Saturday, March 31, 2007

Final Four Weekend, Boo.

I'm going to try and not let my love of Georgetown factor into this review of the day's action too much, but I think it is fair to say, without hyperbole that this was the worst weekend in the history of college basketball.

OK, so not really. But man, I'm disappointed. Not just in the Georgetown loss, but the way they lost. As I predicted fouls on the big men were a factor--with Oden picking up two very quick fouls, and sitting for most of the first half, and then Hibbert picking up his second about 6 minutes later, and also sitting a lot. Note: CBS Sportsline columnist Gregg Doyel is not happy about those fouls. even though he admits they were fouls.

Of course, both men ended up finishing the game, which means that they could have played more, dammit. Because of the fouls, they hardly played against each other at all, but when they did, I think you'd have to give the edge to Hibbert, who beat Oden a couple of times in the post when Georgetown was trying to get back into the game. But on the whole, Georgetown seemed out of sync, and you'd think after their win over North Carolina, a 6 point lead in the final couple of minutes wouldn't seem insurmountable, but it did today.

And I'm not being sour grapes here, but I just particularly care for Ohio State's style of play. They deserve to be in the final game--that much is clear. They've won in the tournament in a variety of ways (luck, big comebacks, etc) and their run during the regular season and Big 10 Tournament was fuckin' impressive. And they were effective in this game, somehow keeping Jeff Green out of much of the game (Billy Packer would say that is as much as Jeff Green as it is on the Ohion State defense). But watching them? Ugh. No one is going to confuse this team with the Illinois teams that made their championship runs out of the Big 10. They may not be as boring as watching paint dry, but speaking as a former housepainter, they are less exciting than applying a stain in hot weather, and watching that dry. That's exciting and difficult work. Watching Ohio State feels like work, too, but without the scary ladders or the nice housewives that make you Kool-Aid with double sugar for your lunch break.

In the other game, Florida took UCLA's lunch money for the second straight year, and while I predicted Corey Brewer would be the difference, I didn't imagine he'd have the game he did. First, I didn't imagine that he'd be man-on-man with Afflalo the entire game, or that he'd completely shut him down, which he did do. I also imagined him driving to the basket for his points, rather than chillin' on the 3 point line and doing his Lee Humphrey imitation.

The way Florida is winning versus the way Ohio State is winning tells me that Florida is a huge favorite in the final. They've also got the experience, more big men (and thus fouls to give) than Ohio State does, and I again think Corey Brewer will pose massive match-up problems. He'll be Jeff Green should have been. I really do have trouble envisioning a scenario in which Ohio State wins this game. Which is too bad--not because I want Ohio State to win. Ideally, in my perfect world, both teams will lose. Is that possible? No? Shit.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Final Four Weekend! Whooo!

So let's start with the Ohio State-Georgetown tilt.

This should be a hell of a game. Starting at the obvious position, Center, with Greg Oden and Roy "Dr." Hibbert, for both of these men, this will be the most challenging match-up either has seen all year. Rightfully so, as these are probably the two top centers in the upcoming draft. Roy is probably giving up 45 pounds and somehow, 15 years to Greg Oden. Both have shown a propensity for foul trouble. Neither bench has a player that they even bother subbing in as a Center if these players get in foul trouble. Both Ohio State and G-Town go small in that event.

So who wins this battle of the 7 footers? Impossible to say. But the game may turn on which big man has only 2 fouls coming into the final 10 minutes of the game.

Georgetown clearly owns the rest of the front court. Go ahead, name an Ohio State forward. Is he better than Jeff Green? Of course he isn't. Jeff is the best small forward in the country, and Ohio State has no answer for him. 6' 9", smart, tough, a good shooter, a great rebounder, and a pretty good assist man, Jeff Green will probably be the difference in this game.

But the backcourt has some say in that. At Georgetown, you've got Jesse Sapp, and Wallace, and at Ohio State, you've got Conley and Lewis. I think the backcourt edge has to go to Ohio State, but just barely.

Both teams are deep, but I think Georgetown has better athletes and players than Ohio State--Ewing Jr, Rivers, and Summers (who if he had gone to a place like Minnesota, would have been an absolute star this year) are simply more talented than the guys Ohio State is bringing off the bench.

This game will turn on fouls, I think.


a rematch of last year's final. Awesome, and congrats to both squads for making it to the Final Four two years in a row. That ain't easy. Both teams lost very few people off of last year's Final team. I'm sure Florida graduated some senior who never played. UCLA lost Jordan Farmar, but that's about it. Some will tell you that this era of players coming back is at an end. There are a ton of intersting match-ups here, even throwing out last year's history. UCLA's Affaflo will need to marked tight, and I'm not sure either of the Florida's three main guards (Green, Humpfries, or Hodge) is equal to that task. Collison for UCLA will also be a pain to guard. I'm not sure UCLA's guards can defend Florida's either. And then you have the distinct advantage in Florida's big men.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Corey Brewer determines this game. If Brewer scores more than 15, then Florida wins. If he is held to less than 10 points, then give the game to UCLA.

Be our Friend? We'll let You Play with Our Toys

So, upon the advice of our 16-year old girlfriends, we've opened up a myspace page. Come visit it and ask to be our friend and stuff and junk? If we've ever made you ROFL, or whatever, do it you bitches.

We haven't a clue what we are doing at MySpace, but our graphic designer, who is brilliant, and was once a drummer in a college band that played basements, which made us totally dig her, said, "Get On MySpace! I'm On MySpace, and I used to drum in college party basements."

We've never drummed in college party basements. Sure, we've kicked the shit out of some cocky sons of bitches in Table Tennis, and sure, we've wrecked the knee and career of some up and coming soccer player, and yeah, we've written unpublished poems and novels and short stories, and on occasion we've hit the Trifecta at Canterbury Park, or hustled playing pool, or darts, or won money playing poker in some random room in some dirty hotel referenced by Lifter Puller. But not one of us has ever done anything as hip and cool as getting behind the drums, so we listen to her when she tells us what is cool.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Good Morning, Blogosphere!

Kenny Rogers wants to know--What Condition Is YOUR Condition In?

Pros vs. Joes Finale Summary and teaser

It's been a long, strange road. I first became acquainted with the first season of Pros vs. Joes during a marathon on Spike to highlight the upcoming second season. I fell in love, quite publicly. Update: We have our Joe Roundtable Up and Running! Find out which Pro was the biggest shit-talker!

In this second season, I missed exactly two episodes. One was a theme episode, featuring college mascots (who gives a shit? I doubt the weird red haired little dude who plays a leprechaun at Notre Dame thinks he could beat a pro at anything but being visually reminiscent of a leprechaun). The other episode I missed was the final qualifier show, and that's a shame, but I blame Spike for being stupid enough to run it against the NCAA basketball tournament. Know your audience, you dicks. You know what ESPN ran during the prime time games of Day 1 of the NCAA Tournament? Figure Skating. That's a logical move. Learn from that Spike TV (though, knowing them, they'll probably take that to mean, "Let's put some hookers on skates and film it!"). Anyway, the winner of that episode was a fella named Jackson Wright, who was a good egg, and while never revealing the results of his episode, let me know some basic PvJ stuff. I feel bad about missing his episode, and yet somehow catching the one with the fucking Broadcasters. It won't be timely, but I still hope to write up Jackson's episode. But the important thing, as I learned tonight, is that he won his episode.

Let's Get To It! Seven non-theme winner Joes! Playing for season passes to the year's hottest sporting events (no, they aren't ever named) and a Toyota Tundra, whose commercial talks about the importance of a Happy Ending. And you've ever paid $450 dollars for a one hour Asian massage, you know exactly what Toyota is talking about. Zing!

Our Joes are, in order of their winning episode, as best as I can reconstruct:
1. Jay from Episode one
2. John Cox, episode two
3. Rodney Williams, Episode 3, and our first interview subject
4. Mike "The Z-Man" Zimmerman, Episode 4 and our second interview subject
5. Dwight Pope, from the Coaches Edition
6. Mahlon Williams from the Boston vs. Yankees Edition
7. Jackson Wright, from that Episode I haven't seen yet. I could link to something, but it would be something random. OK, so I did that.

We've got too many Joes, dammit. So Petro Snuffalupugus announces we're going to make teams of two, but we've got 7 people (what--Sal Maskela or the Wisconsin Badger were too busy to participate?) so someone is getting eliminated. But how to eliminate that person? How about a childhood game that brings out nightmares? No, not dodgeball. We're playing 500, with fucking Randall Cunningham at Permanent QB. Seems like more firepower than necessary--if you need a QB to loft moonshots, why not just get Jeff Blake? Anyway, long story short, Dwight Pope is the odd man out. Which is a shame. We like Dwight. Our teams are set.

