Thursday, January 29, 2009

Duke @ Wake Forest, 1-28-09

It took a while for me to write this because I had to get all of my crying out first. Duke went into Lawrence Joel and they were facing an uphill battle against a good Wake Forest Deamon Deacon's team. The Deacons rode the crowd, Jeff Teague and Ishmael Smith to a win over the #1 ranked Blue Devils. Neither team shot well, but Wake held Duke to 28% fg shooting in the first half. Al-Farouq Aminu led the Deacons with 15 pts and Kyle Singler led the Blue Devils with 22 pts (but took 19 shots to get there).

All in all a good win for the Deacons. A not so bad loss for the Blue Devils except for how they lost the game. Duke was down 11 in the second half and started making a comeback. They ended up tying the score and Jeff Teague took the ball coast to coast but had his layup partially blocked by Gerald Henderson. Henderson was also able to collect the rebound, but when he landed he slipped and was called for a travel. From the subsequent inbound, James Johnson comes of a stagger and gets a WIDE OPEN layup with .8 seconds on the clock. Coach K was crying on the inside at this point.

So, Wake showed everyone that if you have size and athleticism, you can bother Duke. Duke showed that Jeff Teague is a baller. He can get to anywhere he wants on the floor and he can hit shots. It's early in conference play, so it's not time to worry about either of these teams. Congrats to Wake and I'm sure going to want to see them come to Durham.

Note: The highlight of the game was Gerald Henderson's Jerry Stackhouse-esque reverse dunk from the baseline on Chas McFarland. Gerald Henderson. Jerry Stackhouse.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Superbowl Matchup

Well, everyone has been hitting me up about my predictions for the Superbowl and so finally I have some time to put it all down on paper. This should be a very interesting game between two teams that are polar opposites (until the playoffs). The Mike Tomlin led Pittsburgh Steelers against the Ken Whisenhunt led Arizona Cardinals. Let's get to the tale of the tape.


Steelers - A good dose of fast Willie Parker should be on the plate for the Steelers. Parker has the speed to get outside and run against a Cardinals front that hasn't been good at stopping the run for most of the year. Roethlisberger has got to make his reads quick and get the ball out of his hands. Hines Ward will play but will probably be limited (a small bit), so Santonio Holmes and Heath Miller will have to have big games in the air for the Steelers. Note to Nate Washington and Limas Sweed, CATCH the ball. I imagine that the Cards will leaving a lot of the Steelers WRs in single coverage and those WRs will have to make plays.

Cardinals - A good dose of Edge. He doesn't have to get over 100 yards, but he has to be a threat in the ground game. The Cardinals have done well when Edge is a part of their game plan. The offensive line will have to protect Kurt Warner. The Steelers have a dominant front 4 and when they blitz, ooooh lawtey. Warner will have to make the right quick reads when the Steelers do blitz and their receiver core is the best left standing (Fitzgerald, Boldin, and Breaston).


Steelers - The #1 Defense in the NFL. Do I need to say more? They have a front 3 that can stop the run, starting with big Casey Hampton. Add Bret Keisel and Aaron Smith and you wonder why the Steelers even blitz. The linebackers are led by James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. I expect one of these guys to have a great game. In the secondary You have Deshea Townsend, Ike Taylor, and Troy Polamalu. If the Steelers are able to get to Kurt Warner and hurt him, the game is over.

Cardinals - I'm not really sure. These guys are almost like the Bad News Bears. You have studs like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Adrian Wilson, Bertrand Berry, and Darnell Dockett. But even these guys haven't put a season together that will make us just want to believe in them. So now they have the opportunity to face a Steelers team that isn't multifaceted, just a regular running team with an above average QB, and one good/great receiver.


Steelers - Mike Tomlin got this job out of nowhere, according to some. At least Whisenhunt was told that he wasn't going to get the job, but Russ Grimm thought he had the job in the bag the night before and when he woke up Mike Tomlin was the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tomlin has led the Steelers back to the old days of running the ball and playing great defense. As one of the youngest head coaches in the league he has proven that he knows what he's doing and the team has bought in to him.

