Thursday, January 31, 2008

Beasley's Caddy Picked up for DUI

The worst kept secret in Manhattan, Kansas is that assistant coach Dalonte Hill was brought in solely to bring his boy Michael Beasley with him. Hill was Beasley's AAU coach. Bobby Lutz hired him at Charlotte as an assistant. Magically, beasley orally committed to Charlotte. Then along came Bob Huggins at K-State. He stole Hill away to his staff in Manhattan, and wouldn't you know it, Beasley de-committed to Charlotte and was Kansas State bound.

Then Huggins left after just one year in Manhattan for his alma mater West Virginia. What was K-State's AD Tim Weiser going to do? He couldn't risk losing both Beasley and Bill Walker, so in a stunning move, he turned the program over to unproven Frank Martin and made Hill "associate Head Coach." Beasley and Walker stayed, and the rest is history.

Until last last night. Obviously giddy after celebrating the big win over Kansas, Dalonte Hill was picked up and arrested for DUI in Manhattan.

Hill Arrested for DUI - Manhattan Mercury


You can have Kobe, Steve Nash, Kevin Garnett. You can have them all. We'll take Lebron and call it a day. Last night, the King put on another 4th quarter performance that showed why he is the premier player in the league and the front runner for MVP. The Cavaliers, suddenly playing once again with Anderson Varajao in the post and Sasha Pavlovic on the perimeter, went into Portland shorthanded and trailed most of the night. Then came the fourth quarter, also know as Lebron time.

(SIDE NOTE: I didn't see more than 10 minutes of the game because of KU/K-State). With nobody else able to hit the broad side of a barn, Lebron took over. It was a 81-70 with four minutes to go when he went to work. He nailed three straight threes, with a Drew Gooden jumper mix in between, and in a minute and a half, the score was tied. Trailing by one with four seconds left and the entire building knowing who was going to shoot the ball, Lebron drove to the hole, passed three Blazers, and hit a sick reverse layup with 0.3 seconds left to win it. In total, he scored 17 in the fourth quarter, 37 for the game. He wa sthe only Cavalier in double figures. After completing the Cavs league high 18th come from behind win, Lebron said "I just do what I do."

"Obviously, LeBron was terrific," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "He put us on his back tonight. We couldn't make a basket to save our lives tonight. But LeBron put us on his back. He did what superstars do. He did what he's capable of doing. That was fun to watch. It was fun to be a part of." Said Portland coach Nate McMillan, "Even though we did a pretty good job early in defending LeBron, he made the clutch threes and the winning drive to the basket, just like great players do."

We love finding stories from a national pespective on Lebron. Like this one from
True Hoop:

LeBron James is good. He has some of the best attributes of Michael Jordan (getting to rim when it matters) and Shaquille O'Neal (significantly bigger annd stronger than his contemporaries). The only other player I know of in today's NBA who gets layups in crunch time -- Brandon Roy -- was unable to do so last night because ... because ... Roy was just too small. He might be 6-6, but he's tiny, next to James. Can't get over him or around him without some super maneuvering. You get the feeling it's almost not fair -- that same feeling you used to have watching "tiny" guys like Tim Duncan go against Shaquille O'Neal in his prime. (David Thorpe was recently in Chicago, catching up with a lot of NBA players. He asked them who they thought was the strongest player in the league. Thorpe voted for Craig Smith. One guy said Dwight Howard. Everybody else said LeBron James. A wing player!)

Leaky Theory on Lebron - Johnny Ludden, Yahoo Sports

Eight months ago everyone said the same about James. With Cleveland trailing Detroit by two late in last season's Eastern Conference finals opener, James drove into the lane and fired a pass to Donyell Marshall in the corner. Marshall's three-point attempt missed, the Cavaliers lost and James was criticized for not taking the shot himself. When Cleveland lost the next game after James shot – and missed – the criticism grew.

James' shaky free-throw shooting last season also contributed to the belief that he couldn't play well under pressure. He was too eager to pass, his critics said, too eager to give up the responsibility of deciding the game's outcome.

James went a long way toward retiring that tag with his 48-point performance in Game 5 of those same conference finals. After spending the offseason improving his jump shot, he looks even more comfortable with the ball in his hands and the clock ticking down. As for fourth-quarter production: Sunday was Cleveland's league-high 17th victory when trailing by at least nine points with less than eight minutes left.

Last Night's Performance Wowed the locals as well:

Lebron Scorches Blazers - Brian Windhorst, Akron Beacon-Journal

When the fourth quarter comes, LeBron James' blood turns cold.

He did it again Wednesday, if you can believe it, to break thousands more hearts in a crazy and hostile environment. Saving his best for the very end, James led another comeback and delivered another dagger.

Sprinting past rival star Brandon Roy, James smacked in a smooth left-handed layup with 0.3 seconds left to get the Cavs to an 84-83 victory in the gulag that is the Rose Garden. And just to make sure the vanquishing was complete, he stole the inbounds pass to finish game.

This time he had 37 points, and 17 of them came in the fourth quarter, including back-to-back 3-pointers that erased a six-point Blazers' lead with three minutes left. He did it despite suffering a turned right ankle and jammed left pinky finger during the game, but there was no limp in the effort.

The Cavs (25-19) have now won 13-of-16 games, including in Dallas, San Antonio, Los Angeles and Portland, where the Blazers had been 18-4. Overall they have won six straight games on the road and made a lot of believers along the way as James' campaign for Most Valuable Player award continues.

Cavalier Aptitude - Jason Quick, The Portland Oregonian

It was another incredible comeback at the Rose Garden on Wednesday night, only this time it wasn't Brandon Roy and the Trail Blazers providing the heroics.

Roy and the Blazers got a dose of their own medicine as they watched LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers do exactly what the Blazers have done to so many opponents this season -- make pressure-packed plays to steal a game down the stretch.

James, the NBA's leading scorer, scored 17 of his game-high 37 points in the fourth quarter, and the Cavaliers, who lead the NBA in fourth-quarter comebacks, closed the game on a 14-2 run to stun the Blazers 84-83 in front of 20,501, the ninth consecutive Rose Garden sellout.

Ding Dong....The Streak is Dead

The Recap: 24 years of frustration in Manhattan has finally come to an end for Kansas State. Thanks to two of the best Freshman you will ever see, Michael Beasley and Bill Walker, the Wildcats ended Kansas' pursuit of perfection and the dreaded streak of 24 straight home losses to the Jayhawks. Not one player on either team was born when the streak started. Beasley and Walker were sensational. The 6'10 stud and future NBA #1 pick led all scorers 25 points on 9-18 shooting. He nailed all four threes he took.

When Beasley was struggling in the first half, shooting 3-10, it was Walker who picked up the slack, scoring 12 of his 22 points. His athleticism at the power forward position gave KU's Darrell Arthur fits all night long. Shady played on 17 minutes thanks to foul trouble. He picked up three in the first half and a quick fourth upon entering the game six minutes into the second half. Fellow Freshman PG Jacob Pullen ran a beautiful floor game and scored a career high 20, including 10-10 from the line. The Cats played their best game of the season, nailing a season-high 12 three pointers ad outrebounding KU 28-26.

On the KU side, they struggled all night with foul problems. Arthur had four, Russell Robinson and Mario Chalmers both fouled out, and Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson had two fouls each in the first half. Chalmers led KU with 19. Brandon Rush had 15 points, but he had 12 at the half and his other three came on a deep ball with 20 seconds left. Sherron Collins and Arthur each had 12.

The Whup

Sherron and Mario - I think we all saw last night that KU's offensive firepower runs at it's peak when Sherron Collins and Mario Chalmers are on the floor together. These two kept KU in the game in the second half when a 12 point deficit could have turned into 20. Chalmers had 19 points on just nine shots. Both guys continued to go strong to the hole and either score or draw contact.

On Beasley - The much-hyped stud lived up to all of the hype. He struggled in the first half, being guarded closely by both Arthur and Sasha Kaun and shot just 3-10. He never showed any frustration, he just kept playing his game. In the second half, he exploded and couldn't be stopped. Beasley makes everything look so easy. He is very smooth, has NBA three point range and amazing low post skills. This kid is destined for stardom.

On Walker - Beasley gets all of the hype, but Bill Walker is the key to making K-State a legit top 15 team. When Beasley couldn't get going in the first half, Walker used his three point shooting and quickness off the dribble to keep the Wildcats ahead. He had 12 first half points. The only thing that stopped him was three first half fouls. Walker to me is a lock for the lottery.

The Pressure is off - I am never one to say there us such thing as a good loss, but this is as close as you can get. This was the biggest game in Manhattan in 20 years. This is the best K-State team in 20 years, featuring two lottery picks including the future #1 pick in the draft. The crowd was as crazy as you will ever hear. They made 12 three pointers. It is not as if KU lost to a bad Nebraska or Iowa State team. K-State is legit. You are going to lose games during a season. It just happens. Now the pressure of an undefeated season is off. It's always good to get a mid-season wakeup call. The good news is champions are crowned in April, not January.

I love Rod Stewart - In the first half, with Chalmers and Robinson picking up two fouls each, Bill Self went to the Senior guard for a six minute stretch and he came up big again. He was very aggressive on the glass and on defense, including a tip-in that tied the scored late in the first half. Every team should have a guy like Rod. Smart, hungry, and doesn't make mistakes. He doesn't care that he gets limited run and is the ultimate team player.

The Weak Beav

Brandon, you awake? - At halftime, I was praising Rush for his aggressive play, solid rebounding, big three point shots, and 12 points. By the end of the game, everything he did in that first half was erased by his disappearing act in the second half. He played 37 minutes, but I literally don't remember a thing he did in the last 20 minutes. Other than a meaningless three with 20 seconds left, he didn't score.

Offensive post play - Part of the reason for the lack of a post game was Arthur's foul trouble, but Shady, Sasha Kaun, and Darnell Jackson didn't do much all night offensively. I figured we would see a lot of pounding the ball right at Beasley to try to get him into foul trouble, but that wasn't the case. Jackson in particular was non-existant. Where were his 15 foot jump shots? In 30 minutes, he took just two shots. Kaun took just one shot in 20 minutes and seemed to be turning the ball over every time he touched it. Arthur had 12 and seven boards in 17 minutes. No doubt the Jayhawks missed him.

Not His Best Game - Russell Robinson's heart will never be questioned, but nobody will ever confuse his shot with J.J. Redick. When Russ is talking eight shots, it's probably not a good thing. He was 1-8, 0-3 from deep, had just three assists to two turnovers, and fouled out in 26 minutes. Russ is usually very under control, but at times seemed to get too wound up by the K-State defense and the crowd, forcing the action when it didn't need to be forced. I think this game was an aberration for him.

More Turnovers Than a Bakery - It's not as if the Jayhawks turn the ball over this often every game, but the crowd really seemed to get into their heads at times. They committed 16 turnovers and it was an equal opportunity thing. Eight players commtted the 16, six with two each, Chalmers leading the way with three.

A Season High - This was the Jayhawks worst defensive performance of the season by a mile. K-State dropped a season high 84 points on them and had three players score 20 or more points. They hadn't allowed more than 70 points in a game other than the opener against Louisiana-Monroe where they won 108-78.

Analysis: No need for overreaction. Its one game. On the road, against a legit team. I think we saw that last night K-State is for real. Everytime KU got close, they'd hit a three. The refs KILLED Kansas as well. During the course of the season, you aren't going to play your best every night. Not to mention they played the game of their lives. Beasley had 26, Bill Walker (who is a STUD) had 22, and Pullen had 20. Not like these guys aren't talented. Not to metion, did you see that crowd? It was INSANE.

When KU lost in 96-97 to a Missouri team that was 9-8 at the time, did you freak out? No way. KU lost to a team that has found itself and is a top 15 team, no doubt about it. This wasn't a loss at Nebraska. Yes, Russell Robinson didnt play well, Rush failed to show in the second half, and Shady couldn't stay out of foul trouble, but they had the ball with four minutes to go and a six point deficit. Shady dropped an easy pass for a layup, and at the other end, a loose ball ended up in Beasley's hands, who nailed a three, his fourth in four tries. So they lost one game. So what. You think we will have to play in an environment like that in March? NOPE.

Stay the course. Its not a bad loss and they've gotten their loss out of the way. They will be just fine.

Game Quotes (courtesy of

Bill Self’s general summary of the game: “K-State was just a better team than we were tonight. You could say defense, you could say offensively. Their defense was good, but we still shot an excellent percentage, but we got sped up, though, and it was one of those atmospheres where that could easily occur...I don’t know if you could pinpoint one thing other than, to me, of the 50-50 balls, they got 70 or 80 percent of them. And it seemed to me like they scored an awful lot off of loose balls, and that’s something we usually are pretty good at but we weren’t tonight.”

Bill Self on when the game truly turned: “We didn’t lose the game in the first half. We lost it in the first 10 minutes of the second half.”

Bill Self on K-State’s guard play: “I thought they had good guards coming in. I thought their guards definitely did a good job of handling the ball and getting the ball to the right guys and everything.”

Bill Self on whether this loss can be a good thing: “I would say yes if we get better from it. If we don’t get better from it I’d say no. There’s plenty of things we can work on, and become hopefully tougher. We will not play in an environment like this again this year. I mean, this was fabulous. There will be some other good ones we go to, but this was fabulous. I couldn’t even hear the whistle blow. And our guards probably didn’t communicate with the guys as well as possible to get everybody on the same page. And we can’t blame that. We still simplified that and got the ball where we needed to be for the most part, they were just better than us tonight.”

Sherron Collins on what KU did wrong: “We weren’t as physical as we should have been. Our guards didn’t do a good job of cleaning up on loose rebounds. We just need to block out more, and we didn’t make shots when we needed to.”

Sherron Collins on the loss as a wake-up call: “It’s just a wake-up call, something we needed. We needed a game like this. We’ve got good teams in our league, but I don’t think this is a loss that will hurt. We’ve just got to pick up, stay positive, get another good win here.”

Sherron Collins on what the guards could have done different: “We should have been more poised. We rushed the shots a lot, took bad shots, bad passes, we just made bad decisions.”

Sherron Collins on Jacob Pullen hurting KU: “It was our fault. He just did stuff that we couldn’t guard or couldn’t deal with. We just made stupid plays. We fouled him, put him on the line and he went 10-of-10 from the free throw line, and that’s a good percentage there. Just making bad reach-ins, just making bad plays.”

Brandon Rush on what happened to him offensively in the second half: “I guess they kind of had a defensive adjustment on me, and I didn’t take many shots in the second half and I wasn’t staying aggressive at all. It was kinda frustrating, but I still had to play through it, because I was just trying to help my team win.”

Mario Chalmers on whether the pressure is gone now with the unblemished record no longer an issue: “We’ve still got pressure on us. We know we’ve still got a lot to do. We’ve still got to win the Big 12, then go and win the tournament after that.”

Mario Chalmers on Jacob Pullen: “Yeah, he definitely surprised us tonight. We really didn’t expect him to do that much tonight. We knew he was an OK player and that he could get to the paint anytime he wanted to. Tonight he just had a good night.”

Mario Chalmers on the rematch on March 1 in Lawrence: “That meeting will be a totally different meeting. When we meet them at our place, we’ve played them once already, we know what to expect and we know how to take care of them.”

Coast to Tyus Edney against Mizzou

What a night in the college game. It's night's like this that make me love the game that much more, and make me wish Mrs. MTAC would go to be about 7 PM.

First link of the day has to go to this classic. A newscaster actually has
a bird crap right in his mouth. It has to be seen to be believed.

The first lady of Detroit,
Carlita Kilpatrick stands by her man, even though he continues to make a fool of her. This story is so good and never gets old to me.

The latest on the hottest high school Football recruit in the country:
Terrelle Pryor may now visit Oregon before he picks a school February 6th. He had narrowed his choices to Ohio State and Michigan, and according to yesterday's Cleveland Plain Dealer, Pryor's QB coach Roy Hall, says his "gut" tells him it's going to be Ohio State. We'll say this, if he ends up at Oregon, there must be an investigation. Nike CEO Phil Knight's deep pockets "supporting" the Oregon athletic programs has always been quite shady.

No shocker here,
John Edwards drops out of the Democratic Nominee Race. Meanwhile, one time Republican front runner is our of the Republican race and announces he'll back John McCain. It's looking better and better for McCain every day.

Here's one for you,
Manure can help you resist lung cancer. That 's right, George Costanza's favorite word. Hey, Marissa Tomei bought it.

Lebron Says It's Simple: Get him Jason Kidd and he'll get you a title. The problem is, you've gotta give something to get something in return. Something tells us the Nets don't want Larry Hughes and his $12.5 million a year for the next two and a half seasons.

Don't miss my man Verne Troyer at the Ivy with some hot unidentified blonde.

Sports by Brooks says the lovely...errrr....crazy Alycia Lane has been offered an on-camera job by the WWE


Kansas State 84 #2 Kansas 75 - The ranks of the unbeaten are down to one. We had the guts to call this one on Saturday, but backed out yesterday. Folks, this is a very good K-State team. The Wildcats hit a season high 12-26 from deep. Michael Beasley is the real deal. He nailed all four of his three pointers, on his way to a game high 25. Bill Walker was sensational. he was ultra-quick off the dribble and is extremely athletic. He had 22. Jacob Pullen scored a career-high 20 off the bench as K-State ended "The Streak." All three players are Freshman. We will have much more on this game in a few hours.

#1 Memphis 89 Houston 77 - There is no debate on who the #1 team in the country is right now. This wa ssupposed to be Memphis' toughest road test left, and they dominated the action, shooting a sizzling 58% from the field, while holding Houston to 35%. Chris Douglas-Roberts led all scorers with 30, while Joey Dorsey cleaned the glass with 22 boards. Robert Dozier added 21 points. Only Tennessee on February 23rd stands between Memphis and a perfect regular season.

#6 Georgetown 74 St. John's 42 - Vernon Macklin scored 18 off the bench on 8-10 shooting to lead the Hoyas to this blowout. This was an all around great game by JT3's club. They shot 53% from the field and held St. John's to just 10 field goals and 21%. How much longer can Norm Roberts stay off the hot seat in Queens?

#17 Drake 75 Creighton 65 - Drake is 19-1. That's right. 19-1 after another MVC win over Creighton, their second in a week. Josh Young, still rounding into form after injury, had a career-high 24 to go with Jonathon Cox's 16 and 10. The Bulldogs nailed 12 more three-pointers.

#7 Michigan State 51 Illinois 41 - The Spartans once again struggled to score and trailed 24-20 at the half, but thanks to Drew Neitzel, they escaped with a 10 point win. He scored nine second half points on his way to 15. The stat of the night came from this game. The Spartans didn't make a single three-pointer (0-7) and still won. Illinois was a porous 4-22 from deep and even worse, 7-19 from the line.

#23 Texas A&M 80 #10 Texas 63 - Just like Memphis and Georgetown, this was a total domination on both ends by the Aggies. A&M shot 56% from the field, and 7-13 on threes, while holding Texas to 34%. The only UT starter to score in double figures was DJ Augustine with 14. Josh Carter led the Aggies with a 19 and 10 double double, including four three-pointers. Dominique Kirk and Joseph Jones both added 14. "I couldn't be more proud of our team," Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon said. "To think where we were a week ago, the world was coming to the end. It was good to bounce back."

#22 Mississippi 74 #18 Vanderbilt 58 - Both of these struggling teams needed this win badly. The Rebels controlled most of the game and kicked it up a notch in the second half to hand Vandy their fourth loss in five games. Remember when they were one of the last remaining unbeatens? Freshman Point Guard Chris Warren led the Rebels with 20 points, and Eniel Polynice scored 18. Both Ole Miss bigs Kenny Williams and Dwayne Curtis grabbed 10 boards.

#21 Pittsburgh 69 Villanova 57 - Villanova spent most of this season ranked, yet will be lucky to make the tournament. Four Panthers scored in double figures as they dominated this game, especially in the front court. Sam Young had 15 points, Dejuan Blair had 10 and 14 boards, and Tyrell Biggs came off the bench with 14 of his own. "We're right there as far as the conference goes," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "Through all that it's pretty remarkable and I'm proud of our guys. I think it's a place no one thought we would be at this point."

Arkansas 78 #25 Mississippi State 58 - Like all other SEC teams not named Tennessee, Mississippi State took their turn as the flavor of the week, and then proceeded to go on the road and get spanked. Patrick Beverley had a double double 19 and 10, and Sonny Weems added 22 as the Razorbacks moved to within a game of MSU in the SEC West at 4-2. "They were the hottest team in our league, one of the hottest teams in the country," Arkansas Coach John Pelphrey said. "For us to be able to win tonight, we feel very fortunate."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Firm of Beasley and Walker

Anyone familiar with the Kansas/Kansas State "rivalry" knows two things:

1. KU owns K-State to the tune of 35-1 in the last 36 games.

2. K-State's home court, Bramlage Coliseum is affectionately known in Lawrence as "Allen Fieldhouse West" (same thing goes for the Coors Events Center in Boulder).

It's simply known as "The Streak." The Wildcats opened Bramlage Coliseum in 1988, and for the last 19 years, the home team has come away a loser. The complete streak sits at 24. That's right, it's been 24 years since Kansas State has beaten Kansas in Manhattan. As good as KU has been this year, #2 in the country, 20-0, and viewed by many as the best team in the country, this could be the Wildcats best shot at ending the streak. That's because of the great Freshman Forward Michael Beasley.

The man who declared over the summer: “We’re gonna beat KU at home. We’re gonna beat ’em at their house. We’re gonna beat ’em in Africa. Wherever we play we’re gonna beat ’em,” has the game to back up his boasts. He leads the Big 12 in scoring (25.3) and Rebounding (12.7) and is maybe the best big man in the country and is probably going to be the #1 pick in the NBA draft this summer.

While Beasley is going to get all of the attention, the key player tonight for K-State is fellow Freshman phenom Bill Walker. Walker, best known as O.J. Mayo's running mate in high school, quietly averages over 15 PPG and has picked up his play in the last 10 games. No coincidence, K-State is 9-1 during that stretch. Like Beasley, he is capable of taking over a game if need be, just as he did against Cal when he dropped 30, or the 22 he had in the big road win over Oklahoma. Expect KU to put Brandon Rush on him all night long.

As for the incomparable Beasley, KU will run a combination of Darnell Jackson, Darrell Arthur, and Sasha Kaun on him at times. Self was throwing bouquets at him all week: "I thought I’d never see a freshman dominate college basketball like (Kevin) Durant did as evident of him winning national college player of the year as a freshman. Michael has the same opportunity to be national player of the year.”

KU in the meantime, continues to downplay "The Streak." Said Senior leader Darnell Jackson “That’s in the past. That’s about guys here before me. We just have to stay focused and be ready to play.” Freshman Cole Aldrich, playing in his first Sunflower Showdown agreed with D-Jack: “Not many people have been talking about it,” Aldrich said. “We take it game by game. We tried to take it to Nebraska before we played ’em. Now we are concentrating on K-State.”

The bottom line here is that you don't want to be on the team that ends the streak. A bunch of streaks have gone by the wayside under Self's watch the last four years including the overall 30 plus winning streak over K-State (ended two years ago in Lawrence), a 52 game home court winning streak against unranked opponents (2004 vs. Richmond), and worst of all, KU's record of never losing a first round NCAA Tournament game (2004 vs. Bucknell). Self's veteran team is loose and ready to go. They cannot wait for the craziness that will be going in inside Bramlage.

Self loves the passion to win this game out of the Wildcat faithful: “We’ve played in front of three atmospheres in my opinion that have set themselves apart: Our first year in Stillwater when they hammered us. The first year when they closed Hearnes (Missouri) down and last year in Bramlage. To me those three were the best atmospheres we played in. I guarantee this atmosphere will go right in that category.”

Beasley agrees: “It’s going to be nutty. It’s already nutty. We can’t go anywhere. I was just in the Student Union and people were coming up to me, ‘You’ve got to beat KU. You’ve got to beat KU.’ About 50 students came up to me.”

Prediction: We've said in the past that this was the game KU would lose, when the streak finally would come to an end. But I don't know if it's the homer in me, or the fact that I have such a turst that this team refuses to buckle under pressure on the road, but I think somehow, the Jayhawk defense swarms the Wildcat guards and they turn the ball over 20 plus times. This will lead to a ton of KU uncontested layups.

