Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bad week for Boston? Great week for the rest of us.


I'm not going to lie, I don't really like Boston sports. In fact, I borderline hate every team located in Massachusetts. Other than the Bruins, because I don't watch enough hockey to care.

Writing this I tried to come up with which of the major three teams I like the least, and I've concluded that I dislike them all equally and I dislike them all...a lot.

So this week was naturally a good week for me, because it was a bad one for them.

Well I guess it was more than a week ago, but on the 23rd the Red Sox lost out on the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes to their not so beloved cross town rival Yankees. Granted the Red Sox were not hurting for offense, but Tex going to the Yankees helps their lineup astronomically, which is probably not what the Sox wanted to have happen.

Granted, it remains to be seen how that deal will turn out, so most of Boston turned their attention on the Pats. On the 28th they would have been delighted after a win against Buffalo, to give them their 11th of the year. However the Dolphins and the Ravens also both won, which insured that the 11-5 Patriots missed the playoffs, while the 8-8 Chargers made it in.

To add injury to insult on Monday the 29th the Patriots got the wonderful news that Tom Brady's knee injury was not healing, had been infected, and he could miss all of next season as well! At least they'll only have to give Matt Cassel a huge new contract or franchise tag him (which takes up more money) if they want to keep the soon-to-be free agent around as an insurance policy for next season.

Meanwhile during all of this on the 25th, 26th and 30th the Celtics lost to the Lakers, Warriors, and Blazers, respectively. For a team that had lost twice since November 1st, losing three times in five days probably was not the easiest thing to handle.  There goes all that talk about 72 wins. KG, Paul Pierce, plus Ray Allen and friends are probably not too happy.

At least some of us are still laughing!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happenings in Basketball


There was some great basketball played yesterday. Unfortunately I was only able to watch a few games. I was able to catch most of the Syracuse-Memphis game, a decent amount of the second half of the Michigan State-Texas game, and the final few minutes and overtime of the Connecticut-Gonzaga game, and the first five minutes of the Davidson-Perdue game (that's all I wanted to watch).

Plus there was Duke-Xavier, Minnesota upsetting Louisville, and 3 games with unranked teams loosing to ranked teams by 3 or less.

And there were what looked like to be a bunch of great games in the NBA. The Lakers lost to the Magic...whoops.

So after looking through all the box scores (a favorite past time of mine) there were some things that stuck out to me.

I guess I'll start with Davidson. I love this team, Steph Curry is awesome. However he did not have a good night. 5 of 26 for only 13 points. Purdue got out to a huge lead with a real physical defense and that was pretty much the end of that. Plus Curry was matched up against Big-10 defensive player of the year Chris Kramer. I saw a stat on Sports Center that said Davidson has lost 52 or 56 consecutive regular season games vs. ranked opponents. I found that hard to believe and cannot find it online, but I don't think ESPN would lie to us.

Michigan State pulled off a big win against Texas. Funny thing about that game was that the Michigan State bench outscored their starters. I can't imagine there have been many times a team ranked 5th in the nation (or better) has fallen when that has been the case.

Jodie Meeks of Kentucky scored 46 points on only 14 made field goals. Talk about efficiency.

And I'm sure there were some other pretty cool things that I've missed.

No player on the Bulls last night had more than 3 assists and they still managed to get a win against the Jazz.

Eight players for Milwaukee scored in double figures. Talk about balance.

Kobe scored a season high 41 points last night. And the Lakeshow still lost their second game in a row.

Chris Paul had 34 points and almost had a triple double with 9 assists and 8 steals against the Kings. The Hornets as a team only had 6 turnovers, meaning Chris Paul forced more turnovers by himself then the Kings did as a team.

Jamal Crawford scored 50 points against the Bobcats, and made 17 of 18 free throws. The Charlotte Observer reported the Warriors and Bobcats were talking trades involving Raymond Felton. He played 45 minutes shot 6 of 19 (32%), had 8 assists, 2 rebounds and 4 turnovers. Not the best audition in the world. But maybe he doesn't want to go play for Don Nelson's squad and played poorly to try and scare the Warriors away. But maybe not.

Dwayne Wade had his 4th 40+ point game of the season.

Andre Miller had a triple double in a losing effort against the Pacers.

Finally I have to mention running back Gartrell Johnson of Colorado State. 27 rushes for 285 yards and 2 touchdowns and 5 receptions for 90 yards. It was the most combined rushing and receiving yards ever in a bowl game and the second most rushing yards in a bowl game as he led the Rams to a win against Fresno State.

And that's all I've got for today.

Where is Evansville?


Tonight I went to see the Evansville Aces vs. UNC Tar Heels in men's basketball at the Dean Dome. I've grown up about 10 minutes from the arena, so I'd gotten the chance to see a lot of basketball games there. I've never been to a Duke-UNC game though, that's on my list of things to do eventually, but I have been lucky enough to see a good amount of games there.

I went with a few of my friends, and on the ride to the game we got to talking about where exactly is Evansville? I said Indiana, my three friends said Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. It turns out that it is in Indiana. One point for me.

We got to the game roughly three hours before tip off. We were going to sit in the student section and we had to get there early to get prime seats. I've got a student ID there because I took a summer school class, but it has since expired. I gave it to the guy so he could scan my the ID so I could get a ticket, and it definitely did not work. He looked, saw that it had it expired, smiled, and handed me a ticket.

Thanks bud.

We got to our seats (around two hours before tip off) which were about 10 rows up from the court. Definitely worth the wait. I started looking around and sometimes the history of that place gets lost on me.

Looking in the rafters is a spectacle. Countless ACC championships, 5 NCAA championships, even more NCAA tournament appereances. 15 Final Fours. It's pretty amazing the history there. Seeing UCLA's gym must be pretty awesome too. What always gets me are the names in the rafters. Jordan. Worthy. Ford. Jamison. Rosenbluth. McAdoo. Daugherety. Davis. Stackhouse. Wallace. Carter. And more recent guys like; Forte. McCants. May. Felton.

One more name will be joining all those soon. Tyler Hansbrough - 50. Put him next to 33 (Jamison), who is next to 52 (Worthy), who is next to 23 (The Greatest) as some of the only players to have their number actually retired. All you have to do for that to happen is win National Player of the Year.

That's some elite company.

The reason I bring all this up is because tonight was the night I watched Tyler Hansbrough break Phil Ford's record for the most points in a career at UNC. 2290. Out of all of those great players, his name now sits at the top of the list. That's incredible.

You can argue that his isn't nearly the talent of the 20 guys below him on the list, that he flops, his game is ugly, he wont be a good pro and countless other things. But what you can't argue is his production. Tyler will go down as the most prolific scorer in UNC history, and depending on his numbers for the rest of the season he may also be the most prolific scorer in ACC history.

Think about that. The most points. Ever. More than all the greats that came before him.

Being the best scorer at one of the most storied basketball institutions in the nation is extraordinary, no matter what you think of Tyler. Simply put, he is one hell of a player.

And when you look at his numbers, the stats don't lie.