Cardinals - Whisenhunt wanted the Steelers job, but when told he wasn't going to get it he west west. Whisenhunt signed to be the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, a team that hasn't been to the playoffs, ever!!!!! You could see the change in the team as the Cardinals got a little tougher than they had been in the past. After Grimm wasn't given the head coaching job, he came out to Arizona to join his pal. You have to know that beating the Steelers would be the best medicine for the Cardinals and two of their coaches in particular.

Special Teams:

Normally one of the special teams makes a big play to turn the tide in a Superbowl, but I just don't think that it'll happen this year. This will all come down to defense.


I'm taking some time with this one. I'll post it in a few days. What do you think will happen? Who's going to win? Who will be the MVP? It's your turn to take a shot at predicting.

Friday, January 23, 2009


I've seen this so I took the time necessary to breathe and not go over the edge, but NYSTOM has taken an opportunity to look at the MVP race in the NBA. Based on his predictions, this is what it looks like. (Don't say I didn't warm you).

NYSTOM, you have got to be kidding me? You have a lot of explaining to do. Rajon Rondo?!?!?

NYSTOM Top Ranked Player Index™

Well, we're at the midway point of the season and NYSTOM has his updated rankings. Let's take a look and see if he's closer to the truth or is he still way out in left field.

What do you have to say to NYSTOM? Is he back on track yet?

NBA Round Up 1-23-09

Lot's going on in the NBA and it's time to catch up. It's getting near the NBA Trading (February 19th) deadline so you know that there are a lot of rumors running around.

Miami Heat - Shawn Marion is on the block. We all knew this was coming with his demands for a long term contract and at or near his present salary of $18M per year. If it's Kobe, yes, but Shawn Marion, ummmm no. Marion's name has been rumored involving Josh Howard and Jermaine O'Neal (since Alonzo retired). Marion is upset with all of the talk, but with Pat Riley as his GM, he better keep his bags packed.

Chicago Bulls - When will Paxson get it right? Just a few years ago, they had a good up and coming team and now they have a team going nowhere. Ben Gordon isn't happy (note his cussing out of his coach over a fine for being late to a meeting), Larry Hughes is on the block, they have no big men that can score, and (gulp) Luol Deng looks more like Scottie Pippen (well, not even that good) than anything close to Jordan. Sad situation in Chicago.

Golden State Warriors - Monta Ellis will make his debut tonight against the Cavs at home. More interesting is the fact that the Warriors seem intent on holding Ellis' incident over the summer over his head a little longer. They claim that they can still void the $66M deal that Ellis signed, even though Ellis' agent is fighting that. We understand the kid did something stupid, but I don't think that the organization is served by holding this over his head. If you don't think he can play because of the accident, void the contract. If you think he can, live with it.

Milwaukee Bucks - Seems newly minted Olympic gold medalist, Michael Redd, is on the block. Redd started the season off hurt, but right now the Bucks seem to be listening to offers for Redd. Big mistake if you ask me. He's the only person on that team that can consistently score from range.

Philadelphia 76ers - Talk about karma. You leave your old team at the alter (Clippers) and run off with a bride who offered you the world (Sixers) but things haven't been right for you since. Elton Brand will get back on the floor against the Knicks on Saturday, but this team has definitely got some ground to make up since they have started this season off terribly. Only in the East can they still be in line for the playoffs, but something good has got to happen for them soon.

Good-Bye Herm

The Kansas City Chiefs have fired Herm Edwards. Herm has led the Chiefs over the last few years but problems at QB, RB (Larry Johnson's issues), and the lack of defense made the Chiefs a laughing stock. Herm's a good man and a good coach and shouldn't be unemployed for a long time.

