Posted on: February 16, 2011 11:39 am

Time for a change

Its now all about money. Albert Pujols wants 300 million dollars to play on a team in a league that kids all over the world die to play in. The NFL might lockout because owners want more money yet the players are the ones who bust their butt all season? You know what I am getting tired of this money talk. Man, I miss the good old days.

Category: General
Posted on: February 8, 2011 8:17 am

Penguins and Crosby

Vancouver forward Mikael Samuelsson says he is reaping the rewards for sticking with it during a scoring slump. His Canucks teammates almost didn't stick with it long enough against Ottawa.Samuelsson scored his second goal into an empty net with 31.5 seconds left and added an assist as the streaking Canucks built an early lead and hung on for a 4-2 win over the struggling Senators on Monday night. Samuelsson's three-point night gives him nine during a four-game point streak, and five goals and 11 points in his last six contests. He recorded only a single assist in the previous 14 games before that. "You've got to stick with it," said Samuelsson. "It's not going to go your way all the time. You stay humble and you really have to bear down and remind yourself what (worked) in the past." It helps to play with second-line center Ryan Kesler, who scored his 31st goal and added and assist. Mason Raymond has three assists as the second line combined for eight points. "We are using each other, give-and-goes, cycles," Kesler said. "Using our strengths to our advantage, which is speed, shooting the puck and going to the net." Alex Burrows also scored and Roberto Luongo made 31 saves as Vancouver won its sixth straight game. The Canucks only have two regulation losses in the last two months (21-2-6), extended their lead atop the NHL to four points, and remained nine up on Detroit in the Western Conference. It didn't come as easy as expected against an Ottawa team that has now lost 10 straight.Nick Foligno and Jason Spezza scored less than 2 minutes apart in the second period to pull Ottawa to 3-2. The Senators hit three posts before the period ended, but failed to convert a power play to start the third and finished 0 for 5 with the man advantage, losing for the 15th time in 16 games. "We've had enough close calls lately," said Spezza. "We're pretty disappointed. We've just got to figure out what we did well the second half of the game and bring that to our next game." That may not be as easy as it sounds if you listened to the Canucks, who cited the loss of two defensemen for the second period near collapse. Vancouver lost Keith Ballard to a scary looking knee injury just 2:23 in, and Aaron Rome collected 17 minutes in penalties late in the first period after coming to the defense of captain Henrik Sedin after a big hit by tough guy Chris Neil. "It's tough for the D when they are playing four back there and getting pressured as hard as they are," Kesler said. "Going out every other shift is pretty tiring." Burrows opened the scoring on a walkout 8:50 into the game, and Kesler doubled the lead 1:10 later, firing a shot over Brian Elliott's glove 20 seconds after hitting the post on a similar attempt. Samuelsson converted a goalmouth feed from Kesler 2:12 into the second - a pass made with Jannik Hansen's stick after breaking his own and grabbing one off the bench as the play went up ice. "Jannik was on his toes there and noticed I needed a right-handed shot and we don't have too many," Kesler said. "He should get a half an assist." Foligno got the Senators back in it with a spinning backhand over Luongo's glove at 5:30, and Spezza finished off a rare 3-on-0 breakaway by banging in his own rebound 1:47 later. "A bad decision at their blue line and a bad changed and a 3-on-0, and then got in penalty trouble so obviously they were going to get a little momentum," said coach Alain Vigneault. "At the end of the day our goaltender was real good again."Lucky, too. Sergei Gonchar rang a shot off the post and another was tipped off the bar on a power play, and Milan Michalek hit iron on a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush before the period ended. "Those will start going post and in instead of post and out," said Elliott, who made 26 saves. "This is arguably one of the top teams - if not the top - in the NHL. We stood in there and we made 'em sweat.

Category: NHL
Tags: Crosby
Posted on: January 26, 2011 9:59 am

What happened to Butler

What happened to Butler basketball. Last year they were 3 points away from being national champions and now they are 14-7, 3rd place in the Horizon league, and projected to not make the March Madness Bracket and instead make the NIT bracket. So what happened? Was Gordon Hayward that valuable?  They have most of the players from last year, this year. They still have Alex Anglin, Garrett Butcher, Zach Hahn, Matt Howard, Emerson Kampen, Grant Leindecker, Shelvin Mack, Ronald Nored, Andrew Smith, Chase Stigall, and Shawn Vazant. They only players that they lost were: Gordon Hayward who averaged 14 points and 7 rebounds per game. Avery Jukes who averaged only 2.7 points per game. Nick Rodgers who averaged 0.4 points per game, and Willie Veasley who averaged 10 points per game. But still, that should not have had this much of an impact on this team. Butler, turn it around. For the sake of college basketball, turn it around.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Butler
Posted on: January 13, 2011 8:01 am

Who is the Best?

