Will we see Bron do this on an All-Star Weekend???
Greetings from the Hoodwood, where the locals are arranging their schedules around the basketball games. That is what makes this month so great..
Before I get started this week, I wanted to note that I am dedicating this weeks column to the lasting memory of my grandmother Lorene Hare. She passed away 20 years ago on Monday and it’s a rare day that goes by that I don’t think of her or the values she taught me. She is seriously missed
The latest spec sheet is in and things are getting just about as crazy as they always are. I made sure to research all the key games, dates and times everything is up to date. But of course there are things other than college basketball to chat about…really there are!
NBA: Would a million get the big names in the dunk contest?
Magic Johnson wants LeBron to be in the next slam dunk contest. He wants him to participate so bad that he’s willing to offer $1 Million for him to participate. I’m all for LeBron to do more of the dunks that he is doing in warm-ups ad he is saying that he is considering the offer. I think personally that LeBron doesn’t want to risk his big name dunk rep if he lost the contest. Almost like the big boy basketball teams that avoid strong Mid-Majors like Creighton and Butler like the plague unless they have to play them. I grew up in the era where Jordan, Wilkins Webb, and other big names were sky walking for dunks in the contest. Blake Griffin won the contest dunking over a car, but also Dwight Howard won it as well. I want to see all the big names in the contest and a million dollars need not be a motivator for what should be the NBA’s signature event. I agree with Stephen A. Smith of ESPN’s First Take who wonders why Magic didn’t make this over about a month ago. I think it would have been more interesting that the borring dunk contest that was done this year and that was even with Bearcat alum and noted highflyer James White of the Knicks in it. Big names will draw big ratings and much more buzz.
College Football: Should Penn State get time off for good behavior
Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN raised the question and I think it merits discussion. Penn State’s football team is on probation and other heavy sanctions meted out by the NCAA and the Big Ten for the Sandusky affair. Penn State has been very compliant in its cooperation with the investigations and has cleared out people that were heavily involved. Wojciechowski suggested that with its cooperation should be a reward. Penn State is barred from postseason play and from getting any postseason money that the conference as whole receives. The suggestion is that the year of good behavior and full compliance should be rewarded with a year reduction of their penalty.
I disagree. It seems that Penn State continues to rail as they were the victims of the Sandusky scandal and that they were as much victimized as the young men that were irrevocably damaged by the perverted actions of Sandusky who used the prestige of his station that was afforded to him by Penn State and overlooked if not protected by Penn State. In fact there are still two administrators that have been indicted for their inaction in this matter. Pennsylvania’s governor Tom Corbett is trying to get an antitrust suit filed against the NCAA to get their sanctions thrown out. Penn State trustee Anthony Lubrano has openly raged against the NCAA’s sanctions, telling Wojciechowski in a phone interview. "I think there should be injunctive relief and the sanctions should be removed, period, end of story…And I'd go so far as to say that the NCAA ought to pay us damages for the harm they've caused." He calls NCAA President Mark Emmert “a sanctimonious hypocrite and he have proven me right time and time again." Now there may be some debate on that point but that’s another discussion.
Wait a minute… NCAA pay Penn State??? Is he fuckin’ serious???
Penn State is damn lucky that they didn’t get the so-called death penalty something similar that SMU got back in 1987. I think that what SMU got was well deserved they broke rules, paid players, lied about it, got caught, put on probation and kept on doing what they were doing. They got what they deserved and haven’t been relevant in football since. They’ve only been to a couple bowl games since coming off of the death penalty in 1990. In my opinion, Penn State didn’t deserve the death penalty, as they were extremely cooperative with the investigations that happened in the Sandusky matter and were quick to dismiss some of those that were involved in it. Did they deserve to be punished for the cover up? Yes, harshly. But the punishment is the punishment. It left no room for appeal. Penn State is used to being the sanctimonious type, the one the clucks it collective tongue at those that they think are not living up to a high moral code. The call it the Penn State way, but the long reign of Joe Paterno bred arrogance and now Penn State has been punished there were some that think that they should be given a free pass or a parole. I think that they should take their punishment and stop carping.
