Can We Hit the Mute Button on LaVar Ball Already?

Written by :
Published on : March 24, 2017

 

 

In the 2004 movie Napolean Dynamite, the main character’s uncle, Uncle Rico, has some classic lines that depict a type of person that chances are we all know, or have had conversations with at some point or another. In the movie, Uncle Rico, in an effort to showcase his arm strength, claims to have the ability to throw a football over a set of mountains, and then later on while trying to convince others of his prior success on the gridiron, adamantly believes if only his coach would have put him in for the fourth quarter, they’d have been state champs, no doubt in his mind.

 

We all know “that guy” or have known “that guy” at some point in our lives. Whether it’s the varsity jacket wearing guy some five-plus years after graduation, or the trash-talking guy who you had to go back and check your yearbooks to make sure he was actually in fact on the team. All too often these people are simply attention seekers, living for that next “like” on their Facebook status or Instagram post, probably while trash talking on Twitter at professional athletes when they don’t make the game-winning shot or the needed clutch hit.

 

On television, we have unfortunately seen a rise in this type of behavior, by hosts who seem to believe that by saying the most outlandish things they will generate conversation, web-hits, ratings, and therefore attention. A few years back, one of the biggest clowns of sports talk, Skip Bayless, was basically owned on ESPN’s First Take by Detroit’s own, Jalen Rose, when Skip had compared his own playing style in high school to that of “Pistol Pete” Maravich. Rose came on the show and embarrassed Skip by pointing out that while playing junior varsity as a junior, Skip averaged just 1.4 points per game during his high school career, and then threw shade Skip’s way by giving him a more fitting nickname, “Water Pistol Pete.”

 

 

Now, I couldn’t care less about Skip’s high school statistics, or whether he even played high school basketball to begin with. Hell I didn’t, but this won’t be about which NBA superstar my driveway basketball skills most closely mirrored either. Instead, what I do care about is the fact that Skip Bayless for example, and the conversations or run-ins with “that guy” that we all know in our lives, continuously spit out these horrendous takes on sports, willing to take such asinine (to quote Stephen A. Smith) claims to their graves if need be for the sake of trying to catch our eyes and ears.

 

Fast-forwarding some fifteen years, former varsity jacket wearing guy is now in his mid-to-late thirties. Married, three children, and perhaps a few waist sizes larger, the varsity jacket now hangs deep in the closet or packed away in the basement somewhere, replaced instead by a newer, fresher crowning achievement, his teenage kids. Yeah, we’ve all seen this guy too. This guy thinks his kids are the best on the team, they’re going to be the superstars, and the only thing that could possibly keep them from getting there is either bad coaching, weak teammates, a referee with an agenda, or a horrible combination of all three.

 

 

This is the parent that yells the loudest from the sidelines, typically standing very close to the field or court, often even right next to the head coach, while giving him his two cents. He’s the guy that coaches his kids from the sidelines, even if that direction is opposite of the instructions given out by the actual head coach. This guy is out there, and for those of you who have never met this guy, let me introduce you to LaVar Ball.

 

LaVar Ball is the father of three very talented teenage basketball players from California who are becoming very popular in the sports world. However, they usually have to play second fiddle to the headliner in the family, their father. Eldest son, Lonzo is a dynamic freshman at UCLA, leading his team into the Sweet 16 of this year’s NCAA Tournament, and is projected to potentially be the overall #1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft. LaVar’s two younger sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, are currently high school teammates, and both are following their older brother’s footsteps by verbally committing to play for UCLA.

 

 

Since LaVar’s kids have burst onto the scene, LaVar has been the one hogging the spotlight by making all of the headlines, and rarely for anything good. Trying to create a brand centered around his kids with the hopes of landing the richest endorsement deals in the history of sports is his goal, however while driving the car that manages and acts as the PR rep for his kids, so far it seems about as wise as handing the keys to your drunkest friend on a Saturday night bar crawl.

 

LaVar has already said that all three of his sons will be one-and-done players at UCLA immediately declaring themselves for the NBA Draft after just one season in Westwood. While Lonzo is a lock to make such dreams come true, his two younger brothers are anything but a sure thing. With just a 4-star and 3-star recruiting ranking, the two brothers should probably pump the brakes on the assumption that they’ll blossom into the next big thing, even just at the college level. But of course, let me backtrack a bit, LaVar should pump the brakes because after all, again, he is the one driving this car.

 

Ever since the NBA created the “one-and-done” rule which requires high school basketball players to enroll at a college or play overseas for a year before entering the NBA draft. We have seen dozens of players like Lonzo try their hand at the pro game after their freshman season. With Lonzo receiving comparisons to Jason Kidd’s size and style of play, few doubt he will find success in the league, however just how good will he be is the multi-million dollar question. Fortunately, LaVar already knows not only how good he will be, but also how good he is right now.

 

 

A month or so ago, LaVar let the NBA world know that his son, Lonzo, would only play for the hometown Los Angeles Lakers, which he later, backtracked on and re-worded—kind of. Raising on that, LaVar went even further this week to say that if drafted by the woeful Lakers, his impact would rival the impact that Laker legend Magic Johnson had on the franchise. Yes, that Magic Johnson. Three-time MVP winner, Hall of Famer, NBA champion, the orchestrator of the Showtime Lakers.

 

Magic wasn’t the only former NBA MVP LaVar compared his son to, or even ranked below his son. LaVar also said this year that currently, Lonzo is a better player than Golden State Warriors’ guard, Stephen Curry. Doing one better, saying that if Lonzo and Steph swapped places, there is no way that Steph would have been able to get UCLA to where they are right now, and that Golden State would be better off with Lonzo as well.  This topic always makes me shake my head when people want to ask the annual question, “Is (insert dominant college team) better than (insert worst team in the NBA, NFL, NHL, etc)?” The answer of course is always no, and it’s always going to be no. And in this circumstance asking as if the NBA’s MVP of the past two seasons wouldn’t do better than Lonzo is at UCLA right now? Just stop.

 

Naturally, LaVar’s ridiculous takes don’t stop there, nor do they stop with just his oldest son Lonzo. LaVar, a former college hooper himself, can’t go without letting us know just how good he was back in his day as well. You see, just because that old varsity jacket doesn’t fit anymore, doesn’t mean the memories aren’t there (no matter how foggy and embellished they have now become). LaVar Ball played one season with Washington State in college averaging 2 points and 2 rebounds per game. Now let’s be clear about one thing, in order to even make a Division 1 college team let alone even get some minutes here and there, suggests you have to be a good player, far better than the average college student. That being said, when LaVar Ball looks back to that time of his life and tries to tell us he could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one, I can’t help but wonder if this man is sending out a cry for help. By the way, while Ball was putting up 2 and 2 each night up in Washington, Michael Jordan was averaging 35 points a night for the Chicago Bulls.

 

 

I am not sure if Jordan has responded to such incredulous claims. My thought is maybe he is doing what we all should be doing when LaVar speaks, and that is to simply not even acknowledge the unbelievable things that have been coming out of his mouth. However, one NBA star couldn’t ignore LaVar’s “hot takes.” As the face of the NBA, LeBron James recently heard his children’s names being talked about by Ball in regards to his claim that LeBron’s kids will have the added pressure of having to live up to the high standards set by their father. LeBron responded by telling Ball to “Keep my kids’ names out of your mouth. Keep my family out of your mouth. This is dad to dad. It’s a problem now.”

 

LaVar Ball of course deflected the criticism, refusing to apologize and claiming his statements were not malicious and that LeBron was being too “touchy” on the subject. While he may be right, LaVar has been speeding steadily down a very slippery slope for a long time now and while it won’t affect himself, it could be already tarnishing the brand he is just starting to try and create for his kids.

 

With his three sons all showing the potential to have long-lasting basketball careers, LaVar is doing everything humanly possible to make sure that you know the name “Ball.” Unfortunately though, it seems to me his number one priority is that you also remember to put “LaVar” in front of it.

 

 


Potential Upsets for Round 1 of the NCAA Tournament

Written by :
Published on : March 16, 2017

 

While the weather across much of the Midwest and Northeastern parts of the country would suggest otherwise, spring is just around the corner here in the United States and that can only mean one thing—March Madness has arrived.

 

A couple of storylines take center stage in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Defending champion Villanova looks to become just the 3rd back-to-back champ in the past 25 years, Northwestern makes its NCAA Tournament debut after making the tourney for the first time in their history, and possibly the feel good story of the tournament, Michigan battles on after quite the scare when their team plane heading to Washington D.C. for the Big Ten Tournament slid off the runway. Michigan went on to win the conference tournament and isn’t a team anybody wants to see right now.

 

But of course, as always with the NCAA Tournament, new storylines seem to be born every round, and upsets can come from anywhere, just ask Michigan State. So as you take a final look at your bracket, desperate to find that Cinderella that’s going to keep your bracket from being busted during the opening weekend, take a look at these potential underdogs that can make you look like a true Bracketologist.

 

For starters, with all the magic that is March Madness, it’s hard to define what is and what isn’t an upset, who is or who isn’t a Cinderella. For the sake of this article, nothing under an 11-seed will qualify as an upset so if you want to boast around the office about how you predicted a 9 or a 10-seed winning on opening weekend, save it.

 

Here are my 5 most likely big upsets for Round 1 (Thursday and Fridays games).

 

5. (#13) East Tennessee State over (#4) Florida

 

The Gators are the last team to win back-to-back NCAA Championships when they did it in the early 2000’s, and are set to face the defending champs Villanova in the Sweet 16, should both teams make it that far. However, both teams would be wise to not look ahead to that potential matchup as they both have a tough road to the Sweet 16. For Florida, they better not look beyond even their first game as East Tennessee State is looking to steal one. The Gators are without their big man in the middle (John Egbunu) which takes away a dynamic shot blocker. On the other side, East Tennessee State has the ability to shut down the paint defensively and they have a big-time scorer in T.J. Cromer.

 

Upset confidence points: 3/10

 

4. (#12) Florida Gulf Coast over (#5) Florida State

 

Who doesn’t remember when Florida Gulf Coast shocked the world by defeating 2-seed Georgetown in 2013, introducing us all to “Dunk City?” After making the tournament last year as well, Florida Gulf Coast is becoming even more of a household name this time of year and are set for a very interesting all-Florida matchup against Florida State in Orlando. Oh how the selection committee has a way of putting these regions together. Florida State was a team I loved going into the season, as I expected them to be major players in the ACC. After tying for 2nd place in the conference, the Seminoles lost a close game to eventual conference tournament champion, Duke in the ACC Tournament. The dynamic duo of Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Dwayne Bacon can light up the gym but the Seminoles all too often get their lights knocked out when the spotlight is on.

 

Upset confidence points: 4/10

 

3. (#12) UNC Wilmington over (#5) Virginia

 

A year ago, UNC Wilmington almost pulled off a major upset when they gave Duke all it could handle before the Blue Devils eventually pulled out an opening round win. One year later, UNC Wilmington is looking for redemption against another ACC foe. Coach Tony Bennett has built a fantastic program at Virginia in recent years centered around defense. The Cavaliers are not flashy and may even have a tendency to put you to sleep, but for the past few years it has gotten results. UNC Wilmington is the exact opposite as they get up and down the floor quickly. This is your classic “something has to give” matchup as two very opposite styles try to get their opponent to play to their pace. UNC Wilmington protects the ball well, and attacks the offensive glass. Second chance points for the Seahawks and Virginia’s inability to match offensively I think is the difference.

