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Thursday's Dirty Dozen: Random thoughts on the day before I see the surgeon........
12) Sports Illustrated article on UCLA’s basketball program is required reading for anyone who follows college hoop; interesting stuff, nothing that terribly shocking, but the picture of Howland painted by former players is disappointing. Not exactly a people person. Players need to know you care about them as more than a number on the greaseboard.
11) TCU has made great strides in basketball this year, going from 11-22 to 17-12, but next year they jump up to the Big 12 for football reasons, which will make them a doormat in hoops once again. Jim Christian, the former Kent State coach, has had the ultimate uphill climb making the Horned Frogs’ program a consistent winner. He’s obviously a good coach, but does TCU have the resources/facilities to compete in basketball with its new conference rivals?
10) Speaking of the Big 12, Missouri/Texas A&M have to fork over $12.4M each to get away from the league and head to the SEC, where $12M is pocket change, especially in the fall.
9) You don’t have to be Dr Phil or Dr Jack Ramsay to figure out that Lamar Odom isn’t happy in Dallas, and wants out. Tough to trade for guys who played for the fatcat teams; will they be as good a teammate when they go to a team they might not be thrilled to be on? Odom seems like a good guy, but he also seems like a player who wasted a lot of his vast talent over the years.
8) Rajan Rondo didn’t score a point Tuesday, but had 11 assists, five turnovers, and was +7 in 32 minutes in a game the Celtics won by 3. He’s the first NBA player this season to have 10+ assists and not score in that game. Rondo backed that game up with a triple-double Wednesday.
7) Pirates play only nine of their first 25 games at home, and 22 of their first 25 against teams that had winning records last year; now comes the news that AJ Burnett fouled a ball off his eye while practicing bunting on Wednesday. Hopefully the injury isn't too serious.
6) Good move by ESPN, signing up former Colts’ GM Bill Polian for the network; he should provide a different perspective on how/why things happen.
5) Michael Jordan’s mansion in Chicago is on sale for $29M; it has 15 bathrooms in it. Sounds more like a hotel than a mansion. Must be fun to be rich, but who owns a house with 15 bathrooms in it?
4) Colorado Rockies have an intrasquad scrimmage Friday, with managers Todd Helton/Jason Giambi. Exhibition games get underway Saturday, for the most part. Will be fun to watch these meaningless games for the next month, and I mean that.
3) Eldrick Woods is annoyed about Hank Haney's book; imagine how he'd feel if Haney talked Woods' girlfriends. He had to know something about all that stuff. Now that would've made for an interesting book.
2) Saints are playing a dangerous game, negotiating with Drew Brees on a long-term contract. The two sides are apparently pretty far apart. Just sign the man already; he's earned the money.
1) Totally enjoyed the end of Florida-Vandy game Tuesday, when the Commodore seniors came out one-by-one at end of the game, to rousing ovations from the home fans. A terrific player like Jeffrey Taylor openly crying on the court as he waited to be subbed in for gave you a glimpse of what is good about college sports, a marked contrast from UCLA.
I think the two most exciting ends to a game yesterday was the UMass and Temple game, along with Miss. State and South Carolina. Both were won in OT with 2 seconds or less left in the period. Miss State scored on an inbounds pass with 1.4 seconds left. what a thriller!! Probably the best game I have watched all year.
If it wasn't for sports, I'd have nothing look forward to
Lets try this again and hope for a couple winning picks. I always buy the point or take money line as you know so not going to keep listing that. So I do lay -120 or -130 for the most part. Cant wait for baseball.
Have a great night.
Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this month.........not including being able to walk again without crutches
13 things I’m looking to find out in March………
13) March is mostly about college hoops; who will make the field of 68? Who will whine the most about getting left out? My advice to those who don’t make it? Win more games next year. Its as simple as that.
12) Middle Tennessee? Belmont? VCU? Long Beach State? Creighton? Murray State? Iona? Who is this year’s VCU/Butler? Will there be a Cinderella story this March?
11) At long last, the great national mystery will unravel and we’ll find out where Peyton Manning is playing next year. Draft isn’t until late April, but NFL free agency starts March 13.
10) Will Knicks sink or swim in the NBA’s second half? Will Jeremy Lin continue to thrive, or will the Knicks have chemistry issues? I’m guessing they’ll be just fine.
9) Pac-12 stinks in basketball this year; if Cal wins conference tourney, do they get any other bids? Arizona? Washington? Once the tournament starts, will the conference win any games? Cal has to avoid a team with extreme quickness.
8) What about Harvard? If they get in the field of 68, will they win a game? They’ve beaten Florida State/LMU, so they’re capable, but they’ve also lost to Penn/Princeton, so not sure they’ve improved since the holidays.
7) the coaching carousel has already slowly started to spin; it’ll pick up steam once Championship Week is over, and then after the first weekend of the NCAAs. Always interesting to see who goes for what jobs.
6) Which unknown minor leaguer will take spring training by storm and become the rage of fantasy baseball leagues?
I remember Brandon McCarthy doing this for the White Sox a few years ago; My son went to great lengths to get him on his squad, then he fizzled out. Now 5-6 years later, he’s the A’s Opening Day starter. Go figure.
5) Will the A’s Opening Day 3B be a guy named Wes Timmons, who spent the winter as a substitute teacher? Don’t laugh, it very well could happen.
4) If you have the NBA Full Court package, watch the Timberwolves; very fun team to watch, with lot of good young players. Rick Adelman could very well be the most underrated head coach in any team sport. As I write this, Minnesota is 18-17, 8-7 on the road, and they haven’t even been on the cover of Sports Illustrated yet.
3) Will Eldrick Woods win a golf tournament before the Masters? Been over two years now since his last full-field win. Seems like he's lost that arrogance, that assurance that he was always going to win.
2) Is Kentucky battle-tested enough to survive six tournament games in March. They’re obviously talented enough, but they haven’t had to play a lot of nailbiters. Surviving stressful situations makes a team stronger. Wildcats haven’t had a lot of stress this season, because they’re extremely talented.
1) March is my favorite month of the year; ton of important basketball games, the weather starts getting warmer, spring just around the corner. Should be a fun month. Although it is a bit different now in Florida since every month is warmer.
1a) I get to meet my favorite person in the world outside of my wife, then again maybe more so. Heading down to New Orleans for the Final Four and dinner, partying and who knows what else with Bobs and hubby.
-- Mavericks sent Lamar Odom to the D-League-- WOW!!!! Now that is how to run a franchise. Try hard or we will embarrass you. Bravo!!!
-- Dallas then went to New Orleans and lost to the 9-27 Hornets; Mavs were minus-19 in the 20 minutes Jason Kidd was off the floor.
-- San Francisco beat LMU 67-60, advancing to the WCC semis where they will play St Mary's. LMU point guard Ireland was gimpy for most of the second half in this game, which hampered the Lions' cause. San Francisco was the Spooky play for Friday as well so how sweet it is.
-- Miami's bench got outscored 36-7 in 99-98 loss at Utah; Chris Bosh had a death in the family and missed this game.
-- Lebron James had 35 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, made a jumper with 0:24 left to put Miami up three, but he'll get criticized for passing to Haslem for the final shot, which is everything thats wrong with the NBA. If the best player doesn't take the last shot, he gets criticized.
-- Forget that it was a good pass that left a guy with a 17-foot jumper, a wide-open shot. If you're not a ballhog, you get criticized.
Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Not sure why MLB locked their LCS/World Series dates in with TV networks before they decided to create the extra Wild Card. There’s going to be some tight fits in between series, and if there is a rainout or two, there could be some chaos, but it will make the regular season better.
12) The second Wild Card in each league is a superior idea, because it encourages teams to try and win their division, rather than put themselves in a Russian Roulette, one-game playoff to make the Elite Eight of the playoffs. Maybe they should start the season a week earlier to loosen up TV dates for October playoff games.
11) 50 years ago Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game that was played in Hershey, PA. Scoring 100 points was an amazing feat, but even more surprising is that an NBA game was played in Hershey. Too bad Darrell Dawkins (Chocolate Thunder) wasn’t around back then.
10) Chamberlain was famous for being a bad foul shooter, but he was 28 for 32 in that game. He took an amazing 63 shots from the floor, in game where three Knicks scored 30+ points. How do you score 147 and lose?
9) Golf Channel was so busy following Eldrick Woods’ every step Thursday, apparently they didn’t get film of Davis Love’s hole-in-one. Not like Love is one of the leaders or anything, and if he won Sunday it wouldn’t make a great comeback story. Oh wait it would. Bad miss.
8) AJ Burnett is out 8-12 weeks after getting his orbital bone surgically repaired. If its eight weeks, that roughly seven starts, or 20% of his season. Yet another reason why bunting is stupid; a bad team lost its best pitcher for at least 20% of the season, because he was practicing how to make out on purpose. Brilliant!!!
7) Guys from EA Sports, the video game makers, say that some gamers play so much Madden Football that they know the NFL rules better than a lot of NFL players. That made me laugh. Seriously, it did.
6) Southern Illinois canned hoop coach Chris Lowery, who won coaching players he inherited at SIU, then oversaw the program’s demise to the basement of the MVC. Question here is this: if the Illini fire Bruce Weber, do the Salukis bring Weber back to Carbondale, where he was successful? I’ve heard worse ideas.
5) Of the five teams in the NL East, Atlanta has the lowest payroll; now that’s a first in that division.
4) Maple Leafs' GM Brian Burke fired coach Ron Wilson, which doesn't seem that newsworthy considering Toronto's recent struggles, but Wilson has a very good career record, and besides, Burke was his roommate at Providence College. Business can be cold sometimes.
3) NBA trading deadline is March 15, same day that the main part of the NCAA tournament begins; not exactly best way to maximize publicity for your league. Why not have it the following Monday, when there is a lull in sports news?
2) A's opened the 2012 spring training schedule by losing 8-5 to Seattle, the first of many losses this season for a team that will try hard but they have a severe talent deficiency to overcome.
1) NFL apparently is going to come down on the Saints for having some kind of a bounty system that rewarded game-ending injuries to opposing players. Rams’ new DC is Gregg Williams, ringleader of this scheme.
I actually have no opinion, other than the Saints did win a Super Bowl with Williams there. I know its not a big an offense as spying on your opponents, but I’ll leave it at that.