The big mismatch in this game is indeed the backcourts. While K-State Freshman Jacob Pullen has really improved the team's offense, he has never been guarded by a ball-hawk like Russell Robinson while having to wonder where Mario Chalmers is and if he is about to pick his pocket. The KU bigs will go right at Beasley and try to get him into foul trouble, leaving Rush, Chalmers, and Sherron Collins open to knock down deep shots.

In the end, Beasley and Walker will get there's, but KU will be too much for the rest of the kitties from Manhattan. Kansas 86 Kansas State 82

The 96-97 Kansas Jayhawks vs. The 07-08 Kansas Jayhawks

I know this is the ultimate jinx writing this blog today of all days, but it is time to compare the two best teams of my KU era, the 96-97 team that went 34-2 and was ranked #1 all year and the year's team that has looked so dominant and who ESPN's Jay Bilas called yesterday "a machine." Both teams have great depth, veteran leadership, underclassmen studs, and great coaches. We will break it down position by position. Keep in mind this is where these guys are at that particular point in there career.

Point Guard: 96-97 Jacque Vaughn, SR., 10.2 PPG, 6.2 APG, 1.7 SPG vs. 07-08 Russell Robinson, SR., 7.3 PPG, 4.6 APG, 2.4 SPG

Both players are considered the heart and soul of their team. JV missed 10 games with an injury, and had what I would call a sub par year by his standards. He was known as "Acque" Vaughn, because he had no "J," but nobody ran Roy Williams offense better (except UNC's Raymond Felton). He was the best full court defensive guard in the country as well. Lost major points we us when he continuously passed up wide open shots at the end of the Arizona game. Not the way he wanted his career to end.

Robinson, like Vaughn, is a great defender. He is very under control and knows how to get his teammates involved. He isn't afraid to take a big shot, but knows he is usually the 5th option on the floor offensively. However, he has hit the third most three-pointers on the team. The one thing about Russ Rob we love so much is that he always seems to be in complete control.

Advantage: Vaughn - By a nose. They are very similar players, but put Jacque on this year's team where he only would have to concentrate on running the offense and playing his stifling D, and he'd be lethal.

Shooting Guard: 96-97 Jerod Haase, SR., 12.0 PPG, 36% on threes vs. 07-08 Mario Chalmers, JR., 11.9 PPG, 47% on threes, 4.9 APG, 2.7 SPG

Haase to me was one of the great overrated talents in KU history. "Mr. Floor Burns" was a solid defender and hit big threes, but his wrist injury severly hampered him late in his Senior season and he was a complete non-factor in the tournament, scoring just 11 points in three games. He was a standstill, off a screen, jump shooter who started all 36 games, despite his various injuries.

Chalmers is a dynamic talent. Bill Self calls him the "best off the ball defender" he's ever coached. He has become KU's best three-point shooter and wants the ball in his hands at the end of a close game. Mario's propensity to turn the ball over has lessoned in a big way and his handles have improved. He and Robinson are the perfect compliments to each other in the backcourt.

Advantage: Chalmers - The man is a steals machine, he shoots threes at a 47% clip, has a patented tear drop floater in the lane, and is a vocal leader on his team. Ask 100 scouts who they'd rather have on their team and 100 will take Chalmers.

Wing: 96-97 Paul Pierce, SO., 16.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 46% on threes vs. 07-08 Brandon Rush, JR., 12.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 43% on threes

Pierce is the best talent KU has had during my era. Even as a Freshman, the kid was dropping 25 on teams. He was a deadly three-point shooter, could take his player off the dribble, and had a sick mid-range game. Looking back on the stats, he was KU's leading scorer in every Big 12 and NCAA Tournament game, including 27 and 11 against Arizona in the season-ending crushing loss.

Rush is an enigma. He is coming off a torn ACL and is still not 100%. He has looked so passive at times this year, yet when Self lit him up to the media, he came back with three straight great games and showed you his brilliant talents. He is a superior defender when healthy, but he isn't 100% and can't be the lock-down guy he was last year. Rush has also become completely reliant on his three point shot. Though he is a deadly marksman, he isn't going to the hole the way he should.

Advantage - Pierce - As good as Rush is, this one isn't close. Pierce is the best player of the Roy Williams era and during his Sophomore season, he became the go to guy on the perimeter. Nobody would ever have called him "passive."

Power Forward: 96-97 Raef Lafrentz, JR., 18.5 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 58% from the field vs. Darrell Arthur, SO., 13.6 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 54% from the field

Raef never gets the credit he deserves. You forget just how good he was. His fade-away jumper was money. He was a shot-blocking and rebounding beast, and commanded double teams every time he touched the ball in the low post. While Scot Pollard sat for 10 games with a broken foot, Raef stepped up his game big time and became an All-American. He had a streak of leading the team in scoring 14 of 15 games.

The man they call "Shady" has steadily improved during the season. He has put together a nice assortment of post moves including a sick fade-away and a jump hook. Arthur can run the floor about as well as any post man in the country and can knock down jumpers from anywhere. His defense is average and his rebounding could be better.

Advantage: Lafrentz - This was another no-brainer. The main difference here is that Lafrentz's season was where he made his big jump. Arthur is a superior athlete, but he doesn't have the instincts Raef did that season. Not to mention Raef's rebounding and shot blocking abilites were far superior to that of Shady.

Center: 96-97 Scot Pollard, SR., 10.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.6 BPG vs. Darnell Jackson, SR., 12.8 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 65% from the field

Pollard was a jokester. The guy everyone on the team loved and opponent's hated. A great rebounder and shot-blocker, Scot was the consumate garbage man. He knew how to use his big body to his advantage. He lost 10 games that season to a broken foot, and never really fully recovered.

The man-crush is the most improved player in the country. Nobody on the team works harder or wants it more. He mid-range jump shot has become automatic, he crashes the boards with a vengence, and dives all over the floor for loose balls. Like Chalmers and Robinson, Arthur and Jackson compliment each other beautifully.

Advantage: Jackson - This one is extremely close. Both guys are Senior leaders, players who are beloved by their teammates and the fans. But Jackson squeeks it out because he has become a dynamic offensive threat, therefore making his running mate Arthur even better. Not to mention, he is our second all-time favorite Jayhawk.

The Bench:

96-97 Billy Thomas, JR., 7.7 PPG, 41% on threes

Ryan Robertson, SO., 4.5 PPG, 41% on threes

T.J. Pugh, SO., 3.6 PPG, 2.1 RPG

B.J. Williams, SR., 3.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.0 BPG

07-08 Sherron Collins, SO., 9.0 PPG, 2.6 APG, 1.4 SPG

Sasha Kaun, SR., 7.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.4 BPG

Rodrick Stewart, SR., 4.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.1 APG

Cole Aldrich, FR., 3,1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.2 BPG

Billy Thomas. Ah yes, my alltime favorite Jayhawk. You needed instant offense and deep shooting off the bench, Billy was your guy. All of his shots seemed to be timely as well. Robertson was a steady backup PG who was deadly from deep. Just take a look at the Arizona game comeback. It was all Thomas and Robertson. They wanted to take big shots and nailed them. Pugh was the consumate role player big off the bench. He was a good rebounder and defender with a limited offensive game, save for his famous spin move against Iowa State. B.J. Williams used to anger me as much as any player next to Eric Chenowith. He though he was a better offensive player than he was and too often left his feet for blocks on the defensive end. If need be, Roy Williams had Junior PG C.B. McGrath and Freshman SF Nick Bradford in reserve.

This year's team has solid contributors off the bench, especially from the top two. While Sherron Collins still isn't 100%, he can come in at either guard spot and the team doesn't miss a step. He has the killer crossover and can knock down the deep three. Like Chalmers, he wants the ball in his hands late in games. Kaun has really embraced his role as a bench performer. He has learned how to harness his massive physical ability and it has helped his offensive game immensly. Defensively, he is KU's best big man. Stewart started at the beginning of the season while Rush was recovering from his knee injury. What we love about Rod is that he rarely makes mistakes, plays excellent defense, and hustles. He is the definition of a team player. Aldrich is young, and gets about 10 minutes a night, but defensively, he is a stud. Probably KU's best shot blocker. He is very fundamentally sound player, but his offensive skills still need work. Guards Tyrel Reed and Jeremy Case make cameos from time to time.

