Monthly Archives: March 2012

Throwback Saturday Part XI

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The Boston Celtics shocked the San Antonio Spurs one year ago today at the AT&T Center. This was thanks in large part to a huge performance by Rajon Rondo (pictured above).

By Josh Kramer

We are nearing the three-month anniversary of the initial “Throwback Saturday.”  I for one am very proud of this segment and have truly enjoyed time traveling with you.  What was happening on March 31, 2011?  How about on March 31, 2010?  Let’s find out.

One year ago..

NBA Night Tonight

Here is a snippet..

People need to realize though that College Basketball is not the only game in town.  The NBA season is coming down to the final stretch before the playoffs, with much left to be decided.  Plus, tonight features two mega matchups.  So after you watch your respective MLB teams open up the season, tune in to one of the two insanely good matchups the NBA has this evening.  Sorry to my Giants and Dodgers fans.  As the only night game, you will have to make a decision, but for the rest of the country, watching the NBA Action is a no brainer.

Matchup #1

Boston at San Antonio:  Many are proclaiming this matchup a possible preview of the NBA Finals. Both of these elite squads have looked somewhat vulnerable as of late though.  Granted they both have easily secured home court advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs, but both would like to end up with the overall number 1 seed in their respective conferences.   In the East, the 1 seed has not meant much in recent years.  Just ask King James about that.  But in the West, the Lakers have secured the number 1 seed 3 consecutive years (this year is much in question though).  They have also represented the West in the NBA Finals 3 consecutive years.  Home court matters no matter how  you spin it in playoff basketball (To finish reading this post, click this link). Continue reading

Final Four Predictions

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Louisville has one edge on Kentucky heading into Saturday's showdown. That would be at the point guard position where Peyton Siva (pictured above) has played great as of late. Siva's heroics will not be enough for Louisville this time though.

By Josh Kramer

I have avoided it for the past few weeks.  I know it is a bad idea.  And when my bracket completely unraveled on the first Friday of the tournament by around 11PM, my desire to provide round by round predictions faded (thanks to Norfolk State and Lehigh largely).  But this the Final Four.  There is no bigger story in sports.  Plus, this year lacks a Cinderella and features two rematches of powerhouse programs.  Here are my predictions as the attention of an entire nation heads to Nawlins (New Orleans).

Matchup #1

Louisville vs Kentucky

The Skinny:  Round two in 2012 of one of College Basketball’s best rivalries.  There has probably never been a bigger sporting spectacle in the illustrious history of the Bluegrass State.  Come 9PM on Saturday, let’s hope that all cities in the state of Kentucky are still standing.  This is the 3rd straight year that the Big East Champion has made it to the Final Four.  Coincidentally, Calipari’s past two Kentucky teams have both seen the same fate in March: losses to the Big East Tournament Champion in the NCAA Tournament (West Virginia 2010, Connecticut 2011).  The third time will be the charm for the Wildcats though.  In my lifetime, I do not think there has ever been more of a heavy favorite heading into the Final Four.  This includes the 1991 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (who oddly enough lost) and the 2007 Florida Gators.  Kentucky is the best team College Basketball has seen in the past 15 years.  They have no noticeable weaknesses and are currently playing their best basketball.

Interesting Stats:  Calipari is 8 and 8 career versus John Calipari (11 and 11 if you include NBA days)  Though it should be noted that Calipari is a career 0 and 4 versus Pitino in postseason matchups.  Lastly, Calipari and Pitino are the only college basketball coaches ever to take three different programs to the Final Four.

Prediction:  Kentucky 80 Louisville 67 Continue reading

The King is learning

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Despite his very muscular physique, LeBron James (pictured above) has never been known for his toughness.

By Josh Kramer

It was once said, “All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind.” Learning is a major part of a society.  One should strive to learn something new each and every day.  It is a prerequisite towards success in life.  This applies to all people.  Even those that are referred to as the “King.”

I am of course referring to none other than the most tantalizing figure in sports, LeBron James.  Sure “Tebow Mania” and “Linsanity” are big draws, but neither can sustain the media craze the way that LBJ can.  Well it appears LeBron James has learned a valuable lesson.  People love heroics.  People also love courage.  Courage is looked at as a major positive no matter who you talk to. Sure LeBron still will have to get the monkey of his back come June in showing late game heroics at NBA Finals time, but he is currently demonstrating toughness.  James will play through the pain of a dislocated ring finger on his non-shooting hand.

LeBron was quoted as saying, “I’ll be ready. I hate using injuries as an excuse. If I’m in uniform, then I should be good to go. The only recovery for it, the doctors told me, was rest. And I think we all know I’m having none of that (courtesy of ESPN.com)” Continue reading

Aside

By Josh Kramer The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and spring is here.  Come April,  it’s time for baseball season.  There are few minor changes this year to the playoff system, but have no fear, the excitement will … Continue reading

Food for Thought 3-27-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Not even "Slick" Rick Pitino (pictured above) can pull off this upset. It appears inevitable that UK will cut down the nets on April 2nd.

By Josh Kramer

The race for second place

13 National Championships.  49 Final Four berths.  Big East.  Big Ten.  Big 12.  SEC.  An elite rivalry.  Rick Pitino.  John Calipari.  Bill Self.  Thad Matta.  Three of this year’s five first team All Americans.  Cinderella teams are fun for the general public.  But they have never been major moneymakers.  Four very tradition filled programs with large followings will take over Bourbon Street for the next week.  It appears Bourbon Street has hit the jackpot with this year’s Final Four.

Wrong. Continue reading

Harrison Barnes Leaves Bitter Taste in the Mouth of UNC Fans

Photo courtesy of fayobserver.com. Harrison Barnes (pictured above) took yesterday's loss to Kansas hard. It will be a long off-season for the Tar Heel star whether he decides to leave for the NBA or stay in college for another year.

By Wesley Kaminsky

Uninterested. Choker. Overrated.

These have all been words used to describe Harrison Barnes in the wake of a second straight season in which the North Carolina Tar Heels have been ousted in the Elite Eight.

Too harsh? I’ll let you decide for yourself. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 3-26-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Led by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis (pictured above), there is little doubt that UK will be cutting down the nets next Monday night.

By Josh Kramer

A Final Four finally emerged.  Tiger Woods did his best Mariano Rivera impression.  Tim Tebow took his talents to Broadway. And South Beach brought the heat in terms of tennis.  Last week was a great one that will not soon be forgotten, but this one is poised to be pretty epic in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Canada’s favorite pastime is still going strong as the regular season nears a close.  There are eight or fewer games remaining for every team in the NHL.  And we all remember last year’s insanely unpredictable playoffs that made Game 7’s seem like a given.  Both Boston and Vancouver are once again heavy contenders to hoist Lord Stanley come June, but New York and St. Louis appear to be in pretty good shape in their own right.  My eyes will be focused on a colossal showdown in the nation’s capital on Tuesday. Continue reading

Throwback Saturday Part X

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Kemba Walker (pictured above) was the face of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Who will be the face of the 2012 version of March Madness?

By Josh Kramer

Two and a half months later and “Throwback Saturdays” are still going strong.  Welcome to edition ten of our weekly throwback day. What was happening on March 24, 2011?  How about on March 24, 2010?  I have a gut feeling that March Madness was discussed in some facet.  Let’s take a look back and see what the major happenings were and how accurate I was with my analysis.

One year ago..

Sweet 16: Day 1 Predictions

Here is a snippet..

Connecticut vs San Diego State:  Can you say Kemba?  UConn has won 7 straight and are a perfect 10 and 0 in tournament play on the year heading into tomorrow’s showdown with a very talented and higher seeded San Diego Aztecs team.  Now I realize that most of the national media has been grilling the Big East.  I mean who wouldn’t.  The conference began the tourney with 11 teams and only 2 still remain as we begin the Sweet 16.  Let me state though, both of the teams still standing went 9 and 9 in conference play.  Name me another team that is still standing in this bracket that went 500 in conference play.  I will do one even better.  Name me a team that did not finish in the top 4 of their conference that is still alive.  But back to the topic at hand.  San Diego State is also on a hot streak of their own having won 7 consecutive games.  43, 25, and 30 sums it up for me though when looking at this matchup  (Jimmer’s point totals vs SDSU this year). Though the Aztecs play very solid defense and also have a very well-rounded scoring attack, they have failed to slow down teams with elite scorers all year.  Good luck slowing down Kemba.  At least one Big East team will find their way into the Elite Eight.  And it will be the UConn Huskies as they gut out 3 point victory behind the Kemba Show.

BYU vs Florida:  On paper, this game appears to favor the Cougars.  They put up over 80 points a game.  They have the edge on the boards.  And I could go on.  But not so fast.  BYU has not been the same since the dismissal of starting center Brandon Davies for breaking University rules.  Well this will be the first NCAA Tournament game where this vacancy in the paint really hurts.  It will also be the first game in the tournament where BYU plays a team seeded higher than 11th.  The Gators are very deep and talented, and will be the loan SEC team to nab a spot in the Elite Eight.  The Jimmer Show has to end at some point.  Plus Bobby Knight laid out how you stop Jimmer on SportsCenter.  You better believe that Florida Coach Billy Donovan took notes on what the legend said.  I am going to stick with my original pick in this one as well. Gators by 2 in a thriller (To finish reading this post, click this link). Continue reading

Aside

By Josh Kramer 11 NL East titles.  3 NL Pennants.  1 World Series.  Want to know what all of these numbers have in common?  They are all things that the Braves accomplished during the Chipper Jones era in Atlanta.  Larry … Continue reading

2012 Sony Ericsson Open – Miami, FL

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Our tennis expert Toni Headley expects Rafael Nadal (pictured above) to flex his muscles in Miami as he takes home the Sony Ericsson Open title.

By Toni Headley

Toni Headley is a tennis expert who worked at ESPN for 10 years and has been a freelance writer there for the past 2 years.  She also previously worked at CBS Sports and has covered every major tennis tournament in the world multiple times.

Tournament Preview:

From the California desert to the beaches of Miami, tennis continues to dominate North America for two more weeks. As the players try to deal with the Indian Wells – Miami double, which is one of the toughest stretches in the tennis season, I am reminded how hard it is to win both. Victoria Azarenka, a two-time champion and the current champion is trying to do just that. She won her first title in 2009 when she defeated Serena Williams. After a dominating win at Indian Wells, Azarenka is the favorite to win here in Miami. She is perfect on the year at 23-0 and has won four titles.  She has become the convincing number one player on the women’s tour.

Roger Federer has won two titles in Miami, defeating Rafael Nadal in 2005 and Ivan Ljubicic in 2006. Federer is the definite favorite to win here after his red-hot start to the year.  He is currently on a 16-match win streak, winning three titles in Rotterdam, Doha, and last week in Indian Wells.  This was his 19th Master Series 1000 title tying Rafael Nadal for the most all time. Since a semifinals lost to Novak Djokovic at the US Open last year, Federer has won 39 of his past 41 matches. Could Roger Federer become the number one ranked player again this year? If he can continue his hot play at the Grand Slam, he very well could. Continue reading