Sunday, February 12, 2006

Marchin' On

Super Bowl XL Recap
* Super Bowl XL was possibly the worst game I have ever seen, and without a bout the most boring Super Bowl in my lifetime. Now I know the big game often fails to live up to the hype, and we have been spoiled the past 5 years with such classic games as Pats/Eagles, Pats/Panthers, Pats/Rams and Rams/Titans, but this game was just a total let down. Neither team played well, the refs were awful, the commercials were lackluster and all the performances made me feel like I was watching an Ensure infomercial. So as far as I am concerned, the Steelers are merely borrowing Lombardi's trophy until hopefully a team more deserving (with a QB with a higher than 20 QB rating) can claim it in Miami in '07. We will all be better off to forget this ever happened, and put it all behind us.

Note: I lost on all of my Super Bowl predictions except one. Kobe Bryant outscored the total points in Super Bowl XL 35-31.

College Hoops Top 10 (2/12)
1. Duke (23-1)
2. UCONN (22-1)
3. Memphis (22-2)
4. Villanova (19-2)
5. Texas (21-3)
6. Florida (21-3)
7. West Virginia (18-5)
8. Gonzaga (20-3)
9. Pittsburgh (19-3)
10. Ohio St. (18-3)

just missed: Tennessee, UCLA, Michigan St.

Sleeper Teams: Northern Iowa, Wichita St., LSU
Overrated: Illinois, BC, George Washington

2/13 UCONN @ Villanova
* Could be a Final Four preview. These two teams are in the top 5 nationally, but both need a win to keep pace with each other and West Virginia for the Big East regular season crown.

Other Big Games to Watch This Week
Michigan St. @ Iowa

Oklahoma @ Colorado
Ohio St. @ Wisconsin

UCONN @ West Virginia
Michigan @ Michigan St.

Georgetown @ Villanova
Indiana @ Illinois

Syracuse Update
Last Week: UCONN 73 Syracuse 50; Syracuse 75 St. John's 60
This week: 2/15 Cincy; 2/18 Louisville
Record: 17-7
Big East: 5-5
vs. RPI Top 50: 1-7
Last Ten: 5-5
RPI: 32
SOS: 7
Key Win(s): @ Cincy, UTEP (its sad but these are the best teams they have beaten so far)
Key Losses: Seton Hall, Bucknell

*ESPN's Bracketologist Joe Lunardi currently has Syracuse making the tournament as a #12 seed, meaning they are getting one of the last at large bids. Problem is, their toughest games are still to come. So if they are on the fringe now, expect it to get worse unless they can uncork a big conference win between now and the Big East tourney.

Any Publicity Is Good Publicity...
Unless that publicity involves your sports greatest player involved in a gambling ring with the mob. That's the situation the NHL finds itself in now that Wayne Gretzky is squarely in the middle of Rick Tocchet's alleged gambling operation. While there has been no direct tie to the Great One, reports have surfaced saying his wife, Janet Jones, made about $500,000 in wagers over the past 6 weeks. 99 initially denied knowing about the operation, but wire taps have confirmed that not only did he know, he attempted to work out a situation where Janet and himself would be left out of any investigation. Well that didn't work, and now its even been reported that not only did Janet bet with his associate head coach and friend Rick Tocchet, but Gretz's agent and Coyotes GM Mike Barnett placed at least one bet as well. So to sit there and tell us he didn't know what was going on, is asking a lot of the public. Your wife was laying down heavy action, and your good friend knew exactly where to go to place a wager. Where there is this much smoke , there has got to be fire. The best hockey fans can hope for now, is that hockey was not involved at all in this gambling operation, and that the Great One was truly an innocent bystander. Maybe his wife did have a gambling problem, and maybe Tocchet and Barnett were too good of friends for Gretz to rat them out. Hopefully this is the case, but this much is clear, after a resurgence, hockey is back on the front pages for all the wrong reasons.

What's Up Doc?
For all of you that know me, you know how much its killing me to even waste my time writing about the Celtics. I have never been a big Celts fan. Whether you want to call me a frontrunner, or a sell out, I really don't care. Fact of the matter is, the Celtics make it hard to rout for them because they have been so inept in every facet of the game for so long. This trend is going to continue for at least a few more years while the Green attempt their latest rebuilding effort under the watchful eye of Danny Ainge. The Celts have made it a point to get younger this time, giving college aged guys like Kendrick Perkins, Al Jefferson and 2nd year guard Delonte West big time minutes in hopes of them developing into stars. Add to that the drafting of 19 year old prep phenom Gerald Green, and it looks like they are going with a major youth movement. Only problem with that, is that coach Doc Rivers has been so inconsistent with his starting lineups this season that the team hasn't had any chance to gel. Another major issue, when these players do mature, the best player on the team, Paul Pierce, will more than likely be either out of Boston, or past his prime. So won't that leave the Celtics in yet another rebuilding stage? As much as I do love Pierce, I think the time is now to either blow this whole thing up and devote to the youth movement, or make moves now to compliment the current product on the floor...AKA continue to build around The Truth. I'm in favor of the former. This team is far away from competing for anything other than a 7th or 8th seed in the East playoffs, so the time to move is now. Acquiring Olawokandi's expiring contract was a start, but shipping out Pierce for a young player and maybe some draft picks would show Celtic fans that the days of struggling to get by are over, and at least there is some plan for the future. I get the feeling fans are willing to go through growing pains with Perkins and Jefferson, if there is a definite plan in place. On top of that, I am happy that the Celts continue to lose, because then they inch closer to firing head coach Doc Rivers. He's a terrible coach. He may be a great motivator, but he doesn't make the necessary changes during games to allow his team to adapt to different game situations. He will never be an X and O guy, and with this young corps, as much as they need a father figure to help them ease into the league, they need a coach that will teach them how to play the right way and how to compete every night no matter the matchup. Doc needs to go, and the sooner the better. The Celts are miles away from where they need to be, but taking these steps would at least show their fans they are dedicating to one game plan, rather than wallowing around the middle of the pack for another 20 years.


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