Saturday, March 31, 2007

Phil Jackson Headed to the Hall [David Stefanini]

The best coach to ever be in the NBA is headed towards the Hall of Fame. Phil Jackson and his career 70 win percentage is going to be the 18th Laker in the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame.

His resume is amazing. 9 Championships, with 3, three-peat's. He made Kobe and Shaq the dynasty everyone knew they should be. He took a young Michael Jordan and made him the greatest player the world has ever seen. Now he has taken a young Laker team and turned them into a consistent playoff team each year.

Welcome to the Hall of Fame Phil Jackson, you most certainly belong.

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Kenny Rogers Has Blood Clot [David Stefanini]

This from

"Kenny Rogers is out until at least the All-Star break, leaving the Detroit Tigers to defend their AL pennant without one of their top pitchers.

Two days after saying his arm felt tired, Rogers had surgery Friday to remove a blood clot from his left shoulder and repair arteries.

"We might have been the only club in baseball with five established starters," Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said. "It's an edge we have here and all we did was lose a little of the edge. We still have a great club with four established starters and a strong bullpen."

This is a minor set back for the Detroit Tigers. Last season they had the best starting rotation in all of baseball. This year they looked to be just as good pitching wise. They can replace Rogers until he is ready to come back at the All-Star break, and not worry about losing to many games in their division. Look for the Tigers to be a force in the A.L this season.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Kevin Durant Gets 70 of 72 Votes for AP Player of the Year [David Stefanini]

Texas phenom Kevin Durant became the first freshman to ever win the AP Player of the Year award. Out of the possible 72 votes, Durant received 70 of them. For some reason Alando Tucker got two votes. That statement is not putting Tucker down, it is giving Durant his due credit.
Durant did everything humanly possible this season; just listen to his stats:
- He shot 47% from the field.
- He shot 40% from 3 point range.
- He scored nearly 26 ppg.
- He grabbed over 11 rebounds per game.
- He shot 82% from the free-throw line.
There is no doubt in my mind Durant should be the #1 pick in the NBA Draft. There is nothing he can not do on the court. Many people feel Greg Oden should be the first pick, but Oden needs a lot of work on his offensive game. Durant can come in and instantly contribute to a team. Oden is going to need a year or two to fully contribute to a team.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

The A-Rod Saga Continues... [Addison Quale]

"The future belongs always to the believers, who are for something, never those who are only against something."–unknown

Are you tired of being against him? Are you tired of expecting him to fail, and standing up to boo when he does so? Are you tired of not feeling good about having Alex Rodriguez play third base for your favorite team? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you are ready. Welcome to The Movement.

So states the front page of the positively ridiculous A-Rod website: Project A-13: The Anti-Boos Movement. (I think someone probably spent hundreds of dollars and dozens of hours putting it together...sigh...isn't there like some injustice or poverty this person could be spending their time combatting instead???) It's claiming that Yankee fan negative energy is the cause of A-Rod's problems and so we need to reverse that and start supporting him positively. It's apparently trying to start a movement. This is positively the dumbest thing I have ever seen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Women's Final Four Set [David Stefanini]

The women's Final Four was set yesterday. The match ups are:
#1 North Carolina vs #1 Tennessee
#3 LSU vs #4 Rutgers
Rutgers had the hardest road getting here; they had to be tournament favorite Duke to get this far.
The player to watch has to be Candice Parker. She is an amazing talent and is capable of dunking the ball. She is the best women's college basketball player since Diana Taurasi and is capable of taking over a game whenever she wants. Parker is easily the player to watch in these set of games.

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Odds and Ends [Chrissy]

Now even Fedoruk has agreed, "When something like that happens she waits for the phone call,” Fedoruk said of his wife. “It’s either good news or bad news. I know it’s stressful for her and she’s done a good job dealing with that. I’m more worried about my son. He was watching it and telling Daddy to get up off the ice. He’s a little too young to understand everything yet. But it’s part of the game.”

It looks like it is going to take something really serious to happen for fighting to be eradicated from the NHL. Just see what Gary Bettman said in Mark's post.

In other news, apparently Vince Papale (Philadelphia Eagles walk-on from the 70s, inspiration for the movie Invincible) had a little inspirational visit/speech with the New York Islanders. What? I know that the Flyers are way beyond playoff contention, but come on. Don't bash the New York Giants in your movie, then go and talk to a New York hockey team.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

LeBron to Co-Host the ESPY Awards [David Stefanini]

LeBron James is going to co-host the ESPY Awards wit Jimmy Kimmel this year. What is left for LeBron to do; other than win the title.

He has come straight out of high school with unimaginable hype surrounding him; and he surpassed the hype. Each year the expectations on LeBron grow, and every year he seems to surpass the expectations. I do not feel he is the best player in the league, that belongs to Kobe, but the things he is accomplishing at such a young age is unbelievable.

We already could say he is one of the elite players in the league, and we an say he is a host of one of the top sporting events of the year.

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Video: Barton's Miracle Comeback [J. Mark English]

Your Late Night Fix 3.27.07 [J. Mark English]

  • NFL Owners vote to make replay permanent. I guess this is a good thing? But I think the coaches should not be the ones to have to deal with the decision of whether or not to review a play. To much is on their plates already.
  • Cincinnati Bengals reciever, Chris Henry, was cited on traffic charges. I think breaking the law is a right of passage in order to play for the Bengals.
  • Adam 'Pacman' Jones will meet with the NFL commish next week to discuss the incident taking place during the NBA All-Star game. He will meet with them for the following reason: Las Vegas police said Monday they recommend prosecutors file a felony charge of coercion and misdemeanor charges of battery and threat against Jones for the Feb. 19 strip club fight and shooting.
  • LeBron James is building a house for the ages. Some details about the mansion: New house is shaping up as a palace fit for a king -- with a theater, bowling alley, casino and barber shop... The 35,440-square-foot house in Bath Township, about 20 miles south of Cleveland, is under construction and is to be finished next year. It is being built on 5.6 acres of land that was purchased with an 11-bedroom house in 2003 for $2.1 million. The Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star and Akron native razed the house to clear the way for the new one.
  • Tom Verducci has the latest on Dice-K's assortment of pitches which sounds more like a sushi bar then anything to do with pitching: Seriously, I know the gyroball is a cool, real concept and Matsuzaka already has this air of mystery about him that invites possibility and that everybody likes a good story, but enough already. A Marlin by the name of Jason Stokes, after facing Matsuzaka in a spring training game, pumped the legend of the demon pitch when he announced in wonderment, "I saw the gyroball." He did stop short of saying it emitted a beam of light that transported him into a flying saucer, where his innards were removed bloodlessly before he was returned to the batter's box.
  • Senator John Kerry continues to press MLB to hold off on its Direct TV deal saying: "This would ensure that for the next two years at least, all baseball fans would have access to the 'Extra Innings' package," he said. "If we're unable to reach an agreement when the channel launches, we'd give baseball the right to cancel the 'Extra Innings' deal. We think this is a fair compromise." It kinda makes you wonder why the Senator is getting so involved in this. I mean isn't it hard to believe that this isn't some publicity stunt? I mean only about 200,000 nation-wide will be affected by this. And no offense, but why not let the private sector deal with its own issues, and stay out of the way Mr. Kerry.
  • Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL, comes out and says that yes fighting is part of the game. But also focuses on safety. Can you imagine a commissioner from any other league saying that fighting is okay? I mean he literally said: We've never taken active steps or considered eliminating fighting from the game....I've always taken the view that it's a part of the game and it rises and lowers based on what the game dictates. Wow, I mean talk about a double standard. I have no issues with fighting is part of the game, and i agree with what Chrissy wrote earlier. Imagine though, David Stern saying that what Carmelo Anthony did when he cold cocked Marty Collins, that "oh thats just part of the game." Why does the NHL get a passed...or really...why is the NBA given such a black eye over a fight that is not all that different from a typical NHL fight?

