Tag Archives: Anthony Davis

Weekly Nickel 6-25-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. It is safe to say that pitching has dominated the first half of the 2012 season. Ironically, two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum (pictured above) has struggled. Will he regain his old form Wednesday afternoon against the first place Dodgers?

By Josh Kramer

What a week it was in sports. The King finally won his ring.  England’s hearts were ripped out once again in the form of penalty kicks.  Plus, the combination of the CWS and Interleague Play gave us all the privilege of watching some outstanding baseball.  Last week was great, but this week will be fun it its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  See you later Sonoma.  Now it is time to visit the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky.  This event could not even dream of being more poorly planned than it was last year.  I guess that isn’t saying much after the debacle that occurred last July.  Tune in to TNT at 7:30PM on Saturday or make your way on down to the track.

4.  The All-Star Game is just 15 days away.  Is it me, or has this season been moving at warp speed?  It feels like just yesterday that the season got underway with the ridiculous opening two game in Japan between the Mariners and Athletics.  We are already near the halfway point of 2012.  It is safe to say that pitchers have dominated.  19.6% of plate appearances have resulted in strikeouts this season, which is a record pace.  Plus, there has been an average of 14.9 strikeouts per game.  And we are all already aware of the two perfect games.  Pitching is the name of the game.  Just ask teams like Philadelphia and Boston that were supposed to be prime contenders.  My matchup of the week occurs on the west coast.

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants:  It is no secret who the top two teams in the NL West are these days.  They also happen to possess two of the elite pitching staffs in the National League.  Coincidence?  I think not.  The Dodgers got off to a red-hot start and have never really slowed up despite many doubters.  After a slow start, the Giants really got it going towards the end of May and are now right in the thick of things.

The key to this series is where it is being played.  Both of these teams have been two of the best in baseball at protecting their home turf.  AT&T Park will surely be rocking as the Giants look to gain a little ground on the team that they are chasing.  Also, do not be surprised to see Tim Lincecum put together a big time performance in the series finale, as the Giants take two of three and gain a game on the Dodgers. Continue reading

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Not this time

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Brian Shaw (pictured above) should be the next head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats. The question is will Rod Higgins and Michael Jordan extend him an offer?

By Josh Kramer

Around this time last year the Los Angeles Lakers were looking for a head basketball coach to succeed the great Phil Jackson.  As you are all well-aware, Mike Brown ended up being the man for the job.  Though Brown did a solid job (according to some), I along with many (including Kobe Bryant) felt another candidate was the man for the job.  Well once again, Brian Shaw is in the running to obtain his first NBA head coaching job.

It is no secret that the Charlotte Bobcats are in need of a lot of things.  After going 7-59 last season and posting the lowest winning percentage in NBA history, there are holes galore.  This is to be expected with a team that posted a winning percentage of .106.  Also, the Bobcats unfortunately will not get to pick the lone guy who appears to be a sure-fire franchise player, Anthony Davis (the New Orleans Hornets will).  And Michael Jordan isn’t coming out of retirement any time soon.

According to most sources, the two finalists to fill the position are Quin Snyder and Brian Shaw. Continue reading

All he did was win

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. In a jersey, all Michael Jordan (pictured above) could do was win. In a suit, all he has been doing lately is lose.

By Josh Kramer

Once upon a time Michael Jordan and the word “winning” were synonymous.  Everyone wanted to be like Mike.  There truly was not a more well-known athlete.  Since the turn of the century, times have really changed for “His Airness.”  The post playing career has not exactly been one of triumphs and successes for the man commonly referred to as the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).

Jordan, the current majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats took another loss last evening.  After posting the worst record in terms of NBA history in terms of winning percentage, the Bobcats got the shaft in the 2012 NBA draft lottery.  They will not get to build their team around can’t miss prospect, Anthony Davis.  Instead, they will be saddled with pick number two.  Though there are plenty of talented players that will be drafted on June 28th, none even rival the potential possessed by the one with the infamous unibrow.  Ironically, the team with the NBA’s worst record has not won the draft lottery since back in 2004 when the Magic earned the right to draft Dwight Howard.  That marriage continues to get sweeter and sweeter (just kidding).

The Bobcats really could have used the former UK prodigy.  Any team that goes 7 and 59 obviously has a wide variety of holes, but Davis appears to be one of those franchise type players.  Michael Jordan without question had a better playing career than Larry Bird.  The same cannot be said in terms of post-playing career though.  Bird is currently dominating Michael Jordan in terms of front office prowess. Continue reading

A Pursuit for Gr8tness: Kentucky Basketball in a new era

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. John Calipari (pictured above) has revived Kentucky basketball and mastered the science of the one-and-done.

By Matt Murray

In the evening hours of March 25, 2009, Lexington, Kentucky was solemn and quiet. All that could be heard was the sound of a buzzer going off on the few TVs that had been left on long enough to watch the Kentucky Wildcats fall by double digits to Notre Dame in the NIT. It was rock bottom; the end of a long slide from the top of the mountain of college basketball.  Kentucky had missed the tournament for the first time in 17 years, and their new coach, Billy Gillispie, had seemingly put the finishing touches on running the program out of the spotlight.

For years, Kentucky had thrived in an era of college basketball in which dynasties were the key to success; building and sustaining programs was forged on the foundation of long-term players. But with the introduction of the one-and-done rule, Kentucky was unable to find a way to survive in a new era of basketball. That all changed on April 1st, 2009.

In the span of a week, Kentucky ousted Gillipsie and brought in one-and-done expert John Calipari, who promised the power of his recruiting, mixed with the historical prestige of Kentucky, would be a potent mix that would allow him to create a modern-day dynasty in Lexington. He admitted it would be a different feel, one that would put players before the program, but that’s how a team must survive in this basketball landscape. The teams will serve as revolving doors to the NBA, but it’s the only way to ensure the best of the best want to attend your school. They have to spend one year out of high school before they head to the league, and Calipari has made it nearly impossible to explain why you’d want to spend that year anywhere else but Lexington. 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

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

NCAA Tournament Bracket

By Josh Kramer

Take a look at the official March Madness selections from TheSportsKraze…

2012 NCAA Tournament Bracket

Elite Eight:

Kentucky over Duke

-The Laettner shot of 20 years ago is still fresh in the minds of Big Blue Nation.  Too much Kentucky talent and too much Anthony Davis for the Blue Devils this time around though.

Michigan State over Marquette

-Marquette’s dynamic senior duo of Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder have been impressive  all year.  But Tom Izzo’s smarts and Draymond Green’s unwavering work ethic will prove too much in this one as the Spartans make their 7th Final Four appearance in 14 years.

Florida State over Syracuse

-The Big East regular season champs would have proven to be far too deep for a Florida State team that vastly exceeded expectations this year had Fab Melo been on the floor.  No “Melo,” means no Final Four for a very good Syracuse team.

North Carolina over Kansas

Tyler Zeller and Thomas Robinson battling it out in the paint?  It doesn’t get much better.  North Carolina not only has the size to match up with Kansas, but they also have the depth.  There will be no Rock Chalk Jayhawk on this day as Roy Williams breathes a sigh of relief.

Final Four:

Kentucky over Michigan State

-This has been the best coaching job of Tom Izzo’s career.  Finally, the lack of talent in Spartyville will be put on full blast against the nation’s most talented group out of Lexington.  The Spartans will have no answer for Anthony Davis, much like the rest of the nation.

North Carolina over Florida State

-So much for the ACC being down this year.  Beating a team two times in the same year is one of the most difficult things to do in college basketball.  Defeating a team three times is almost unheard of.  Just ask a Kentucky team that was clearly better than SEC-foe Vanderbilt.  UNC is the better all-around team.  And it will show on this day as they avoid a clean sweep from Florida State.

National Championship:

North Carolina over Kentucky (73 to 72)

-As we learned in the BCS Championship Game this year, beating a great team two times in the same year can be very difficult. Not only did UK defeat the Tar Heels back on December 3rd, but they also beat North Carolina in last year’s Elite Eight. Young Kentucky learns the hard way on April 2nd against a surging Tar Heels team that can match their depth and athleticism.  Let the Calipari questioning begin.

Good luck with your picks and enjoy the best three weeks we have in sports.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.