 

Upset confidence points 5/10

 

2. (#11) Rhode Island over (#6) Creighton

 

A couple of smaller schools match up here in the Midwest Region on Friday afternoon with the Rhode Island Rams and the Creighton Blue Jays. For both teams, they entered the season with very lofty expectations and both had disappointing finishes. For Rhode Island, a preseason ranking was followed by a shaky of 10-6, but they wound up winning 14 of their final 17 games. On the contrary, the Blue Jays got off to an incredible 18-1 start but limped to the finish line going 7-8 down the stretch. The downfall seemed to begin when point guard Maurice Watson (who at the time led the NCAA with 8.8 assists per game) went down with a torn ACL. Sometimes in March, it’s all about who enters the Big Dance with more momentum and the Blue Jays seem to have the momentum of a flightless bird.

 

Upset confidence points: 6/10

 

1. (#12) Middle Tennessee State over (#5) Minnesota

 

With possibly the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history under their belts after defeating 2-seed Michigan State last year, the Blue Raiders are out to show the world they aren’t a fluke. While they flew under the radar a bit last year, Middle Tennessee State probably has a better team this year and won’t be satisfied with just a first round victory this time around. Giddy Potts and Reggie Upshaw were enough to knock off the Spartans last year but the addition of JaCorey Williams gives them the realistic possibility of making a Sweet 16 run. Minnesota has enjoyed quite a turnaround this year as the Golden Gophers went from an 8-23 season last year, and having only 2 conference wins to finishing 4th in the Big Ten this year with a 23-8 record overall. Richard Pitino has a very talented young team led by point guard Nate Mason who has big game ability. Minnesota however does not have a ton of depth and the Red Raiders will look to expose that by getting the Golden Gophers into foul trouble. Expect to see Middle Tennessee State wreck another Big Ten team’s season, and avoid seeing them wreck your bracket again. Go with Middle Tennessee State.

 

Upset confidence points 7/10

 

So there you have it. Five big games to watch that have the potential to either make or break your bracket. Tread carefully, but if you’re looking for a little more spice or sizzle for your bracket, needing to find some upsets to shake things up, then look no further. A 12-seed over a 5-seed is almost a gimme as is the popular 11-seed over a 6-seed. This year I see a great chance to have as many as three 5-seeds fall. When the dust settles I think the cream will rise to the top and the Final Four won’t be anything too surprising but the opening weekend could be one to remember. Good luck and enjoy the dance.

 

 

 


Nobody wants to play Michigan right now

Written by :
Published on : March 14, 2017

 

 

Michigan basketball is coming into the 2017 NCAA March Madness tournament absolutely on fire. With the exception of the OT win against Purdue, the Wolverines blew away the competition in the Big 10 Tournament. After a rough patch in early January, the team has become sneaky dangerous to anyone they might run into on a basketball court. They began to turn the corner in January after a team meeting brought on by an embarrassing 85-69 loss at Illinois. But it’s something that happened between the end of the regular season and the start of the conference tournament in Washington, D.C. that really shaped this team.

 

The plane in question.
                                                              The plane in question.

 

On Wednesday March 8, as the team was taking off from Willow Run Airport in Michigan, the airplane was forced to abort takeoff due to high winds. The plane skidded for the length of four football fields and stopped just short of a ravine. No one was seriously injured but the team was shaken up to the point that they almost decided to forfeit their matchup against Illinois in round one of the conference tournament. They had come scarily close to death and no one would blame them for sitting out the tourney. It’s just a game after all, and they might have chosen to be with their families after a near death experience. Or maybe they would be just too horrified at the idea of getting on another plane so soon.

 

The team had a meeting and everyone was allowed to speak. Some people were apprehensive about boarding a plane after the incident but they put it to a group vote and let the majority decide. Instead of hiding from the reality of what had happened, they made the choice to face it head on. And in turn, they lit a fire within themselves. They let their flirtation with death galvanize them as a team. Now they are one of the hottest squads going into March Madness and no one should want to face them.

 

 With their game jerseys stuck on the plane, Michigan was forced to wear their practice uniforms in round one of the Big Ten Tournament.

 

The Wolverines owned the Big 10 tournament. They played great basketball and everyone was getting in on the action. A month ago they were being talked about as a bubble team and now people are talking like they should have been ranked even higher than their 7-seed for the tourney. Should they win their first round game against Oklahoma State (which I think they will) they could be looking at a rematch of the 2013 NCAA title game against Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals. Michigan’s perimeter scoring vs Louisville’s staunch defense could make for another Pitino/Beilein classic. And if Michigan can somehow pull that win out then the sky is the limit for them.

 

This team is peaking at the right time. They have a new found appreciation for life and they are going to use that to make the most of this tourney run. If they should come out in round one playing with the type of fire that they showed in the Big 10 tournament then watch out because they might just be the team of destiny in this year’s March Madness.

 

 


Student Athletes of the World Unite

Written by :
Published on : September 6, 2016

 

 

Should student athletes be allowed to unionize? That’s a complicated question that has yet to be definitively answered. This is a battle that is far from over. So I’m here to give you my thoughts on the issue.

 

I’ve alway had a firm belief that if there is a group of people profiting off of the labor and dedication of others, then the people doing the work have a right to band together in order to present a united front to management. For the workers, it’s really the only chance they have to be on a level playing field with the people profiting off of their endeavors. The owners of capital hold all of the cards in this game and as an individual, the laborer, has little chance of being able to stand up to the bosses.

 

northwestern-football-strike-picket-signs-union

 

So the real question regarding this whole situation is: are student athletes in fact employees? When the football players at Northwestern University attempted to unionize last year, the National Labor Relations Board declined to rule on the question of employment. Instead, they refused to extend their jurisdiction to college athletics altogether, stating “potential negative consequences” that could be associated with such a move. They didn’t necessarily overturn the lower regional ruling that the revenue-generating student athletes at Northwestern were, in fact, employees of the university, but they refused to even hear the question.

 

That just doesn’t make sense. The college sports industry is valued at something like $11 billion, yet the student athletes that help make all of that possible get none of the profits, have little recourse for airing grievances, and are denied certain rights that are available to other students. That’s a travesty, especially when you consider that the lack of profit sharing leaves an estimated 85% of student athletes below the poverty line. Sure, they receive room and board, in addition to tuition, but almost all agree that it isn’t enough to live on. They sacrifice their education in the name of sports. Athletes routinely miss classes in order to fulfill their commitments to the team.

 

01football_span-articleLarge-v2
                                                                      How is this ok? (SOURCE: NYT)

 

All of that is secondary to what I consider the most important reason that student athletes should be able to unionize, and that’s long term health benefits. This probably applies more to football than to basketball. I don’t want to trivialize the physical sacrifices that college basketball players make, but the high impact nature of college football means that there are long-term, internal effects of that game that aren’t as obvious as the joint and bone injuries common in hoops. With everything that we now know about repeated concussions sustained in football, I believe that there should be some responsibility by the universities that are making millions off of these kids. There could be mental effects that these athletes won’t feel for years to come, and if they aren’t lucky enough to make it to the NFL, then they may be left to deal with them on their own. That’s just not fair.

 

In the interest of full disclosure, I was raised in a UAW family and have always been a strong believer in the benefits of unions in general. I recognize that the power they hold has been abused at times, but you can certainly say the same thing for management in almost every industry. These kids are making huge sacrifices in the name of their schools. I understand that making unionization possible for big money sports like football and basketball could put smaller, less profitable college sports in jeopardy, but I also think there is a way to work around that. There is no shortage of money in college athletics. Now the only problem is getting those that hold that money to share a little bit of it with the people who generate it. That’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s not impossible either. First, we need the student athletes of the world to unite and demand their rights as employees of their respective universities.

 

 


Obama and Basketball

Written by :
Published on : May 12, 2016

 

 

Next year, we will have a new Commander in Chief. Who knows who that will be? Fingers crossed it’s someone not crazy. But as we get ready to say goodbye to President Barack Obama, let’s take a second to recognize him not for his politics but for his love of the game of basketball. Everyone knows Barry-O likes to ball. His passion for sports is truly endearing and makes him seem totally down to earth. This is Obama the Baller.

 

One of my favorite modern traditions in sports is that Obama fills out an NCAA Bracket live on ESPN each year for both the Men’s and Women’s tourney. He talks out his answers for each round. It’s incredible. He is funny and charming (duh) but more importantly, he knows the teams well. I’m always impressed at how much info he has on each squad. He is quick to admit that he wishes he could watch more and that he makes choices based on coaches and programs he likes, but still. This dude is epic busy but somehow stays more current on college basketball than most people I know. Maybe his people give him updated reports on the Big Ten and the ACC daily? Either way, he is informed and any fan can appreciate that.

 

obama ball 2

 

Barack regularly plays basketball. This is the best way to show what you are into. Go out there and start sweating. Obama has some game. He passes well and has good court vision. His jumper is effective and he always gets back on defense. More of a pass-first player. Some words of advice if you are playing against Obama. First, make him go right. He is a lefty. Also, don’t foul him. If you go in for a hard block then expect Secret Service to take you out. And you get Secret Service protection for life so don’t ever foul him.

 

Many different Presidents have left their athletic thumbprint on history. 1869, Grant invites members of the Cincinnati Red Stocking to the White House. Gerald Ford played football at Michigan and helped them go undefeated and win national titles in 1932 and 1933. In 1942, FDR famously responded to the commissioner of baseball, saying to keep the league going despite the war. 1947, the White House added a bowling alley but Truman wasn’t much of a bowler. In 1969, Nixon and the first Lady built a new bowling alley. They were big fans. And now we have Obama and basketball.

 

nixon bowling

 

Hey Nixon! Your foot is over the line. That’s a fault. Mark it zero dude. Sorry. Our next President has some big Jordans to fill. I don’t think they will be a hoops fan but I hope there is some sport they are passionate about. It’s a good way to get to know someone better. When I see a celeb a courtside it makes me think they are just like me but with money for better seats. We are all just fans. It’s a humbling concept. Even the the leader of the free world gets excited meeting Steph Curry. I sleep better at night knowing that.

 

 

We’re going to miss you Barack Obama. One of the best point guards this country has ever had. With your new free time, I hope you get to watch all the basketball your heart desires. And if, for some crazy reason, you are reading this then I challenge you to a game of H-O-R-S-E anywhere in the world. Also, I will need a ride. So maybe next time you are in Los Angeles. Okay, love you, bye.

 

Ballin.

 

 


Recap: Villanova wins the National Championship

Written by :
Published on : April 5, 2016

 

It’s all over. The confetti has fallen and the nets have been cut down. The Villanova Wildcats are your 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champs. They defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels 77-74 in regulation. It was an epic game that came down to the last few possessions. Let’s rewind the tape and see exactly how it all happened.

 

Villanova’s D came to play

This swarming unit was all over UNC from the opening tip. They forced turnovers and contested every shot. They really made life hell for the Tar Heel offense which is accustom to working the ball into the paint where they usually dominate. Not in this game. The passing lanes were clogged and North Carolina struggled to get consistent looks down the stretch. Coach Jay Wright should be proud of his team’s stellar defense.

 

 

The guards led the way

Senior Ryan Arcidiacono was a leader all tourney and he showed up big on Monday with 16 points. More importantly, he provided a calming presence in those wild last seconds as UNC stormed back. He also smartly passed the ball to Kris Jenkins who nailed the game-winning three. Arcidiacono could have taken the shot himself but Jenkins was open. This buzzer beater will go down in history as one of the all time best.

 

Marcus Paige is a beast

The only reason Nova was tied with UNC was because guard Marcus Paige was draining threes. His last shot was insane. He jumped, made a ball fake and then forced it up. It tied the game at 74 with only 4.7 seconds left. He led all scorers with 21 points, plus had another 5 rebounds and 6 assists. This game could have easily been out of hand but Paige’s heroics keep things super dramatic. Keep your eye on this dude.

 

 

Booth off the bench

Phil Booth finished with 20 of Villanova’s 77 points, all while coming off the bench. He was the leading scorer for the Wildcats when no starter had more than 16 points. He continually hit clutch shots, made all 6 of his free throws and both of his three point attempts. It seemed like every time Carolina hit a big bucket, Phil Booth answered the call. There is no victory without Booth. He may just have secured a spot on someone’s starting five.

 

Nova refused to lose

Down 34-39 at the half, it seemed like the popular narrative was playing out. The #1 seed Tar Heels had a lead and were playing their game. Coach Roy Williams was 20 minutes from his third championship. But Nova would not go away. Their defense locked in and suddenly things started to turn. UNC couldn’t get a pass inside and the Wildcats were swarming. Mikal Bridges was especially great in those end moments.

 

 

This is Villanova’s first title since 1985 and these guys truly earned it. They played a killer tournament and ended on the highest possible note. This team was a Marcus Paige away from winning by 10 and I’m sure they never wanted it to be that close but I’m positive that Kris Jenkins and other Villanova Wildcats wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

Sorry Jordan.

 

 


Get to know the Final Four

Written by :
Published on : March 31, 2016

 

 

 

What a quality tournament so far. We’ve seen big upsets, buzzer beaters, double overtime and everything in between. Now only four teams remain. My bracket is pretty busted. I only have 1 Final Four team correct but I have them winning it all so I may still finish in a reasonable place. But this isn’t about me, let’s get to know the squads who have braved the tourney so far. These are your Final Four of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

 

Syracuse

orange final four

 

They are a 10 seed in the Final Four. That has never happened before. Just for that reason they should win. So hats off to the ultimate cinderella team. I’m pulling for the Orange. It’s so rare what they are attempting. Make that history. People always say that the tournament is about momentum, if that is true then head coach Jim Boeheim should be getting ready to party. Boeheim has had a great career (won the title in 2003) and this would be just gravy for one of college’s best coaches.

 

North Carolina

 

My bracket pick to win it all. The only 1 seed left alive. Coach Roy Williams has the Tar Heels firing on all cylinders. No one wants to play this crew. Historically, 1 seeds have done super well in the tourney. No other seed has more championships. As the only 1 seed, UNC, must be considered the overall favorite moving forward. The math is in their favor. And if I know anything about basketball it’s that math is a big part of it. North Carolina has five national titles. That’s a lot of trophies. Duke also has five. With only Kentucky (8) and UCLA (11) sporting more.

 

Villanova

Villanova

 

This 2 seed shocked Kansas, who many picked it win it all. Maybe Highlander rules apply and now Nova has all the Jayhawks’ power. If that’s true then Villa may go Super-Nova on anyone left in their path to a title. Villanova has only ever won the tournament once and that was back in 1985. The first year the bracket was expanded to 64 teams. The Wildcats are still playing in March Madness because their defense has been stout. They force turnovers and those possessions lead to easy baskets.

 

Oklahoma

Oklahoma-Sooners

 

Another 2 seed. Is it too soon to call this the Sooners year? They are playing at such a high level and have been so fun to watch. They handled a solid Oregon team and looked in complete control. Oklahoma has never won a national championship. They were runners up in 1947 (lost to Holy Cross) and 1988 (lost to Kansas) so it would be great to see this lineup bring some hardware back to Norman, OK.

 

So I like all the teams. Sue me. Oh god, please don’t do that. I’m so broke and so is my bracket. Have mercy. Jokes aside, all four of these programs look strong and poised for a big win. It’s truly hard to discount any of these schools. I can see them all cutting down the nets come April 4th. Sit back and enjoy what will be some great college hoops.

 

 

Madness.

 

 


How to Deal with a Busted Bracket

Written by :
Published on : March 21, 2016

 

 

 

Michigan State lost and now everyone’s bracket sucks. I know, I hear you. I had Sparty in my Final Four. We aren’t even that far into the tourney and most folks seem so down about their chances. Well, I’m here to say: keep your chin up. Nobody saw State losing, so we are all affected. Many had them winning it all. That’s a little more rough. Here is some advice for those of you suffering heartache over your busted bracket.

 

It’s not over

Who knows what’s going to happen. There could still be some craziness and your terrible bracket may swing back into shape. So don’t tear it up just yet. Wait it out ’till it is actually done before you start crying and moaning. And generally speaking, don’t be so quick to get to the self-pity phase. That’s not a place you need to spend any extra time in. Trust me.

 

Downplay it

 

If you are mathematically dead-in-the-water then stop looking at your ranking in the office pool. Just enjoy the remaining games and don’t give in to the victim narrative of the sore loser. If someone asks “hows your bracket?” then downplay your initial excitement. Hit them with a “not my year” and move on. Speak anymore about your sad bracket and you must pay your friend at least $40/hour as a therapist. If you are going to weep, please do so in absolute solitude. Thanks, from everyone with eyes and ears.

 

Study

Use the loss to learn and grow. So next time your co-worker mentions the latest bracket busting upset you can fire back with an impressive stat. This shows off your knowledge even if you didn’t nail every pick and your status as college hoops guru can still be intact. This step is key. A chimp can pick a perfect bracket but the students of the game will always have an advantage. P.S. the chimp has Kansas beating UNC in the championship. Stupid, lucky genius.

 

Yale-hoops

 

Pick a new pony

You can’t start over but you can jump bandwagons. Maybe you were riding Michigan State but they are out. So pick a new horse. Now you love Duke or Indiana or Oregon and they were always your second choice. The one you should have never second guessed. But you can tell everyone, I always knew Blank was going to have a great tournament. Don’t you sound smart.

 

 

There is a lot of great college basketball yet to be played and don’t let your shitty picking skills ruin it. So just chill and dig the super fun drama that is March Madness. Remember, no tears unless they are of joy.

 

 

Hands up, you’re busted!

 

 


SBS Guide to Bracketology

Written by :
Published on : March 16, 2016

 

A few days ago was Selection Sunday. That means the teams and seeding are chosen for one of the most competitive tournaments in sports. The NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament AKA March Madness is once again ready to roll. Millions will fill out brackets trying to guess all the upsets and blowouts. This is the art of Bracketology. It can get pretty tricky picking all the winners, so ScoreBoredSports put together a little manual to help everyone who needs some last second advice. This is the SBS Guide to Bracketology.

 

Find the upsets

All four #1 seeds almost never make it to the Final Four. That means there is going to be an upset somewhere. Figure this out and you are already ahead of the curve. Each year we have have a Cinderella story, the issue is trying to identify it. Worst case scenario is you discover the new hot team only to find ESPN has done a feature on your favorite underdog. Bummer. Either way, find that underrated squad and push them into your Elite Eight. This small move may win you the whole damn thing if it comes down to you and another player who has the same projected champion.

 

 

Ride the favorites

If you know nothing about college hoops then pick an all time favorite like Duke, UNC, or Kentucky. And hope you get lucky. Fingers crossed. In most cases, the top seeded team will win. This can’t happen every time or else March would be seriously boring. But generally speaking, select the squad with the best record. This will keep you competitive with the gamblers and serious analysts. Within this advice is the concept that you must follow trends. The tourney is all about energy and momentum. Find that hot team then double down and bet the farm. Also, most fantasy groups allow more than one bracket per person, so by all means, follow your gut. Or a hunch or the prediction of a mall-psychic. And cover all your bases.

 

Be bold

Don’t be scared of making a risky move. These are the things that will win you the top prize. There will always be a crazy twist that no one seeing coming. Roll the dice and just maybe you can get ahead of the curve. Correctly pick the 9th seed to reach the Final Four and you will be sitting pretty in any office pool. But know this, play it safe and you will for sure lose. Someone will have the the same shitty bracket as you but they will have picked something bold which gives them a chance to pull ahead. While you wallow in the middle with the other “Participation Trophy” holders.

 

There isn’t much time. Fill out those brackets (hopefully more than one) but be sure to pick a few underdogs, follow the hot hand but favor this year’s best. I feel like too often folks pick winners based on history. That’s a mislead. Last year’s team isn’t here. I’ll go with the crew that’s only lost three games all season.

 

 

When in doubt, just copy Obama’s answers.

 

 


Coaches who really hate The Media

Written by :
Published on : December 22, 2015

 

If you think about it, being a head coach and having to deal with the media seems like a real pain in the ass. I’m sure there are some guys who relish the opportunity to be on national tv and have the cameras in their face. But for the vast majority of coaches, the ones whose main focus is improving their teams and winning titles, it seems like a real inconvenience. Aside from that, they probably believe that it distracts from the game and from the team, especially when they have star players who embarrass themselves and the organization by saying something stupid in front of the cameras.

 

We thought we would take a look at some coaches refuse to hide their disdain for the media. It also happens that their contempt for the cameras makes for some pretty hilarious interviews and press conferences. So sit back and take a look at some of the more hilarious coach/media interactions caught on film.

 

 

 

Gregg Popovich

This man has never made it a secret that he can’t stand dealing with reporters. From his court side interviews to post game press conferences, he continually let’s reporters know when they ask stupid questions and just trolls them in general. If I was a reporter and had to deal with him, I would piss myself. Here is is getting ready for the 2015 season, but fucking with a reporter at Spurs media day.

 

Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick might just be the best football coach of the modern era. Since he teamed up with Tom Brady, forming the most dangerous Sith duo in league history, they have dominated the NFL. While he is recognized for his coaching prowess, he is also known as a man of very few words. Especially when it comes to dealing with the media. Here is a compilation of some of his greatest moments on the camera.

 

 

John Tortorella

This dude is an absolute nut. He is currently the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, but has been around the NHL once or twice. And once as the coach of the Canucks he tried to enter the Calgary Flames locker room to confront their coach… You’ve got to love hockey. One shining moment in this compilation occurs early on at the 0:16 mark when he really gets into it with a reporter. Solid gold.

 

Bob Knight


I think it’s generally accepted that Bob Knight is a little bit crazy. It’s also well known that he does not like the media, at one point referring to the profession as “one or two steps above prostitution.” Take a look at these SportsCenter soundbites from coach Knight and prepare to laugh your ass off.

 

 


NCAA Men’s Basketball 2015 Conference Predictions

Written by :
Published on : November 17, 2015

 

With the 2015-16 college hoops season about to begin, I found that it would be suitable to unveil my predictions for conference champs and players of the year. Some of my thoughts are safe and some are bold. Feel free to judge away, I’m only human. Without further ado, here’s the top 11 conferences and how they’ll finish.

 

 

AAC

The Huskies will be up to their usual tricks.

 

Champs: UCONN
POY: Sterling Gibbs, UCONN, G, Sr
Runners up: Tulsa; James Woodard, Tulsa, G, Sr

 

ACC

Coach K always has his team ready to compete for a conference championship.

 

Champs: Duke
POY: Marcus Paige, UNC, G, Sr
Runners up: UNC; Malcolm Brogden, Virginia, G, Sr

 

A10

Davidson will surprise some people this year, and they’ll be led by Jack Gibbs.

 

Champs: Davidson
POY: Jack Gibbs, Davidson, G, Jr
Runners up: Dayton; E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island, G, Jr

 

Big East

Mikal Bridges and the Wildcats will be reaching for a Big East title this year.

 

Champs: Villanova
POY: Kris Dunn, Providence, G, Jr
Runners up: Butler; Henry Ellenson, Marquette, G, Fr

 

B10

Melo Trimble and Maryland will overcome the Spartans to win the B10 championship and POY award.

 

Champs: Maryland
POY: Melo Trimble, Maryland, G, So
Runners up: Michigan State; Caris Lavert, Michigan, G, Sr

 

B12

Kansas will be looking for that #1 spot.

 

Champs: Kansas
POY: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma, G, Sr
Runners up: Oklahoma; George’s Jiang, Iowa State, F, Sr

 

MVC

VanVleet will lead the Shockers to glory this year.

 

Champs: Wichita State
POY: Fred VanVleet, Wichita State,  G, Sr
Runners up: Northern Iowa; Ron Baker, Wichita State, G, Sr

 

MW

Boise State came away with the win last night and will win the conference.

 

Champs: Boise State
POY: Anthony Drmic, Boise State, G/F, Sr
Runners up: San Diego State; Winston Shepard, San Diego State, F, Sr

 

PAC12

The Cal Bears will reach the top spot in the Pac 12 by year’s end.

 

Champs: California
POY: Gary Payton III, Oregon State, G, Sr
Runners up: Arizona; Jakob Poeltl, Utah, C, So

 

SEC

Once again, John Calipari will have Kentucky looking very good,

 

Champs: Kentucky
POY: Ben Simmons, LSU, F, Fr
Runners up: LSU; Daniel House, Texas A&M, G/F, Sr

 

WCC

Kyle Wiltjer shouldn’t be surprised when Zags wins the conference and he wins POY.

 

Champs: Gonzaga
POY: Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga, F, Sr
Runners up: BYU; Kyle Collinsworth, BYU, G/F, Sr

 

 

Well, there you have it. Some of these decisions (Gonzaga, Wichita State, Kentucky) were no brainers. On the other hand, other calls(Cal, Davidson, Boise State) are a little against the grain. However, these are my predictions…so…make your own if you disagree.

 

 


Five Teams that may surprise the College Hoops Nation come March

Written by :
Published on : October 27, 2015

 

With so many new faces being added to rosters in the offseason, it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict an outcome for a team in the whirlwind that is a college basketball season.  Experts will take their best shot at telling you which squads will be dancing in the spring.  No matter how accurate they may be, there are always a few sleepers that come out of nowhere and play their way into contention.  Here are five teams that have a very good chance to be one of the aforementioned sleepers, and shake up the world of college hoops.

 

1. Auburn

Bruce Pearl and the boys

 

In only his second year as HC, Bruce Pearl has the Tigers well on their way to ascending out of the basement of the SEC.  He has put together a very talented incoming freshman class, (led by 6’9 Finley Prep, VA forward Horace Spencer).  Throw in 2 returning starters, 2 immediate impact transfers, a high scoring JUCO transfer, and this team has ‘scary’ depth.  There’s more of a feeling that this team will be something special in the future, but if all the puzzle pieces fit then the future is now.

 

2. Mississippi State

Malik Newman doing work for team USA

 

Sticking with the SEC theme because they are arguably the most improved conference from top to bottom. Expect 6, 7 or possibly 8 teams to get into the tournament. Add up new coach Ben Howland, with his 3 final four appearances, with the number one shooting guard and 5 star prospect Malik Newman, and your team becomes an immediate contender. They also have 4 seniors and 1 junior who collectively started 110 games last year. With Malik Newman being a probable one and done, look for the bulldogs to try and ride his shoulders all the way to March.

 

3. Tulsa

Everything is OK in Tulsa

 

This a team that returns all 5 starters after finishing 14-4 in the AAC and getting completely snubbed by the selection committee last year.  Nah, they won’t have a giant chip on their shoulders, (I don’t know if I need to clarify, but that was thick sarcasm).  This team has 9 seniors.  Ill say that again…They have 9 seniors. Unheard of in this day of college basketball.  These are also 9 seniors who know how to win and want to end on a high note.  Guard play is their strength with James Woodard as the top scoring threat. Do not be shocked when the Golden Hurricanes are still alive in March.

 

4. Northwestern

Wildcats

 

Will it finally happen?  Will Northwestern be celebrating on Selection Sunday?  The Big Ten is going to be stacked yet again, but the Wildcats, thanks to wonderful recruiting by Chris Collins, have the talent to compete. This team has 8 players who saw significant minutes last year.  The key, however, will be 6’10 senior transfer from Virginia Tech, Joey van Zegeren.  His experience, along with seniors Tre Demps and Alex Olah, should help gel with the younger players and create a team that could pull off a few surprises.

 

5. Oregon State

This is one Beaver who isn’t messing around

 

This could be the best Beaver team in history.  The key phrase of that statement is “could be”.  They finished 3 games over .500 a season ago and return all 5 starters.  One of those starters is All American candidate and Oregon State royalty Gary Payton II.  He is one of the most complete players in the country on both ends.  The PAC12 is stacked at the top, but the Beavers also have a highly touted recruiting class with 6’4 guard Stephen Thompson Jr. leading the way.  Making a postseason tournament seems definite. Making the NCAA tournament is within reach, and soon will be in the rearview mirror.

 

 


Will Duke repeat as National Champs?

Written by :
Published on : October 11, 2015

 

 

In an era of “one and dones” in college hoops it has become increasingly difficult to try and predict a clear cut favorite to win the national championship. Teams can no longer rely on building a program with a key nucleus of returning players. It also doesn’t help that the number of transfers during the off-season are at an all time high. To try and repeat as national champs is a very large obstacle in which to achieve. Has this hurt college basketball?  Some fans would say so. This fan, however, enjoys the amount of talent coming into the college ranks year in and year out. Even if only for a year, the Durants and Loves look great in an NCAA jersey. There are more teams than ever who have a chance to cut down the net in March thanks to the quick turnover of five star talent.

 

Coach K

 

Coach K, and many other coaches, have adapted to this new way of life. The three best players on the best team in the country left just as quickly as they arrived, saying, “you’re welcome”, as they shut the door at Cameron indoor.  How will Duke recover and defend their title?

 

Regardless of talented recruiting classes, a quality core of returning players who have a team first mentality is needed. Duke has four such guys in Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones and Marshall Plumlee. Allen, a freakishly athletic guard, played sparingly throughout the season but stepped up big time in the tournament. He will have a much larger role this season. Jefferson is a blue collar forward who will get you 6 and 8 consistently, and provide much of his contributions on the defensive end. Matt Jones, who became a starter towards the end of last year, is a combo guard/forward when consistent can do a little bit of everything on both ends. He also shot 38% from beyond the arc. Marshall Plumlee carries the famed name on the back of his jersey and while he’s not as polished as his brothers, he brings toughness, defense and rebounding that is more than necessary to be competitive.

 

Practice makes perfect

 

Of course it helps having a “top 5” recruiting class as well. Four freshman will play immediately. Derryck Thornton will step in right from day one and be the starting point guard. He reclassified and came to Duke a year early to fill the void left by the departed Tyus Jones. Center Chase Jeter and wing Brandon Ingram also will likely start. Jeter is a back to the basket big guy and Ingram is a slashing, 6’8, lefty scorer. Luke Kennard is another top guard recruit who will come off the bench and play both guard positions, though he is more of an off guard.

 

The last player to fit into the rotation will be 6’9 sophomore transfer forward Sean Obi. He averaged a double double as a freshman at Rice and was one of the more desirable transfers a year ago.
There are a lot of question marks about this upcoming Duke team,but they are not lacking the talent and role players. All signs point to another deep tourney run in March. Could this be a year we see a back to back champ, or will it end with another Lehigh or VCU upset?

 

 


How to Fix Men’s College Basketball

Written by :
Published on : August 20, 2015

 

I really like college basketball. It’s fast, intense and is one of the best examples of what a team sport should be. It’s different than the NBA, it feels more emotional somehow. Maybe because the athletes only get to play a few years, everything seems more important. For college seniors not going to the draft, there is no “next year”. They have to lay it all on the line now and that’s what makes it perfect.

 

Well almost perfect. I mean, they are essentially just a talent farm for the NBA. College basketball has no superstars to market around because by the time everyone knows a player’s name, they leave. The only faces that stay the same are ones on the old ass coaches. And while those dudes are smart and great personalities, they are not the stars of a brand. Sorry Coach K.

 

Coach Mike Krzyzewski

 

So what can we do help? Well, since we still have a few months until the 2015 season starts, I decided to spend some time dreaming up ways to improve the game. Here is my outline on how to fix men’s college basketball.

 

– Update the shot clock and 3-point line

 

Make it just like the NBA. Change the shot clock from 30 to 24 seconds and push the 3-point line back from 19’9″ to 23’9″. These small changes will ensure an intense game. The 30 second shot clock is just too long. No one wants to watch someone slowly dribble up the court while the rest of the squad jogs through their offense. The 24 second clock will force teams to set up their shots even sooner. All of this should lead to higher scoring games.

 

– Change the uniforms to Shirts versus Skins

 

Home team goes shirtless. If on a neutral site, then a coin flip will determine who strips down. The team designated as “shirts” can wear their traditional jerseys. I think this would really help the game. First, we just upped the sex appeal 200% and second, it’s a great way for players to showcase themselves to NBA scouts.  I know, I know, they need the jerseys and numbers to help the coaches and refs manage the game. We can still do all that, instead of saying: “foul on number thirty three”  you’d say “foul on mustache six pack”. See works just as well.

 

– Pay the players

 

Not a ton. But something. Enough that they can take care of themselves. Maybe with just a base allowance, the NCAA could hold onto some of its players for a bit longer before they go Pro. Encourage students to finish their degree. So kids don’t just leave school as soon as the first pay check arrives. Some are going to leave early. We can’t stop that. But paying them is the right thing to do. They work hard and create profit for an organization. They deserve some sort of compensation beyond their scholarship. No doubt, if college players were paid, the level of competition would increase.

 

– Let the Mascots fight

 

We all wanna see it. I know I do. Hell, every time I see that Duke Blue Devil jerk running around with that stupid cape, I just wish someone would tackle him.

 

Georgetown Hoyas vs. Connecticut Huskies

 

– Keep expanding the bracket for March Madness

 

Add more teams, more branches to the bracket, more MADNESS! It gives smaller schools a better chance to sneak in. That increases the “Cinderella Story” factor that we all seem to love. You know Las Vegas likes the idea of more games. So it’s gotta be on the level. Because Vegas is never wrong.

 

– More Dick Vitale

 

Dicky V is the king of college hoops. Give him his own show or network. Whatever he wants. Maybe a nice tuna salad sandwich, on wheat, easy mayo. And would it kill you to bring him some fresh coffee? Seriously tho, I can’t even think about March Madness without hearing that voice in my head “awesome baby.”

 

Dick Vitale

 

 

Well, that’s it. If the NCAA made all these changes then I could confidently say that the future of the sport would be intact. If you have a great idea on how to fix college basketball then start your own league or leave a comment.

 

 


Support Us
Support ScoreBoredSports on patreon!

patreon-medium-button
Sponsors

Hide Error message here!

Forgot your password?

Error message here!

Error message here!

Hide Error message here!

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Error message here!

Back to log-in

Close