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Re: No Negligence in Pat Tillman's Death [J. Mark English]

David wrote previously: I wish this was kept out of the public and handled internally. Personally, if a family member of mine was to die I would not have wanted them to do the investigation in the first place. What is wrong with telling the family of the deceased their son, father, daughter, brother or sister died in combat? Why do they have to know actually it was just friendly fire.

On the contrary, it was the family that asked for the investigation. A family member (of mine) wrotein an e-mail: I am pretty sure that the Tillman family very much wanted the investigations and that they do very much care about the circumstances of their son's death. The story of Pat Tillman's death is not about the media doing anything, it is about the outright stupidity of the Army and the Dept of Defense and its ability to deal with the truth.

That latter is more accurate. In a statement provided by the Tillman family said:

Our family will continue to pursue the full truth about the circumstances of Pat Tillman‘s death and the so-called "missteps" of the Army, the Department of Defense , and this administration.

The characterization of criminal negligence, professional misconduct, battlefield incompetence, concealment and destruction of evidence, deliberate deception, and conspiracy to deceive are not "missteps."

In our opinion, this attempt to impose closure by slapping the wrists of a few officers and enlisted men is yet another bureaucratic entrenchment.

Our family has worked hard to stay out of the spotlight.

We have continued to hope that we might receive satisfactory answers from the Pentagon and the executive branch.

Now we ask the assistance of Congress and the press.

Human beings continue to be sacrificed on the altar of a dual foreign military occupation.

Thousands of Americans and Afghans, hundreds of U.S. allies, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis‘ lives have been lost and shattered.

We say these things with disappointment and sadness for our country.

Nonetheless, we will persevere in our search for the truth.

The truth is not what we received today.

Once again, we are being used as props in a Pentagon public relations exercise.

It seems that this is a battle that the family is waging, and their charge is incompetence within the military.

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Van Gundy Wants to Change Draft Order [David Stefanini]

This from

"Van Gundy wants to open up the NBA draft lottery to all 30 NBA teams in an effort to keep teams from losing intentionally to hopefully secure the No. 1 pick.

"I think every team should have an equal chance at winning the lottery, from the best team all the way down," Van Gundy told The Houston Chronicle. "I don't want to accuse anyone of anything. I would say to take away any possible conflict of interest, everyone should have an equal chance at the top pick all the way down. That way there would be absolutely no question by anybody about anything."

Yes that makes sense coach. Let's give the best team in the NBA the best rookie in that years draft. Actually why doesn't the NBA give the lottery to the top teams in the NBA. That way we can assure ourselves the same teams will be in the playoffs every year.

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Video: Peyton Manning on Satuday Night Live [J. Mark English]

Monday, March 26, 2007

No Negligence in Pat Tillman's Death [David Stefanini]

For those out there who are not aware of the Pat Tillman situation here is a recap:

We all know Pat Tillman was a member of the Arizona Cardinals, but choose to leave the organization in order to join Armed Rangers and unfortunately ended up being killed in combat. At first reports said Tillman was killed in an ambush. Since then we have learned it was friendly fire that ended up killing Tillman.

Investigators found there was no criminal negligence in the friendly fire death of Pat Tillman.

I do not like who this is out in the media. I wish this was kept out of the public and handled internally. Personally, if a family member of mine was to die I would not have wanted them to do the investigation in the first place. What is wrong with telling the family of the deceased their son, father, daughter, brother or sister died in combat? Why do they have to know actually it was just friendly fire. None of us reading this post can imagine what the Tillman household is going through right now. They had to deal with getting over the death of a family member, now they have to deal with it all over again after being told they were lied to.

Can the media stop crucifying the soldiers in Iraq and show some support please?

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Kobe Has Off Night, Ends 50 Points Streak [David Stefanini]

Kobe Bryant had an off night by his recent standards last night. Kobe led his team to their longest winning streak of the year (5 games), scored 43 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in the process.

Yup, by his standards he had an off game.

This recent scoring spree has left me completely amazed, not because of the points he has been scoring but the way Kobe is making the scoring spree a team thing. This is one of the things Kobe said:

"I think it energized us as a team and I think it energized the city, and I think that's great. Before that, we were dead in the water. We're playing with a lot more energy now."

I have a funny feeling we have not seen the last of Kobe's 50 point games this season. It should be fun watching the rest of the season unfold and the playoff pitcher become clearer and clearer after each passing day.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Photos: Georgetown & Florida Completes the Picture [J. Mark English]

The Final Four - Finally [J. Mark English]

At last, a field of 64 teams has been narrowed down to just four teams. Three of my four teams that I had going originally in my brackets have made it to the big dance. Butler was the only team I picked wrong, and in their stead Florida will return to a the semi-finals for a rematch of last years finals, facing off against UCLA.

Florida's earlier game against Oregon was a "close" game, but it didn't feel close, nor did it generate much excitement. At least this is the perspective of a non-partisan spectator. The crowd was lackluster, and given the size of the dome in St. Louis, it felt like a placid atmosphere. Oregon kept making three's in the final minute, which stymied Florida's attempt to pull away. But by the end Florida would hold on to win, and advance.

The Georgetown / UNC game was a classic. Here is a recap from the Georgetown website:

Twenty-five years later, Georgetown got even for a coach named Thompson and a player named Ewing.

In an NCAA tournament full of tremendous rallies, it was the Hoyas' turn - against North Carolina, of all teams.

Georgetown overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half, then ripped off 14 straight points in overtime to stun the top-seeded Tar Heels 96-84 in the East Regional final Sunday for their first trip to the Final Four since 1985, when the coach was John Thompson Jr. and the star was Patrick Ewing.

The Hoyas (30-6) did it this time with coach John Thompson III calling the backdoor plays he learned at Princeton and Patrick Ewing Jr. making key contributions.

"You want the best for your kids. I'm proud of both John and my son," Ewing Sr. said. "I'm happy, I'm very proud. I think Georgetown is back."

They were helped by an amazing collapse from Carolina (31-7), which made only one of 23 field goal attempts, including its first 12 in overtime, over a 15-minute span.

After Georgetown's Jonathan Wallace hit a 3 that tied it at 81 with 31 seconds left in regulation, the Tar Heels had a chance to win it, but freshman Wayne Ellington missed an open jumper from the wing right before the buzzer and Ewing grabbed the rebound, prompting his pop to high-five everyone near him in the stands.

There would be no game-winning shot for the Tar Heels a la 1982, when freshman Michael Jordan's 17-foot jumper with 17 seconds left lifted Carolina over Georgetown 63-62 for the national championship.

The Hoyas waited a long time to avenge that defeat. When they did, it made the Thompsons the first father-son duo to coach a team to the Final Four, much less at the same school, and they enjoyed a huge embrace at courtside.

Comment -

What made this game so great was the "David vs. Goliath" motif. Early on North Carolina was running the floor, and Georgetown looked like they didn't have a prayer. UNC could sub at will, and who ever came in could run with the same intensity as the person he replaced. Georgetown got into foul trouble early on, and looked tired from the get go.

But something funny happened on the way to Roy Williams and the Tar Heels return to the Final Four. Georgetown adjusted to a zone defense, and found that they could slow down the run and gun UNC offense. By the second half, the Hoyas had taken over the tempo of the game. They forced UNC into a half court game, which the Hoyas were able to dominate. They forced UNC to grind out every basket. Georgetown took advantage of every opportunity, dominated the boards, and stifled UNC's offense.

By the time Georgetown came from behind to force overtime, UNC had lost any control they had had early on. The Hoyas blew them out in overtime, and UNC was left wondering what happened.

What a game. We can only hope that the Final Four offers up the same excitement that this game did.

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Georgetown, Florida Complete Final Four [David Stefanini]

Florida beat Oregon 85-77 giving them the right to take on UCLA in the Final Four.

Georgetown, down most of the game, came back to beat North Carolina after an amazing game that ended in overtime by the score of 96-84. This sets up a match up with Ohio State in the Final Four next weekend.

The Final Four match ups promise to be as competitive and entertaining as recent games in this year's tourney.

I would look for UCLA to beat Florida and Ohio State to beat Georgetown.

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Video Highlights: UCLA & Ohio State Advance [J. Mark English]

Photos: UCLA & Ohio State Advance [J. Mark English]

Half Way to the Final Four [J. Mark English]

Ohio State advances to the Final Four, as do the UCLA Bruins. Both of these teams I had going in my brackets. I'm sure I was hardly alone in making these picks however.

Ohio State played a solid game against Memphis. Both teams had gaudy winning streak on the line. Ohio State had won 20 games in a row, and Memphis had won 25. Ohio State prevailed 92-76, although the game was a lot closer then the score would indicate. What really helped push Ohio State over the edge was their precision at the free throw line as the game was coming down to its closing minutes. Heres a quick recap of the game from the NCAA website:

Ohio State coach Thad Matta looked down the bench and locked eyes with Greg Oden.

The big man, sitting out with three fouls, nodded.

"Let's go," Matta told him, adding his usual advice in such situations: "Play real hard and don't foul anybody."

Oden followed orders perfectly, dominating like only a 7-footer can over the decisive stretch in the second half to carry the top-seeded Buckeyes past Memphis 92-76 and into the Final Four.

Oden's numbers in Saturday's South Regional championship weren't huge: 17 points, nine rebounds.

His presence was.

While Oden was on the bench with his third foul, Ohio State (34-3) went from five points up to five points down. Then the fabulous freshman went back in and everything changed again.

Controlling the paint on offense and defense, he triggered a 20-8 surge that put the Buckeyes back in charge. The second-seeded Tigers (33-4) tried hanging in by fouling, but Ohio State foiled that plan by making 20 straight free throws. The Buckeyes' 21st straight win takes them to Atlanta next weekend for a national semifinal matchup with the winner of Sunday's North Carolina-Georgetown game.

In only 30 college games, Oden has taken over plenty of them. None, however, was as impressive as this one, mainly because it was so important.

As for UCLA, they knocked out of the tournament the first number one seed. The Bruins return to a very familiar place, the Final Four. The game seemed a bit unfair to Kansas who were playing essentially a road team in a sold out arena in San Jose. Most of the fans there were partisan towards the Bruins. The Bruins made some very impressive shots with time winding down on the shot clock. Here is a recap again from the NCAA:

With good-natured shoves and claps, the UCLA Bruins formed a circle around Arron Afflalo -- the rightful center of attention.

In an exceptional second half that should help erase memories of his past mediocrity in big games, Afflalo scored 15 of his 24 points and the Bruins held off the top-seeded Jayhawks for a 68-55 victory in the West Regional final Saturday night.

Afflalo, hiding behind the souvenir hat and T-shirt from the biggest game of his career, tried to be just one of the guys -- even though he was the main reason UCLA is heading back to the Final Four for a second consecutive season.

"I don't really think about it during the game, but when you're making shots, you're gaining confidence," said Afflalo, who made all six of his shots after halftime. "My teammates showed a lot of confidence in me. If I'm fortunate enough to make shots -- just keep shooting, keep playing. That has to be a scorer's mentality."

Darren Collison added 14 points and four big free throws in the final seconds while leading the Bruins' stellar defensive effort -- but whenever the Bruins faced offensive trouble, Afflalo seemed to solve it, hitting a big shot or drawing the defense to set up a teammate.

Second-seeded UCLA (30-5) made its halftime lead stand up in an appropriately tense meeting between two schools with rich traditions and a combined 29 Final Four appearances -- including an NCAA-record 17th for UCLA next week in Atlanta. The Bruins edged ahead of North Carolina, which has 16 going into Sunday's East Regional final against Georgetown.

The Bruins, who lost to Florida in last season's national title game, could be in for a rematch: They'll meet Sunday's winner of the Gators' regional final against Oregon.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

For 4th Time in a Row Kobe Goes for 50 and Lakers Win [David Stefanini]

As I stated in my previous post there is nothing left to say about what kind of talent Kobe Bryant is. With that said, I will not go on praising him like I do most times. Instead I will just state some interesting facts:

Kobe has now become only the second player in NBA history to score at least 50 points in 4 consecutive games.

Kobe has 225 points over the last four games, that is the second highest total over a four game stretch, second only to Wilt.

Over these past four games Kobe is shooting well above 50% from the field.

There is nothing left to say other than; WOW!

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Video: Christian Laettner - the Real Shot [J. Mark English]

Video: Chris Farley as Christian Laettner [J. Mark English]

Movin' On to the Elite Eight [J. Mark English]

Three of my four teams that I picked to make it to the Final Four are still alive...but barely. Butler lost to Florida. Florida looks more and more like they will be the repeat champs. This Florida team though pales in comparison to the last team that won back to back championships...the '91 & '92 Duke squad would have schooled Florida.

Ohio State, the team I picked to win it all, are playing like they have nine lives. Greg Oden keeps getting into foul trouble. In their game against Xavier they were down by nine with just a few minutes to go, and came back to win in overtime. Against Tennessee, they were down by 20 points in the first half, and still came back to win despite Oden missing nearly half of the game.

Georgetown survived against Vanderbilt. Talk about a bookend season for Vandy. They start off the season with a loss to Georgetown, and then they finish the season with a loss to the Hoyas.

Georgetown makes it to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1996 (when A.I. was on the team). Georgetown vs. North Carolina should be a classic game.

As should most of the other games. Many times the games in the final eight round are the real classics. The Duke/Kentucky game in 1992 (with the Laettner buzzer beater) was an Elite Eight game. Remember last years George Mason/UConn game? That of course was in this same round.

You have to love the that all of the number one teams are alive. It will make for better basketball, and you know that the best talent available is on the court still.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Kobe Explodes Once Again [David Stefanini]

Last time I wrote a post about Kobe going on a scoring spree I started it with this:

"It seems like the last time Kobe played I was writing on how he single-handily won the game with a 65 point out-burst. Oh wait, I did do that last time he played."

It now seems as if every time he goes on the court records are falling, 50+ points are being thrown up, and games are being single handily won.

The Lakers are now on a three game winning steak, but it does not feel right saying the Lakers are on that streak. The Lakers have not played great basketball over these three games, but they are winning because they have the best player in the world. Kobe literally has won three games by himself. There is nothing left for me to say other than I will continue to let everyone know when Kobe drops 50+. Which now-a-days is every time he steps on the court.

Here is one stat I would like to share about Kobe's three game span:

In the last 40 years of NBA basketball this is the greatest three-game scoring spree. He has scored 175 points in three games that is an average, let me re-peat that, an AVERAGE of 58.3ppg. His 175 is the highest over a three game span in the past 40 years; and I will let you venture a guess as to who is second on that list......time's up, if you answered Kobe you are correct.

If you consider how Kobe has done over the past two seasons, and the competition he is facing one could make the argument, these are the best two seasons any player has ever put together, scoring wise. Remember last year when he went for 62 points (in 3 quarters) and we all thought we could not see a performance like that again? One month later Kobe hit for 81. We then asked ourselves well what could be better than an 81 point outburst? Kobe tried to answer that, one year later by throwing up 2 60 point games in 3 games and a 50 point game in between; giving him the highest score over a three-game stretch. The question now becomes how can Kobe top this? Personally I am scared to ask that question because who says he is done dropping 50 on this current stretch?

If Kobe continues to score at this rate, or at his season average of 30.5ppg he will become the greatest scorer in NBA history. He will better the mark of Kareem who stands at 38,000+.

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Sweet 16: Day One [J. Mark English]

Yesterday there were four games. Two games finished with teams separated by just one point. Another by three. And finally, the last of the four...a blow out by yesterdays standards...just by nine points.

My goodness, what a night!

For a complete wrap up of the games go to ESPN.

Its been a fascinating tournament so far. I think this was the first time in 12 years that every number one seed made it into the sweet 16. Now there will be at least two match ups in the elite eight of number one and number two seeds facing off against each other.

Most people may have their brackets defaced. But at the same time I'm sure most people still have their Final Four intact.

Today's games promises to be just as good as yesterday. Enjoy!

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Kobe's Trifecta [J. Mark English]

Once again, Kobe explodes for over 50 points in his third straight game. This time hitting the 60 mark.

From Sports Illustrated:

The last Laker with three consecutive 50-point games was Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor in December 1962. Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain are the only other players with three straight 50-point games. Chamberlain has the record with seven consecutive 50-point games, which he did in December 1961.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Just a Part of the Game [Chrissy]

Brendan Shanahan made his return last night from a concussion previously sustained vs. the Flyers (I can't remember when it was, but it was awhile ago) where Mike Knuble and him collided in a clean check. Knuble suffered a broken orbital and cheekbone and required surgery to fix it, and didn't look too pretty for awhile. Although, Knuble returned 4 games prior to Shanahan.

Last night there were some more altercations. When I saw Todd Fedoruk receive that punch from Colton Orr I was shocked and scared. Fedoruk, aka Fridge, fights often like Cam Janssen, and I guess Colton Orr. To see Fedoruk freeze like he did and fall onto his back with his arms straight at his sides and wrists bent up made me feel sick to my stomach. I honestly thought that he had some sort of brain injury, and not just a concussion. It looked really bad and to hear today that he was fine, both from him and from the Rangers' neurologist made me very relieved. Not even a concussion.

Fighting is a part of hockey, not as big as it was in the "old NHL" but nonetheless I have never seen one punch do that to someone. Normally it is a stick hitting someone with violent pretenses ala Marty McSorley, Todd Bertuzzi or Chris Simon. Both players involved last night are experienced fighters and spoke to the media as such, with Fedoruk quoted as saying that he just "had his bell rung." Frankly, I do enjoy watching the fights and getting all riled up. But last night made me think twice.

"It was just a fair was a good fight. He is going to hit you, so you want to hit him. The same thing could've happened to me. It is part of the game." - Colton Orr

“What happened last night was just bad luck....We are all going to be behind him and his family... It’s not very fun to see, but it’s part of the game.” - Simon Gagne

“There’s a lot of testosterone running around in a hockey team. If you put 40 guys together on the same sheet of ice, sparks are bound to happen. I think it’s a tough thing to get away from. You’re emotionally going to get into some battles, and you’re going to get in some scrums. That’s part of hockey. They are never going to take that away.” - Dennis Gauthier

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Former NFL Player Joins Marine Corps [J. Mark English]

From Fox Sports:

A former NFL player who joined the Marines and was motivated by college roommate Pat Tillman, who died in Afghanistan, was heading for the war in Iraq Tuesday night.

Lance Cpl. Jeremy Staat, a former defensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers and St. Louis Rams who had been playing Arena Football, was one of 300 Marines in the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment being deployed from Kaneohe Bay. The unit is expected to be in Iraq for seven months.

"The way I look at it, we're spreading freedom, and you have to support the troops and you have to support the war," Staat, 29, told KITV in Honolulu on Tuesday as he prepared to leave from Hawaii. "You can't just tell some Marine who just lost his buddy that we supported you but not the war, because in that case you're basically saying that Marine, his buddy, just died for nothing. We're one team."

Tillman, who played defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals, was killed by friendly fire near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in April 2004. The Defense Department is investigating allegations of a coverup, including the Army's failure to tell Tillman's family for several weeks that he had been killed by gunfire from his fellow Army Rangers, not by enemy fire, as they initially were told.