Team 1: Jay and John Cox; Team 2: Rodney and Jackson; Team 3: Mahlon and the Z-Man

First Challenge--as a backfield tandem, run a touchdown in over a blocking wall with Bruce Smith and Randy Couture (?) playing defense. Rodney actually yells, Look Who've They've Got in Pads! (and not in a happy way). Each team gets 3 downs--score as many touchdowns as you can. Couture played some football in high school, and he's also only like the scariest fucking man in America. This is a tough challenge. Most teams get stopped. John and Jay score on their second attempt to take a 1-0-0 lead. Cunningham gives Bruce Smith the business about getting scored on. Mahlon fumbles on his first attempt into the end zone, and Timmy Hardaway calls him a sissy. In light of later events, Mahlon may be able to press charges for hate crimes. Timmy has a lot of hate in his heart. Oh, when Randy Couture tackles people, he likes to slap them on their helmet, repeatedly, pretty hard. He may be a sociopath, who's found gainful employment not in spite of being a sociopath, but because he's a sociopath. The American Dream in action there.

On their last attempt, Rodney and Jackson tie it up with John and Jay. John and Jay have one last attempt, and they do something quite smart--they send tall and lanky John into Bruce Smith (who he grabs onto without a conscience--what, the ref is calling to call holding on a Joe? and Jay scoots and jumps in to the right corner for their second TD. First challenge to Jay & John

Second Challenge--Couldn't be more simple. Play a game of 21 with two pros. Timmy "I'm Scared of Jm J. Bullock" Hardaway and Roy "I'll Fight A Kangaroo if the Money is Right" Jones Jr. Peter "I'm a famous for being a College Lineman and a Basic Cable Host, and I'm still going to give these guys the Business For their Occupation" Paparidickulous reminds everyone that Roy Jones Jr played some Minor League Basketball. Mahlon and the Z-Man are first. Mahlon knows how to use his height--he's taller than either Hardaway or Jones. The Z-Man gets 2 of the 17 points that their team scores. Very impressive showing from Mahlon. I assume Z was active in ways that didn't get on TV. They would have actually beaten the pros if not for one problem--Tim Hardaway hits open shots from 25 feet in. And he's left open a lot.

All of the Joe teams run into this problem at some point. John and Jay go on an 8-2 run, and then give up a 19 point run to lose 21-8. OUCH, motherfuckers, OUCH. Jackson and Rodney take turns getting hot, and take turns putting up airballs, which Jones and Hardaway coldly turn into points. Round two to Mahlon and Mike (and it must have been tough with Mahlon to win this one, with Mike on his back the entire time. Zing!)

Third Challenge--Red Zone Defense. Randall Cunningham is the QB. If a pair of Joes (Jackson and Rodney) don't win this, they are going home. Randall is going to be throwing into the end zone to a fellow pro, whilst the Joes defend both the QB and the receiver. "But wait, " says our faithful readers, "who could Randall be throwing to?" The people of PvJ have a hilarious answer: 7'0 Elbow Throwing Factory Kevin Willis. Once again, everyone gets three downs to stop the TD. Least number of TD's wins.

The first time through, the only team of Joes to stop the Randall lobbing machine is Jay and John, who actually force a low pass, that Kevin probably wasn't going to catch, but Jay knocked it away anyway. On the teams second pass through, we get a great shot of the Z-Man standing next to Willis. Z-Man, in that shot, looks like a 10 year old kid who has worked out way too hard. Z-Man is about my height (5-9 to 5-10, and it is a sobering reminder how just big 7' is, when it is wearing shoulder pads and standing right next to you). Around this time, Bruce Smith suggests to the Joes that they jam Kevin Willis at the line. No one does so. On third down, Rodney and Jackson get a key stop to move itnto a tie with J&J Dance Factory. They get that stop because Kevin caught the ball out of bounds. They celebrate like they sacked Cunningham. J&J have a chance to send Rodney and Jackson home if they get a stop. They don't do it. But Willis helps them out, by dropping a ball that hits right in the hands. He's not a receiver, but it really looks like he did it on purpose. Whatchew doin', Willis?

Rodney and Jackson are sent home. On to Overtime!

Team Overtime is a brutal and chaotic affair. We learn about the setup of the stadium here. Turns out that the basketball court is at the top of some tier of the 20,000 seat stadium. So, we're running a four leg, 2 person relay, except only one person has to do a lot of running. This is a cruel overtime.

Team Mahlon/Z-man. Mahlon starts on the basketball court. He has to sink four shots before Hardaway hits 6. He doesn't. That's a max-out time of a minute. Now, Mahlon has to run down the stairs of the stadium, and sprint to the 50 yard line (probably, given the angle, a 75 yard run) and tag Z-Man. Z-Man has to hit a football target, but with Bruce Smith running at him. Z-Man manages to do it with his third throw or so. He tags Mahlon, and Mahlon has to run back across and the field and up the stairs again, and then he has to board with Kevin Willis, who isn't afraid to throw elbows. Mahlon is still pretty energetic, which may have been his downfall (see later), but doesn't get a board. He maxes out, and has to run back down the stairs, run across the field, and tag Z-Man again. Now the Z-Man has to throw at targets, but now he is racing against Cunningham. Z-Man maxes out, and crosses the line at 4:27.

And which point, those of us with some knowledge of the space-time continuum say, buh? No way that all happened in 4:27. It seems clear, that the time it takes to run up and down the stadium stairs aren't actually being factored into the time--they are just there to weaken the Joe. Because, let's do some Math--3 max outs, and one event that took about 40 seconds--that leaves Mahlon one minute to run up a mid-size stadium stair case twice and run 4 50 yd dashes, whilst tired. Nope. PvJ is playing with the Time-Space Continuum.

No matter. Next team!

Johnny Cox starts off against Hardaway shooting baskets. He maxes out. He runs down the stairs, tags Jay McKeown, who is for some reason, pumpfaking an onrushing Bruce Smith. Uh, Bruce ain't going to bite on your pump fake, Jay. Jay maxes out, and tags J-Cox, who lumbers back up stairs. His legs are gone. Willis beats him up for awhile, and seems bored. Cox manages to snag a board and throw it into its target cage, and then lumber back down the stairs. It's close! Cox tags McKeown, and it's the throwing footballs at targets. Jay pushes Randall, but in the end they max out.

It's crazy close. Z-Man and Mahlon total up at 4:27 (again, impossible, but whatever). Cox and Jay finish at 4:23! Zimmerman and Mahlon are headed home, and Jay and John are onto the Finals.

And hey, we haven't seen Roy Jones or Randy Couture in awhile. My money is on Jay.

Sure enough, the final two challenges are both combat tests. First challenge, land 5 punches on Roy Jones.

John is first, and he's much taller than Roy, and he gets his first couple of punches in pretty quickly. But he's not quick, and his boxing style is rather remiscient of a Victorian Era child. Like the boxing match between Pip and his rival in Great Expectations. Everytime he wanders close, Roy punishes him. Like, drops him to a knee punishment. John gets his 5 punches in at 31 seconds. Jay, close combat instructor for the US Army, just dives right in, and takes some serious punches, and just flails away. He's a veteran of the Iraqi War, so I won't say what I was thinking watching him, which was, "More like trainer of Old Lady Combat Training." However, he lands his 5 punches in 27 seconds, a serious 4 second advantage, given that neither Joe have any chance in the next and final challenge.

Second Challenge: Get Randy Couture out of a very big area. I've watched almost every single episode of this show, and there isn't a single Joe ever who wouldn't max out in this challenge. Randy Couture, in a huge inflatable arena, and your challenge is to get him out? Moving him would have been pretty challenging.

Jay was up first, and Randy just continually took out his legs, and then put his forearms on his Jay's head. Jay maxes out, and runs through the finish line at 1:12. Given the deficit that John was already facing, he needs to win at 1:08, which means either he maxes out and runs 50 yards 4 seconds faster than Jay (not happening) or doesn't max out, which means getting Randy Couture out of his little inflatable home (not happening). Cox gets his legs taken out from him, gets picked up and thrown about a bit, and then runs it at 1:12. Jay wins the Toyota "Happy Endings" Tundra and the Tickets to Undisclosed Sporting Events.

Thus wraps up a season in which the Joes didn't win 20 Grand per episode (though many of them thought they would), that didn't feature Kevin Greene swimming or Clyde Drexler on ice skates. It did feature some more brutal contact than the first season. The Z-Man won't think of a free kick in soccer the same way again. Also, anyone who faced off against Kevin Willis, Randy Couture, Roy Jones or Claude Lemieux will think twice before calling those guys over the hill.

But all the same, Spike's decision to shortchange the Joes rankles. Hopefully, we'll get into that in our upcoming Joe Roundtable. Stay tuned!

Pros V. Joes Finale Tonight

Can Rodney win both the Prestigious I Dislike Your Favorite Team Inaugural NCAA Pool and the Proes vs. Joes Finale? Find out starting tonight!

Review of the episodes, and hopefully, a bit of a roundtable with some of our champions from throughout the season.

Patti Fritz, Minnesota Hero

Finally, the Faribault born and bred Tilt-A-Whirl is maybe getting its due. State Rep Patti Fritz (DFL) wants to make it Minnesota's official state amusement park ride.

Sure, some folks will say this is just further evidence of Big Whirl's influence, claiming that the massive lobby bought and paid for Fritz's rise to power, in return for just this sort of favor. But isn't Big Whirl allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights, too? In the absence of any documentation, showing a genuine Pro Quid Pro, we are left assuming what I know in my heart--that Patti is just a proud Faribault citizen, wanting to celebrate one of that city's only accomplishments.

Oh, and sure, the conspiracy experts will be all over this one, claiming yet again that the Tilt-a-Whirl's creator, Herbert Sellner was nothing but a front man for a shadowy conglomeration of corporations (child nausea medicinals, fried food purveyors, food-on-a-stick makers, etc) who saw an exponential growth in profits after the Tilt-a-Whirl's introduction brought about an entire generation of fairgoers who would pay money for their children to eat, get on a ride, get sick, vomit, and then eat again. It's coincidence, and those moonbats who see nefarious doings where there just isn't any need to sit down, shut up, and allow our fair state (home of one of the finest State Fairs anywhere in the free world) to give our humble Tilt-A-Whirl its deserved (and long overdue) recognition.

Thank you Patti Fritz, for standing up to all those people who unjustly malign the Tilt-A-Whirl, and for shutting up those cynics that say that the Government doesn't address real people's issues.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sons Gone Wild

What is it with coaches and their kids these days? It used to be that ministers’ kids were the ones to keep your eye on, but now it seems that if you have the offspring of a big time coach around, you must hide your drugs, guns, jewelry and anything else of value. North Carolina State’s Sid Lowe’s son is facing 20+ charges stemming from two separate attacks.

This incident is following on the heels of Andy Reid’s recent sabbatical to look in after his two devil kids. It also follows the very tragic suicide of Tony Dungy’s son last year, which is not a point of humor at all, only very tragic and sad. What could it be about being the son or daughter of a big time coach that makes these kids so wild? Maybe it’s the 18-hour days these guys put in that we hear so much about. “When the cat’s away…” Or is it, that any attention the kid should get, is always given to the players of the team first, then the team, then the institution…?

Another perfect example of a coach’s kid behaving badly is Monty Kiffin’s son Lane. He has gone and done the unthinkable by becoming the Raiders head coach. Ouch!

I did once meet Dave Wanstedt’s daughter when I was living in Key West and she was Spring Breaking at the hotel I worked at. She was very cool and smart, but I saw her in a drunken rage rip the arm of a frat boy from Delaware and make him shotgun the beer that his disembodied arm still held. She was badass, kind of like the minister’s daughter in “Footloose”, ‘cept different.

Maybe the leadership of major sports needs not only look at the behavior of its players, NFL and NBA I am looking at you, but also at the strains coaching puts on the families of the coaches. I mean look at that Bowden clan, or Bum Phillips kids ewww.

Monday, March 26, 2007

No Cinderella, but maybe a Sleeping Beauty

Oh the glorious weeks that are the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Unlike my friend Big BM, my bracket is yet in the shitter, more like dipped in the bowl but salvageable, no brown on the gown. With a heroic overtime win, the Georgetown Hoyas have made my, “one of these kids is doin’ his own thing…” pick a possibility to win it all. The added bonus of rooting for a team I like has made the end of this tournament bearable, with all of its higher seeds advancing b.s. that has transpired from the get-go.

By the way, does anyone else want to slap Tyler Hansbrough and explain to him that his choice in mouth guard makes him look like a one-toothed hick from back yonders way? I mean the guy has had to have seen himself on the tv afore. Maybe he thinks it appeals to the Tar Heel nation. (I tried desperately to find a pic of him with his two-tone blue and white mouth guard, but alas I could find nothing)

Now I just need UCLA to beat Florida, the Hoyas to beat Ohio St., and ultimately Georgetown to defeat UCLA and the prize is mine; although the prize in the IDYFT tournament is crap and I may not even qualify or some such nonsense. I do have some money working for me in another pool, but its not like that $150 or whatever is gonna buy me the respect I need and deserve out in the wider world. But braggin’ rights could be mine.

Is Georgetown named for George Washington or is it for King George? I know one of you Northern Virginians or history geniuses out there know the answer without having to look it up on Wikipedia or something else. Clearly I ain’t doing that.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

That Was a Good Run, Winona State

Lots of you may have noticed in the crawl during the Division I Elite Eight games that Barton College knocked off Winona State in the Division II final.

That was a huge upset, and one that was engineered by one guy on Barton College, whose name I won't say.

I'm here to praise Winona State. Minnesota College. Winner of like 70 straight games.

What do you know about Winona, Minnesota? Nothing? Let me enlighten you.

Winona is the town that Winona Ryder is named after. If I were in charge of the country, I would have forced Winona to rename itself, "Black Dress in a Shower in Heathers". That's why I'm not in charge, I guess.

Winona is on the southern tip of Lake Pepin, which isn't actually a lake, but a place where the Mississippi River swells and slows. It is a massive lakefront property, and it is amazing to me that neither Wisconsin or Minnesota have developed ugly lake front bullshit properties. Lake City, a few miles north from Winona is where Water Skiing was born.

And just outside Winona, nestled in the bluffs, is a great Minnesota State Park--Great Rivers Bluff Park.

Watch the crazy shot here.

Bloggin' Round-Up: Kahn Does Not Like Peeing Twice!

The Fan's Attic has a lovely story about Oliver Kahn and a pee cup. KAHHHHNNNNNNN!

Leave the Man Alone welcomes the newest African-American woman working Sportscenter. I question LTMA's journalistic credibility, because at no point does she question the name "Sage Steele", which is clearly made up.

Sanford has the video of Paul Robinson, Goalkeeper, striking a goal from 80 yards away. Hilarious!

The Postmen think that Thad Matta is weird, just because he does incredibly weird things.
We think that Mutu is weirder.

A Palate Cleanser

The loser dorks who run the Best Week Ever Blog (which I enjoy, because they point to some good music sites) have decided they are too cool for Weezer, and rip on themselves for ever liking Weezer, and their easily likable, literate brand of pop-punk guitar rock.

I for one say this. Anyone who can make a video that, years after the fact, makes me happy and cancels out the anger I'm feeling due to my failure in every single College Basketball Bracket I'm in is a good band.

The song is good, the video makes me laugh and cry with nostalgia. So Weezer is my palate cleanser. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Elite Eight: My Brackets are in the Shitter, How about Yours?

Game 1 Saturday, Memphis vs. Ohio State. There will be, correctly, a lot of talk about how Oden was out of the game and that's when Memphis went on its run. He came back, and influenced the game (and finished just a board short of a double-double). To me the key stat is this--Absolute Monster Joey Dorsey didn't even attempt a single shot. This is the guy that Memphis has been dumping it down low to all year long, and he's responded with big dunks, and putbacks, and getting fouled, and the sort of stuff that generates 10 points a game. Ohio State held Joey Dorsey to 0 points on 0 FG attempts, and 0-2 on Free Throws. Dorsey didn't foul out, though. He finished the game with four fouls, which means to me that he wasn't used enough. I still think its better to have a player foul out than to lose and have him have 4 fouls. Not that he would have changed the game--just a pet peeve of mine (that I share with Salon's King Kaufman, who you should be reading, by the by).

I thought Dorsey would be more of a factor. I thought Douglas-Roberts would play for than 24 minutes. And hey, for all the love Ohio State's freshman are getting, we should consider senior guard Ron Lewis, who only hit the game winning shot against Xavier in the first round, and was the leading scorer in this game for the Buckeyes. The AP has said he has had a "solid" tournament. I'd say he might be the tournament MVP at this point.

Game 2: UCLA vs Kansas. This was the one game in the Elite 8 in which I wanted to see the #1 seed win. It didn't happen. UCLA and Kansas both showed impressive defense, but as UCLA took a lead into the second half, it seemed that Kansas pressed to hard to score, and took a lot, a lot, a lot of questionable shots. I'm not a basketball player, but I understand team games, and I know that you should look for the easy passes. Kansas' players seemed intent on making the tough play, and against a defense as organized as UCLA, that was a bad idea. I don't know about you, dear reader, but when UCLA was up by 6 points with 3 minutes left, it felt to me that it was all over. I don't know if Kansas can possibly hold onto this backcourt, but if they do, watch out for them next year. Brandon Rush and his quality old-school haircut may be a lottery draft pick, though.

Predictions for Sunday (Why shouldn't you listen to me? I've been wrong so far, sure, but that doesn't mean I won't get these games wrong).

UNC-Georgetown--Both of these teams looked vulnerable in their Sweet 16 games (and that's putting it mildly in G-Town's case). But I think the Hoyas match up well with UNC. The Tarheels don't have the height that G-Town has. And unlike some of the other teams that G-Town has dealt with, UNC's best big men aren't speedy enough to get Hibbert in foul trouble. Tyler Hansborough has been running rampant this year, but he's never played against a Hibbert/Green combo. UNC is young, and G-Town is old, for the most part.

Player to Watch: Patrick Ewing, Jr. His game is totally unlike his dad's. If he's being his 6'8" athletic, quick to loose balls self, he may be the difference in this game.

Florida-Oregon--Clearly, Florida is the obvious favorite. Both teams love to run, and Florida's big men are quicker (and more annoying) than most big men. Oregon will have to have the kind of day shooting they had in the Pac-10 final, where their little star didn't miss a shot. Florida should be, and is, the favorite in this game. Oregon will have to be perfect to beat this Florida squad.

Player to watch: Corey Brewer. I think its safe to assume that the Big Men for Florida will have reasonably good games. I think it is safe to say that the guards of Oregon may outplay Florida's guards (Taureen Green is a baller, but Humphrey contributes nothing if he's well guarded). So who on Oregon can defend Corey Brewer, a long, rangy, savvy small forward? I don't know if anyone can. Brewer tends to disappear in some games, but if he asserts himself, Florida might not just win, but blow the game out.

Tournament Pool = No Bread

Having finally now watched enough college basketball games to know the teams in the tournament, I wish it were possible to redress my bracket picks. Tonight, I fell from a decent 7 spot all the way down to be with the 'tards at the back of the shortbus. Very sad indeed.

The rubber eraser was invented in 1770 by Edward Naime. Before then, pencil mistakes were erased with bread. I shit you not.

I would please like one grande baguette to fix my wayward bracket. Merci.

Elite Eight, Day One Preview

Memphis vs. Ohio State--The big name in this game is of course Greg Oden. And then almost all the role players for Ohio State after him--Mike Conley, Jr, a fine point guard in his own right, and Terwilliger, and Lewis, and the rest. But watch out, Memphis (who I have doubted all year long) seem to be the real deal. Joey Dorsey is built like a fucking truck, or a fucking Greek God who is black and has been working the shoulders a little too hard. He can't elevate over Oden, but he can draw contact. Oden's shown a penchant for foul trouble against physical centers. Never forget, that Oden, even though he looks like your Dad's buddy from work, is only 18.

Player to watch: Douglas-Roberts, Memphis. How healthy is he? If his ankle is anywhere above 85%, he presents massive match-up problems for the Buckeyes.

Kansas vs. UCLA--This is a battle of philosophy right here. UCLA plays nasty, grind down, slow ball, with the occasional kick-out to shockingly streaky Affalo. Kansas runs like a motherfucker, and has better athletes. Don't forget (it's easy to) that UCLA was in the final game last year.

Player to watch: Mario Chalmers. Both teams have stars. Can UCLA keep up with the Kansas backcourt? They can if Mario Chalmers has another off night. But if Mario and Brandon Rush are both hitting, then Kansas wins.

My predictions stay the same as they were at the beginning of the tournament: Kansas handles UCLA, and uhh, Ohio Sate loses to Texas A&M.

OK, so that prediction is by the wayside. I disregarded Memphis. But now, I like them to beat a young, inexperienced Ohio State.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Look, I'm Just a Sports Blogger

I don't know that Franklin Pierce was our First Gay President.

I don't know that Helen Keller wasn't just some chick who was blind and deaf, but was in fact an angry socialist who toured Coal Mines, and argued passionately for worker's rights.

But here are some things I think I know about the job description of Attorney General:

1. Should have some experience prosecuting a case, on some level. Any level, really.

2. Maybe have some experience litigating, as well. In an ideal world, I mean.

3. Your best law-talkin'-guy work should not be keeping a Governor out of Jury Duty, with the sole goal to continue hiding said Governor's DUI conviction.

4. You should not defend torture as a viable tool of Justice.

5. If you are friends with the President, you should aggressively pursue cases even (especially? ) if they make the President uncomfortable (like Bobby Kennedy going after the Mob after they won Illinois for JFK).

6. You really, really, really should not fire US Attorney's simply because they are unwilling to file voter fraud charges against Democrats who are in position to win a seat in Congress. Nor should you fire US Attorneys simply because they are indicting dirty Republicans in Congress and the CIA.

7. If you ignore #6, you really, really, really shouldn't lie about it.

8. If you ignore #6 and #7, and you get caught, it is time to throw in the towel, and you Should bring down as many people as you can, fancy job at the Carlyle Group or no.

Alberto Gonzalez, you were never fit to run the Department of Justice, and the men and women you fired were 10 times the attorneys you were, and ever will be. When you get thrown under the bus, as you will, please know that you deserved it, and historians will judge you harshly. You fucking dick. That's what you get for hitching your wagon to a fucking imbecile with a Patrician pedigree. Why not travel back in time and hitch your wagon to Nero? You'd fit right in there. Dick.

Great Googly Moogly, That was a Hell of a Sweet Sixteen

Tonight was fucking crazy. No one could defend a lead. I hope you were watching, "friends".

Florida beat Butler, but only after Butler put the fear of God into them in the first half. This would have been the upset of the tournament, obviously, and even when Butler jumped out to a big lead, you had to assume that sooner or later Florida would remember to guard perimeter jump shots, and then bang down low on offense. Which is exactly what they did. Feral Steve Nash had a rough first half, but played pretty well in the second. If Butler could make lay-ups like they hit from 15 feet out, they may have won this game. I don't mind saying that it really seemed that the officiating, while not biased exactly, was predisposed to call fouls on Butler.

Georgetown gets a last second hoop to beat Vanderbilt. As a Hoya fan (and as someone who has them in the Final Game in every single of my brackets) I was forced to watch the above game, with the ticker at the top of my screen showing Vandy jumping out to a huge lead (13 points?) on Georgetown. It was scary. Georgetown, on my ticker, came back, and I did get to watch the final 5 minutes or so, after Roy "Dr. " Hibbert had fouled out. Note to DeJuan Summers: under a minute, with a one point lead--don't give up the lose ball foul on a fucking rebound, especially when your team is in the double-bonus. Jesus Christ! Jeff Green pulled it out, though Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis seem to think he traveled. But Billy Packer didn't think he did. Since he was there, courtside, and because Billy Packer is A Brilliant Man With Well Thought-Out Ideas, I'll defer to his judgement. In all seriousness, you can't call the travel, if you aren't going to count all the ways Green got fouled in the final seconds.

The Ducks of Oregon defeated UNLV, but not after they let the Runnin' Rebels back in the game. The Ducks had this thing iced, won, Greg Gumbel taking you to the other game over. They were up 17 points with less than 6 minutes to play. And then they let UNLV back in the game. UNLV has plenty of guys who can knock down shots from range if left open, like Coach's Son Archetype Kevin Kruger, or Darger, or any other number of guys. If the Ducks make it to the Final Four (they only have to knock off Florida to do so) steel yourself for lots of feel-good stories about 5' 6" Shooter Without a Conscience Tajuan Porter. No one wanted him, except Ernie Kent. On the whole, I find that story lacking compared to, say, Mike Bibby's "My Mom is My Best Friend, and The Only Thing My Daddy Gave Was a Name" Arizona Final Four. But in a tournament lacking a whole lot of upsets (lowest seed in the Elite 8? #3 Oregon) it will have to do. Which brings us to the most disappointing loss of the night.

USC gave the game to UNC tonight. When you lose via an 18-0 run, you gave the game away. I don't care about foul trouble for your phenom freshman. I don't care about shots suddenly not going down the way they were in the first half. 18-0 run. There is no excuse for that. And yeah, Tim Floyd, I agree with you, the foul away from the ball when there seemed to be an equally obvious reach in foul on the ball was bullshit. But you don't draw a technical in the last minute of a game in which you are down four points. Your team was falling apart, and you pulled out the keystone, you stupid fuck.

Man, over the last 2 days, we were almost treated to one of the craziest Elite 8's since, I don't know, last year. As it stands now, though, the only people who are regretting picking strictly by seeding are the folks who had Wisconsin in the Elite 8. Otherwise, it is 1 vs 2 across the board. And hell, even people in Wisconsin didn't have Wisconsin in the Elite 8. Brian Butch was important, apparently. But we were so close to an Elite 8 with Vanderbilt, Butler, UNLV, SIU, USC, and Tennessee. Maybe some bored alternative history author will take a stab at what that Elite 8 would have been like.

But the beauty is that any of these teams could beat the other. There are no obvious underdogs to root for, sure, but unlike last year's brain popping George Mason run, it isn't at all hard to imagine that Oregon might beat Florida, or Georgetown UNC, or UCLA Kansas, or Memphis Ohio State. We could still end up with a Final Four with no #1 seeds. No one is safe. I'll attempt to preview tomorrow's games shortly.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Tubby Gopher

So, Tubby Smith is leaving Kentucky and moving to L'Etoile du nord.

Obviously, this is rife with implications for the Big 10 and the SEC, in particular Kentucky, who apparently didn't think Smith was going anywhere. As the ghost of George Washington said on the Simpsons, "There were quitters during the Revolutionary War, Lisa. We called them Kentuckians."

Smith is out of sons to recruit, I believe, though his oldest son may have kids near college age, soon, and the Gophers would certainly take Saul Smith, Jr to be their point guard over that guy whose name no one knows that they have now.

Tubby is a hell of a coach who was somewhat disserviced by coaching not just in the SEC, but in the crucible of Kentucky as well. Not to mention he followed one of the most successful coaches and recruiters in the college game in Pitino, not to mention that there were obvious racial politics demonstrated from the moment Tubby picked up the clipboard in Kentucky.

Welcome to Minnesota, where the obvious racial politics are never mentioned! It's impolite, you know. There will be questions about Tubby from the get-go, though. To my eye, at least, he seemed to have trouble recruiting quality players to Kentucky. Rajon Rondo was his best player who was not his own son in the past 7 years, and he was streaky at best. Tubby will enjoy a lot of the benefits when it comes to recruiting that he did in Kentucky--it's a major conference, it has Top 10 teams in the league, TV exposure, all the rest. It didn't help Dan Monson much, though. And let's face it--1994 Final Four run or no, Minnesota is no Kentucky.

