Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Tourney and a Crazy Race

Yes I understand it has been a while but with work picking up I find it hard to write all the time. I also made the "wise" decision to join a race team running across Florida. The Sunset to Sunrise Relay has teams run 180 miles from Ft. Myers to Jensen Beach. Each team has 12 members who each run three legs of the race. Our team was a little shorthanded with only nine people so some of us had to pick up the slack. I ran four legs and 21 miles. I'm still sore three days later. It was a good time and something I can say I did but I'm not sure if I will ever do it again.

Even with all of the tournament games and crazy upsets I still have a shot at placing in my pool. I can't win but finishing in the money is a victory. It's late but here are some thoughts on some of the tournament games.

1's vs 16's - Blowouts all around. Was there any doubt?

2's vs 15's - K State and Ohio St. dominated. Morgan State hung around with West Virginia before the Mountaineers flexed their muscles. Apparently Robert Morris was robbed by bad calls in losing to Villanova in OT. I didn't see the game but the hoops Gods got Nova back later.

3's vs 14's - Baylor won a tight one while Pitt and New Mexico took it to Oakland and Montana. Ohio pulled off a stunner against Georgetown knocking out one of my Sweet 16 teams on the first day.

4's vs 13's - From the moment the matchups came out I liked Murray State against Vandy (Jim and KA can vouch for me). The Racers are really athletic and Vandy struggles with those types of teams. It took a buzzer beater to win but Murray State made me look good. Maryland took down a game Houston team. I don't know why everyone didn't like the Big 11 teams but Purdue and Wisconsin both produced big wins.

5'2 vs 12's - There is always at least one upset in this matchup. I got mine wrong. I got Butler beating UTEP and Michigan State beating New Mexico State. Temple coach Fran Dunphy had never lost to one of his former assistants and picked a bad time to start in losing to Steve Donahue and Cornell. I also picked the wrong Aggies when I thought Utah State would beat Texas A&M.

6's vs 11's - Big East teams blew it for me as Notre Dame and Marquette both went down. Xavier and Tennessee did pull off strong victories.

7's vs 10's - Half right and half wrong again. I couldn't pick the Gators so that was easy. Clemson and Richmond lost games they never had a shot of winning. Clemson coach Louis Orr still hasn't won a tournament game.

8's vs 9's - I couldn't pick the Noles to beat Gonzaga because the Zags have too much offense. FSU struggles to score points. It hurt but my money was on it. UNI's Ali Faroukmanesh nailed the first of huge threes to life UNI to victory. I wish Gary Johnson could make free throws and Texas would have beaten Wake Forest. Cal blew out Louisville.

Kansas vs UNI - Thank you Ali Faroukmanesh for ruining my bracket.

Maryland vs Michigan St. - And thanks to you Corey Lucious for taking another of my Sweet 16 teams.

Tennesee vs Ohio - Georgetown ruined this in the first round.

GT vs Ohio St. - Jon Diebler fills it up and the Tech guards can't hang with Evan Turner.

Syracuse vs Gonzaga - The Zags had no shot and the Cuse zone ate them up.

Butler vs Murray St. - The Bulldogs won the matchup of mid-majors by playing the same style as the Racers but better.

Xavier vs Pitt - The Musketeers won this time around in a rematch of last year's Sweet 16 battle.

BYU vs K St. - Jimmer Fredette couldn't shoot the Cougars over the Wildcats backcourt of Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen.

Wake vs UK - The Deacs never had a shot.

Cornell vs Wisconsin - I had neither of these teams going to the Sweet 16 anyway.

Washington vs New Mexico - I had Marquette going from this spot anyway but the Huskies pulled off a nice win.

West Virginia vs Mizzou - DaSean Butler refuses to let his team lose.

I did get two teams in the final four by getting WVU and Duke into it. How does your bracket look?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

UConn Women, Championship Week, and Big Ben

The UConn Womens Hoops team has again won 70 straight. 71 to be exact heading into the tourney. The question that keeps coming up is is all dominating way UConn keeps winning good for women's hoops? No team has come close to beating them and they are beating teams by an average of 15 points a contest. The Huskies have also beaten the number two team in the country three times. I guess its good for women's hoops that they're winning, I mean at least we're talking about it. What do you think about UConn's dominating ways, and will you watch more women's hoops now?

This a great time of year. All week births into the Big Dance are being decided, every game that's played counts. The teams that are on the fringe are hoping that the right teams wins each of the little conference tournaments. Last night, Gonzaga stole an at-large bid after losing the conference tournament and automatic qualifier to St. Mary's. Later this week the Big 6 play their conference tournaments. It should interesting as their hasn't been a dominant team in college hoops this year.

This thing with Ben Roethlisberger is troubling. Yes I even find myself saying that this girl is in it for a money grab, but why does Big Ben keep butting himself in these situations. Last year he was accused of sexual assault in Lake Tahoe and now again in Georgia. I'm not sure if Ben Ben needs to change the company he keeps but he needs to change something.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Justin Upton got paid, what does it mean for B.J.

It just scrolled across the bottom line that Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to pay outfielder Justin Upton $51.25 million over the next six seasons. Upton is 22 years old and going into his fourth season in the Show. He was an All-Star last season after hitting .300 with 26 home runs and 86 RBI. He also stole 20 bases.

While Justin deserved the deal and Arizona may win in the long run by buying out some arbitration and free agent years, this puts his brother B.J.'s employer the Rays in a bind. We all know the story of B.J. Upton. He was rushed through the system as an infielder, then finally found a position in the outfield. After hitting .300 a few seasons ago, B.J. struggled at the plate and with his effort. His defense has been solid for someone learning the position, but he still hasn't completely fulfilled the potential that made him the second pick in 2002.

The Rays just won their arbitration hearing with B.J. to pay him $3 million this season. With Justin getting such a big deal, is B.J. going to want to get a large long term deal?

Now I have been a big B.J. supporter, I'm not sure how this is going to shake out. The Rays have budget issues and Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena are free agents after the season. Pena is expendable, but CC has to be kept around. The Rays have to let people move on at some point, but is now the time for B.J. to go? What do you think the Rays should do with Desmond Jennings on the way and B.J. looking for a payday?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ryan Miller was Great and Other Thoughts from the Weekend in Sports

As you probably know Canada beat the USA in OT to claim the gold medal in hockey. The game was great with Zach Parise scoring a late goal to tie the game. Unfortunately, Sidney Crosby ended it. This was a great weekend in sports. The top three teams in college hoops all went down and the Winter Olympics is coming to an amazing close.

- Ryan Miller was gangsta throughout the entire Olympics. The USA goalie kept his team in every single game and led them to victory every time except the gold medal game. Miller was peppered with a lot of shots throughout the tourney and came up big most of the time. He was the best player on the ice in many of the games. Now we'll see if Buffalo can ride the hot hand into the NHL playoffs.

- Canada made the right choice in changing goalies. Martin Brodeur has been the Canada goalie for years but he didn't look crisp early in the tourney. Switching to Roberto Luongo paid dividends.

- Way to clean up the garbage Zach Parise. Just when the USA looked dead Parise put in a goal to tie the game. Luongo had been giving up rebounds a lot and Parise was in the right place at the right time.

- I will be watching more hockey this season. The Olympics helped me to identify with more players. I love the Flyers but Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are giving me a lot of reasons to watch the Blackhawks.

- The USA defense looked tired late in the game. Brain Rafalski and Ryan Suter played a lot of minutes in the game and it showed.

- I love the P&G commercials with the Olympians Moms.

- Athletes don't win silver and bronze, they lose gold. Do you think USA Hockey was happy receiving their silver medals?

- I like watching the NFL combine, but too much is made about what players do in shorts. Haven't NFL guys been watching all of the players all season?

- My friend Josh doesn't think Tim Tebow can change positions in the Show. I do.

- After all of the hoops this weekend I can't wait for Conference Tourney season and March Madness. I'll post my bracket on here and I still think Kansas will win it all.

- Purdue's title hopes went out the window the Robbie Hummel's torn ACL.

- Danica Patrick isn't ready for NASCAR.

- Jimmie Johnson has decided to dominate early in the season instead of just when Chase time comes.

Let me know your thoughts on the weekend in sports.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rough Week for RBs, Finally some HGH testing

Earlier this week the San Diego Chargers released franchise cornerstone LaDanian Tomlinson. Yesterday my team the Philadelphia Eagles released Brian Westbrook. Both moves made too much sense not to happen.

For the better part of the decade, LT was the best running back in football. We all know the numbers: single season touchdown record, 100 catches in a season, 2006 MVP and many others we could go on. However, as many running backs do, he reached 30 and his numbers started to decline. This past season he had the worst season of his career. With the money owed to him the Chargers had to let him go. I will give San Diego some points for bring LT in and speaking with him in person before announcing it.

Brian Westbrook has been one of my favorite Eagles, and one of football's most productive backs over the last five seasons. He has struggled with injuries and was always listed as questionable, but he produced when Philly needed him. He was the biggest playmaker in an offense that didn't have any until DeSean Jackson came along. My favorite Westbrook play was at the end of the Cowboys game a few years ago, when he took a knee at the one instead of going into the end zone. Westbrook will be missed.

As for both of the backs, I wonder if anyone will pick them up and where they will end up.

Secondly, baseball is finally starting to get it. After years of rejecting steroid testing, MLB finally implemented it. Now, Minor League Baseball has said they will add HGH testing as well. It's only a matter of time before the majors follow suit. This is an important time for MLB. With the NFL and NBA having labor disputes on the horizon, MLB needs to capitalize. Hopefully, they can finally start cleaning up the game.

Monday, February 22, 2010

USA vs Canada and other thoughts from the Weekend

What a hockey game last night. Team USA took on host Canada in hockey and defeated them 5-3. It wasn't the Miracle on Ice of 1980, but it was a great win. Defenseman Brian Rafalski scored two goals and assisted on another while goalie Ryan Miller made 42 saves.

- Before the Games started analyst Jeremy Roenik said Miller would have to be the MVP for Team USA to win the gold medal. Miller was up to the task last night as the Canadians out shot Team USA 45-22. While this win doesn't guarantee a medal, it gives the young Americans some much needed confidence.

- The veterans came out to play last night. Captain Jamie Langenbrunner scored a goal, center Chris Drury scored a goal and both played outstanding defense from their forward positions. We talked about the way Rafalski played. If Team USA can keep getting these performances from these guys, a medal is a good possibility.

- Lost in the shuffle was how well Patrick Kane played. He didn't score any goals but he was the only player who seemed able to put pressure on the Canadian defense.

- While the Miracle on Ice was a memorable win, does anyone remember that that game didn't win the gold medal?

- Talk about redemption for Bode Miller. After being shutout four years ago, Miller has won three medals this year and is still in the running for two more.

- Jimmie Johnson dominated the California race yesterday. The four time defending champion is picking up where he left off last season. That does not bode well for other drivers trying to dethrone him.

Let me know what you think about the hockey win and other Winter Olympic Sports as the last week of the games begins.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Quick Hits from the Super Bowl

When people ask me why I watch every single game, I always answer you never know when you'll see an instant classic. Its why I stay up until 2:00 a.m. watching the Big East Semifinal or watch a late season NFL game that doesn't mean anything. Last night's Super Bowl was a great game. I didn't have a dog in the fight so all I really wanted was one of the quarterbacks having to drive their team for a winning score late in the game. Mission accomplished.

- Why winning this game would have put Peyton Manning in a new class of QBs who have won multiple Super Bowls, losing doesn't diminish how great he is still.

- The Saints dropped balls in the first half, the Colts dropped them when it mattered most in the second.

- Where was Reggie Wayne the entire game?

- Drew Brees is great. Rough first quarter but he was great the rest of the game. Deserved the MVP.

- I thought when the Colts stopped the Saints near the goal line at the end of the first half, Indy was about to extend their lead and put the game away early. I thought Peyton would drive them down the field for some points, get the ball back to start the second half, and put more points on the board.

- Ballsy call by Sean Payton to go for the onside kick. That play changed the momentum of the game and kept Peyton Manning on the side line a bit longer.

- Dwight Freeney was able to go and even recorded a sack in the first half. In the second half however, he never seemed able to get right and Brees was never hit in the second half.

- I thought that once the Colts were able to establish the run Indy would pull the game out. The Saints just stepped up whenever they needed to.

- Big play by Tracy Porter with the pick-six. Reggie Wayne looked to have finally gotten on the same page with Peyton on the drive, but the Saints were ready for that play. They blitzed and it looked like Wayne tipped the route by stutter stepping which enabled Porter to jump the pass.

-The Porter play looked similar to the one that Eli Manning hit in his Super Bowl win. Eli sent his receiver on a pump and go while Peyton threw the slant and Porter took it to the house.

- The pass Manning threw to Dallas Clark over and in between five defenders is one of the best passes you'll ever see.

- Great play by Lance Moore on the two-point conversion.

- Can't forget Saints Garrett Hartley making three field goals from longer than 40 yards.

- A couple of years ago the Colts picked up Adam Vinatieri to kick for them. Vinatieri got hurt late in the season and the Colts picked up Matt Stover. When the decision to choose one for the postseason came up, they chose Stover. Not saying Vinatieri would have made the 51-yarder Stover missed, but that was the Colts last chance.

Now that football is over we can solely concentrate on pro and college hoops, and counting down the days until pitchers and catchers report. Also, its Speed Week in Daytona. Can anyone stop Jimmie Johnson? And will someone please wreck Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch.