Friday, March 27, 2009

Parcells to visit UNC

Miami Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Bill Parcells will make a trip to Chapel Hill tomorrow to have a look at former North Carolina football stars Hakeem Nicks and Richard Quinn. Nicks' name has bounced around mock draft boards and the Tar Heels' all-time leading receiver is certain to land in the first round. Quinn, on the other hand has managed to fly under the radar for many experts. But one look at his 6-foot-4-inch, 260-pound frame and you can't help but think that he's worth a look. Apparently Parcells does, anyway. And he's not the only one. Quinn has been courted by several NFL teams including the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. Currently, it seems that Quinn is targeted around the fifth-round. But his stock seems to be rising very quickly.

Nicks, on the other hand, couldn't see his stock get much higher after he posted a sub-4.5 40 at the combine earlier this year, but then had some scouts concerned when the 6-foot WR showed up at the University of North Carolina Pro Day 14 pounds heaver - 226 lbs. Regardless, Nicks stood on his 40 time and, to me, seems a great fit with several teams - mainly Indianapolis, the New York Giants, and Minnesota.

I don't even want to hear it

The Dookies are already starting. Excuses for why they got blown out just don't exist this time. No refs, no ifs, no ands, no buts. The defense played by Villanova was the best I've ever seen, period. Every single time down the court, the 'Cats were absolutely hounding the ball - for 40 minutes. Duke's glaring defect of having zero transition game finally caught up with them. So did the fact that they don't have as many stars as people think they do. Gerald Henderson is legit ... well, was legit. He'll be a lottery pick in the draft, so good luck replacing the only threat you've got, Mike. Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler cannot take a game over. The two get so much credit for being great scorers, but they cannot create for themselves - a cornerstone of most (most, because J.J. Redick couldn't create either) great scorers. Luckily they're part of an offense that creates for them. But as we saw last night, when all else fails, you have to be able to look into the teeth of a good defense and find a way to score, especially if you cannot beat a team downcourt and keep them from setting up. Every team from here on out has players that are capable of that, and most are good in transition. That's the difference between being able to win 30 games, or whatever, in the regular season, and being able to win six in the NCAA tournament.

Mike Krzyzweski may have done as good a job as he ever has to get this year's Duke team as far as he did, and it takes a lot for me to compliment the guy. He really is a great coach, but you can't coach what you don't have. And from the tip, the Blue Devils really didn't have a chance.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Fantasy Baseball Roster

I owned this draft. Enough said. My roster is as follows:

C - Matt Iannetta
1B - Derek Lee
2B - Dan Uggla
3B - Jorge Cantu
SS - Hanley Ramirez
OF - Adam Dunn
OF - Ichiro Suzuki
OF - Jacoby Ellsbury
Util - Carlos Delgado

Bench: Pat Burrell, Jim Thome, Michael Bourn, Matt LaPorta

SP - Tim Lincecum
SP - Josh Beckett
RP - Brian Wilson
RP - Troy Percival
P - Max Scherzer
P - Edinson Volquez
P - Jair Jurrjens

Bench: Jeff Samardzija

Talk to you all in September when I'm crowned champion.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I guess I should be ashamed of myself...

... but can anyone tell me what is going on with this Anoop guy? I know he's from Chapel Hill. I know he's rockin' American Idol. But the only reason I know either of these truths is because the kid seems to be a Facebook icon. I mean, ain't nobody texting in votes for me to graduate. And let's be honest, I've been working on that a hell of a lot longer than this guy has been on the show. Didn't he already get kicked off? And now he's back? How does that work? I haven't watched AI more than a couple of times since William Hung signed a million-dollar record deal. That, and the fact that I cannot sing, pissed me off enough to decide, once and for all, that I was done with such nonsense. Now, it seems, I'm missing the boat on something pretty cool. I know that several of my friends are (or claim to be) friends with him, maybe even a few of you readers. But it would serve me, and my blog, well if you would post comments that might direct me toward a clue.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Three weeks ago, I posted that LeBron was better than Michael. And behold, thinks so too! (They must be reading my blog). Just wanted all of you to know that I wasn't completely full of crap.

And by the way, why is everyone voting for UConn. as the first No. 1 seed out of the tournament? Have you been watching? Is it because you think Purdue is going to beat them? If that's the case, then God, I hope you're not betting on these games...

Earth to Brandon Costner...

The NBA Draft? Are you serious? Kevin Costner has a better chance of getting drafted this year. Not to be deterred however, N.C. State's Brandon Costner announced yesterday that he will forgo his senior season. He's fresh off a season in which he averaged 13.6 points per game. That's not enough to even crack the top 20 in the ACC. He was 17th in the conference in rebounding, with six per. Both of those numbers are about even with his career averages. Considering his freshman season, maybe I'm being a little harsh, but not very. Someone might draft this guy - under the condition that he gets "D-League" tattooed on his forehead. The mock drafts that I've seen have North Carolina's Danny Green as a late second round pick. To me, that would put Costner somewhere in the fifth round ... which, of course, does not exist. That presents a problem. If Costner were smart, which he is (he'll earn his degree in Communications in May), he would test the waters overseas. In what seemed to be a popular trend last season, Costner could head to Europe for awhile to work on his consistency, and actually get paid for it. If he decides to go the NBA route, there is just no way, based on what he's showed so far, that he is going to magically become a consistent presence over the course of an 82-game season. I'm not hating on the guy ... really. I like Costner's game, or his potential game anyway. But for right now, this jump doesn't seem to make much sense.

Monday, March 23, 2009

So Far, Toe Good

My bracket is hanging in there, and so are the Tar Heels. Honestly, I didn't get to see much of either game North Carolina played this weekend. Ordinarily, I would seriously consider taking a temporary leave of absence in order to assure myself the opportunity to plant myself on the couch and yell at the television each weekend of March, but given the state of the economy, I guess I better do my best to keep my job. That said, I think, going into the LSU game, that it didn't make a whole lot of sense to play Lawson. I guess that's why they pay Roy and not me. A loss to the Tigers looked likely in hindsight had he not played. Lawson's 21 in the second half bailed out UNC and moved the team to Memphis for the Sweet 16. Back in Chapel Hill after the game, Lawson was back in the boot, but walking around without a noticeable limp. He appeared to be OK, though I'm sure he was given some medicine to ease any swelling or pain following his courageous showing in Greensboro.

The way things almost turned out, though, Lawson's play wouldn't have been the only break the Tar Heels got. The Zags looked iffy against Western Kentucky. Likely that will not be the case next Friday when they square off with North Carolina. In fact, it won't be easy at all for UNC should they get past Gonzaga, as they'll continue to run into teams with good guard play the rest of the way, making Lawson more important to the team than he has ever been in his entire career - and he's been awfully important. It is imperative that UNC has Lawson to counter other guards that are likely to expose the Tar Heels defensively. And the suspense is sure to only highten as long as this injury lingers. Guess we'll just have to stay on our toes ...

(Sorry, I had to.)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mike Gminski is a bitch

Heard about this on the radio today and had to share it. For those of you who don't know who Mike Gminski in, don't worry. You're not missing anything. He is a terrible broadcaster, on a terrible station (Raycom), who played for a terrible team (Duke) and has maintained a terrible haircut for a terribly long period of time. With all this in mind, I can't say that I was surprised when I heard one of the guys from 99.9 FM The Fan (ESPN Radio here in the RTP area) recount a scene from the ACC tournament in Atlanta which completely solidfied my stance that Mike Gminski is a douchebag. I think it was Mike Maniscalco from the The Sports Lunch with Mike Maniscalco who broke this one, but I cannot confirm that, although I sent an e-mail to try and find out. According to whomever it was, following the ACC tournament championship on Sunday, the media gathered onto a shuttle at the Georgia Dome that would head back to the media hotel. Now, I have experience with this sort of shuttle and it is not much different, I would assume, from any other shuttle. Aisle, two seats on each side, not particularly comfortable, but a hell of a lot better than walking 10 miles in the cold and rain with a laptop strapped to your shoulder to get back to the hotel.

Well, as the media shuttle filled, an unnamed reporter filed on to find that the only seat left was next to Gminski and contained Gminski's bag, which he refused to move - making his fellow media minion return to the unforgiving weather outside and wait for the next shuttle to arrive. I hope to God that, no matter what I become in life, I never have to resort to being that big of an asshole. I mean, it would be one thing if this guy had ever done anything worthy of being a prick. But his success in the ACC weighed against his pro career can be equated to that high school stud we're all familiar with that wound up with more DUIs than made field goals at some Division III school.

So I'm going to take this opportunity to put Mike Gminski in his place, by comparing Gminski's rookie card (pictured), to that of someone who does matter - and someone who went to North Carolina for that matter. Gminski's 1981-'82 Topps RC is currently on eBay for a whopping $1.97. This item has zero bids. Get it while it's hot. Michael Jordan's rookie card has been listed for three hours. It has nine bids, topping out at $710 so far. It has four days, 21 hours, 28 minutes to go. If Michael was on the bus and wanted a seat for his bag, I think it would be safe to say he's earned it. But, Mike Gminski, if you were important enough to be within 50 yards of a real man like MJ, he'd move his ratty burlap bag and give you the last seat on the bus. But let's face it, you're not that important. I hope that guy that stood out in the cold doesn't mistake you for Will Ferrell and is able to tell everyone he knows what a loser that you really are.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Who cares?

Watching Duke win the ACC championship is nauseating. The only thing making it easier is the fact that everyone knows that the team is a joke and won't last in the NCAA tourney. I'm not just coming up with this because North Carolina didn't win the conference championship that it obviously deserved, despite the fact that it may seem to be my primary motivation.

Instead, I took a look at various top seeds from the other power conferences and how they did in what has honestly become a meaningless exhibition prior to the NCAA tournament. I understand that teams can use the platform to get on a roll heading into the field of 64, much like Duke has. The Blue Devils were a team that desperately needed some cohesion if it had any hope of navigating to the latter stages of the championship chase. But the fact of the matter remains - Duke is not a title contender. Missouri isn't a title contender. Syracuse isn't a title contender. Neither are many of the teams that used their respective conference tournaments to either get in the NCAAs or to perhaps crawl up a spot in the upcoming seeding.

The way I see it, there are seven possible champions: North Carolina, Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma, Connecticut and maybe Michigan State. Memphis and Louisville are the only two of those teams who won their conference tournaments (and Memphis might as well be the only team in C-USA), and the only two to even compete for that matter. You can't tell me that five of the seven bona fide title contenders weren't good enough even get to the conference finals. The truth of the matter is that no one cares about conference championships as much as they used to. None of these teams had anything to gain from winning their respective conferences and it showed in their play. With the exception of the two winners and UConn, which lost what may have been the greatest college basketball game of all time, no one really seemed to have any fire. Even Huskies players were saying the presser after the game that they didn't care; at a certain point, they just wanted somebody to win so that they could go home.

More and more, conference tournaments are becoming isolated NITs. That's why Duke's win of the ACC doesn't amount to a hill of beans to me.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Maybe the best prank ever

With Maryland taking on Duke in the ACC tournament today, I'm going to find myself rooting for the Terrapins, right along with the rest of the meanest, most heartless fans in America. Now, I have a ton of respect for Maryland fans. They've won before, generally, they're not dorks, and their gimmicks are a hell of a lot better than Duke's. This video that someone put me on to is a perfect example of how undeniably ... just wrong (and hysterical) these people are.

Friday, March 13, 2009

You put the No. 1 seed in, you knock the No. 8 seed out

Well, I'm supposed to be court-side at the ACC tournament in Atlanta, Ga., but I'm not. So instead of bringing you anything cool, I'm just gonna regurgitate the stuff all of you have already seen. North Carolina's win wasn't pretty, but I didn't expect it to be in the team's first game without Ty Lawson. I heard an interesting fact on the radio here in Virginia. No team in NCAA history has ever lost the first game of its conference tournament and gone on to win the NCAA championship. Also, today marked the first time in ACC history that the tourney did not feature the conference player of the year.

UNC did itself some good on both of those fronts. I thought before the tournament started that the best decision for the Tar Heels was to sit Lawson. There are various theories regarding conference tournaments as necessary warm-ups to the big dance, but the way I look at it is that if you haven't figured it out in the first 30 games, then you just ain't going to. Resting Lawson gives the back-up guys a chance to get into a rhythm and Lawson an extra week of rest. In theory, I would argue that you have to consider even sitting Lawson to open the NCAA tourney if that foot is still iffy. You're not going to lose to the No. 16 seed. And if you think that you can get through Round 2, then all of the sudden he's had a whole extra week to rest, and should give the team a huge confidence boost heading down the stretch. But Roy knows (and gets paid) a heckuva lot more than I do, so I'll leave such decisions to him.

I didn't really care who won the Va. Tech/Miami match-up on Thursday, although I was disappointed to see Jack McClinton struggle the way he did. He's been a huge asset to the ACC both on the court and off, evidenced by the Skip Prosser Award he won for being a scholar athlete. I would have to think that he'll wind up in the NBA, but you wish a guy like that would get a shot to make some noise in the next round.

For now, it's Boston College entering the second half up 29-22 on Duke. The Blue Devils are the biggest flop since Vlade Divac. Not sure I'm going to give this game much more of my time...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ty Game

Though the path was rocky at times, North Carolina capped off its ACC season with a win at home against Duke to give the Tar Heels the conference title that everyone expected would be theirs when the year began. Thirty games into the nation's third-toughest schedule, Carolina stands at 27-3 with the regular season ACC title under its belt, but the Tar Heels certainly do not stand alone in terms of favorites to win it all. That said, I think we've learned a lot about UNC this season. My sharpest recollection of the Tar Heels' title run in 2005 is the manner in which they dominated the competition in the ACC. North Carolina's 15 in-conference regular-season wins in '05 came by an average of 20.4 points per game. If you think about it, that's staggering. To put that number in perspective, this year's 13 wins came by an average of 14.5.

I still consider the Tar Heels to be the favorite to win it all, don't get me wrong. But there are far more threats posed to this year's team than the previous championship squad. That really speaks of the parity we currently find in college basketball. Regardless of what happens from here, though, today's game was one to remember, as always. A win against Duke is really the only fitting end to Tyler Hansbrough's career at the University. His speech after the game was moving, and proved that though he appears aloof on the court, there are some wheels turning inside that head of his. It was good to see him get a chance to share his feelings and a show that he understands of what he has meant to the program and what the program has meant to him.

But even though Hansbrough has been great and leads UNC in points and rebounds, it is Ty Lawson who would get my vote of ACC Player of the Year. The award is an MVP of sorts, usually reserved for the best player on the best team. So, it's a no-brainer that a Tar Heel will wind up with the hardware this year, given the team's success. But it's Lawson who proved himself to be the most valuable player on the team, if not in the country. I would have a hard time overlooking Blake Griffin of Oklahoma for the NCAA POY award, but I feel that Lawson has to receive strong consideration. Whether he wins the award or not, Lawson should have silenced any remaining critics this afternoon when he nearly netted a triple-double with a sprained toe.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Henson in town for big game

Ran into North Carolina commit John Henson today. Nice kid. Very tall. The kid's got the look of a star. I introduced myself and found him to be a genuine kid in the few minutes that we talked. I got the impression that he's pretty well-rounded and intellectual. Obviously he can ball, so it will be exciting to see how he pans out. Next to Ed Davis I had a hard time seeing the ceiling, so I can only imagine what it is going to be like for opponents to find the basket in the paint next season. Yes, losing Hansbrough is going to hurt, but rolling in another recruit like Henson has made the Tar Heel faithful very, very happy.

Lawson to have injection prior to tip-off Sunday

There have been recent rumors swirling about whether or not Ty Lawson will play tomorrow when North Carolina hosts Duke at 4 p.m. As of now, he will play. But he will receive an injection prior to game time in an effort to ease pain in his ailing right foot. He injured the foot in practice yesterday, as has widely been the report of message boards all over the place.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Say It Ain't T.O.

Lord. Can we get this guy off the news? Full disclosure here: I'm a huge Terrell Owens fan. I don't know, I just tend to pull for the misunderstood, as the phrasing often goes. That said, T.O. is in some deep do-do. The Randy Moss parallels shouldn't even exist. Randy was 30. Owens is 35 and coming off a season in which his statistics took a major hit. Sixty-five yards per game? That's good enough for 15th in the NFL. If you've ever read this blog, you know I'm a Redskins fan. ESPN's Christ Mortensen says that the 'Skins are absolutely out of the question. I guess I can understand that. But the way I see it, we've got a cast of bums as wideouts. Part of me wishes that Snyder would trade some of those chumps for some line help on either side of the ball and sign T.O. I think about it this way. Things are always great in the beginning. Owens comes in, makes his promises and minds his manners in hopes of showing up whichever team just gave up on him. Trade some of these goons, sign T.O. and draft my man Hakeem Nicks out of the University of North Carolina with your first-round pick. You'll get the most out of T.O. in the first year because he's going to be hell-bent of proving the Cowboys wrong. What better way to do so than with a rival that makes up half of one of the fiercest rivalries in all of sports?

Then, while everyone is still thinking, "Hey, this T.O. thing just might work," you dump him. Dump him before he has a chance to dump you. Then you've got help on the line, a potential playmaker with a season under his belt in which he had a chance to learn from one of the best and no chance of a headache. Hey, nothing else has worked since 1992. Why not?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hope you brought your umbrella

I'm sure all five of my readers will be delighted to know that I showed signs of athleticism tonight. I managed to score for the first time in five games in my recreational basketball league, pouring in five 3's and adding a sweet drive to the basket for a dun ... I mean, lay-in, giving me a nice, round total of 17 points. The best part? That was all in the first half! My teammates sent me into exile in the second, leaving me a mere 0-for-2 from beyond the arc. Still, it was an infinitely better performance than my other two on the season. We've played four games, but I've missed two. One for the UNC/Duke game, and the other to visit my grandmother.

The downside is that we lost. That puts us at 4-1 on the year. It is a four-on-four league at the Cary YMCA. We have a dude that is 6-foot-11 and another that is 6-foot-9, so we generally dominate. But our two big men weren't there tonight, leaving four mortals - all standing below about 6'2" to deal with a pretty good team. We kept it close until about midway through the second half, when we all ran out of steam. Still, with four games to go in the regular season, I think we're the odds on favorite. Especially if I can continue to shoot like a white boy.

I'll keep you posted as I know you'll all be dying for updates.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

LeBron vs. Michael

I never thought I'd say this about anybody:

LeBron James is better than Michael Jordan.

Now, I know you probably think I'm crazy to say that a kid who is younger than me, and has yet to log five years in his NBA career, is better than the greatest player of all time. And I know that the argument persists that LeBron isn't even the best player in the league right now. LeBron has never won a national championship, an NBA championship, never won even an MVP outright. He didn't score 81, or even 63 in the playoffs. My argument to that is simple. Who cares? Hank Aaron never hit 50 home runs in a season. But the fact that he hit more than 20 for 20 straight years is staggering. That is what LeBron is doing right now. He scored 40+ last night against the Miami Heat, giving him seven such games on the year. Combine his point totals (second-highest PPG in the league at 28.5 a game) with the fact that he averages more than seven rebounds per game, is 10th in the NBA in assists, and that he's doing all of this while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and you've got the greatest player of all-time - already.

His team is terrible. The teams in contention in his conference and in the West all have more than one star. The Celtics have three, the Magic have a couple, the Nuggets, Spurs, Lakers ... they're all loaded. LeBron made Mo Williams an all-star. Mo Williams? Kobe would've demanded out of Cleveland a long, long time ago had the front office waited this long to make a move. Kobe complained about wanting another threat after he forced Shaq out of town. LeBron would like to have Joe Smith. That's laughable. James just needs four other competent mammals on the floor, to get within a game of two consecutive Eastern Conference titles.

Look at his bio. This guy is the youngest to do everything. He is the first athlete to rival the marketability of Jordan, to whom a comparison cannot exist in terms of marketing, since Michael is the reason all of it exists in the first place. Yes, Michael set the stage for someone else to come along and blow our minds. Well, that someone is here. And we are all witnesses.