Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cap room doesn't guarantee free agents will come

Going into the NBA offseason there will be plenty of big name free agents to go after.This will be known as the summer of Lebron,but there is more than him to go after.Chris Bosh,Dwayne Wade,Joe Johnson,Amare Stoudemire will also be available.There are teams that have cleared out cap space in hopes of landing one or maybe two big names on the market.However,that doesn't guarantee that the free agents will come just because the money's there.Ask the Chicago Bulls,who thought after the big three of Jordan,Pippen,and Rodman left that they would be able to rebuild quickly.They didn't and are now just starting to become relevant again.My thought is that Bosh and Wade both want to win and will end up playing with each other.Or that Bosh will wind up wherever Lebron or Wade are playing at.Knicks,Bulls,Clippers,Kings,and Wizards fans shouldn't get there hopes up this free agency period.Strangely,Clippers owner Donald Sterling says he wants to win now.That remains to be seen.With the playoffs looming,free agency and the NBA draft,it's shaping up to be an interesting summer. 

NCAA is hypocritical with possible expansion

With the possible expansion to 96 teams in the NCAA tournament,it seems hypocritical that the NCAA would do this,but won't consider a college football playoff system.Just like the current system in college football,an expansion would allow the rich to get richer in college basketball.Just like how the NCAA allows the BCS conferences(Big Ten,Big 12,ACC,Big East,Pac-10,SEC) to get the lion's share of the money when it comes to the postseason,allowing 96 teams in the NCAA tournament would do the same.It wouldn't allow a mid major such as this year's Butler team to advance to the Final Four.Come on.Do you really think a team from a conference such as the Horizon or Summit league would get a high seed and a bye in the tournament,no matter how their regular season resume looks.You would get more mediocre teams from the BCS conferences getting in.True,there may be some deserving teams that get snubbed,but do we really need to see teams from power conferences with 17 or 18 wins getting into the tournament.Its nothing more than giving a larger slice of the pie to the bigger conferences.You may see a team that goes 24-6 and misses the tournament for a team that goes 17-14.Coaches would also be rewarded for mediocrity,just like a coach going 6-6 in football."Hey,you made the tournament so we won't fire you!"
  The way the tournament is set up is fine as it is.If you expand it,mybe a few teams here and there.MAYBE.There's no day like Selection Sunday and the first weekend of the tournament.Don't dilute it by putting unworthy teams in the big dance.

Duke won,but I still can't stand them

Yes,Duke is the king of college basketball once again.True,they won,but some of the favorites were knocked off on their way to the top.Thing is,I still can't stand them.I can't bring myself to root for them even if there was a gun to my head.Well,maybe I could in a few extreme cases.This is not a jump on the bandwagon kind of hate.It's been a lifelong deal for me.
  Way back,when I first started watching college basketball,I didn't know too much about them,but the only teams I knew in the ACC were North Carolina,Virginia,and Maryland.Didn't hear much of Duke,so I never cared much for them.Therefore,I didn't like them.As time went on my dislike for grew worse.Then came the 1986 NCAA tournament.A historical favorite to this day,Louisville made the finals.Duke was their opponent in that game.It was that tournament that made me realize I really didn't like Duke.I wanted every team tey played to beat them,no matter the odds.Duke lost,72-69, and I was so full of glee when it happened.I will admit that in next year's tournament,when they played Indiana,another team I'm not fond of,I pulled for them to win that game.Over time,they've been portrayed as the good guys of college basketball.I liken them more to the preppies that happen to be good,beat you and remind you of it for years on end.You know,players that inner city kids can't stand and want to choke the life out of.
  They always seem to be overrated.No matter who is on that team,they will get a top 10 ranking at the start of the year.Even in the Cherokee Parks days they were getting the rankings until the team tanked.When tourney time rolls around,it seems they never garner anything lower than a 3 seed.I know they've been seeded lower than that,but they're always the favorite going into their opening round game.The coach Mike Krzyzewski,is portrayed as the patron saint of college basketball,taking that mantle from Dean Smith,even though he is one of the most foul mouthed coaches around.He gets his four and five star preppie recruits from the suburban areas around the doubt these kids can ball,but I can't stand them since they're at Duke.I like Nolan Smith,but since he plays for Duke,I really can't bring myself to pull for the kid. This golden boy Duke image has really kicked in around 1991,when they took down big,bad,UNLV.UNLV at that point was like the Miami of college basketball.You know,too much swag for the game.Also,with the ultimate rebel as coach Jerry Tarkanian,everyone always thought there was something slimy about the Runnin Rebels.To this day ask anyone,they will tell you that UNLV threw that game.It was a gift.The Rebels crushed Duke the year before by 30,with basically the same teams coming back.Duke was thought of as the good guys in that game.The cowboys with the white hats.The year after,they repeated beating an upstart Kentucky team recovering from probation in one of the most epic games in NCAA tournament history,on a Christian Laettner buzzer beater.Thing is Laettner shouldn't have even been in the game.Raeson:for stomping on Kentucky's Aminu Timberlake's chest.Years down the road I saw that happen with Houston's Aubrey Coleman,and he was kicked out against Arizona.Then they beat my home team Michigan in the finals.Michigan had the Fab Five and to some represented everything that was wrong with college basketball,while Duke was everything that was right about it.On top of all this we have to hear Duke,er,Dick Vitale singing their praises every time he gets in front of a camera.I know there are some people who like them,and will disagree with me.There are some that have different reasons.But in the end,I will give them credit for winning another National Championship,but I simply cannot ever be a fan of Duke basketball.
Maybe this is why I realized I could never become a sports broadcaster.

Does Gerhart's stock go down because he's white?

With the NFL Draft approaching,there will be some players whose stock rises and some that slip.We've all seen it.One reason or another a player will be downgraded (lack of speed or low 40 times,character and drug issues,type of competition he faced in college,etc.).Randy Moss slipped because of character issues.Warren Sapp slipped because of alledged marijuana use.Jerry Rice was supposedly too slow despite the monster numbers he put up at Mississippi Valley State.There are too many too name.
  This year the player most likely to suffer:Stanford running back Toby Gerhart.Gerhart,who finished second in the Heisman voting behind Mark Ingram,will likely be taken in the second or third round.More likely the third.He had a good college career,but I think his stock suffers for a different reason.He's white.Yes it seems cold that I say this and I've heard it elsewhere.Some aren't sold on the prospect of a white running back.True,his 40 times aren't anything legends are made of(4.53) and the NFL is a much faster game than college.But the guy can play.Sometimes football speed is much different than track speed.If it weren't,Usain Bolt would be playing in the NFL.If you don't believe in Gerhart,look at the USC game tape and see what he did against that defense full of future NFLers.He didin't finish second in the Heisman voting for lifetime achievements.He got there because he can play the game.I know there aren't many white skill position players,but he should get a chance to prove he belongs,rather than going with the prevailing thought that he's too slow to play the position.I think someone will try to make him a tight end instead of giving him a fair shot to prove he can be an adequate running back.
  In the world of sports scouting,too much is made of how fast a guy can run,how high he can jump,or how many reps they can do on the bench press.No one measures a man's heart or whether he can flat out play the game.In this case it seems that the color of his skin may have something to do with how they look at his playing ability.Maybe Gerhart won't be as good as his Stanford days,maybe he'll be better.Just give him a chance to excel.He might prove some of these scouts wrong.