SPEC SHEET 3-5
Vegas baby! Is seems that one of the epicenters of college basketball ahead of Selection Sunday is Las Vegas . No fewer than four conferences are playing their conference tourney championships. The WCC start the fun at Orleans Arena, after they leave the WAC come in two days later on the 13th. Meanwhile the Mountain West start their tourney at Thomas & Mack while the Pac-12 make their first ever tourney appearance outside LA and make their tourney appearance at the MGM Grand right on the Vegas Strip.
Solid: Miami Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State
Work to do: Virginia, Maryland
Skinny on the ACC: Duke salved some its wounded pride by rebounding to outgun the Canes, but Im still puzzled how a 3 point loss knocks Miami off the #1 seed. Im not fond of either Virginia or Maryland since both sport weak resumes, but both have the trump of beating Duke. The former stays on the working list if only for taking a horrid loss at BC and the latter has been playing raggedly uneven. Maryland however is the weakest of the two working teams.
Key Game: North Carolina at Maryland Wednesday 7p (ESPN) Maryland needs to beat the Tar Heels in College Park to strengthen their tourney resume.
Projected Bids: 6
Solid: Va. Commonwealth, Saint Louis, Butler
Work to do: LaSalle, Temple
Is Butler in trouble??? The Bulldogs took a nasty beating to VCU and may fall from the rankings as you know the pollsters loath to have multiple non-power conference teams in the rankings. I still think that the A-10 will send 4 teams all of which will be tough outs.
Key Game: Temple at Fordham Wednesday 7p (A-10Net)This is the only time you will ever see mention of the Rams on this sheet, the Owls need to be careful not to look past them to a matchup with VCU.
Projected Bids: 4
Solid: Syracuse, Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Pitt
Work to do: St. Johns, Villanova, Providence
Big East Skinny: It is well known to those that read this spec sheet that I am Cincy alum, and like a lot of their fans were going to from concerned to worried to downright scared that their beloved team was sliding a slippery slope to the notoriously fickle so-called bubble. Many of those fears were allayed with gutty, gritty win over UConn that was far from aesthically pleasing but finally got them to 20 wins. Finishing strong would still do them good, the same cannot be said for Villanova who may be playing these same Bearcats in the BEast 2nd round for their very tourney lives. Ive added Providence to the mix who have won 6 of 7 to get to the fringes of the conversation and after they beat the badly fading St. Johns but the Friars are a long, long way from making the solid list unless they win out AND win multiple game at MSG
Key Games: Georgetown at Villanova Wednesday 7PM (ESPN2) The Wildcats need to win this and at least their 2nd round game, which may be St. Johns or Cincinnati) to be safe.
Projected bids: 8
Solid: Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin
Work to do: Iowa
The word on the Big Ten is: No real changes here over the weekend. The Minnesota avoided a letdown after its monster win over the formerly top ranked Hoosiers with a laugher over Penn State (who had just beaten Michigan) Iowa blew yet another chance to get into the conversation as they got straight housed by an embarrassed Indiana. Though both Michigan & Michigan State are way safe they played a thriller in Ann Arbor and you might see a higher stakes rematch in Chicago in a little over a week.
Key Game: Illinois at Iowa Tuesday 7p (BTN) The Hawkeyes are running out of chances and are getting close to the dreaded win it(the Big 10 tourney) to get in it status
Projected Bids: 7
Solid: Kansas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State
Work to do: Iowa State, Oklahoma
Skinny from the heartland: Ive been so willing to give Baylor a chance, even with those hideous day-glo unis…I really have. But when they repeatedly give away opportunities like they do, witness the egregious turnover that turned into a game winning 3 for K-State Saturday. They are now needing to run the table closing the regular season AND get to at least to the semis on Saturday in Kansas City. Not an easy task as they still have Kansas on their docket…good luck. Of the two working teams, Oklahoma has the better resume and after beating fellow working team Iowa State are needing to just avoid anymore bad losses from here on out and it wouldn’t hurt to get to Saturday themselves. Iowa State is in real trouble after getting housed by the aforementioned Sooners
Key Game: Oklahoma State at Iowa State Wednesday 7p (ESPNU) Beating the Pokes in Ames wouldn’t totally save the Cyclones fading chances but they would certainly be a lifeboat.