Advantage: 07-08 - Again, this was an extremely close call, but the athleticism of Collins and Stewart, and the ability for Kaun to be an interchangeble part up front is the difference. When Pugh or Williams would come in for Pollard or Lafrentz, the other player would immediately get double-teamed. That doesn't happen when Kaun steps on the floor. Thomas and Robertson cannot be overlooked though. They were extremely steady performers.

Coaches: 96-97 Roy Williams (34-2) vs. 07-08 Bill Self (20-0)

What is so interesting is that at the time, Roy Williams was what Bill Self is in a way now. Roy hadn't won the big one yet. Self is still trying to get to his first Final Four. Roy loved for his team to get up and down the floor as fast as possible. Self has adapted to his talent and has gone to more of a fast paced attack, even though he is the inventor of the high/low offense. Both face enormous pressure by a hungry KU fan base, but Self probably is under more scrutiny since he followed the legend, then proceeded to lose twice in a row in the first round in years two and three of his regime. Meanwhile, Roy had left and won his title, making things that much harder for Self.

Advantage: Push - I was going to give it to Self because under the pressures he has faced this year, he has this team playing as well as any team we've seen since 96-97, despite injuries to Rush and Collins. He has transformed Jackson into an NBA prospect (with the help of Danny Manning, lit a fire under Sasha Kaun and is getting great production out of him, and manages to keep this team happy and ego-free, despite all of the stars.

But looking back, Roy had the same issues. He lost both Pollard and Vaughn for 10 games apiece, and had this team 32-1 going into the tournament, with their one loss in double OT on the road to hated rival Missouri. That was in a year where they won the Maui Invitational, beat a top 5 Cincinnati team in Chicago, won at UCLA, at Connecticut, and destroyed ranked Big 12 teams Colorado and Iowa State twice.

Overall: The 96-97 team had NBA players in Pierce (future hall of famer), Lafrentz (lottery pick), Vaughn (first round pick), Robertson, and Thomas. On this year's team, you could see Rush, Chalmers, Collins, Arthur, Kaun, and Jackson all at the next level. Both teams had/have great chemistry and could score on anyone. The difference I see with this year's team is on the defensive end. They are regarded as one of the best defensive teams in the country, especially in the backcourt. They may not have the go-to guy like a Paul Pierce, but they have more options offensively. Collins, Rush, Arthur, Jackson, and Chalmers could all end up with the ball at the end of a close game. The bottom line is that this is KU's best shot to win a title. They have more talent than any KU team since the great 96-97 team, but they seem to have the killer instinct that the 96-97 team may have lacked. Then again, I could be wrong. We will see what this team is really made of in March.

Coast to Tyus Edney against Mizzou

In case you hadn't heard, and I'm sure you have, The New York Mets have won the Johan Santana sweepstakes. That is huge news for all Indians fans. Get him out of the American League. That was all we were hoping for. The Mets are the big winners here. They finally got their horse, perhaps the best pitcher in the last 20 years who is in his prime, and to get him, they didn't give up their top pitching prospect Mike Pelphrey or any major league talent. At first all you heard were names like Jacoby Ellsbury, Phil Hughes, and Melky Cabrera bandied about. But in the end, the Yankees and Red Sox wouldn't part with their top talent to get Santana, and watched him go to the National League. Ken Davidoff of Newsday says the Mets owe a tanks to the Yankees for getting this deal done.

Winning the Florida Republican Primary is a huge move for
John McCain. We spent a good 90 minutes watching the coverage on MSNBC last night. Some interesting theories out there. McCain is the clear favorite now, especially with Rudy Giuliani dropping out of the race and reportedly going to give his endorsement to McCain. Mitt Romney, who is chasing McCain, but has more money, is possibly being hamstrung by Mike Huckabee voters still in the race, as he is the candidate for the religious right. Meanwhile, Huckabee continues to stay in the race, even though he is clearly in third. Interestingly, he has been very complimentary of McCain during this entire race, and longer he stays in, the better it is for McCain. As NBC's Tim Russert put it, "it's almost as if McCain is dangling the Vice Presidency in front of Huckabee saying 'come on Mikey, just stick it out a little longer, through Super Tuesday.'" Interesting.

Our best wishes go out to one of the greats in the sports media,
Michael Wilbon who underwent an angioplasty to fix a minor blockage in Scottsdale. We'll miss you while you are recovering Mike.

Set your alarms Detroiters, your mayor, the great Kwame Kilpatrick
will finally address all of these allegations of wrongdoing Wednesday at 7:30.

Props to
The Big Lead for finding this first, but reading this article on the despicable Jerramy Stevens literally made us sick to our stomach. Just more proof that Universities are enablers to their star athletes and some lawyers are the scum of the earth. It's a must read.

One of our favorite writers, the KC Star's Joe Posnanski blogged another piece about
Bill Belichick, the Cleveland years.

If you didn't see this
nasty dunk by Alabama's Senario Hillman, you need to click on the link. One of the biggest posterization's we've ever seen.

Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson doing a duet of Don't Stop Believin'. All we can say is yikes. (SIDE NOTE: We cannot stand Journey. Steve Perry's voice is like fingernails on a chalkboard. It makes out skin crawl.

According to Tribe expert Tony Lastoria,
the Indians window of opportunity is wide-open. An excellent analysis.

The lady about is Inez Sainz, the woman T.O. lifted his media ban for, last year st Super Bowl media day. Uh, yessah....

#16 Marquette 62 South Florida 54 - A much needed win for the struggling Golden Eagles. Lazar Hayward had his career high with 23 points to go along with eight rebounds. They needed it as their star PG Dominic James was way off, shooting 1-7 for three points. Wesley Matthews picked up the slack with 16, including two big threes down the stretch to seal the W.

#8 Tennessee 93 Alabama 86 - Games like this are the reason we love watching the Vols. How does a 60 point second half sound? Chris Lofton continues his emergence from his slump with his third straight great game. The preseason All-American nailed five threes on his way to 23 points. Jajuan Smith hit four threes, including back to back threes with just under four minutes left that keyed a late Vols run that iced the game. He had 22. Tyler Smith had a double-double with 17 and 11. Bama was game, thanks to Richard Hendrix's 20 and 12 and Alonzo Gee's 27, but they missed 11 free throws, committed 20 turnovers, and were outrebounded 41-32.

Ohio State 68 Penn State 56 - A time game at the half, the Buckeyes took over late and pulled away to get the road win. Jamar Butler played all 40 minutes and led all scorers with 20. The Buckeyes are now 15-6 and fighting for a tournament bid.

Wake Forest 70 Miami 68 - I'll ask this question again, how could the Canes have been ranked at any point this season, let alone last week? Freshman Jeff Teague had a career high 27 and Wake hit 10-19 from deep. Stat of the night: Miami shot 54% from the field and lost.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Media Day Was Made for Tom Brady

If there was one person you would want to trade places with for a weekend in sports, it has to be Tom Brady. Seriously, he has overtaken Derek Jeter as the coolest guy in sports by far. This guy's life doesn't suck: NFL MVP, dates a super model, movie star good looks, knows how to handle himself with the media, and nobody ever says a bad thing about him. His teammates, coaches, media, ex-girlfriends, nobody. How many people can leave a hollywood actress for the biggest super model in the business, then find out the ex is pregnant, and still come away smelling like a rose? It must be amazing to be able to walk into a room and know you can pretty much pick out any woman and take her home. Chicks can pull that move, but not many guys can. Guys like Brady, Jeter, and Matt Leinhart know that feeling. Solid.

Today he was obviously the center of attention at Super Bowl media day, perhaps the most-covered spectacle in sports. Nothing like thousands of media honks asking stupid questions for hours on end. We have found our star of media. No, it wasn't a player, but a rather clever TV Azteca reporter who showed up in a wedding dress. Ines Gomez Mont made quite the impression when she fought to the front and asked Tom Brady if he would marry her. Solid and creative move by her. Trust me when i tell you this will be talked about for years. Right up there with Ray Buchanan wearing the dog collar and calling out Shannon Sharpe as Mr. Ed.

