Saturday, January 29, 2005Bracketology 201: It's Saturday
No. 1 Illinois vs. Minnesota, 2:30 p.m.
No. 3 North Carolina at Virginia, Noon
No. 4 Syracuse at No. 20 Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Wake Forest vs. Miami, 4 p.m.
No. 6 Kansas vs. No. 16 Texas, 9 p.m.
No. 7 Kentucky at Arkansas, 3:30 p.m.
No. 8 Boston College vs. Georgetown, 7:30 p.m.
No. 11 Arizona vs. Washington State, 2 p.m.
No. 12 Louisville at Tulane, 8 p.m.
No. 13 Oklahoma at Iowa State, 4 p.m.
No. 14 Alabama vs. Georgia, 8 p.m.
No. 15 Michigan State vs. Oakland, Mich., 8 p.m.
No. 17 Gonzaga vs. Portland, 11 p.m.
No. 18 Wisconsin at Penn State, 8 p.m.
No. 21 Cincinnati vs. Houston, 7 p.m.
No. 23 Iowa vs. Indiana, 5 p.m.
No. 24 Mississippi State at LSU, 3 p.m.
No. 2 Duke vs. Virginia Tech, 8 p.m.
No. 9 Oklahoma State at Colorado, 3 p.m.
No. 10 Washington at Arizona State, 3:45 p.m.
No. 19 Connecticut at Notre Dame, 3:45 p.m.
No. 22 Georgia Tech at Maryland, 5:30 p.m.
Yoni Cohen has a great open forum for these games on his blog, in the last two weeks he's gotten over 130 comments for discussion, check it out...Occasionally I chime in myself.
Let the Games Begin...
- "They're still a great team without T.O., but when you have an All-Pro receiver, it makes your team that much better," he said. "That's what I wanted to say." -- Harrison a day later after Bill Belichick got in his ear (Coach B doesn't like the thought of trash talk)
- "Yeah, 37, I know him. I've got something for him." -- Eagles wide receiver Freddie Mitchell during 'The Dan Patrick Show' on Friday. Mitchell said he didn't know the Patriots secondary by name, just number...Yeah, how could anyone not know Earthwind Moreland?
- "That's pretty funny coming from a guy who doesn't even start unless someone goes down — a guy that was a former first-round pick and still hasn't broken into the starting lineup." -- Harrison responding.
- "I was joking. I don't care. It'll all be solved on Sunday." -- Mitchell, maybe realizing Harrison doesn't like to joke.
Friday, January 28, 2005Skip Bayless Brings the Heat...
Some of Bayless' points are interesting:
- Brady has won two Super Bowls by directing drives that set up 40-plus yard field goals by a kicker who belongs in the Hall of Fame. Does that make him better than Montana?
- Brady's offense should be able to do to the Eagles what it did in the AFC title game to the Steelers -- score 40-plus on them. A third Super Bowl in four seasons would match Troy Aikman's run in Dallas, but Aikman's Cowboys twice demolished Buffalo, and had a fairly easy time with the Steelers.
- Show me more fourth-quarter comebacks, more last-minute magic. Show me you can win at Pittsburgh when your running back and favorite target are hurt. Without Dillon and Deion Branch, Brady looked like a sixth-rounder in the regular-season loss to the Steelers.
I also agree with him on Brady. I think Brady is extremely good, he's got the mechanics down pat, now he needs to execute the blowouts that coronate a king. Montana didn't stumble upon being the greatest, he led a lot of memorable comebacks and kicked a lot of ass.
T.O. Will Go?
Now it's hard to say whether he's being honest or really trying to play the mental game with the Patriots. I will say this though, if he plays he will be close to 100% and his physical game will be at its apex.
A guy like T.O. has way too much pride to play hurt and get humiliated on the biggest stage in all of sports. His promotion can have a dual effect on New England and both will be positive for the Eagles.
Either they plan for him and decide to be overly physical in which case he'll beat them because, like I said, he won't play unless his physical game is at a high level. Or they don't plan for him seriously and he shows up closer to 100% than people expect. Even if New England plans for him perfectly, the lure of taking a cheap shot means the Patriots can be baited into unforced errors, especially with the makeshift secondary.
Thursday, January 27, 2005The Hot Seat..
"T.O. should take care of himself because once they don't need him anymore they'll get rid of him. We don't get guaranteed $80 million contracts for using steriods like Jason Giambi."
NBA Statlines: Guards Gone Wild...
-- Steve Nash was healthy and delivered the good with a 21-point, 17 assist performance as the Suns score 121 to win by six.
-- The King pulled up lame but returned to finish with 27 points, 9 rebounds and 15 assists. The assists are a career-high and LeBron's return inspired Cleveland to a victory. All Hail the King!
When asked what his thoughts were when seeing the king down holding his knee, Cleveland coach Paul Silas replied, "What did I see?...I saw a whole bunch of losses coming up."
Gotta love Silas..
-- In a surprise entry, the Fools (or at least this fool) is throwing props to Dan Dickau for 23 points and 10 assists in a loss. Don't feel too bad though, Dickau is a Hornet, he's used to losing.
But tonight's winner...The man of men is none other than...
Hell yeah, I said Raul Lopez, and for good reason, 20 points, 11 assists, five boards and three assists in a victory over the 29-12 Sonics. Only teammate Andrei Kirilenko could fill a boxscore like that.
By the way, Kirilenko had 12 points and five rejections in 20 minutes off the bench.
I'll close this with a quote from David over at Sports and Bremertonians:
- I guess what really ticks me off about this one isn't that the Sonics got beat by Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko, or even Mehmet Okur (they didn't). They got beat by Raul f&%#ing Lopez. Come on, people. That circus shot he made while he was falling down in the fourth quarter was just salt on the wound.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005Patriot Fans: Stop the Madness
Greatest four-year stretch? No...
Because you have to include the 2002 Patriots in the bunch...Remember them? Yeah they finished 9-7 and didn't even make the playoffs..
The best four-year period is (unfortunately) the Dallas Cowboys of 92-95...Let's see..
1992: 13-3, Super Bowl Champs
1993: 12-4, Super Bowl Champs
1994: 12-4, Lost in NFC Championship
1995: 12-4, Super Bowl Champs..
So they were one game away from being four-time champions with a 10-1 postseason record...The Patriots have been a great, but they don't hold up to the Cowboys.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005More Bracketology 201: ACC Bias?
- Why is it that the Big East only grudgingly gets the national respect it deserves year after year? A case in point: Boston College had to win its first 16 games before finally cracking the top 10. That doesn't happen if the Eagles are playing in the ACC (which they will do next season). Take a 16-0 ACC team -- any 16-0 ACC team -- and it gets rubber-stamped as a top 10 team.
My Final Four: Wake Forest, Illinois, Louisville and Syracuse (No change from last week)
Overrated: Kentucky, Mississippi St.
Best Unknown: Vermont (not unknown for long)
On the Rise: Georgetown, Alabama, Arizona St.
-- Othella Harrington for scoring 18 and pulling eight boards in the Bulls victory to finally push them over .500 (20-19).
-- Joel Pryzbilla (17 points, 16 rebounds) outdueling Tim Duncan in Portland's upset victory. It's Pryzbilla's second double-double in a week as he had 17 points and a career-high 22 rebounds in a victory over Sacramento on Jan. 18.
-- Allen Iverson gave his legion of underage fans much to cheer about with 45 points and 11 dimes in a win over the Heat. Iverson was 18-of-19 from the charity stripe...As for Shaq, he was 6-of-17.
Monday, January 24, 2005The Day After...NFC Style
The Eagles offensive line played well, gave Donovan McNabb tons of time and allowed him to look for his receivers. Brian Westbrook was a big threat, but most importantly the Eagles defense completely bottled up Michael Vick as Jim Johnson created a very smart scheme to stop the run and the quarterback.
-- With the Eagles winning, the situation becomes focused on Terrell Owens' availability. No one knows for sure and I doubt any announcements will be made. Either way Eagles coach Andy Reid ain't saying.
-- However, Chad Lewis is definitely out.
-- One thing is known for sure. John Madden could've saved T.O. from a lot of grief.
-- A few news outlets discussed the fact that Sunday's NFC matchup was the first time two black quarterbacks were involved in an conference championship game.
-- Troy Aikman said McNabb became the second black quarterback to lead his team to the Super Bowl. Nice gesture, but wrong. There have been three as everyone seems to forget about the gutsy performance from Steve McNair.
-- Remember all the criticism Andy Reid took for resting his finals in the final weeks of the season so that they would be healthy for the playoffs. Well now he's willing to defend that decision and who's going to doubt him?
-- As for Atlanta, not much to write about, most of the players are talking abour next season. Except for defensive tackle Ed Jasper, he's going to retire, citing the death of Reggie White as a big reason.
The Day After...AFC Style
First of all I hope I don't have to read another self-righteous piece of drivel from Bill Simmons this week, last week's "column" was borderline embarassing. Simmons has to remember that trying to pass himself off as a journalist isn't a column-to-column thing, either you are or you aren't.
Also there's a fine line between being a fan and being obnoxious.
That being said...The Patriots were particularly good on Sunday...I've got a few ideas why.
-- I felt like the one thing the Steelers had going for them was the fact that New England could not bully them physically like they did with the Colts. However, taking a 24-3 halftime lead pretty much took away any physical advantages.
-- Pittsburgh going for 4th and 1 early was a great call and a terrible play. Why not run the QB sneak with a 6'7, 245 pound quarterback? Especially one who needed the confidence boost at that point?
-- The field goal call in the fourth quarter was one of the most gutless plays in NFL coaching history. At worst the Steelers get stuffed and the Patriots have to start at their own 1-yard line. The field goal did NOTHING, they were still two scores behind.
-- "I'd do that again," Bill Cowher said of his fourth-down decisions. And that's EXACTLY why he's 1-4 in AFC championship games.
-- BTW, Cowher has no one to blame but himself for these failures...Five AFC championship games at home, four losses and the victory was thanks to the heroics of Neil O'Donnell (!!) and a dropped hail mary pass.
-- Let's hope this is the beginning and not the end for Ben Roethlisberger. At least some of his fans can already appreciate the year this rookie had.
-- As for New England, Deion Branch was finally able to show what kind of ability he can possess when fully healthy. Branch missed the majority of the season, but the Patriots refused to put him on IR. Good move.
-- With Ty Law done for the playoffs and Richard Seymour inactive with a bad knee sprain, who do the Patriots turn to on defense...Mike Vrabel...Who else??
-- Tom Brady continues to be in a class of few when it comes to clutch performances. While I think the comparisons to Elway and Montana are laughable at this stage of his career, Brady has improved so much from his first Super Bowl season.
-- The rest of the NFL should send thank you notes to Notre Dame and Cleveland for breaking up the best coaching staff in the league. And yes I think Belichick gets more credit than he deserves.
-- And if the loss wasn't bad enough for Steeler fans, they couldn't even drown their sorrows in beer during the second half thanks to Aramark's snap policy.
Sunday, January 23, 2005[Early] Sunday Morning Latte
-- BeeeeeeRanom will be blogging throughout Championship Sunday so I'll leave my score predictions at the bottom.
-- The Doug Christie experience has to be seen in person to really appreciate it. He's almost obsessive-compulsive about his love for his wife.
-- Bee Ranom kept wondering about why AI's fanbase sounds like a pack of young girls. Me, on the other hand, enjoyed his 38 and 10 performance.
-- NFC Championship Prediction: Philadelphia 27, Atlanta 17...I just can't see Philly losing a fourh straight time.
-- Dwight Howard is going to be very good. So far he reminds me a lot of Moses Malone. Next year when the Magic start running plays for him, he'll become a superstar. The kid would have just demolished college opposition.
-- When was the last time the Hornets and Hawks won on the same day?
- AFC Championsip Prediction: Pittsburgh 20, New England 13...I like the Steeleers because they can produce with the run so well..
-- Serena just won her match so it's time for me to fly.