekend" or something else along those lines. Its a constant reminder that everybody else is going to be getting drunk (without it hanging on their conscience) and sleeping in for the next two days, while I'll be getting up at 8 AM so that I can drag my tired ass into work by 8:30. Its enough to make somebody like me, whose already a little off-kilter to begin with, lose their mind in the most public of forums. For example, last Friday, my friend Calvin and I were running some errands for work right around 5 PM and we were stuck in some pretty hellacious rush-hour traffic. While were sitting at the light we're watching all kinds of people perform everyday tasks such as getting gas, merging into traffic and even buying beer, except they were all doing it with the same ridiculous look on their face. Kind of like the look that a special olympic athlete gets right before they cross the finish line in first place. Its an expression of pure joy, yet it comes out looking like this person is peeing in their wetsuit. Well this was more than Calvin and myself could take. We both started yelling at people for the most minute of driving mistakes as well as any number of other perceived slights against the two of us. All within five minutes of each other, I had yelled at some Puerto Rican lady for not moving after a green light fast enough while Calvin screamed at some Nascar dude for driving like a woman. He then broke into song when he saw a beer truck pull up at the 7-11. The song went something like "Hey! Beer dude bring me some free beer, bitch". This was all followed by me falling asleep in the front seat of Calvin's car while he was driving 85 miles an hour on the 5:30. Pathetic, I know. Anyway, thats where I was last Friday and we opened Spring Training this week so I haven't exaclty caught up on my rest in the days since last Friday. Oh yeah, there is one more thing...I have to move into a new house tommorrow.

Harold Arceneaux...we hardly knew ye.

I was watching the Pacers-Nuggets game last night and while watching Eddie Gill do his best impression of and NBA point guard, I remembered that Eddie had been a part of that Weber State team that stormed through heavily favored North Carolina en route to becoming that year's NCAA tourney cinderella du-jour in 1999. I know that du-jour is in reference the insert noun "of the day" but I have know idea what the french way to say "of the year" is so we're just sticking with du-jour. Anyway, Eddie Gill was the second banana on that team to Harold Arceneaux, who most assurredly would've been a first round pick (and bust) if he had gone pro after that, his junior year. Unfortunately for Harold, he decided to stay and raise his stock while pursuing a degree. Of course, Weber State was unable to recapture that tourney magic the next year and Harold slid off into basketball oblivion. I hadn't thought about Harold in years...until last night that is. So I decided to check up on Harold. After bouncing around Europe for a few years and doing some "community work" in his native New Orleans (read: sleeping in Grama's extra bedroom), Harold is currently playing for the Utah Snow Bears of the ABA. Good to know that Harold is safe and sound...hopefully Eddie is giving him some percentage of his checks to Eddie these days, or at least inviting Harold to hang out with Eddie's posse during All-Star weekend and things like that. In case you want to check on Harold, here you go...

Thursday, March 03, 2005

You'd be surprised what two martinis does to Lesley Visser

While watching the Wake Forest-Georgia Tech game last night I had a few random thoughts, so here they are:

-Chris Paul is a heck of an all-around player. His left hand looks better than last year and he seems to shoot with alot more confidence than early in the year. He struggled in the first half but then came back in the second half and completely took over the game, mostly with his passing. Paul may struggle a little in the NBA at first but his unparalled (in college) passing ability will more than make up for his initial defensive definciencies. He sees cutters and delivers the ball as good or better than TJ Ford used to and he is far ahead of where Ford was offensively as a sophomore.

-I always thought that Jamal Levy was from Panama City, FL not the capital of the country of Panama. Something about the name Jamal Levy didn't scream Central America to me.

-I only ever noticed Wake reserve forward Chris Ellis for his enormous dome and horrible cornrows and then last night Mike Patrick revealed that he is the son of former NBA sharpshooter Dale Ellis. Interesting, once I heard this I immediately thought of how painful it must be for Dale to have a son that is so offensively deficient...seriously, have you ever seen how ugly Chris Ellis' shot is?

-Does Wake Forest really have to play that horrible "Zombie Nation" song during every timeout? Did they lose their Macarena CD?

-Will Bynum is the embodiement of the word gunner. Damn that kid likes to shoot. If Bynum possessed any level of ability to get his teammates involved, then he would probably make himself a very nice living in the NBA. He is an unbelievable athlete and possesses great strength but even Troy Hudson can't believe some of the shots that this guy takes. Can you imagine him and Salim Stoudamire trying to share the ball if Bynum had stayed at Arizona? I would pay money to watch Lute Olson try and break up that fight, good money.

-Is the Wake Forest reserve named Visser the product of some torrid night in late march between Billy Packer and Lesley Visser? Can I at least pretend he is?

Oh yeah, I almost forgot...Sam Ryan from ESPN is much more attractive in person than you would think when watching her on TV. God I hope my girlfriend's internet is down today.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I wish Endy Chavez would stop looking at me like that...

Spring training has officially begun, which means...only 30 more days until I get a day off. Mmmmm, I can almost taste it...well not really.

I think that Dick Vitale has a stipulation is his contract that states he must mention Andrew Bogut at least once per telecast, either that or he's never actually seen Bigut play and figures if he constantly talks about hm then we'll all think that Dick is supremely informed on all things college basketball...yeah thats probably much more likely.

I need a beer or eight.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Oh my work!!!

Yeah, I'm that busy today. Tommorrow is the first game in Washington Nationals history (technically) and I am still working on getting our facility ready for the game as well as ESPN. Needless to say, not alot of time to post but I figured I'd at least let everybody know that I didn't die in horrible sautering accident...yet. Anywho, hopefully I can get home tonight in time to watch the Gators take on the pathetic Georgia Bulldogs in Athens.

Oh yeah, I guess I was dead wrong on that whole Texas not making the tourney thing...I've always known that I wasn't that smart. You folks are just figuring it out, huh? All the more reason why Daniel Gibson will be playing in the NBA this time next year.

Hopefully, I'll post something about tommorrow's historic event...if I haven't been eaten alive my Peter Gammons scoliosis monster that is.