Tag Archives: Frank Martin

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

Weekly Nickel 1-9-2012

Photo courtesy of sportsblame.com. Tim Tebow (pictured above) has once again taken over the sporting world. Nobody understands it, but the whole "Tebow Phenomenon" is quite entertaining.

By Josh Kramer

Tebow Time” is back and bigger than ever.  The Twitter world and ESPN will be a Tebow fest for the next week as Tebow preps for Round 2 with Brady and the Patriots.  Sports are a funny thing.  But I have never been as perplexed as I am by the whole “Tebow Phenomenon.”  The whole thing seems ludicrous and almost fake, but it is real.  Though the sporting world will center its attention on Tim Tebow and the Broncos this week, there are plenty of other things going on.  Here are the events to keep an eye on. Continue reading

“Weekly Nickel”

Mark Ingram (pictured above) and Alabama look to show the country what could have been on Friday, and spoil their rival Auburn's hopes of a perfect season.

And the beat goes on..

Football is heating up.  Baseball’s awards are being dispersed.  The NBA has taken flight and is now coasting.  College Basketball is heating up as teams look to show that their conference is the best.  Plus baseball free agency continues.

There is so much going on that it would be impossible to follow it all.  Here is my top 5 for the week though.

5.  The Yankees continue to play “Lets Make a Deal” with the “Captain” and playoff stud, Cliff Lee.  Joey Votto awaits a possible MVP announcement at 2PM Eastern time today.  The games are done.  Now it is time for recognition.  All of Cincinnati anxiously awaits to hear the announcement of their star as the NL’s best.

4.  The NBA is coasting now with great games every night.  Basically every night this week has a big time matchup.

-Monday (Tonight):  The Magic head to the Alamo to take on the 11 and 1 Spurs.   Many thought that the Spurs were getting too old.  Many were wrong.  Tony Parker may be getting a divorce, but he is still playing at a very high level.  This should be a great game between two of the top teams in basketball.

-Tuesday:  The Bulls head to LA to take on the Lake Show.  Both of these teams lead their respective divisions for a reason.  This could be a major statement win for the Bulls if they could shock Kobe, Pau, and Co.

-Wednesday:  The Battle of Florida commences for Round 2.  Can the Magic redeem themselves after an embarrassing loss back on October 29th to their in-state rival?  Dwight Howard will need to expose the Heat’s lack of an interior presence and have a big night for the Magic to grab a W in this one.

-Thursday:  Really a rain check night with two lackluster matchups on Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving Day has always been about football anyways.

-Friday:  One of basketball’s best rivalries commences as the Mavericks head to the Alamo to take on the Spurs.  Can the Mavericks redeem themselves after their embarrassing playoff exit last season at the hands of their in-state rival?  This will be their first crack at Tim, Tony, and the boys since last April.

-Saturday:  Lebron and the traveling Miami Show head to Dallas to take on Mark Cuban’s Mavericks.  These are two of the top teams in the League.  Can Dirk lead the Dallas boys to a big time home victory?

3.  Dick Vitale is back, and more enthusiastic than ever.  A big slate of games all week highlighted by a ranked showdown between Kansas State and Gonzaga tonight.  Expect Frank Martin to occasionally yell during this one.  Continue to keep an eye on Ohio State and their stellar group of freshman.  Outside of Duke, the Buckeyes appear to be the team to beat.

2.  Did you think Week 12 of College Football was exciting? Wait until you get a look at Week 13.  What an amazing slate of games.  Plus we get 2 full days of games between Friday and Saturday.  So enjoy the NFL on Thanksgiving, but strap in for some College Football for the following two days. 

Should Friday be called, “The D-Day of the Undefeated Teams?”

Friday’s Major Matchups:

Auburn at Alabama-This should be yet another SEC slugfest.  Alabama would like nothing more than to spoil Auburn’s perfect season and show people that they are still talented enough to beat any team in the country. I am putting this game on a Major Upset Alert Watch.

Arizona at Oregon-Though Arizona has struggled lately losing their past 2 contests, they also have an opportunity like Bama to spoil a conference opponent’s perfect season.  I do not see the upset happening here, but Arizona may come out and shock the country with some very inspired football.

Boise State at Nevada-Boise faces their last test of the season.  Nevada has an opportunity to not only ruin Boise’s National Championship hopes, but also their outright WAC Championship hopes.  This could be a tragic day for Boise Football if Nevada could pull of the unthinkable.  But sadly for Nevada, I do not think they have the horses to pull this monumental upset off.

Saturday’s Major Matchups:

LSU at Arkansas-  Both of these teams are still looking to make it into BCS Bowls.  It will be stellar matchup of great offense versus great defense.  Does offense or defense reign supreme in this one?

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State- The winner of this Big 12 regular season finale looks to have a great  chance to head to the Big 12 Title Game.  Who will win the Battle of Oklahoma this year?

1.  The Turkey Bowl that is Thanksgiving Thursday.  People across the country will get to sit on the couch, eat lots of food, and watch the Lions take another Thanksgiving Day beating.  I will state that the other matchups though should be a bit more exciting.  As two playoff bound teams (Saints and Jets) take on two very talented, but underachieving opponents (Cowboys and Bengals). 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy this amazing week of sports.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“College Basketball Preview”

Super frosh, Kyrie Irving (pictured above on the right) has a lot to live up to at Duke. Could he be the next Jay Williams (pictured above on the left) and lead this team back to the Final Four?

College Basketball is back and better than ever folks..or is it?

Many of you probably do not even realize that regular season games have already been played.  I am not sure what the deal is with the lack of publicity thus far, but you better believe that come mid January (when College Football is done), College Basketball will be the center of attention again.  For many, it will become the prime event within the next week in that their College Football team is down and out.

In my opinion, NCAA Basketball has the best and most exciting tournament of them all.  March Madness may be the most consistently well done event that we have in American sports today. It never dissapoints. And yes, I realize that they expanded the tournament field, but you better believe the excitement will still be there come mid March.  Now a few years down the road when they hit their eventual goal of 96 teams, some of the luster may be faded.  But at this point, it will still be a top notch thrilling event.

A long while back, on July 13th to be exact, I gave my “Early Preseason Top 5.”  It read as follows:

1.  Duke

2.  Ohio State

3.  Michigan State

4.  Purdue

5. Butler

And my sleeper picks to make a run at the Final Four were UK, Syracuse, WVU, and Kansas State.

Not much has changed in my eyes from my super early preseason top 5.  There are a couple of minor changes though. 

Here is my real “Preseason Top Five.”

1.  Duke-The defending National Champs return the majority of last year’s squad.  Look for Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler to play at an All American level all year.  Expect the Plumlee brothers to emerge into a formidable post combo.  And do not forget about the arrival of super frosh point guard, Kyrie Irving.  This kid can flat out play with the top guards in the country already.  Plus a little Curry (Stephon Curry’s little brother) will be mixing in with the backcourt.  Coach K has much to like with this very deep and talented squad.

2.  Ohio State-I have said it numerous times, and I will say it again.  It is Final Four or bust this year for Ohio State.  With 4 returning starters, and arguably the best and most college ready Freshman Class in the country, this team will have the talent and the experience to ride all the way to the National Championship.  Thad Matta should be smiling all day and every day with this group.  The freshman class includes the likes of arguably the best big man in the entire country, Jared Sullinger,  a small forward in Deshaun Thomas that can get up and down the floor with the best in the country, a lock down defender in Aaron Craft, and the very smooth all around talent that is shooting guard Jordan Sibert.  Not to mention the Buckeyes feature a junior, that could take home Big Ten Player of the Year in William Buford, plus returning starters, Diebler, Lauderdale, and Lighty.  This team could definitely go the distance.

3.  Michigan State-Tom Izzo has been to 6 Final Fours in the last 12 years for a reason.  The only difference this year is Tom Izzo actually has a team with Final Four talent.  I can only imagine how good this team could be.  Kalin Lucas will be running the point and poised to show why he was Big Ten Player of the year 2 seasons ago.  Durrell Summers, Delvin Roe, Draymond Green, and Korie Lucious are full of experience and ability.  Plus Izzo brought in arguably the best Freshman Power Forward/Center in the country, in the very long and versatile Adreian Payne.  This team could be flat out scary.  I cannot wait to see them match up with Duke on December 1st and Ohio State on February 15th.

4.  Pittsburgh-This Pitt team appears to be the cream of the crop in the Big East.  Though they struggled against a tough Rhode Island team the other night, that is how Jamie Dixon likes it.  His Pitt squads over the years have typified the term, “Winning Ugly.”  This team brings back some very talented mainstays off of last year’s 25 win team such as Ashton Gibbs, Brad Wanamaker, and Gilbert Brown.  I will state that this team does not wow on paper as some of these other top teams I am discussing do.  But Pittsburgh always seems to find a way to win 25 plus games in the rugged Big East and I expect no different this year.  Look for Gibbs and Wanamaker to really lead this team to the top of the Big East.

5. Kansas State-Frank Martin’s Elite 8 team of a year ago looks poised to make another deep run this year.  And we all know if they don’t, they will have to deal with the wrath that is their Coach, Frank Martin.  This team is relatively young and will deeply miss guard Denis Clemente, but they will be led by two very talented seniors in Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly.  These two will provide one of the more formidable high low combos in the entire country.  Look for this team to be similar to Pittsburgh.  Very tough and hard working.  A team that beats you with defense and exceptional effort, especially on the boards.  Would you expect anything else from a Frank Martin coached team?

My sleepers to make a Final Four run are UK (depending on Kantor’s elgibility), North Carolina, Illinois, and Butler.

Key Items to Note

Number 1: Purdue will be Hummel-less this year.  Due to this fact, Purdue will no longer be a top 5 or even top 10 team.  They will be solid and make the tournament, but they are no longer a real “contender” in my eyes.  My condolences go out to Hummel, his family, and all of Boilermaker Nation.

Number 2: The Big Ten looks to be the cream of the crop without a doubt.  Basketball has been dominated by the Big East for the past 4 or 5 years, but the torch appears to have been passed to the old school Big Ten.  ESPN and many of the experts jumped the gun last year saying that the Big Ten was the elite conference.  Well now they are.  Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Purdue all look to be sure fire tourney squads.  And without Hummel going down, I would have said that Ohio State, Michigan State, and Purdue were all National Championship contenders.  Also do not sleep on a very experienced Illinois team and a very solid Bo Ryan led Wisconsin Badger team.  All of these squads are dangerous.

Third: Can Coach K bring home his 5th National Title?   You better believe that he can.  But will he?  There is a lot of basketball to be played, but on paper, Duke is definitely the team to beat.  Keep an eye on Super Frosh, Kyrie Irving.  He will provide fireworks for the Cameron Crazies.

Fourth: Can Brad Stevens lead Butler to another magical tournament run? The talent is there once again.  Shelvin Mack, Ronald Nored, and Matt Howard all return from last year’s National Runner Up.  Will the run continue?  Will Stevens stay through his entire 12 year contract?  We will find out soon.

So there you have it.  It is the Big Ten’s year to shine.  What a season we have in store.  The unpredictably of March Madness is always one of the most fascinating things that happens in sports.

In the words of Dickie V, “Its totally awesome baby!”

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze