Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The Billy Gillispie era in Lubbock appears to be coming to a close.
By Josh Kramer
On April 6, 2007, Billy Gillispie was on top of the world. He had just been hired as the head basketball coach at the University of Kentucky, one of the elite coaching jobs in sports (just ask John Calipari). After leading Texas A&M to three-straight 20-win seasons and two consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, Gillispie was a hot commodity. Many figured that Coach Gillispie would lead Kentucky back to the promised land and help one of the most tradition-filled basketball programs in the nation secure number eight (that feat of course happened in April).
Little did anyone know, April 6, 2007 would be the beginning of the end of Billy Gillespie’s career. Ever since, the wheels have been coming off slowly but surely. Continue reading →
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Omer Asik (pictured above) is now making the big bucks in Houston.
By Josh Kramer
“Linsanity’s” humongous payday appeared to be insanity. In reality, that deal was child’s play on the craziness scale compared to what happened yesterday. The Houston Rockets once again offered up another three-year 25.1 million deal. This time, to little-known Omer Asik. Let me repeat that. Omer Asik, a player who averaged 3.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last year will be making over eight million dollars a year for the next three seasons.
Answer me this: What is Daryl Morey (Houston GM) thinking?
Believe me, this by no means is the NBA’s version of “Moneyball.” It is quite the opposite actually. The three highest paid players on Houston’s roster at the moment are Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lin, and Omer Asik. Can you say NBDL? I am not even sure this team could win the D-League championship to be honest. In its current state, it is that bad. Continue reading →
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. John Calipari (pictured above) once again stole the show at the NBA Draft last evening.
By Josh Kramer
Is anybody else seeing blue? Eight first round picks came from Kentucky and North Carolina. Plus, six players out of Lexington were selected on the night (a record). That is a whole lot of blue. For the first time in NBA Draft history, the top two picks happened to come from the same University. In addition, the top three picks were not only all freshman, but they were all players out of the SEC East. Go figure. I thought the SEC was a football conference? These days, John Calipari is becoming more of a mainstay at the NBA Draft than David Stern. The following are ten observations from the night in no particular order. Continue reading →
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Tom Crean (pictured above) has reawakened Indiana basketball and currently has them sitting as a favorite for the 2012/2013 championship.
By Josh Kramer
6. 10. 12. Want to know what those numbers signify? The win totals for one of college basketball’s elite programs in 2009, 2010, 2011. Well have no fear Bloomington, the Hoosiers are here. After winning 27 games last season in which they defeated three top five teams at the friendly, or not so friendly (for opponents) confines of Assembly Hall, Tom Crean seems to have brought Indiana basketball all the way back from the dead.
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 →
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. If the New York Rangers want to bring the Stanley Cup back to New York City for the first time since 1994, much will be expected of their star goaltender, aka Mr. GQ, Henrik Lundqvist.
By Josh Kramer
Men’s College Basketball has gone from 345 to 2. Novak Djokovic once again flexed his muscles in Miami. And Major League Baseball is ready to roll. Last week was fun, but this week will not be too shabby in its own right. Here are the events to keep an eye on.
5. We have entered the final week of the NHL season. I for one am extremely excited for playoff hockey. Two teams are duking it out in the Eastern Conference for the 8th and final playoff spot, while the Wild West still has five teams in contention for the 7th and 8th positions. I am more concerned with the real contenders though. Teams that I think have a legitimate chance of hoisting Lord Stanley in June. I am focused on a showdown in the City of Brotherly Love tomorrow evening.
New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers: There is a reason why HBO had a hit series this winter entitled, “24/7 Flyers-Rangers.” Not only are these two of the best teams in all of hockey, but they are also two of the fiercest rivals. These teams have been bitter divisional foes since 1974-1975 season, and have met ten times in the playoffs. Well don’t be surprised to see an 11th edition of the “Battle of the Broads” in this year’s postseason. The Flyers have been led by a high-octane offensive attack that centers around their star, Claude Giroux. The Rangers on the other hand can score in flurries, but their leader is none other than their Mr. “GQ” himself, Henrik Lundqvist. Continue reading →
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.
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 →
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).
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.
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.