Tag Archives: Joakim Noah

“Weekly Nickel”

The Heat have now won 12 games in a row. The "Main Event" this week involves a matchup between the Heat and the Lakers on Christmas Day.

Its Monday.  And you all know what that means…

It is the start to another stellar week in the wide world of sports.  Lets take a look at the pulse of the action.

5.  Come Thursday, there should be a heavy focus on the NHL.  It should be no surprise to you why people should tune in to NHL Hockey.  Sure two of the top teams in the NHL are going head to head.  But it is the Kobe/Lebron matchup of the NHL.  Sid “the Kid” Crosby leads his Penguins to the nation’s capital to take on Alex Ovechkin.  Who you got?  Crosby or Ovechkin?

4.  College Football Bowl Madness continues.  3 of 35 are complete.  Lets keep them coming. 

Tuesday

Beef “O” Brady’s Bowl:  Southern Miss vs Louisville-America will get to see 1st year Louisville coach, Charlie Strong, lead his team into their first bowl game in 4 years.  Contrasting styles should make for a fun one in St. Petersburg.  Louisville has lived on its defense all year while Southern Miss has lived on its O.

Wednesday

MAACO Bowl:  Utah vs Boise State-This is hands down the best game of the week.  Two teams that were both ranked in the top 5 at different points during the course of this season.  Plus, this could be the last time we get to see Kellen Moore suit up in the Bronco Blue.  If you get to watch one College Football Game this week, watch this one.  You will not want to miss Titus Young and Austin Pettis play in their last game.  Outside of a kicking breakdown, Boise has played a near perfect season.

Thursday

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl:  Navy at San Diego State-Navy can straight pound the rock.  Not the most appealing game to watch.  But if you want to see some old school, smash mouth football, Navy is the team to watch.  San Diego State will provide some pass heavy offense, led by their QB, Ryan Lindley.

Friday

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl:  Hawaii vs Tulsa-Tulsa is one of the luckier teams in the country.  They first of all got to defeat Notre Dame in South Bend.  Now they get to head to Hawaii for a bowl game?  Not to shabby.  Both of these teams can really score.  Expect both offensive units to put up 35 plus in this one.  Hawaii has the most lethal passing attack in the country for a change and Tulsa is right up there as well.  The difference is that Tulsa can run the ball effectively too.  Take note of this fact when picking a winner for this one.

3.  Not the greatest week for College Hoops.  Christmas always is a time to spotlight the NBA.  But, there are some good matchups, especially on Wednesday.  Here is a look at the two marquee games on Wednesday.

Missouri vs Illinois:  One of the top dogs in the Big 12 takes on one of the better teams in the Big Ten.  Missouri plays basketball at a gut wrenching pace for all 40 minutes.  Welcome to the fastest 40 minutes in basketball.  Outside of Washington, not many teams play at this pace for the duration of games anymore.  Outside of a heartbreaking OT loss to Georgetown, a game they should have won, this team has looked pretty strong.  They will score points, averaging just under 86 a game.  Illinois on the other hand fell to the only other Big 12 foe they played this year (Texas), and are coming off of a shocking loss to Illinois-Chicago.  This team though also has beaten some very tough teams this season such as UNC and Gonzaga.  You will not want to miss this one.

Texas at Michigan State:  I applaud both of these squads for playing brutal non conference schedules.  They are already preparing their teams for March.  So what if they each have suffered multiple losses.  You cannot undervalue big game experience in November and December.  Please note though that all 3 of the Spartan’s losses are against current top 10 teams.  Texas did suffer a loss to an unranked foe in USC, but they have beaten some top-notch opponents such as Illinois and UNC.  This should just be a great all around game.  I will be very interested to see how Cory Joseph, the Longhorn’s freshman phenom, matches up with experienced Spartan guards such as Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers, and Korie Lucious.  Should be a fun one to watch.

2.  I had to give Geno and his ladies some love.  Sure I realize that most are not as in to Women’s College Basketball as Men’s.  But this is history folks.  The great John Wooden’s record could fall.  Tomorrow (Tuesday) evening, Auriemma looks to make history.  The Lady Huskies go for their 89th consecutive win!  Yes I said 89th.  Can you imagine winning 89 straight games?  Can the Seminoles somehow stop this train?  Do not count on it.

1.  This week’s NBA slate will not disappoint.  Every night features a big time matchup.  Tonight, there are two great games.  The Magic bring their new look squad to the ATL to take on the always dangerous Hawks.  And the Mavs head to Miami to take on the red-hot Miami Heat.  Can the Mavericks cool off the South Beach All Stars?

On Tuesday, the Mavericks have to recover in a hurry as they head over to take on the new look Magic.  Come Wednesday, the Garden will get a taste of Kevin Durant.  Can he put on a big time performance against the overachieving Knicks?  Then Thursday, as Orlando continues on with their “hell week,” the Spurs come to town. 

Christmas is always an awesome day in the NBA though.  Boy did the League outdo themselves with the slate of games that they put together.

Chicago at New York:  Derrick Rose and the “Noahless” first place Bulls head to the Garden.  Big time players always put together memorable performances at MSG.  Plus it is Christmas.  Expect Derrick Rose to put up a triple double as he wows the New York crowd.  Now I will state, up until the 2nd half of the game vs the Heat on Friday, the Knicks had thoroughly impressed me.  They have played way above their talent level.  Amare looks like an MVP.  Gallineri is playing like an All Star and really has developed an all around offensive repertoire.  And Felton has rejuvenated his career.  So what if the New York guys are not quite at that Miami or Boston level.  They are good enough to make the playoffs this year.  Plus they have caught the attention of Melo.  You add Carmelo to this team, they are a contender in the East.  You add CP3, the Knicks are a title contender again.  Boy would that be fun.

Boston at Orlando:  The two teams that have owned the Eastern Conference the past 3 years link up in Disney World.  This is the final game of the Magic’s “Hell Week.”  Will Orlando have anything left in the tank for this one?  They will have already played the Hawks, the Mavericks, and the Spurs already before they even get to step on the floor with the C’s.  Boston is playing outstanding basketball.  Though they are missing Rondo, do not expect a huge drop off.  I am curious to see how the new look Magic match up with the Mean Green Fighting Machine.

Heat at Lakers:  Kobe, Lebron, Wade, Gasol, and Bosh on the same floor?  No this is not the All Star Game.  This is the primetime game of the day though.  And boy is it one that every basketball fan in the country has been waiting for. The Heat have gelled, winning 12 straight games.  There could not be better timing for this game.  All of the stars will be out (not just those on the floor).  Do not take away too much from this matchup though.  There is still a lot of basketball to be played.  But outside of Lebron’s return to Cleveland, this is the year’s most anticipated game up to this point. 

Also, there are two other games on Christmas.  It will be a Merry Basketball Day.

So there you have a look at this week’s main events.  And I did not even touch on the NFL’s Week 16.  You better believe that there is a ton going on.  Let me hear your thoughts.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Kurt Thomas and the genius behind his longevity in the NBA”

Can journeyman Kurt Thomas (pictured above) fill the void in the middle for the Bulls with Joakim Noah out for the next 8 to 10 weeks?

Our Chicago hot shot is at it again with a continuation to his recent post regarding the injured Joakim Noah.  Lets here what the man has got to say in another Runzelism.

Will Runzel is an  entrepreneur and sports guru out of Chicago.  Follow him on Twitter @willrunzel

The Bulls recently lost Joakim Noah for 8-10 weeks due to a thumb surgery. One of his key replacements will be 38 year old Kurt Thomas. Thomas is currently earning 1.8 million, but only signed a one year deal good through the 2010-2011 season. In his career he has amassed 62.1 million dollars in 17 seasons, while never averaging over 14 points a game. So far this year Thomas has appeared in five games, and scored a total of two points in 12 minutes played. Don’t let this fool you; Thomas can play. He’s not an elite big man in this league by any means, but was an integral part in helping the Milwaukee Bucks push the Atlanta Hawks to seven games in the 2010 NBA Playoffs after Andrew Bogut went down with a broken hand. The Hawks were the clear favorites especially after losing Bogut. Thomas played great defense, averaged 28 minutes per game (compared to 15 minutes per game during the regular season), nabbed nearly 8 rebounds a game, while shooting 48% from the field.

Thomas has always been an asset to teams because of his locker room presence. As much as we love the Allen Iverson’s and Derrick Rose’s for throwing their body around without regard, something has to be said for a player that can still contribute on a playoff team at 37 years old (his age last playoffs). Year after year he has quietly accepted his paycheck and contributed when called upon. Professional basketball is a rough sport. Thomas will be an asset the Bulls are in dire need of and I expect he will perform well as the first or second big man off the bench.

Few NBA players sit quietly on the bench, perform well when necessary, and are a valuable asset to any team – Kurt Thomas is one of those guys. 18 years in any business is an accomplishment, especially one that is as taxing on the body as playing in the NBA. Don’t be surprised if Kurt Thomas finds another team to pay him another quiet 2 million next season at age 39.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Noah Injury, A Blessing in Disguise”

Chicago Bulls starting Center, Joakim Noah (pictured above), is suffering from a major thumb injury. What effects will this have on the Bull's playoff/title chances?

Our Chicago sports expert is back at it again folks.  See his thoughts below on the Joakim Noah “thumb situation.”

Will Runzel is an  entrepreneur and sports guru out of Chicago.  Follow Will on Twitter @WillRunzel

Joakim Noah will undergo surgery on his right (shooting hand) thumb. More information will be released at an 11 am CST press conference. Noah’s injury will knock him out 8-10 weeks or roughly 30 games. Battling through the injury for nearly ten games dating back to the Sacramento Kings match on November 27, Noah has posted nine points or better in nine of 10 games and has had double digits rebounds in six of those games. Analysts and fans alike are worried about how this will affect the Bulls this season, and I see it as a blessing in disguise. Here are some pro’s and con’s to Joakim’s injury

Cons:

-The Bulls are losing a double-double machine and the best defensive post presence for 30 or so games, more than 1/3 of their season

-Noah is the heart and soul of the team, the Scottie to Rose’s Jordan

-The Bulls will definitely win less games and could hurt their playoff seeding

-This stretch includes games against top tier teams with dominant big men, including (dare I say it) the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, and San Antonio Spurs

-This lowers the chances of the Bulls trading for a scoring two guard

Keep in mind the Bulls already went through the toughest stretch of the season sans Carlos Boozer.

Pros:

-The development of Omer Asik is crucial to the Bulls success this season and for the next five seasons. He has played well this season and will get another shot to develop

-Taj Gibson is already a fantastic 6th man/reserve big man and will continue his growth. This should give him so more time to polish his offensive skill set

-Noah will be rested for the playoffs and the Bulls should still finish fourth or better in the East maintaining home court advantage in the first round.

-Joakim may provide a similar boost to what Boozer just supplied upon his return; the Bulls will learn to compete with top teams without Jo, and when he returns they suddenly have an inside defensive presence

Will Runzel out of Chicago will continue to come out with his thoughts and incites regarding the Chicago sporting scene.  If you want information on the Bears or the Bulls, you want a Runzelism.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Buckeye Nation Seeks Redemption”

Ohio State Super Freshman, Jared Sullinger (pictured above), will be scoring early and often in helping lead the Buckeyes deep into March Madness this year.

2007 was the year of the Gator in College sports.  And really it could have been called the year of the Buckeye.  Two dates that will forever live in infamy in the eyes of all related to the school that sports the “Best Band in the Land (Ohio State)” are as follows:

January 8th, 2007–  On this date, a heavily favored Ohio State team was downed by a Florida team that featured a lethal quarterback tandem in Chris Leak, and some freshman named Tim Tebow.  The Buckeyes were the best team in the country all year and fully expected to ride their horses, Ted Ginn Jr. and Troy Smith to their first National Championship since 2002.  Sadly for Brutus and the Buckeyes, Florida demonstrated the amazing speed of the SEC and dominated Tressel’s team 41 to 14.

April 2nd, 2007– A few months after the BCS National Championship massacre, Ohio State was led by 2 outstanding freshman in Mike Conley Jr. and the ultimate big man (who calls himself a chameleon on commercials), Greg Oden on the basketball court.  The Buckeyes were looking to redeem themselves from the embarrassment that Gator Nation had laid on them a few months before on the gridiron.  This was the Buckeye’s chance to reign on the Gator parade.  Florida was the defending National Champs that had returned all 5 starters and were the heavily favored squad.  Donovan’s team featuring the likes of Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Lee Humphrey, Al Horford, and Taurean Green did not disappoint.  Ohio State once again suffered a defeat and was once again number 2.

Fast forward to 2010.  Both basketball programs appear to be back at the forefront of the College Basketball stratosphere.  Florida is ranked number 10 in the country and appears to be the favorite to bring home the SEC.  Ohio State is ranked 5th, and look to be a major contender to bring home the Big Ten title despite the loss of last year’s National Player of the  Year, Evan Turner.

I know it goes unspoken, but you better believe the Buckeyes are looking to extract some revenge on their Southern rival.  This is a rivalry that has really kind of flown under the radar.  Yes, I realize that Ohio State got a little redemption when they handily defeated the Gators in December of 2007, but neither team was ranked at the time.  Both teams were in the rebuilding phase.  Well now both teams are ranked again and looking to make a run at the Final Four.

This is the first major showdown of the season.  And boy should it be a doozy.  Florida features a squad led by Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker, and seniors Alex Tyus and Chandler Parsons.  This team is experienced.  This team has speed.  This team can shoot the rock.  And you better believe that Coach Billy Donovan has them ready to play on a night in and night out basis.  Plus Kentucky no longer is the super squad of a year ago.  Though they are tough, the SEC will now have to go through the Swamp.

Ohio State is a team that I have been saying for some time now will be one of the last team’s left dancing come March.  I will not stop talking about this squad any time soon in that they were a major pick that I spotted over a year ago.  They have the perfect mix of experience and talent.  They returned 3 senior starters and 1 junior starters.  Plus they brought in a phenomenal freshman class which features many players off of the same AAU team.  Freshman like Jared Sullinger, Deshaun Thomas, Aaron Craft, and Jordan Sibert are ready to make a major impact now.  And honestly, Sullinger and Thomas could easily be 1st team All Big Ten performers this year and be players of the one and done variety.  Thad has been to a championship game as mentioned earlier.  He is accustomed to winning and playing deep into the tournament.  Well expect this team to have a major shot at being the last one standing.

Look for Ohio State to Gator Chomp the Gators tonight in the first big time matchup of the season.  This Buckeye team is the real deal.  Could 2010/2011 be the year of the Buckeye?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze