Hello Gabbers and welcome to another edition of Storminnorman's sports blog, a bi-weekly blog that I share with Sully. Anyway before I get to the subject I wanted to talk about, I want to say it's damn cold here in Michigan at the moment. I have lived here all of my life, and never remember a winter this bitterly cold. I visited my doctor today because I was having problems with my surgically repaired shoulder, think I pinched a nerve in my neck, but no tear in the rotator cuff was found which is a good thing. So I am sitting here stoned from the muscle relaxer that he gave me to relieve me of the discomfort I am suffering from at the moment. But anyway, on to the subject at hand....
Now with the Olympics over, and Canada winning both Gold medals in hockey, the Brooklyn Nets decided to sign Jason Collins to a 10-day contract. As you all know, Collins is the first professional athlete to come out and say he was gay. I have no problem from a personal standpoint, because there are probably more athletes in other sports that have probably been afraid to come out and admit they are gay, because of the disrespect they will receive from others in their sport.
My personal feelings are this, before Collin's was forced out of the game he loved to play initially for admitting his sexual preference, he was a heck of a basketball player. Even at 34, he realized he could still play ball so he received a tryout from the Net's who were desperate for a center due to injuries. He was given a tryout and had to earn his way onto the Net's team, so he must still be able to play. Also, if as an athlete you are that homophobic as to where you can't be around other men in a shower after a game, then maybe you should leave the sport. The point I am trying to make is this, before Collins admitted or came clean with the fact that he was gay, he was still in the same locker room with his former teammates, shared the same hotel room with one, and everything was fine. So let's just leave him alone, and let him play out the rest of his career. The problem lies with the media, ESPN in particular who made a big deal out of the signing, by showing his first game last Sunday.
I have several friends who are gay, as well as many of you may also. Does it change your opinion of them, I hope not, because after all they are still your friends. I know it doesn't in my case, and if Michigan ever get's it right, I will be able to attend and watch them share their vows for which I am not ashamed to say after all, because they are my friends, and I don't look at them as being gay, but as my friends.....
I don't normally touch on NASCAR, because I normally leave this for "Q," because she is our racing expert. But that was one hellava race last Sunday night. Six hour delay due to rain, and yes the right person actually won the race in Dale Jr., he had the best car for most of the race I watched. Crash and burn NASCAR, some of the best crashes I have seen in quite some time in the last 10 laps, not that watching the closing ceremonies are boring, but that was fun to watch. Even though my driver did not win, I was still involved in the race right up to the end. Thank you for the restrictor plate racing, at least it makes it interesting.
I must be old school NASCAR, because I believe that someone else who had been around should be racing with the #3 on their car instead of Austin Dillon, who is basically a no-name driver, who is riding around now using the number of one of NASCAR's greatest racers Dale Sr......
As Hank had his surgery yesterday, I realized the Wing's playoff run just might be coming to an end this year, so I am trying to get enthused about the trade for Ian Kinsler and the signing of Joe Nathan, thank you once again for raiding the Texas Rangers for two of their better players. I guess because of this crazy weather, and the occasional look-see at Jeff's blogs about Blake, I just can't get enthused about baseball at the moment for whatever reason. Baseball is normally the time of year that I get the most enthused about sports in general, but with it being so cold, spring seems like it's never going to arrive. Kinsler, Nathan and Raji Davis will give the Tigers something they haven't had since Todd Jones was their closer, and Sweet Lou was their second baseman a little speed and stability, which should benefit Miggy, Justin and Max, because they will not feel like they have to carry the brunt of the load on their shoulders. Not that Prince Fielder was a bad choice, but as we all know Scott Boras is a money grubbing jackass who likes to wait until the end to sign his players, so he can get more for them then what they deserve.
Finally, last Friday I found out through a friend that the "Motor City Madman" Greg Carrier had passed away. Greg had been battling MS for quite a while, and as usual the illness finally won. Greg was an avid Detroit sports fan like myself, and a rather interesting person and fierce fantasy sports competitor. Rest in Peace "Madman," you will be greatly missed by your friends and family.
The Wings were his team, he loved his hockey......
Thanks for stopping by, Sully should be here next Friday.
I was all pumped up to watch Duke play UNC in Hoops the other night a than totally forgot it was on. So a few nights later Duke was playing Syracuse right after the Cuse ruined their undefeated season against Boston College fall asleep missed that one too. I did end up watching a good NBA game if there is such a thing anymore Houston and Golden State in Overtime 102-99 first time in a while was totally entertained by the NBA, I had no routing interest and only could watch the guy do the luge some many times. There really wasn’t anything else on. So I tuned in and actually enjoyed
Has banned collisions at the plate sort of. There has been talk it will take the players a while to get use to it but isn’t the slide or avoid rule at every other level of baseball from Little league to college? It simple the catcher has the ball go around him or slide into the plate don’t barrel him over. The catcher if you don’t have the ball or not getting ready to receive a throw move your ass out of the way what's so hard about it?
Is attempting to implement a 15 yard penalty for certain inappropriate words regarding race and sexual choice. There is no place in the game for using language regarding either. I'm thinking the rule has come about in direct relationship to two recent events. The Richie Incognito stuff with Jonathon Martin and Micheal Samms comming out as a gay athlete which I think once this kid poves he can play and his a good teammate the gay issue goes away.
I think this will be unfair burden on the officials. If one decides to call a penalty because he hears the N word and it costs a team a playoff birth there will be a huge debate. In treality I think the rule is a cover our ass rule by the league. I also think it won't be enforced during the regular season.
The one question I have is how much is the word used during games by opposing players and by teammates and in what context?
I think it's time to give olympic hockey back to the college kids and the junior players. The USA lost and Canada ,Sweden and Finland all medal the hockey was pretty good but wouldn't be just as good if top amatuers played. It's time to keep the NHL open every4 years and it's time to put some meaning back behind the medals. i'm sure every player on those three teams is proud to own Olympic hardware and Canada certainly deserved it. I also thinkthe Stanley Cup means far more to all off them than Olympic Gold. Ithink those medals would mean a hell of lot more too a bunch of college kids and Jr players that may never play in the NHL. just my opinion.
With the NHL Trade Deadline closely approaching I that I would look into a few rumors for those of you who care.
According to TSN,CA Sabre GM Tim Murray says that it’s possible that Goaltender Ryan Miller will be on the move before the March 5th deadline. Murray says Miller could use a fresh start and at least 2 but fewer than 10 teams have shown interest.
According to Lanz
Miller being traded could restart his career and bring him back to top goalie status depending on where he ends up.
Meanwhile in Edmonton GM Craig mactivish is looking for draft choices preferably a 2nd and a 3rd rounder. The Oilers are probably a lootery pick and have traded away their second and third rounders in deals last summer.
According to Lanz
Maybe Craig should held on to those.
According to the NY Post soon to be Free Agents Ryan Callahan and Dan Giradi could be rentals to help some teams out. Callahan has stated he wants to remain on the Rangers.
According to Lanz
Giradi maybe just the Blueliner the Bruins would want.
That’s just a few as usual lots of rumors at the deadline and often not a lot of deals but the NHL seems to make more deals than the other leagues
I’m proud of the Laser he has decided to pack in the last few games of the Hockey season to avoid further injury after his second concussion in less than a year. Aother concussion would sideline him for entire year and he would miss Baseball and fall and winter High school sports.
Lil Lanz AKA the Miser after going 0-12 in the preseason the boys have moved from5th place to third with wins last Wednesday and Saturday afternoon. The Boys are 12-10-7 with about 10games left. They trailed 3-0 Saturday to the Tanners who have had their number all season. They cameback and won 4-3. It was pretty funny Lil lanz has had trouble with a player on the other team all year . This player happens to be a girl. So he gets away with a clear trip(which he got huge talking too by me afterwards) The girl didn’t take it He was going in for a loose puck and she skated and was banging into him all the way down and finally she knocked his stick out of his hand. He ask me if I saw I said about as clear as you tripping her told him she got even. I had to say have to give that girl credit for not taking any crap.
The Middle School season ended last Thursday as the boys were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.
One family from the Lil Hockey Team has had a rough time we hadn’t seen that player for a while his aunt died unexpectedly and than his older sister had sometrouble delivering her baby. So the Mrs. And a few other mons from the team decided that this young man could use some fun so they to a collection up overwhelming response from all the families from the team. They were able to get some Gift certificates to a local Hamburger place, an Imaxx movie, and a local Ice Cream shop all three places are actually inside a local furniture store. Yes alocal furniture store they also have a Jellybelly jellybean store and a Trapeze School inside. The family was geniuenly moved and they were show appreciative the tears were flowing. There is basic human kindness and genuine gratitu
Well, Gabbers, woke up as per usual today and flicked on Good Morning America. It’s becoming routine until I can get regular teaching work. As with most news programs, they have a ticker. You know, they break down news stories in brief sentences, grammar be damned.
