Tag Archives: UCLA

50 Years Ago

Photo courtesy of pacejmiller.com. 50 years ago today, Wilt Chamberlain (pictured above) accomplished arguably the greatest feat in sports history.

By Josh Kramer

I know that Saturdays are the typical “Throwback” day on “TheSportsKraze.” But today marks a very special anniversary in sports history. Where were you 50 years ago?  I for one was not even born.  And I know for a fact that 99.9999% of you were not in Hershey, Pennsylvania watching the Philadelphia Warriors lay a smack down on the New York Knicks.  Only 9,346 of the 18,496 seat Hershey Sports Arena was filled on that particular night.  These days, a good high school team such as Oak Hill Academy can draw a larger crowd than the one in Hershey, PA 50 years ago for a regular season game.  Well on this particular night, 50 years ago, a goliath man by the name of Wilt Chamberlain, maybe you have heard of him, accomplished one of the greatest feats in sports history. Continue reading

Advertisements

“NCAA March Madness Preview Part 1”

The brackets are out. Let the journey to Houston begin!

The Brackets are finally officially set.  No more speculation.  No more bracketology.  I will admit that what ESPN Bracketology specialist Joe Lunardi does is pretty remarkable.  But it is made out as if his bracket is more important than the real thing some times.  I will take the bracket presented by the CBS Selection Show every day of the week over Lunardi’s.  Anyways, after watching the Selection Show this evening, here are a few initial items that really jumped out at me: Continue reading

“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

“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

“Food for Thought on 12-8-10”

Kansas Junior, Marcus Morris (pictured above), has turned into one of the most talented forwards in the country. Could he lead Kansas to a Big 12 Championship and a run to the Final Four?

Due to popular demand, I am going to bring back the “Food for Thought” concept and make this more of a weekly type of ordeal.  People want to hear my thoughts on the various topics going on in the always busy, wide world of sports, and this is a way for me to do that on a weekly basis.

So here are some of the main topics making headlines and my incite on them:

-The “Old School” Texas basketball squads are not looking so old.

Is anybody else amazed by the red-hot starts of both the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks?  Both of these teams that many called “too old” at the beginning of the season sport the League’s two best records.  The Spurs  are a formidable squad that has 5 players averaging 11 or more points a game.  This team is full of experience, deep, and led by one of the best coaches in the NBA.  And then you have the Mark Cuban squad out of Dallas.  The Mavs have now won 10 straight games and are just blowing away the competition.  Dallas also plays a great brand of team basketball and is being led by arguably the game’s greatest shooting 7 footer ever, in Dirk Nowitzki.  Nobody talked about either of these team’s as contenders in the Western Conference.  It appears the Wild Wild West will have to go through Texas come playoff time.

-“Pistol” Pete Sampras has lost his bling.

Pete Sampras was possibly the most consistent player ever to play on the men’s professional tennis tour and arguably the greatest of all time.  He was an amazing champion who sported the greatest 2nd serve of all time and had the innate ability to stay cool during even the most pressure filled situations.  Well this situation is something he is not accustomed too.  Between moving houses, he stored many of his tennis trophies and memorabilia at a Los Angeles Public Storage Facility.  Pete always was good at taking care of business on his own during his phenomenal career.  He was not only a great player on the court, but he was a great person off of it.  This incident demonstrates to Pete why he played an individual sport where he only needed to depend on himself.  It is hard to trust in others for anybody, but I am sure Sampras will have a very hard time after this unfortunate occurrence to trust anybody.  I really hope his trophies and various memorabilia are found in the near future.

-Dave Wannstedt bids adieu to Panther Nation.

Can anybody really say that they did not see this coming?  The man with maybe the best mustache in College Football spent 6 years in Panther Nation.  And nearly every year started with high expectations and ended with some sort of downer.  This was supposed to be the year for Pittsburgh.  The Big East was way down.  Their rival Cincinnati was going through a major coaching transition.  And  the Panthers were extremely talented with the likes of Dion Lewis, Jon Baldwin, and Greg Romeus.  Instead, Pitt opened up the year with a very disappointing loss to Utah. And never really got it all together, finishing at 7 and 5. Plus they failed to nab the Big East’s automatic BCS Bowl bid.  So although Pitt finally won a share of the Big East Championship this year, it was not good enough to get into the BCS Bowl.  Wannstedt seems like a good guy.  But boy does he struggle to win big games.  And in the highly competitive and intense atmosphere that is College Football, the difference between a good coach and a great coach is the ability to win big games.  Some guys have it.  Some guys do not.  Here is a final though on this topic.  Could anybody see Bengal’s current coach Marvin Lewis on the Pitt sidelines next September?  Weirder things have happened.

