Archive for April, 2012

English Premier League: Does It All Come Down to One Match?

Posted by    |    April 30th, 2012 at 5:30 am

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 22:  Nani of Manchester United celebrates scoring his team's third goal with his team mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford on April 22, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The Premier League title is coming back to Manchester, that much is clear. But for the first time in a very long time, it could be headed for Manchester City rather than Manchester United. United currently holds a three-point lead over City with three games left to play, and the two teams meet up at the Etihad Stadium, City’s home ground, Monday night in what could be a title decider.

United has won 12 of the last 20 titles, while City hasn’t won since 1968. Could City be ready to get a leg up on its cross-town rivals?

City has been in United’s shadows for 40 years, with its fans watching as the Red Devils, under the guidance of Alex Ferguson on the field and very savvy leadership off it, turned into the biggest and best club in England. When the Premier League money train came to town, Old Trafford was its first stop. And while United’s current owner, Malcolm Glazer (owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), has tightened pursestrings at the club, Ferguson still gets the players he wants. (more…)

Andrew Luck, RG III Set a Record in the NFL Draft

Posted by    |    April 29th, 2012 at 5:30 am

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For the first time in the NFL draft two players from the same state, playing the same position, went #1 and #2 in the NFL draft.

Andrew Luck, played high school football at Houston Stratford while the No 2 pick, Robert Griffin III, played high school football at Copperas Cove. A total of 31 players who played their high school football in Texas were taken in the 2012 draft. Florida was next with 30, followed by California with 26.

A breakdown of the first three rounds:

First Round

#1 QB Andrew Luck, Houston Stratford High School (Stanford)

#2 QB Robert Griffin III Copperas Cove High School (Baylor)

#8 QB Ryan Tannehill, Big Spring High School (Texas A&M)

#14 DT Michael Brockers, Houston Chavez High School (LSU)

#20 WR Kendall Wright Pittsburgh High School (Baylor)

Second Round

# 60 OT Kelechi Osemele Langham Creek (Iowa State)

#61 RB LaMichael James Liberty-Eylau High School (Oregon)

Third Round

#71 OG Josh LeRibeus, Richardson Berkner (SMU)

#78 TE Michael Egnew, Plainview (Missouri)

#80 CB Jamell Fleming Arlington Seguin (Oklahoma)

#88 QB Nick Foles Austin Westlake, (Arizona )

Hmmm, that’s odd — 4 Quarterbacks, a total of 15 players on the offensive side of the ball from Texas High Schools taken in the draft and none of them played for Texas.

Texas Players drafted:

#119 OLB Kennan Robinson, Plano East

#204 OLB Emmanuel Acho, Dallas St. Mark’s

#215 DT Kheeston Randall, Beaumont Kelly) are obviously defensive players.

Colt McCoy is the last player on the offensive side of the ball to be drafted from Texas.

Discuss among yourselves.

2012 NBA Playoffs Round One Preview

Posted by    |    April 28th, 2012 at 2:09 pm

The 2012 NBA Playoffs are scheduled to start on TNT at 12 central with the Philadelphia 76ers visiting the league’s best Chicago Bulls. So expect a tipoff around 12:18.

For Round One, I will predict a winner and in how many games. As the rounds progress I will offer much, much more insight and analysis.

So for Round One Let’s Begin with a rundown before things get going after EJ/Chuck/Kenny/Shaq and Underdog (the Producer…don’t you watch #Inside?) finish up their pre-game extravaganza.

Keep reading…..you’ll be hyperlink-rewarded

Eastern Conference

1 Chicago Bulls

8 Philadelphia 76ers

Derrick Rose is not 100% and the 76ers versatility is not to be underestimated. I wouldn’t be surprised if Philly stole game @ Chi-Town then the Bulls ripped off 4 straight. Bulls in 6.  

4 Boston Celtics

5 Atlanta Hawks

Despite the lower seed, Atlanta has homecourt. But it’s still Atlanta. The team that chose Marvin Williams over Chris Paul and Deron Williams, gave Joe Johnson a max contract, and received a trade request midseason from Josh Smith. TNT’s Shaquille O’Neal says this is the last hoo-rah for the big 3. I disagree as long as the amazing Rajon Rondo keeps doing what he does, he’ll get them wide open looks from their wheelchairs. But experience (and talent) prevails. Celtics in 6. 