Semper Fi! God Bless Lance Cpl. Staat. I hope for his speedy return. There was a time when athletes in the pro's were expected to serve. After 1941, during World War II, nearly all of the big stars in MLB joined the service...most volunteered. Their courage and bravery that once was demonstrated on the field, were taken into real battle. Those veterans secured freedom for people all across the globe. May Staat, and those that serve with him come home soon. Thank you for your service!

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Duke Lacrosse Charges Dropped? [J. Mark English]

This was just posted on Drudge:

REPORT: All charges may be dropped as early as tomorrow in Duke Lacrosse rape case, FOXNEWS reports... 'We will be hearing a dismissal in the coming days'... MORE...

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Tony LaRussa Arrested... [J. Mark English]

Poor guy. He fell asleep at the wheel...when the light was red. His foot was on the break, and police found him. His alcohol level was .093...just above the legal level of .008.

Heres more from Sports Illustrated:

Undercover officers first saw La Russa's SUV partially in an intersection around midnight and not moving despite several green lights, police said. Officers knocked on the vehicle's window and LaRussa did not initially respond.

The SUV was in drive and running, with La Russa's foot on the brake, police said. When he eventually woke up, the officers asked him to get out of the SUV.

He was arrested around midnight and booked in the Palm Beach County jail on the misdemeanor about four hours later, according to police and jail records.

La Russa was cooperative, police said.

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Rangers Continue to Sizzle in Shanahan's Return [J. Mark English]

Global warming may or may not exist. But on the ice, the heat is coming from the Rangers who blew out yet another team in less then a week last night against the Philadelphia Flyers (sorry Chrissy).

Brendan Shanahan returned to the lineup last night for the first time since his concussion from several weeks ago. He lifted the spirit of the team, and helped them dominate. Henrik Lundqvist posted his fifth shut out of the season.

Through out most of the season, the team would lose at home with a similar script. They would go up 2-0 and then eventually lose the lead. They fixed the problem by instead of going up 2-0, why not go up 4-0, or 5-0 like they did last night...or even 7-0 like they did against Boston on Saturday.

The game began with a bang:

Colton Orr didn't let Todd Fedoruk rough up his New York teammates this time.

Just seconds after Orr started for the Rangers, Fedoruk hopped off the Philadelphia bench for a quick line change and squared off with the New York enforcer. The gloves came off and Orr dropped Fedoruk with a hard right to the cheek, knocking him out and forcing him to leave the ice on a stretcher.

The jolt just 21 seconds in sparked the crowd and sent the Rangers on their way to a 5-0 victory over the Flyers on Wednesday night.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bogut, Villanueva Out for Season [David Stefanini]

The Milwaukee Bucks today got horrible news. Their center and forward positions took a huge hit when they learnt Charlie Villanueva and Andrew Bogut are out for the remainder of the season. I guess we can eliminate the Bucks from playoff contention. Going into tonight they were already 6 games out of the final playoff spot in the East, after this news they have no shot of catching the Magic for the 8th seed.

This is a team who has been stuck with the injury bug all year. Early in the year their All-Star Michael Redd missed a significant amount of time with an injury. It seems most teams are getting hit with the injury bug. The Lakers, Knicks, Nets, Bucks, Heat, Celtics, and numerous other teams have been struck with this bug.

Only the teams who find a way to win a few games when key contributors go out remain in the playoff hunt. The other way of staying in the playoff hunt is to play in the Eastern Conference, but that is another story.

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Falcons Trade Schaub to Texans [David Stefanini]

This from
The Atlanta Falcons will trade backup quarterback Matt Schaub to the Houston Texans, NFL com is reporting, citing unnamed league sources.

The deal would net the Falcons a second-round draft pick, along with other possible compensation.

The Falcons had made a $2 million offer to Schaub, meaning that any team that signed him to an offer sheet would have to surrender first- and third-round draft choices.

With the trade, the Falcons would reaffirm that Michael Vick is the team's starter. Schaub likely would become the Texans' new starting quarterback to replace former No. 1 overall pick David Carr.
Thank God this happened. I was worrying that Vick would not be the starter for the entire season in Atlanta. This trade proves there is no need to worry.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Michael Jordan Fined 15,000 for Mentioning Durant [David Stefanini]

NBA teams and presidents are not allowed to speak about players who are not yet declared themselves available for the NBA Draft. Michael Jordan found this out the hard way when he got slapped with a $15,000 fine.

Jordan said he was interested in versatile players and stated, "The kid who may present that is the kid in Texas. (He) may have that because he has all the right signs."

Jordan is a legends, an icon, and a god. But not even gods can break the rules around David Stern. Next time I am sure Jordan will read the rule book before saying something about players who are still in college.

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Rangers Beat Penguins, Move Into 7th [David Stefanini]

The New York Rangers are one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now. This is very familiar to what the New Jersey Devils did at the end regular season last season. The Rangers are 7-1-3 in their last 11 games. Just a month ago they seemed as if they were on their way out of playoff contention, but this recent surge has put them right back into the thick of things. They are currently in 7th position, but they can move into 6th spot by Wednesday if everything goes in their favor as it has been the past month.

Last night was a thrilling game to watch. The defense that the Rangers played like something they haven't done in many years. They found a way to silence the East's hottest team, the Penguins, and then found a way to score with 33 seconds to go. Maybe they didn't find a way to score and it was divine intervention, but whatever the case may be they won the game and that's all that matters to them.

The Rangers are going to keep this hot streak going this week with games against Philly, Boston and the Islanders.

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Kobe Reigns Supreme in China Also [David Stefanini]

This past week Kobe has been dominating on the court, now Kobe is dominating in marketing. This season Kobe has the number one selling jersey in the USA and China. Last season Bryant was ranked fourth in China, but he is #1 there now.

What more is there for Kobe to do this season, other than get into the NBA Finals. His image seems to be totally restored to where it was before he committed adultery on his wife (or should I say before he was CAUGHT).

Other names on the list of top selling jerseys in China are:
Iverson, McGrady, Wade, James, and Ming; in that order.

I find it shocking in his own country, Yao Ming is not the top selling jersey. I guess that is because all the people over there already have his jersey and need to by other players.

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Broncos Aquire Brandon Stokley [David Stefanini]

The Denver Broncos signed former Colts WR Brandon Stokley to a one-year deal. Once Stokley became a free agent is was known he was not going back to the Colts. He was coming off a season in which he tore is Achilles tendon. Stokley was going to sign with either the New Orleans Saints of the Denver Broncos. Stokley choose the Broncos.

Stokley should help in the development in second year quarterback Jay Cutler. Stokley is a kind of guy who can go out in the middle of the field and catch passes. He is not afraid to take a hit, and is more times than not dependable out there. This acquisiton by the Broncos should really help Cutler out.

