Okay, how many of you have enjoyed the first 1.9 days of the NCAA tourney? March is as mad as ever, especially if you are Louisville, St. Johns, or Vanderbilt. Well, honestly, I think St. Johns and Vandy lost to better teams and actually thought this would happen. Louisville was a split decision...some of the mothership pundits had them going out in the 1st round and ESPN guys had them going deep into the tourney. Let's just say my brackets are toast thanks to Coach Pitino, Preston Knowles' injury, and the gutsy kids from Morehead State. Oh by the way, don't think for a minute UCLA was scared last nite with Michigan State's big comeback. It was one of those games for the Bruins that was who cares...they had a bounce back season with a young team with no real leadership. Well, round 2 comes with expectations and how many times can one program lose to another? Well, at least they're playing Florida in the 2nd round and not the championship or final four like they in 06 and 07. Finally, on the tourney, all number one seeds looked good, but let's be honest, Ohio State still has the toughest bracket and the best overall team. They should be crowned champion at the end.
The NBA is way in...it may have most great teams they have had in years. In the East, you have the Celtics, Bulls, Heat and Magic + a developing star laden team in the Knicks. Throw in the Hawks for good measure and the East hasn't been this deep in years. I mean each of these teams has 2-3 true superstars. In the end it should be Miami and Boston battling out-well at least, one of them will be the ultimate East champion. Miami has too many big time stars not to go deep in the playoffs. Wade has won a championship, James really wants one to prove his place as an all time great and Bosh may be playing his best ball in awhile. Now can Bibby, Chalmers, Miller, and company help them. Too bad Udonis Haslem is not up to speed because he is just the Kendrick Perkins/Derek Fisher/Michael Cooper/Danny Ainge type of player that defines champions. For the Celtics, Kendrick was their soul, but Krstic adds some offense and a big body while Jeff Green's talents cannot be overstated. He is going to replace Garnett, Pierce, or Allen in a year or two as the next part of the big three and actually, he and Rondo are the future with Big Baby. I say the Celtics.
In the West, you still have to get through the Lakers and I just don't see anyone else unless Kobe's ankle gets worse, Bynum regresses/gets hurt, or somehow someone tells Dallas they really have championship caliber talent and can win a title. Really though, Dallas does still lack some toughness outside of Jason Terry and maybe Shaun Marion. Their only hope is Dirk gets hot and Kobe does not. San Antonio...c'mon, Duncan is a sure Hall of Famer who doesn't need another championship to prove his worth and his age shows. Manu and Parker can't carry this team. So, who is going to carry them, Richard Jefferson? George Hill? Tiogu Splitter? They just don't have the athletic bigs to beat the Lakers. Now the Thunder-well they scare everybody. Jeff Green's absence may hurt them this year, but watch out for years to come. Kendrick is just the tough as nails presence they need. Still, the Lakers match up well with them because of the different looks defensively they give to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Durant is covered by Artest, Barnes and sometimes Odom. That may not keep him from getting 30, but he will have to work hard for the points and his field goal percentage will be low. If he does overcome the defensive pressure and wills any series with the Lakers to 7 games, then I guess he showed he was ready a year earlier than expected. Westbrook will have to carry them and while he is good shape and can be in alot of places. He is not good enough to will the Thunder over the Lakers. He will be muscled by Kobe and Derek (though not as much because of D-Fish's age) and hounded by Blake and Brown. In the West, Lakers come out alive and beat the Celtics.
The NFL is out for alot of reasons, but I am so glad for basketball right now because instead of talking about the draft and who will get Cameron Newton, we talk about the union and who will get the best deal. Newton, whether you love him or not, is a polarizing figure who could be a top rank quarterback or a Mr. Universe version of Vince Young. No matter what, he should be dominating football talk and not a lock out. The fact that Peyton is 35 should be make us want to debate if he is getting old. I would even like to talk about Tom Brady's hair, Terrell Owens' mouth, or even the Lions. But no, AJ Feeley (who?-not Jay Feeley the kicker, but AJ the quarterback-remember he backed up Donovan McNabb for a few moments in Philly) tells how close they are at the table. But wait, Adrian Peterson and Rashard Mendenhall make slavery comparisons and Mike Vrabel says that the owners should meet with players one on one. C'mon, where are hugs and hats for the first round draft picks? Where is Mel Kiper and his hair hat talking about what a great pick the left guard from Sonoma State will make for the Cardinals in the 5th round unless they trade him for the Austrian born long snapper that the Bears will draft from Southwest Idaho A and M? Where are all the NFL retirees and ex-coaches talking about players they have never seen-telling us that heart and grit in the Tangerine Bowl outweighs the running back's 5.0 40 yard dash. To the NFL-you're killing me and you're killing the sport. Everyone says the owners have the fans support and the players soon will. You know what, all of my friends and their friends support one thing-getting this stupid thing over with as soon as possible.
Sports Illustrated this week has an article about how great the Kansas City Royals' farm system and scouting department are. Who cares? Until they make the playoffs, no one will care if the Royals minor leaguers were ranked in the top 5 for the past 10 years. That is like those ridiculous recruiting sites that say USC had a better recruiting class than Boise State. I don't remember Auburn being in the top 5 or Texas Tech or Boise State, but guess what the recruits that became starters on their teams this year were better than Florida, LSU or other supposed top ranked colleges. So, to the Royals, good job on selecting talent from high school, college, and internationally. Start looking at the Red Sox, Yanks, and Phillies and pick out a few no names from their systems because why not trade the minor leaguers now because some way, somehow they will end up in bigger markets.
More Who Cares for Baseball tomorrow...but hooray for basketball...and big C'Mon for the NFL.