Tubby is going to have to coach his ass off next year, and hope that Wisconsin tumbles a bit with the departure of Alando Tucker (seems likely) and that Greg Oden isn't serious about staying in school for at least two years.

But in the meantime, I feel like the phrase "A Tubby Gopher" needs to have a new definition. We've invented a few neologisms here are IDYFT, and I do plan to start sneaking them into wikipedia soon. But I'm looking for suggestions for what exactly "A Tubby Gopher" means. Perhaps it's a disappointing hook-up--for example, ladies, you could say, "Sure, he was totally cute at the bar, but then we started fooling around, and he turned out to be a such a Tubby Gopher."


Update (which includes a little editing fix a misspell or two, and to clear up my Simpsons reference). One of our newest favoritest blogs, Rumors and Rants (you'll see them on our blogroll) is also weighing in on Tubby to Minnesota. They call shenanigans on Kentucky basketball fans (I like the comparison of them to Nebraska footballs fans). Good stuff.

I Blame You, Bruce Pearl!

You had Ohio State down by more points at halftime than anyone has had them down all year long. Including all three of their losses. You had Greg Oden in foul trouble.

You let them back in. You didn't attack Oden. You could have fouled him out of the game, had you kept up the attacking philosophy. Sure, the Buckeyes adjusted. They also played alot of Oden. You got cute, trying to shuffle Oden out of the lane, instead of going right at him.

You got him his fourth foul, about 10 minutes into the second half, and he still finished the game! C'mon! I'm shocked I'm saying this, but I like Memphis' chances against Ohio State.

Tennesseein' is Tennebelieven?

Tennessee went into halftime with a 17 point that was built on aggressive penetration and kick-outs. They got 3 fouls on Oden. Ohio State to start the second half has gone on a hell of a run to cut the deficit to about 6. So why is Tennessee passing the ball around the perimeter, and dicking around?

Go at Oden, you pussies! Get his fourth foul, and you get the next 10 minutes without Oden in the game.

Then you can dick around on the perimeter all you want.

If Ohio State loses this game, you will hear a huge ripping sound from the Midwest, as millions of people who had Wisconsin and Ohio State in the final game tear up their sheets.

Those people are pussies, too.

Phew! First Two Games Done

Kansas just barely escapes with the win over SIU. In a way, it was an impressive win for them--SIU dictated the pace and style of the game. Kansas wins games usually by scoring 80 points or more. They won this one with some key shots (hey next time, let's get Brandon Rush the ball a little more, hmm?) and tough defense. I think most people who knew that neither team would get to 65 points would think that SIU wins that game.

Jamaal Tatum was huge at the end for SIU, but wasn't enough to overcome the play of Chalmers, Rush and Julian Wright. A kind of bonedaddy of a move from Falker for SIU sealed the deal.

I only saw the final five minutes of A&M and Memphis, but that was a fucking battle. But c'mon, Aggies--you got to board the fucking basketball, you humps. And I'm declaring Shenanigans on that decision by the refs in the closing moments. But, oh well.

This was the first time I saw Memphis' Chris Dorsey--good Lord, that kid is built like a fucking tank. He'll be a handful for whoever he faces next.

Jay Bilas wants to have SIU's baby

Show a little respect for yourself, Jay! Stop talking about how manly they are, and how they are dominating the game, especially when its a 3 point game. No one is dominating a 3 point game, Bilas.

You dirty tramp.

Dick Enberg may be the whitebreadiest thing outside a Wonder factory.

Sweet Sixteen Update: Kansas vs. SIU

Score 24-23, SIU leading. Wow--everything kind of reversed itself. Kansas has 3 starters with 2 fouls (which could kill some teams in the final minutes of a half, but Kansas is fucking deep, ya'll.), Tatum hit a shot, and suddenly, Kansas is having trouble running their offense.

I still get the impression that Kansas is one good 4 minute stretch from making this a big margin. We'll see how they close out the first half.

Sweet Sixteen Update: Kansas vs. SIU

The score as I write is 19-13. If Kansas could keep the turnovers down, they might be blowing this game out. They've had more success finding open looks than any team I've seen play SIU thus far. SIU, meanwhile, is really struggling to make baskets. You can credit the underrated defense of Kansas, but it also seems to me that Jamal Tatum has had a couple of open looks from 3, and just isn't hitting. If he doesn't start connecting soon, this game will be a long one for the Salukis.

SIU is not built for comebacks, generally speaking. They don't have to be, as they play such tough defense that its awfully tough to get a big lead on them. Kansas' operating theory, like it is in every game, is to push the ball up quickly, and get behind the SIU defense. Its working, except that they seem to be in such a hurry that they are chucking a couple of balls away. And, as I said, the Jayhawks are getting pretty good looks even in the halfcourt set.

NFL Free Agency Update

It is cherry blossom time in Japan, which means that the NFL is scrambling to trade & sign players before the draft and its incipient huge signing bonuses.

Here are some updates on transactions of note:

Falcons traded solid QB Matt Schaub to Texans for draft picks. The Falcons need to have two good backups behind Vick who has been taking a beating leading the Falcons running game. Schaub probably likes being named the immediate starter but he'll soon find that it's far safer on the Falcons sideline than behind the Texans O-line. Will 6 years for $48 mil be just compensation for spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair?

Redskins traded overrated Anglo-American S Adam Archuleta to the Bears. In keeping with the last ten years of Redskins free agent busts, Archuleta should have a career year for the Bears in 2007. The Redskins received a sixth round pick for Archuleta, highest paid safety in the NFL. The Redskins have to pay this anus $5 million after this trade is finalized. Sweet money management, that.

Broncos continue to exhibit a spastic free agency, adding Anglo-American WR Brandon Stokely with a one-year contract. They better hope that young kid from Vandy works out for them at QB, because they seem to be putting all their chips on winning it all in 2007.

Vikings signed soon-to-be-out-of-the-NFL QB Drew Henson to a one year contract. Nice try, Vikes. Swing and a miss.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

NFL Free Agency: Spastic or Flaccid?

448 Free Agents this year. Free Agency is a time when football fans ache over the loss of favorite players while clutching fervently to the hope that a big signing will take them over the top. If it worked for Sly Stallone, it could work for the Tampa Bay Neers.

The advent of free agency in football has added a new dimension to the traditional team-building in the NFL. It isn't just about scouting, drafting, training and coaching new talent. Sometimes you can pluck a jewel as dusky as any that hung from an Ethiope's ear (thanks Shakespeare), sometimes you special-order a shit sandwich, and sometimes another team in your division steals your lunch.

Much like the faulty bladders troubling the old men who run this nation, free agency tactics may be classified as either spastic or flaccid.

Is a spastic team desperate? Is a flaccid team assuming it is already playoff-caliber? Is a spastic team searching for the missing puzzle piece? Is a flaccid team retarded to mediocrity by a tight-fisted owner?

Signed mercurial WR Bethel Johnson to a one year contract. Look out for them one year-contracts; they never seem to work out.

Grade: Flaccid

They acquired solid RB Reuben Droughns in a trade with the Browns, giving up mediocore WR Tim Carter.

But they've lost a ton of free agents. When the rats start swimming away from the ship, take notice.

Grade: Flaccid.

The Dallas Kobes signed QB Brad Johnson to 3 years, $7.5 mil. Ha, ha, ha suckers. God, if they had only hired Nerfneck Turner to coach. Redskins revenge. Suck on it, suckers.

Grade: Flaccid.


They signed solid dildophilic CB Fred Smoot back from the Vikings & signed solid LB London Fletcher for 5 years, $15 mil.

The Redskins are busy shedding many of last year's free agent debacles.

Grade: in the Dan Snyder era, this is refreshingly Flaccid.

Unused-in-2006 Redskins RB TJ Duckett signed with the Lions for 1 year, $1.5 mil. Watch out for those one-year contracts.

Durable, explosive RB Tatum Bell, who ran for over 1,000 yards in a crowded Broncos backfield, signed after the trade with Denver for CB Dre Bly.

The Lions have had the most active free agency period in the league -- understandable after the fudgefest they've been putting on the last decade. Yet nothing seems to help. So far they've added nine to their roster and lost seven without increasing their overrall quality. How about getting some offensive linemen, boners?

Grade: Spastic

Have signed nobody of note. Grade: Flaccid.

Have signed nobody of note. Grade: Flaccid.

The NFC champs are standing pat. Um, your quarterback is Gross Rexman?

Grade: Flaccid.

Signed solid LB Brian Simmons to a 3 year deal and solid half-Thai S Kevin Kaesviharn to a 4 year deal, both from the Benglas.

They've re-signed many of their own free agents.

Grade: Best in the NFC.

Elder Statesmen OT Luke Petitgout signed big for 3 years, $15.5 million.

Tampa Bay WR Joey Galloway agrees to a restructured deal that is still more than he deserves, likewise mercurial DB Philip Buchanon getting a 1 year deal.

Signed Jeff Garcia & traded with Denver for QB Jake Plummer to head their wayward club.

Signed solid veteran DE Kevin Carter formerly of the Dolphins and Titans and Rams.

They signed solid LB Cato June from the Superbowl champ Colts.

Grade: Spastic.

Excellent WR Joe Horn signed for 4 years, $19 mil.

Solid blocking FB Ovie Mighielli was signed (6/$13) to replace J. Griffith.

They still need a possession receiver.

Grade: Flaccid.

Have signed nobody of note. Grade: Flaccid.

49ersSolid but unremarkable CB Nate Clements signed an 8 year, $80 million contract that's nearly half guaranteed -- that alone is what's remarkable. Best defensive player in the league, huh?

Solid benched-in-2006 S Michael Lewis signed for 6 years.

Flakey talent WR Ashley Lelie signed a two-year deal with the 49ers for $4.3 million, including a $2 million signing bonus.

Grade: Spastic

They signed stand-out DE Patrick Kerney to 6 years for $39.5 mil and cut over-priced (huh?) DE Grant Wistrom.

Stand-out S Deon Grant signed for 6 years, $30 mil including an $11 mil signing bonus that is #1 for safeties.

Former stand-out (until he went to the Lions) TE Marcus Pollard signed a 1 year deal after solid TE Jerramy Stevens was busted for DUI & pot possession, his third arrest.

They also lost significant talent during free agency.

Grade: Spastic.

They blew 6 for $30 mil on white WR Drew Bennet.

They blew plenty on Chicago's backup DB Todd Johnson.

They signed solid TE Randy McMichael to a 3 year deal.

They re-signed RB Travis Minor and OT Todd Steussie to big one-year deals.

Grade: Spastic.

They're haphazardly tossing contracts at 2nd stringers. Good gravy, how about some offensive linemen, boners?

Grade: Spastic.

Untried RB Thomas Jones has signed a four-year, $20 million contract to leave the Bears.

The rest of their signings have been for modest, second-tier players.

Grade: Flaccid.

The Patriots also signed standout LB Adalius Thomas for $37.5 million for five years. They also signed boner TE Kyle Brady to a two-year, $5.3 million deal.

They signed three potential starters at WR: Donte Stallworth, Wes Welker, Kelley Washington. Big money deals for the skill position that touches the ball the least.

They also signed unproductive RB Sammy Morris from Miami.

Grade: Spastic.

They've signed three offensive linemen in free agency. Young solid G Derrick Dockery got the huge payday, with career backups T Langston Walker (who voided his contract with the Raiders, for some reason I can't fathom) and T Jason Whittle coming from Minnesota.

Grade: Flaccid.

They've only re-signed their own players, including Kerry Collins. Sweet.

Grade: Flaccid

The Superbowl Champs have been sitting pat, losing a number of quality free agents in the process.

Grade: Flaccid.

RB Ahman Green signs his death sentence for 4 years, $23 mil.

Grade: Flaccid.


Jacksonville went for quality over quantity in free agency. They picked up talented, kooky WR Dennis Northcutt, stand-out RT Tony Pashos from the Ravens and re-signed young leggy K Josh Scobee. All signed five year contracts and all should start in 2007.

Grade: Right on the money

They are replacing all-time team rushing leader RB Jamal Lewis with talented, fragile (?) RB Willis McGahee for 7 years, $40.12 mil, in a trade with Buffalo for draft picks. The contract is on a clever sliding scale: besides bonuses, McGahee only earns $595,000 in his first year, increasing thereafter.

They've lost two solid OL and haven't replaced them.

Grade: Flaccid.

Two years away from the Superbowl and without their longtime head coach, this team looks like it is rebuilding.

Grade: Flaccid.

Aging RB Jamal Lewis signed a one-year deal for $3.5 million with strings attached.

Biggest OL payday so far goes to T Eric Steinbach, acquired from the Bengals. His contract is the largest ever for an OL: 7 years, $49.5 million.

They added G Seth McKinney, who was on IR last year, with a one-year contract.

They added shitty CB Kenny Wright, toastmaster of the 2006 Redskins.

Grade: Spastic

They have not signed anybody of note, while losing a large number of position players.

Grade: Flaccid.

Solid backup QB Patrick Ramsey signed a 2 year, $4.5 million contract, leaving the Jets.

Solid Patriots TE Daniel Graham signed a deal for 5 years, $30 mil (half guaranteed).

For once, they signed a RB in free agency, rather than dealing them out like so much firewater ... Titan's solid RB Travis Henry for 5 years, $22.5 mil.

They traded for solid CB Dre Bly and for aging DT Dan Wilkinson.

Grade: Spastic.

Star LB Joey Porter left the Steelers for 5 years, $32.5 ($20 mil guaranteed, holy shit). Meanwhile, they've lost thirteen players (of varying quality) in free agency so far.

Grade: Flaccid.

Solid LB Donnie Edwards went from the Chargers to the Chiefs, getting 3 years for $13.5 mil (half guaranteed).

Journeyman LB Napoleon Harris signed for 6 years, $24 million, mostly up front.

Grade: Flaccid.

The Raiders signed Atlanta's excellent lead-blocker FB Justin Griffith for 3 years, $3.8 million.

Colts part-time RB Dominic Rhodes signed with the Raiders for 2 years, $7.5 mil.

Sad to say, comedic QB Aaron Brooks will not be with the hapless Raiders in 2007.

Grade: Flaccid.

The most talented team in the NFL has stood pat, re-signing its own players.

Grade: Flaccid.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Take that, ex-girlfriends!

I wasn't ignoring you to play stupid video games--I was ignoring you so I could attempt to improve the health of my eyes! Do you feel bad now? I hope so.

Reports Lee Bowman:

"In [the current issue of the journal Psychological Science], researchers from the University of Rochester in New York report that playing action video games for an hour or so daily actually helps sharpen visual acuity. "

I have to say, this seems like a perfect storm--no college basketball or Heroes tonight; this study comes out, and I get God of War II in the mail today?

Clearly the universe is saying, "Damn it, man. Play some God of War II tonight. And maybe a little Guitar Hero, too."

Fine, universe. You win.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Minnesota Does Not Care For Your Basketball Bullshit!

(quick note: you may need to sign in to "enjoy" the Star Tribune. You can use our account. User name: dislikeyourteam Password: poopytribune)

First up--ladies, we now have quantifiable proof that the men who run this blog are a little shy, and you should totally make the first move. By "first move" I mean tasteful cheesecake photos. That includes you, upstairs neighbor who hasn't been having loud sex lately!


CJ, Gossip Columnist for the Tribune says Kevin Garnett is buying a new mansion, which suggests he isn't leaving town soon. It has, pardon the pun, a shitload of bathrooms.

Gophers win the WCHA Hockey Championship! Eat shit and die, North Dakota!

Gophers win National Wrestling Title. Cole Konrad will some day mutate again, and lay waste to your hometown, with his asymetric body and clearly visible dong.

photo credit: Carlos Gonzales, Star Tribune.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

NCAA Tournament: The Moderately Flavorful 32

Round 2 of the March Clinically Insane Tournament started in fine fashion today.

Ohio State was in a thriller with Xavier (all of those ne'er do wells complaining about Xavier's inclusion in the Dance should probably shut the fuck up. I'm looking at you, Jay Bilas!). The game went into overtime after Justin Cage missed a free throw that could have iced the game for Xavier. Justin Cage, in my imagination, is the son of Power Man Luke Cage. Ohio State really should have lost in regulation--sometimes great teams need a scare to get truly motivated. Sometimes facing a strong team from a different conference shows weaknesses in a team that the next team can exploit. We will find out which it is next game.

Maryland went down to Butler, causing some consternation in the IDYFT bracket challenge, as contributor Muumuuman had put Maryland in his Final Four. Only he can tell us why he would do such a thing. You aren't necessarily out of the running after losing a Final Four team on the 3rd day of the Tourney, but you are definitely in trouble. Suck it, Muumuuman.

There will be more consternation in College Park, as it seemed like a pretty bad charge call on DJ Strawberry may have been the difference in the game.

I've called Butler point guard A.J. Graves a Feral Steve Nash, and a Steve Nash if he were raised by wolves. I'm going to pretend people are wondering why. Here's why:

Texas A&M got all they could handle from Louisville. This game caused much worry in the Big Blue Monkey Household (which consists of me, and my pet stuffed red dog, Barfy). Louisville's press was clearly bothering A&M, and Louisville guard Edgar Sosa (who CBS commentator would like you to know is from New York City, and therefore tougher, stronger, and better than anyone else in the world) was carving up the Texas A&M defense. But he melted down at the end of the game, missing a couple of crucial free throws (after hitting 15 straight) and picking up his dribble in a critical possession. The press report is full of accolades for Acie Law the IV, and deservedly so. But Dominique Kirk should have probably have been mentioned at least once. He pumped in 21 points for the Aggies. He had 16 points in the first round game, and those two games are two of his 3 highest scoring games the entire year. Texas A&M escapes, and I get to tell a second IDYFT contributor to suck it. Suck it, Garwood B. Jones! You lost 2 Elite 8 teams today! You've also got Pittsburgh and Wisconsin in the Final Four, which is about as likely as Unitarianism being the one true religion!

Vandy needed double OT to upset Washington State. This was a pairing that I had nothing invested in, as I had both teams upset in the first round. Washington State was a very questionable #3 seed. They play the kind of soul-crushing, mind-numbing game that Dick Bennett brought to Wisconsin, that was occasionally very successful. Unsurprising, I suppose, given that WSU is coached by Bennett's son Tony. I didn't think all-around badass Derrick Byars would be enough to beat a team so devoted to defense. And perhaps he would not have been, but Shan Foster had a great game as well. It is scary to think how good UVA would have been if Byars hadn't left. Vandy's backcourt could be trouble for their next opponent, if their next opponent weren't Georgetown.

Georgetown, behind Roy "Dr." Hibbert, put away Boston College in the second half. Hibbert certainly gave those guys a case of the heebie-jeebies! For reasons that I can't really even explain to myself, I really disliked Boston College star Jared Dudley, and I'm glad I don't have to see him play anymore. He's talented, no doubt. He seems like a bit of tweener, who may have troubles in the NBA, but he's a fantastic college talent. I don't know why I dislike him so much. But I do. There it is. Hibbert was fantastic in the second half, showing an array of moves, ability at the free throw stripe, and great court vision, giving up a ball close to the basket for a key dunk by Patrick Ewing Jr. Georgetown won even with Jeff Green having an off night on offense. That should scare folks.

VCU felt just short of upsetting Pittsburgh. The Rams made a remarkable comeback in the second half, after being down 15. Their pressing and trapping got them back in it, as well as some pretty timely shooting. It looked for a minute or two that they were going to Dukify the Panthers, but Pitt went small (to some degree out of necessity) and Ronald Ramon hit some big shots to get Pitt the win in OT. It's too bad that VCU is so full of seniors, because I'd love to watch this team again. Of course, their young and handsome coach, Anthony Grant, may not be at VCU for very long. After the job he did this year, there are going to be some big-time programs calling him. Maybe like Minnesota, maybe.

UNC crushed Michigan State, though it took them about halfway into the second half to do it. Michigan even had the lead in the second half, but annoying goofus Tyler Hansborough was just too much for Michigan State. Tom Izzo is clearly not from the Cobra Kai dojo, as Kreese would have certainly sent some end-of-the-bench-thug in to hit Hansborough's unprotected broken nose. One "accidental" elbow to the face of Hansborough, and MSU probably wins this game.

Indiana came up short in a rally to lose to UCLA I didn't see a minute of this game, and judging by the score, I'm glad I didn't. I can appreciate good defensive struggles in a lot of sports, but I'm ashamed to say that college basketball is not one of them.

In Other News, my former Vendetta against CBS columnist Gary Parrish was called off, and now I feel as though we should, as two former enemies who find themselves working towards the same ends, like Spider-Man and Daredevil, occasionally partner up. He's right on the money about the very suspicious bracketing of the Mid-Majors. Since Sunday, everyone here at IDYFT has been wondering why Creighton and Nevada, or why Butler and ODU had to play each other in the round, and why it seems like so many quality small conference teams have been forced to play each other, while fairly questionable Major Conference Teams played each other. Gary Parrish calls shenanigans. Rightfully so.

As Parrish says, "Even if every non-BCS team paired against a BCS team wins Sunday, there will be only five non-BCS teams in the Sweet 16. More likely, there will be less, allowing the rich to get richer while the poor spend their time beating up on the poor. It's the American way! ...[A]n NCAA Tournament bracket designed to make the non-BCS powers eliminate each other early -- that's not something I'm willing to discount as a coincidence. Not with Memphis and Nevada -- a pair of Sweet 16-caliber teams -- set to play 40 minutes, with the outcome ensuring one of the two won't play a minute more."

But What of the IDYFT Bracket Challenge?

Someone named Neal Shaffer is in the lead, with an impressive 29 of 32 games picked correctly.

IDYFT contributor Jerious Norwood is right behind Neal, with 28 games.

We have looked at Neal's bracket, and we admire his boldiness. But we feel that he's picked way too many upsets into the Elite 8. UNLV, Virginia, VA Tech, and USC?

We'll be shocked if any of those of teams make it into the Elite 8.

If they all do, then we imagine Neal's are winner.

Games in the Second Round to Watch

Butler vs. Maryland--Butler guard A.J. Graves is Steve Nash, if Steve Nash were raised by wolves. He's a weird feral beast. If he has one of his Jimmy Chitwood games, watch out.

Winthrop vs. Oregon--Winthrop plays tough defense and likes to go inside to Bradshaw. Oregon is primarily a great jumpshooting team that likes to run out. Oregon can act like they agreed to play a slow game against Miami of Ohio, but if they "agree" to play that tempo again, they'll get their asses kicked by the Big South champion. Look for points off of turnovers to be the key stat here. If Oregon can fast break on Winthrop, this could be a blow out. If they can't--watch out, it may come down to the last shot.

UNC vs. Michigan State--I don't give the Spartans a tinker's chance in this game. But then there is Tom Izzo. And then there is Roy Williams, who was regularly outcoached when he was at Kansas.

Nevada vs. Memphis--Memphis is still the most likely #2 seed to exit early, and Nevada, who may have frontcourt height advantage, is going to be a tough out for Memphis. Again, pace decides this game. If Memphis can run, they'll win. If it is a game of half-court, Nevada may not just win, but blowout Memphis.

Friday, March 16, 2007

NCAA Tournament Day 2: First Round Complete

Remind me next year that the solution to having good feelings about underdogs is to not pick them all in one bracket.

Another good day of hoops, if we don't allow the bitterness of the Kentucky win and the 3 other crappy blowouts from the late session to cloud our judgement.

I didn't get even a second of the Tennessee game, so I don't exactly know how they blew up Long Beach State, I just know that they did. Tennesseein' is Tennebelievin', apparently. All I know is that in a day in which 5 teams went over 80 points (including Long Beach State) and 3 teams went over 100 points, Tennessee did everyone one better, and scored 121 points. Jebus! I'd like to argue that Tennessee ran up the score, but not one of their starters had more than 30 minutes, and 4 of their bench players had more than 15 minutes. If you were looking for the recent history guaranteed 12 vs 5 upset, this was the wrong place. In fact, we didn't have a 12-5 upset this year. Weird. I bet Snoop Dogg is pissed!

But despite the late night blowouts, and Kansas' 100 point "effort" Niagara (and hey, these are #1 seeds against #16 seeds. They should be blowouts) we had some great, great games today.

We've got my boys, The Winthrop Eagles, upsetting Notre Dame in pretty demonstrative fashion 74-64. Though, really, it wasn't as easy as the score suggests--Winthrop blew a 20 point lead, and actually had to battle back, and then hit free throws (something they aren't great at) to win this game. Craig Bradshaw is probably getting noticed by NBA agents now. The New Zealander is a very mobile big man, with pretty good passing skills, and a toughness born from a father who thought basketball was for "girls" and that real men play Rugby.

Winthrop will be playing Oregon on Sunday. Oregon just barely escaped the mighty Miami of Ohio, who just barely qualified for this tournament. It took an off-balance, last-second, banked-in 3 pointer for Miami to win their conference tournament. I was actually pretty shocked when the brackets were announced and they got a seed as high as 14. And even though I'm linking to it, pay no attention to the tone of the AP article about this game. They make it sound like it was Oregon's plan to win by 2. I guarantee you that it wasn't!

Wisconsin was in a world of hurt in the first half of their game against the Islanders of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. In the second half, Kammron Taylor remembered that he isn't just a talented Chris Rock mimic, but a pretty good shooter, too. After not scoring any points, and going 0-8, he scored 18 points in the second half. T&M-CC look like they got a little fatigued in the second half, as well. Watch out for the Islanders in the future--they seem like a good team to upset someone in the next couple of years. Head coach with NCAA upset experience, and JuCo connections.

Two of the best games of the first round were played today.

I got precious little coverage of the Nevada/Creighton tilt, but I do know it went into overtime, and that Nick Fazekas fouled up early in the OT. Nate Funk for Creighton hit some big shots, but eventually, Nevada proved that they are more than 4 guys and Fazekas. They took control in the OT, even with Funk hitting his occasional 3 pointer, or crazy running lay-up. I think a lot of people had the winner of this game beating #2 Memphis on Sunday. Nevada looks more than capable of doing just that.

I did get a lot of coverage of the VA Tech Hokies vs. Illinois, I guess because I live in a Big 10 Market. And even though I'm a native Virginian, and had lots of friends who went to VA Tech, and had picked them, I thought they were dead and buried with about 6 minutes left to play. They were down 10 points, and out of desperation, they went to a full-court pressing defense that just befuddled Illinois. By "befuddled" I mean "Completely fucked them right in the noggin". Illinois didn't score once in the last 4 and half minutes, and VA Tech did. Not a lot, just enough to win the game. It was a sick comeback, and one that the returning Illini will have in their heads for awhile. Deron Washington of VA Tech hit some sick and lucky shots, which was God's way of making up for the completely bullshit technical that got called on him in the final minutes.

hell of a fucking game.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

NCAA Tournament Day 1: Bad Day for the Underdogs

If it weren't for the Rams of Virginia Commonwealth University, I would have been a little annoyed with this first day. I mean, I spend valuable vacation days on the first two days of the tournament, and I expect upsets, dammit!

Two favorite upset teams fell down today. We'll see no more of Oral Roberts University. God called them home. I didn't get much of this game, but by all reports, ORU was in it for awhile, but then Washington State hit some big shots at the end of the first half and tightened their defense, and that was all she wrote. I do believe it was Zach of The Big Picture who stated in our comments his dislike of Washington State but grudgingly admitted that they had the kind of defense to make it beyond the Sweet Sixteen. He may be right. They face Vanderbilt next, who rolled on George Washington like sailors on pier side whores.

The other favorite upset team was Old Dominion University. They fell pretty hard to Butler, which I really didn't think would happen. They hung tough for a half, though.

So unless you somehow count two 9 seeds beating 8 seeds as upsets, and really you shouldn't, there was only one upset this first day. Particularly in the case of Michigan State vs. Marquette. Did anyone pick Marquette to win that game? The Xavier/BYU tilt I considered a bit of coinflip, and while I picked BYU, I'm happy for Xavier, as they took a lot of heat for even being in the tournament. So presumably, like George Mason last year, Xavier's going to end up in the Final Four. They'll just have to beat Ohio State, and then the path will be wide open!

If you picked seeded teams, but switched the 8-9 seeds, you would have gotten 15 games right today. Which explains, I think, why IDYFT Village Idiot Jerious Norwood is currently in the lead after day one for the Jesus Basketball Trophy.

Important fact about Jerious Norwood: several years ago, he got married. My traditional wedding present was (and still is) a Jesus Playing sports statue. His future wife took me aside, and said, "No Jesus playing sports statue. If you get us one of those, I'll never, ever, speak to you again." Jerious' bride is a beautiful and scary woman. I did as I was told. But I think Jerious always thought he had been cheated out of what was rightfully his. He's playing to win, I'm saying. He's giving 110%, even though it is technically impossible to do so. He don't care.

Ah, so let's celebrate the upset of the day. VCU beats Duke! Even getting a career game from 5th year sophomore Greg Paulus. He's a high-school quarterback! He doesn't back down from anybody! Oh, and he flops like he's been made from the genes of Christiano Ronaldo and Jurgen Klinsmann. Note to Paulus: when you flop, make sure you've been touched, you douchebag.

Funny story--IDYFT NCAA Hoops "expert" Barnyard called me, with 3 minutes left in the Duke-VCU tilt to tell me once again that there was no way Duke would lose to VCU. "Coach K won't let it happen, man. This thing is complex, with wrinkles and such. But no way Duke loses this game." Barnyard would remind you of a young Big Lebowski. I mention this to make fun of Barnyard.

VCU point guard Eric Maynor, who we took note of during the CAA tournament, was assassin nasty in the final seconds of this game, and spent much of the game inside Paulus' skull. I don't think Greggy will ever be the same. (Oh, but he's tough. Because he played high school football. When it mattered tonight, he got worked!). The Pitt-VCU tilt is going to be interesting. But we'll worry about that later. Here's a link to Maynor's winning shot (please note that he's working left-handed up until he releases the shot)

Jason Elam Will Miss Us When The Rapture Happens

Man, I forgot all about bpsports. You might think it a sports site sponsored by British Petroleum. Wrong, you fucking sinner!

It's an Evangelical Christian Sports Site. And great fun is to be had with the news that Jason Elam, kicker, is adding to his already impressive resume.

I hear you sinners snickering about Elam's supposed resume; I hear your devilish doubts that he has done anything but kick for a living. You are wrong, and Jesus hates you.

According to bpsports, "He is a licensed commercial pilot, a licensed real estate broker and a world traveler."

So eat it, you dirty Philistines. Sure, any millionaire could be a World Traveler, and sure, that isn't an actual profession. But, not anyone can be a licensed real estate broker. You have to pass some kind of test.

But the big news is this!

On Feb. 13, this friendship culminated in Elam entering the Master of
Arts in Global Apologetics program at LTS.

In his first class, Elam surprised the 500 students in his Theology 201 class when he suddenly walked down the aisle and shared his testimony, at Caner’s request. “Like many of you, I hunger to grow
deeper in my Christian walk, and I want to be prepared to share my faith in Christ as Lord with anyone,” Elam told the students. “I am so excited about the Global Apologetics degree and being a student in Liberty Seminary. There are 5 billion followers of the world’s 12 major world religions, and I want to be ready for all of them.”

That's right. Elam, a committed Christian, decided the best way to learn about the world's 12 major religions was to study at Liberty, the tax-shelter created by Jerry Falwell. Did I say "tax-shelter"? I meant to say, "widely respected university that has been in existence for fewer years than my father has been alive."

But I won't judge Jerry Falwell or his university by how he's been quoted by the evil mainstream press. Aside from those times that Liberty University sees fit to quote that evil mainstream press.

This article from US News and World Report is on the Liberty website. All italicized quotes are from the article (which again, is on the Liberty website)

"But guys can't go wild: Their hair must be short and tight around the ears."

Just like Jesus!

"More important, all students agree to live by "The Liberty Way," a code of conduct that assigns fines for specific infractions: $25 for "attendance at a dance," gambling, or smoking;"

Jesus hates dancing! He said so, in the Book. It's towards the back.

"$50 for watching or possessing an R-rated movie; $250 for consorting with consumers of alcohol; and $500 for drinking alcohol or undergoing an abortion (though the school has never had to levy an abortion fine)."

Jesus hates booze, aside from those times, where you know, he keeps a party going by changing water into wine. Also, Jesus, back in 1 CE, said, and I quote, "I have a problem with those R rated movies from the 20th and 21st Century CE. Especially that gorefest Mel Gibson made. What's up with that shit? And why do the 'Jews' look so different from me? I mean, I'm Jewish."

Students and staff downplay these guidelines as more draconian on paper than in practice. "They are not worried about you being out of the dorm after curfew," explains senior Chris Graham, leading a noontime campus tour. "They just want to know where you are at all times."

Seriously, "They just want to know where you are at all times," Says the fucking tour guide! Nothing Draconian (pagan term!) about that.

So, this is where Jason Elam has chosen to learn about more about how to defend Christianity. A Christianity without a Long-haired wine drinker! Buh? Snuh?

Just to be clear, Liberty University was founded in the 70's by this guy, who has clearly mastered the idea of Christ's "Turn the Other Cheek" Philosophy.

(oh, also, queer teletubbies caused 9/11)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Rose By Any Other ...

I know it's the eve of March Madness, and all eyes are braced on the brackets. But a little kook who was nifty with a baseball bat is making statements about his gambling that will really definitely keep him out of baseball forever. Right?

Pete Rose, the man with 4,256 hits, has finally admitted that his gambling extended to betting on his own team. Every game he managed, Rose placed a bet. Just to keep it interesting, I suppose.

"I bet on my team every night. I didn't bet on my team four nights a week," Rose said Wednesday on "The Dan Patrick Show" on ESPN Radio. "I bet on my team to win every night because I love my team, I believe in my team. I did everything in my power every night to win that game."

Rose would like to be reinstated because, "I believe I'm the best ambassador baseball has."

I think Rose should finally admit that sometimes (only sometimes) he placed bets against his Reds. Then he should ask Jerry Falwell for forgiveness, via Jesus. As for baseball ... hey, you guys remember this asshole?

It is alleged by Deion Sanders's wife that Neon Pee-on stole $1.75 million of the $2 million trust fund established for his children, Deiondra and Deion Jr.

That's right folks. This apple-sucking diarrhea clown named his boy Deion Jr. and his girl Deiondra. That, my friends, is wicked lame.

Announcing Our Prizes, Officially!

First Prize: Statue of Jesus Learning that "Post Up" Isn't Necessarily a Bad Phrase
Second Prize: I Dislike Your Favorite Team T-Shirt of your Choice
Third Prize: I Dislike Your Favorite Team Coffee Mug

You wanna See Fourth Prize? Fourth Prize is...You're Fired.

It's the Morning of the Tournament!

And I'm playing Guitar Hero II, trying desperately to stay ahead of the fast improving skills of Garwood B. Jones. (who will hopefully regale us with his story of playing golf at a fancy golf club, where he almost took the head off of a roofer).

I tell you people, there is no rest in this life. No rest at all.

I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired!

And so on.

And depending on when you read this, you may still have time to get into our pool. Do so, jerk.

I told you I needed to sleep in!

A new study reports that sleep deprivation leads to lapses in moral judgement. So, next time your caught shaggin' some sexy foreigner by your significant other just say:

"Bitch (or "Listen you prick" for you pc peoples), you shoulda let me sleep in."

Additionally, if my children inquire as to the reason I'm spanking them, I shall refer them to the Killgore study (yes, that's one of the researchers names, KillGore). More from the study:

"What's more, some volunteers changed their views of what was morally acceptable after they'd been awake for two days. This was not universally true, however; volunteers who, at the beginning of the study, scored high on a measure known as "emotional intelligence" did not waver on what they found morally appropriate.

Emotional intelligence refers to a person's ability to understand his or her own emotions and those of others, and to effectively relate to other people."

This "emotional intelligence" concept sounds interesting. Happy PI day one and all. Oh yes, Florida sucks and will lose at the sweet 16.

Reminder: Get 'er Done! Brackets, that is.

If you haven't joined our Bracket Party, do so via this link right yonder: Here!

If you haven't filled out your brackets yet, you should probably do so soon. Games start tomorrow around 11 am CST, ya'll.

Oh, and Attorney General Gonzales is a dick. OK, I feel better now.
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