Duke has lost. So who is the best? Is it still Duke? Is it Ohio State? Syracuse? Duke showed some signs of weakness last night. When losing, they take 3 pointers. Last night they took 35 3 point shots. They made only 11 of them. Now, 11 3 pointers made is good. But when you miss 24 of them, that is bad. Duke did not penetrate the post and relied too much on its perimeter and outside shooting. Florida State attacked the post and dominated. To me, Kansas is an amazing team. Josh Selby, the Morris brothers, great team. They are the #1 Team in the RPI. Kansas to me is better than Duke in some ways, especially without Kyrie Irving.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 12, 2011 12:15 pm

Surprise Surprise

It may be way too late, but I don not care. 2010 was full of surprises. From the Cowboys being picked to go to the Super Bowl in a sports magazine, to Brett Favre finally retiring, the Giants winning the World Series, the Heat winning the free agent trifecta, and Auburn winning the national championship. There is a common theme. Un predicatble. No one thought that Auburn would get close. The Giants to win the world series? Who could have guessed? The Heat getting James? And Bosh? And Wade? No one expected that either. A year of surprises. We must learn from this. Never count anyone out, Ever. The impossible can happen at any second. Any minute. The year of the underdog. Cornell going to the sweet 16. Northern Iowa beating Kansas. The Seahawks beating the Saints. Sports nation, the underdog is very powerful. Also, in some cases, the underdog has the edge. They dont have the chip on their shoulder. The favorite does. America, lets hear it for all of the teams that did what you thought impossible. I respect them.

Category: General
Tags: Upsets
Posted on: January 12, 2011 7:53 am

Super Bowl possible matchups

Paring down to the elite eight in the NFL playoffs means 16 matchups remain possible for Super Bowl XLV in Dallas next month. Here's at least one potential storyline or reason to care about each and every Super pairing, as we rank them from most intriguing to least appealing....

1. Patriots-Falcons -- We'd have a showdown between Mr. Brady of Boston and Matt Ryan, formerly of Boston College, the young quarterback who always tried to emulate No. 12 while playing collegiately in Brady's proverbial backyard. Having the two top seeds (combined record of 27-5 in the regular season) meeting in the Super Bowl for the second year in a row -- when it hadn't happened since 1993 before the Colts and Saints did it a year ago -- wouldn't be a bad trend to continue.

2. Falcons-Ravens -- These birds of a different feather have a lot in common. There's the Matt Ryan-Joe Flacco storyline, with 2008's two first-round quarterbacks having careers that closely mirror each other's, and the coaching prowess of Mike Smith and John Harbaugh, who have combined for five playoff trips and six winning records since arriving in Atlanta and Baltimore at about the same time in early 2008. The Falcons and Ravens met in a Week 10 thriller this season in Georgia, with Atlanta squeaking past the Ravens 26-21 on Ryan's 33-yard scoring pass to Roddy White with 20 seconds remaining.

3. Steelers-Packers -- This matchup would revolve around the showdown between the best quarterback to come out of the deep 2004 draft class (Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger) and the best quarterback to come out of the disappointing 2005 draft class (Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers). And it's worth noting that neither was the first passer off the board in his draft. Big Ben would be a victory away from his third Super Bowl ring in just seven seasons, while Rodgers would be chasing his first.

4. Packers-Patriots -- Not only a rematch of their wildly entertaining 31-27 game from Week 15 (watch out for those offensive linemen on kickoff returns, Green Bay), but also we trust that this time Aaron Rodgers would get to play for the Packers rather than backup QB Matt Flynn. As an added bonus, it would also be a Super Bowl rematch of 14 years ago, when Brett Favre won his only ring going up against a Patriots defense that was coached by a guy named Bill Belichick.

5. Steelers-Falcons -- If this pairing comes to fruition, Pittsburgh and Atlanta will have opened and closed the 2010 NFL season facing one another. For a finale, we could do worse than a repeat of their first meeting, Week 1 in Pittsburgh. The Steelers won 15-9 in overtime when running back Rashard Mendenhall snapped off a 50-yard touchdown run around right tackle on Pittsburgh's first offensive play of the extra period. If there is overtime in the Super Bowl for the first time ever, I seem to remember we have some new rules governing that particular situation.

6. Bears-Patriots -- Twenty-five years after Mike Ditka's 1985 Bears destroyed Raymond Berry's 1985 wild-card Patriots in Super Bowl XX for Chicago's only Super Bowl title, New England could exact its revenge. Then again, maybe it's the Bears who will be out for payback after the Patriots embarrassed them 36-7 at snowy, blustery Soldier Field in Week 14, becoming the first team this season to clinch a playoff berth.

7. Ravens-Packers -- The quarterback matchup of third-year veteran Joe Flacco and sixth-year veteran Aaron Rodgers would make this season's game only the second Super Bowl in the past 20 years to feature two first-time Super Bowl QBs who were drafted by the teams they led to the game (joining Indy's Peyton Manning and Chicago's Rex Grossman in 2006). It would also guarantee that either Flacco or Rodgers becomes the fifth quarterback in the past six years to earn his first Super Bowl ring, a list that includes Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.

8. Falcons-Jets -- You might have forgotten, but second-year Jets head coach Rex Ryan interviewed twice with the Falcons in early 2008 and was actually seen as one of the front-runners for the job that Mike Smith eventually landed. That bit of history would certainly be explored during a Jets-Falcons Super Bowl week, as would the March 2006 three-team trade that sent defensive end John Abraham from New York to Atlanta, where he still commands respect as one of the game's preeminent pass rushers.

9. Jets-Bears -- The overlapping ties that bind these franchises in history are pretty rich: It was 25 years ago that Rex Ryan's dad, Buddy Ryan, was the architect and coordinator of the famed 1985 Bears defense, which dominated Chicago's only Super Bowl-winning team. Rex Ryan was a ball boy for that squad, and was on the sideline that day in New Orleans when the Bears routed the Patriots and carried Buddy Ryan and Mike Ditka off the field on their shoulders. And there's more: Buddy Ryan won his first Super Bowl with the Jets, as the defensive coordinator on the 1968 New York team that upset Baltimore in Super Bowl III.

10. Seahawks-Ravens -- With Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll now coaching in the NFC West, they're in position to resume their Stanford-USC rivalry, which prompted the infamous "What's your deal?'' exchange between the two at midfield after the Cardinal routed the Trojans in 2009. But until the 49ers-Seahawks rivalry amps up next season, a proxy war of sorts could be waged by Carroll and Ravens head coach John "Brother of Jim'' Harbaugh. That could spice up Super Bowl week quite nicely.

11. Jets-Packers -- Once the NFL expanded the playoffs to 12 teams and started seeding the field in 1990, it took until the 2005 Steelers for a No. 6 seed to even make the Super Bowl, let alone win it. But a New York-Green Bay matchup would make history as the only No. 6 seed versus No. 6 seed Super Bowl pairing ever. The Wild Card Super Bowl would give hope to all and mark the first time in 45 years that a division champion didn't make the game.

12. Seahawks-Patriots -- All we'd have to chew on would be Seattle head coach Pete Carroll facing off against the team he led from 1997 to '99, between the Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick eras in New England. Pats owner Robert Kraft fired him, but in retrospect, Carroll's record doesn't look too bad. He never had a losing season, got to the playoffs twice in three years, won a division title and a playoff game, and his .549 winning percentage is second-best in franchise history (behind the man in the hoodie). What was the problem?

13. Bears-Ravens -- Defense likely would be the predominant theme of this Super pairing, with middle linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher matching Pro Bowl-studded résumés and leading teams that have long made their reputation on that side of the ball. Other than that, the Bears and Ravens have had running back Chester Taylor in common, and not much else in recent years.

14. Seahawks-Steelers -- Where have we seen this one before? Try five years ago, at Detroit's Ford Field. The Steelers beat the Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL, in a coaching matchup of the since-departed Bill Cowher and Mike Holmgren. Pittsburgh earned its long-awaited fifth ring, and the Seahawks came away feeling as if all the game's close calls went against them. And upon further review, they had a pretty valid point.

15. Steelers-Bears -- Somehow, despite the Bears and Steelers being two of the NFL's historic old-guard, family-run franchises, they've never met in the postseason. And the teams first played one another in 1936, so you would have thought the Rooneys and the Halas/McCaskey clan might have run into each other a time or two in the playoffs. Maybe the Bears and Steelers would go the throwback uniform route in the Super Bowl and make the whole thing way retro cool.

16. Seahawks-Jets -- Yet another Super Bowl storyline would emanate from the eventful coaching career of Seattle's Pete Carroll. The former Jets defensive coordinator got promoted to his first NFL head coaching gig with New York in 1994, replacing Bruce Coslet. But alas, the Jets weren't quite ready for Carroll's rah-rah style just yet -- not to mention the basketball court he had painted in the team's parking lot -- and New York fired him after just one 6-10 season. Carroll did all right for himself, of course, and now the Jets have another head coach in Rex Ryan who likes to do things his own distinctive way.

Category: NFL
Tags: Super Bowl
Posted on: January 11, 2011 7:36 pm

Sagemont makes their mark

It is more than fair to say that the Sagemont basketball team is elite. Last year, their best player, Fab Melo, was a Mcdonalds All-American and now plays for Syracuse. They had another player, Will Sheehey, commit to Indiana. This year, it is Rod Days. I have no idea why he is not ranked in the rivals 150 for this year. Rod commited to UCF and will play alongside Marcus Jordan. Michael's son, as everyone knows. And their football program isnt too bad either, as Brandon Marshall went there. I believe the whole team is raw and under rated. I show support to the the team and to the following players: Chris Penny, Vinny DeLucia, Dylan Flynn, Rod, and Erving Morales. For everyone I missed, Im sorry. So pay attention closely. Sagemont made it to the semi-finals of the Florida State Tournament last year. They lost to the eventual winner of the tourney, Providence. Although, Providence had a guy that also commited to UCF, like Rod, and they also had the #33 best player in america as rated by rivals, Stacey Poole. Poole commited to Kentucky. So, Sagemont did more that hold its own. This is one of the top teams in Florida. Good job to Sagemont.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Sagemont
Posted on: January 11, 2011 7:59 am

Bad Luck for the Irish

Marquette coach Buzz Williams says his undersized team spends 70 percent of each practice on defense and rebounding. He may be able to increase that percentage, since the Golden Eagles look just fine on offense.

Dwight Buycks scored a career-high 21 points and Marquette used an impressive long-distance shooting performance to upset No. 9 Notre Dame 79-57 on Monday.

"If it was a good shot, we took the good shot and I think everybody was making shots," Buycks said.

Buycks went 5 for 5 from 3-point range, part of a 12-for-17 night from behind the arc for Marquette (12-5, 3-1 Big East). The Golden Eagles shot 53 percent (26 for 49) overall.

"Offensively, I don't think we've had any issues, any questions," Williams said. "Sometimes we're going to shoot it great, sometimes we're just going to shoot it OK."

Notre Dame (14-3, 3-2) gained five spots in Monday's poll to reach its highest ranking since January 2009, but it'll be tough for the Fighting Irish to move higher despite getting 15 points from Eric Atkins. Tim Abromaitis and Scott Martin each finished with 10.

"I wouldn't have wanted to play horse against them," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "You're glad a night like this counts as one loss. It counts as one."

Jae Crowder had 18 points, Jimmy Butler scored 15 and Darius Johnson-Odom 13 for the Golden Eagles, which came in shooting 35 percent from 3-point range.

Butler said Marquette practices shooting every day after practice, not quite games of horse but competitions that include shot after shot after shot against each other. Butler said sometimes the sessions last up to 90 minutes following two-hour practices.

"After practice, everybody stays after and puts up shots," he said. "Guys, after they're done making open shots, they'll compete with each other, who can make this many amount of shots first."

Big East player of the week Ben Hansbrough had nine points and the Fighting Irish shot 39.6 percent overall, including 3 of 16 from 3-point range. But he wasn't sure it would've mattered if they shot better.

"I'm not sure who would have beat them here," Hansbrough said. "They're going to beat a lot of people if they shoot 70 percent (from 3-point range)."

Last year, Hansbrough managed just four points in Milwaukee, but Carleton Scott hit a 3 that sent it to overtime and Notre Dame won 63-60 in its last conference road victory.

With the 6-foot-8 Scott out with a hamstring injury that will likely keep him sidelined until February, the Irish struggled knocking down shots after shooting 51 percent in a 76-61 win over St. John's on Saturday.

Hansbrough had a career-best 26 points against the Red Storm, but finished 3 of 9 from the field against Marquette. It snapped a string of 10 straight games with at least 10 points.

"I told him, 'Look, man, get some rest,"' Brey said. "I've seen that happen before when we've had a player of the week. It's like, 'Yeah! Oh god, we play tonight.' Anyway, give credit to Marquette. We've got to play them again."

Marquette is in the middle of a stretch of seven ranked opponents in eight games, and entered Monday night 0-4 against Top 25 teams this season.

In the final three weeks of this stretch, the Golden Eagles will face No. 18 Louisville, Notre Dame again, No. 10 Connecticut, No. 4 Syracuse and No. 7 Villanova.

The schedule certainly doesn't seem quite as daunting after Marquette's 3-point effort and much improved defense against Notre Dame following an uncharacteristic 89-81 loss at Pittsburgh where the Panthers shot 60 percent.

"Your pride's hurt when a team shoots 60 percent," Williams said.

Crowder knocked down his fourth 3-pointer early in the second half, and Marquette extended the lead to double digits at 41-31 for the first time on a free throw by Vander Blue.

Darius Johnson-Odom's 3 put the Golden Eagles up 49-36 with 12:48 left, Buycks drained another and Johnson-Odom finished a fast break with an emphatic slam that made it 64-43 with 7:39 to play.

Tyrone Nash hit one of two free throws to cut the lead to 33-29, but the Irish wouldn't get any closer because of the Eagles' 3-point performance, their best effort since going 12 of 15 in a 2001 win over Tulane.

"I think that's an aberration more than anything else," Williams said. "For a team that can't shoot to shoot 71 percent from 3, that helps."

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Category: NCAAB
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