Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Best Playoff Series Ever?

I know I just wrote about how much I hated it when people claim that things are " the greatest" right after they happen. However, I truly believe this Celtics-Bulls series, at least through the first five games, is the best series I've ever seen. This doesn't make me happy, in fact I feel like I've aged ten years since this series started. I would have much rather seen four blowouts by the Celtics, but if they win I think I will finally be able to appreciate it for what it was.

Let's look at the facts. Three overtime games, and one game that only ended in regulation because of a Ray Allen three pointer. You have one of the best point guard battles in recent memory between Rondo and Derrick Rose, though Rondo in my opinion has clearly shown he is the better point guard at least at this point in his career. Then you have some of the best clutch shooting displays put on my Ben Gordon, Pierce, and Ray Allen. You combine that with some extremely physical play and hard fouls(Rondo foul in particular) and almost every game going into triple digits, and you have kind of a throwback series. I can only imagine what is going to happen in game 6, hopefully a repeat of game 3.

Let's look at last nights game in particular. The whole series Derrick Rose has been turning the ball over like it's his job, and he did the same thing last night. Not only is Rondo putting up better numbers, but he is also turning the ball over less. Secondly, as amazingly clutch as Ben Gordon is, I don't think I've ever seen a bigger ball hog than him in my 20 years of watching NBA basketball. He literally never passes, but some team is going to pay him the big bucks because he can flat out score from anywhere and win you ball games in the closing seconds. Another fact that was made crystal clear last night is Stephon Marbury has no confidence. One of the critical plays that could have cost the Celtics the game last night was when Marbury passed up a wide open 16 footer. Instead he passed to Rondo who clearly was positioning for the rebound. I love how Marbury wants to be unselfish, but he needs to be more then just a guy who spells Rondo, he needs to be a factor in this series and the playoffs as a whole for them to win.

Kendrick Perkins. I think I've mentioned everyone but him in my blog at some point and he deserves to be recognized. For anyone who has watched him since he started in the league out of high school, it must be a joy to see him play now. He is an absolute beast on the boards and contests every shot. It kills me to think of what they could be with a healthy Garnett. I truly think with Garnett and Powe they would have had a better team than last year.

Lastly, the reason the Celtics are even still in this series is because of their championship desire. A lot of teams would have quit last night down ten with six minutes to go, but the Celtics overcame that adversity. That is why even though the odds are stacked against them, I would never count out this Celtics team and what they could accomplish this year. In my opinion even making the conference finals would be as, or more impressive than last years title, given all the injuries.

The great thing about basketball is that one or two plays can mean a win or loss. You can't control whether the shot goes in or not, but depending on how the ball bounces can affect an entire series and even an entire franchise. Like I've said before, it is trendy for people not to like the NBA. However, if you really sit down and watch a game, especially in the playoffs it is amazing what kind of athletes are out there.

In other news, congratulations to the Washington Capitals for coming back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the New York Rangers. I watched bits and pieces of the game while the Celtics were on commercial, and realized hockey is not that bad to watch especially in HD. As I've said before, for a person that can't skate, the fact they can play a sport on skates is pretty amazing to me. It is such a good thing for the DC area to have a winner again. This next series versus Sidney Crosby and the Penguins is great for the NHL. In baseball news, the Red Sox eleven game winning streak ended last night on an error, but it was a great run(no pun intended). The baseball season is a series of winning and losing streaks so I don't really see a point in making any predictions now.

I haven't been blogging as much lately, but hope to start up full time again soon. I got my first "not so great" vote the other day, so I think some people that I don't know may actually be reading it now. I feel like I could do a lot better if I did this full time, and not exhausted as crap from work, but alas one must pay the bills. Anyway, it's been a long day and it's time for me to kick back on my recliner. Till next time.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Overexposure in the Media

Trying to concentrate at work on a Friday is hard. Trying to concentrate at work on a Friday when it is 75 degrees and sunny is almost impossible. I really don't know how people in California ever get any work done. How could you possibly stay focused when you know you should be basking outside in the sunshine. I guess like anything else in life you get used to it.

I've been wanting to write about the ridiculous overexposure of sports by the media for weeks. With with the NFL draft coming up tomorrow, now is the ideal time. Look, I'm excited for the draft and hope the Patriots and Redskins pick well. However, what is the use for all these mock drafts and analysis 24-7. People actually get paid to talk about who they think is going to get picked. The fact is, it doesn't matter what they think. It matters what the organization thinks, so everything they are saying is pointless. I can understand a small segment a couple days before the draft, but this ridiculous overexposure is just nuts.

The draft is only one of a thousand topics I could mention. Let's talk about this Celtics-Bulls series. The Bulls and Derrick Rose were suddenly being touted as the only team that could challenge the Cavs. Then four days later they are down 2-1 in the series. Derrick Rose is being touted as the next Magic Johnson, and two games later Rondo has wiped the court with him. Do circumstances and teams really change this quickly, I don't think so.

We live in a very"what have you done for me lately" society. Every good game we see we tout as the greatest ever because that is all we remember. Sportscenter will tout one team as a lock to get to the finals, then four days later they are eliminated from contention. The reason for this is because we need immediate results, and the media knows this. I think a lot of people take what they hear from Sportcenter and talk radio as fact, not opinion. This is especially true for the casual fan. The other day my mom said that she heard the Celtics were definitely going to lose without Garnett and asked what team she should root for now. That is the most dangerous thing about the media. You have to take what they say with a grain of salt because their main objective is not to necessarily be rational, but to create a bigger story.

Maybe I shouldn't be talking about this because I too hope to be a part of the sports media at some point as a blogger. But this ridiculous NFL Draft coverage has really annoyed me. By the way, no team actually knows if they made a good pick or not until three years down the road. Thus giving teams a draft grade is kind of pointless.

In other news, Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson declared for the NBA draft yesterday. I was holding out a sliver of hope that maybe they'd want to come back to repeat, but I'm not surprised. I think they left on top and will be solid pros. They will be borderline all start on a bad team in a few years, or solid role players on a good team. Ty Lawson has the potential to be great, but we will see how he adjusts in the pros. I will never forget their contributions to the 2009 UNC championship run.
In baseball, the Red Sox are suddenly unbeatable. This proves my point about not having to follow baseball until August. There are just too many winning and losing streaks, so no one game really matters.

Friday afternoon and time for the weekend. I hope everyone gets outside in the sunshine and enjoys this beautiful weather. Wear your sunblock!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Celtics Avoid Disaster

First of all, what a game! There were so many amazing individual performances. The best being the ridiculous shooting display Ben Gordon put on, and ofcourse the clutch three pointer to win the game by Ray Allen. The entire game I felt like the last team to have the ball would win, and that is pretty much what happened. I am just glad my Celtics came up on the winning end.

I want to start off by talking about the most important player on the Celtics team, and yes he is in uniform. That of course would be Rajon Rondo. People can say what they want about not having a chance to win a title without Garnett, and that is true in a way. But if you take Rondo off this team, they don't win a series. It was funny and predictable when Sportscenter and the rest of the media were touting Derrick Rose as the second coming after his game 1 performance. Did everyone seem to forget that Rondo scored 29 points, had 7 assists, and 6 boards. How about the triple double he got last night with an injured ankle? I'm not saying Rose isn't a good player, but he is not as good as Rondo. Rondo controls the entire game when he is in, and no one can stay in front of him. He even hit a huge jumper down the stretch last night to give them the lead. If anyone can give me an argument on why Rose is better please let me know. Maybe he has more potential, but I'd take Rondo over him on my team right now.

Big Baby Davis was an absolute beast last night. Coming into the playoffs, I thought either he or Powe had to assume a more prominent role, especially offensively for them to advance. With Powe's injury Davis has stepped up. I remember last year groaning whenever Big Baby would come in, but he has improved so much this year. His mid range jumper is spot on, he hustles for loose balls, and is an outstanding rebounder. The big advantage the Celtics have over the Bulls is their bulk inside. The Bulls have great leapers and shot blockers but can't compete with the sheer strength of Big Baby and Kendrick Perkins for rebounds.

Before I mention Ray Allen, I want to say Ben Gordon almost gave me a heart attack last night. This guy is the definition of streaky. When he turns it on he literally hits shots from anywhere. I feel like the Bulls have had two amazing performances in the first two games, by Rose in Game 1, and Gordon in Game 2. My hope is that there are no more to come. I've always liked Ben Gordon's game because it reminds me of my own. He finds way to score in very unconventional ways. This Bulls team has really impressed me overall. I still feel like the Celtics will win in 6, but it is going to be tough.

Ray Ray! What more can you say about Ray Allen. I think one of the huge factors that is overlooked in professional sports are how athletes bounce back from bad games. For instance, if I had gone 1-12 in my last game I would not be able to get that out of my mind and play two days later. Ray Allen is a true professional. Along with Rondo he saved the Celtics season in that second half dropping 28 points, including the game winning three with two seconds left. I just really hope he can continue that hot shooting in Chicago.

You could look at this series so far in a couple ways. If you are a Chicago fan you might say that they should be up 2-0, if not for some poor coaching, namely not saving a time out for the last few seconds to set up a play at half court. On the other hand, if you are a Celtics fan you could say this series should be 2-0. You could point to Paul Pierce missing a game winning free throw in game 1, or you could use the whole Kevin Garnett excuse. I tend to think the series is right where it should be. The Celtics look fine offensively, but their defense is definitely vulnerable without Garnett. I think they will win game 3, lose Game 4 and win games 5 and 6 to close out the series. Whatever team you are routing for ,you can't deny how competitive a series it has been thus far. Here's hoping for more blowouts in the Celtics favor!

On a closing note, what a great Patriots day for Boston sports fans. The Bruins, Red Sox, and Celtics all won. Thanks again everyone for reading. Have a great day!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Affect of Kevin Garnett's injury on the NBA Playoffs

The NBA playoffs are here. I will admit that the news of Kevin Garnett's injury has brought my excitement down quite a bit, but I'm trying to stay positive. For those of you who don't know, on Thursday it was announced that Garnett will most likely be out for the entire playoffs. This pretty much eliminates the Celtics from contention. The fact is, even with a healthy Garnett, they would have had a really tough time beating the Cavs. In saying all this, I would like to point out that the Celtics still have a pretty damn good team without Garnett, In fact, they have put up better numbers offensively without him. For those of you who think the Celtics will lose to the Bulls first round, remember that the Celtics still have Paul Pierce. Let's not forget that it was Pierce who was the finals MVP last year, outdueling Lebron and Kobe in the process.

I still think the Celtics will advance to the conference finals. It really all depends how Big Baby Davis and Miki Moore play down low, if Marbury can be productive in backing up Rondo, and if Eddie House can hit big threes down the stretch. I'm not trying to be a homer here. In fact, even if Garnett was playing, I would've predicted the Cavs to win. But the fact is the Celtics still have Pierce, Allen and Rondo, as well as big time playoff experience under their belt. I'm going to be rooting for the Cavs to somehow lose. The only chance of that is if Dwayne Wade and the Heat play them. Also, I will be rooting hard against Kobe Bryant. Call me a hater, and maybe I am, but as much I enjoyed the Celtics game 6 Finals victory last year, the image of Kobe quitting on his team will always make me view him in a negative light. By the way, their is no way Jordan would've allowed his team to lose by 36 in a deciding game, zero chance.

In the West, I see the Lakers cruising to the finals. As much as I despise Kobe, he is a great player and will not let the Lakers be upset early. The only challenge to them would've been the Spurs, but the Ginobli injury takes that off the table. In the East I see a Celtics-Cavs conference final, with the Cavs winning in 5. The Cavs-Lakers will play in in the finals, and the Cavs home court will lead them to a game 7 victory. I say all this now, but I may have a different outlook two weeks from now.

While I'm sad the Celtics probably won't repeat this year because of the Garnett injury, their championship run last year is enough to last me another decade. I have to enjoy these next two months because after that it is a full two months of baseball season before football starts. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sports talk

I literally sat for ten minutes trying to figure out a clever title for this entry, but I finally gave up and wrote the most generic title ever. Anyway, in tonight's entry I want to rant a little bit about each of the four major sports. Let's start with the sport I know the least about, hockey. The only two teams I care even a little about happen to be the top 2 seeds in this years playoffs. Sorry fellow Boston fans, but the Washington Capitals need a championship more than you by a long shot.

I love DC and all the surrounding areas. I grew up here and I decided to move back here after college. We have really passionate sports fans, but unfortunately many of our franchises have been devastated by poor personnel decisions and underachieving teams. The Redskins break thousands of hearts every year with their wildly inconsistent play. The Wizards were absolutely dreadful this year, and their best player is one of the most selfish players in the league. The Caps have been the bright spot in Washington for the last 6 months, and I really hope they can advance far in the playoffs. Hockey is really amazing to me. I can't even skate so the whole concept of skating while playing a sport is absolutely fascinating to me. Plus the fact they are allowed to start brawls in the middle of games and only receive two minute "timeouts" is pretty crazy when you think about it.

Baseball season has begun and I already feel like I want to take a nap(just kidding, kind of.) Seriously, why should anyone care about baseball until August or September. Their are like 3,000 games and you could start 0-15 and still win the World Series(keep believing Nationals!)

The reason they call it the "national past time" is because that is literally what you do to pass the time when you are bored. The great thing about going to a baseball game is you don't actually have to pay attention to have fun. Sorry to all the hardcore baseball fans, but baseball is just too slow. What do you expect when their is no time clock. I almost want to hit the TV after the batter steps out of the box for the sixth time. I really think if their was a time limit on how long the pitcher could take between pitches, baseball would be much more entertaining. For all of those looking for great baseball analysis look elsewhere because it will be mostly baseball bashing(it's all in fun though.) Has anyone ever considered that the reason baseball stats are so highly scrutinized and analyzed is because the games themselves are boring as hell. Does anyone know how many points Kareem Abdul Jabbar had? No, but you certainly knew how many home runs Hank Aaron had.

Finally, time to talk basketball. I love this time of year. The weather starts getting warmer which means I get to go kayaking again, and the NBA playoffs begin. Say what you want about the NBA, but when you watch an NBA game you are seeing the greatest athletes in the world. Their are no Prince Fielders, or punters or kickers in the NBA, everyone is an athletic machine, well almost everyone. It also helps that the Celtics are great again. For years I had to pick a team to root for going into the playoffs, but with the Celtics resurgence it takes on a new meaning. I have written way too much for one entry so I am going to break down the first round NBA matchups on Friday most likely.

Tomorrow I am turning 24, which of course means one more year until I can drive a rental car without paying a fee. It also means one year closer to the day I have to figure out what the hell I want to do with my life, which is kind of scary. Life really does sneak up on you. Thanks for reading my blog and have an outstanding night.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Celtics and the Masters

Happy Easter everyone! This was one of the first years I didn't participate in an Easter egg hunt, but I did get to do my state taxes, so it wasn't all that bad. I'm pretty exhausted tonight, so I will make this brief. Let me start out by saying I was embarrassed to be a Celtics fan today. Their 40 point loss to the Cavs was just plain terrible. Sure, they had already clinched the 2nd seed in the East with the Magic's loss last night, but you still have to show up and play. The fact is, if they can't get up to play the Cavs, who are their main rivals in the East, how do they expect to repeat as champions?

In saying this, I think the Celtics still have a chance to win their 18th title, but that all depends on how healthy Garnett is and how the bench plays. I don't sense that same fire the Celtics had last year. Maybe they are saving it for the playoffs, or maybe that killer instinct they had last year has faded a bit after their title run. I guess we will see starting next Saturday.

By the way, why do people always hate on the NBA? It seems like the trendy thing to say these days. Is it as good as the 80's and 90's was, absolutely not. Is it better than it was 5 years ago, yes it is. The NBA has a great crop of young superstars, and their two premier franchises, the Celtics and Lakers, are good again. My only issue with NBA basketball right now are the number of fouls called, and the length of games, especially on network channels. It seems like every ticky tack foul is called these days, and the refs just aren't letting the players play like they used to. Honestly, how are you supposed to stop Lebron if you can't touch him at all, it's impossible. Also, the games are just too long right now. The Celtics-Cavs game started at 3:30 today and ended at 6:15. That is almost the length of a baseball game. But of course more commercial breaks mean more money for the network and their sponsors, and we all know sports is all about the bottom line.

I don't like golf. I would even go as far to say it isn't a real sport, but I always watch when Tiger Woods plays in a major. The only two people in my lifetime that I watched simply because they were playing are Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. Today at the Masters Tiger played a hell of a round, but stumbled late and could not win another green jacket. I felt kind of bad for the rest of the field with all the attention and cheers being given to Woods and Mickelson. I don't know anything about golf, never played in my life, so I can't do much more analysis than that, but was truly impressed and entertained by the Masters today.

Probably not my best blog entry tonight, but I thank you all for reading, and hope to write again soon. Please feel free to send this to family and friends and remember feedback is always appreciated. Have a great night!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Like Obama and I(and probably 100 million others) predicted, the North Carolina Tar Heels won the National Championship last night. It really should be no surprise to anyone. UNC was the best team at the start of the season, hit a couple valleys along the way, but turned it on and played to their potential when it counted. UNC proved what we really knew all along, that they simply have too much talent for anyone to compete with for 40 minutes.

First things first, what the hell was Michigan State thinking? Like I said a couple of entries ago, you can't beat UNC when you try to 1) play their high tempo, shoot early in the shot clock style, or 2) have no NBA talent. Michigan State fit both of these criteria to a tee. If I was rooting for them, I would've been pulling my hair out(if I had hair) about their decision to not slow the game down, and take quick shots. I don't know if it was nerves or simply a bad game plan, but UNC looked not only like the more talented team, but also the more poised team from the very beginning. I guess it's no surprise seeing how UNC has so many veterans that have been there before.

Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington were the best backcourt tandem in the tournament this year. Ellington, who has always been my favorite player on UNC, really took over the game early. He could not miss from three or really anywhere on the court in the first half. Ellington has developed his game so much since freshman year, when he was purely a spot up shooter. Lawson, as he has done all tournament, controlled the game from the get go and had a record 7 steals at halftime. Though he didn't have one of his best shooting games, he was still able to control the game, slashing to the basket at will and getting to the free throw line. The big matchup I thought coming into the game was Lawson vs. Kalin Lucas, and it turned out to be a huge factor in the game. Lucas showed his inexperience, looking down right afraid at times. Michigan State also lacked that star player to get the ball to when they needed a basket. They lacked that go to guy that every championship team has, and that UNC has about four of. Ed Davis turned out to be a huge factor in the game as well. Davis is a flat out beast, and I was so glad when I heard he is "definitely coming back next year." He is probably UNC's best NBA prospect, and will be at least 2nd team all ACC next year.

One more note on this game and really the previous three games. It was amazing how Oklahoma, Villanova, and Michigan State all shot so poorly against UNC. After the Oklahoma game I thought well UNC got lucky they didn't hit some of those open shots, but after the same thing happened with Villanova and again with Michigan State I realized that it wasn't about luck. It was that UNC puts so much pressure on the opposition to score, opposing teams feel pressure to knock down every shot. I'd love to hear any comments about this theory from the readers.

It was such a great feeling when that final buzzer sounded. Like any fan of a team, I felt a sense of pride when it hit me that UNC was national champion. I've been really lucky to see, just this decade, 3 Patriots championships, 2 UNC championships, 2 Red Sox championships, and 1 Celtics championship, which for me outweigh all the others. Sports is cyclical, so I know at some point my luck will run out, but I might as well enjoy the ride while I can.

Thanks again everyone for reading my blog. I've gotten some really good feedback, and it seems the readership is up(5 votes already in two days!). Have a great night everyone!

Monday, April 6, 2009

National Championship Preview

Tarheels! Tarheels! I am so pumped for this game tonight and supremely confident that UNC will pull out the victory. In saying this, UNC could definitely lose this game if they start off slow and allow the partisan Michigan State crowd to get behind the home team. If I wasn't a fan of either team I would probably root for Michigan State. I totally respect Tom Izzo as a coach and recognize that not only are they the underdog, but they are playing for the state of Michigan which has clearly been devastated by the economy.

It's funny, this will be the first UNC game I watch by myself at my apartment. Usually during UNC tourney games I lock myself in a room so I can concentrate, almost like I think UNC will play better if I concentrate harder. I guess maybe it is a sign of maturity that I can watch the games in bars and around friends, or maybe it is just because I am so confident in this UNC team.

Anyway, here are some of my thoughts on the game. The winner of this game will be determined by who gets the best performance out of their point guard. Ty Lawson has not only been the best point guard in the tournament, but in my opinion also its best player. Kalin Lucas is a really good point guard as well, but will have to outplay Lawson significantly for Michigan State to win. That is pretty much the theme of this entire game. Michigan State must play a great game to beat UNC. If they play anything less than great they will lose. In addition, UNC has more talent and more weapons, meaning they have more margin for error. Look at the Villanova game. UNC missed more free throws than I've seen them miss all year and still were never in danger of losing. I think rebounding is going to come in huge as well. Both teams are excellent on the boards but I think Ed Davis could be a huge X-factor in this game. With Davis, Hansbrough, and Danny Green crashing the glass, I think UNC will be able to dominate the paint. Goran Sutan could be another X-factor. His ability to get Hansbrough into foul trouble and also stay out of foul trouble himself could be a deciding factor in the game.

All in all UNC is just too deep and talented for Michigan State to handle. I think it will be a close game, maybe 8 points or less, but Michigan State will ultimately not be able to hang with UNC for the full 40 minutes. Whatever the outcome, both teams had a great run in this tournament and the schools should be proud of their accomplishments. There is too much hate now a days in the sports world. Instead of criticizing athletes and teams, how about we commend them for their accomplishments, unless of course you are T.O or the Cowboys.

One more final note. Today Michael Jordan was elected to the Hall of Fame. For anyone who thinks Kobe or Lebron is as good as Jordan was, please ask me for my Jordan DVD. After you sit down and watch that you will realize how foolish you were. No one can compare to Jordan's greatness. Though Larry Bird is my favorite player ever, Michael Jordan is the reason I started watching basketball and the reason basketball is my favorite sport. He was the greatest winner in sports history. Sure, Bill Russel won 11 titles but there were only about 8 teams back then and the competition wasn't nearly as fierce. Jordan refused to lose and played the game with a combination of toughness and finesse that will never be matched. For anyone who thinks Lebron or Kobe is better remember that in Jordan's day there was no hand check rule, so the game was much more physical. If Jordan played now he would average over 40 points a game easily. Off the court, Jordan made basketball global and attracted fans like no one had before or probably ever will. I am proud to say I was alive during the Michael Jordan generation.

Thanks again for reading my blog. I have gotten some really good feedback on it, so please keep it coming. Go UNC!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

UNC cannot be stopped

It was such a beautiful weekend. Now that I'm working full time I truly live for the weekends, and always hope for weather like this past Saturday and Sunday. Somehow I got a pretty significant sun burn even though I was wearing SPF 70. That is the life of a red head. As mentioned in a previous entry, I joined my Umass Alumni Softball team even though I haven't swung a bat since the mid 90's. Today was our first practice and I actually wasn't half bad. I'm definitely looking forward to a great season where I can meet new people and establish new friendships.

The best part about this weekend was UNC beating Villanova and advancing to the national title game. I wasn't nervous at all before the game because I truly believe no one can hang with the Tarheels when Lawson is at a 100%. I will say, that in their last two victories, their opponents have shot an atrocious percentage from three. Nevertheless UNC was clearly the better team. It's funny, even though I wasn't nervous before the game, when the game finally began I couldn't help but think of the debacle of last years final four when UNC looked like a bunch of 3rd graders,falling behind by 30 at half time to Kansas. About 5 minutes into the game I knew Villanova was not good enough to beat UNC. Usually I can decipher if a team can win against the Tarheels within the first ten minutes. The two main factors that let me know if the team has no chance to beat UNC are:
1. Is the team trying to play the fast break style of UNC, which they inevitably will not be able to do.
2. Do they have NBA caliber players on the team.

Villanova fit both categories to a tee, plus they lack the size and depth to compete with UNC for 40 minutes. Their only potential NBA talent are Reynolds and Cunningham and neither are ready to make any kind of an impact at the next level. Also, what the hell were they thinking trying to play the transition game and shoot tons of 3's against UNC. First of all they are not a great three point shooting team. Second of all, missed 3's lead to transition opportunities which play right into UNC's hands.

Have I mentioned how much I love Ty Lawson? The guy is playing better than anyone and just three weeks ago some people thought he wouldn't even play in the tournament. Ellington, who along with Lawson is my favorite Tarheel since Antawn Jamison and Shammond Williams, was the main factor last night. Everytime UNC needed a shot he would deliver it. I really hope Ellington comes back for his senior year. He could be a late first or second rounder but with another year under his belt he could develop the rest of his game even further. I've already come to grips with the fact Lawson is leaving(tears flowing). I'm going to write about the championship game right before it starts tomorrow. Thanks again for reading and I hope you had a great weekend!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Final 4 Picks

I'm going to try to be as unbiased as possible in this Final 4 analysis, but it is going to be tough. I think one of the biggest obstacles for me, as I try to get my foot in the door in the sports media and journalism world, is going to be attempting to be objective when one of my teams is in the field. I've always admired the Sportscenter broadcasters and analysts and their ability to give unbiased opinions, even though they probably have a team they are rooting for. I hope that ability will come to me in time.

As a UNC fan I go into this Saturday's matchup with Villanova fairly confident. I'm actually more confident about this weekends game than last weekends games. The reason for this is simple. I truly believe with Ty Lawson playing like he is right now, UNC cannot be beaten. Lawson has been the best point guard in the league this year, and has had a total of two, yes you read that correctly, two turnovers all tournament. The NCAA tournament is all about point guard play, and he is the best in the business. In addition to Lawson, North Carolina's front line is going to be too much for the feisty but small Villanova front line. UNC simply has too many weapons. They beat you inside with Hansborough, Ed Davis, and Tyler Zeller. They beat you on the perimeter with Lawson, Ellington, and Green who are all knock down shooters, who can also score off the dribble drive. They have great bench play from, in my opinion, the best 6th man in the country in Ed Davis, and a great perimeter defender and backup point guard in Bobby Frasier. In short, they are simply too deep and talented for Villanova or anyone to beat them unless they have a bad game. One more thing, for those of you who don't know who Ed Davis is, he is a rebounding and blocking machine. He is probably the best NBA prospect on North Carolina, and I can only hope he will come back for one more year so he can bulk up and develop more on the offense end.

In saying this, Villanova is definitely a solid team. Lawson has shown a tendency to give up a lot of points to good points guards and Villanova's Scotty Reynolds is a very dangerous player. Villanova is also very good defensively and gets after you on every possession. Coming out of the Big East they have battled tough competition all year. They are well coached by Jay Wright and if they are shooting well they could pull out the victory.

The other game matches Michigan State vs. Uconn in a battle of two legendary coaches. In my bracket I had Michigan State losing in the second round to USC, so needless to say they have surprised me this tournament. It was more my lack of respect for the Big Ten than my lack of respect for Michigan State. Tom Izzo's teams always seem to peak in the tournament, and that is a result of his outstanding coaching. Michigan state has battle tested, experienced guards, and a big man in Goran Sutan who can step outside and shoot the jumper. They are disciplined on the defensive end as well, as shown in holding Louisville under 60 points. Uconn has a great scoring guard in A.J Price who could be huge down the stretch. They also have the premier shot blocker in the nation in Hasheem Thabeet, who will occupy space inside. I think one of the keys for the game will be who wins the guard battle of A.J Price and Kalin Lucas. Both are explosive guards and anyone who has watched the tournament knows guards win NCAA titles.

Ultimately, I see a UNC-Uconn final which I will preview if it happens Sunday. If it doesn't happen I will still do a preview, though I might still be crying in a corner if UNC loses(just kidding,kind of.) That brings up a thought I just had. I think I've come a long way since middle school and high school when a UNC loss or a big Patriots playoff loss would put me in a state of depression for weeks. Now I realize that at its core, though I will pull for my teams like a maniac during the game, it is ultimately just a game and you have to move on.

Just got news of the Jay Cutler trade. This is a good trade for all those involved. For Denver, they get to finally move on past all this drama of will he or won't he get traded. Remember, McDaniels is not only the coach, but also the offensive coordinator, and the relationship of QB and coordinator is arguably the most important on the team. Time will tell if this was a huge mistake on the part of Broncos management. For the Bears it is an even sweeter deal. They get a proven, young quarterback who is still getting better and has tremendous upside. The Bears have been looking practically their entire franchise history for a solid quarterback. Though Cutler might not be the next Montana, I think he certainly will have a better career than any other quarterback they have had in Chicago. Plus, the NFC North is about as weak a quarterback conference as there is in the league. With Jay Cutler at QB, newly signed Orlando Pace at tackle, and Matt Forte at running back, and with that always fearsome defense, the Bears should be heading back to the playoffs.

My apologies for the long entry tonight but when I get going it is hard to stop. Looking forward to some great weather this weekend and of course the Final 4. Go Tarheels!