Romeo Gets His Extension

Romeo Crennel got what he wanted. Stability. It will be announced today, but Crennel's contract will be extended two more years and a reported $4 million per. He has two people to thank in particular: The NFL schedule maker and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. Said agent Joe Linta: "Romeo is very happy to have this done. Randy Lerner took the opportunity to make sure that Romeo Crennel is the face of the franchise for years to come and rewarded him for the fine job he's done in helping to turn this franchise around. The ship is headed in the right direction and the Browns recognize Romeo's value to the organization."

Romeo is a great guy, his players will run through a wall for him, but other than turning the offense over to Chudzinski, what has he proven? We have gone over this ad nauseum, but Crennel is a defensive coach who's defense has gotten worse each year and was bailed out by his offense this year. With a 2008 schedule that features the NFC East (all four teams were .50o or better) and the AFC South (all four teams were .500 or better), the real test will be this year. There was no reason to grant Romeo this extension. Why not wait another season to make sure 2007 was not a fluke?

Props to agent Joe Linta for the ability to swing this extension for his client.

Crennel Gets a Two-Year Extension - Mary Kay Cabot - Cleveland Plain Dealer

Coast to Tyus Edney against Mizzou

Last night was the final State of the Union for George W. Bush. Thank Goodness. The best part of the these State of the Union addresses is the constant standing ovations. If they decided one year "OK, lets hold the applause until the end," the address would be cut in half at least. I love the times when the President says something that the Democrats oppose and one side of the room stands up in applause, while the other side stays seated with their arms folded. It's always a classic.

A sad piece of news this morning. The great sports writer for the Boston Globe, Bob Ryan, suffered a major loss for his family yesterday. His son Keith,
died at the age of 37 in Pakistan. Ryan was working for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Our best goes out to the Ryan family.

I know this story is a day old, but it bears repeating. Missouri's leading scorer, Stefhon Hannah, went to a bar, had some drinks, and walked him
with a broken jaw and will be out for a while. Coach Mike Anderson is not amused.

Good fun on a boring Tuesday morning in Winter:
Biz Markie does his own rendition of Elton John's Bennie and the Jets. Absolutely amazing.

We lived through the Bill Belichick Browns era and still to this day we cannot believe it was the same guy who now rules the NFL.'s Gene Wojciechowski wrote a great piece examining how that experience molded him into who he is today.

A huge endorsement for Barack Obama,
The Kennedy family.

Good News for Britney Spears. She is now allowed to talk on the phone with her kids!

Our favorite story gets yet another twist. Christine Beatty, the chief of staff for Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and the woman he had an affair with and lied about under oath,
resigned from he job. How long until Kwame is impeached?

The great Hulk Hogan's divorce proceedings are
getting real ugly. At least he's got the new gig on American Gladiators, brother!

Not a big night in college hoops, but here's your morning recap. Sorry we are slow today, but Mrs MTAC got home last night and we got to sleep late today. late meaning 7:15.

San Diego 63 #20 St. Mary's 55 - At first glance, you think this is a bad loss. San Diego is 11-11, but they beat Kentucky in Lexington and are now 4-1 in the WCC. For the second time this year, the Gaels moved into the top 25 and immediately lost. They led on the road by five at the half and had a lead as larghe as 10, but the Toreros sizzled in the second half. They shot 55% from the field. Brandon Johnson scored 25 points to go with Gyno Pomare's 20. St. Mary's shot just 39% and 6-19 from deep. Leading scorer Patrick Mills led the Gaels with 13.

Connecticut 69 Louisville 67 - Give Jim Calhoun a ton of credit. Playing again without leading scorer Jerome Dyson and sixth man Doug Wiggins, they held off a solid Cardinals squad. A.J. Price scored 20 points, and both Stanley Robinson (16 and 10) and Jeff Adrian (12 and 10) had double doubles. Both teams are now 5-3 in the Big East, but perhaps no team in the country is making a bigger push for a tournament bid right now than UConn. Their front court is one of the best in the nation.

Oklahoma 64 Oklahoma State 61 - Oklahoma Freshman PF Blake Griffin has to be considered on of the most valuable players to his own team that you will find anywhere. After sitting out a blowout loss to Kansas and a two point win at home against Texas Tech, Griffin, who was set to miss three weeks with an ankle sprain, came off the bench with back to back big games to beat Baylor on the road, and now Oklahoma State. He scored 15 on just four shots. He got to the line 15 times. As good as Blake was, his older brother Taylor stole the show with a career high 20 points on 7-8 from the floor. They needed everyone of them as the Sooners missed 13 free throws and made just 3-12 from deep. The hot seat for OSU's Sean Sutton just got warmer.

Gonzaga 79 Portland 41 - Now this is more like it for the Zags. After getting spanked by Memphis on Saturday, they returned home for this blowout. Austin Daye had 19 and 13 to lead the way. Gonzaga is now all alone in first in the WCC at 5-0.

Monday, January 28, 2008

ESPN Radio...Getting Worse by the Day

Is there anything more insufferable than ESPN Radio during Super Bowl week? Maybe ESPN Radio when there is no football to talk about. Lets break down the top three shows on their network, all of which have gotten progressively worse in the past six months.

Mike and Mike in the Morning - Straight up Cheese-dick radio. Is there anything more tired than the "Greeny is a metrosexual" bit? He is a whiny woman and Golic plays right into it. They do have good chemistry and are like an old married couple, but they spend three and a half out of their four hour show talking about the NFL. When they aren't doing that, they are coming up with lame song parodies or talking Yankees/Red Sox. It is definitely sports talk for non-sports fans and I understand why they get such big numbers, but the ESPN brass has done them no favors by over-saturating us with them. Everywhere you turn, its Mike and Mike. They gave them the Arena Football League announcing gig (a smart ploy to get fans to watch) and gave them an NFL game the first Monday Night of the season, which was a colossal mistake. Greeny doing play by play = Bryant Gumbel. The bottom line, have they ever asked a hard hitting question to any guest? Not that they have anyone on who isn't named Mark Schlereth, Sean Salisbury, or Dick Vitale.

The Herd - In the interest of full disclosure, I used to think this show was smart and different. But the more I listen to "Scrutebag" the more I began to dislike him. If there is a more arrogant man in the sports media (other than Dan Patrick, whom Scrutebag views as a radio mentor), I'd like to meet him. While at least he has interesting guests, talks college football more than anyone else, and doesn't toss softballs during interviews, the arrogance just ruins everything. When he takes calls, the callers always say "He Colin, love your show" and then he proceeds to insult them no matter what comment they make. See, Scrutebag is NEVER wrong. You could tell him the sky is blue when it is, but he'll say "no it isn't its gray, that's why I have a show and you are just a caller."

He literally has become so insufferable to me that I no longer even give his show any sort of listen. Not to mention the biggest deal of them all to me: He claims to never read blogs, says they are stupid, and then proceeds to steal all of their material. When one of the best sports blogs in the business, The Big Lead dared to cross big, bad Scrutebag, he proceeded to tell all of his listeners to go on the site at the same time, and crashed the Big Lead server. This led to disciplinary action by ESPN. If you ever want to know how good Scrutebag is, just ask him, he will gladly tell you. He thinks he's Jim Rome, but he isn't.

The Mike Tirico Show - Ok, for starters, we have to say that having Scott Van Pelt on this show is saving it for the dreaded "unlistenable" list. Because he doesn't have the cache of Tirico, he couldn't get this job, but he should have. SVP is the best guy going on that station by a mile and he plays well of of Tirico. Unfortunately for us, that is only twice a week. Whoever decided that Michelle Tafoya would be a good choice as a sidekick to Tirico should be fired. I flat out won't listen when she is on. It's a bore. Kirk Herbstreit is also excellent, but unless it's discussing football, he isn't relevant. That is the difference between having SVP as the #2 of the others. He knows all sports.

While we admirer Mike Tirico's work a ton and he seems like a genuine good guy, the show lacks the edge it had when Dan Patrick was running it. He is the king of softball lobbing and every interview he gives is a love fest. I miss those days of Dan Patrick going toe to toe with Tommy Morrison about trying to box again with HIV or with Kobe Bryant about his flip-flopping on wanting to leave the Lakers. Tirico is a company man. All he does is pump up ESPN and their programming. There is nothing special about this show and a once must listen to show everyday has turned into "if I hear it, fine. If I don't fine." I miss the days of Patrick with Rob Dibble and Sean Salisbury. While Dibs didn't know anything and was a total meat head, the show was very funny and fresh. You can't say the same thing now, unless you are talking about when SVP cracks Tirico for his love for Springsteen and his lack of knowledge of A Tribe Called Quest.

In Addition: We were always big fans of Eric Kusilias and the Sports Bash. Every time he fills on for either Mike and Mike or Tirico, it's all good. The guy is right in our wheel house. Loves all sports, quotes movies like Stripes, Fletch, and Trading Places, and isn't afraid to voice his opinions. Plus, he is smart and you can tell. He graduated from Michigan law school and practiced law before getting into ESPN. The difference in intelligence level between EK and Scrutebag is like comparing The Patriots to the Raiders. All we can say is thank God for Howard Stern replays on Sirius Channel 100 all day long.

Now talk amongst yourselves....

Cavs/Tribe Roundup

You gotta respect the gutty performance the Cavs put on yesterday in beating the Lakers in LA. In front of a national TV audience, once again Lebron James put on a show. While his 41 points, big jumper, and huge free throws in the last 30 seconds were exactly what his team needed after blowing a ten point lead, it was his defense on the final play that saved the day. Along with the much maligned Larry Hughes, they double-teamed Kobe Bryant and Luke Walton so tightly on the final play that they couldn't get a game-tying shot off. "Our guys were unbelievable -- LeBron and Larry," said Cavs coach Mike Brown, the defensive devotee who is probably still watching video reruns of those final nine seconds. "The way they defended the Lakers so they wouldn't even get a shot off was amazing. They did that on their own. That was just intelligence by those two guys, hustle, effort."

With Sasha Pavlovic already out with a foot injury, Ira Newble has stepped into his starting role as the two guard. But it was his move to the four spot which sparked the defense down the stretch. Unfortunately, it was necessitated by the ankle injury of Anderson Varajao. Andy's was carried off the court after turning his ankle badly in the second quarter. He will have an MRI today. With Andy out, and Z fouling out with five minutes left, Brown went to Newble and it worked. His energy on both ends of the floor were key. Never thought we'd be saying that.

Cavs Storm to Victory - Brian Windhorst, Akron Beacon-Journal

The Tribe media tour roles on. There was a nice piece on Kelly Shoppach and his value to the team in this morning's PD. Rafael "The Realtor" Betancourt was signed last week to a two year deal worth just over $5 million total. But the all time classic is that Casey Blake and the Indians cannot come to terms on a figure. Blake is arbitration eligible for the last time. The Indians offered him $5.4 million, which to me, is way too much money for this scrub to begin with. (SIDE NOTE: That's right, he is back to being a scrub. All of the good things he did last season were forgotten in a two minute span when he grounded into a DP and then booted an easy grounder in game seven against the Red Sox). Fake is looking for $6.9 million. When I read that figure I almost choked. But in the meantime, they two sides won't meet in the middle. For the first time in 16 years, the Indians may have to go to an arbitration hearing. The good news is that after this year, Fake is a free agent and hopefully we won't be subjected to his aw shucks routine and average at best game anymore. My goals for this season:

1. Win the World Series

2. Re-sign CC

3. Bash Casey Blake all year long

All Quite After Offer From Blake's Agent - Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Shoppach Sees Getting Shopped as a Good Thing - Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Coast to Tyus Edney against Mizzou

I was at the Cavs/Suns game this weekend with two other couples and the discussion of the MTAC top babes list was a hot topic. The women seemed to take issue with Lindsay Lohan being #1, the men claimed my list had no rhyme or reason to it; that I was all over the board with my tastes. While they all thought I was nuts for my love of Kathrine McPhee, they were all in agreement with Rachel Bilson. I also can admit that leaving Jessica Simpson off the list is a giant faux pas. I also need to mention that I picked up my friend's wife to meet him at the game. We got all the way to the game, about to pull into the parking lot, and she had left the tickets at home.

This Kwame Kilpatrick story just keeps getting better. The Detroit ABC affiliate's attack dog Steve Wilson uncovered that while the mayor is getting raked over the coals for lying about his affair with his chief of staff Christine Beatty, he was seen
at a North Carolina spa with another woman, not his wife. Memo to Detroiters, you elected this moron not once, but twice!

Barack Obama took the South Carolina primary in shocking fashion, more than doubling Hillary Clinton's votes.
This was a huge step for Obama, and a shot to Clinton as they move towards Super Tuesday. We were watching Meet the Press yesterday morning. They had a round table discussion on the primary and everyone seemed to be in agreement that Bill Clinton had a big hand in Hillary's trouncing in South Carolina from some of the things he said about Obama.

Byron York, a White House Correspondent had this interesting take: You know, I don't think you can overstate the amount of, of anger in--created in Democrats by Bill Clinton's tactics. I mean, they were very, very unhappy with him. I was talking to a Democratic strategist the other day who said, "My wife just got in the car. She's driving to South Carolina to volunteer for Obama." They were that angry at what Clinton had done. And he also said, you know, Clinton is trying to turn him into Jesse Jackson. And sure enough, after Obama wins big, what does Bill Clinton say about it? "Well, you know, Jesse Jackson won here, too." But you know, she--Hillary Clinton was kind of reduced to her core constituency in South Carolina. She had problems with everybody except for white women. Eighty percent of black women voted against her, 80 percent of black men voted against her, and 72 percent of white men voted against her. I mean, she was down to a very small constituency.

Ever heard the expression Summer Teeth? Summer teeth go this way, summer teeth go that way.
Anna Paquin seems to fit the bill.

One of the best fake commercials of alltime - Schmidt's Gay Beer. It's Farley and Sandler at their finest.

Since there was absolutely nothing on, I ended up catching some of Varsity Blues on TBS. Great flick. I did manage to catch
Ali Larter in her whip cream bikini. Yessah.

The SAG Awards went down last night. Mad props to the voters for recognizing The Sopranos in its last year.
It won for outstanding ensemble series in a drama while James Gandolfini and Edie Falco won for their lead roles as well. Perhaps the greatest scene in the show's great history: Christopher's Intervention.

For those of you who love Scott Van Pelt the way we do,
peep this exchange between SVP and John Buccigross. It's hysterical.

Tribe fans love this action: USA Today's Mel Antonen released his AL Central power rankings and
the Indians were first.

#22 Xavier 77 Massachusetts 65 - As you know, we are big believers in the Musketeers. This win against a talented UMass team on the road put Xavier at the top of the jumbled A-10 at 5-1. Encouraging was the fact that they hit just 4-22 from deep, yet won it on the defensive end by holding the Minutemen to 37% shooting. 5'7 Drew Lavender led Xavier with 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

#3 Duke 93 Maryland 84 - Giving up 51 points and trailing by nine at the half was a concern for the Devils, but they came out swinging the second half and outscored the Terps 51-33. They have Demarcus Nelson and Gerald Henderson to thank for this big road win. Nelson has stepped up his game big time in his Senior year. He had 27 to go along with Henderson's 23. The problem for the Devils still remains - the low post. Maryland dominated in the paint. Bambale Osby got whatever he wanted with 20 and 15 boards, while James Gist scored 26.

#10 Michigan State 77 Michigan 62 - The Spartans shot 58% from the field and held Michigan to 35%. Add in the giant talent gap between the two teams and it was a recipe for a beat down. Drew Neitzel and Kalen Lucas scored 18 apiece. I guess Mike Hart's "big brother" statement applies to basketball, just in reverse.

Florida 86 #13 Vanderbilt 64 - Time for the young Gators to get some national love in the polls. They are now 18-3 after this pasting of the Commodores. All five starters were in double figures, led by Walter Hodge's 19. Nick Calathas has to be the most under hyped great Freshman in the country. He scored 15 points and dished out 10 assists and he isn't a point guard. Vandy in the meantime is this close to getting the Fraud Siren dropped on them. They have lost three of four.

