Predicting The Final Four Using Current NBA Players

I miss Carmelo Travieso. And Lou Roe. Marcus Camby too. But mostly I miss the days when you got to know the individual players on a college basketball team. Today, in the era of one and done, it is much harder to develop a familiarity with most top 25 college basketball programs. And for fans like myself, who either didn’t go to a BCS school or aren’t from a tradition rich state, following college basketball has become an increasingly difficult proposition. For every Ashley Judd and dialysis patient out there going crazy about their ‘Cats, there are an equal number of people like me who will watch these games Saturday night because that’s what sports fans do and it would down right unpatriotic to not watch the Final Four.

As far as predictions go, I thought it would be best to determine the winner of March Madness by putting the 4 remaining teams through a little hypothetical game involving current NBA players from each school.

Kentucky vs Louisville – 6:09 PM

Kentucky

Starting Five – Rajon Rondo, John Wall, Brandon Knight, Tayshaun Prince, DeMarcus Cousins

Bench – Eric Bledsoe, Jodie Meeks, Patrick Patterson, Chuck Hayes, Nazr Mohammed, Josh Harrellson

Louisville

Starting Five – Francisco Garcia, Jerry Smith, Terrence Williams, Earl Clark, Samardo Samuels

Bench  – Derrick Caracter*, Preston Knowles*

I had no idea how few recent NBA players Louisville has produced. Where have you gone “Never Nervous” Pervis Ellison? The Bluegrass State turns its lonely eyes to you. You know the Louisville pros are in trouble when their starting shooting guard Jerry Smith made it onto the squad only because he recently signed a 10 day contract with the lowly New Jersey Nets. To steal a line from Rick Pitino’s pregame speech before Saturday’s semifinal in New Orleans, “Clifford Rozier isn’t walking through that door.”.

As for this roster of Kentucky pros, put them together on a single team and they certainly would be able to beat the Washington Wizards. Take it to the bank Stan Van Gundy!

Kentucky 110 Louisville 75

*currently playing in the D-League

Ohio State vs Kansas – 8:49 PM

Ohio State

Starting Five: Mike Conley, Daequan Cook, Evan Turner, Kosta Koufos, Byron Mullens

Bench: Michael Redd, Greg Oden

Kansas

Starting Five: Mario Chalmers, Kirk Hinrich, Paul Pierce, Markieff Morris, Nick Collison

Bench: Drew Gooden, Xavier Henry, Brandon Rush, Marcus Morris, Darrell Arthur, Cole Aldrich

Kansas is kind of like the opposite of Louisville in the sense that I had no idea just how many Jayhawks players were in the NBA today. And the list goes on. (Josh Selby anyone?) What has always been amazing to me is how Bill Self, and Roy Williams before him, is able to recruit 5 star high school players to choose Lawrence, Kansas as the place where they want to spend their college year(s). But who am I to pass judgement on anyone else’s choice in college towns as Waterville, ME continues to have some of the highest rates per capita for both prostitution and fast food.

I’d like Ohio State’s chances that much more if Greg Oden weren’t busy recovering from his 3rd microfracture surgery. If either Jim Jackson or Lawrence Funderburke were still in the league then it would be an entirely different story.

Kansas 90 Ohio State 85

Championship Game: Kentucky 94 Kansas 90

view from the Superdome courtesy of @schuetteKSR

 

Falling Asleep During the BCS Championship

And I know I wasn’t the only person who drifted off to dreamland right around the same time as LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson overthrew a WR for the 20th time that evening. As far as I can tell, the only two redeeming qualities from last night’s BCS Championship Game, which Alabama won nearly by default, were Brent Musberger’s love affair with the Honey Badger and the fact that Nick Saban left his headlights on at halftime.

Other than this, we learned very little about either LSU or the Crimson Tide that we didn’t already know, other than Bobby Hebert continues to find a way to keep himself in the headlines and that having a ticket to the championship game didn’t actually entitle you to a seat. Once again, blame the media!

View from the Superdome courtesy of @ManUpTexasBBQ

Fumblerooski: Wild Card Weekend – Saturday Edition

Texans 31 Bengals 10 – T.J. Yates spent his Wild Card Weekend suffering from a tragic case of mistaken identity. Sure, the rookie 5th round draft pick out of UNC helped lead the Texans to their first ever playoff victory Saturday afternoon. Even with his on field success, most fans still can’t believe that a guy named T.J. Yates is a starting QB in the playoffs. After a little street polling, here’s a list of the top 3 mistaken identities for the Houston Texans QB.

#3: Ski Patrol, Telluride, CO: The association here is most likely a product of the straight to VHS classic Aspen Extreme. Back in college, my roommate had an old VCR and we kept about 3 movies in the permanent rotation. One of those movies was Aspen Extreme, which is really a terrible piece of low budget cinema. However, because it was college and we had some time to kill, this didn’t stop of from over quoting the movie like it was Caddyshack  or Animal House. And most of the lines weren’t even that funny, ranging from things like “TJ Burke Salad baby!!!” and “But Teej, her earrings are bigger than my nuts.”. See, about as funny as you would have imagined.

#2: Bond Trader, Stamford, CT: Sounds like any given number of ex frat boy muscleheads who spend their Tuesday night’s at Bobby Valentine’s talking about how they could have totally found a job in the city if they wanted to but instead chose The City that Works because it’s where all the REAL action is. The T.J. is probably short for something like “Tiberius Jedidiah Yates IV” and he can no doubt trace his family crest all the way back to the Mayflower. In fact, John Winthrop probably gave him his first job w/ UBS. Couple of jagger bombs with these guys and you’ll be arrested for assaulting a police horse outside of a massage parlor.

#1: Head of NASCAR pit crew, Charlotte, NC: I think there really is a T.J. Yates in charge of Jimmy Johnson Racing. If not, we know what the real T.J. Yates will be doing next football season when Matt Schaub returns to action.

Back to the game for a second. Things played out kind of how we all expected them to. Niether rookie QB, Yates or Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton, looked all that impressive while the Houston defense and RB Arian Foster carried the Texans to victory. The play of the game came from Texans defensive end, and former Wisconsin Badger J.J. Watt, who had an unbelievably athletic interception return for a touchdown. Almost makes up for the 2010 Rose Bowl. Almost.

Saints 45 Lions 28 – Is it possible for Matt Stafford to not look hungover in those player video/picture combos NBC uses to introduce the starting lineups? Talk about jagger bombs, Stafford always looks like a total mess. I could see a Detroit PR guy ambling over to Stafford’s house in Bloomfield Hills and pulling the QB out from underneath the beer pong table while then proceeding to throw the bloated QB in the shower like he were Dennis Hooper in Hoosiers. You know what they say, there’s no cure for the common hangover quite like Calvin Johnson.

Speaking of Megatron, am I the only one who is starting to feel like all if this crazy video game scoring/offense in the NFL right now isn’t very interesting anymore? Would it kill one of these playoff defenses to stop the opposing team? There was a point last night where I thought the officials should have just switched to overtime rules immediately and given each team a possession from the 30 yard line rather than have them waste our time as they march down the entirety of the field in something like 5 plays.

With the win, the Saints move on to face San Francisco next Saturday in a game where a lot of folks are going to talk themselves into picking the 49ers because it’s being played at Candlestick and they have a good defense. But, in doing so you’ll be making one salient mistake and that is that San Fran’s QB is still Alex Smith. I don’t care how many Harbaugh’s you have coaching the team, Alex Smith remains a classic game manager. Which is probably why Trent Dilfer has him rated so highly on ESPN’s new QB metric thingamabob. On second thought, Smith is 22 out of a total of 34 QB’s, so even the stat heads agree.

view from Reliant Stadium courtesy of @HoustonTexans 

view from the Superdome courtesy of @risapr1

 

Quick Snaps: NFL Week 13

Titans 23 Bills 17 – Better late than never for Chris Johnson who has strung together two solid efforts in a row after nearly sleepwalking his way through the entire first half of the season. Probably still doesn’t make him worth all that new money but he has recently helped to keep Tennessee right in the thick of the AFC Wild Card race.

Chiefs 10 Bears 3 – First Jay Cutler now Matt Forte. I wouldn’t expect to see many Caleb Hanie and Marion Barber III jerseys lining the Soldier Field stands anytime soon.

Dolphins 34 Raiders 14 – Maybe Reggie Bush wasn’t such a bad signing for Miami after all? And Rolando McClain, you and your aquatic themed rugby shirt will haunt my dreams for years.

Broncos 35 Vikings 32 – If Denver takes care of business at home against the Bears next weekend they would then head into their week 15 showdown vs the New England Patriots with a 8-5 record and at least a share of the AFC West lead. Not too shabby for a quarterback that nobody believed in besides Gainesville, twitter, and all of Christendom.

Steelers 35 Bengals 7 – Was Cincy exposed as a junior varsity squad or is Pittsburgh once again the real deal?

Patriots 31 Colts 24 – Not a bad day for Colts backup backup quarterback, and UConn grad, Dan Orlovsky who threw for 353 yards against a Patriots secondary that looked like they should be playing in the Big, not AFC, East.

Panthers 38 Buccaneers 19 – Tampa wore their throwback uniforms and somehow manage to play like it was 1976 all over again. The only thing missing this time around was the Old Ball Coach.

Jets 34 Redskins 19 – I was down in DC this weekend and a good friend of mine who works in the District told me that there is a movement afoot to have the team move back to the RFK area. Apparently FedEx Field is a little too inconvenient for the lobbyists on K Street. Heaven forbid that Washington makes a decision without special interests in mind.

Texans 17 Falcons 10 – TJ Yates, I really didn’t believe you had it in you. Perhaps the entire Houston team was inspired by the sheer thought of Jack Delhomme lining up under center.

Ravens 24 Browns 10 – Ray Rice should have been on the cover of Madden ’12 instead of Peyton Hillis.

Packers 38 Giants 35 – Aaron Rodgers has clearly figured out that there is no spoon.

Cardinals 19 Cowboys 13 – And yet the cameras continue to focus on Rob Ryan.

49ers 26 Rams 0 – Santa Clara 49ers just doesn’t have the same ring.

view from the Superdome courtesy of @KPLC7Sports

 

Quick Snaps: NFL Week 7

Before getting into the NFL, here are just a few thoughts on the final drive of that Michigan St./Wisconsin instant classic from Saturday night.  1) When the Badgers couldn’t recover a Kurt Cousins fumble in Spartan terrority you just had to have the sense that this wasn’t going to be Wisconsin’s night. 2) And then head coach Brett Bielema started calling timeouts. I don’t understand why he was so compelled to win the game in regulation, especially considering that CFB has by far the fairest, most equitable overtime rules in all of sports. 3) Thanks to that extra time, MSU was able to launch a prayer towards the goal line…and we all know what happened after that. But what in the world was Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis doing in on defense? Why do coaches always think that an offensive player has a better chance of defending against the hail mary than an extra defensive back? I’m not trying to lay all the blame on Abbrederis, just hoping to shed a little light on a common case of overcoaching.

Quick Snaps

Falcons 23 Lions 16 – Matthew Stafford may be seriously hurt and Ndamukong Suh is a bully. So what’s new? Actually, I think we are all hoping that Stafford’s lower leg injury ends up being fairly benign. Without him, that Thanksgiving Day game against the Packers becomes a whole lot less interesting. If the Lions swoon continues, it’s going to be much harder to convince the wife and extended family that I’m unavailable for a last minute ingredient run due to a 1230 start from Ford Field.

Jets 27 Chargers 21 – Something just ain’t right with Philip Rivers. He was trying to squeeze the ball into double coverage all afternoon and that last drive he conducted was so out of tune that I began to wonder if the Chargers ever practiced the two minute drill. And wouldn’t it be just my fantasy football luck for Rivers to continue posting rather pedestrian numbers. On the other hand, Darrelle Revis played well again and we can only hope that Francesa has him back on the show sometime this week.

Chiefs 28 Raiders 0 – Well that didn’t go so well. If you’re the Raiders you have seen better days. If you’re Kyle Boller your days in Oakland may be numbered. And if you’re Carson Palmer, you’ve got a lot of work to do before regaining the confidence of Raider nation. The two Oakland QB’s combined for 6 total interceptions yesterday, 1 more than Cincinnati Benglas rookie signal caller Andy Dalton has thrown all year. Is it possible for a team to win even during their bye week?

Broncos 18 Dolphins 15 – You win Tim Tebow, you win. We’re all mere mortals simply just awaiting your instructions.

view from the Superdome courtesy of @_NatuRAL_Neci