This morning on piece grabbed my attention. It read: MLB bans home plate collisions.
My reaction was a pretty standard WHAT!!!??? How could the MLB ban one of the most riveting parts of the game? Realizing a single sentence would hardly be the whole truth I investigated further.
Recently, concussion detection has become far more sophisticated. It’s also gone beyond the usual suspect of football. Studies have shown that concussions are known to happen in most sports. Football just happens to be the leader in men, while soccer is the main culprit among women.
We’ve also learned more about the long-term effects of concussions. The news is grim. Concussions cut down on life expectancy. They impair many key areas of the brain. They are also responsible for startling and sometimes scary behavior challenges including depression, homicidal tendencies, and suicide. To say that people have become more aware is an understatement. The level of awareness has been evident in a decline in youth sport participation (though it is by no means the sole cause) and new rules in professional sports.
Consequently, the owners of many MLB teams and members of the Players’ Union have come together to decrease the risk of concussion in baseball. One big cause they’ve already addressed is the risk of pitchers being hit by a line drive. To combat this risk, pitchers will have the option to don a heavily padded cap. Hopefully this is an option for fielders as well.
The newest preventative measure under discussions was the home pate collision. It’s a thing of beauty to watch. It’s a human train-wreck that harkens back to the gritty, early days of the game. You can practically visualize Ty Cobb going spikes first when you mention plate collisions. While catchers are protected, collisions still represent a danger to both players involved.
The solution is a one-year trial of a new rule. The rule would allow collisions, but only under specific circumstances. In essence, the catcher can only block the plate if a) he has the ball or b) he is attempting to field a throw that he couldn’t field without being in the base path. On the other hand, the base runner would no longer be at liberty to initiate contact with the catcher. The runner must not deviate from the base path to home plate. The runner must make an effort to touch home plate. He cannot lower his shoulder or push through the catcher. Only a clean slide would be deemed a proper means of reaching home. Other actions would result the runner being called out.
The union, however, worries if adopting this rule so soon gives players enough time to train to adjust the instincts or behavior in these situations. On the other hand, many worry that this rule puts too much say in the hands of umpires. The MLB does say that umpires may use video replay to enforce this rule.
To fans, this is a break with tradition. Like many new rules, people are also worried about how it will be carried out. Fan reaction has been mixed, but leaning towards negative. People now debate over how confusing the exceptions may be as well as whether plate collisions are an integral part of the game.
Meanwhile, back in Sochi, the Dutch have lobbed a blow against American sport. The coach of the Netherlands' speed skating team has been outspoken about the arrogance of the US and their approach to Olympics. He declares that the US wastes time, money, and athletes in “American football”. He also declares the US should not be upset about losing in the Olympics or soccer.
Reminds me of our unofficial motto at Albion. Fuck the Dutch.
Finally, you guys remember how LeBron James ruined the classic MJ vs. Bird in HORSE McDonalds' commercial? Well, get ready for James to ruin another 90’s classic in an effort to be like Mike. There are rumors of a sequel to Space Jam that would star LeBron. So much for being your own man.
That is it for me. Thanks as always for stopping by. Baseball is coming.. Be sure to check in at the following link for an official countdown.
Thats some twinkie...Hoodwood mourns the loss of Harold Ramis...
Greetings from the Hoodwood, where things are their usual hectic chaotic style and your scribe continues his long running hatred of insurance red tape. The tooth still has yet to be pulled or root canaled (Is that a term?) but as long as it’s quiet I’m fine.
US Hockey, not good as gold?
More often than not the US and Canada have a quiet relationship. The US/Canadian border is the longest non-militarized border in the world and until recently a short wait to enter freely from any customs point. I haven’t been in Canada in nearly 20 years since I refuse to pay $30 for passport but the parts I saw were nice and the people by and large (except for Montreal) were friendly. The only true rivalry that will get these mostly friendly neighbors up is hockey and the Canadians are relishing the chance to stick it to the Americans. The men roared through their bracket having had trailed in any point in the Olympics for a paltry 7:19. But they met their match in the speedy aggressive Canadians who dominated the game from the opening draw, pressuring goalie Jonathan Quick from the start, but Quick parried 16 shots in a scoreless 1st period, but you knew it would only be a matter of time before the Canadians would cash one in and when Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars slammed home a silky pass from Jay Bouwmeester, you knew it was all over but the shouting. Carey Price made the lone goal stand up and the Americans were handed their 4th loss in the Olympics by the Canadians. The US Women were even more painful a loss. They were steam rolling through the Olympic tourney and for some 56 minutes had their Canadian nemesis shutout, but the Canadians scored with 3:26 left and you got the bad feeling creeping in, and the clock was moving sooooo slow. With a little more than a minute left the Canadians cashed in on constant pressure, getting the equalizer with an agonizing 55 seconds left. The deflated Lady Yanks headed to overtime looking like a prisoner walking the Green Mile, you knew that they were gonna get it sooner or later and they were finally put out of their collective misery with the winner about 7 minutes into sudden death. But at least the women were able to take home a silver, the men after losing the heartbreaker to Canada in the semis looked disinterested and played that way in a lackluster 5-0 thrashing by Finland in the Bronze medal game. Needless to say the American hockey teams left Sochi quite unfulfilled.
NBA: And the fuss over Jason Collins is because…?
Jason Collins is a journeyman player at best, he has played with six teams over the course of 14 seasons and by the best description is the worker bee, yeoman type player you see come and go in the NBA. It helps that Collins is 7 feet tall and seems to be happy to do the grinder work that every basketball team needs. The fact that Collins is the first openly gay player to play in any of the four major sports has gotten a lot of play over the past weekend frankly puzzles me. Collins came out almost a year ago in an interview with Sports Illustrated, he wasn’t playing with an NBA team at the time and many pundits figured that he wouldn’t be playing anymore. Of course other pundits said that no NBA team would sign Collins and that it would be blamed on his announcement rather than his advanced basketball age. Collins was 34 when he made the announcement. When the Nets (the team he played for the longest and was a teammate of current Nets coach Jason Kidd) called and subsequently signed him. I looked at it as a basketball move, the Nets are a team in need of big bodies and the 7 foot Collins looked to be the best fit for the team. Like Michael Sams, I have no concern of the players’ sexuality. It’s none of my business and really no concern of mine. The only thing that annoys me is that the media making such a fuss on this, my question is can he play? Can he contribute? The vitriol that is anticipated by the anti has been largely drowned out by the overly PC people lording his participation. I’m not homophobic, I’m on a live and let live mentality. But I’m still puzzling on the fuss and to be sure, Collins isnt the first openly gay player in the four major sports. That would have been Dodgers outfielder Glenn Burke in the late 70s, whos other claim to fame was to be the first to perform the greeting we now know as the high-five. Burke was largely ignored and forgotten and died of HIV in 1995 but he really was the first...
NASCAR: Dale Jr. wins at Daytona..and clinches a playoff spot?
I’m not much of NASCAR maven, I know more people who are into and have enough of a working knowledge of the sport (and it is a sport) to have an appreciation of the drivers. My mom likes Dale Jr. which is ironic since she had zero love for his late father. After a lengthy rain delay the race finally got rolling close to 9p EST and Dale Jr. claimed the checkered flag, ten years after winning his first Daytona, 13 years after his father was tragically killed at that same track that he claimed his long sought Daytona win in 1998. I’ve always understood that Daytona is a prize bull for NASCAR drivers and that with the new format for the NASCAR playoffs that a premium is placed on winning races, but given that why is the biggest race at the start of the year when the playoffs are better than 7 months away? It’s like a football team winning a big game in September and clinching a playoff berth right then, I don’t get it.
NFL: Can you regulate speech in the heat of battle?
I have to start this part with a disclaimer, I’m a black man that has used the so-called n-word in conversation with friends and family. Black and white, I do have white relatives by the way. I understand the context that the word can bring and I understand the conundrum that the use of the word can bring. But the NFL is trying to push the political correctness too far, proposing a 15 yard penalty to any player using the term in play. And an ejection for a second offense in a game. Look, I’m not advocating use of the word, though I do understand how and when it could be used. But many find it offensive and I am careful in my use but this is taking legislation too far. How is a ref able to determine who said what?
MLB: No collisions at the plate…
MLB history is full of legendary collisions at the plate King Kong Keller bowling over Ernie Lombardi in the ’39 World Series (Unfairly called Lombardi’s snooze, he was knocked out) Pete Rose’s barreling into Ray Fosse in the ’70 All Star game.; JT Snow trying unsuccessfully to dislodge the ball from Pudge Rodriguez in the ’03 NLDS clincher. Or this collision by AJ Pierzynski on Michael Barrett in 2006 that result in a classic belt to the grill.
More infamously the frightening collision by Scott Cousins on Buster Posey that knocked the All-Star catcher out of the remainder of the 2011 season with a broken leg, but collisions are part of the game and I’ve always thought an exciting aspect. But MLB has taken steps to dissuade collisions with its altering of the rules. No longer can a catcher block the plate if they aren’t holding the ball, and no longer and the runner cant initiate contact by lower the shoulder or “pushing through with the arms, elbows or hands.”. The collisions is still allowed if the catcher has the ball and is blocking the direct path and the catcher is allowed to block the plate if he is making the move to field the ball. And of course if the runner slides appropriately whether head or feet first and collides with the catcher won’t be in violation of the rule. I think that is the way that the rule should have always been but there is still some gray areas here and it will be interesting to see how the umps call it the first time there is a bang-bang play at the plate.
College Basketball: The Latest and greatest Spec Sheet
Atlantic Coast Conference Class-Power
Solid: Syracuse, Duke, Pitt, North Carolina, Virginia
Work to do: North Carolina State, Florida State, Clemson Skinny on the ACC: Quick who leads this conference? Duke after their hard fought win over the Cuse? Nope, are the Orange still on top? No they are both looking up to Virginia where the Cavs at 14-1 are the top dog. The solid group is still just jockeying for position though Pitt is the shakiest. New to the list is Florida State who after going to the Oakland Zoo and earning a hard fought win is at least on the fringes. But I’m still sticking fast to the theory that the cut line is at 6
Key Game: North Carolina at NC State Wednesday 8p (ACC Net) The Pack can really solidify their chances
Projected Bids: 6
Atlantic Ten Conference Class- Major
Solid: Saint Louis, George Washington, UMass, St. Joes, VCU
Work to do: Dayton, Richmond The A-10 Spec is: The Billikens are still out in front but suddenly charging hard into the picture is St. Joes. The Hawks are closing in on 20 wins but have no margin for error with a pretty soft last four in the regular season skein. I’m really getting doubtful about GW who really didn’t give front running Saint Louis much of a fight and now have a solid week to stew. I’m really thinking that Richmond might be the better 5th team coming out.
Key Game: Dayton at St. Joes Tuesday 7p (CBSSN) Both teams are on the cusp of 20 wins, if the Flyers get it they make it harder to keep them off the solid list
Projected Bids: 5
Solid: Cincy, Louisville, UConn, Memphis, SMU
Work to do: None All-American Spec: The Cards won a cliffhanger in Cincy but the Bearcats are still in front but both are still way safe. The Mustangs cleared any doubters with a snappy win in Storrs. There is not too much left to see here beyond a shifting of seedings as I think all five teams in the solid category are Ft. Knox safe.
Key Game: Temple at Louisville Thursday 9p (ESPN) Coming off an emotional slugfest will the Cards get caught with the look aheads to a meeting with Memphis?
Projected Bids: 5
Big East Conference Class-Major
Solid: Creighton, Villanova
Work to do: Providence, Xavier, Marquette, St. John’s Big East Skinny: The Bluejays and Wildcats are still on top but like the SEC the chaff is growing fast. The Muskies took an awful beating in DC to a middling G-Town squad and are in serious trouble. The Johnnies blew a golden chance to get a signature win. But incredibly the Muskies still have the inside track of getting the bid as they still have home games against the tourney bound Jays and Wildcats, a win here paired with their earlier win over Cincy might give them all the cred they need in the committees eyes.
Key Games: Xavier at St. Johns Tuesday 7p (FS1) The winner here has more an inside chance at moving solid
Projected bids: 3
Big Ten Conference Class-Power
Solid: Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Iowa
Work to do: Nebraska The word on the Big Ten is: The Buckeyes thumped the Gophers and for all intents and purposes are safe (grudgingly so) As much Iowa keeps tottering they are still good. The Michigan-Michigan State game was good TV but the real matchup will be in March. The Huskers are trying to their best to move solid but their resume is spotty at best but they have won 7 of 8 and have pushed their way on to the fringe of the conversation
Key Game: Nebraska at Illinois Wednesday 8p (BTN) The Huskers had better not get caught in this trap game if they want to solidify their tourney chances.
Projected Bids: 5
Big 12 Conference Class-Power
Solid: Kansas, Texas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma
Work to do: Baylor, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Baylor Skinny from the heartland: The Jayhawks pounded Texas to reassert their hammerlock hold on the Big 12, they are bulletproof. The Clones, Sooners and Horns are relatively safe themselves and just need to avoid any dumb losses down the stretch. After that its gets dicey, you have four teams trying to snag what I think are two spots. Kansas State is the safest bet though they got housed by the Sooners. I don’t trust West Virginia at all and the Pokes got a pair of badly needed wins against weak teams but still need to basically run the table get back to .500 and win once in the Big 12 tourney in Kansas City order to be safer
Key Game: West Virginia @ Iowa State Wednesday 8p (ESPN3/Big 12 Sports) The Mountaineers so-so chances get a big boost if they can steal one in Hilton. Baylor at Texas Wednesday 9p (ESPNU/Longhorn Net) The Bears could finally get that get that bona fide signature win with a win in Austin.
Projected Bids: 6
Conference USA Conference Class-Mid-Major
Solid: La. Tech, Middle Tennessee
Work to do: Southern Miss, UTEP, Tulsa
Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec: Middle Tennessee was happy to escape Huntington with a W and remain in the lead here but things may very well shake themselves out here in the next few days. There are some de facto elimination games ahead of the CUSA tourney in El Paso will be key in snagging a coveted double bye that the top four teams get
Key Games: Middle Tennessee @ La. Tech Thursday 7:30p The Blue Raiders will get their stiffest test ahead of the CUSA tourney in Ruston where the Bulldogs still have designs on the regular season title and holding onto their double bye slot Tulsa at UTEP Thursday 9p In another game that could go a long way to determining bye slots the Golden Hurricane and Miners face off.
Projected Bids: 2
Missouri Valley Conference Class-Mid Major
Solid: Wichita State
Work to do: Indiana State Missouri Valley Skinny: The Shockers are #2 in the nation at 29-0, the Sycamores miniscule chances to get notice as an at large dried up with their loss to Missouri State, which means nothing less than a title run through Arch Madness will get them a bid
Key Game: Wichita State @ Bradley Tuesday 9p (ESPN2). The Braves try to pull their biggest upset as they host the rampaging Shockers
Projected Bids: 1
Mountain West Conference Class-Major
Solid: San Diego State, New Mexico
Work to do: Boise State, UNLV, Wyoming
Spec from the Mountains: The Aztecs seeding may be in serious danger as they were stifled by the Lobos who may have steeled their solidity with the win. The Broncos are charging hard to make their presence known they won a thrilling OT shootout with the Rebels but have only a 1 point win over a then unranked New Mexico to point at, they will need to win out and get to the finals in Vegas to have a real shot. The Rebels and the Pokes are just about done with their respective losses. The latter got housed by the middling Rams and are in need of a miracle run now
Key Game: Utah State at New Mexico Tuesday 9p (CBSSN) Let’s see how the Lobos deal with being ranked and facing a soft team, a loss puts them right back on the bubble.
Projected Bids: 2
Pacific 12 Conference Class-Power
Solid: Arizona, UCLA, Colorado, Stanford, Cal,
Work to do: Arizona State, Utah Spec from the left coast: The Utes housed the Sun Devils before a gleeful Huntsman Center crowd and stay on the sheet…for now. I still don’t think that the Pac-12 goes 7 deep, and the Sun Devils and Buffs are looking quite suspect after getting housed. The latter by Arizona. Stanford has gotten too hard to ignore especially after thumping UCLA.
Key Games: Stanford @ Arizona State Wednesday 11p (ESPNU) The Cardinal do the Southwest two step, the Sun Devils are back in bubble trouble but could make the cut line even fuzzier if they hold serve at home
Projected Bids: 5
Southeastern Conference Class-Power
Solid: Florida, UK
Work to do: Ole Miss, LSU, Tennessee, Mizzou Spec is Down South: Give the Bayou Bengals some credit, they fought the Wildcats to the wire and then some in Rupp and stay on the sheet but a sweep of UK would have merited a move to solid. I’m not putting Georgia in even though they are in third and piling up win against weaker teams. There are count ‘em 7 teams at 7-7 in the SEC, which further underscores how weak this league is. Florida and UK are safe, pick two more teams from this league and your guess is as good as mine. Mizzou and Arkansas are the closest to 20 and might have the most legit case…I’m just getting ill considering the hot mess this league is.
Key Game: Missouri @ Georgia Tuesday 7p (ESPN) I’m gonna look awful foolish keeping the Bulldogs off the list at 10 wins in conference, but if the Tigers win they justify me keeping them off the sheet and merit an uptown move at 20 overall wins.