Miami 75 #23 Clemson 72 - I like Clemson. I really do. But you cannot lost to Miami, at home or on the road when they shoot 33%. They also lost Trevor Booker to injury six minutes into the game. He is a big part of what they do.

Syracuse 71 Providence 64 - Jim Boeheim's boys needed this win after the heartbreaking loss to Georgetown. Playing just six guys yet again, the Orange gutted one out, in large part due to Donte Greene's 24 points. A big problem that Boeheim needs to curb is Greene's new found love for taking three's. Yesterday, he shot a ridiculous 13 of them. FYI - He is a power forward.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Coast to Tyus Edney against Mizzou

Quite the interesting day in college hoops. The amount of underdogs that won was staggering. The Big East showed it's major league depth, while the Big Ten stumbled a bit. For the fourth straight week, our team of the week (Baylor) lost their next game. The best team in Mississippi may not reside in Oxford, and don't look now, but Kentucky is becoming relevant again. Speaking of Mississippi State, who else loved that Final Four team of 1996 with Dontae Jones, Erick Dampier, and company?

#1 Memphis 81 Gonzaga 73 - It may have finished an eight point game, but it didn't feel as though it was that close. Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts put on a show. Rose has 18, nine assists, and eight boards. Joey Dorsey killed the Bulldogs on the glass with 13 boards and a host of highlight reel dunks. Interestingly, Memphis shot just 6-24 from deep and it didn't seem to matter.

#2 Kansas 84 Nebraska 49 - The Huskers just can't hang with KU in any sport. The football team dropped 76 on the Huskers in the fall, and just two weeks ago, the Jayhawks won in Lincoln by 21. You know it's bad when Nebraska scored 15 points in the first half, while KU big man Darrell Arthur had 14 by himself. Brandon Rush hit five threes on his way to 17 points. This was men against boys.

Connecticut 68 #8 Indiana 63 - The Huskies are smokin hot right now. Playing without suspended Guards Jerome Dyson and Doug Wiggins, Jim Calhoun's club killed the Hoosiers in the post while shutting down Eric Gordon for the upset. Calhoun put 6'9 Stanley Robinson on Gordon and it worked like a charm; Gordon was just 5-16. Meanwhile, all five UConn starters were in double figures and Hasheem Thabeet was 6-7 from the field. Jeff Adrian had 11 and 11. He was toughest player on the floor by a mile. This was the biggest win of the day by any team. This was also Indiana's first home loss of the Kelvin Sampson era.

Purdue 60 #11 Wisconsin 56 - Don't look now, but Purdue is 5-1 and tied with Wisconsin and Michigan State one game behind Indiana. Purdue lost every statistical category except the one that matters most. It came down to one play. Bo Ryan ran the same play he ran to beat Texas, except this time Michael Flowers drove to the hole and had his shot blocked by Robbie Hummel to preserve the Boilers big win. The fans stormed the floor. "I didn't see them come down, I just got mobbed," Hummel, a freshman, said. "It was awesome. It was one of the greatest experiences I've ever had on a basketball court. It was crazy." Were both Indiana and Wisconsin looking ahead to their matchup Thursday?

Mississippi State 88 #15 Mississippi State 68 - Do we sound the Fraud Siren on the Rebels yet? The Bulldogs ran them over from the opening tip and have to be taken seriously as a threat to win the SEC. With Jamont Gordon (13), Jarvis Varnado (12, 8 boards, 4 blocks), and the return of Charles Rhodes (26), the Bulldogs dominated their in-state rival. They shot 56% from the field and held Ole Miss to 36%. That makes two straight losses for the Rebels who get Vandy next.

#9 Georgetown 58 West Virginia 57 - Give the Hoyas credit, winning on the road in the Big East isn't easy. They came back from a six point deficit in the last two minutes to steal this one. Jessie Sapp's three with 6.5 seconds left gave them the one point lead, but Da'Sean Butler found himself driving to the hole with a finger role for the win. Out of nowhere came Patrick Ewing Jr to swat the shot and secure the W.

#6 Washington State 56 Arizona State 55 - James Harden tried everything he could to will the Sun Devils to a win, but his drive to the hole at the buzzer rimmed out and Wazzu picked up a big road win. Harden finished with 25 in a losing effort. Derrick Low nailed six three's and keyed the Cougars who trailed by as many as 11. They almost blew and 11 point second half lead of their own and an eight point lead with 2:50 left.

#14 Texas A&M 59 Oklahoma State 56 - Sean Sutton's club continues to play teams close and come up short. The Aggies got a badly needed victory and ended a three game losing streak even though they turned the ball over 16 times. The owned the glass (31-20) and shot 51% from the field. The biggest question for A&M is what has happened to Freshman DeAndre Jordan. Banished to the bench by coach Mark Turgeon, he played just 13 minutes, scoring just two points and committing three fouls. He has scored in double figures just once since New Years Eve.

Rutgers 77 #17 Pittsburgh 64 - This has to be the headscratcher of the day. Rutgers, who entered this week 0-6 in conference, has beaten ranked opponents Villanova and Pittsburgh back to back. Trailing by seven at the half, the Scarlet Knights went on a 20-2 run led by Corey Chandler (18) and Mike Coburn (17). "It's a miracle," said J.R. Inman. "It's a dream come true. We're starting to establish ourselves as a program, coming to the Zoo and winning. It's amazing."

Notre Dame 90 #18 Villanova 80 - We may rename the Fraud Siren the "Super Nova." They were completely dominated in the post by Luke Harangody, who had 25 and 10. His point guard Kyle McAlarney was better, nailing 5-8 threes on his way to 30 points. If Villanova is still ranked next week, the polls should be disbanded.

Richmond 80 #19 Dayton 63 - Here is another stunner to me. Richmond came in 9-8 and 2-2 in the Atlantic 10. Dayton had come in losers of two straight and banged up. Playing without forwards Chris Wright and Charles Little, the Spiders blew the Flyers doors off right from the start. A 25-5 first half run was the difference. Like the Pac-10 and Big East, there are no nights off in the A-10.

#21 Stanford 82 Cal 77 - Brook Lopez had a huge night with 23 points, while his brother Robin grabbed 14 boards, 10 offensive. Cal's Ben Braun cannot feel safe in Berkeley these days.

#23 Drake 58 Northern Iowa 54 - Klayton Korver was on fire for Drake, nailing 7-8 three pointers. His night was the difference as the Bulldogs move to 18-1, 9-0 in the MVC. With Illinois State's loss, they now own a two game lead in conference.

Other Scores of Note:

Oklahoma 77 Baylor 71 - Just when we jump on the Baylor bandwagon and anoint them the team of the week, they lose at home to Oklahoma. Nobody knew it, but OU super-frosh Blake Griffin would play and play well. He came off the bench to score 17 and grab 15 rebounds in 22 minutes. Now that is what we call quality minutes.

Kansas State 82 Iowa State 57 - Michael Beasley scored 33 points and tallied 15 rebounds in just 22 minutes in this blowout. How good is he? Up next for the Cats, undefeated Kansas. Have we mentioned the K-State is 0-19 at Bramlage Coliseum against KU?

Louisville 67 St. John's 57 - The Cardinals had to have this one.

UNLV 72 San Diego State 69 - The battle for first place in the MVC went to the Rebels. UNLV is now 15-4. The Mountain West is always a highly underrated league.

BYU 83 New Mexico 66 - The Cougars keep pace with UNLV atop the MVC after this win. We are still high on this team, thanks to Trent Plaisted (13 and 13) and Lee Cummard (20) in the post.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee 79 Cleveland State 71 - Just like that, CSU's two game lead over Butler has evaporated.

Kentucky 78 South Carolina 70 - Other than their loss at Mississippi State (no shame in that), Kentucky has played as well as any team in the SEC. Ramel Bradley had 26 on the perimeter and Patrick Patterson has 22 in the post.

Arizona 84 Washington 69 - The Cats better be back in the top 25 next week. Jerryd Bayless was 9-11 for 26 points. Chase Budinger hit five threes on his way to 25 points. Jordan Hill had 16 and 11 in the post. That is production for inside and out.

USC 95 Oregon 86 OT - The Trojans are making their move in the Pac-10. Daniel Hackett had 26, OJ Mayo 25, and Dwight Lewis 24. Noted Oregon ballhog was 4-16 shooting.