With that said, the Chiefs are close to signing former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan. So, a said day for Herm, but a lot of upside there for the Chiefs.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Virginia Tech @ Wake Forest 1-21-09

Wow, this wasn't what anyone expected, right? Wake Forest, presently the #1 team in the nation was upset by a very aggressive Virginia Tech team. This was a very chippy game with both teams taking shots at each other. Al-Farouq Aminu took a nice shot (inadvertent) to the head and had his forehead swell up like Will Smith in Hitch.

Virginia Tech was able to play aggressively and get a few early calls at Wake. Malcolm Delaney led the Hokies with 21 pts and 7 rebs along with big games from both A.D. Vassallo (16 pts, 5 rebs, and 6 asts) and Jeff Allen (16pts and 7 rebs). They were able to get Johnson, Williams, and McFarland in foul trouble.

The Deamon Deacons showed us that they still have a ways to go to be a solid #1 team in the nation. They were at home and got whupped. Jeff Teague did his best with 23 pts, but foul trouble and missed opportunities down the stretch really killed the Deacons. They should learn from this loss, and make more noise as the season goes on. Congrats to the Hokies.

North Carolina State @ Duke 1-20-09

It took the Duke Blue Devils an entire half to finally wake up. The Wolfpack came in and jumped on the #2 ranked Blue Devils from the begining and ended up leading at halftime 26 to 22. Singler had 3 points in the first half and Henderson had 4 points.

After the half Gerald Henderson and Kyle Singler decided that they better play some basketball. Henderson (21 pts, 7 reb, 4 asts, and 5 stls) started hitting jumpers and finally ended up taking the ball to the hole with authority on a few occassions. Singler (17 pts, 4 rebs, and 3 asts) started showing us that he can shoot and still hustle against a Wolfpack team that was thinking upset.

Duke ended up winning this game, but the score was not indicative of how bad they played in the first half. It's ok (well, no it's not) to do this against NC State, but they can't have this kind of lapse with big games coming up. Duke escaped this one with a W, but at least they can say that they are seeing a leader grow on their team. Henderson is going to have to be a intricate part of the offense if the Dukies are going to cut down nets this year in the NCAA Tournament.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

54 Point Explosion

Not Kobe, not Dwayne Wade, not Carmelo, not LeBron. A young man set a record tonight in Tennessee by scoring 54 points against the Tennessee Vols. Jodie Meeks, presently a Kentucky Wildcat, went out and played the perfect college basketball game. He was 14-14 from the free throw line, 15-22 from the floor, and 10-15 from 3 land. He broke Dan Issel's scoring record at Kentucky (1969-1970). The kid is a normal 25 point per game scorer, but tonight he didn't take a bad shot. He had 8 boards, 4 assists, and played good defense. All I can say is WOW!!!! I hope you get a chance to watch this on ESPN Classic.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tony Dungy Retires

This is truly a sad day(for fans). Tony Dungy has been so much to the Indianapolis Colts, but he has also touched the lives of many different people during his career (playing and coaching). He only played in the NFL for 3 years, but then he coached for 31 years. You can only wish this guy good luck. I'll probably do a piece on this later, but congrats to Tony Dungy for going on to the next part of his life.

North Carolina @ Wake Forest, 1-11-09

Undefeated, Boston College took care of that. Create doubt, well Wake Forest did that to some people. The Tarheels went in to Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum looking to win against the Deamon Deacons, but a game Deacons team decided that it wouldn't happen tonight. The Deacs led by Jeff Teague's 34 point upended the Tarheels. The Deacs played very well ad seemed to attack the Tarheels the entire game. Chas McFarland added his 20 pts and 9 rebs, Al-Farouq Aminu and James Johnson both chipped in with 9 pts a piece.

The Tarheels had some tough sledding and basically they couldn't hit the broadside of a barn. Danny Green (22pts, 6 rebs, 5 stls) was able to hit early and keep the Tarheels in the game, but Tyler Hansbrough (3 of 12 for 17 pts), Ty Lawson (4 of 12 for 9 pts) , and Wayne Ellington (4 of 13 for 17 pts) had terrible nights until late in the game.

All in all, this is expected in the ACC. I didn't think that this UNC team or any team can go undefeated in the ACC, and definitely not over the course of a year. They are just too many good teams and good arenas that you have to play in. In my mind, the Tarheels are still odds on favorites to win it all. Doubt them if you want, but they are deep and I don't think that all three of their main scorers shoot that bad again.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Duke @ Florida State, 1-10-09

Now we're getting into league play in the ACC and Saturday's game between the #2 Duke Blue Devils and conference foe Florida State turned out a be a good one. The Seminoles start one of the largest front lines in the NCAA. They go 7'1", 6'11", and 6'9" across the front. These guys aren't stiffs either, they can all move and are athletic. The Blue Devils have a little height but nothing to match what they saw. This game started out like a pickup game with neither team playing as fluid as anyone would have expected. The half time score was 19-14, with Duke ahead. Gerald Henderson had 14 points at half time.

After halftime the Dukies went up by almost 20 and I thought the game was going to be a blowout, but the Seminoles battled back and made this one close. It took a Gerald Henderson career day with 25 points, 5 rebs, and 3 stls. Singler chipped in 15 points and Nolan Smith dropped 12 points. The Seminoles were led by Toney Douglas, who was taking it at whomever was trying to guard him, with 18 points. Two bench scorers were the only other players in double figures (Kitchen with 16 pts and Echefu with 10 pts).

All in all, this was a tough win for the Dukies. They showed that they can battle on the boards with this kind of size. They showed that they need to find a way to get Henderson the ball in transition a little more. Singler showed me that he has some toughness in him. Scheyer hit 1 of his 7 shots, but did make 7-11 from the free throw line. ACC conference play is tough each year. Georgia Tech (at Tech), then Georgetown (at home), and then NC State (at home). We'll see what the Dukies are made of over the next few weeks.

NFL Divisional Playoffs - Sunday Games

All of these games can go either way. There is no one reason to guarantee a win here. Let's take a closer look.

Philadelphia @ New York Giants - Wow, just a few weeks ago the Eagles came in and beat the Giants at home. Now they have a chance to come in and beat them again and stay alive in the playoffs. I've often said that the Eagles had to be smoking something to even think that they had a chance to make it this far with this team. The Eagles have a defense, a good quarterback, a good running back, and about 4 guys that play wide receiver that they picked up hitchhiking on I-95. The Giants do get Brandon Jacobs back, they get Justin Tuck at 100% and they get to play at home. This is their chance to right all the wrongs that have happened to the Giants on and (mostly) off the field. This is really a tough one to pick. Winner - Giants.

San Diego @ Pittsburgh - Another tough game. The Chargers barely made the playoffs, but they played great in their first game. Darren Sproles made us forget about LT for a game. The question is, can he do it again? I'm not a Phillip Rivers fan, but most of the time he performs. The Steelers are healthy and they look to be full strength. That defense is going to tee off on Rivers and they are fast enough and tackle well enough to keep Sproles from breaking the big one. Plus, that field at Heinz Field has to give the Steelers some kind of edge. Winner - Steelers.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

NFL Divisional Playoffs - Saturday Games

I never thought we'd get here. The Eagles are still playing football and it's January. Nuff said. Let's take a look at the games today and see who's going to rise to the top.

Baltimore @ Tennessee - This will be a slobberknocker (yes, an old John Madden term). This should be a defensive struggle and the weather is going to be rainy. This game is simply going to come down to two things. 1. Are the Ravens healthy enough? They have a lot of people beat up and they'll be playing in some tough conditions. 2. Which QB will make the fewest mistakes. Kerry Collins leads the Titans and is a veteran that has proven that he can play mistake free ball. Joe Flacco is a rookie who is leading his team by limiting his mistakes. I just don't trust Kerry Collins. I think that he ends up costing the Titans the game. Winner - Ravens.