The Broncos seem to be spending a lot of money this off-season going after top quality players. By doing so they are putting themselves in position to contend with the Chargers for the top spot in the AFC. I still feel they have a way to go before catching the Chargers, but we are still in March and many things are going to happen from now til the start of the season.

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Griffey Jr. May be Moved to Right Field [David Stefanini]

Ken Griffey Jr, once considered the ultimate baseball player, may be moving to right field at the beginning of the season. Griffey has played his entire career at center field.

The move is likely to be made because of an injury Griffey had suffered during the off-season. Jr. broke his hand while wrestling with his kids. Reds manager, Jerry Narron, said he is expecting Ryan Freel to be playing center field for the beginning of the season.

Griffey is a 10-time gold glover at center, but this season it may be Freel who is playing that position. Narron said, "my feeling with Ryan Freel out there, it gives us strong defense up the middle."

Looks like the manager isn't worried about the move, so neither should the fans. Freel can play some defense and we all know Griffey isn't the same as he was before the injury. This is probably the best move for Jr. at this point in his career.

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Glen "Big Baby" Davis Says he is NBA Ready [David Stefanini]

This from

LSU center Glen "Big Baby" Davis said Tuesday that he is leaving school to enter the NBA draft.

"After my toughest year, I now feel I am physically and mentally ready for the NBA," Davis said during an announcement hosted by LSU.

The 6-foot-9, 290-pound Davis was an AP second team All-America selection during the 2005-06 season, when LSU went to the Final Four. This season, the junior averaged 17.7 points and 10.4 rebounds and missed several late-season games with a strained quadriceps.

"Last year, the team had great success. I was part of only four [LSU] teams to make it to the Final Four," Davis said. "I decided to stay and hoped to build on that this year. Unfortunately that didn't happen."

I think this is the right move for Davis. He sees a LSU team that is not ready to take the next step forward to compete for a national title as they did last year. He knows he is going to be picked in the draft and be one of the new millionaires in a few months time. I like the way he plays and I like the way he conducts himself; I think he will be a huge success in the NBA.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Once Again Kobe Goes For 50 [David Stefanini]

It seems like the last time Kobe played I was writing on how he single-handily won the game with a 65 point out-burst. Oh wait, I did do that last time he played.
For the second time in as many games Kobe Bryant has scored 50+ points. It is the first time in 44 years that someone has accomplished this for the Lakers. Last night against the T'Wolves Kobe netted 50 points, giving him a two-game total of 115. That mark is the third highest in the past 40 years; it is only bettered by Kobe (119) and some guy named Mike (119).

When you think of Kobe scoring 50 points you would think of him shooting the ball nearly 50 times to do so; well that is not the case this season (or last season). When Kobe scored 65 he shot the ball 39 times, but he connected on well over 50% of his shots. Last night in scoring 50, Kobe shot the ball 35 times and connected on nearly 50% of those shots.
These two games have come off the Lakers worst losing streak in recent memory. They needed some big time wins and Kobe was there to provide them. If any player in the NBA is possible of carrying his team to a playoff birth it is Kobe.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Kay Yow Battles Cancer [J. Mark English]

North Carolina State and its women team advanced another round in the women's NCAA tournament today. Coached by Kay Yow, they easily defeated Robert Morris 84-52, giving the program their first victory in tournament play in six years.

Even more impressive though is the story of their coach, Kay Yow. She is battling breast cancer, and is enduring chemotherapy. Jere Longman of the New York Times details the trials that coach Yow must face both on the court and off the court:

Already, it was going to be an arduous week for Kay Yow, the Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach at North Carolina State: Blood work for a tumor cell count on Monday. Chemotherapy for Stage 4 breast cancer on Wednesday. An opening-round game in the N.C.A.A. tournament on Sunday....

...After missing two months of this season to fight recurrent cancer, Yow, 65, returned to the bench in late January, becoming only the sixth Division I women’s coach to win 700 games. The 18th-ranked Wolfpack (23-9) knocked off North Carolina, then ranked second, and became the lone victor against No. 1 Duke. The dignity and quiet determination of Yow’s struggle invigorated her players, convincing them that anything was possible with emotion and skill, even a national championship...

...On occasion while Yow took chemotherapy, her assistants came to the clinic with a magnetic board, and she helped design an offense or gave a tutorial on solving an opponent’s press. In her absence, her assistants said they felt a certain added pressure to win. Once they had followed; now they had to lead...

...As Yow descended a stairway into the practice gym, her players clapped and whooped at her presence. Some wore pink shoelaces and the breast-cancer emblem of a pink ribbon on their sneakers...

...Hands in her pockets, or folded across her chest, Yow watched from beneath the baskets, then took a seat on the sideline. Her voice was somewhat raspy from the chemotherapy, but she slipped easily into the timeless rhythm of coaching.

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Your Late Night Fix 3.18.07 [J. Mark English]

NCAA Basketball Update
  • Yet another Big Ten team goes down...the Wisconsin Badgers were upset today by the UNLV Running Rebels, 74-68. Yoni Cohen writes: For a second consecutive game, the Badgers fell behind early and shot worse than 42 percent from the field. The result, a 74-68 UNLV win, left only one Big Ten team in the Sweet 16 — one better than the number that made the NCAA tournament's second weekend last year.
  • Kansas breezes past Kentucky to advance to the Sweet 16, winning 88-76.
  • Florida outlasted Purdue, still very much alive going into the Sweet 16 with the chance to become the first team since Duke to repeat as NCAA Champs.
  • Check out ESPN for the rest of the scores. Today's games were somewhat subdued compared to the thrills that yesterdays games provided.
As for the rest of the sports world...
  • The New York Knicks not only won a game today, but they won decisively without giving up a big lead like they did Friday against the Sonics. Bench player, and rookie, Renaldo Balkman played a key role in propelling the Knicks to victory.
  • Houston Rockets absolutely dominate the Philadelphia 76ers (sorry Chrissy), winning by 50 points...124-74.
  • The Dallas Mavericks showed that they are not just the best in the west, but also are probably the beast of the east, as they took care of the Detroit Pistons, winning 92-88.
  • Vijay Singh wins Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hills, while Tiger Woods shoots a 76 and finishes out of the top 20.
  • Jimmie Johnson pulls a fast one, "jukes" past Tony Stewart, on his way to winning NASCAR's Atlanta Motor Speedway.
  • Bode Miller, the U.S. skier who failed to win a medal in last years Olympics, wins the World Cup super-G title.
  • There was a tragedy in the world of Cricket: Sport is meant to be fun, inspirational and uplifting. But of late it was anything it was that for Bob Woolmer. Celebrations at the Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean have been overshadowed by the death of the Pakistan's coach...A Pakistani official says 59-year-old Woolmer was found unconscious in his Jamaican hotel room.
  • Sporting News offers up a report on the AFL's wheelin's and dealin's this off season.
  • Dallas Cowboy's super fan, "Crazy Ray" passes away. Somehow this made national headlines...
  • I can only hope this occurs...Ron Dayne may be a Philadelphia Eagle next year. I better not laugh yet though...given the Giants luck he'll probably burn them for a hundred yards next year...

