Tag Archives: Connecticut

NBA draft 2011: 5 must-miss prospects and 5 possible steals

Photo courtesy of USAToday.com. Kenneth Faried (pictured above) led the country in rebounds this past season. Our very own Nick Craddock thinks that Faried can one of the major steals of this year's lackluster draft class.

By Nick Craddock

As you’ve probably heard, the 2011 NBA draft is shaping up to be one of the weakest in years.

Rumor has it that one of the possible taglines the NBA league office considered to promote the event was: NBA draft 2011…where underwhelming talent happens.

In fact, if we likened all the hopeful hoopers waiting to hear their name called at the Prudential Center in friendly Newark, N.J. — Madison Square Garden is unavailable to serve as the venue this year because of scheduled renovations — to popsicles, then all the NBA teams have a disappointing box full of grape-flavored popsicles to select from (maybe there’s an orange or raspberry hidden somewhere in the box).

Just as any sane person should consciously avoid grape popsicles (I don’t care how hot it gets, I won’t settle for grape), if I’m an NBA GM, I’m avoiding taking these prospects: Continue reading

“Sweet 16: Day 1 Predictions”

I expect the clock to strike Midnight tomorrow night for the Jimmer Show.

The madness resumes tomorrow evening with 4 big time games.  And it cannot come soon enough.  Out of the 8 teams that play tomorrow, I correctly picked 6 of them in my bracket.  Plus all 4 of the teams I predicted to move on to the Elite Eight in my bracket are still in tact.  Here is a closer look into each of tomorrow’s matchups. Continue reading

“Madness Highlights Thus Far Part II”

Duke has been pronounced as the favorite with the return of super freshman Kyrie Irving (pictured above). Irving is an outstanding player but I am still not entirely sold on the Blue Devils.

The 2nd and 3rd rounds sure have lived up to the hype this year.  MoreheadState, Richmond, Butler and more.  The upsets have been galore, and many games have come down to the final seconds.  What more could you really ask for? Since my last update, here are my thoughts for the Saturday and Sunday games thus far. Continue reading

“Give the Big East a Break”

At a school dance, you either get asked to dance or you do not.  Those who are asked to dance are generally much happier than those who are not.  Well 68 teams will be asked to dance come Selection Sunday (March 13th).  68 schools will be thrilled to accept the invitation.  While 279 teams will be disappointed and pray to receive an invitation to either the NIT or the CBI.  Only 19.6% of teams in the entire country get a shot to showcase their abilities on College Basketball’s biggest stage, and arguably the best sporting event in American sports. Continue reading

“Weekly Nickel”

Come Wednesday, College Basketball fans are in for a treat as they get to watch Jim Boeheim (left) and Jim Calhoun (right) lead their squads into another epic Big East battle. It should be a great one.

It is another Monday, and you all know what that means.  Lets get the week started with a look at the top events coming up in the sporting world throughout the next 7 days. Continue reading

“Player of the Year Thus Far?”

Kemba Walker is my favorite for the National Player of the Year at this point. But Jimmer Fredette and Jared Sullinger are not far behind.

College Basketball has already delved into the wonderland that is conference play. Teams are beginning to gel. There are no more excuses for working out the kinks. Now is the time where you ride or die when building up that resume for the NCAA Tournament Committee. This is the point in the year where the boys get separated from the men. Over the next month and a half, bubbles will be formed and bubbles will burst.

So the question I pose to you all today. If the season ended today, who would be your National Player of the Year?

In my eyes, it is a 3 man race… Continue reading

“Weekly Nickel”

The Under Armour Senior Bowl is set for Saturday. Derrick Locke (pictured above) is one of many players looking to wow the NFL scouts before the combine.

After the weekend “that was,” we are now heading full steam into another amazing week in the wide world of sports that “will be.”  Saturday was arguably the best day of College Basketball we have had since last March and Sunday was just an outstanding day of NFL Football.

So whats in store for this week?  Here is a closer look. Continue reading

“College Football Outlook”

Boston College All American Linebacker Luke Kuechly (pictured above), will be the difference in helping BC pull off the upset over Nevada in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

Bowl Season is finally beginning to wind down.  What a few weeks it has been.  Sure there have been plenty of dud games, but there have also been plenty of classic battles.  TCU flexed their “undersized” muscles against a very good Wisconsin team out in Pasadena.  The Big Ten had possibly the worst New Year’s Day of all time going 0 for 5 on the day.  And Connecticut continued to add to the futility of the Big East, in getting pounded by Oklahoma.  Not to mention their coach left them the next day for Maryland.