3 Indiana Pacers

6 Orlando Magic

This season just needs to end for Orlando. Pacers in 5 because Ryan Anderson’s 8 3′s get Orlando a Game 3 W at home,  but Indiana is incredibly overlooked and has valuable experience obtained from last season’s 1st round postseason matchup with the Chicago Bulls. Rising Center Roy Hibbert should absolutely go to work on “Big Baby” Glenn Davis, who is the Magic starting 5 with Dwight Howard done for the year and Marcin Gortat in Phoenix…but hey,  the Magic got Turkoglu and Earl Clark for him. Pacers in 5.

2 Miami Heat

7 New York Knicks

This is without a doubt, by far, absolutely the most intriguing series in the East. The Knicks are one of only three teams in the East I think can beat Miami. (Boston/Indiana) Lingering issues for Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh remaining all too feminine for Heat fans liking make it even more challenging for should-be MVP LeBron James and his supporting cast, but the Heat take the series in 6.

Western Conference

1 San Antonio Spurs

8 Utah Jazz

The old but extremely well rested legs of the Spurs savvy veterans were upset to see Utah claim the final playoff spot in the West over Phoenix, who would have provided the Spurs with a nice 4 up 4 down. Utah’s young  big man tandem, or the “Big 4″ as they are calling it in Salt Lake is the key to any hope the Jazz can pull off the first consecutive 8-1 seed upset in NBA history. It’s simply difficult to see Greg Popovich letting that happen to his team once again, specifically Tony Parker, who has had an MVP season but will obviously get no considerations. Spurs in…..not 4…not 5…not 6….but 7. 

4 Memphis Grizzlies

5 Los Angeles Clippers

The team that captured home court in this matchup, which was decided in the final days of the season, thanks to a Joe Johnson hail mary at the shot clock buzzer, determines the winner of this series to me. Chris Paul alone gave the Lakers trouble last year in round one with the New Orleans Hornets, but now he has Blake Griffin, champion Caron Butler, Deandre Jordan veterans like Kenyon Martin and player-coach Chauncey Billups, who is out for the year but anything helps at this point. But following their headlining upset last year vs. the Spurs, Memphis enters the postseason as a force to be reckoned with, especially with their leading scorer Rudy Gay healthy this time around. But on the topic of health, power forward Zach Randolph has not been healthy all season and suffered partial tear of his MCL on New Years Day. His return was much welcomed, but he has frequently served as a bench player and is not the same player. But perhaps Z-Bo was just caged up for precautionary reasons and will be set loose in the postseason. Perhaps. The inexperience and the utter surprise of playing in May will predictably startle the majority of the Clippers roster, especially the apparently very insecure Vinny Del Negro. Deandre Jordan is an amazing shot blocker, but THAT. IS. IT. I expect double doubles from Marc Gasol in all 7 games as Memphis uses the situationally invaluable home court advantage to their…ummmm….advantage, and win the series in the maximum 7 games.

^^wow, you would think that’s my most intriguing matchup……

3 Los Angeles Lakers

6 Denver Nuggets

The very, very great and 6 foot 3 and a half Charles Barkley of the T, N, and the T predicts an upset here .He’s not alone, but even though I was right there with him when his “Team Chuck” clobbered “Team Shaq” ‘BBVA Rising Stars Challenge’ back in All-Star weekend, I am not going to agree with what is left of Sir Cumference and boldly pick the Nuggets. Everyone remembers how the Lakers were mutilated by the would-be champion Dallas Mavericks in the conference semi’s last season, from Bynum’s suspension-warranting flagrant on JJ Barea to the ridiculous splash parade of treys from Jason Terry and Peja Stojakovic in game 4. Denver is far – no – FAR – away from their Denver “Thuggets” days, with Kenyon Martin, JR Smith, Carmelo Anthony, and Gary Forbes all moving on. (Okay, added Forbes in there for kicks…but he’s a great story himself) Denver’s balance and depth took a hit when Rudy Fernandez was lost for the season and the team dealt a personal favorite Nene to Washington for Javale McGee in a financially oriented move. (They just signed Nene this off-season, I mean…really?!) McGee has the size and athleticism of Ryan Hollins, but unfortunately the brains as well, but fortunately the offensive skills of Dwight Howard, but unfortunately, that isn’t very good but in a final turn of unfortunate events that i’m turning into an article itself, the center opposing McGee and his squad is the massively improved Andrew Bynum. Okay, this is too easy, one more. Fortunately for Denver, Bynum has displayed a wildly consistent ability to “Shaqt-A-Fool” this season. (Wow, I watch a ton of Inside the NBA) We all remember benching preceded by a 3-point attempt and his awesome reasoning that fellow 7-footer Pau Gasol gets to shoot them so why can’t he? Wow, I haven’t even mentioned Kobe f’ing Bryant. Because of him among everything else, Lakers in 5. I could see a sweep here. Denver’s go-to guy is Ty Lawson, and that isn’t enough in 2012.

2 Oklahoma City Thunder

7 Dallas Mavericks

If you’ve seen my “straight-up” predictions, then you are well aware of how this series and those past will turn out. I have been a Mavericks fan since my parents…met. (<–Dan, is that okay? I’m not entirely comfortable with it myself but carrying on…) I live and die with this team, and lucky for me all my days where I have been aware of my surroundings, the Mavs have made playoff after playoff after….12 times. Outside of Dallas, this team is known for being chokers and blowing the 2-0 2006 Finals lead and losing the following year to the 8 seed Warriors after a 67-15 season… 67-15! Only 7 teams have finished with better records in the history of the league, and 3 were Michael Jordan’d. But last season, led by Dirk Nowitzki’s inspirational playoff run, Dallas finally climbed over the top and became Champions for the first time in the team’s history. Anyyyyyyywayyyyyyyyyy….the attention here to the masses is not on the defending champions but the opposition. The young, athletic, young, energetic, young , emerging, favorites, young, exciting, fresh and finally a young OKC Thunder team. Kevin Durant is 23 and has back-to-back-to-back scoring titles. Russell Westbrook is learning to play point guard, more assists and less turnovers. But he continues to hold onto the belief that he is the alpha dog of this Oklahoma City team and should feel free to take 25 shots when and however he pleases. For that reason and also the lack of inside scoring makes the Thunder short of an obvious championship pick despite having 2 of the league’s top 5 scorers. The balance of teams like San Antonio, the Lakers, or their current opponent in Dallas could be this (young) team’s undoing.

For my  aforementioned “Straight-Up” Picks, click here

2012 NBA Playoff Straight-Up Predictions

Posted by    |    April 28th, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Eastern Conference

  1 Chicago Bulls

8 Philadelphia 76ers                 1 Chicago Bulls

  4 Boston Celtics                 4 Boston Celtics

5 Atlanta Hawks

  3 Indiana Pacers                      2 Miami Heat        

6 Orlando Magic                    3 Indiana Pacers

   2 Miami Heat         

7 New York Knicks

Western Conference                                                                       

  1 San Antonio Spurs                                                                             

8 Utah Jazz                                1 San Antonio Spurs

    4 Memphis Grizzlies     4 Memphis Grizzlies

5 Los Angeles Clippers

     3 Los Angeles Lakers       3 Los Angeles Lakers

6 Denver Nuggets                               7 Dallas Mavericks

2 Oklahoma City Thunder

         7 Dallas Mavericks

 

Conference Finals                                                NBA FINALS

1 San Antonio Spurs

      7 Dallas Mavericks                                           2 Miami Heat

1 Chicago Bulls                                                                 7 Dallas Mavericks

   2 Miami Heat

 

yep, again..

Trent Dilfer Has Colt McCoy’s Back

Posted by    |    April 28th, 2012 at 5:30 am

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It was a case of dueling analysts today on ESPN radio when it came to the future of Colt McCoy in the NFL.

The NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi was on the Mike and Mike Show this morning as said of McCoy “I just don’t see him as a starting Quarterback in the NFL.” Check out the audio at the 1:46 mark.

Then later on the Scott Van Pelt Show, Trent Dilfer defended McCoy, saying I think that’s a foolish statement that Colt McCoy can’t play in the NFL, can’t start.” Check out the audio at :30 mark.

Dilfer made the obvious point that the entire Cleveland offense has been a dumpster fire for a generation.

“I think it’s really unjust to critique Colt McCoy based on his first two years of work when he’s had literally no help around him,” said Dilfer.

He added that he thought Brandon Weeden is a quality prospect and he has a stronger arm than Colt, but Dilfer also said that he considered arm strength to be an overrated quality in an NFL starter, and the Colt’s velocity was good enough for the league.

Dilfer reiterated that McCoy belongs in the NFL

“I truly believe..I’ll stick by this,” said Dilfer, “Colt McCoy at some point in his career is going to be a starter, and a very good one.”