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Sunny thoughts from Chrissy [Chrissy]

March Madness is dead to me. I knew there was a reason why I didn't make a bracket this year.

My fantasy hockey team lost in the first round of the playoffs. (If only Gagne played in some games this week!)

Turns out that it is not always sunny in Philadelphia.

Bah humbug!


Video: March Madness Memories [J. Mark English]

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dick Enberg Team Superior [J. Mark English]

North Carolina and Michigan State are involved in a seesaw game right now on the hardwood. The game is being called by long time announcer Dick Enberg, and the color commentary is being provided by Jay Bilas. Of all the announcing teams for CBS, this team is the best. Dick Enberg is enthusiastic, and sets the perfect tone for a big game. His signature "oh my" line is used appropriately. Jay Bilas gives brilliant insight, and explains things in a way a laymen can understand, without sounding too obvious about the game.

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New York Rangers: 7th Heaven [J. Mark English]

What do Michal Rozsival, Sean Avery, Petr Prucha, Ryan Callahan, and Matt Cullen have in common? They all have scored a goal (and some twice) to help the New York Rangers build a 7-0 score against the Boston Bruins. No, this is not an all-star game. That really is the score. The Bruins would need a touchdown and an extra point conversion to have any hope of coming back.

Maybe the Bruins were drinking today in accordance with the holiday? But the Rangers are pummeling Boston. The game is not quite over yet, but I think with 8:10 to go in the third its safe to say that this game is in the books...

Florida can hold on to their slim lead against the Islanders tonight, then the Rangers will move into 8th place in the playoff standings.

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March Madness in Full Flury [J. Mark English]

Can you ask for better games then we've had today? Three games went into overtime, and one of them even went into double overtime.

Vanderbilt will advance to the sweet 16 after upsetting Washington State in a marathon. At the beginning of the year I wonder how many people would have given Vanderbilt a chance to make it this far? Vanderbilt won 78 to 74 over Washington State.

As mentioned before, Ohio State was lucky to get past Xavier, surviving overtime to win 78-71.

Virginia Commonwealth cinderella dreams were smashed in overtime by Pittsburgh.

And we still have many more games left to be played this weekend. Get out the defibrillator because you may need it from the gut wrenching games that are being played!

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CBS Telecast: Frustration [J. Mark English]

Anyone else annoyed that CBS kept going back and forth between the Georgetown/BC game and the Vandy/Washington State game? The Georgetown game in its final minute was no longer in doubt, Georgetown was clearly going to win. So what does CBS Do? They would take you to the Vandy game which was approaching overtime, and then cut back to the Georgetown game. How annoying is that? Just stick with the overtime game!

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Bracket Recovery? [J. Mark English]

Finally I'm getting a break today in my bracket picks. Butler escaped with a win against Maryland. Here's a quick recap from ESPN:

Butler can shed the mid-major label. A.J. Graves and company proved the Bulldogs can play with anyone -- including Maryland.

Graves scored 19 points, including a clutch 3-point basket with 2:09 remaining to lift the Bulldogs to a 62-59 win over Maryland in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday.

Butler (29-6), the No. 5 seed in the Midwest Regional, advances to the round of 16 for the second time in school history. The Bulldogs did it previously in their last tournament appearance in 2003.

So Butler survives, which is good for me since I had them going to the Final Four. I also had Ohio State, as did most other people. The number one seed was given the battle of their lives today against Xavier.

Once again ESPN offers up a recap:

Hold the questions about Greg Oden's future. Ohio State isn't finished in the NCAA Tournament.

Ron Lewis revived the Buckeyes' national championship hopes with a long 3-pointer with two seconds left to force overtime, then Mike Conley Jr. dominated the extra period for a 78-71 victory over Xavier in a second-round South Regional game Saturday.

The Buckeyes' rally from an 11-point deficit in regulation ensured the Oden era will last at least one more game.

Oden, the most coveted player to enter college in years, figures to be the first pick in the NBA whenever he decides to go pro. A decision on where the freshman intends to play next winter isn't expected until after the season ends.

Other games today so far today have Texas A&M, and Pittsburgh advancing to the Sweet 16. At least one Big East team will be playing next week. The Big East has been getting slaughtered so far in the tournament.

VCU had a chance to be this year's version of George Mason, but failed to advance after losing in heartbreaking fashion to Pittsburgh.

Right now Georgetown is taking on Boston College. Its been a close game through out. I'm pulling for Georgetown for two reasons. The first is that they are one of my final four teams, and the second is that they are playing BC who left the Big East to join the ACC. Anytime a Big East team can get the better of an ACC, I look at that as a good thing.

Enjoy the games, and don't drink too much tonight folks.

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Photos: Happy St. Patrick's Day! [J. Mark English]

The Knicks weren't the only team donning green jersey's in honor of the Irish holiday. Heres a look at some of the other teams joining the spirit of the Erin Go Bragh.

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Kobe Nets 65 Points [David Stefanini]

It is that time of year; it's Kobe time. The Lakers were on a seven game losing streak, and they needed somebody to step up and carry them to a victory. Now I wonder who could do that? Ah, yes they have that man named Kobe.

Kobe had 31 points in the final quarter and overtime. For normal human beings who are in the NBA a 65 point game would easily be the best of their career. However this marks the third time Kobe broke the 60 point mark and is only the second highest output of his career. Of course Kobe had the miraculous 81 point game last season.

The Lakers have been struggling and needed Kobe to carry the load. Before this team was killed by injuries they were proving to be a force in the Western Conference. Now that the team is for the most part healthy, look for them to once again make a push. And if Kobe can shoot the way he did last night watch out folks.

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Photo: Irish Knicks [J. Mark English]

Despite the loss, the Knicks looked pretty sharp in their green uniforms:

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A Yucky, Yucky Day [J. Mark English]

Notre Dame loses, Villanova loses, Holy Cross loses, even the New York Knicks lose. I think two thirds of my bracket picks have bowed out early. :-(

Holy Cross fought valiantly against Southern Illinois, but eventually fall by the score of 61-51.

The Knicks were cruising early on against the Hornets, but wind up losing at the end 92-90. Typical Knicks game on the season. One step forward, then two steps back.

I'm really looking forward to baseball. Opening Day can't come soon enough.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Watch the NCAA Tourney Online [J. Mark English]

CBS has made the games that are not being shown on television available online for free. I'm now able to watch both Villanova, and Holy Cross play. Holy Cross just went into half time down 30 to 25 against Southern Illinois. Kudos to CBS for having the games on demand for free.

Update -

Jackson State is putting up a fight against Florida. With just a hair under a minute to go in the first half Florida is up by six, 41-35.