Arizona @ Carolina - I never thought the Cardinals would have made it out of the first week of the playoffs. So, there's no reason for me to think that they'll make it out of the second week either. The Cardinals are led by the almost MVP, Kurt Warner. They did remember that Edgerrin James can still play, which will help. The concern is losing Anquan Boldin, who is questionable with a hamstring injury. The Panthers are great at home and they have two running backs that can hurt you. If Jake Delhomme shows up, this is a blow out. I expect Carolina's defense to take control and this ought to be a laugher into the 3rd quarter. Winner - Panthers.

Barkley Benched

TNT has done something a lot of teams weren't able to do, bench Charles Barkley. Charles Barkley was pulled over in for suspicion of drunk driving in the suburb of Gilbert, Arizona. He failed a sobriety test and was booked. In light of this and the fact that his blood test came back saying he was two times over the limit for Arizona. So until this whole matter is finished, Barkley has hired a lawyer to represent him, Barkley will be off of TNT. This is TNT's loss. Barkley, Kenny, and EJ are probably the best basketball announcing team out there. Looking for you back on TV Charles, be safe.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

NFL Wild Card Weekend Sunday Games

Hopefully you saw the picks for te Saturday games, so here are the picks for Sunday.

Baltimore @ Miami - This ought to be good. I'd pay money to see this one. The Ravens have flown under the radar for most of the year but they put themselves in position to win last weekend and be in the playoffs. They have a rookie QB in Joe Flacco and a strong running game with Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain. Of course they have a monster of a defense with Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Terrell Suggs as the main pieces. Their receiving core is a little thin with Derrick Mason hurting from an injured shoulder. Miami comes in with an underrated team. They don't dazzle at any one particular position on offense (outside of Ronnie Brown) and their defense is good but not spectacular. But when it counts, this TEAM wins games. They are the proverbial 'team you don't want to play'. Winner - Ravens.

Philadelphia @ Minnesota - Talk about second lives. The Eagles were pronounced dead on several occasions by me, but they someone pulled it together to make the playoffs. They don't bring too many surprises to the game. They have Donovan McNabb, Michael Westbrook, and a good/great defense. That's it. Real simple. They play a Vikings team that benched their starting QB only to find him leading them the past few weeks into the playoffs. They have a good running combo with Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor and one of the best run defenses in the game. I think they did a good job just to make it into the playoffs but they just don't seem to be able to consistently put together a big enough string of games to go far. I like the Vikings, but for some reason, Donovan is leading his team. Winner - Eagles.

NYSTOM Top Ranked Player Index

NYSTOM is back yet again and with his updated rankings. Take a look and let it fly.

Is he getting closer to the truth? Is he crazy? Who do you think has been left off or is ranked too low?

NFL Wild Card Weekend

Now that we have some time to think, let's take a look at the NFL playoffs. Today's games are going to be very good.

Atlanta @ Arizona - The Falcons come in with a strong performance over the last few weeks of the regular season. They have a great running game and a good QB who has wowed all of us with his composure and play over his first 16 games of his career. Now he gets playoff game number one. The Cardinals won their division and then limped into the playoffs. Anquan Boldin is hurting, but we know he won't miss this game for anything. Kurt Warner needs to get back into the groove for this team to win. With that said the Cardinals will need to use Edgerrin James a lot more. He's a veteran that still has game in him, and if you don't use him, I expect that he will become somewhat of a cancer (but if they lose, it's only for one game). Winner - Falcons.

Indianapolis @ San Diego - This is the hardest game for me to pick. The Colts have been on a roll as of late and they are playing their best ball as Peyton Manning (celebrating his 3rd MVP) is coming back nicely from that off season knee surgery. The Colts defense is starting to play well but they aren't getting off the field as fast as they used to. The Chargers have played like trash, well, isht all year long. The Broncos gave them a chance to win the AFC West and they did just that. LT is out with a groin tear (seems like last year again). With all of the injuries I should pick the Chargers because it's times like this that the wounded team wins. Winner - Colts.