-It is Rock Chalk Time as the beat goes on in Lawrence.

And the beat goes on for the Jayhawks.  Sure this team started out the year ranked in the Top 10.  But last year was “the year” in Lawrence.  And with the departures of Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, and Xavier Henry, nobody was expecting this team to be a Final Four Contender.   This team looks to have the potential to be the real deal.  Sure they have only played one real quality opponent.  Sure they struggled to victories over UCLA and Arizona.  But the Jayhawks are now 8 and 0, with a great opportunity to start conference play undefeated.  Plus they dominated a solid Memphis team on national television last evening.  This team plays phenomenally disciplined on the offensive end of the court.  They lead the country in assists per game and field goal percentage.  You know Bill Self has to be happy at the high percentage his team shoots from the floor and the way that they share the ball.  Marcus Morris has developed into one of the best forwards in the country and is extremely versatile.  The Morris twins remind me of the Lopez twins out of Stanford.  Could this team make some noise come March?  That is yet to be determined, but you better believe that these guys will contend with Kansas State for the Big 12 Title.

So there you have my “Food for Thought” on this Wednesday afternoon.  There is so much going on and I was only able to touch on a few things here.  If you want to hear my thoughts on anything else going on in the sporting world, please comment below and I will be sure to reply.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Amazing Streaks”

UConn Women's Head Basketball Coach, Geno Auriemma (pictured above), has led the Lady Huskies to 80 consecutive victories. Is this one of the greatest streaks ever in sports?

After watching the UConn Lady Huskies, led by the legendary Geno Auriemma secure their 80th consecutive win over the number 2 ranked Baylor Bears, it got me thinking.  What is the greatest streak or record in sports history?

Here are my top 5 team streaks of all time:

5.  From 1991 to 2005, Bobby Cox, who is recently retired, led the Atlanta Braves to an unfathomable 14 consecutive divisional titles.  Plenty of teams go 15 years without even making the playoffs once.  Just ask the Reds about that.

4.  In 1979, the Philadelphia Flyers went an unthinkable 35 games without a loss.  The NHL is a brutal League where no teams has ever won more than 62 games during regular season play.  This team was able to go 35 without suffering 1 defeat.  It was a good time to sport a Flyer’s jersey.

3.UCLA’s 7 consecutive NCAA Men’s basketball titles.  During this amazing time of utter dominance by John Wooden and the Bruins, they also won 88 consecutive games!  Could you imagine a team doing something like this in this day and age.  The last Men’s team to sport a perfect season was the Indiana Hoosiers in 1976.

2. The Boston Celtic’s won 8 consecutive NBA Titles between the 1958-1959 season and the 1965-1966 season.  Will any team ever touch this?  I mean 3-peats are great, but that is not even half of an 8-peat.

1. California’s De La Salle’s High School Football won 151 straight games over a 12 year span.  This is not easy task at any level, especially the high school level, where the kids really change every couple of years due to graduation, etc.  The previous record was only 72.  This streak spanned from 1992 to 2004!

I know there are other major streaks out there.  So here are my honorable mention top team streaks of all time.  

–  Penn State Women’s Volleyball 109 match winning streak and the University of North Carolina Women’s Soccer 103 game win streak. 

– The LA Lakers scintillating 33 game win streak. 

– The Oklahoma Sooner Football 47 game winning streak between 1953 and 1957.

What are your top streaks?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“College Football Week 5: A Midseason Championship Week?”

Florida Freshman, Trey Burton (pictured above on the right) is bringing back memories of Gator legend, Tim Tebow (pictured above on the left). Could this stellar freshman be the difference maker against Alabama on Saturday?

Folks, major conference play is getting under way or right around the corner for most.  Now we are hitting October football.  This is where the games really heat up, even though the weather is beginning to cool down.  Injuries are taking its toll on teams, but the best teams will continue to find ways to win.

I will state this right now.  Week 5 will be live.

Texas vs Oklahoma:  The Red River Rivalry is one of the best games College Football has to offer year in and year out.  And let’s be honest, it is in essence, a midseason Big 12 Championship game (normally).  Though Nebraska has looked just as good or better than both of these formidable squads, this game will go a long way in determining who wins the mighty Big 12 in its last year as the normal Big 12.  Texas is coming off of a horrible home loss to a decent UCLA game.  This loss really shocked the country and showed Texas to have some big time holes this year.  I will admit though, Mack Brown demonstrating great sportsmanship and gave UCLA all the credit in the world, putting the blame on him and his team’s shoulders.  Got to respect that.  Oklahoma barely escaped in a game that they should have lost to Cincinnati, the best 1 and 3 team in the country.  Oklahoma has grinded out close games in 3 of their 4 victories this year.  This team is extremely talented and athletic, though they are lacking much to be desired in the discipline department.   I know the age-old rule is that actual talent can get thrown out the window when it comes to big time rivalry games, but this year, the talent will be the difference.  Oklahoma is head and shoulders better than Texas and will win this game by at least 14 points.  Oklahoma, in their only other game against a big time ranked opponent (FSU), looked like a juggernaut and ran the overmatched Seminoles off the field.  Expect more of the same on Saturday as the combination of Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles continues to shred opposing defenses.

Wisconsin vs Michigan State:  Welcome to a big time brawl in the Big Ten folks.  These two old rivals do not have the greatest of relationships.  Though it is heartwarming to hear that Coach Dantonio will still be able to play a role in the game from the booth for the mighty Spartans.  Michigan State has looked tough this year, though they could have easily been defeated by Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish.  Wisconsin, though they struggled vs Arizona State 2 weeks ago, put up a stunning 70 points last weekend.  This offense is lethal.  The defense is solid, and I think the vaunting Badger rushing attack will prove to be too much for the Spartans on this day.  Michigan State is close to breaking into the elite ranks of College Football, but Greg Jones and the defense will struggle stopping John Clay all day on the way to a tough loss.  I got the Badgers by 3 on the road in this one.

Florida at Alabama:  This is probably the best game of the entire weekend, and maybe even the entire year.  The two best coaches with the two best teams the SEC has to offer battling it out in front of a National Audience.  This game represents what College Football is all about.  Saban vs Meyer.  Talk about an amazing matchup of elite coaches.  Many feel that the Tide will “Roll” against the Gators as they did last year in this one.  And I say not so fast.  The Gators looked to be gaining back their offensive swagger last week against Kentucky and will surprise the Tide with their stellar freshman Trey Burton.  The kid reminded me of a young Tim Tebow last week, accounting for 6 TDs.  There is a reason why no team has ever repeated as BCS National Champions in the BCS era.  There are just too many good teams in College Football, especially in the SEC.  Look for the Gators to pull the unthinkable upset, shocking Nick Saban, Mark Ingram, and the Crimson Tide.  I got Florida shocking the country, with a  3 point victory.

Stanford at Oregon:  In essence, this is the makeshift Pac 10 Championship.  Two very good teams battling it out on National Television.  Sound familiar to what we have going on in both the Big 12 and the SEC?  Against a fairly difficult schedule so far, the Cardinal has looked outstanding both offensively and defensively ranking among the nation’s elite.  This team can flat-out play, and really stepped onto the National scene with an old-fashioned butt whipping of Notre Dame last week.  Oregon on the other hand, may be the only team in the country that has ranked even better than Stanford both offensively and defensively.  This team has looked nearly invincible, other than during a minor lull against ASU last week.  So conventional wisdom would say to pick the home team.  And that is what I am going to do.  These are both great teams.  But I feel the speed and athleticism of the Ducks, mixed in with the home crowd will give them the edge.  Look for the Ducks to upend the Cardinal by 3 in a great football game.  LaMichael James may find his way onto the short list for the Heisman Trophy after this one.

So there you have it folks.  Week 5 has arguably the most exciting slate of games we will get all year.  In essence, there is a makeshift Big 12 Championship game, SEC Championship Game, and Pac 10 Championship Game.  I am not sure if you can ask for more excitement.  And the amazing thing, there are other great matchups that I had to leave off of this post.

Week 5 appears to be a “Midseason Championship Week” for half of the major BCS Bowl Conferences.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze