Saturday, December 20, 2008

I need a new computer...

Mine broke like eight years ago, so that's why I never post anymore. This one came to mind in an effort to keep my site from being deleted forever. I know none of you want to see that happen. At the moment I'm sitting here watching Davidson get annihilated at Purdue. Stephen Curry will probably be the Player of the Year at season's end, but he is stinkin' up the joint today. He was 3-of-17 at the half.

North Carolina didn't look so hot against Valpo today, either, but the margin of victory was still a hefty 22 points. While the Tar Heels have been dominant on the court, I've noticed that they aren't covering spreads at the same rate they did a year ago. Of course, that doesn't amount to a hill of beans to Roy Williams, but it has effectively kept me from betting on games. Maybe that's a good thing.

On the subject of UNC's dominance, I think it's safe to say that if Carolina loses a game at any point in the season, it will certainly be considered a rather epic upset. That's not to say that they won't lose, they coughed one up to St. Mary's in 2005 and we all know how that ended up. But with the depth they posses, there is really no comparison between the Heels and the rest of the NCAA. In fact, I'm thoroughly convinced that North Carolina is the best basketball team in the state ... including the Charlotte Bobcats.

Speaking of the NBA, the fact that the Big 3 aren't there is a pretty good reason why the team is 11-0. This may turn out to be the best decision of Ellington, Green, Hansbrough and Lawson's respective careers. This year's draft won't nearly possess the same prospects as that of a year ago. There is a potential repeat of the 2005 draft in which UNC sent four lottery picks to the NBA.

The person who's stock has risen the most has to be Lawson. His decision to return has dissolved notions that he is selfish and he has shined on the court. I think at this point Steph Curry has to be POY, as I said before, but Lawson is certainly at the top of the list. He was considered by most a second-rounder a year ago whereas at season's end he'll likely be projected in the top 10.

Anyway, my birthday is eight days away, so maybe my parents will read this and buy me a computer. I'll get this ball rollin' again soon.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Redskins ... sweet

I'm not sure who sucked more this past week - the Tar Heels or the Redskins. I'm gonna go with the 'Skins, though, because at least North Carolina won. Got to see most of the game. Missed a lot of the first quarter because I was at work. One thing is certain about the Giants - Plaxico Burress is going to be a beast this year, which is good for a couple of my fantasy teams. And he's from Virginia, so he's cool with me. I didn't think the Eli was all that impressive. Moreover, I think the Washington secondary was stank. Carlos Rodgers blows and not having Shawn Springs hurts. Fred Smoot is OK, but inconsistent. And man, do I miss Sean Taylor. LaRon Landry seemed to have regressed since his rookie season a year ago. Of course, that might have a little to do with the fact that he got truck-sticked by Brandon Jacobs early on. The defense did make stands when it needed to. And they were on the field a lot in the first half, thanks to a clueless offense.

On the other side of the ball, I don't think Jason Campbell was that bad. He made very few mistakes from what I saw, other than moving around in the pocket every now and then, rather than hanging in long enough to check down to an open option. I'm not calling for Colt Brennan just yet, but I think he should be the backup. I thought Clinton Portis looked pretty good, all things considered and even though Santana Moss caught the 'Skins' only touchdown, he still showed why he'll never be the playmaker we need on offense. He's just too small. Anyway, enough is enough. Campbell is one of my two fantasy QBs, so it looks like I could be in trouble until he gets in the groove. Great.

Friday, August 29, 2008

North Carolina vs. McNeese State

Well, this time tomorrow on thing is certain. I'll be wasted. What should be certain also is that the Tar Heels should be sporting a 1-0 record. Of course, us Tar Heel fans know better than to count our chickens when it comes to football. I'm having a hard time buying into the hype that we're going to be better this year. Do I believe we are? Yes. However, I thought we were going to be better two years ago, too. Last year, we weren't bad at all, losing a bunch of games by fewer than a touchdown. But this time around, we're supposed to actually win games. Sorry, but I'm just not used to that. Carolina has sucked at football ever since I came here ... and that was a long time ago, believe me.

I'm most eager to see Hakeem Nicks this season. In my opinion he's is one of the best receivers in the nation. Most certainly an NFL prospect. He's not even pre-season all-ACC. That just baffles me. The biggest question is what's going to happen at running back. There seems to be plenty of promise at the position, but from what I understand Greg Little hasn't watched any film this week, making some players on the team a bit uncertain. He's a cool dude and everyone gets along well with him, but from what I was told it's an "OK, but he better do it," situation when it comes to his self-confidence. A lot of guys on the team are said to be rooting for Shaun Draugh, who it seems has a ton of talent coming out of the backfield.

It will be interesting to see what happens, but for now here's how I see it going down tomorrow:

North Carolina 37, McNeese State 10

Friday, August 22, 2008

Getcha Popcorn Ready

Yes. That is the name of the 2008 version of my fantasy football team. Here's how it turned out (drafting from the No. 2 slot; round selected in parentheses):

QB-David Garrard (4)
QB-Jason Campbell (6)
WR-Braylon Edwards (2)
WR-Marques Colston (3)
WR-Reggie Williams (9)
RB-LaDainian Tomlinson (1)
RB-Willie Parker (5)
TE-Dallas Clark (8)
W/R-Rashard Mendenhall (11)
BN-Felix Jones (7)
BN-JaMarcus Russell (10)
BN-Donte' Stallworth (13)
BN-James Hardy (15)
BN-Rudi Johnson (20)
BN-Ahman Green (21)

K-Shaun Suisham (18)

DEF-New York (NYG) (12)

D-Adam Jones (14)
DB-Marcus Trufant (16 - FA for Ellis Hobbs)
DL-Michael Boley (19)
BN-Mario Williams (17)

I don't know about you, but I like what I see. ...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cool Runnings

This is exactly what would've happened if the dude from Cool Runnings hadn't fallen down in his attempt to qualify for the Olympic Games and had to resort to starting up a bobsled team. Usain "Lightning" Bolt is a total bad-ass. This guy is running the 100-meter final at the Olympic Games, starts high-steppin' 15 meters before the finish line, and shatters his own world record. I mean, 9.69 seconds? That's like a first down per second. That's like faster than my mom drives. That's like ... unreal. The scary part is that this guy could have been looking in the 9.5-range if he'd kept running, and that should just be impossible. At what point do these people stop getting faster? A hundred years from now are people gonna be running 100 meters in eight seconds, or what? I don't know, but what this guy did blows Michael Phelps outta the water (pun intended). If I were Nike, I'll tell this guy to wipe his ass with those Puma's ...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My respect of Michael Phelps just went through the roof

No. It's not because he's the baddest swimmer on the planet. Honestly, I appreciate what the guy is doing and all, I really do, but give me Jordan any day. I'd take Lebron, Tiger, Ronaldinho, Manny and Moss over him when it comes to excitement. I don't disrespect the guy - he's great for America, and really the only "homeboy" coming in first at much of anything over there. And God knows, that eight gold medals is just absurd. But for whatever reason, I just really wasn't into Phelps. Honestly, he looks big and goofy and I think that, though unfair on my part, that plays a big role in it.

Then I found out on a Yahoo! blog what's on Phelps' iPod when he's gettin' in the zone for all these medals he's about to win. And when I read that "I'm Me" by Lil' Wayne tops his playlist, I was sold. I gotta admit, I took this guy for Maroon 5 or, like, Metallica or some shit like that. But I wish I would've figured out sooner that before this guy commences to beating swimmers' brains in, he's daydreaming about rollin' around in a half-million dollar car with guns and drugs and women, just like the rest of us. And the inverse is true? Damn, I might have to break out the snorkel get a couple laps in tomorrow.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A tribute to Chancellor Christopher C. Fordam III

I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Fordham when I first began working at the Governors Club in Chapel Hill. Every time he came in he always wore a Carolina blue blazer with a gold UNC logo lapel pin attached at all times. Upon learning who he was, I made it a point to say hello each time I saw him, and each him he would thank me for stopping by to say hello. His wife, Barbara was always with him and the two were the most pleasant pair I've ever met.

We all wore name tags and used to joke about how Dr. Fordham, who was getting up there in age, needed a less than inconspicuous look at our names before he could remember what they were. And the first question was always the same: "Are you a Carolina student?" The answer was always the same, "Yes," which always prompted the same response for Fordham: "That sure is a fiiiiiiine institution."

I once heard a story about a time when he and his wife came to the club for dinner on their 58th anniversary. He tapped a fork to the side of his glass, quieting the entire dining room. Then he stood and told everyone how his wife was crazy enough to have been married to him for 58 years. If there were one story that I would pick to describe Dr. Fordham, that'd be it. A man married for 60 years.

Another thing that I'll always remember about Dr. Fordham is one day, when I was pretty busy, I had to say hello in passing. "Hello, Brandon," he said, no name tag needed. It made me stop and think for a minute. Here's a guy who had seen and done it all, and done it the right way who took the time to know me by name, when it obviously wasn't as easy for him as it would be for you or I.

Dr. Christopher C. Fordham III treated everyone he met the way he would treat his own wife. The University of North Carolina and society as a whole was better to have had him and now has something missing now that he is gone. If you've never met Dr. Fordham, or if you've never even heard ot him, do yourself a favor and do a little research. I guarantee that you'll be impressed with what you'll find.

R.I.P.

My night job

From the masses, I've already heard about how shitty my life must be since I have a blog. Well, you're right, in part. But the majority of that shitty-ness can be directly attributed to this little job I have. Actually, the job doesn't always suck. Like most jobs, though, it has it's moments. As some of you know, I work for an independent minor league baseball association known as Baseball Concessions, Inc. It's a little part-time thing that I've done for the past three summers and what it more-or-less allows me to do is get paid to blog and do my homework (or to not do my homework). The blog actually spawned out of boredom, and then became sort of a dead-end hobby.

But the one thing I did discover was that it sure is good at passing the time when you're bored. And if you happen to write anything that has to do with UNC basketball, you might wind up on 850 The Buzz, as I did when I infromed the world that Tar Heel guards Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson would "declare" for the NBA Draft. But God knows I'm not getting into that shit. There's some dude out there by the name of Dan Schwind who's had my name all over some other blog, callin' me out for not knowing what the hell I'm talking about. Never met the guy, but he must know a lot more about what I'm talking about than I do.

Also, Google has this little thing called "Adsense" which allows me to place an ad (see under the "About Me" portion of this blog) that earns money, albeit pennies, each time a reader clicks. Now that's not an endorsement to go clicking, but if the ad hits you close to home then feel free, by all means. Since April, I've made $9.19. I won't actually be able to withdraw any of that until the account reaches $100. At this rate, it'll be a free half-tank of gas when I retire.

Then there's the fact that I can pull a Perez Staton and post pictures of my friends wasted. One day that will probably get me thrown in jail, but for now I'll keep pushing it.

So yeah, really I started this post about 20 minutes ago because I'm waiting on the Pensacola Pelicans and the El Paso Diablos to finish the back end of their doubleheader. So it's either Facebook until my fingers bleed or think out loud.

If you got this far, I have sucked you in.

That is why I blog.

###END###

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

OK, I can do this!

USA Men's Basketball. Tomorrow. Eight o'clock a.m. Here is a true test of readership. My phone number is 252-723-8092. Call me and make sure I'm awake. I'd love to watch a game before the Olympics are over.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Now that's cold blooded

If you ask me, this story about how China, this year's host for the Olympic Games, had a girl lip-sync "Ode to the Motherland" during the opening ceremonies is about as big as Michael Phelps' gums.

If you haven't heard, China had 7-year old Yang Peiyi (pictured) sing the song, and another, prettier girl - 9-year Lin Miaoke - puttin' an Ashlee Simpson in front of the entire world.

"Lin Miaoke might be only 9-years old but she is well on her way to becoming a star, thanks to her heartwarming performance," read an article in Tuesday's China daily newspaper, according to CNN.com.

The girl never sang a note!

Now, I mean maybe this isn't a huge deal, but out of a little humorous curiosity, I read through the story. Amid the news, I found some comments by the ceremonies' music director that were just astounding - seriously as stupid as answering "Absolutely!" when your girlfriend asks if you think she's getting fat. And then maybe adding that you think she's getting ugly, too.

"The reason was for the national interest," Chen Qigang said in a state radio interview, according to the article. "The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feeling and expression. ... Lin Miaoke is excellent in those aspects."

Comments made by Chinese bloggers carried the ridiculousness to a whole new plateau.

"If you're not good-looking, no matter how well you sing, you'll not be onstage. Do you know you're twisting a whole generation?" read one.

Another said, "If foreigners found out, they'd think we can't even find a girl who is good at both."

Like we care. Have these gong bangers ever seen a clip of Rosanne singing the Anthem at the Super Bowl? Or that Carl Lewis debacle? There isn't a 9-year old in the universe who's actually attractive. They have like seven teeth, terrible haircuts and hand-me-down clothes.

And the saddest part of the story? Peiyi is the only one with any character. A 9-year old able to represent pride and character better than adults who claim that's their primary goal.

CNN said that Peiyi was quoted as saying that she was honored to have played a role in the ceremony, even though the majority of views realized how big her part in it was.

My Thoughts on "The Dark Night"


OK. We'll branch away from sports on this one, because I refuse to talk about Brett Favre.

The Dark Night. Easily one of the best Batman movies, but one of the best movies of all time? Sorry. No chance. Yeah, so Heath Ledger died and though that was truly unfortunate, it was the best thing that could have happened to the movie. I certainly mean no disrespect at all to Ledger, but seriously, if Matt Damon had died prior to the Bourne Ultimatum, then there's a good chance we would have had the same story on our hands.

If we're being brutally honest about the whole thing, I thought Batman Begins was much better. I mean that's when they introduce the new Batmobile and you find out why he decides to be "Batman," and then there's that house. I understand the plot and I like how the movie really ties into its title. The characters were well portrayed and other than the fact that the hero is dressed like a bat, everything is pretty realistic, unlike the one with Arnold.

I don't want to sell it short. It was a good, borderline great movie. But the fact of the matter is the only reason why this flick is mentioned among the best of all time is the alignment of Ledger's death prior to the release of the best performance of his career.

Good for him. Good for the movie. Not good enough for me to put it in my Top 10.

Monday, August 11, 2008

2008 Summer Olympics


Look how far behind (center) he is.

I'll admit, that even though Michael Phelps is perhaps the ugliest American athlete since Willie McGee, the whole idea of one person winning eight gold medals in one Olympic Games is pretty impressive. But am I the only one who feels like his relay team is getting the shaft after last night's rally on the last leg of the 4x100 freestyle to edge the France by a fraction of a second? Lost amid the Phelps-mania seems to be the fact that, as ESPN.com's Pat Forde wrote, Jason Lezak - the American swimmer who swam the last leg of last night's relay - swam the fastest leg of a 100-meter relay in the history of the world. In fact, the man he caught, Frenchman Alain Bernard, the 100-meter world record holder, was beaten by .67 seconds! And all that after Bernard guaranteed a French win by a landslide. So Phelps' bid for eight gold medals sure owes a lot to Lezak and the rest of the relay team. According to Forde if Phelps does indeed rake in eight gold medals, Speedo will cut him a check for $1 million.

Get wet.

(Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Nike has done it again

Marketing is a tricky business. And when you consider that Nike started out with the founder selling sneakers out of the trunk of his care, I think it's safe to assume that the company's marketing strategy has been nothing short of astounding. No company does a better job of promoting it's product through advertising than Nike. Sure, Michael Jordan had a lot to do with that, but they have survived life after MJ by tapping into the essence of sport - emotion. The embedded file is too big for the blogger, so here's the direct link.

http://www.nike.com/nikeos/p/nike/en_US/courage

The Redeem Team?

No, not LeBron, Kobe and Coach K. The other redeem team - the Mets, of course. It's been about a month since New York's 10-game win streak and the team has done its best to make exactly zero progress since. Although today the Mets are in line for a sweep of Florida and enter the day just a game behind the Phillies for the top spot in the NL East. All of this brings me to an interesting occurrence which happened last night.

So ... I'm standing outside Carolina Coffee Shop on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. My drunk-ass friend apparently made an attempt to reconcile some old demons with an unspecified female. She was less than willing to, and assured my friend that her boyfriend would kick his ass if he knew that Loren, my buddy, were there. And of course, she promptly went to notify him. Shortly thereafter, as we're heading to Franklin Street stop No. 3 for the evening, said boyfriend starts talking shit to who else but me. So he's inside. I'm outside. His friend comes out, starts talking shit, blah blah blah. Later, the boyfriend has finally consumed enough liquid courage to make a cameo. ...

Now, I know what you're thinking: "What in the hell does this have to do with the Mets?"


Well, that's what I was thinking. But apparently this kid, whom I've never met before, knows that I am a Mets fan and immediately turns the trash talk to baseball. To be honest, I wouldn't consider myself much of a fighter. In fact, I'm just 2-2 in my career with my last bout, a loss, coming during recess in the fifth grade. So, though I felt quite certain I could beat this kids' ass, I refrained for fear of having to add my own mugshot to this post.

Still, the only thing that seemed to get his blood boiling was not the fact that his girlfriend's (who was ugly) skeletons just fell out in the middle of a bar on a Saturday night, but instead that I, who had nothing to do with any of this, am a Mets fan.

So, naturally, the only conceivable way that I figure the guy could know this is ... are you ready for this? He must have read my blog! I sure hope so anyway. Because if he does, then he'll get to relive how retarded he made himself, donned in a fuchsia polo, look in front of God and everybody last night.

Maybe one day he'll marry that girl, then knock up a Hooter's waitress only to marry her ... like his oh so obvious hero Larry.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Now we're talkin...

Maybe Omar is reading.

Whatever it is, the Mets have won seven in a row and are within 1.5 games of first place in the NL East. And what's more, the Phillies aren't playing half bad. I just picked up this week's edition of ESPN the magazine and found a quip in there from Buster Olney that said that the Mets won't make the playoffs and he suggested that Manaya would be fired. I knew there was something I didn't like about that guy. First, I thought it was just because he's a Peter Gammons wannabe. But that's hardly it. Gammons would never stoop to a satirical gig with the mag. My Daily Tar Heel brethren is better than that.

Olney, meanwhile, is the same guy with such outlandish projections as the Mariners winning the West, the Indians winning the World Series ... and something else that was equally stupid, but I can't recall exactly what it was, so just take my word for it.

But with patron saint Pedro due up tomorrow and born-again Mike Pelfrey to follow, the Amazin's might just close out the first half atop the division despite such a rough start. And while the "experts" say that the Mets don't have what it takes to land Rockies OF Matt Holliday (Tim Kurkjian says that they don't have enough in the farm system and they'll have to deal either Jose Reyes or David Wright?!?!), I think otherwise. They've got Ryan Church, Mike Pelfrey, Fernando Martinez and Jonathan Niese, all of whom I could see being expendable. And the Mets have an absolute stockpile of young, explosive arms in the system. That's how it has always been. What used to be Isringhausen, Pulsipher, Wilson, Kazmir, Pelfrey, Maine, etc. are now names like Rustich, 22, Kunz, 21, Moviel and Vineyard, both 19.

So in short, this is where things get interesting.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Maybe it was a blessing...

that there wasn't any baseball on. Or at least the Mets. I'm starting to seriously wonder why God didn't make me a Rays fan. I mean, I've been rooting for a losing team most of my life, so that couldn't have been what stopped me when the Devil Rays joined the MLB. I chastise the bandwagon fan as much as anyone I know, though, so there's no way I can justify jumping on. But I REALLY want to. And it's even somewhat justified, if not inevitable, that I do. Take Rays ace Scott Kazmir, for instance. Guess where he came from? Yep. The good ol' Mets.

But hey, at least we got Zambrano in return. No, not Carlos, Victor. Don't even know who that is? Exactly. Thanks Steve Phillips - for being the biggest moron since Bud Selig.

Then there's B.J. Upton. I grew up near Norfolk, Va. home to the Mets' AAA team, the Tides, for 38 years. Norfolk is also home to Upton, who was Tampa's No. 1 pick in 2002, as well as the second baseman for both of my fantasy teams.

And of course Chapel Hill, where I go to school, is Durham's neighbor. Durham being the Rays AAA affiliate. I actually just took in my first Bulls game on Tuesday. The experience was awesome, and another outside influence on my sudden desire to hope on board. That, and Evan Longoria played there, but left in a flash ... before I got to go see him.

So basically what I'm trying to say is that if the Mets send Santana to the hill and he allows two earned in eight innings, and the guy he's pitching against (some stiff named J.A. Happ) is making the second start of his CAREER, and tosses 96 pitches in 4.2 innings, THEN let Chad freakin' Durbin fan six of the seven batters he faces ...

Nevermind. Sorry for the run-on. I know it makes you cringe, as it does me. But it's for the effect.

Back to what I'm trying to say: the Mets suck. If I were Johan, I'd asking for a trade to anywhere from Pittsburgh to Paris to Palestine. But I know one thing: if he goes to Tampa, I'm going too.

Fourth of July ... or December?

I was just wondering. Because the Weather Channel says it's 90 degrees outside. The History Channel has the entire history of the United States marathon. HBO On Demand? Born on the Fourth of July. The Patriot is on Cinemax On Demand. But while every baseball fan worth his salt knows that the first pitch at Yankee Stadium was just tossed, beginning a series with the Red Sox, ESPN is treating us to the 2008 Nathan's National Hot Dog Eating Contest. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't need to dip and devour 59 beef franks to feel the nausea. In fact, according to MLB.com, there isn't a single baseball game on cable television today. Cubs vs. Cardinals? Nope. Mets vs. Phillies? Un uh. Hell, I'd go for the Blue Jays vs. Angels ... no chance. Baseball, like the country that fathered it, is supposed to be a game of the people, by the people and for the people. The latter, like just about everything else in this country unfortunately, must be well-funded. So put a $4.10 gallon of gas in your tank, ride to the store and get yourself a six dollar pack of hot dogs and emulate the new binge eating heroes of the nation. I'm gonna stick to the History Channel. At least there I get the privilege of a come-from-behind win.

God bless America.

Let's go Mets!

Quietly they're starting to settle in. Carlos Delgado has been hitting again and Carlos Beltran hasn't gotten hurt yet. I've only felt good about the Mets for about a week now, but hey, a week is better than nothin'. Since the NL East sucks, the Amazin's are hardly out of the picture and who knows, maybe we'll get C.C. Sabathia too! All jokes aside, at least the Mets are setting the stage for a run after the Break. I just wish they'd stuck it out with Willie a little longer...

Feels good to be wrong

I don't know how it happened. I have no idea why Ty Lawson is still a Tar Heel, but hey, I'll take it. There is no argument on the face of the earth that would justify any team other that North Carolina as the preseason favorite to win it all. Honestly, there's really no valid argument that they should lose a single game. We all know that that's a lofty expectation, but on paper the Tar Heels have the deepest, most talented team in the history of college basketball, period.

I'm gonna shut up about hoops for a while, now that my school's future is set and talk about baseball.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Some news, but not much

Rumors are rampant that the three will return, but I have just confirmed from a source familiar with the situation that the talk of Lawson staying is hearsay at this point. That's not to say that people don't have other sources, but I'm getting information from a feed atop the ACC in such matters.

Also, journal-now.com, the Web site for the Winston-Salem Journal is reporting that Danny Green is leaning towards a return to Chapel Hill and that his father confirmed that he will be back. Lawson evaded questions pertaining to the subject when reached on his cell phone, and Ellington has not been reached.

Inside Carolina post claims trio will stay at UNC

According to texastarheel15, Wayne Ellington, Danny Green and Ty Lawson will make an unprecidented return to North Carolina. Personally, I think it's a ludicris claim, but plenty of people cried foul when I broke that Ellington and Lawson would enter in the first place. I hope for the fan in me that this guy is on the money and that his source is legit. For now, though, it's just too good to be true.

Ellington, Green, Lawson yet to make official announcement

The status of Wayne Ellington, Danny Green and Ty Lawson is still a secret here in Chapel Hill with no credible sources to confirm one way or the other. There is plenty of speculation, of course. Again, Lawson is finished as a Tar Heel. If he were to return to North Carolina, it would easily be the biggest surprise news regarding the NBA draft that I'm aware of. In my opinion, Wayne Ellington will sneak into the first round and remain in the draft. He'll be one of those guys who sees very little time next season, but there are teams out there, especially late in the first round, in need of a shooter. A place like Boston would fit Ellington nicely, or even a return home to Philadelphia. A year under the tutelage of Ray Allen, it could be argued, may serve him better than a year back at UNC where he's rumored not to be content. Danny Green is the one who would surprise me by staying in the draft. It didn't surprise me that he declared for one reason. When I covered the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats preseason game at the Smith Center in 2006, it was the opinion of Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood that Green was the most pro-ready prospect on that North Carolina team - one that also featured Brendan Wright. Of course, that was before Wright had a lottery-pick-worthy freshman year, but those are some pretty poignant opinions. What has hurt Green is his injury in the pro camp in Orlando, and presumably his bouts with injury in 2008. I think he's good enough, but I think another year would serve him well in light of this year's thicket of prospects.

Friday, June 13, 2008

UNC trio's draft status...

As I said in a previous post, based on my own instinct, North Carolina guard Ty Lawson is a sure bet to remain in he NBA draft. Guards Wayne Ellington and Danny Green aren't such clear-cut entries, however, and little has surfaced about the two since their declarations to test the water. I know that Green was injured during camp in Orlando, but his versatility is popular amoung NBA scouts. Ellington, in my opinion, has NBA written all over him, just not yet. He's not nearly a good enough defender to guard others at his position and his shots come in waves rather than consistently. That said, I can only speculate at this point, so I'll refrain from doing so. In the meantime, I'll see what I can come up with before an official announcement is made. Keep in mind that the deadline is Monday, June 16. I expect an announcement Sunday evening, based on the way that news publications, print publications specifically, work.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Where there's smoke...

I've kept this thing on a basketball shtick lately, which is weird. But the news that broke about the accusations made by troubled former-NBA official Tim Donaghy that the NBA fixed playoff series' is big news. And while it's gotten quite a bit of press, this blows Major League Baseball's steroids problem out of the water. I mean the parallels are hauntingly similar. Donaghy is, as noted by several outlets, the NBA's Jose Canseco. Shunned at first, Canseco admitted his guilt, then took everybody down with him. Now Donaghy is in the same situation ... only Donaghy has to tell the truth.

Think about it. The only thing that can possibly help this guy is if he tells authorities what he knows. He's under oath. The ONLY thing that can hurt him any more than he's already hurt himself is if he had the nerve to lie. The NBA and it's front office knows very well that the public perception of Donaghy is that he is a no-good liar. That may have been true when he deceived so many in an attempt to pocket some extra cash. But there's no way in hell that this is the only guy involved. NO POSSIBLE WAY! At this point it's tough to say that the NBA had anything to do with it. But at the same time, it's just as tough to think they didn't, as the allegations make perfect sense from a revenue standpoint.

And fixing a playoff series or two is quantifiable. It's not an "Oh, [insert HGH user] hits a few homers or fans a couple more No. 8 hitters every year" type of problem. This is a big, big money problem.

So it all comes back to the Canseco parallel. Donaghy gets popped and takes the heat for everyone involved. Banking on the court of public opinion that the guy's a liar, the NBA pulls a Palmiero, and files suit for a million large. That's about like pointing your finger at a Congressman and swearing you had nothing to do with it. This reeks of a grade school situation when you're caught in a lie and the only way out is to sell that lie with everything you've got. Because whether or not the NBA knew anything about the problem, then what they do know is that a fraudulent outcome to multiple playoff series' and the very altering of NBA history is worth a lot more than $1 million.

Right now, the NBA is all-in. While we don't know how the cards are gonna fall, Mr. Stern ain't bluffin' me.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Relax, I'm back

OK people, sorry for the lack of posts. I know I got famous and all. I used the $6.07 in ad revenue and went on vacation. Actually, I've been working my ass off. That doesn't mean that I don't have anything you need to know. So stay tuned.

Congratulations to the North Carolina baseball team. Third-straight trip to Omaha. I was fortunate enough to follow them there in 2006. Never thought they'd make it in 2007 and would have put money against them doing the same in 2008. Fortunately, a) I never put that in writing and b) they made me look bad, 'cuz let's face it: I like having a reason to watch a baseball game. We'll see how the bracket unfolds, but the way Carolina is playing now, makes them the favorite again if you ask me.

As far as this whole Ty Lawson DWI situation, it's a foregone conclusion now that he's outta here. Of course, we've known that all along. While part of me thinks he's an idiot, there is an even bigger part of me that's a fan. I mean, I don't know a lot about what goes on behind closed doors, but on the floor, the kid can play and will play in the NBA. It sounds as if he's worked his way into the first round and I'm thinking he's gone at No. 20 to George Karl's Denver Nuggets.

But as far as his incident with the law, I've tried to keep things in perspective. J.J. Reddick was arguably the greatest player in Duke history. Same thing happened to him. Now, Lawson is no chump, but he's not the face of the program either. I'm willing to bet that I come from more money that he does (and I don't come from much), and I know for a fact that if I'm about to land in the first round, I'm probably gonna make a bad decision or two. I'd like to think that I wouldn't make that kind of decision, but I can't put myself on the pedestal. The concerns that Ty Lawson has expressed in regard to the treatment he has received since announcing his intentions are perfectly understandable. Why, after all the excitement that he's brought to the program, has the town decided to make a mockery of him rather than wish him well? His indictment did little to support his case, but I understand his frustration.

Ty, get your head screwed on straight and do you.

OK, I'm at work. I'll keep more frequent updates.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Duke expected to name Nate Jones as assistant coach

I have learned from a source close to the program that Duke is expected to hire Nate Jones as assistant coach after the departure of Johnny Dawkins to Stanford. Duke's team captain in 2000 and 2001, Jones earned Third Team All-ACC honors in '01. Jones currently serves as the team's assistant strength and conditioning coach and would be a nice addition to a coaching staff that has struggled to groom a dominant big man. With big men on the horizon, the promotion would seem to make sense, especially considering James' playing background.

The source also shed some light on another coaching move in the works for the Blue Devils. Former ACC Player of the Year Chris Carrawell is considering graduate school, which would make him eligible to become the team's graduate assistant, allowing him a spot on the sidelines also. Both situations would continue the trend of Krzyzewski's former players again finding themselves under his tutelage. Current assistants Steve Wojciechowski and Chris Collins both played under Coach K, as did the departed Dawkins.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I like what I see

Ok. Ok. So maybe Jim Zorn is here to revamp the offense. We needed a receiver and we got three. Well, two wideouts and the best tight end in the draft if you ask me. Returning a healthy offensive line and adding threats to the offense, the Redskins could be vastly improved. I don't know, could be the fan in me.

Regardless, big shoutout to Kentwan Balmer, the No. 29 overall pick and the only Tar Heel to go in the first round. Only problem with that, is he'll play for the 49ers.

What I hope the Redskins are doing...

As a die-hard Redskins fan, the NFL draft isn't one of my favorite things to watch. I mean, I spend enough time during the season watching my team disappoint - no sense in wasting a perfectly good summer weekend. Just like this year, though, I can't help but watch and think that maybe, just maybe, we'll they'll do something right this time. And like every year, Washington comes into the draft with needs. Popular thought this time around is that we'll make a move for a possession wide receiver. Well, the 21st pick has come and gone and the Skins dealt it to the Falcons. The Falcons? What in the world could they have gotten out of that. I'm hoping that they're packaging a miracle - more picks to send to Cincinnati.

I mean, the Bengals are insane if they keep Chad Johnson and let him sit out the season. This guy is worth a ton to any team in the NFL and the Bengals could do a little better than, say, a fourth round pick. The Redskins put together what I thought was a solid offer for both sides. It would have sent this year's No. 21 overall pick and a third-round selection next year. The latter could have become a first-rounder depending on certain criteria. But that deal was rejected, so I find it hard to believe that Snyder is cooking up something better. I guess we'll see. We're at pick No. 30 and there still hasn't been a WR to leave the board. The Skins should come up early in the second round with another shot. Maybe they actually know what they're doing ...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Ellington declares as well; Hansbrough to return

Official word from the North Carolina basketball program has guard Wayne Ellington testing the waters of the NBA Draft along with sophomore Ty Lawson. Neither will hire an agent, leaving hope to the Tar Heel faithful that they reunite in Chapel Hill for another run at the title. North Carolina fans still have plenty to be happy about with the news that national player of the year Tyler Hansbrough will return for his senior season.

Lawson declares; won't hire agent

That's what FOX sports is reporting as of an hour ago. According to the story, the University will issue a statement later today. I would not be surprised if the remainder of North Carolina's announcements are made public as well with the official break of the story...(even though it broke a week ago here).

I'm working, but I'll keep updates coming as frequently as possible.

Monday, April 21, 2008

UNC trio yet to make decision public

Sporting News Radio local station 99.9 The Fan reported yesterday that national player of the year Tyler Hansbrough has yet to decide whether he wants to declare himself eligible for the 2008 NBA draft. That's according to a conversation that a representative of the station had with Hansbrough's father.

A source within the team confirmed that sophomore guards Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington have made there decision, but failed to confirm what that decision was. However, other sources close to Ellington and Lawson have both of them bolting for the NBA. Anything new, you'll find it here.

OK, back to work.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

UNC's class and the draft

For those of you concerned with my knowledge of the NBA draft and salaries, I invite you to read this. I am well aware of how the draft works. And I'm also aware of how negotiations work. Though the salaries aren't adjustable, a player like Lawson's draft value is. What I meant by the leverage argument is that there are multiple teams that are looking for an impact point guard. And this year, you should be able to still find one in the mid to late first round.

Let's just throw the New Jersey Nets out there for the sake of argument. The Nets have the 21st selection and are the last team that will offer up a million plus in guaranteed money for the next three years. But just because the salaries are fixed, doesn't mean that there is no bargaining taking place. The Nets may or may not want a point guard given that they have Devin Harris. Maybe they think that if they wait until next year, they can do better. But they also could be thinking that if they can grab Lawson, they better go ahead and act now. The fact that Lawson still holds NCAA eligibility over the heads of NBA teams makes them more likely to increase their interest, so they don't miss out on a good opportunity. The more teams that have the same type of interest in a player the more likely that player gets drafted higher, and even one pick higher will get him and increase in the neighborhood of $30K, $50K and $75K in the first three seasons, respectively. The higher you go, the more those numbers increase. Thus, the leverage attained by being able to go back to school can drive a prospects salary up, even though those salaries are fixed. For an illustration of how this works, think back to last year's draft and Roy Hibbert. Projected as a lottery pick prior to last season's draft, Hibbert decided to return to Georgetown. Now he's barely hanging on to the first round.

Sorry this didn't come yesterday. I was on the road.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Like it or not, Lawson's meeting is bad news of North Carolina fans

Man, you people got heated about yesterday's post, didn't you? I feel the need to make a couple of clarifications that I supposed most people don't realize. First, I understand the creed around here: In Roy We Trust. But let's be realistic people. If you think that no public statement means no decision, then you don't get it. Just because these guys haven't officially declared for the draft doesn't mean the decision hasn't been made. It's called leverage. To state the obvious, these guys are hardly lottery picks. So from a business standpoint, especially where agent hiring is concerned, holding onto the front of returning to college is a business move, period. When these guys are going through a decision as big as this one, the more options you have on paper, the more paper you'll generate.

Why would an agent take a potential client to Outback? The answer to that is surprisingly simple. Until a player officially signs with an agent, he can't accept anything from anybody and not expect to hear from the NCAA. Therefore, gettin' spotted eating caviar by candlelight is a no-no. A chocolate thunder from down under is much more feasible. And if he does slip, the leverage is gone.

How do I know this information when nobody else does? Believe me, PLENTY of people know more than they're allowed to say. The news business, for those of you who don't know, is all about finding out what they don't want to tell you. Decisions like these are announced at strategic times. It may be to take pressure off the athlete, the coach, the program ... any number of things. That's usually information that stays in-house and only becomes obvious upon announcement, when the pieces fall together and make a little more sense.

News outlets have to have concrete facts. And by concrete facts, I mean someone inside the program or in direct relation to the player that's spilling the beans. But as a reporter, if you can build relationships with those close to the program (like boosters), you can find the answer without having to go inside the program. You get someone with that access to fill you in. That's what I, and many others, have done. There are people that pay a lot of money to this program. A LOT of money. These people expect to know the ins and outs of their investment. Some are willing to share what they know. Others aren't.

And lastly, keep this in mind: Anyone remember seeing Raymond Felton rolling through campus in a new Jaguar shortly after the 2005 national title? No decision had been announced at that point either. As a matter of fact, Sean May had everyone believing that he could get at least some of that class back and even said he'd stay himself. But the truth remained. Those dudes, with the exception of May, were already gone. They were just developing their game plan.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington to declare for NBA draft...

Yep, that's right Tar Heel fans. Two-thirds of your worst nightmare has come true. I have very reliable sources that have told me that Wayne Ellington has already met with agents and made the decision and that Lawson has more or less left himself with no other choice. Now, I heard similar rumors about Lawson at this time last season, but last night Lawson was spotted at Outback in Durham meeting with an agent. I was told that they were discussing the draft and the number 21 was mentioned, presumably about the time the North Carolina point guard would be chosen. That sounds about right to me. And according to that source, Lawson's dad did not look happy. I'm sure North Carolina fans won't be to happy either as their situation at the point will be the topic of conversation from now until March.

UPDATE: Just to make some clarifications re: the original post and to help alleviate some jabs to my credibility.

According to my source, Lawson arrived at Outback around 9:45 p.m. and stayed until at least 10:15 p.m. He was seated at "table 1." Lawson at position 1, agent at position 2, father across table at position 3.

While seated, three kids sitting in the lounge with their father that got up upon seeing him and asked for his autograph.

So, he WAS NOT THERE DURING THE BANQUET. He was there after.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It's been a few days...

So I gotta put something up here. First of all, I was right about Taylor King. I heard on the radio yesterday that the Philadelphia Inquirer broke the story. Bullshit. That was me. A week before they figured it out. Some thanks I get. Anyways, the real reason for this post hasn't anything to do with sports. As some of you may know, I post the link to my blog on Facebook and as my gmail status. I do so in hopes that it will increase traffic. Well, a few minutes ago, I notice that my friend Joie had done the same thing. And you know, the Golden Rule, do unto others ... blah blah blah, so I clicked. Boy was I pissed. I've had this blog since January and I've had 111 profile views and probably 100 of those were by me. Well, miss Lubbers already has like 243 and she's made four posts. Of course, her blog is cooler than mine ... and she's pretty much cooler than me, but still.

Anyways, I'm not tryin' to throw a pity party. To the contrary, I think you should check out her blog. I think that she is a great writer and possesses unparalleled originality. Refreshing.

CAUTION: There are pictures of caterpillars and the site has absolutely nothing to do with sports. (But it's cool anyway).

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Fantasy Basketball Update

Back on Jan. 20 (Why I will surge to fantasy basketball supremacy...) I explained to everyone, specifically my good friend Byrd that I would be atop the standings before you know it. Well, it took a while, but I am just two points from the top of the league and just as I said, Brian is poised for a free fall. He's been in first the better part of the season because he just plugs in all of is his players and lets it ride. Well, he's all out of games now, save the PG position, and doesn't have a chance of winning the league. He told me the the day before yesterday that he was too far ahead to be caught in any category. Yesterday, he dropped a point...narrowing his lead on me to just two. I'm roughly 80 points behind him in scoring. Plus, he's just 10 3-pointers above the current No. 3 seed, eight assists from losing a point and 10 steals ahead in that category. Those are all very small margins when you're a lame duck and the teams chasing you have remaining games. Now, I realize that none of my readers really care, but I just feel obligated to spell this out for our poor buddy Brian "Stephen A." Byrd. What a fitting name, considering that guy also talks out of his ass...haha.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What's in a name?

Below you will find a slideshow of some of sports' most unfortunately named souls. For this and other funny slideshows, like "The 10 Products Only Douchebags Buy", click here.

Houston, we have a problem.

And it's freakin' Roy Oswalt. This guy is killing me. Guy's given up eight runs in his first two starts and he's a perennial stud. Maybe it's a little to early to be in panic mode, but I've got a starting staff that consists of Carlos Zambrano, Oswalt, Pedro Martinez, Noah Lowry, Manny Parra and Zack Duke. I have a choke-hold on the league's closer situation, so I can undoubltedly land another stud, but a subpar season from Houston's ace would provide for a costly replacement. Concerned, I turned to the annals of baseball-reference.com. If you're a baseball enthusiast and have never heard of this site - GO THERE! It has everything. The single most comprehensive statistical site on the Web. Anyway, a little research eased my fears slightly. Oswalt had a rough first two starts in 2005, the year he went on to finish 20-12 and the Astros went to the World Series. That said, that rotation featured Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte and the trio all finished among the top five in the Cy Young voting. This season's rotation looks nothing like that one. I hope that doesn't mean bad things for Roy.

2008 NCAA National Title Game

Well, thankfully I never made a prediction on the final game. At least there was one thing I didn't get wrong. Honestly, I don't even know why I'm blogging about the game as I didn't see a second of it. Haven't even seen the highlights yet. Only heard updates over the radio en route to Chesapeake, Va. from Chapel Hill. That said, there are a few points I feel informed enough to touch on. Mainly the fact that Memphis couldn't hit its free throws down the stretch. After shooting something like 58 percent during the season as a team, they improved by nearly 20 percent during the NCAA tournament. Not real sure how a team gets hot from the line, but the Tigers did it. And more power to them.

Judging by the box score, it doesn't appear that Memphis forward Joey Dorsey was very effective. He had just two rebounds and fouled out after just 26 minutes. It also looks like the Tigers leaned a little to heavily on the 3-point shot, making just six of 22. From what I heard on the radio, they hit a couple of those late in the first half to keep things close at the break, so I would imagine that they went cold late.

There is one thing I can be sure of without watching a thing, though. Chris Douglas-Robers and Derrick Rose are outta here. And rightfully so. Douglas-Roberts was a Naismith Award finalist and Rose was the best point guard in the country.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Taylor King to Villanova?

Probably. At least that's what he told me on Friday night. He was asked often about his reasons for the move and did not speak negatively of Duke, the university he entered as a touted freshman sharp-shooter at the beginning of the season. He seemed to dance around the subject of why he left, saying he just needed a change, or something to that effect.

I did however, hear from a source close to the program that King had good reason for dodging the question. It seems his lifestyle was the biggest contributing factor to his departure, having drawn the ire of teammates like Kyle Singler, DeMarcus Nelson and others for his commitment to nightlife rather than to basketball. The source also told me that there were points during the season where Coach K would call King into the game and some of his teammates would tell their coach that they didn't want him in. With that sort of dissension, it's easy to see why King will be wearing a new uniform next season.

UN-Seriously?

OK. I took a day to let it all sink in. No need for hasty posts about North Carolina's terrible performance against Kansas in the national semi-final on Saturday night in San Antonio.

With that in mind, I still can't say that I've ever seen the Tar Heels play so poorly in my entire life. Say what you want about cutting a 28-point lead to four, but that deficit would have been cut to no closer than 10 if Kansas could've thrown the ball into the ocean for the first part of the second half. As excited as I was during the rally, hindsight made me realize that a Kansas bucket at any point during that span would've effectively staved off the comeback. And really, that's what happened.

I know better, but North Carolina didn't really look like it cared throughout. Roy Williams looked as stunned as his players, Tyler Hansbrough wasn't on the floor and for the first time all season, the Tar Heels appeared tired, beaten at their own game. It was a sad sight to behold for all UNC fans. The 40-12 deficit they faced in the first half hurt, in some ways, as bad as the 8-20 disaster of 2001-02. There were no ifs, ands or buts to turn to. It was just awful, depressing and any other negative term you can think of. The only good news that could come from the loss is the potential of Hansbrough, Lawson and/or Ellington to return next season. Hansbrough is a possibility, the others are a long shot.

We all know the cliche. Ya can't win 'em all. But it sure would've been nice to have a shot.

I watched a good portion of the contest feeling a bit like Forrest Gump; dazed, confused and bewildered. So I find it fitting to borrow a phrase in closing ...

That's about all I got to say about that.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Washington Nationals

Ok, I know what you're thinking. You read the title and think to yourself: "What could possibly be about the Washington Nationals and worth reading at the same time?"

Well, the fact that the Nationals will finish the 2008 season with a better record than the Atlanta Braves is about the only thing I can think of. And it's about to happen. I was astounded at the number of ESPN experts, Peter Gammons among them, that think that the Braves are the team to beat in the N.L. East. Gammons even has Atlanta in the World Series! Now, I might be a bigger Peter Gammons fan than I am a baseball fan, and that says a lot. But Pete and I will have to agree to disagree on this one, big time.

Now, I know what you're thinking - "Dude, we're four games into the year. Chill, moron." That's true. I'm not saying that the Nats' lead in the division is gonna last much longer. But I am saying that I wouldn't necessarily be surprised if it does. The biggest hole in this argument is starting pitching, that's obvious. When your staff is headed by Odalis Perez, you might have some trouble. But it's not out of the ordinary for pitchers who have struggled in season's past to have a breakout year. Perez could easily be one of those guys. He has experience in the National League on some winning teams. So hey, there are worse places to start.

The other spots on the roster are vastly improved. Elijah Dukes, Lastings Milledge and Austin Kearns are more than capable of putting up better-than-average numbers in the NL. I would venture to argue that if Dukes and Milledge can play to their potential (an opportunity they have yet to be provided with until now) you could be looking at one of the better outfield tandems in the league. The infield is equally under the radar. Ryan Zimmerman is an all-star caliber third baseman and Christian Guzman, Ron Belliard and Nick Johnson/Dimitri Young round out a respectable supporting cast. Paul LoDuca and Johnny Estrada will likely each see time behind the plate, and that veteran leadership should provide help to the staff and in the clubhouse.

And I haven't even mentioned Nationals Park, the team's new $611 million facility.


If that doesn't boost the team morale, I don't suppose that anything will.

Remember, I'm not saying these guys are headed to the playoffs. I'm just saying they're gonna surprise a lot of people. Especially the Atlanta Braves.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

2008 Final Four

Well, my bracket is back to toilet paper status, but at least San Antonio will be interesting. There has never been a Final Four with all No. 1 seeds which is interesting, since that seems to be the point of the whole tournament, seeing the best teams compete for the title. Yeah, Davidson was a good story. Yeah, George Mason was cool a few years ago. But they aren't the best teams in college basketball. Two years ago, Florida won the title and lost six games in the SEC. Not the best team in basketball.

Anyway, that's not what the story is about. It's time for a bracket breakdown of the No. 1's.

We've got North Carolina and Kansas. We've got Memphis-UCLA. Here's the scary stat, one of those that should be obvious, but never is:

Combined record: 143-9!!!

This is the way it should be every year. These four have proven themselves as the top four all season long. The only reason we need the NCAA tournament is to fulfill our need to think that we can accurately guess the outcome of 63 games. All that said, I can at least get three games right, right? Honestly, I think predicting the outcome of this year's Final Four is equally as difficult as the entire bracket is. Any one of the teams involved could earn the crown.

UCLA (35-3, 16-2 PAC-10) vs. Memphis (37-1, 16-0 C-USA)
Saturday, April 5, 2008 - 6:07 EST

Memphis is athletic and hungry. UCLA is established and strong. I think the Tigers are going to be clawing from the jump. There is no other team in the country with the athleticism possessed by Memphis, not even North Carolina. It will be interesting to see how head coach John Calipari attempts to come at Kevin Love, which is the only element the Bruins have that the Tigers don't. Memphis has done a lot to prove that it's cake-walk of a conference schedule lends little to the suggestion that they aren't elite title contenders.

Memphis is poised to win this one convincingly for one reason: they can score. So much emphasis is placed upon defense, and rightfully so in many cases. But people are quick to forget that the object of the game is to score more points than the other team. If you're team has enough talent to do that, then you're gonna win - plain and simple. Memphis is one of two teams in the NCAA with that capability.

Bottom line: Memphis 75, UCLA 64

Kansas (35-3, 13-3 Big 12) vs. North Carolina (36-2, 14-2 ACC)

This is certainly the match-up with the most hype. The Roy Williams faces Kansas storyline is already getting worn out. To me, that's not that big of a deal. Sure the people are probably still pissed at him, but there is no one on that team that Williams recruited, so get over it.

This is, however, the game that I've been waiting for all season. I think that these are the best two teams in the country. They match-up very well, though I doubt Sasha Kaun will be of much worth sharing the paint with Tyler Hansbrough. All other elements provide for an exciting clash. Both teams can get out and run with it and can even slow down the pace and play a half-court game if necessary. Field goal percentage will be key, the way I see it, because the winner will need to knock down shots and make the most of its opportunities off turnovers and on the offensive glass to get the edge.

Bottom line: North Carolina 88, Kansas 85

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Jose Canseco

The way I see it, Canseco is sorta like baseball's ex-wife. You figure that he's probably just bitching and moaning because he feels like he was done wrong and is owed something by the one he cheated on to begin with. But you also have to keep in mind that, even though his actions are perceived as wrong, perhaps there are two sides to the story. Any woman that is creeping around on her man with another guy will surely be frowned upon. But if the guy's at the strip joint four nights outta the week can you really blame her?

Yeah, so Canseco was squeezing more syringes than a RN during flu season throughout "The era". But why should he take the blame when he was just one of hundreds doing the same thing (according, more or less, to the Mitchell Report). At least, that's probably how he feels. So I don't find it surprising at all that he has villified some of the game's other big names on his way to rock bottom. I think it's easy for some to forget how big Caseco was during his time ... and I'm not just talking about his upper-half. The guy was the guy. In his eyes Clemens, A-Rod, McGwire ... these guys have been getting a pass, even vaulted upon a pedestal, despite committing the same crime. While it's hard to know for sure just how much of his allegations are true, Canseco passed the test, in my eyes, with the publication of Juiced, his first book. He said then, and appears to be standing by that now, that there were untold numbers of players involved. And, what has happened? A new, completely unexpected name drops. Slowly, but surely. Just like Canseco has said all along.

The federal government has known about the mafia all along. Still, they can't stop its shenanigans because of the intricate nature of the crime, rights to privacy and loopholes in the system. The same holds true with baseball and the steroids problem. No one knows how many, or how high into baseball's front office the siutation goes. There's no way to eliminate the problem overnight, or even in a reasonable amount of time. But like it or not, it's rats like Canseco that provide the only option of getting to the bottom of things. Better listen up, people.

Not so fast...

Well perhaps my bracket isn't so terrible after all. As it stands, Davidson is paying HUGE dividends. Enough, in fact, to cover the debauchery of taking UConn in the Final Four and K-State i the Elite Eight. In one pool of about 140, I'm sitting in a three-way tie for seventh, just six points out of the lead. I'm in the 86th percentile on Yahoo!. Not too bad, all things considered. I have 12 of 16, six of eight and three of four remaining, so I obviously need to stay hot to be in the money. But the way I see it, if Carolina tops Texas for the title, I'm rakin' in $735 for first place.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good thing no one peed in these kids' cornflakes

OK, this is just insane. This is bigger news than any upset in NCAA history. Surfing the Web this morning, a little hungover, I find this. I don't know which is more astounding, the fact that two kids who aren't even old enough to drive past 9 p.m. actually thought an Illinois-shaped Corn Flake was worth saving and selling, or that some fool payed $1,350 for it!

Monty Kerr of Austin, Texas told the Associated Press that he intended to put the item on display at a traveling museum.

"We're starting a collection of pop culture and Americana items," Kerr said. "We thought this was a fantastic one."

I don't know what this guy is putting in his Corn Flakes, but if I were to roll up in his museum and find that the main attraction was Illinois-shaped Corn Flake, I would demand a refund.

Only in America...

Friday, March 21, 2008

I'm out of toilet paper...

But worry not my friends, I printed out my bracket. And after UConn coughed up a choke-job against San Diego, I'll be able to wipe my ass with it. Good call, Staton.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

This beef ain't over...

Each year I take every college coach's advice when filling out my bracket: "We're just trying to take things one game at a time... ." Unfortunately, that's about the only cliche that works come tourney time. But while some teams might look ridiculous in the Sweet 16 or Elite 8, if you just go a game at a time, sometimes things don't seem so crazy.

So here is my rendition of the Final Four, which are the four teams that make my bracket better than yours, seeded in order:

(4) Texas. They come in as my No. 4 because I'm guessing that there are plenty of people out there that are probably seeing this the same way I do. Texas heads to Little Rock, Ark. for its first and second round match-ups. Since it's hard to see them having any problems whatsoever with (15) Austin Peay or (7) Miami, that brings them back in state for the duration of the tourney. Texas is good as it is. With a home court advantage, I have them headed to the championship final.

(3) Davidson. Probably one of the most talked about first round games (besides Kansas State and USC, which we'll get to in a minute) out there. I think that Davidson is too good to lose in the first round. The only managed a 10-seed, but they played a suicidal schedule. I love it. Knowing that you're playing for a tournament spot from day one and not being scared to take on the big dogs. For me, that's gonna pay off. Not only when they top Gonzaga, but really when they upset Georgetown in Raleigh to head to the Sweet 16.

(2) Connecticut. San Diego? No brainer. Drake? Not exactly going out on a limb. UCLA? That's balls, buddy. Haven't seen any statistics, but I would think that UCLA would be one of the most popular picks to go all the way. The way I see it, if you want big rewards, you have to take big risks. That's why I have Connecticut pulling of the huge upset and following it up by knocking off Xavier on its way to San Antonio.

(1) Kansas State. Can't win if you don't have a sleeper. I admit, K. State/USC is a crap shoot, and certainly set up on purpose. Should be a great game considering the talent on display. I see Michael Beasley out-dueling O.J. Mayo and getting on a roll. From round one, they'll ride that confidence to a second round upset of Wisconsin to meet Davidson in the round of 16. And in one of the most exciting games of the tournament Kansas State will outlast Davidson, setting up another meeting between Kansas and Kansas State. That will give Beasley one last shot to put his money where his mouth is. But I'm not going that far. Putting them in the Elite 8 shakes my bracket up just fine, thank you. Kansas should win easily to join North Carolina, Texas and Connecticut in the Final Four.

March Madness

Well, it's been about a month since the last post ... sorry to my plethora of readers. But what better time to come out of retirement than the Blogger's dream scenario? Nah, I didn't agree to a 6-year deal. And, as best as I can tell, no one has signed on to read any of this jargon. But it is time for the madness. My bracket is ready to roll through the pools. Of course, I have the Tar Heels taking the title. Bias? I honestly don't give a shit. This is my blog, not the DTH. In all honesty, I think there are quite a few teams that could claim the crown, but North Carolina simply has the most guns, despite the fact that they got shafted in the region. I filled out two brackets. One on Yahoo!, where a perfect bracket wins a $5 million--straight cash, homey. The other at joe-james.com, a site referred to me by a friend. That one has me in a pool of about 130. You can go there to see my picks (I'm on tab 3, under "Brandon S", next to last column).

I'll use another post to break it down...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Poor Ol' Rocky Top...

Ninety-nine years it took Tennessee's men's basketball team to attain the top spot in the NCAA. Something like 2,754 games? All that and the poor bastards couldn't even stay there longer than a day-and-a-half. Of course, they get the honor for a week, by virtue of the poll's release date. But now, rather than being a prideful exclamation mark signifying that men really are good at basketball too, it will serve as an albatross until they are inevitably overtaken on Monday afternoon.

Honestly, I can't say that I really gave the telecast my undivided attention. Like everyone else, I pretty much knew that the Vols weren't going to hang in Vandy. What's more insulting than the fact that they ever even attained the top spot in the nation is the fact that they won't even get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. If you asked me right now, those honors would have to go to Memphis, UNC, Kansas and UCLA. It's not so much a wins-and-losses argument as it is who's just plain better. Don't get me wrong, none of the four mentioned are unbeatable by any stretch of the imagination. None of them have even distanced themselves enough to be called a favorite. There are about a dozen teams that could make a run to San Antonio, which is great for college basketball.

But the bottom line is that Tennessee just doesn't have what it takes to consistently win big games. They are forever getting ousted in the SEC tourney as well as at the NCAA's. And after their loss at Vanderbilt on Monday, there is just no reason to think this year will be any different.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Well, well, well...

Isn't it ironic that the day after Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski's jab at North Carolina's injury report hits the news, his team would travel to Miami and watch his team get its ass beat? You can talk all you want about "the comeback," but a comeback isn't a comeback unless you get a W in the end. Duke, of course, didn't.

If my memory serves me correctly (and it does), the rival Tar Heels won by 16 at Coral Gables. Of course, each game is different. I'm smart enough not to pull the "we beat the team Duke lost to by a lot so we must be way better than them" crap, but a healthy UNC beats a healthy Duke by double-digits seven out of 10 times. So, while I said in the post following UNC's loss to Duke at home that I wasn't going to pull the injury card, I've been appalled by how many Dookies seem to think that Duke would've won regardless of whether Lawson played or not. Seriously, Lawson has six more turnovers than backup point Quentin Thomas ... IN 200 MORE MINUTES! Not to mention the fact that his 13.5 points per game erase an 11-point deficit.

Anyway, Dook lost to Miami for the first time in 45 years. I love it. It better not slip against N.C. State prior to hosting the presumably healthy Tar Heels on March 8. Otherwise they can kiss the state of North Carolina goodbye when the NCAA tourney begins.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Johan Santana will win 30 games this season

Yep, that's right. You heard it here first. It hasn't been done since the Year of the Pitcher, 1968, when Denny McClain of the world champion Detroit Tigers won 31. That same year, Bob Gibson had an astounding 1.12 ERA, the best ever for a starting pitcher. The pitching was so good that year, in fact, that Major League Baseball made the decision to lower the mound to 12-inches. The numbers have rarely come close since.

Well, that's all about to change. Here's why:

Last season, Santana was 15-13 with the Minnesota Twins and the Twinkies were 17-16 in games that he started. In the games in which he received a loss, or a no decision in which his team went on to lose, the Twins came up an average of 2.25 runs short. In Santana's losses and no decisions, his team scored just 2.5 runs per game. That doesn't account for the support lended specficially to him. So, in the 18 games in which he lost or did not factor in the decision, his impressive 3.33 ERA was undermined by his team's anemic offense. The Twins finished 12th in the AL in runs per game, averaging 4.4.

His new team, the New York Mets, have no such difficulties, finishing 4th in the NL, averaging just fewer than five runs per contest (4.96). Might not seem like much, but it is. Four-and-a-half runs in the AL is probably about 3.75 in the NL. A 3.33 ERA would be much lower also. All of this numerical jargon equates to Santana having the kind of season that baseball hasn't seen in decades.

Therefore, when Santana wins his 30th game in his last start of the regular season, I'm sending this to PTI. My projected line for Santana:

W L ERA IP WHIP K BB
30 2 2.04 240.3 0.89 273 48

Davis dealt to Hakeem Bumped Starks

Good Lourdes! is again making headlines again, this time dealing Golden State point guard, and all-star snub, Baron Davis and Washington center Brendan Haywood to Hakeem Bumped Starks for Phoenix all-star point guard Steve Nash and Philadelphia center Samuel Delambert. As of the all-star break, I'm on the verge of picking up about nine points during the next couple of weeks which is huge with about 30 games left in the regular season. The deal breaks even in 3-pointers, where I'm virtually guaranteed to move from seven points to 13 by season's end. The other intriguing stat is assists, where the bonus from Nash should get me over the hump. That should move me from eight points to as high as 13. Good Lourdes! currently sits in a tie for seventh with 71 points. That said, the league's top two teams, at 90 and 86 are on the verge of hitting their maximum games limit at several positions in a matter of 2-3 weeks, so they should fall from grace just in time for my late season run.

The most important reason for getting Davis moved before the March 5 trade deadline was the fact that Davis has not played a full season in the past seven - averaging just 47 games during that span. Given the fact that he's already played 52 games and is averaging more than 39 minutes per, it's time to sell high. Davis has played in more than 52 games just three times in the last seven seasons, including 54 in 2005-06. While I feel that my team was in great shape statistically with Davis leading the way, I'm not willing to bank on him not hitting the injury report down the stretch.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Finally...

It's fantasy baseball season. Well, almost. But I consider it so whenever Yahoo! lets me sign up. I'm questionable when it comes to fantasy football and basketball, I'll admit, but baseball is different. I'll take on anybody.

This year I'll get to see how good I really am. I'm joining a keeper league that has 10 teams and drafts from an NL only pool. I'm taking over a team ... one that's completely awful:


Inside Out


Player MLB Salary
Contract
Schneider, Brian C NYM A 1 A
Snyder, Chris C ARI A 1 A
Belliard, Ronnie 2B WAS A 1 A
Durham, Ray 2B SF A 10 A
Ensberg, Morgan 3B NYY M 26 B
Furcal, Rafael SS LA A 30 B
Rollins, Jimmy SS PHI A 26 A
Tracy, Chad 3B ARI A 13 A
Berkman, Lance 1B HOU A 21 C
Branyan, Russell 3B STL U 1 A
Conine, Jeff 1B NYM U 1 A
McLouth, Nate CF PIT A 7 A
Mench, Kevin RF TEX M 1 A
Spilborghs, Ryan CF COL A 10 A
Bell, Heath RP SD A 10 A
Davis, Doug SP ARI A 13 A
Hernandez, Orlando SP NYM A 8 A
Isringhausen, Jason RP STL A 26 C
Johnson, Randy SP ARI A 21 A
Looper, Braden SP STL A 10 A
Patton, Troy SP BAL A 7 A
Stults, Eric SP LA A 7 A
Williams, Woody SP HOU A 1 B
Willis, Dontrelle SP DET A 30 B
TOTALS Active: 24, Active Salary: 282, Total Salary: 282


All of the contracts are current as of the end of last year, so each has advanced to the year beyone what you see. In Lehman's terms, everyone you see with a C contract is gone. I have to keep a minimum of seven players and a max of 15. Needless to say, I'm going with the former.

My keepers are: Jimmy Rollins, Orlando Hernandez, Ray Durham, Brian Schneider, Chris Snyder, Braden Looper and Nate McLouth.

That gives me $217 of cap space to fill the extremely large amount of holes that I have. First on the list of potential acquisitions is, of course, Johan Santana. Looks like he's gonna go $40+, though, so nabbing him is far from a guarantee. As of now, my alternative is Marlins LHP Andrew Miller, whom I watched lead the North Carolina Tar Heels to a runner-up finish in the College World Series in 2006. Of course, the talent of the two is hardly comparable at this point, but Miller is sure to get a spot in the rotation and sure to be a heckuva lot cheaper than Santana. If he pans out, then I should have about a $15 lefty for three years.

Some of the big name free agents are as follows:

Carlos Lee
Aaron Harang
Jason Isringhausen
Brian McCann
Ryan Howard
Matt Holliday
Willy Taveras
Jeff Francoeur
David Wright
Ken Griffey
Ryan Dempster
Brad Penny
Andruw Jones
John Smoltz
Chad Cordero

As you can see, there are only 15 notable players that are guaranteed to be available. Drop lists are due about two weeks before the draft, which is March 29, so that is sure to add to the pool, but I'm gonna need some serious help on the mound. That will pretty much force my hand on either Santana or Miller depending on how my money looks. Hopefully people won't be to giddy and bring up Santana's name first, though that's highly unlikely.

Either way, I'm guaranteeing a finish of sixth or better. Considering the wretched team I've inherited, I don't think that's half bad.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Clemens is in deep doo-doo

Dude, Roger Clemens is getting grilled by Elijah E. Cummings right now and it's not looking good for Clemens. He has repeatedly been asked by Cummings if he realized that he was under oath, to which he keeps responding "I do." Despite the heat, Clemens keeps denying openly and definitively that he ever used HGH. Despite that, the testimony of Andy Pettitte completely refutes everything that Clemens is saying. They might not bust him for PED's, but perjury looks inevitable.

Friday, February 8, 2008

UNC takes a Dookie on home court

Well, it's been a couple days now. The loss still hurts, but all things considered, I guess I'm ready to move on. First things first - I'm not going to bitch about North Carolina guard Ty Lawson not playing. If I went to Dook, and my most important player weren't playing, and we lost, I'd be crying a river about the only reason why we lost is because said player wasn't in the lineup. Tar Heels are better than that, so let's take a look at what sent UNC to the loss column.

Foremost, Dook was lights out. Easily their best performance of the year. They outscored UNC by 30 from the 3-point line, isolating North Carolina's largest defensive weakness. That was the difference, plain and simple. You give me another game when the Blue Devils have shot 30 3's and hit 45 percent of them and I won't call it a fluke.

A quick glance at the numbers might suggest that senior Quentin Thomas played well in the absence of the injured Lawson. Thomas scored 10 points to go with seven assists. But if you think that's a respectable line, you clearly weren't watching the game. Thomas cost the Tar Heels, big time. His six turnovers were five more than Lawson had in the previous three games! And Lawson had 20 assists during that span. The game was a continuum of potential game-changing posessions and it never seemed that UNC could convert when it needed to, largely because Thomas has an incomprehensible need to leave his feet before finding someone to pass the ball to. That said, we all knew we were in trouble with QT. Personally, I love him anyway. He's just not cut out to lead one of the best teams in the nation, much less against Dook.

Another problem, and maybe I'm whining a little here, was Deon Thompson's foul trouble. Overall, I have to say that the game was very well officiated. I think each team caught its share of breaks and there was no one call that really stood out as being awful. But I do feel that some of the touch fouls whistled against Thompson were unnecessary and cost the Tar Heels in the long run. Thompson looked great, as he has several times recently. But his 12 points came in just 18 minutes and two or three of the fouls called against hime were 40 feet from the basket. I feel that in a game of this magnitude, you have to let the teams play.

Considering everything that happened, I feel confident that the Tar Heels can rectify their loss come March 8. Presumably Lawson will be up and running again by then and Dook simply has no answer whatsoever for him. Paulus couldn't guard Ty Lawson if the court were a 4x4 square, let alone on the break. And we all know that Paulus will never go 6-for-8 from 3 again in his life.

Merry Christmas New Jersey!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

This one is over...

Lawson just drew a foul from Blair, giving him four, and the Tar Heels are 24 points out in front. North Carolina's defense looks much, much better since Roy freaked on everybody and Boston College looks ripe to lose by 50.

Tyrelle Blair just picked up his third fould...

Man, there's a lot going on in this one. Blair just picked up his third foul with just under eight minutes to go. You have to think that he'll sit the rest of the half, so look for some points in the paint now that the Eagles' 6-foot-11-inch center is ridin' the pine.

Roy is pissed...

He was just screaming, loud enough for me to hear it on T.V., as five substitutes waited to check in.

Perimeter defense...

Or lack there of. I just watched Roy Williams drop his head toward the floor following a 3-pointer by Tyrese Rice. It looked like Marcus Ginyard got confused because Ty Lawson came up the court near Rice, then crossed to cover another man. Ginyard was late getting over and didn't really even get a hand in Rice's face. I'm pretty sure it was Boston College's fifth of the game, which would account for 15 of their 17 points.

Boston College at No. 3 North Carolina

The Tar Heels just won the opening tip and still have the ball with 10 seconds on the shot clock. Their first look was an uncharacteristic mid-range jumper from Tyler Hansbrough that drew back iron. But Wayne Ellington gathered the rebound and about a 14-footer to get what has become a 6-0 run started. That was followed by what looked like a terrible blocking call. Deon Thompson looked pretty planted in the lane, but Roy didn't flip out too much. This is exactly the kind of start that UNC has needed in an ACC game as they haven't looked this sharp since throttling N.C. State back on Jan. 12.

A lot of talk has been about their lack of defense, an area in which the Tar Heels deserve criticism. The more interesting point, I think, is that UNC hasn't shot more than 50 percent from the field in its last six games. That's a telling stat. It's now 14-4, though, so they're off to a much better start.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Are you Kidd-ing?

If the Cleveland Cavaliers don't make a serious run at Jason Kidd, then they're running the risk of the unthinkable: losing Lebron. I don't mean today, tomorrow or even this season, but James has already muttered about the lack of a supporting cast - and deservedly so. General manager Danny Ferry needs to get moving as soon as possible on a deal to bring Kidd to Cleveland. Even though Kidd is a veteran superstar, conflict with Lebron, on or off the court, is hard to imagine. I'm guessing that a deal with New Jersey would have to include Daniel Gibson, some draft picks and maybe even a guy like Ilgauskas. Regardless, the Cavs should be willing to move anyone and everyone not named Lebron James to bring in Kidd, who is nearly averaging a triple-double this season.

Kidd's shooting woes would be a non-factor with Lebron to dish the ball to, and the Cavs would be significant challengers to the Celtics come playoff time. It's scary to think where this team could go, considering they rode the shoulders of James all the way to the NBA Finals last season. It simply isn't fair to ask Lebron to carry the load alone and thus far the Cavs have been virtually invisible in trying to bring in a noteworthy accomplice.

You have to think that as unselfish as Lebron seems to be, he will have to get tired of underacheiving after awhile. And as great as Lebron James is, he can't win alone every season. Kidd is getting old, but he would make the Cavaliers a contender right away and give them time to use the draft to their advantage, assuming they don't give it all away in acquiring him.