Projected Bids: 4
Work to do: Central Florida, UTEP, Southern Miss
Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec: The Tigers bounced back strong by downing UCF to stay unbeaten in C-USA They are right now the only team I have going from the this conference but are listed because they are ranked. The working teams have no other recourse than to run the table in Tulsa.
Key Game: Memphis at UTEP 9p Tonight (CBSS) Can the Tigers run the table? Their last real test ahead of the conference tourney is a tough roadie in El Paso
Projected Bids: 1
Conference Class-Mid Major
Solid: Wichita State, Creighton
Work to do: Northern Iowa
Missouri Valley Skinny: I want to know who thought Creighton was in any kind of trouble to get into the tourney? To quote the old Shaggy line “It wasn’t me.” The Blue Jays short-circuited the Shockers before a deliriously happy home crowd in Omaha to secure the top seed in the MVC tourney in St. Louis, nicknamed “Arch” Madness. Im thinking that both the Shockers and Blue Jays while both safe could very well be a rematch this coming Sunday
Missouri Valley Conference Championships: March 7-10 Scottrade Center, St. Louis
Key Game: Illinois State vs Northern Iowa Thursday 8:35p (ESPN2) If the Panthers want to entertain any hopes of dancing they had better get past an upset capable Redbird squad.
Projected Bids: 2
Solid: UNLV, San Diego State, Colorado State, New Mexico
Work to do: Boise State
Spec from the Mountains: The Lobos are locked into the #1 seed here and are marking time to Selection Sunday. There is a messy morass of teams at 9-5 or 8-6 behind them and are jostling to stay on the other side of the MWC bracket to avoid these same Lobos till a Vegas finale on the 16th. I think the Rebels and Rams are relatively safe the Aztecs have the suddenly hard charging Broncos pushing up on them. Could the MWC send more teams than the fabled SEC??? If the Broncos get to ten wins in the MWC I think that they go solid.
Key Games: Boise State at UNLV 10p(CBSS) The Broncos are going from pesky to persistent and are getting really hard to ignore, a win here in Vegas further strengthens their resume.
Projected Bids: 5
Solid: Oregon, UCLA, Cal, Arizona
Work to do: Colorado, Arizona State
Spec from the left coast: Just when I thought the line at 5 was being cheap, Colorado falls badly at Cal, and Arizona State continues to fade badly. The latter now has a 3 game skid and is behind USC who is trying to get enough wins to be NIT eligible. I hold the line at 5 and the Buffs have a golden chance to get on the solid side of the ledger
Key Games: Oregon at Colorado Thursday 9p (ESPN2). The Buffs would be undeniable if the beat the conference leaders.
Projected Bids: 5
Solid: Mizzou, Florida
Work to do: Ole Miss, Arkansas, Alabama, UK
Spec is Down South: Every year you have a conference that has a down year, last year it was the Pac-12, this year it’s the SEC who likes to think that they should be a lock for 6 or 7 berths every year. I think that they will get only 4 and only deserve 2. I should know better than to bank on a shaky Wildcat squad. They got housed in Fayetteville and despite being 2nd in the SEC are still very, very shaky. Also very shaky now are Ole Miss after an inexcusable loss to cellar dwelling in state rival Mississippi State. But they are still on the sheet which is more than I can say for some of these teams. Im taking Tennessee and LSU off the list totally after both took bad beatings the latter an extremely ill-timed loss to sad sack Georgia.
Key Game: Alabama at Ole Miss 9p Tuesday (ESPNU) The Tide and Rebels are teetering badly and need to stockpile as many quality wins as they can get.
