Friday, February 22, 2008

#2 Tennessee at #1 Memphis - The Saturday Night Showdown

Saturday Night's match-up of #1 Memphis vs. #2 Tennessee just may be the game of the season....I said at the beginning of the season that Tennessee would win the title this year....I will go with Rocky Top to beat Big Blue in Memphis...below are some stats and articles about the big game...

Tennessee Volunteers - Head Coach - Bruce Pearl
Chris Lofton (15.4 ppg, 3.3. reb, 2.0 assts)
JaJuan Smith (14.3, 3.2, 2.5)
Tyler Smith (13.4, 6.5, 3.7)
Wayne Chism (9.2, 6.0, 1.2)
J.P. Prince (8.6, 3.2, 1.9)
Ramar Smith (8.3, 2.4, 3.2)
As a team, the Volunteers shoot 64% from the free throw line and 36% from three point range....

Memphis Tigers - Head Coach - John Calipari
Chris Douglas-Roberts (17.9 ppg, 4.5 reb, 1.5 assts)
Derrick Rose (13.7, 4.3, 4.3)
Robert Dozier (10.1, 7.2, 1.2)
Doneal Mack (8.0, 1.6, 0.6)
Antonio Anderson (7.8, 3.5, 3.5)
Joey Dorsey (7.4, 10.5, 0.6)
As a team, the Tigers shoot 58% from the free throw line and 34% from three point range...

Tom Charlier of the Knoxville News writes how fans are getting revved up for Saturday’s big game.... “All week, fans in Knoxville have taken out newspaper ads and flooded the UT ticket offices with calls in search of scarce tickets. A student pep group looked for ways to get more orange-clad representation in ESPN's College GameDay event in Memphis.” ....
  • Tom Charlier

  • Zack McMillan of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes how the Memphis campus is quickly becoming Orange Hater.... “Dianne Parker, manager of the store, said this has been the biggest week she has seen at the store, where she has worked since 2001. And those "I HATE ORANGE" shirts have been so popular she has reordered them several times already.” .....
  • Zack McMillan

  • Jim Masilak of the Memphis Commerical Appeal writes how Tigers star Chris Douglas-Roberts has been a force since coming back from the flu..... “In the Tigers' past three games, the All-America candidate and reigning Conference USA Player of the Week is averaging 27.7points while shooting a white-hot 64.7percent from the field.” .....
  • Jim Masilak

  • Five Good Questions with Bruce Pascoe about Arizona Basketball

    Today's Five Good Questions is with Bruce Pascoe of The Arizona Republic about Arizona Wildcat Basketball....I emailed Bruce a few weeks ago and because of an overload of emails, he just got back to me this week...I want to thank Bruce for responding....

    Q1. The latest RPI has the Wildcats at #18 in the nation with a 15-9 overall mark. Is Arizona a quality team or is the RPI off the mark with the #18 rating?
    A. Their RPI is what it is – just a computer formula. They’ve played the toughest schedule in the country according to the computers so the RPI is high. That doesn’t mean they’re the 18th best team and I think the NCAA selection committee knows that. But they could get into the field with 17 or 18 D-I wins, whereas many other teams with that record won’t.

    They are a quality team on the bubble of the Top 25, when healthy. But they are very thin and have two starters out now and went 1-3 when Jerryd Bayless was out last month.

    Q2. How have the players handled it this season without Lute Olson on the sidelines?
    A. They’ve handled it well. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes but they never seem to let that affect their focus, at least since they lost to Virginia in November, when Olson was still thinking of returning.

    Not only do they have a new coach running things but O’Neill is doing so with a totally different style — a much more structured offense and almost no zone defense whatsoever. He’s a much, much different personality, too.

    Q3. Last season Chase Budinger was a freshman sensation. Over the last year, how has his game developed?
    A. Budinger has developed more consistency. He’s always been a great shooter but has improved defensively and on getting to the basket. He does have room to grow as far as being more aggressive. He’s a very nice guy off the court and sometimes it does seem like that transfers on the court.

    Q4. How has Coach Olson's leave affected recruiting?
    A. The jury is still out. The 2008 guys are ok because they all signed binding letters before the leave was for the whole year but they also all seem to be OK with the idea that O’Neill might be their coach. 2009 is a different case: They have one commitment that appears to be solid (G Abdul Gaddy) but I suspect there are a lot of kids waiting to see if Arizona does well with O’Neill and if the Olson situation is resolved. The Olson situation needs to be resolved shortly after the season because they are trying to get another 08 signee in the spring.

    Q5. What does this team have to do if it wants to make the NCAA Tournament? Do you see it happening?
    A. I think they’ll get in if they win 3 more games — either out of their six regular season games or with a win in the Pac-10 Tourney. But right now they are staring down the barrel of yet another 8-9 bracket, where they have been in three of the past four seasons (and never survived that first weekend).

    Once again, I want to thank Bruce for his time....

    Thursday, February 21, 2008

    Beers with Bloggers - Interview with Zach from The Big Picture

    Last week I interviewed Mandy and Lauren from Girls Gone our second installment of Beers with Bloggers, I bring to you one of the best sports bloggers out there - to hell with's interview is with Zach from The Big Picture....I will admit that Zach inspired me to start blogging on a regular basis...he always responds to his emails and doesn't think he is high and mighty like some bloggers...on his blog, he is famous for his "Who Would You Do" Tournament (in which one is coming up shortly) and What Grinds My Gears segment....I want to thank Zach for taking the time to is much appreciated...

    Q1. You have been interviewed by other bloggers, so I am going to try and stay away from the basic blogging questions. But I do have to ask, why do you blog?
    A. At first, it was because I was a naive college senior. I thought, somehow, by blogging I'd get noticed by a bigger, mainstream media outlet that would offer me a high-paying job where I could choose my hours, not work very hard and sleep with all the Sales girls. And, of course, still get benefits. When I realized that wasn't going to happen I just stayed with it because blogging's fun and pretty addicting. And I know that if I stop for even a week, everything I've built will disappear.

    Q2. What makes a good blog?
    A. The same thing that makes a good woman: looks, entertainment value and consistency. Did that work? A blog must look good. It sounds superficial, but if I have trouble reading or navigating the site, I'm out of there in a hurry. It doesn't need to have over-the-top design, but clean, crisp and easy to find your way around. A blog must be entertaining. This is probably the toughest one. I'll break it in to two parts:
    1. Voice/strong writing. I'm all about "voice" and love to be able to hear the written words of some of my favorite sites. A site with a good voice might lack in originality, but with strong writing, I'll read regularly. Two of my favorites that have a very distinguished voice are
    The Hater Nation and Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Blog.

    2. Originality. Having unique material is huge -- that's what makes sites like
    Deadspin and The Big Lead so valuable and daily stops. They find offbeat stories or point you towards ones that you'd have trouble finding on their own. I'd like to point out that both of those sites also have defined voices. There are many other sites that search hard and find little nuggets of crazy sports info, but I rarely check out those sites because they're lacking voice. Meanwhile, you have sites like Kissing Suzy Kolber that doesn't find unique stories per se, but writes creative posts about a well-covered story, such as fake first-person narratives or made up dialogues.

    A blog must post frequently. That's an easy one. If I'm directed to a blog who posts every three days, I'll pretty much write it off. Also though, I like the consistency of reoccurring features or segments. It helps blogs stand out -- especially at first while still building a readership.

    Q3. Now onto some actual sports questions. It is quite possible that Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa could all be up for election into the Baseball Hall of Fame in the same year. If you had a vote, would you vote them in and why?
    A. I'd vote them all in to the HOF in a heartbeat. I'll probably get slammed for this. I usually tune out to anything steroids related, but with so many guys doped up, the 90s and 2000s were an enhanced playing field, but more than people think, a level one. If Bonds homered off of Clemens, does that mean two wrongs don't make a home run?

    I've been a SF Giants season ticket holder for 14 years -- Bonds' tenure in orange and black. He is hands down the most impressive player I have -- or will ever -- see play. Steroids made him get stronger and his head look like a balloon, but for all the shit he pumped in to his body, none of it could help his hand-eye coordination, his selectiveness at the plate or his mechanics. Without juice, he might not be the home run king, but he'd still be a perennial all-star and have multiple batting titles.

    Q4. The Big Dance is coming up fast. Who are your four teams to make the Final Four this season?
    A. At the beginning of the season, I said Indiana, Memphis, UCLA and Georgetown.
    Picks I still like Indiana except their coach did some alleged cheating, which will be a huge distraction. And the Big 10 should be considered a mid-major. So Indiana is out, in goes UNC. I fucking detest Carolina, but they're one of those teams who finds a way to win a game they have no business winning. Memphis I'll still give the nod. UCLA is hands down the best team in the country when they're on. And hell, let's stick with Georgetown. The Big East is a good league, so I'll give credit to its best team.

    Q5. With you living in the Northwest, what are your thoughts about the Supersonics possibly leaving Seattle?
    A.I wasn't born up here and I would rather swim in the ocean with paper cuts all over my body than watch an NBA game, so I'm not terribly connected to the Sonics. But Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley summed it up pretty well.
    Steve Kelley

    Q6. Many are ranking the Giants win over the Patriots as one of the greatest upsets in sports history. With you being younger than my old ass, what are the greatest sports upsets that you have seen? (you did not have to be in attendance)
    A. Great question. Appalachian State beating Michigan ranks right up there.

    I wouldn't call Boise State beating Oklahoma a giant upset, but, as I've mentioned before, that was the most fantastic game I have ever watched. So it sorta counts.

    George Mason beating UConn and getting to the Final Four deserves plenty of consideration. I'd be surprised if something like that happens again anytime soon, even with the closing gap between majors, the Big 10 and mid-majors.

    The Marlins beating the Yankees in the 2003 World Series was pretty big.

    If I had to choose one, I'd go with App State over Michigan, with George Mason a close second. App State had smaller, slower and less-recruited athletes, they were playing a top-5 team with plenty of returning talent and they were on the fucking road!

    Q7. Who do you think are some of the best sports announcers in the business today and why?
    A. Mike Patrick and Gus Johnson are my favorites. Anything they're calling they make infinitely more exciting. A lot of people rip on Patrick, but I think he's wonderful. He could be calling an NBA game with Philly leading Minnesota by 40 with three minutes left and I'd still be entertained.

    Johnson is much like Patrick, with better catch phrases. The story-telling and enthusiasm of Jon Miller is also wonderful. And a general rule: anyone on FOX is bad. That's held up pretty well lately.

    Q8. Real quick - the five hottest women in sports and/or sports broadcasting.
    A. I sorta cheated. The first three are more models than broadcasters.
    1. Lisa Guerrero
    2. Ines Sainz
    3. Lisa Dergan
    4. Erin Andrews
    5. Jill Arrington

    Q9. Who are the five greatest athletes in the last 25 years?
    1. Michael Jordan
    2. Lance Armstrong
    3. Wayne Gretzky
    4. Michael Phelps
    5. Barry Bonds

    Q10. Last question, this segment is called "Beers with Bloggers." So what are some of your favorite brews? What are some good beers in the Northwest?
    A. Love Newcastle, Fat Tire, and Olde English. When I was 18, I think my favorite was probably Steele Reserve or King Cobra.

    Once again, I would like to thank Zach for his time...

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    Five Good Questions with Rob Herbst about Western Kentucky Hoops

    Today's Five Good Questions is with Rob Herbst of the Bowling Green (Ky) News....Rob covers Western Kentucky Basketball...and right now, the Hilltoppers are one of the hottest teams in the country....I want to thank Rob for his lets find out what is going on with WKU....

    Q1. The Hilltoppers are on an 11 game winning streak. What has been the key to this streak?
    A. Two things - defense and experience. Having six seniors certainly helps, but WKU has played much tougher defense during its streak. The Hilltoppers were a mess defensively last season and often had to win shootouts to be successful. Although the personnel is largely the same from last season, the Hilltoppers have made drastic improvements defensively recently and have actually won games because of their defense, instead of losing them. WKU has given up more than 70 points against only two Sun Belt teams this year and the Hilltoppers don't exactly play at a slow tempo.

    Q2. Who are some of the Western Kentucky players we should get familiar with?
    A. Senior guard/forward Courtney Lee is a possible late first-round draft pick. He recently became the school's third 2000-point scorer and has a shot to become the school's all-time leading scorer, depending on how many postseason games WKU plays. He's bounced back this season after dealing with a foot injury last season and is averaging around 21 ppg. Senior point guard Tyrone Brazelton, a JUCO transfer from Chicago has also emerged this season as WKU's second-leading scorer. He's small (generously listed at 6-0), but may be WKU's most important player.

    Q3. What are Western Kentucky's strengths?
    A. Along with defense, guard play. Lee and Brazelton are difficult for Sun Belt Conference teams to handle and WKU rarely struggles offensively because of them. WKU is also pretty deep, which allows it to play up-tempo.

    Q4. What type of coach is Darrin Horn? What can you tell us about him?
    A. He's a born-and-bred WKU guy. He played at WKU in the 1990s and played on three NCAA Tournament teams. The Hilltoppers' 1995 team that Horn was a part of was the last WKU team to win an NCAA Tournament game - against Michigan. WKU also went to the Sweet 16 in 1993. After his playing days, he got into coaching and eventually landed as a Tom Crean assistant at Marquette. He was on the staff when Marquette went to the Final Four when he was hired at WKU after Dennis Felton left for Georgia. There was some pressure on Horn going into this season because he was headed into year No. 5 without an NCAA Tournament bid, not good for a basketball school in a basketball state. Whether or not they get the tournament bid, the pressure has probably been lessened some because of the regular-season success.

    Q5. In a one-game situation, can Western Kentucky beat the heavyweights such as North Carolina, Duke, or Memphis? What would it take to pull off the upset?
    A. WKU played just about even with Tennessee on a neutral court before falling by six in Nashville back in December, so it can hang with top teams and intimidation wouldn't be a factor against other heavyweights. But hanging and beating is a different story. WKU would need to hold its own inside for a chance to win. The Hilltoppers' interior is no strength. WKU starts a true freshman and sophomore in the paint and neither are averaging more than 5 ppg. Teams with quality big men give WKU problems....The Hilltoppers would also need Courtney Lee to be on top of his game because he could carry them in an upset bid. A less-than-stellar Lee would make an upset bid difficult.

    Once again I would like to thank Rob for his time...

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    Five Good Questions with Kevin Cary about Davidson Basketball

    Today's Five Good Questions is with Kevin Cary of The Charlotte Observer who covers Davidson Basketball...the Wildcats are 18-6 and on a 15-game winning streak going into tonight's game against UNC Greensboro...Davidson is ranked 56th in the latest RPI....I want to thank Kevin for his time...

    Q1. The Wildcats may be the hottest team in the country with a 15 game winning streak. What has been the key to this streak?
    A. Lots of things have contributed to Davidson's recent play. Forward Andrew Lovedale entered the starting lineup the night the streak started, and he has become an inside scoring threat. The Wildcats have also abandoned one of their early-season tactics, where inside players would step out for 3-point attempts. Now, Davidson typically relies on guards Stephen Curry (photo) and Jason Richards for outside shots. It also helps that Curry had the wrap removed from his left wrist in early January. He has a partially torn ligament in his wrist, but he's been much better without the wrap. He's averaging 29.6 points in his last 10 games.

    Q2. Who are some of the Davidson players we should get familiar with?
    A. Curry is the first player folks think about, and with good reason. He's a once in a generation kind of player for Davidson, a great shooter who is learning how to also score through drives and mid-range jumpers. Point guard Jason Richards leads the nation in assists, and he's the engine behind the Davidson offense. The other Wildcats are more role players, but forward Thomas Sander and guard Max Paulhus Gosselin are good defenders who help Davidson create turnovers.

    Q3. What are Davidson's strengths?
    A. The Wildcats don't turn the ball over, and they are getting better at the free throw line. Davidson struggled from the line in nonconference play, but has raised its percentage to 72 percent. That's not a fluke - Davidson shot 75 percent last season, and has almost everyone back from that team.

    Q4. What type of coach is Bob McKillop? What can you tell us about him?
    A. McKillop is the kind of coach who gives his players confidence by allowing to take almost any open shot. He's not afraid to make moves during games, and has given Curry the freedom to thrive in his system. He holds his players accountable, and gets much more upset over mental errors than anything else.

    Q5. I noticed that earlier this season Davidson lost by only 1 point to N.C. State, 4 points to North Carolina, 6 points to Duke, and 12 points to UCLA. They have played some heavyweights real tough. How far can Davidson go in the Big Dance?
    A. The Wildcats will certainly be a trendy pick to win a first-round game assuming they make it. Whether Davidson can go farther depends on matchups. Teams with deep, athletic frontlines (such as Maryland last season) are not a strong matchup for Davidson. But even though the Wildcats haven't won a NCAA Tournament game since 1970, a Sweet 16 run isn't out of the question if things fall into place.

    Once again I would like to thank Kevin for taking the time to talk about one of the hottest teams in the nation...

    Monday, February 18, 2008

    Ohio State fans show their assholes once again!!!

    On Sunday, during halftime of the Michigan-Ohio State basketball game, new Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez addressed the Michigan crowd for the first center court, Rodriguez stood with his wife and he was talking, the freaking Neanderthal Ohio State scum kept interrupting him with chants of "Tressel"...once again, the Ohio State fans showed their animalistic no class behavior...

    When Tressel first got the Ohio State job, he addressed the Buckeye fans during halftime of a Michigan-OSU basketball game...there were Michigan fans in attendance that day...but instead of behaving like jackasses, the Michigan fans allowed Tressel to address his crowd...but with that being in Columbus, even if a Michigan fan dared to open his mouth he probably would have ended up in the hospital from some drunken Southern Ohio farmer who would have thrown something...

    In the end, 98.7% of Ohio State fans are arrogant scum just like their sweatervested smug head football coach...

    This week's big games

    Here are some of the big games this week in college basketball....(the ranking is the latest RPI)

    #47 Syracuse (17-9) @ #15 Louisville (20-6)

    The Cuse got whooped by S. Florida earlier in the week, then came back to beat Georgetown on Saturday...The Ville is on a five game winning streak and one of the hottest teams in the country...The Cuse needs this game badly...

    #37 Texas A&M (19-5) @ #6 Texas (20-4)
    The Aggies stuck it to Texas by 17 points in late January...that was the last time Texas has lost a game...the Aggies need another quality win...

    #28 Purdue (21-5) @ #24 Indiana (21-4)
    Because of the whacky Big Ten rotation schedule, this is the only time these two in-state rivals will play this regular season....this may be the last game for IU head coach Kelvin Sampson...Purdue last lost on January 8th to Michigan State...they are on an 11 game roll...head coach Matt Painter should get some votes for National Coach of the Year...

    #158 Penn State (12-12) @ #14 Michigan State (20-5)
    Back on February 2nd, the Spartans rolled into Happy Valley with a 19-2 mark and sitting pretty...they were thumped that night by Penn State and have yet to recover...Sparty has lost three of its last four games including Saturday's ugly beatdown at Indiana...this is a big game for Tom Izzo to see if he can get his team's swagger back...

    #4 North Carolina (24-2) @ #58 N.C. State (15-10)
    The Tar Heels got back on track after Saturday's 40 point win over Va. Tech...but they cannot sleep on N.C. State...the Wolfpack can always come up and bite their arch-rival at any time...

    #18 Pitt (18-6) @ #26 Notre Dame (19-5)
    The Panthers are 5-5 in their last 10 games...the Irish have won 34 straight home games...Irish sophomore Luke Harangody is one of the best unknown players in the country....

    Sunday, February 17, 2008

    Thad (Matta) gets thumped!!!


    Sunday Stories

    Los Angeles Times sports columnist T.J. Simers writes how new Dodgers manager Joe Torre says that he has nothing to prove... "At the very least, after failing to win a postseason game in 14 years with the Mets, Braves and Cardinals and then enjoying tremendous success with the Yankees, doesn't Torre have to prove he can win with a team not packing the highest payroll?" ....
  • T.J. Simers

  • Denver Post sports columnist Woody Paige writes about his love for baseball.... "I know that the most famous sports columnist of all, Red Smith, was right when he wrote: "Ninety feet between bases represents man's closest approach to perfection. The fastest man in the world hits a grounder to an infielder, who fields it cleanly. The hitter must lose the race. But if the ball is bobbled or slowed by the grass, he can win. That's perfect balance."
  • Woody Paige

  • The Orlando Sentinel is loaded with information about today's Daytona 500...
  • Daytona 500

  • Chicago Sun-Times sports reporter Jim O'Donnell writes about one Indiana Hoosier basketball fan who wants to see a change... "His glasses, sugar-and-cinnamon beard and cannonballed silhouette were mere framework for the Magic Markered message on his white sweatshirt: ''Bring Back Bobby.'' ...
  • Jim O'Donnell

  • Newark star-Ledger sports columnist Steve Politi writes that Andy Pettitte's statements have but Roger Clemens in a corner... "You might not believe McNamee, the shady trainer-turned-dealer. You might not believe Clemens, the desperate and delusional legend trying to salvage what's left of his once-impenetrable image. But Pettitte? It's hard not to believe him." ...
  • Steve Politi