…And it’s Friday. I have no idea where the week went on me. Not that I’m complaining. In fact, I’m quite excited about the weekend. Not because of the Super Bowl but because I have a three day weekend to look forward to. Normally I wouldn’t bother to take the day after the Super Bowl off as it’s a completely overplayed sporting event that always disappoints regardless of if the game is up to par or not. However, in this instance, I actually have a few things that I need to take care of on Monday. With that in mind, I decided to take the whole day off and drink with reckless abandon on Sunday afternoon. It’s not like I was going to accomplish anything at work on Monday anyway.
Beyond the Super Bowl, some friends and I have a flag football game to play come Sunday morning. Apparently some of the old barflys who frequent my friend Kurt’s bar caught wind of our annual Turkey Bowl and decided that they could teach us young fellas a little lesson about good ole, rough and tumble football…but with flags instead of tackling. Whatever. I was told that my services would be needed and I gladly obliged. As I understand it, the average age of our opposition is 45, while my team averages 27 years of age. I’m thinking that we should really put it on these old guys due to the lack of athletic ability left in the bodies of these overweight, out of shape, prostate cancer candidates. Though, to be fair, some of the guys suiting up for my side aren’t exactly pictures of optimum health either. The game seems to have taken on a life of it’s own amongst many of the participants and supposed “fans”. Don’t ask me who would waste their time attending such a non-event, certainly not me. With that said, I can virtually guarantee that they’ll be a large number of pathetic bar patrons lining the sidelines of this game come Sunday morning. If you hadn’t guessed, I’m assigning much less importance to the outcome of this event than many of my contemporaries. I actually think that some of the guys on my team are getting together for a practice/walk thru this afternoon…I’m think I’m gonna sit that one out.
However the game turns out, there will be a ton of free food and liquor in which to partake once the game has reached a conclusion. Yep, that’s enough for me. I’ll return on Tuesday with a quick recap of Sunday’s events (both football and non-football related).
Just because I’m getting my mind right for a big game doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten about my handful of loyal readers. No way am I going to forget about the people that got me where I am today.
- Speaking of people who have hit the big time, has anyone (other than my buddy John) noticed that Vince Young throws just like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite? I’m pretty sure that Young can’t throw the ball a quarter mile though. Probably more mobile than Vince Young.
- It’s already been well documented in this space that I cannot stand listening to Mike Patrick and Dick Vitale juggle J.J. Redick’s junk in their mouths all night long whenever they’re broadcasting a Duke game (which is quite often). However, Wednesday night’s Duke-BC game was a new low for the tandem. In a mild surprise, Patrick seems to be the consistently more effusive of the two in his praise of the Duke shooting guard. I’m not saying that Redick isn’t good, just that he’s not the game changing revolutionary that these two donkeys would have you believe. What was a bad situation became unbearable on Wednesday evening as Patrick eschewed the use of use of Redick’s full name in favor of simply referring to him with the singular “J. J.”, repeatedly. At first I thought that Patrick had simply muffed the call, however it soon became apparent that this was being done on purpose, as if Redick was Prince, Pele’, or some other luminary of historical significance. It almost made me pine for Billy Packer and Verne Lundquist…almost.
- By now everybody has seen that LeBron has declined the NBA’s request that he participate in the dunk contest. Though he’ll never admit it, there are two primary reasons for this. First, the purse for this event is miniscule and could hardly motivate James to so much as get out of bed. Second, and more importantly, the dunk contest is as nearly as irrelevant as the WNBA/NBA Two-Ball event. While those are the real reasons for James’ lack of participation, his quote/dig about the others participants in the event was priceless. “I can’t think of a dunk before I do it. I’ll leave it up to the guys who don’t play as many minutes as I do. Those guys can out there and throw the ball between their legs and stuff.” If I was LeBron I’d watch my back around Crazy Nate Robinson during All-Star Weekend.
- The Magic got smacked by the LA Clippers on Wednesday night. Nothing about that was exceptional. Per usual, the only thing exceptional about the Magic was the play of Dwight Howard, who continues to impress and progress while managing to lead the league in rebounding at the tender age of 19. The NBA is loaded with some serious young talent along the frontline with the likes of Howard, Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire all still under 23 years old, but I wouldn’t trade a single guy in the league (save for LeBron) for Howard right now. While his offensive game continues to be a work in progress, he has an innate ability to rebound and block shots that is already superior to most of the big men in the league and, in my opinion, is something that cannot be taught regardless of how talented a player may be. He’s literally the only thing that keeps me from going over the deep end on night’s like Wednesday when the Magic makes a team like the Clippers look like the 1984 Denver Nuggets.
- While I’m talking about the Magic and going off the deep end, I might as well discuss the recently inspired play of Steve Francis. While I’m still a huge proponent of trading him and building around Howard/Jameer Nelson, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention how well he’s played since he returned from his suspension. Francis has had a career high 15 assist game as well as a triple double (though it came in a loss) and seems to have re-discovered the joy in his game again. It sounds cheesy to say something like that most of the time, but for a player as emotional as Francis is, emotions and mental state determine 75% of what he’ll be able to give you on the court on a nightly basis.
Sky rockets in flight. Afternoon Delight!
Of course, Francis came out on Wednesday night and played like he’d run a marathon during the afternoon. Absolutely no energy and even less spring in his legs. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone though because Wednesday night was also Cuttino Mobley’s first trip back to see his “buddy” Steve-O this season. As you might guess, it’s tough to have the kind of legs you need for an NBA game (or any game) when you’ve been storming a man’s castle all afternoon.
- I’ve thought about this for quite some time but I never knew exactly how to phrase it until the second half of last night’s Cavs-Heat game. There isn’t a single athlete (or possibly even human) who has a more gangsta gait than Gary Payton. It’s one thing to pull off this sort of thing when you’re strolling through the mall, but to play at a Hall of Fame level while constantly maintaining a strut of his manner (even while backing people into the post) is one of the more amazing feats of ours or any time. By the way, I’m in no way joking about this.
- I really wish that Curtis Sumpter was healthy for Villanova this season. He’s an extremely underrated and versatile player who gave his team just enough inside scoring to make them what I would consider the best team in the country. Without him Villanova is still near the top of the heap in all of College Basketball, though I feel that they’ll ultimately fall in the tournament to a team that can beat them up on the boards. Without Sumpter, the Wildcats have to rely almost exclusively on their ability to knock down perimeter jumpers and you’re always one off night away from elimination in the tournament when that is your predominant style of play. They’re still the most entertaining team to watch and are definitely one of the top 4 or 5 teams in all the land. It’s just too bad that we haven’t been able to see this team play at full strength since the second round of last year’s NCAA Tournament. With their current makeup, Villanova is very similar to last year’s Illinois team. If you were able add a healthy Sumpter to the mix, then this team would look a lot more like the Arizona team (albeit a more experience version) that won it all back in 1997. One last note: I'm starting to develop a bit of a man crush on Kyle Lowry. While he's not nearlyas well known as Randy Foye or Allan Ray, he's exactly what you want out of a point guard. Quick, tough and not afraid to take the ball at anybody.
- Finally, the University of Florida takes on arch-rival (in basketball at least) Kentucky in Gainesville on Saturday night. This is an important game for a number of reasons but of most importance to the Gators is maintaining the pace in the SEC East. While UF only has two losses, both are within the SEC East. Another loss would give Tennessee a two game lead on the Gators as well as pull Kentucky into a second place tie with Florida. Florida is pretty banged up right now and will need freshman Walter Hodge and David Huertas to step up an play some big minutes in this one with Corey Brewer still recovering from an ankle sprain and Lee Humphrey sitting out. Hodge will be of the utmost importance because of the need for another ball handler as well as a defender capable of harassing Rajon Rando on the perimeter. Things on the depth chart have gotten so rough that Billy Donovan had to resort to playing this guy against Ole Miss on Tuesday.
This game will come down to Florida’s ability to take care of the ball (they haven’t exactly excelled at this lately) and control the boards (ditto) as well as the play of sophomore big men Al Horford and Joakim Noah. While I don’t quite buy all the NBA hype swirling around Horford right now, he is a player who continues to develop in all aspects of his game at an extremely impressive rate. If he can have a big time game against the wildy overrated Randolph Morris on Saturday night, then the Gators are probably looking at a win and Horford is probably looking at a seat in the green room and a handshake with David Stern come June. It should be nuts at the O’Dome on Saturday night, and while I’ll definitely be watching and cheering, there’s not a chance in hell that I’ll be bouncing around like some retarded 12 year old ala Doug Flutie on Wednesday night.