Projected Bids: 4
West Coast Conference Class- Mid Major
Work to do: BYU, San Francisco, Saint Mary’s West Coast Spec: The Bulldogs are having all sorts of trouble closing the deal on their 10th WCC regular season crown in 12 years and the Cougars left almost for dead ten days ago are closing fast but can’t win the title outright. The Dons and Gaels are jockeying for position and though this remains to me a one bid league, it’s getting interesting on who will get in.
Key Game: Gonzaga @ Pacific Thursday 10p (ESPNU) Will the third time be the charm for the Bulldogs? They continue to totter toward the bubble with bad losses and need to right themselves ahead of the WCC tourney.
Projected Bids: 1
There are others in the mix to be sure. Teams from the always dangerous Colonial (Delaware) and Big South (VMI) always are in the mix. Of course the champions from the following conferences get an automatic bid (projected winners in parentheses): Amer. East (Vermont), Atlantic Sun (Mercer), Big Sky (Weber State), Big West (UC Irvine) , Horizon (Green Bay, Ivy (Harvard), MAC (Toledo) , MAAC (Iona) , MEAC (NC Central), Northeast (Robert Morris), Ohio Valley (Belmont) , Patriot (Boston U.), Southern (Davidson), Southland (SF Austin), Sun Belt (Georgia St.) , Summit (IPFW), and SWAC (Southern) and Western Athletic (New Mexico St
Remember that this is still speculation, nothing here is ever solid and we haven't even brought up the possibility of upsets. But those never happen, right?
Phat Dap/Head Slap
To one of my own. Despite my beloved Bearcats taking a tough loss to their despised rivals of Louisville, Bearcat redshirt senior guard Sean Kilpatrick became only the 2nd player in UC history to score more than 2000 points in his collegiate career. The only other player in that club? He only has a statue outside of 5/3rd Arena, a guy by the name of Oscar Robertson. His school scoring record of 2973 points is still very safe. But SK is joining some heady company and has played in a manner that has earned the Big O’s respect and admiration. Congrats to a class act Bearcat.
To otherwise mild mannered Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim who more or less went batshit crazy after a bang-bang call was made late in the Syracuse-Duke game. The resulting double tech gave the Blue Devils just enough extra cushion to hold off the Orange in the second of their titanic battles. Boeheim had never gotten the gate (exhibition game not included) in his coaching career, but he broke that streak. I thought the meltdown was amusing given Boeheim’s long standing stature as a mild mannered coach. But it was not needed and a bad exhibit
A Few Other Passing thoughts
NHL whining about losing players in the Olympics (Im talking to you Garth Snow), werent they out front saying that they should be able to represent their countries?
I gave dap to Sean Kilpatrick of Cincy for scoring over 2000 career points, you have to give dap as well to Doug McDermott of Creighton, the names that he is passing on the scoring list as he closes in on 3000 points are the whos who of college basketball scorers.
Speaking of great scorers could you imagine what Pistol Pete (may he rest) or the Big O would have done with a 3 point line and being able to play as freshmen? Mercy! Maravich scored 3667 points and Robertson scored 2973 points in 3 years at LSU and Cincy respectively but freshmen were ineligible to play up until 1972.
Wait...was that Melo actually playing tough defense on Dirk's game winner at MSG?
Kansas won the Big 12 (minus 2) for the tenth straight year, that's called dominance there, gang
JaDaveon Clowney needs to stop clowning or he will get the tag of doggin. That will cost him loot and a high draft pick.
If you want to get in a good mood listening to music, I highly suggest "Livin' In the Life" a 1977 track from the Isley Brothers, its an obscure track to be sure but its hard driven bass guitar foundation will put you in a good mood. Highly recommend it for the car.
In Memoriam Harold Ramis 1944-2014
The comic world lost a legend. Harold Ramis passed away Monday at 69 from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis He was survived by his wife, daughter, two sons, and by two grandchildren. Before you screw your face up with a “who’s that?” query. Go to your movie library…if you have Caddyshack, Stripes, Animal House and/or Ghostbusters then you know who Ramis is. He either wrote or directed these comedy classics. He was the understated Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters. I didn’t realize that he had a hand in many of my favorite movies until I looked him up. Thanks for the laughs Harold, you will be missed...
Congratulations Canada for bringing home the marquee Gold in Sochi - I have to admit I watched exactly 15 minutes of Olympic coverage, including the opening ceremonies, but most of that time was watching the third period of the gold medal game.
Can you imagine a gold medal hockey game played on the roof of a hotel in Las Vegas? Maybe Vegas should bid on the next winter games. Hey, a minor league team that can build their own $4-Million rink? Go for it. I figure the Wranglers could schedule a game against the US Men’s team. Everyone wins that one.
I think the thing I have against the Olympics isn’t really about the games themselves, it’s about the American media coverage of the games. Every single olympiad is about medal count, like somehow amassing medals is the expression of dominance of the games. Sure the US won a total of 28 medals, fantastic. Of course the US sent the largest team to the games.
Sure, there is some data suggesting the size of the economy is predictive of winter olympic performance, but the other variables suggest that extraneous things such as, I don’t know, a country’s ski facilities play a role. Imagine - so if a country has more places to practice, they’re more likely to perform well. China’s relative lack of ski resorts is a better predictor of their performance than in their huge economy. The Jamaican bobsledders have no shot.
In terms of per capita Olympic performance, Finland is the most successful gold medalist, at least as of 2008, but it’s hard to imagine vastly different results. As of then, they had 101 gold medals, or just under 19 gold medals for every million people in population. The Bahamas with 5 gold medals places 4th. The US doesn’t even place. Nor does Russia. Finland is also the most successful medalist. The linked page above goes onto further analysis using 2012 numbers but crunches them using number of appearances as well. Guess what? The US still doesn’t place.
This is a pretty cool article on the idea of breaking it out by something other than total medals. A numbers geek could totally get off on the idea. A numbers geek that understands logarithms and whatnot. One caveat: they don’t include either chocolate or bacon medals in the analysis.
So, I don’t really pay attention to the Olympics. Doesn’t mean they’re not worthwhile, just not for me. While everyone else was watching snowboarding on TV, we went and watched snowboarders at a couple of local ski areas. Certainly not world class facilities, but good enough for a fat, middle aged guy. To top it off, Yuengling has just come available in Massachusetts again, so while the kids did their thing on the snow, Dad did his thing in the lodge. Yuengling pulled out of Massachusetts at the same time I got back to Massachusetts from school in Pennsylvania. It’s been a long 20 years.
Spring training is getting going - thank goodness, because it’s been a long cold winter. While the Patriots sadly didn’t make it to the Super Bowl (I say sadly, but in reality I know what would have happened had they made it: something approximating what happened to Denver), they did bridge enough of the gap in the football to baseball off season for me. Mother nature decided over the past week that we just didn’t have enough snow - with significant accumulation in three days over the course of the week. As you read this, I’ll be en route to Sarasota - home of the Orioles spring training. Sadly though, the games don’t start for another week. I’m either late or I’m early.
Now, we all know the NFL is a 12-month business - that the playing season is the main attraction, but clearly there are things in motion all the time. You would think that with all of the controversy around brain injury, they would want to be promoting all the activities around making the game a little safer for the players - I mean really making it a subject of conversation. That would be leadership. What leaks from the league as the topic of conversation? On field use of racial slurs. Now, you will not hear me either use nor apologize for the use of slurs, but it seems to me to be a silly rule. In a league where the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport grades the league overall with a “B” - an “A” for overall racial hiring practices.
Look at this passage from their report: 9 of the last 14 Super Bowl teams have had either a head coach or GM of color. This is a league in which ⅔ of the players are people of color - meaning that if you’re on the field and you’re not black, the two dudes standing next to you are. Seems to me that in this environment, a game penalty for using a racial slur would be 1) penalizing a team for something unrelated to the game - a team of people who would likely be as offended as the person to whom it was directed and 2) legislating something that I guarantee you is handled off-field. Discussions on field are rarely fan-facing. Let’s leave it that way, shall we?
Last, before I sign off, I want to remember a friend going back to the days of The Sporting News. Greg “Team Carrier” passed away on February 13, a little less than a month after his 50th birthday. He was a hockey fan to his core, and a good man. I’m ashamed it took me almost a week and a half to learn of his passing - once more demonstrating that in a world where we’re so connected, it’s still so easy to lose touch. I encourage my fellow Gabbers to make some time to visit his obituary and to leave a guestbook message for Greg’s family. I don’t know that he ever made a home here at the Gab, but to those of us who have known him, it would be a nice gesture for his family. Greg has become the third member of our TSN fraternity to pass in the time since we left there. A biting remember time continues to advance. Make the most of yours.