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March Madness Tidbits... [J. Mark English]

Grrrr....Chrissy's Villanova Wildcats are getting top billing on CBS as they square off against Kentucky. This annoys me because I was looking forward to watching Holy Cross.

Tennessee's 121 points against Long Beach State (and I had picked LB State to win...) set a record for most amount of points scored in a first round game. Loyola Marymount set the record in 1990 against Michigan with whopping 149 points. Can you what that game must have been like? Couldn't they have applied the mercy rule?

Bill Simmons of ESPN should you keep you entertained if your surfing with one eye on your computer, and the other eye on the HDTV.

Make sure you read Clifton Brown's piece from the New York Times about VCU. They could very well be this year's George Mason.
  • Anybody check out these near upsets? The #2 seed Wisconsin flirted with disaster against Texas A&M Corpus the first half they were down by as many as 15 points.
  • Oregon was lucky to get past Miami (Ohio) winning by just two points, 58 to 56.
Finally, UNLV's win today was their first since 1991. Has it really been that long? Remember how great those teams were from the early 1990s? The classic match-up between UNLV and Duke? I feel so old now, because those teams provided my first memory of watching college basketball. That was 16 years ago!

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March Sadness? [J. Mark English]

I'm taking a beating in my tournament picks. Not exactly feeling the luck of the Irish heading into St. Paddy's day weekend.

Nor were the Irish themselves...and by that I mean the University of Notre Dame.

Winthrop stole any good luck the Irish could rely on today by beating up on the blue & gold by the score of 74 to 64.

This was a classic first round game. Winthrop wins its first NCAA tournament game by offering up a roller coaster journey on the way to victory. At one point in the game they were up by 20 points. Then the Irish came storming back to take a one point lead with just over two minutes to go in the game.

Coach Mike Brey of Notre Dame said it best: We were back on our heels...We looked young. They looked old.

So far my picks for the Tourney are getting killed.
  • I had Albany over Virginia. Virginia blew out Albany 84 to 57.
  • In my bracket I had Georgia Tech over UNLV. UNLV won 67-63.
  • Long Beach State was another upset I foresaw...and once again I was dead wrong. Tennessee walloped them 121 to 86. Think about that for a moment...there are only 40 minutes in a college basketball game, and Tennessee rips off 121 points!!
  • Duke and Notre Dame both were to advance to the sweet 16 in my brackets. Instead they'll will be watching the sweet 16 on CBS.
My fingers will be crossed tonight hoping Holy Cross can pull off the upset that I predicted. Its my brothers alma mater, so I'm biased in my pick.


Bring back a smile, and some less sadness to my March Madness.

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Wildcats vs. Wildcats [Chrissy]

Nova against Kentucky. I am sure we all know that Kentucky had a really tough schedule this season and that this is going to be a good game. ESPN thinks Nova will win this game but lose in the 2nd round to Kansas. I have a few friends with the same thinking.

"Sorry, ladies, no more high-definition Jay Wright on your television." - ESPN

Wildcats vs. Wildcats

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What To Look For On Day 2 [David Stefanini]

Here are a couple of things that may be worth watching during today's set of games:

- 12:15 - #13 Albany tries to upset #4 Virginia. Albany was a newbie to the NCAA Tournament last year and held a big lead against then ranked #1 UCONN. This year they are experienced and are talented enough to pull off the upset. This should be a good game.

- 2:30 - #11 Winthrop takes on #6 Notre Dame. Notre Dame is a very talented team that is fun to watch, however I am looking for Winthrop to win this game. Several college analysts, which I have seen on ESPN and CBS, have said Winthrop can pull off a couple of wins in this years tournament.

- 7:25 - Kevin Durant and #4 Texas battle #13 New Mexico State. This game should be a win for Texas but that is not the reason you should be watching; Kevin Durant is. Durant has become a house-hold name already as a freshman. He will probably be named NCAA Player of the Year later this month and should be the #1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, if he decided to leave early. He can do everything on the court and we all should be watching.

- 9:30 - #13 Holy Cross could pull off the upset of the tournament if they can get past #4 Southern Illinois. Holy Cross has a chance to show the world they truly belong here. I have a feeling when this night is complete we will be in the full swing of March Madness. There are several games where the underdog matches up well with the favorites; this looks to be one of those games. I would look for Holy Cross to shock the world and beat Southern Illinois.

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Photos: March Madness Day 1 [J. Mark English]

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Upset in the Making? [David Stefanini]

I am watching the UNC, East Kentucky game right now and it is only a 4 point game in the 2nd half. This is the very deep and talented North Carolina team that has the #1 seed in the East bracket.

UNC jumped out to a huge lead early in the first half and I thought the game was over. But then I saw this E KY team battle back and cut it down to 4.

We could be witnessing the upset of all upsets. No #1 seed has ever lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

I think North Carolina will win this game (hopefully they do for my bracket and the rest of America's bracket) but it is entertaining to watch an unknown team compete with the all powerful UNC team.

When I started writing this post the lead for UNC was down to 4; since then it has been a 7-0 run for UNC and the score is now 55-44.

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Duke Exits Early - Finally an Upset [J. Mark English]

Up in the harsh cold of Buffalo, Duke gets handed a rare early exit from the tournament at the hands of Virginia Commonwealth.

It was a close game, and for awhile in the second half it looked as if Duke might start to pull away. But VCU kept fighting, and pushing back. When the clock expired, the scoreboard read VCU 79, Duke 77.

This is how ESPN recaps the game:

Eric Maynor hit a 15-foot jumper with 1.8 seconds left to give Virginia Commonwealth a 79-77 upset victory over the Blue Devils in the first round of the NCAA tournament Thursday night. Maynor finished with 22 points, six of them in the final 1:24.

Duke lost a first-round game for the first time since 1996. The loss also ended the Blue Devils' string of Sweet 16 appearances at nine. It was the longest active streak and second-longest behind North Carolina's 13-year run.

Fittingly, it was VCU that knocked off George Mason -- the tournament's surprise team last year -- in the Colonial Athletic Association championship game. Maynor sealed that 65-59 win by scoring nine of his 20 points in the final 2 minutes.

Comment -

Obviously, upsets like these are what make the tournament so great to watch. But when big time teams like Duke fall, it makes the later rounds less interesting. Last year's Final Four had very little fire. Florida rolled past George Mason, and the big dance at the end had little drama... Duke certainly would have provided some more interest in a second round match up then VCU will, and that will hurt the ratings.

Duke can look forward to next year. They had a young team, and they'll be back next year with much more experience under their belt. Look for them to be a top tier team again next year, fighting for a national championship, as always.

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March...Saneness? [J. Mark English]

Where are all the upsets? Where are the buzzer beaters. Someone tell the lesser ranked teams that this is their time to shine! I mean, wow...I'm yawning. So far none of the better seeded teams have lost a game yet. Currently there may be hope of an upset with Duke against VCU...but thats all so far. Come on, bring on MARCH MADNESS!

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