Projected Bids: 4
Conference Class- Major
Solid: Louisiana Tech
Work to do: New Mexico State, Denver
Spec on the WAC: The Bulldogs are still ranked but not quite home free for the #1 seed beating the Aggies in Las Cruces is the last thing that stands in front of them. They still have to run the table to assure themselves a bid, I don’t think that they have the resume weight to get an at-large.
Key Game: Louisiana Tech at New Mexico State Thursday 9p (ESPN3) The Bulldogs can clinch the WAC title outright and make the Saturday game against Denver academic
Projected Bids: 1
Conference Class- Mid Major
Solid: St. Marys, Gonzaga
Work to do: BYU
West Coast Spec: The Bulldogs are the nations top team and with the now ranked Gaels are basically waiting until the 9th to face whatever worn out victim in the WCC semis. Who ever they face will have played at least two games in the staggered WCC tourney. The thought here is that the Bulldogs and Gaels will be facing off on Monday for the Conference title but are in no danger of not getting a dance ticket. Though BYU has a bye through to the quarters but will likely have to face St. Marys in the WCC semis and will need to beat them and likely Gonzaga to get a bid, I don’t think that they can.
Key Game: TBD vs BYU Friday 11:30 (ESPNU)Either San Diego or Pepperdine will be the Cougars first opponent in the WCC quarters.
West Coast Conference Championships: March 6-9, 11 Orleans Arena Las Vegas
Projected Bids: 2
There are others in the mix to be sure. (Projected winners in parentheses) Teams from the always dangerous Colonial (Northeastern) and Big South (Charleston Southern) always are in the mix and can send multiple teams. Of course the champions from the following conferences get an automatic bid: Amer. East (Stony Brook), Atlantic Sun (Florida Gulf Coast), Big Sky (Weber St.), Big West (Long Beach St.), Horizon (Valpo), Ivy (Princeton), MAC (Akron), MAAC (Loyola-MD), MEAC (Norfolk St), Northeast(Robert Morris), Ohio Valley (Belmont), Patriot (Bucknell), Southern (Davidson) , Southland (S.F. Austin), Sun Belt (Middle Tennessee), Summit (Western Illinois), and SWAC (Southern)
Since this is still spec, nothing here is solid and we haven't even brought up the possibility of upsets. But those never happen, right?
Next Spec Sheet: Mar 8
Sports News of the Weird: How a team had to forfeit a game for doing the Harlem Shake
I guess Im getting old, I don’t pay attention to the latest fads. Such is the norm when you watch lots of sports. I was still trying to get used to the whole Gangham Style dance craze but I find that Im way behind. There is a new craze called the Harlem Shake, it reminds me of the flash mobs that pop up here and there. For the uninformed the Harlem Shake is a dance craze that starts with someone dancing around like a fool with a helmet on while others in the room go about their business blithely unaware. After about 15 seconds when the bassline drops, the scene changes and everyone is dancing like a fool to their own beat. With the ease of internet productions, videos like these go viral. The latest harmless craze, but the Nyack/Tappan Zee hockey team took the craze a bit too far…watch the video for yourself…
Stupid? Yes. Insipid. You bet. The video is pretty harmless until you see the part with the guy doing the nasty with the hockey stick and the dude prancing in at right with the sock on his business… High school kids or not, this was just another sobering reminder of the consequences of stupid acts that get online.
As much as I dog Kobe, this dunk was so sick they had to call the health department
As much as I hate to delve into political stuff here in Hoodwood, this one just cant be passed up. Dennis Rodman went to North Korea and apparently got buddy buddy with the Korean Premier Kim Jong Un…He was seen drinking, feasting and cooling out with the dictator. Rodman was part of a group traveling with the world famous Harlem Globetrotters. Nevermind the long long list of human rights oppressions that North Korea has perpetrated on its citizens. Nevermind that they have openly talked about bombing the US. Rodman has a new buddy in Jong Un and he says that he is waiting for President Obama to call. I hope that he aint putting off anything waiting. Rodman is totally clueless about what this dude has done and is doing to his people and that he is not doing any good for the tensions between the US and North Korea.
Thats the View from the Hoodwood...Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans!