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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Another Nuke Headed For Japan?

Another big game, and another incorrect prediction by yours truly. Well, maybe I wasn't totally wrong...




-Basically everything I said the Tennessee Vols needed to do to win the game happened, and they were able to ride that perfect storm to a win in a sloppy game against the #1 Memphis Tigers. Tennessee kept the press up all game, and in taking their own quick shots, which is their style, forced the Tigers to take quick shots as well, getting off their game. Memphis matched Tennessee's 64 shots on 40% shooting, with their own brick-fest of 23-58 for a stellar 39% from the field. That's not the way Memphis got to 26-0, and the constant barrage of quick shots took stars Chris Douglas Roberts and Derrick Rose out of their element, and didn't allow bangers Joey Dorsey and Robert Dozier to get in position to control the glass. Bruce Pearl's boys are used to that style, and the fact that they controlled the boards (45 to 31) allowed for them to shoot poorly from the field, remain in the game until it was time to apply the dagger with just a few seconds left. And I didn't think it would rear it's ugly head in this particular game, but the Tiger's 9 missed free throws were quite obviously a major factor in the ultimate outcome. In a sloppy game, it's the team that controls all the intangibles and the team that brings the most hustle that comes out on top, and in that aspect, Memphis was just out-classed. Tennessee was able to impose their will, so I give them props for coming out with such a huge road victory. That being said, I'm not so sure I think they're the best team in the country...


-The one thing that's cool about a game like Memphis/Tennessee (other than the fact that you get to see Bruce Pearl molest ESPN super-hottie, Erin Andrews, during the halftime interview), is you get to see how good you're "measuring stick" is. You know. It's like you get to watch and say "I think these teams are the two best in the country, am I right?" For me, the answer to that question could possibly set up a whole restructuring of the way I view the Nation's top teams. In this instance, I think I learned that while very impressed with the way the Vols played, I don't come away from that game thinking they're the best team in the country right now. Why? Well because after watching the game, I realize I had Memphis ranked far too high at #1. I'm not saying they weren't #1 for a lot of the time I had them ranked there, but after watching them play Saturday night, I know for sure that as of right now there are at least 3 other team's I'd take before the Tiger's as my NCAA Champion. My pick right now (kiss of death), would be the UCLA Bruins. I watched that game and thought; If Tennessee tried to do that to UCLA, the Bruins would just roll with the punches. Then, in the halfcourt set, UCLA would be able to impose their will, thus creating the difference in the game. That's my opinion, but it's the opinion of a guy that's always scouting, as opposed to always watching. I look for ways teams can be beat, and look for ways that team can beat their opponents. On Saturday I saw two teams that I think UCLA could handle, and so even though they weren't involved, they were the biggest benefactor. At least in my delusional eyes...

...Oh, and it's a good thing I don't debut me latest top 10 until Friday. IF Tennessee wins @ Vandy on Tuesday night in another interstate battle, then they just might be #1 worthy after all. Although it's gonna take a good bit of convincing...

-The clear winners from the Bracket Buster games this weekend were Kent St., and the Missouri Valley Conference. First, "the Val". Headlined by the Drake win over Butler, the bubble teams in the Missouri Valley really did themselves a favor by coming away with a few quality wins. Southern Illinois pasted Nevada at home 74-49, while Indiana St. and Creighton both snagged road wins over Murray St. and Oral Roberts respectively. Maybe a little far fetched for Indiana St. (sorry Larry Bird fans), but those wins put Creighton (19-8) and Southern Illinois (16-12) right back in the tournament bubble discussion. I knew you boys could do it, and I'm glad to have you back. Now finish up strong and make me proud...

-Kent St. also may have locked up a tourney bid (barring a conference tourney collapse) with their BB win over St. Mary's. Good looks by Antonio Gates alma mater, but what it really got me thinkin' about was how did I really know St. Mary's was any good? They're now only 2-3 against the RPI's top 50, just 5-3 on the road, and their biggest wins are a game with Drake nearly 4 months ago, and a home win in overtime against Gonzaga. The Zags, on the other hand, are also 10-1 in the West Coast Conference, played the 10th toughest non-conference schedule in the country (St. Mary's #39), and have already proven they can hang with hard fought losses to Memphis, Tennessee and Washington St. Not to mention their early season win @ UCONN, which is a win that's getting more impressive as time rolls on. I say Gonzaga is a much more prepared, and much more dangerous team as we head into March and St. Mary's is a group that's more likely to flame out and be exposed, than they are a squad that has any chance of doing serious work come March Madness...

-And I can't wait to watch the episode of Intervention where Kelvin Sampson's family has to take away his cell phone. Mere days after being ousted for NCAA violations involving improper phone calls, Sampson's former players say many of them received text messages of love and support from him on the eve of their first game without him. To echo a famous Family Guy line..."Stickers! and Ponies! and MySpace.com!"...Stop texting, dude. You lost your gig because you couldn't get off the phone! Take the freakin' hint already! You know when Verizon tells you that you've qualified for free Hannah Montana concert tickets because of the number of texts you've sent, then you need to put the phone down, and step away from the recruits. You've got one week, and then it just becomes a really creepy stalker type thing, and the FEDs are gonna have to search your house for your ex-players practice shorts and/or tufts of their hair that you may or may not keep in small plastic baggies beside your pillow. (note: if those baggies exist, he may or may not tape the players picture to the bag and rub it against his cheeks until he falls asleep)

And before you check out this week's big games, I wanna let you know that I am as big a nerd as you thought I was, and I've already set up an NCAA Tournament Pool Bracket. I'll be sending out the invites in a week or so, but with only 23 days til the opening tip, I figured it's better to get it done now and start givin' peeps the heads up. And if you were somehow doubting that this year's pool would be any fun? I named it "Kelvin Samsung"....

Tuesday
Tennessee @ Vanderbilt
Ohio St. @ Indiana
Southern Illinois @ Bradley
BYU @ New Mexico
San Diego St. @ UNLV

Wednesday
Miami @ Clemson
Ole Miss @ Kentucky
Minnesota @ Purdue
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
Texas Tech @ Texas A&M
Creighton @ Illinois St.

Thursday
Notre Dame @ Louisville
Michigan St. @ Wisconsin

UCLA @ Arizona St.
USC @ Arizona
Maryland @ Wake Forest
Wright St. @ Butler
New Mexico St. @ Nevada
Robert Morris @ Sacred Heart*

*Watch yourself when it comes to the power struggle in the Northeastern Conference. between Bob Morris and Sacred Heart. Ahh, who am I kidding. It might be the game to end all games when it comes to the power struggle atop the NEC, but in all honesty, that's just a battle to see who has the inside track at playing in that "play-in" game. Besides, there's no way in God that thing's on TV unless your actually within 50 feet of either campus...On the plus side, I saw Rob Morris the other nite at the bar, and he says he's ready to take on all comers...that's the spirit, Rob!...


Red Sox Update
-As long as the Sox aren't paying by the pound for "El Guapo Duce", Bartolo Colon, then I gotta say I'm in favor of the addition. He was awful last year at 6-8 with a 6.34 ERA, but seeing as we're only risking a mil, and it's only a minor league contract, I like the risk vs the reward. All I'd want out of Bartolo, would be to forget for a few minutes that there's a pack of hot dogs strapped to the back of your neck, and give me 70-80 innings without getting blown out the place. If Colon can take some of the inning load from Lester and Buccholz, and maybe even fill in for Schilling in the rotation, then he would be a perfect fit for this squad.

-I said it was only a matter of time, and like the proverbial squirrel finding the nut, I was right on the money. The Sox locked up manager Terry Francona earlier this week for 3 years and about $12 million in a move that seemed as destined to happen as the Lindsay Lohan nude pictorial. He does a great job of controlling the personalities in that clubhouse, and while I don't always agree with some of his in game decisions, you can't argue with his 2 World Series rings. Kudos to Theo and the boys in the front office for gettin' this one done in a timely manner...

-The Sox will actually get down to business this Thursday. There's a split-squad game to kick things off, where half the team will face Northeastern, and the other half will battle the BC Eagles. As long as none of those frat boys try to brush back Manny and Youk, I'm sure the games should go off without a snag...

Diamonds...She'll Pretty Much Have To
-I'm the man when it comes to spotting "win-win" situations, and this one might be one the best cases ever! Word out of Barry Bonds camp, is that the slugger is ready to play, and will take his game to Japan if no team in the states wants his services. Oh, it gets better. The one team in the Bigs that actually seems to be considering Barroid, is the Tampa Bay "Rays". So you're tellin' me that Bonds is either going to be playing in Tokyo, or grazing the artificial turf in Tampa St. Pete? The thought of either one makes me give one hard laugh, followed by the laugh at the laugh sound I had just made. On one hand, it's Bonds towering over a bunch of tiny Asians, them nicknaming him "Big American Juice" or "#1 Supertime HomeRun King", and him trying again to break an All Time homerun record. Hey, he's only like 70 away from Japan's Sadahara Oh, isn't he?. I only hope the rumors are true, and that no other team does want Barry this year. I just happen to find that unlikely. I know he's like the worst guy ever, but since when has that ever been an issue for anyone else? If he can perform, he'll be on somebody's team, plain and simple. I see the truth, but I still gotta hold out hope. Whether it's Tokyo or Tampa, it's gonna be embarassing for Barry. And that's all I really care about...


-And speaking of shootin' yourself with cattle hormones, Derek Jeter says he's all for MLB blood testing for performance enhancing drugs. The Yanks captain said that the players were already giving blood for their yearly physicals, so it didn't see why it would be a problem to do it again. What Jeter fails to realize, however, is that he's thinking way too logically for Bud Selig, and unless he can draw up some sort of pie chart and a slide show to explain to the Commish why this should happen, this logical step won't be taken for about another 3-5 years. Use a lot of pictures, DJ, he's more of a "visual" learner...

-Roger Clemens, trying to prove that he's the dumbest man alive, or at least the most persistent, is going to show up to Houston Astro's training camp in a few weeks to honor the "special services" contract he has with the team. This all according to his son, Astro farmhand Koby Clemens. Now I'm no Rusty Hardin, but you really think it's the best idea for this guy to be performing any "special services" right now? Never mind the fact that he shouldn't be within 10 miles of a baseball diamond if he knows what's good for him. We get it, Rog. You somehow think you didn't juice. It was B-12. McNamee's a rapist. We gotcha. If you wanna keep on with this charade, then just do it on your own time, and keep it out of the clubhouse. If you want to apologize and come back to tell people your story, I could accept that. But this, this is just you continuing to show how big a tard you actually are. Oh, and tell your wife that people DO stare at the unsightly bulge that's beginning to mount in her crotch. Time for another visit from Dr. McNamee!...

...and let's see him show up at camp in the face of a criminal investigation being mounted by the same Congressional Committee that he insisted on speaking in front of a few weeks back. Now that it's basically been proven that he actually was in attendance at this Jose Canseco party, it looks like the FEDs are gonna' try to get a perjury case goin' against him. Yeah, speaking at that hearing was a great idea, wasn't it Rusty? Yet another strategic move from the same brain-trust that brought you "B-12", "the golf course receipt" and "misremember". These tards could fuck up a cup of coffee...

News and Notes
-Just in case you've forgotten in the few days since we've last spoke, Tiger Woods is still the PGA Tour's #1 Hustla. Much like I figured the Patriots would do in the Super Bowl against the Giants, Tiger capped off his amazing run at the World Match Play Championships with an 8 & 7 blowout victory over Stewart Cink. Turns out his win was such an exclamation point, that the day after ESPN was asking if he or MJ were the most dominant athlete of the SportsCenter era. And even better, he's now "expected" to win all 4 legs of golf's Grand Slam. Talk about setting the bar a tad high. I'm just gonna sit back and watch this guy do his thing. It seems like we say this every 18 months or so, but it really looks like T-Money might be playing the best golf of his career....yea that's right...again...

-So maybe you were a little low on Arkansas running back Darren McFadden coming into the NFL combine. Sure he has great in college, but the experts began to dissect his game, and all of a sudden people didn't seem quite enamored as they once were. Well, all that changed in my eyes for two reasons at this weekend's NFL Combine in Indianapolis. First off, the kid flat out flew in his 40 yard time, posting somewhere in the neighborhood of 4.33. (To put that in perspective, Minnesota's Adrian Peterson set the world afire last when he ran a 4.41.) Showing top end speed like that will tend to make GMs forget about a few character falls and the fact you might cough up the bean a little more than normal. Even more impressive was when I learned that McFadden plans on modeling his career after 2002 Pro Bowl running back, Travis Henry. Yup, Darren already has two kids out of wedlock, and there are reports out there that there are two more where those suckers came from. Should all of DMC's DNA test out to be legit, that would put him only 1 kid behind Travis The Impregnator, and well on his way to the 2008 Shawn Kemp Award. To be in contention for that title as a rookie? Let's just say I like this kid's chances of fitting in...

-Like I said before about Randy Moss. I trust the Pats will do the right thing, I just have no idea how they are going to go about doing it, so I won't even bother to guess. Well, a former Patriot player that still has strong ties to the team told me this week, that while the two sides can't negotiate for another month, a "gentleman's agreement" may already be on the table. Again, nothing can be announced because they aren't "supposed" to be talking, but from what I hear it's more of just an understanding between the two sides than it is a case of tampering. Besides, if it wasn't questionably illegal, then it wouldn't really be Bill Belichick and the Patriots, now would it?...

-As for the SpyGate controversy featuring Matty "VHS" Walsh, I read something this week that really put me at ease. When noted Patriot basher, and all around lunatic, Bill Polian came out and said the situation was handled brilliantly by the league, I figured Belichick and crew were in the free and clear. Not only is the Colts owner insane, but he loathes the Patriots, and would have stood a lot to gain had the Pats been proven of cheating. Matter of fact, I was rather surprised the nutjob didn't do the exact opposite, and basically join up with Arlen Specter, and tour the country in an RV trying to convince the world the Patriots need to be punished. If Polian doesn't think the Pats needed to be punished any further, and that no more investigating needs to be done, then by God that's more than good enough for me. Then again, if he's so nuts, maybe it's a bad sign that he agrees with Roger Goodell. Eh...


-And to finish up, I just want to warn everyone not to overlook No Country For Old Men just because it won the Best Picture Oscar on Sunday night. I know it might sound weird for me to say you would ignore it after it won, but a lot of time I feel people think the Academy only picks really artsy films and won't want to see a film that was voted #1. I get that, but at least with this film I can tell you it's not the case. Granted, it's not your typical TNT/FX movie that you can half watch while you fold your laundry, but if you give it the time and attention it deserves, I'm pretty sure you'll come away a fan...


-OH...I Can't believe I almost forgot!! Word out of A&E camp says that all my prayers have been answered, and Dog the Bounty Hunter will resume filming as soon as possible!! Let this be a lesson to all you Roger Clemens' out there. This guy said "nigger" on tape, but because he owned up to it, was almost immediately forgiven. Now he's back on the streets, saving people from "Ice", and introducing them to God. After all, nothin' says justice like a pair of Oakley's, some weird pookah shells in your hair, a paintball gun and a wife with a huge rack. YOU DA MAN NOW...DOG! I don't care if you're a Mexican....OR a whore!

It's been real, but it's time for this guy to hit the bricks. I'll be producing all week for Gresh & Zo on 99.7 FM and 790 AM, The Score. So while I won't be out painting the town red at night, you can bet your ass I'll be doing my best to make up for that with my daily on air performances. Feel free to check it out on your radio dial, or even go 21st century on 'em, and check the streaming feed at the NEW! and IMPROVED! http://www.screamfm.com/ .

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