In other College Football News, Andrew Luck has shocked the world and apparently is staying in Palo Alto.  It takes a committed kid to pass up that type of bankroll.  Could you imagine passing up on over 40 million dollars in guaranteed money (Bradford was guaranteed 41.7 million last year)? Also, the Jim Harbaugh sweepstakes continue.  People are now saying that he is heading to Miami.  You got to love the media.  And nobody knows who is going to fill the Rich Rod void in Ann Arbor.  But I digress.  Lets take a look at the remaining matchups other than the National Title Game.  I will hold off on that one for now.

AT&T Cotton Bowl

LSU vs Texas A&M

-This game is arguably the best Non-BCS matchup of the entire Bowl Season. Many thought the Capital One Bowl would steal the show as the best battle outside of the BCS games, but Alabama put an end to that thought real fast, laying an absolute whooping on the Spartans.  In this matchup however, a red-hot Aggies team plays what is somewhat of a home game against one of the best teams out of the rugged SEC.  These teams are very different in their styles of play.  LSU relies on a strong rushing attack and a very stout defensive unit.  Texas A&M likes to play a shootout style of football and relies heavily on their aerial attack.  The Aggies have won 6 straight games while the Tigers lost the last time they suited up, in a heartbreaker to Arkansas.  In my opinion though, the dominance of the SEC will be exhibited in this one.  Plus A&M has not beaten a team from College Football’s best conference since 1995.  Each of these teams went 6 and 2 in tough conferences.  Unfortunately for the Aggies, the Big 12 is just not nearly as tough as the brutal SEC.  The SEC reigns supreme in this one behind an outstanding defensive effort.  Tigers by 3 in a very competitive game.

BBVA Compass Bowl

Pittsburgh vs Kentucky

-This is actually a pretty decent matchup.  The Co-Champions of the Big East taking on a lower tier SEC team.  A team from the BCS’s best conference versus a team from the worst BCS conference.  Seems like a perfect fit.  Now I do not understand why this game is being played after New Years.  But there is a lot about the College Football Bowl System that does not make sense.  Either way, Pitt is going to have their hands full trying to stop UK’s two lethal playmakers, Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke.  Both of these kids are electric and can change a game on any given play.  Now Pitt has a pretty good playmaker themselves in Dion Lewis.  A guy that did not have as good of a sophomore campaign as many expected, but he has come on as of late, rushing for 261 yards and 4 TDs in the season finale versus Cincinnati.  Now if Pitt had not gone through all of the coaching turmoil that they have experienced over the past month, I would have picked them to win this game.  But unfortunately for them, their staff is in shambles and Kentucky is just another one of those speedy SEC teams.  Let the Big East disaster continue.  Wildcats by 7 even without starting QB Mike Hartline.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

Nevada vs Boston College

-The BCS is still thanking Nevada as we speak.  They are the team that saved the BCS from having both TCU and Boise go undefeated and causing a major dilemma.  Could you imagine if Stanford had missed out on playing in a BCS Bowl due to Boise and TCU getting into BCS games?  Stanford put on the best performance of this bowl season thus far.  But back to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Matchup.  Nevada sports one of the best rushing attacks in the country and has had an outstanding season.  Boston College, after a suffering an early season 5 game losing streak, has now ended the year on a 5 game winning streak.  Granted none of their foes during this winning streak were ranked teams.  Either way, I am liking Boston College’s stout defensive unit, that is number 1 in the country against the run, to slow down Nevada’s vaunted rushing attack.   The difference in this game will be Boston College’s outstanding linebacker group led by none other than sophomore, first team All American, Luke Kuechly.  Kuechly burst onto the scene last season setting a record for tackles in a season by a freshman.  This year, he picked up right where he left off recording 171 tackles to lead the nation.  I realize how dangerous of a duel threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick of Nevada is, but can he handle Luke Kuechly?  I do not think so.  BC in a shocker by 3. 

So there you have a look at the remaining Bowl Games other than the highly anticipated National Championship game.  It has been a heck of a bowl season as we all wait anxiously for the final showdown in Arizona on Monday.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Food for Thought 12-21-2010”

UConn Head Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma (pictured above), looks to make history tonight with an 89th consecutive victory. Is he the greatest College Basketball Coach (Men's or Women's) of all time?

Today is another “Food for Thought” day.  There is just entirely too much going on in the sporting world to not at least touch on multiple items.  Being a sport’s fan at this time is good.

Lets take a look at some of the main storylines.

Bye Bye Brett

-Once again the media has been dominated by yet another storyline regarding the legendary #4.  I am not going to lie, I thought we would hear very little about Brett until the conclusion of the season when whispers of retirement came into the picture again.  Sadly, I was wrong.  Brett shocked America by suiting up and starting last evening’s Monday Night affair against the divisional rival and 1st place, Chicago Bears.  I will state, this was a mistake for Brett.  Not only did he hardly play, but he took another massive hit and suffered a concussion.  I know Brett’s legacy has been built on playing in big time Monday Night Games in the snow.  But the guy was not healthy, and had no business being on the field.  Will this be how Brett goes out?  He ended his career in Green Bay throwing an INT in the NFC Championship Game.  In addition, he ended on a sour note in New York (and still is dealing with the repercussions).  Now his Minnesota reign has appeared to end in a sad fashion.  The man just needs to retire already.  It is not worth permanent injuries.  He has nothing left to play for.

What is next for the TO Show?

-So Terrell Owens has suffered a major knee injury and appears to have played his last down in Cincinnati.  Does TO or Cincinnati really care?  Many thought TO was the final piece to the puzzle for the Who Deys.  Many thought that the Bengals were a Super Bowl contender.  Many were wrong.  I will state, Terrell has had his best year in some time.  He has quietly had a very strong year.  Until recently, he had even kept his mouth shut.  Amid all the losing, he finally opened up his mouth and his true colors showed.  Owens had 72 catches for 983 yards, and 9 TDs this season.  At 37, the guy can still play.  My question for you is who will pick him up?  His days in Cincy are without question over.  Who saw this Bengal’s team getting 7 or 8 games worse after the offseason they had?  Sadly, Cincinnati is very used to being disappointed by the Who Deys.  It is fact of life for the people who live in the 513.

Auriemma>Wooden?

-In less than an hour, Geno Auriemma leads his Lady Huskies into battle with a chance to rewrite history.  With a victory this evening, the Huskies will have one upped John Wooden and his legendary UCLA teams, with an 89th consecutive victory.  I do not care that this is women’s basketball.  89 wins in a row is an astounding feat.  Something that will probably never happen again.  Now my question for you.  Is Geno Auriemma in the class of the all time great coaches such as John Wooden, Coach K, Dean Smith, and Adolph Rupp?  Bobby Knight on ESPN coverage today stated that Auriemma should be the number 1 choice on any team’s list when looking for a new coach.  Is it that easy to go from coaching women to men?  I do not think so.  Sorry Bobby.  Geno is one of the best ever, but coaching women is far different from coaching men.

Coach K Satisfied?

-Coach K secured his 879th career victory last evening behind yet another stellar Kyle Singler performance.  The greatest Duke Coach of all time is now tied with UNC’s best, Dean Smith, for 2nd on the all time list.  Krzyzewski now sits just 23 wins behind the all time record, which is held by the legendary Bobby Knight.  The real question at this point is not if Coach K will catch Knight, but when, and by how much?  My money is on this year during another deep NCAA Tournament run. Is Coach K the greatest College Coach of all time if surpasses this milestone?  Is he even as good of a coach as Geno Auriemma?

Magic in Orlando

-So Orlando has been struggling.  They tried to change their luck by making the trade of the year thus far (LBJ’s decision was a free agency decision).  Following a trade that could really shake up the battle of the top of the East, the Magic ended up with Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, and their former (now current) star, Hedo Turkoglu.  Now I realize the Magic lost again last evening to the Hawks.  But do not sleep on this team.  They are definitely a contender in the East and this trade will make them a better team in the long run.  Give them a couple of weeks to develop a chemistry.  The battle for supremacy in the Eastern Conference, much less the state of Florida will be exciting in the near future.  I still have the Magic going to the Conference Finals as I predicted in the preseason.

So there you have some of my insights on the major happenings going on in the sporting world on this particular day.  Obviously there are other things going on as well.  Feel free to ask about whatever is on your mind via commenting or emailing.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Food for Thought on 12-1-10”

Here are a few of my top thoughts on this Wednesday morning:

Would Jon Gruden (pictured above on the far right) really leave the booth to get back into coaching at the U?

Will Derek Jeter wake up and return to the Yankees?

I honestly believe that Derek Jeter and his agent will come to their senses.  The 3 year, 45 million dollar offer is a more than fair deal for the Yankee Captain.  I know it is hard for anyone to take a pay cut, but in the MLB, players age.  Derek is aging, which was demonstrated threw his .270 batting average this past season (34 points below his career average) and his career lows in On Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage.  But the Yankee shortstop does not feel that he is done yet.  Besides, he will still be the highest paid shortstop in all of baseball (Hanley Ramirez next highest paid shortstop at 11 million).  Also, do you really think another team will offer him more than 15 million dollars a year?

So I do think Derek Jeter will be wearing the Pinstripes come next April..

Will James Harrison need to alter the way he plays?

Coach Tomlin has mentioned that Harrison may need to alter some elements of his style of play.  But lets be entirely honest.  James Harrison is going to be James Harrison.  He has made a living off of his aggressive play.  Do you really think a guy like Harrison is going to bow down to the man?

Coach Tomlin was quoted as saying, “Man life isn’t fair.  I’m not concerned about fairness. I’m really not. I’m concerned about preparing for the Baltimore Ravens.” 

Harrison is also concerned about preparing for Baltimore.  But you better believe his style will not be altered when two of the League’s most physical teams go head to head for AFC North supremacy.  Football can be a brutal game.

Can the Lakers return to dominance even in the midst of a tough 3 game slide?

So the Lakers have dropped 3 games in a row.  Do you really think Kobe, Phil, and the LakeShow are panicking?  Give me a break.  Even with the recent skid, they still sit atop the Pacific Division by 4.5 games.  This team has won the Western Conference 3 consecutive years and is looking for a 3rd straight NBA Championship.  Great teams know when they have to get it together.

Also realize that the Lakers now go on a 4 game stretch where they play the Rockets, the Kings, the Wizards, and the Clippers.  Realize that none of these teams have won more than 5 games thus far.  The 4 bottom feeders have a total of 17 wins between them on the season.

 Look for the Lakers to reel off 4 straight wins and hush the critics.

You better believe that this Laker team is still the best team in the League.

Is the Big Ten now the supreme conference in College Basketball?

After being dominated by the ACC for over a decade, the Big Ten finally won the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge last season.  They are currently ahead 4 to 2 this year, and look to be bringing home the hardware again.  Currently, the mighty Big Ten has 5 teams ranked in the top 25.  Two of these squads are in the top 10.

The perennial top basketball conference, the Big East, has 6 teams in the AP top 25.  With 3 in the top 10.  I will admit that preseason I had the Big Ten as the top conference and the Big East as a very close number 2.  I still stand by this pick even with the Big East currently sporting 1 more top 25 team.

The difference is at the top.  I do not think the Big East’s top teams are as strong as the Big Ten’s top squads.  Do you really think that Pittsburgh, Nova, or UConn for that matter are better than Ohio State or Michigan State?  It is still early though.

A lot of this depends on what you define as the criteria for the best conference though.  Most Final Four Contenders?  Most overall tournament teams?  Most overall depth?  The best teams at the top?

But please note that the Big Ten has only 11 teams, while the Big East has 16.  I give the nod to the Big Ten at this time, but barely.

Will Lebron survive his visit to Cleveland on Thursday?

The NBA has provided heightened security for the Miami Heat wherever they have traveled all season.  They better up the ante in Cleveland big time though.  People in Northern Ohio are still extremely bitter towards their former “King.”  They will do all in the power to make sure that LBJ has a horrible stay in his former home state.

I do not see anything tragic happening.  But do expect this game to sport a playoff atmosphere.  The Cleveland team will play inspired basketball and do all in their power to please the crowd in probably the biggest game of the season for this Cavs team.  Miami on the other hand will also come out and play with a tenacity that we have not seen yet.  Lebron wants this game.  He left Cleveland to win titles.  You better believe that he will be highly disappointed if he gets beaten by his former squad.

Is Jon Gruden actually considering going to Coach at the U?

Gruden claims he loves his job as a Monday Night Football Analyst.  And can you really blame the guy?  He has every man’s dream job.  Sure the Head Coaching job at the University of Miami is one of the most sought after positions in College Football.  Yet they have not made a BCS Bowl Game since 2004. And, over the years, high-profile coaches moving from the NFL to College and vice versa has not been the most successful business venture.

I do admit that I think Gruden has a hint of interest.  But at this time, I do not see him leaving. 

So there is my food for thought on the days hottest topics in sports.  Let me hear your thoughts.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze