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Westsider Rider

Friday, March 31, 2006

Final Four Picks

Still stuck at work on a Friday night, at least this month ends on a Friday so I get my weekend. Definitely looking forward to downing a drink or three and watching the Final Four. I've also got tickets to the Lakers-Rockets game on Sunday which I will end up going to unless I can find a buyer, anyone interested just looking for face $280 in the premiers. Now onto the actual predictions themselves.

Florida-George Mason - This is the early game on Saturday and we shall see if George Mason can continue on their amazing run. I really want George Mason to win, aside from the fact I have some money on them at 9-2 to win the entire tourney, but I don't think it will. The frontcourt tandem of Joakim Noah and Al "I decided to fuck Michigan over by committing and then de-committing" Horford will be too much for the Patriots to handle. George Mason did beat UConn who was everyone's favorite to win the title so we will have to wait and see, anything is possible considering they did make it this far. But I'm gonna go with Florida to win this game, hopefully I'm wrong.

UCLA-LSU - The second game will feature the Bruins against the Tigers and will be a great game to watch. LSU's frontcourt should be able to take care of business as Tyrus Thomas and Glen "Big Baby" Davis will have the advantage over the Bruins hobbled frontcourt as Lorenzo Mata has broken his nose, but will still play, as well as Ryan Hollins who I just heard banged his knee in practice, but I have yet to confirm that from another source. The Cameroon Crazies, Aboya and Mbah A Moute, have done a good job this tourney and I think will continue to but LSU has the advantage in front. Where the difference will be in this game should be in the backcourt where I think the UCLA combo of Afflalo and Farmar will have an even bigger edge over the LSU backcourt. Because of this I think the Bruins will win this game and make a trip to the National Championship game one year earlier than expected.

Well that sucked

Not a great day as Michigan lost the NIT, the Lakers got killed by the Spurs and to top it off I was at work til 10pm so a pretty shitty day in my book. I couldn't watch any of it but from what I've been told from people who did the better team won. Granted there were some bad calls but it wouldn't have made a difference. It was the last game in a Michigan uniform for Daniel Horton, Graham Brown, Chris Hunter and Sherrod Harrell, it sucks it couldn't have ended better but a lot of people, myself included, are definitely appreciative of what you guys have done to help trying to build the program back to where it once was.

Nothing to say about the Lakers, I caught the very tail end of the game when I got home and I could see why they were getting beat like that. The Lake Show plays in Seattle tonight, with last night's loss the Lakers are only 1 1/2 games ahead of the Queens so we need to get it in gear.

Now to the what the fuck are they thinking category comes is the announcement from the Nigerian Football Association that referees can take bribes as long as they do not allow them to influence decisions on the field. Sounds like a great plan, accept money as a bribe and then don't give the teams that gave you the money favorable calls. Can't wait to see the first report on the growing trend of soccer referees in Nigeria getting killed. I'd be willing to bet that we could see an on-field killing after a bad call.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The battle for NIT Supremacy

I really don't like these jerseys but if they keep bringing W's I'll live with it

Tonight the battle for NIT Supremacy takes place as the 2004 NIT Champion Michigan will take on the 2005 NIT Champion South Carolina. Yeah, a lot of people will make fun of it, even I have at times, but in all seriousness I am definitely anxious to watch (follow along online) this game. I do have a TiVo/DVR but the majority of the time I decide to record a game the team I am rooting for ends up losing so I'd rather not take the chance, although it is in HD tonight.

From what I've read it seems that South Carolina is weak on the inside and where we'll have an advantage, especially considering the game that Courtney Sims put up the other night, hopefully he will keep that up. I've said it before but I'll say it again this senior class deserves to go out a winner and I hope they can do that. I don't know of many kids that would have committed to Michigan during the time they came in and stuck with the program when they had to deal with the consequences of things that happened years before they got there. I'm definitely proud of what they've done considering what they had to go through and they truly are Michigan Men.

The Lakers have a big game tonight at Staples against the Spurs. The Spurs come off an easy win against the Clippers while the Lakers had 3 days off since they beat the Hornets on Sunday night. Not many games left in the season and with the slide the Clippers are on there is a chance the Lakers could move up so we need to keep winning. Tony Parker didn't play on Tuesday so maybe he won't play again tonight which would be good, probably doesn't help that we picked up that W in San Antonio last time so they'll be geared up and ready to play.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Work sucks but at least Michigan is winning

Work is kicking back into high gear again and it's weird, at the end of last year I was getting used to 70-80 hour work weeks, well not getting used but it was expected and there was nothing I could do about it. The first couple months of this year have been smooth sailing until now and there's a lot to do. Well at least its only a couple days until the end of the month/quarter.

I was forced to follow online the Michigan NIT Semifinal and damn was I scared when I first opened up the browser to a 21-16 deficit. But the team got it together and easily routed Old Dominion by 23, way to set the line Vegas. I normally don't bet on Michigan but I couldn't pass it up as a pick em against ODU. I wish I was able to watch the game but it's impossible to catch these 4pm starts out here. On the other side of the bracket the South Carolina Gamecocks defeated Louisville to set up the matchup of the past two NIT Champions against each other tomorrow night. I like our chances to put up another banner in Crisler, this senior class deserves to go out a winner considering all they went through.

Going to jump into some other sports I don't talk about as often as Barry Bonds will be part of an investigation that the MLB is starting on steroid use. There aren't many people on the face of the earth I hate more than Barry Bonds. For him to continue to deny using steroids is ridiculous, hopefully they will finally get all the concrete evidence to shut him up for good and show the cheater that he really is. Even Davin, who has been a Barry Bonds fan for all these years, yet still being a Dodger fan I have no idea how that worked out, even said that he has given up on Bonds, after a certain point there's just too much out there not to believe something went down.

Michelle Wie is playing in the John Deere classic again, where she will miss the cut again. She needs to give this thing up, there's no reason for her to be playing in the PGA. There are numerous opportunities for her out there on the LPGA, which she has not even shown yet that she can win. There is a reason that there are separate tours if women want to compete with the men then get rid of the LPGA tour and then we can see what happens. There is no reason for Michelle Wie to be taking exemptions from guys who are trying to make it on the tour. Michelle Wie needs to show she can dominate the LPGA Tour before she tries to make it in the PGA. I mean at least when Annika Sorenstam played she is the best player in the game on the women's side and then I understand her taking the shot, even though I still disagree with it. So I, for one among probably many others who are just afraid to say it, will be hoping Michelle Wie fails miserably again because she just does not belong out on the PGA Tour.

Onto a good note, Jeff Kent signed an extension with the Dodgers which is for one year along with a one year team option. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the Dodgers can do this season with all the changes that took place in the off-season. I believe this team should win the NL West and make the playoffs at least. Opening Day is next week and hopefully I'll be able to make it to my first game later in April on the weekend when the Giants come to town. Nothing beats getting to Dodger Stadium early and downing a Mickey's or two and then heading in, definitely can't wait to do that this summer.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Busy with actual work and watching the game

Work's picking up since its end of the month and end of a quarter as well so didn't have a chance to post anything until now. But now it's time for me to watch the Michigan-Old Dominion NIT Semifinal, by watch I mean refreshing the box score on Yahoo! since it seems to be just a bit faster than ESPN. Hopefully I'll have good news to report tomorrow.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Just when you thought March Madness couldn't get any better

They've shown us they can ball and all but who is George Mason?

Damn, what a weekend. The NCAA Tournament has exceeded expectations this year with pretty much every single game coming down to the wire. It has been great entertainment for these past 2 weeks and we've only got 3 games left now. I went 1 for 4 on my Final Four Picks although at the last minute I did get a bet in on George Mason to beat UConn at +425 so we'll say I went .500.

Saturday's games were close but were not as exciting as Sunday's George Mason-Connecticut matchup was. LSU-Texas was a good game but I never got the feeling that Texas was going to pull it out, especially not with Buckman hoisting 3's, never a good sign when your big man is doing that. The UCLA-Memphis game was exciting just because I had such a rooting interest in the Bruins but it was an ugly game. Didn't matter though as UCLA pulled it out, hit my +140 on the ML as well as sending them to the Final Four.

So after the UCLA game it turned into celebration time as we had a kegger for my brother's acceptance to Michigan. Had a great time, although I didn't last as long as I had hoped, definitely expected considering it was the first beers I was having in 10 weeks. Some of the guys came up with a new crazy game of beer pong with 3 players and 21 cups per side. It was a great night as I also got to hang out with a bunch of people I hadn't seen in a long time. Hope we can do it again sometime soon.

Sunday brought the aftermath as we had to clean up the house and then we stopped that to watch the George Mason-UConn game and am I glad I did. George Mason continued their amazing run with the OT victory and I, like many others, thought it was over when Denham Brown hit the tying shot at the buzzer. I figured that would be the end of it for GM but it wasn't. They somehow kept the dream going and pulled off the upset. ESPN.com is reporting that some guy placed a $20 on George Mason to win it all before the tourney started at 400-1 odds, that's insane.

The Villanova-Florida game wasn't as fun, but how could it matchup to the first game of the day. I thought the Wildcats would get it done but the inside presence of Noah and Horford were just too much for Nova as the Gators marched on. He's a really good player but I really don't like Joakim Noah. He was acting like a punk during the game and if I was on Nova's team I would've gotten in his face early. He complained about calls and was beating his chest to the crowd, just being a jackass. It's one thing if he did this at the end of the game to celebrate but to do it 3 minutes in was just ridiculous, IMO.

Afterwards brought the nightcap as the Lakers played the Hornets in a key Western Conference matchup as the Lakers sit in 7th place while the Hornets are in 9th. Once again Kwame Brown played a great game, this is what we thought we could see from him when the trade was made and I'm glad to see him gaining confidence and becoming the player we knew he could be. The Lakers defense was atrocious during the first half but they clamped down and made it more difficult on the Hornets in the 2nd half. With the win the Lakers now move to 2 games ahead of the Queens for the 7th spot with 10 games left to play, 7 of them at home which is the easiest schedule of the other teams fighting for a spot. They'll have a few days off before having to play Seattle and San Antonio back to back followed by Houston in another Sunday game next week. We'll have to wait and see if the curse of the Sunday white jerseys rears its ugly head again.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

I love the NCAA Tournament, like you didn't know that

End of the month and quarter so I'm at work here on Saturday, at least I get to put up a weekend post for the first time maybe ever. Another great day of games last night, only drawback being I was only 2-2 on my picks and hurt more considering my two losses were on teams that I bet on. Once again caught the end of the early game, BC-Villanova, on the radio on the drive home. I didn't think that Nova would be able to handle the size of BC, but at the same time I knew the Nova 4 guard lineup could be difficult to handle at end of games considering the versatility of all the guys they would have on the floor at that time.

While at work I was able to catch the George Mason-Witchita State matchup on MMOD and there's nothing much to report from that game. George Mason took control early and never gave it up. The Shockers magical run ends here while the Colonials will continue on, only one game away from the Final Four. GMU becomes the first mid major to make it to the Elite Eight since Antonio Gates and Kent State back in 02. I don't think they'll be able to beat UConn but who knows they've made it this far.

The two later games I was able to watch/follow on TV and they were both great games. The Georgetown-Florida game went down to the wire as the Gators made the plays to pull it out at the end when the Hoyas couldn't. CBS just switched to it at the end out here so I wasn't able to watch it until the end. I still think that last And 1 that Florida got should have been a jump ball but that's my opinion.

The game I watched when I wasn't watching Michigan hockey get destroyed by North Dakota was the Husky matchup between UConn and UW. I thought UConn would be able to control the game from the beginning but I was way off. I didn't give Washington enough credit as I was not impressed by what I had seen from them during the season but they are a good squad and Brandon Roy is a player. He has great game on both ends of the floor and I would love to see him on the Lakers. UConn just doesn't seem to get it going until the end of the game like they're just sleepwalking through the game and decide to flip the switch with only a few minutes left. They are talented enough to do it but unless they get their act together I don't think my pick for the National Championship will get it done.

Now I can preview the Elite Eight matchups as they are all set:

Memphis-UCLA - Memphis has rolled through the tourney so far as they have yet to be tested much by anyone they have played. But they have yet to play anyone difficult so far as their road to the Elite Eight consists of beating a 16, 9 and a 13. That will change as they face the Bruins of UCLA tonight in a rematch of an earlier season matchup in which the Tigers won. However that is a completely different team that they played compared to the team the Bruins put on the floor now. UCLA dismantled Belmont after an early slow start and then played two close games against Alabama and Gonzaga to make it to this point. I think that experience will help them out as Memphis is also a young team but since they have yet to face any adversity in the tourney I think the Bruins will frustrate the Tigers and come out on top to advance to the Final Four.

LSU-Texas - this would be a great matchup to see on the gridiron but it will be just as good on the hardwood as these two traditional football powers meet for the right to head to the Final Four. LSU needed a 3 near the buzzer to advance past Texas A&M in the 2nd round and then took care of business against Duke to make it to this point. Tyrus Thomas played an amazing game on Thursday to spark the Bayou Bengals to the Elite Eight. The Tigers are an extremely athletic team that will give any team fits. The Longhorns needed a GW 3 from Kenton Paulino at the buzzer to finish off the Mountaineers after controlling the game for the first half. I'm having a tough time making a pick because I think this could go either way but I'm gonna go with the Longhorns to win a close game since I will always root for Texas whenever they are not playing Michigan, North Carolina, UCLA and maybe Georgia.

George Mason - Connecticut - George Mason has had an amazing run so far defeating Michigan State, North Carolina and now Witchita State but I think the magic carpet ride ends here as they take on UConn. But if UConn comes out and starts playing like crap again the longer George Mason hangs around the more confidence they will get and I wouldn't be completely shocked if they pulled off the upset. I still think that UConn will be too much for the Colonials to handle, although they will have more of a partisan crowd in DC since their school isn't too far from there.

Villanova - Florida - In my bracket I had the Final Four of this region correct but I had BC defeating Villanova and beating Florida to move onto the Final Four. I'm going to stick with that thinking and take Villanova to advance. This is a very good Wildcat team which I did not think would be able to handle BC's size and they did so I don't think they'll have a problem with the Gators, yes I know they've got Horford and Noah but I still believe Nova moves on. Besides all Michigan fans that follow recruiting know what Horford did to us so I will never root for Florida, I've always hated Florida, sorry EDSBS.

Michigan hockey got destroyed by North Dakota, not a surprising result considering the year they've been having but I got much more excited about the game after hearing that Minnesota had lost to Holy Cross. Hopefully we don't have another group of players leave early for the NHL and maybe we can get it back together for next year. Welcome to the rallying cry of all Michigan fans, "next year is the year!" Well for me anyways considering how much talent we have in all sports and end up not doing much with it and then ending up pointing towards the roster we will return next season and how everything will change. I thought that way all throughout my four years in Ann Arbor and it never did anything but cause me more pain when it turned out the next year was exactly the same as the year before.

Onto a positive, the Lakers won 3 games in a row for the first time since the middle of January. The Lake show still sits in 7th position 3 games ahead in the win column over the Sacramento
Queens but the Hornets and the Jazz are right there to jump in if either team falters down the stretch. There is a huge game tonight in Utah between the Jazz and the Queens. Between the teams the Lakers have 2 games left with the Hornets to give them some breathing room. In addition to tonight's game the Jazz have 2 games against the Hornets while the Queens have one. That means the Hornets, although they are in the 9th spot right now still have a lot of control over making the playoffs or not since they have 2 games remaining with the Lakers, 2 with Utah and 1 with Sacramento. It will be an interesting ending to the Western Conference playoff race this year.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Damn that was crazy

I know how that feels, not good

What a night of basketball games college and pro, although I didn't watch any NBA just saw that clip of J Rich hitting the GW 3 for the Warriors. Was stuck at work for the first two games and since LSU-Duke was on locally I watched the Memphis-Bradley game on MMOD. Memphis looked good, better than I thought and it will be fun to watch the rematch between Memphis and UCLA which Memphis won earlier this year at MSG. I got off work near the end of the LSU-Duke game and luckily it was on the radio and it was great listening to Duke lose, make it a double bonus since I bet on LSU and the +250 ML they offered. Tyrus Thomas was a monster and came up huge with his breaking of the press and jam as well as Big Baby's offensive rebounds at the end that allowed LSU to get some extra breathing room at the end. It will be a hell of a matchup between LSU and Texas.

Now onto the two games that I did watch first the Texas-West Virginia matchup. Texas controlled the game early and with the 12 point lead at halftime I thought would cruise into the Elite Eight. But Pittsnogle, Gansey and co. were not ready to give up that easily as the Mountaineers made a great comeback to take the lead late in the game. The ending sequence was one of, if not the best end to a game I have ever seen. Pittsnogle hitting the 3 to tie then Paulino hitting the 3 to win was amazing. It what looks like a bowl game and not an Elite Eight matchup the Bayou Bengals will take on the Longhorns tomorrow, definitely the game I'm looking forward to most tomorrow.

The last game of the night brought another great ending as UCLA scored the last 11 points in the game to win by 2 after Gonzaga had control for the entire game up until the end. UCLA started off terribly, by far the worst half I have seen them play the entire season. In the second half you knew the run was coming by the Bruins but they never could seem to get over the hump. They would cut the lead from 13 to 6 until Morrison's 4 point play which pushed it back to 10, anytime the Bruins cut the lead down Gonzaga took control back and it just didn't seem like UCLA was going to get it done, especially with Afflalo in foul trouble. But in the end they pulled it off as the Bruins got all the stops they needed and scored when they needed to. The only problem I had was when Collison was fouled and the ref called it on the floor when it was clearly an And 1 situation. Collison did a great job of penetrating when Farmar refused to do so and just kept passing around the zone. No one else tried to penetrate and create something or at least drive and kick out to the open shooter. The Bruins cannot afford to do that tomorrow against a Memphis team that will be ready to go.

I just stumbled upon this via Bruins Nation, where they've got this picture up and it just adds to what I wanted to discuss today about Adam Morrison and now Arron Afflalo. Watching the end of that game and seeing Morrison I felt for him considering I know how that feels. Granted I never played at the collegiate level but I remember my last high school football game and all the emotions I went through when we lost in the playoffs and since I take my sports that seriously I feel the same way when Michigan loses games. I definitely liked Adam Morrison before considering all the adversity he's gone through with diabetes but watching him last night I became an even bigger fan knowing that he took the loss that hard because that's the way I would take a loss like that. Part of the reason why I can't stand bandwagon fans since they don't go through the same shit that real fans do as they live and die with the team. I bet there's plenty of people out here that pull that bullshit excuse that like USC football but like UCLA basketball. That's a crock of shit and I hate it, I remember hearing about people like that in Michigan who liked Michigan football and Michigan State basketball, it's just retarded.

Anyways back to my other point which was on Arron Afflalo. Since he showed up at UCLA, I knew he was a player and he definitely became my favorite player on the Bruin squad. He's a great player and can just take over a game, like his first half against Michigan earlier this year. Seeing his actions afterwards I have even that much more respect for him as a person as well. A very classy move on his part to go help up Morrison and big ups to him.

Now we'll head to my picks for tonight's games for the other half of the Sweet 16, I was a perfect 4-0 yesterday on them, why the hell don't I get a parlay in at those times?

Villanova-Boston College - A lot of people are going with the upset here and so am I. I've had BC in the Final Four in my brackets and I'm not going to change on that, I think the Eagles size will be too much for the Wildcats and they will get the W. BC is familiar with Nova since they were both members of the Big East and last year they split the season series 1-1 so BC will be familiar with their players and their style of play.

Georgetown-Florida - The Gators are rolling as they have won 7 straight including their first two tourney games by 24 and 22 points. They are peaking at the right time and looking like they could easily win this region and make it to the Final Four. In their way stands the Georgetown Hoyas who pulled out a close 5 point win over Northern Iowa in the first round then dominated the #2 seed Ohio State by 18 points in the 2nd round to make it to the Sweet 16. They have a legitimate big man in 7'2" C Roy Hibbert and cause a matchup problem against Joakim Noah who has been playing great basketball as of late but is giving up 3 inches and almost 60 pounds to Hibbert. Florida is playing great lately but I just have this feeling that Georgetown will continue their run and move to the Elite Eight.

Connecticut - Washington - the matchup of the Huskies will occur in Washington D.C. tonight and the Huskies will be going down, the Washington Huskies that is. I think UConn is too good not to make it to the Final 4. They are starting to get it together after the horrible first 30 minutes they played against Albany and I believe they are now refocused and ready to go knowing that if they're not on their game anyone can beat them, which it seems like they forgot during that game. As long as UConn can hold Brandon Roy somewhat in check, UConn should be moving on to Sunday.

Witchita State - George Mason - this is a tough one for me to call considering the only times I've seen these two teams were last weekend. No one would have bet any amount that either one of these teams would make the Elite Eight but one of the mid-majors will march on after this game. George Mason did win an earlier matchup this year at Witchita State so it does have that going for them as well as the fact that they defeated two big name schools in Michigan State and North Carolina to get here. The Shockers on the other hand beat Seton Hall and an extremely overrated Tennessee team to get here. As much as I hate to pick against the Shockers I'm doing it and going with George Mason to move on to the Elite Eight.

Add another throwback to the collection

I collect jerseys, I have a lot of them. I pretty much use jerseys as most people would use T-shirts. Whenever I go out most of the time you will find me in a jersey, it's just what I do. Pretty soon I'm going to post up all the jerseys I have since I always have people asking me how many jerseys and who I have which is tough when I'm hovering around 60 jerseys now. The shitty thing nowadays with constant free agent signings and trading is how jerseys become old because of the team change. To put a positive spin on it I prefer to call it a throwback. There are a few in my collection starting with the Mike Cameron Mariners jersey, Tracy McGrady Magic jersey and Darius Miles Clippers jersey. The Miles hurt the most since I just purchased his jersey at Staples Center and do something I rarely do, pay full retail value for it. I'm sure I have more but those are the ones that come off the top of my head.

Well I can now add another out of date jersey to the collection, although this one is in a good way as Aaron Brooks has signed a 2 year deal to play for the Raiders. I've always been an Aaron Broks fan as witnessed by my owning a Saints Brooks jersey and I love the pickup for the Raiders. Regardless if the Raiders are going to draft a QB, Vince Young or Jay Cutler with the 7th pick in the draft, it gives them a dependable starter to play for the team over the next two years while the future QB is groomed, or Brooks is still young enough to play for at least 4-5 more years. Brooks has good mobility as well as a very good arm and I think will fit in very well with the team, he adds the mobile element that Kerry Collins lacked.

Speaking of Vince Young he had his Pro Day at Texas yesterday and reviews were mixed. There were some that called it a great workout, Sean Salisbury from ESPN rated it an A- while others called it just ok. One unnamed scout, according to Sportscenter, said there was no comparison between the workouts between Vince and Jay Cutler. The negative points included Vince waiting for his receivers to break before he threw the ball. He wasn't going to run the 40 but ended up doing it after hearing complaints and ran a 4.58 according to ESPN on what is supposed to be a fast track down in Austin. VY is supposed to have private workouts with Houston and Green Bay and possibly Oakland and Baltimore. I think the Raiders will end up getting him, which would make me very happy but part of me still prefers Jay Cutler and thinks that he will be a better pro than VY. Either QB would be fine with me as we would let Brooks play for a few years while the new QB would learn the ropes of the NFL. Draft is only 5 weeks away and the Raiders need a lot of help so I'm eager to see what they'll end up doing.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Sports Radio stinks, as if you didn't know that already

I don't have a very high opinion of Sports Talk Radio that's on today, I never really have once I started growing up and would listen to these guys thinking to my self these guys are morons. It doesn't help when Earl keeps trying to quote Dave Smith and Petros Papadakis, two of the many idiots that are on the airwaves. Which leads me to the controversy that is being talked about on the college football blogsphere today as Colin Cowherd plagiarized material from the Michigan Zone. EDSBS and MGoBlog have put in their takes as well as the M Zone which has posted their e-mail to Cowherd and his response.

When Cowherd first took over for Tony Kornheiser on ESPN Radio, I thought it was cool because he always discussed football every day, mostly NFL but a good amount of college coverage as well. But as I kept on listening the more annoying he got with his arrogance and "I'm always right" attitude. So the only reason I ever listen to sports radio now is to get score updates when I'm in the car or actually listen to a game, if you listen any other time you're wasting your time.

Final Four!!!!

Yeah, I know it's the NIT, I just needed something to get excited over and this is it. The basketball team took care of business and punched their return trip to MSG where they'll face Old Dominion who went into Hofstra and defeated the Pride. On the other side of the bracket Louisville advanced where they will face the winner of the Cincinnati-South Carolina game. These could provide for some interesting final matchups as it could be Amaker vs. Pitino, the coach that many wanted when Amaker was hired but he turned us down because his wife liked the state of Kentucky better. Or it could match the Wolverines and the Gamecocks which would pit the last two NIT champions against each other, I know it's not that compelling but I'm trying here.

Onto the big tourney where the Sweet 16 teams are playing tonight and tomorrow, here's my picks for today's games.

LSU-Duke - I like LSU in the upset here, partially because I think they're a very good team and partially because I hate Duke so much there aren't many other teams I have greater joy in watching lose. I think Big Baby Glen Davis will be too much to handle and although LSU is still young they do have a lot of experience this year playing tough games on the road as well. They won at West Virginia and lost a close game to UConn at Storrs. This team doesn't not have the pressure that Duke does and I think they'll advance onto the Elite Eight.

West Virginia-Texas - These two teams played earlier in the year and Texas came away with a one point victory. I like Texas again to pick up the W as I think they are too balanced and too talented for West Virginia to take over. 3 players for the Longhorns in Gibson, Aldridge and Tucker average 13 points or more and 2 others average over 9.5 points a game. But it won't be a walk in the park as Pittsnogle and Gansey lead a very good WVU team that almost won in Austin and did win at Westwood against UCLA earlier this year and have the experience from their Elite Eight run last year. But in the end I think LaMarcus Aldridge will take over and be too much for the Mountaineers to overcome.

Bradley - Memphis - I still don't think Memphis is all that great, Oral Roberts gave them a game for a while as did Bucknell, who I did pick to upset the Tigers. Memphis now faces the giant killer that is Bradley who defeated Kansas and Pittsburgh to reach Oakland. I really think Bradley can pull the upset but I'm going to say the run ends here for the Cinderella team from the Missouri Valley Conference. I think Memphis will put out too many athletes for Bradley to handle and I think the big stage might get to the Braves. I really want to say Bradley and I will be rooting for them as well as their +250 money line but I'm going with Memphis.

Gonzaga-UCLA - this is the marquee matchup in Oakland as the #2 and 3 seeds, as well as the two best basketball programs on the West Coast today, matchup for a trip to the Elite Eight. I picked UCLA before the tourney started to get to the Final Four and I'm sticking with them. I think this LA backcourt is too good and the frontline for the Bruins is playing much better as of late. Combine that with Adam Morrison's health, even though he says he is fine considering he is a diabetic I believe it will have some impact on the game, and I think the Bruins advance to the Elite Eight.

The Lakers picked up a big win against the Sacramento Queens to take over 7th spot in the West. Ideally I'd love to see them close the season on a tear to get to the #6 spot but with 12 games to play and behind by 3.5 games I doubt it will happen. Getting in as the 7 would be terrible considering the lack of success the Lakers have had against the Suns all year long. Combine that with the fact that Amare Stoudamire is very close to coming back that all spells trouble. It'd be better to make it as the 8 to place either Dallas or San Antonio because we have shown some success against those teams, Dallas especially since Kobe owns them. Next up is Milwaukee tomorrow at home. Making the playoffs takes on greater importance this year because the Lakers still owe Boston a first round pick from the Chris Mihm-Gary Payton deal which is still lottery protected, or at least top 10 I think. This is very big considering this is an weak draft and I'd rather give up a mid to late first round pick this year and we still have a 1st round pick from the Shaq trade so it wouldn't be that big of a loss. 12 games left, 9 at home, we must close strong to keep our playoff spot since there's so many teams bunched down there now.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Let's Keep It Rollin

Tipoff is in just a few minutes for the Michigan-Miami Elite Eight matchup in the NIT. Michigan rolled to an easy win earlier in the year but Miami was without their starting PG at the time. I was unable to watch the Michigan-Notre Dame game since I was still at work while it was going on and the worse part was the fact that there were no replays of the game shown because ESPN decided to replay every single women's tournament game that went on that night which sucked. So all I have to go off of last game are the reports I got from friends and the highlights from that night. I know what this team is capable of and we should be able to get the W and punch our ticket to New York.

The other big news from this game is that Patrick Beverley, a combo guard from Chicago is coming into town for his official visit. He's one of the top unsigned players left in the class of 06 and he has narrowed his list to Michigan, St. John's and Arkansas as the fourth team, Virginia has been eliminated. The Michigan visit is his first, from reports that I have read he would be a great addition to the team and would help in softening the blow of Daniel Horton's graduation. He put up huge numbers his senior year as he averaged 34 points per game. Hopefully he has a good visit and I definitely want to see him in the Maize and Blue next year. Time for tipoff now, let's get it done fellas, Go Blue!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

At least we're still alive

It's been hard to get up for this run of the NIT since this years squad is a veteran team that should have made a run in the NCAA's. Two years ago these guys were still sophomores so the thinking was a good NIT run could help them for the next two years and those just came and went. Don't get me wrong, I was extremely excited to hear that Dion drained that 3 at the buzzer but it's just not the same as doing it in the tourney. I'm still rooting for this team to win the whole thing and put another banner up in Crisler though. The road to MSG continues tomorrow with a rematch with Miami, the second consecutive game which we'll play a team we already played earlier in the season, not sure if the NIT looked into that at all.

The World Baseball Classic finished up last night and I've got to say that it was bullshit. The entire structure of the tournament is all fucked up and changes must be made the next time this takes place. First off international umpires must be brought in to ensure fair calls and no ump should be working a game which his country is playing in. Second they need to change the format of the semi's and finals. It was ridiculous to see Japan 3-3 beating a 6-0 Korea team in one game and moving on after already having played each other twice in the previous two pools. Regardless if you keep it one game, or a double elimination as I propose, there needs to be playing between the two pools. Pool 1 winner should have played Pool 2 Runner Up and Pool 2 Winner play Pool 1 Runner Up if it is kept as single elimination. Considering the teams have already played 6 games to get to that point I would have rather seen a double elimination pool just like they use in the College World Series.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Can't be all good

Back from Vegas where it started out great and then just went downhill from there. Started out hot on the tables and on sports betting but just couldn't keep it up so I ended up a good sized loser on the weekend. Highlights included watching the Northwestern State-Iowa game live and seeing the buzzer beater and also the Georgetown player who slammed home the dunk at the end of the game to cover for the Hoyas.

Due to the run at the beginning I had, I was considering changing my flight from LAX to San Diego on Saturday night to get to the baseball game but fortunately, it turned out, the tickets to the game were impossible to get and would end up costing more than my flight so I passed. I figured the game would turn out that way considering it's difficult to beat the same team 3 times in a row, much less a team that is your rival.

The Lakers lost two games which I wasn't able to watch since the only thing that was on in Vegas was the NCAA tournament and they head to Boston tonight for a 2nd night of a road back to back which we are just dreadful in, I expect another L here. I hope I'm proven wrong.

Finally out to Michigan where there's a lot of news coming out as Spring Practice has just started, the NIT continues and NCAA Hockey selection has taken place. The bad news out of the spring is Antonio Bass is hurt, if there's one place we could afford an injury WR was it but it's been reported he was going to play a lot of QB which would have been interesting. I am hopeful he will be back but some are saying he could be RS this season.

Out at Crisler tonight is a rematch of an earlier game between Michigan and Notre Dame in the NIT. We pulled out a close win in the first game on the road but we're at home tonight where we usually play much better. Here's to taking another step back to MSG. The hockey pairings came out last night and it's a tough one as the Wolverines are playing in North Dakota and play the first round as the #3 seed against the 2nd seeded North Dakota Fighting Sioux. If we are fortunate to move on the #1 seed Minnesota Golden Gophers will await so it's definitely not an easy road.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

One of the best times of the year

I always grew up watching sports, NCAA Tournament included, however the Tournament gained extra meaning once I got to college. During Junior High and High School it was pretty much impossible to follow the early rounds of the tournament at school, pre-cell phone days. But one of the best memories I have is when I first realized how much fun this all day basketball thing is. My freshman year at Michigan I lived up at Bursley Hall, no I was not an engineer and no I do not know why I was stuck up there, but anyways, I remember sitting there, skipping class watching Mike Miller of Florida hit the game winning shot against Butler and I realized how the first two days of the tournament were so great and important. Since I started college however, Michigan has yet to make the tourney so it is always a bittersweet time for me. I just can't imagine how I will feel watching when Michigan finally gets back in the tourney.

Anyways, RBUAS has his entire bracket picks up and although I would like to do something like that I just don't have the time to do so, so here are my upsets and Final Four picks in this tournament.

Atlanta: Southern Illinois over West Virginia and Iowa to the Sweet 16, Final Four pick: Texas

Oakland: San Diego State over Indiana, Alabama over Marquette and Bucknell over Arkansas. Final Four: UCLA

Washington D.C.: Utah St over Washington, Seton Hall over Witchita State, UAB over Kentucky. Final Four: UConn

Minneapolis: Wisconsin over Arizona, Wisconsin-Milwaukee over Oklahoma and Georgetown over Ohio State in the 2nd round to the Sweet 16. Final Four: Boston College over Florida.

Heading to Vegas tonight, coming back late Saturday, wish me luck.

Before I head out wanted to mention the Pool 1 winning Korea baseball team. Another great game last night and the crowd was great. Although the baseball knowledge isn't completely there yet, any sign of contact would elicit a loud cheer even if it was a routine fly ball or a grounder hit to the shortstop, but the crowd cheered the whole time and loud. There definitely was a home field advantage for Korea and it was great to see. Although it's been a great run I think it ends here. The U.S. should win today against Mexico with Clemens on the mound and when it gets to the semis, since they already lost to Korea the U.S. team will be ready. But it is a single game so anything can happen.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

How the hell did that happen?

Came home from a disappointing LA Kings game which they lost 6-2 to Phoenix and the Lakers lost to Sacramento to drop to the #8 spot in the playoff race but my mood comletely changed when I got home. I picked up the mail and I see a large envelope from the University of Michigan. My brother Steven who has been studying at a JC the past two years send out his applications a few months back and lo and behold he has accepted to the University of Michigan. I have always given my brother a hard time when it comes to schoolwork because he's always just gotten by. He does just enough to get by when he can do better, he thinks I'm picking on him but it's because I know he can do better. Great job Steven, we're all very proud of you, now just stop being so damn lazy! It was funny after it happened the people I talked to who mentioned they weren't sure who would be more excited me or my brother. Earl said he was disgusted to hear because now he knows any type of USC propoganda he tries to throw Steven's way will fall onto deaf ears, not that it was actually working before hand.

Heading to the baseball game tonight and looking at tickets now it looks like it's getting close to capacity. Should be an exciting one as Korea can outright clinch with a victory while Japan is still fighting to stay alive. If Japan wins with scoring 7 or fewer runs in a regulation 9 inning game then the US will be eliminated and these two teams would then rematch again on Saturday for the right to play the winner of the Dominican Republic - Cuba/Puerto Rico game for the championship.

UTEP just housed Lipscomb to advance and now they will face Michigan in the NIT tomorrow night. Vanderbilt is playing at Notre Dame and the winners of the two games will meet in the next round. It's sad that I have to be following the NIT like this but I am Michigan through and through and will always follow them no matter how bad it is. It's just a part of me, my loyalty to my friends and my teams and I'll never give it up. Heading to Vegas tomorrow, it's gonna be on. Once again, Congratulations Steven, keep up the good work.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What the heck is going on?

Didn't expect to see this happening.

Well what do you know there's only one undefeated team in the World Baseball Classic and it's Korea. There's no way in hell anyone would have guessed that to be the case 5 games into this thing. I was at the gym last night and the game was on and was surprised to see Korea leading 2-0 in the 2nd inning. Then Griffey hit the jack, still the prettiest swing in baseball, and I thought the fairy tale would end there. But it didn't. Somehow Hee Seop Choi came up to the plate and actually came through when it counted, unlike the countless times he failed to do so with the Dodgers. I thought it was a routine fly ball but it made it over the fence.

Baseball fever is sweeping the Korean community, much like soccer did during the 2002 World Cup run. Pretty much every Korean I know is going to the game tomorrow as will I. It's going to be a hell of a week. As my 9 week diet plan is drawing to a close, currently starting the 9th week, I hadn't done much during the time since it was such a strict plan and I wasn't going to go out to tempt myself, it seems like all those weeks I spent at home are making way for an extremely fun and exciting week. Tonight I head to the Los Angeles Kings game against the Phoenix Coyotes, tomorrow I will head Anaheim for the Korea-Japan game and then Thursday night I am off to Vegas. For my friends who are keeping track, I've lost almost 40 pounds in 8 weeks so far, 37 to be exact, so hopefully I can finish off strong with the even 40 and then I'll need to go some more from there.

The Lakers play a huge game up in Sacramento tonight, I do not want to see a repeat of the last trip in Cow Town when we blew a 4 point lead with 22 seconds thanks to Lamar shooting like a moron with plenty of time on the shot clock. That is a freshman level mistake at the NCAA level, not an NBA mistake, unacceptable. Also UTEP plays Libscomb in the opening round of the NIT for the right to play #1 seed Michigan. As disappointed I am in not making the tournament, I will be even moreso if we do not make it at least to the Garden.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Of course, once again a blown Sunday game

I hate these white jerseys.

Pretty ironic for someone like me that has 60+ jerseys in his collection to say such a thing, especially about a jersey that I own but there's no other explanation why the Lakers play so fucking poorly on Sundays and against inferior opponents. The Lakers lost another game on Sunday to a team they shouldn't in these terrible white jerseys. Yes they look cool, yes I own one but these are the Los Angeles Lakers, they should not be subjected to wearing alternate jerseys. It was a strange sight when I went to the Lakers-Celtics game a few weeks back as they both wore alternate jerseys and that just shouldn't happen. There should be an exemption for those two teams to never have to wear alternate jerseys. The Lakers are now 3-6 in Sunday home games, it has to be the jerseys, throw that in with most of these games being against bad teams it's a recipe for disaster as the Lakers don't seem to take anyone not in playoff contention seriously so they don't show up and get beaten by them. Gold jerseys only!

Bubble Burst

Can't say that I'm surprised that we didn't make it, we had chances to get it done and get in but it just didn't happen. The surprising thing was a horrible Air Force team making it, it's one thing if Florida State or Cincinnati got in but the growing trend of giving more mid-majors bids is just ridiculous. It's one thing if they are playing tough schedules but you look at them and they're not. I couldn't believe I was agreeing with Jim Nantz and Billy Packer but I was, these teams are playing no one and getting in while the committee is telling the power conference schools you have to play a tough non-conference schedule before you hit your conference schedule, unbelievable, and you wonder why everyone thinks the NCAA is run by a bunch of idiots. Like I said, it's not the fact that we didn't get in that upsets me, I was expecting the worst after we lost last Thursday, it's the fact that these undeserving mid-majors got in ahead of the bubble teams from the power conferences.

Although I was very disappointed about not making it, I guess the positive is we're the #1 seed in the NIT brackets. As bad as this season has turned out, this team should win this tournament and we can at least throw up another banner, albeit one that no one will really care about. The other positive from yesterday was Korea's 2-1 win over Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. I said it last week but if you're not watching these games you're missing out.

Continuing on with the hip-hop post I had on Friday, I watched Dave Chappelle's Block Party on
Saturday night and I must say it was dope as hell. Now it's not a Chappelle comedy like most will expect it's more based on the concert that was thrown and it was really good. Watching that made me remember all the great stuff that's been sitting in my CD case that I need to bring back since I've been getting sucked into the garbage on the radio. Especially when Dead Prez performed their song about their songs that don't get radio play. I hadn't listened to Dead Prez in a long time so I forgot how good they are.

Another good artist I found recently was Mr. Lif. Funny story how I found him cause I remember a friend of mine buying his CD a year or two ago and while I was bored a few weeks back I found his artist page on myspace and ended up listening to all the tracks on his site which were dope. I tried to find the CD it was from but no store had it so I ended up getting it on Ebay and since it came in the mail on Friday that's all I've been listening to. Definitely recommended.
Also if you're into old school Motown pick up the Four Tops - Ultimate Collection, a great CD as well.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Berkeley : Girls :: Popular Hip-Hop : Rappers

Definitely not as dope as he thinks he is

First off, shout out goes to my boy Mike who just got accepted to the Anderson School of Business for his MBA at UCLA, told you there was nothing to worry about. Now onto the reason for the title which actually came from an IM conversation I had with Mike earlier today. We were discussing how hip-hop today is pretty bad and how he was listening to some old Jay-Z songs and realized that his taste in music wasn't changing it was just the music was bad that he wasn't listening to it as much anymore. While I on the other hand have still been listening but have been getting average to mediocre songs shoved down my throat by the radio and started liking them so my standards were dropping as well. Both of these show that hip-hop today isn't good and there's just no one out there to change it, for now. The other side of it as well is the rappers that think they're the shit today but are actually terrible. Those thoughts came from when Jadakiss was on the shop and they asked him about the state of the rap game today and what all these rappers would be doing if BIG was still alive and he said "would you like fries with that?" Referring to the fact that these so called rap stars would be working at fast food joints.

Well then, what does all this have to do with Berkeley Girls? It's very similar with what's known as the Berkeley effect on girls that end up going to school there. Most people know that the attractiveness of a female student population is usually the inverse of the education factor meaning hotter girls go to not so great academic institutions while more average looking girls end up going to much tougher academic schools. Since Berkeley is considered the #1 public school in the nation, this definitely applies.

My friend Mike went to Berkeley and I've heard many stories from others about the Berkeley effect on girls. These girls end up going to Berkeley and because the "talent" pool there isn't as great every girl is pretty much bumped up a notch on desirability since there aren't many great looking girls there. So after being considered a notch or two higher than they really are these girls develop an attitude that they're all that when they're actually not. Just like these current rappers think they're so good but in reality they're terrible. The other part is where the guys think that these girls are better looking when they're not. So it's just like my listening to current popular rappers and thinking they're pretty good when they are not. Back in the day when I was listening to Pac, Big, Wu-Tang and Gangstarr on the regular I would've never wasted my time with all the garbage that's on the radio but that shit is getting to me now. It's something I gotta stop so I've been listening mostly to my CD's now so I don't continue to be bombarded by these mediocre songs and then convincing myself or getting convinced that it's great music.

Nothing else to talk about regarding Michigan basketball considering we're just in a wait and hope position. According to ESPN's Bubble watch, we need both Bucknell and San Diego State to win their conference tourneys to get in, while Joe Lunardi still has us in his last four while pretty much everyone else has us as out. Just gotta wait for the Selection show on Sunday now.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Well there goes that

With the upsets occurring across the country, this was a game we needed to allow us to definitely punch our ticket to the dance and of course we blew it. Just as they say it's difficult to beat a team 3 times in a season it was and I just listened to the game on the radio since I'm still at work but damn was that painful. I didn't actually watch the game so I can't really describe much but I feel like this team is like my other favorite basketball team the Lakers. Whenever we've had a big game such as Illinois or Michigan State (Pistons, Spurs for the Lakers) the team comes out fired out and seems to give much more effort and energy than in the case of when they play a bad team Purdue, Minnesota (Portland and Atlanta). It's one thing when the Lakers did it when they were good because we knew regardless that they were going to win the championship, but it's another for the current Lakers teams to do it when every game counts as they're fighting for a playoff spot. Same thing with the Michigan team today, it was a must win game considering the situation they're in and they go out and blow it, just awful. I'm gonna stop now before I go off. Maybe this senior class will be able to say they won 2 NIT championships.

The moment of truth

The Michigan Wolverines take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament later this afternoon. Depending on your source Michigan is already either a lock (ESPN Bracketology) or is out of the tourney completely (CBS Sportsline) so it would make me and the rest of the Michigan faithful rest a lot easier on Selection Sunday if we could win a game or two in the BTT.

On paper it seems like an easy Michigan victory considering the two previous meetings this season were 16 and 22 point victories by Michigan. However, those that follow sports know that it is difficult to win 3 games in a row like that against the same opponent. Minnesota is coming off of a bad loss to Northwestern but they have a lot to play for as they are one game over 500 so they are playing for a NIT berth.

Lester Abram could see his first action in a while as he was cleared to play on Saturday but did not come off the bench. Bringing Lester back would be a huge boost to this team especially in a game which most consider a must win for our NCAA tournament hopes. I know this team can do it, let's secure that bid and not have to sweat it out on Sunday, Let's Go Blue!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

One year anniversary, sort of

I know it's a cliche that time flies but damn it really does. I had no idea I was over a year already but as a lot of other bloggers were writing about their year online, I took a look back and saw that I was already passed so I just decided to wait a few days and do it on the 13th month, no idea why as it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Throughout this past year my favorite teams haven't done as much as hoped but I guess it makes for more interesting reading when I can tell you about how I had to cry myself to sleep the night before because Michigan blew another 4th quarter lead or how I almost started a fight after the Lakers got blown out over the weekend. At the same time it has been a good outlet for me as I probably would have gone crazy had I not had this available considering how bad of a year it was for Michigan football.

I want to shout out to everyone that has linked me on their site, especially MGoBlog as it seems over 90% of my traffic comes from being linked there. Also to the entire BlogPoll community, even though I'm not a voting member I follow most of the sites there and have found many other great blogs through it, you don't know how grateful I am for those sites since they helped me through my 60-70 hour work weeks back in the fall. There are too many sites to name but just know that I appreciate the fact that you think my rantings about sports are good (or bad) enough to be linked. When I started this site it was mainly to have my own online journal, like a lot of my friends did, but I refused to start a xanga and I found blogspot. But this site has definitely grown to more than I could have imagined at the beginning and I highly doubt anyone has continued to read this far down my narrative of the history of this site so I'll just end it here with thanks to everyone who has read my site through the past 13 months and I hope to become a more proficient writer in hopes of eventually getting some non-spam comments every once in a while.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Of course, I knew it'd be too much to ask for

The Lakers lost, as expected to San Antonio last night. The Lake Show had jumped out to a 6 point lead after 1 and led by 2 at the half only to come out and get destroyed in the 3rd as they were outscored by 17. You can't do that in any game, much less against the defending world champions. Kobe tried to bring them back by himself, which he started to do, but they couldn't get any stops and just kept trading baskets which did them no good. Kobe finished with 43 but Lamar only had 13 and no one else hit double digits although Mihm and Smush had 9 each to come close.

No one else helped on the offensive end so we needed defensive stops but there were none to be found. That shows in the box score with 21 each from Ginobli, Parker and Michael Finley as well as 18 from Tim Duncan. Ginobli and Finley both shot 5-6 from behind the arc and as a team they shot over 50%. That will not get the job done and things must improve and fast as there is a critical game tomorrow night in New Orleans. The Hornets are in the 7th spot ahead of the Lakers by 2.5 games so it is critical they pick this one up as every game counts that much more during the stretch run, especially against the teams that are in this bunch at the bottom of the Western Conference.

Tuesday is usually the day I go to buy new CD's at Best Buy but there hasn't been much that's been good released lately so I haven't bought much. However I did pick up the new Ne-Yo CD "In my own words" last week and I must say it is pretty good. I'm sure everyone has heard "So Sick" which was played out on the radio a month ago but it still on all over the place but the rest of his album is solid. The first time I heard Ne-Yo was back in late August/early September when his first single "Stay" dropped. That was/is a hot joint and I don't get why that song didn't catch on as well as I thought it would. It's got a very catchy hook and a good beat and just seems like something that would have gotten a lot more commercial appeal but it didn't.

The rest of the album is ok as it has its moments such as the new single "When you get mad" and "Get Down Like That" even though it uses the same beat that Mary J Blige uses for her opening track in "The Breakthrough." Ne-yo's version is just a little bit slower but I could immediately tell I had heard it before when I first listened to it. The CD also has the remix of "Get Down Like That" as a hidden track which features Ghostface Killah which is always good. A few tracks sound like something straight out of an Usher album and I don't know if that's necessarily a good thing. I was debating on the final score between a 3.5 and a 4 out of 5 stars but I just couldn't decide so I'll cut it down the middle and score it a 3.75 out of 5 stars. Definitely worth a pickup while you can get it for $7.99.

Another CD that I also recently picked up was Dave Hollister's "Things in the Game Done Changed." Some may remember Hollister as one of the original members of Blackstreet, but he left the group very early on. He has had some good singles and as a member of yourmusic.com where I get CD's for $5.99 each I thought it was worth a buy. Damn was I wrong. The song I remember the most from this CD was his single that got a good amount of play back when it was released "Baby Do Those Things." But aside from that I can't find many good tracks at all and nothing that comes close to that song. It does have the "Keep Loving You" Remix with AZ so that is a plus but it doesn't have the original version of the song, a very good song by the way, that I thought would be on the album as well. I believe that was only released on the Steve Harvey compliation CD that came out a few years back. So just because of that single I'm going to give this album 1.5 stars, don't get it, just go download that track.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Random Updates

Forgot to mention in the Lakers post earlier that Jim Jackson has signed with the Lakers. In a very good move the Lakers have signed him to a pro-rated portion of the half of the mid level exemption the team has left over after only using the other half to sign Aaron McKie. Stanislav "the Black Hole" Medvedenko's career with the Lakers has now come to an end due to this deal. Medvedenko never did much except shoot the ball a lot so it's not like I'll be sad to see him go. This is a very low risk move that could help the team out so I'm definitely happy to see it happen, even if Jackson is a Bucknut. Not sure when he'll suit up but I doubt he'll play tonight.

There were a couple of other great sports moments from this weekend. Starting off with the North Carolina - Duke game on Saturday night. I didn't expect Carolina to get it done on the road but that's why it's the rivalry that it is. Hansborough played a great game finishing with 27 points and 10 boards and it's scary to think he's just a freshman. Just imagine what Carolina will do next year when they load up with what is considered either the #1 or 2 incoming freshman class in the country with 3 of the top 13 players overall, according to Rivals.

Those who know me, know I can't stand Duke so this week was a great week from that standpoint as they lost both games they played and fell from #1 to #3 in the latest polls. It was especially great to see JJ Redick and that "superstar" class that came into Duke 4 years ago lose their last game at home.

Finally the night ended extremely late as I stayed up to watch the Korea-Japan game for the World Baseball Classic, a game which started at 1 am. It was a great game that I ended up not finishing until the next morning. Baseball is just a sport that cannot be watched that late at night. The Joe Calzaghe - Jeff Lacy fight that took place in Manchester, England on Saturday was done at 3 am local time so they could get the American viewing audience. Boxing gets your blood flowing and you get pumped up watching two guys fight, baseball is just too damn slow to watch at that hour. I tried to stay up for the entire thing but just couldn't do it. The 7th inning had just ended and Japan was leading Korea 2-1 and as much as I tried to stay awake I knew I wouldn't be able to so I ended up Tivoing the rest of the game and crashed past 3 am. I woke up in the morning to turn on the TV and watch the ending and what an ending it was. Korea hit a 2 run home run in the top of the 8th to take a 3-2 lead and then finished it off and Korea had won Pool A in the WBC.

I know most people aren't too into the World Baseball Classic but I've had a good time watching it so far and will continue to catch whatever games I can. I guess it's just my continual fascination with things that only happen every 4 years so I know the times I can watch them are limited. Just like when growing up I collected a bunch of sports memorabilia that is pretty much worthless today because I convinced myself to buy it since it was "Limited Edition" and my dad tried to convince me that it would be useless, damn am I sad to say he was right. Those basketball cards that I have numbered out of 10,000 are not even worth the paper they're printed on. Hell I just bought a Kobe Bryant Poker Chip from the new topps set on Ebay because it was a refractor and numbered out of 199, at least there's some limit to those but still I am a sucker for the limited edition sports collectible, and likewise I am a sucker to watch all these sporting events no one really cares about just because they happen every 4 years, two of which took/are taking place this year, the Winter Olympics and the WBC, at least the World Cup is this year as well.

Not the ending I envisioned

The basketball team closed out the regular season with a loss to Indiana which is definitely making the Michigan faithful a little bit worried about our supposed "lock" to be in the tourney after we defeated Illinois. I definitely have to say we are probably back on the bubble now with an 8-8 finish in the #1 RPI conference you'd have to say most of the time that team will make it in but we have been horrible down the stretch, another factor the committee takes into account as we are 4-6 in our last 10. At 18-9 overall we are in decent shape but I would feel much better with a win or two in the Big Ten tourney. As long as we get 1 I will rest easier and with 2, pushing us to 20 wins I would say there would be nothing to worry about.

Our matchup in the first round is good as we play a Minnesota team we blew out both at home and on the road so I feel pretty confident in the teams ability to get the W there. No one is sure yet of the availability of Chris Hunter yet but it is reported today that Lester Abram was cleared for Saturday, but Coach decided not to play him. I don't have a problem with that, I would have rather had him rest up for the tourney and it seems as if he will be playing on Thursday which will be a big boost to the team. If we can get Hunter back soon as well then watch out. We have yet to play a game this year at full strength and I know the team can make some noise with everyone together.

This is why I get so frustrated with the Lakers

There's a lot I was going to discuss today once I got to posting but of course as always, my brilliant ideas that I thought of over the weekend are gone once I arrive to work on Monday, I really need to start writing this stuff down. Anyways onto the highlights of the weekend. Once again due to my diet I'm currently on I was pretty much just stuck at home watching sports, although there was so much on even if I wasn't I probably would've stayed in as well. My new laptop finally came on Friday so I stayed at home to start setting it up and watched the Lakers take on the Warriors and add another W to the record. Once again Kobe hit some just ridiculous shots that you wouldn't believe unless you saw them and the Lakers were above .500 by a game now.

But I didn't expect it to last for long considering the Lakers history against good teams and their problems with 2nd nights of back to backs, but for once they were coming home for a 2nd half which I don't remember happening in a long time. I turned on the game in the 2nd quarter since I was also watching the North Carolina-Duke game as well as the Joe Calzaghe-Jeff Lacy fight which both started at 6 and were definitely good games, the fight notsomuch as it was more of Calzaghe just beating the crap out of Lacy so there was a lot of action.

Anyways back to the Lakers when I turned it on in the 2nd quarter they were still in a tight ball game which I really didn't expect considering the Jekyll and Hyde nature of this team. Then at the end of the quarter the Lakers hit a 3 to cut it to 4, only to let Chauncey come back down and hit a 3 at the buzzer to push it back to 7, which definitely hurt as they just took back the momentum the Lakers had gained at the end. As expected the Pistons shot out of the gate in the 2nd half, so quickly in fact that Coach Jackson had to call a TO not even a minute into the quarter. The Pistons then continued on and opened the lead up to 13 halfway through the 3rd quarter when the ran began. After chipping away at the lead to 8, then the Lakers went on a 16-0 run from the end of the 3rd to the beginning of the 4th which put them up for good. Lamar hit a 3 at the end of the 3rd to give the Lakers a 2 point lead which they wouldn't relinquish for the rest of the night.

The Pistons did make their attempt to come back during the 4th but the Lakers held it off for by far the biggest win of the season and it couldn't have come at a better time. Kobe was Kobe again dropping 40 but the big stories were Lamar Odom with 24 points and 10 assists and Kwame Brown actually earning some of his contract as he had 12 boards and outrebounded Ben Wallace. I know you've heard many say this but it is true, as Lamar goes the Lakers will go. Kobe will drop his 35+ a night but when Lamar is getting close to 20 points and plays aggressive while distributing like he can this team could surprise a lot of people across the country.

This could be a springboard game as this next week consists of very important matchups starting with the Spurs tonight at Staples then hit the road for a game against New Orleans/Oklahoma City which is just a couple games in front of them and then at San Antonio again. There's also the game against the Queens next Tuesday as well so this is a very important stretch for the squad. Hopefully they will build from this experience and start playing more consistent ball and we can see them compete and win against some of the better teams in the league. Granted it does us no good if we continue to get beaten by Atlanta, Portland and the rest of the cellar in the L. We know what this Lakers team is capable of so it makes it that much more frustrating watching them blow games they shouldn't and win games they shouldn't. This team is better than that and I can only hope that they continue to show it for the rest of the year.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Upset Week continues

The string of upsets this week continued as UAB defeated #3 Memphis last night and there was almost a second as California took #13 UCLA to OT before the Bruins closed it out. It's a great time of year once March rolls around as there is always college basketball on all the time. The major conferences are closing out their seasons and getting ready for conference tourneys while the small conferences are just starting their conference tourneys. I love watching these random conferences that only get televised at this point of the season play in their tournament because for these kids they have to win their tournament to get into the Big Dance. It's fun to watch since these guys have their careers on the line unlike the major conferences who are just most likely just playing for seeding.

It's senior day at Michigan tomorrow as Coach Amaker's first class of recruits are graduating. Daniel Horton, Chris Hunter and Graham Brown, along with Lester Abram who will be back next year due to the medical redshirt he got last year, will be playing their last game at Crisler. It makes me feel that much older considering these guys were freshmen when I was a senior at Ann Arbor. I hope they get sent out the way they deserve because I have a tremendous amount of respect for them as they signed with Michigan during our darkest days and then stuck with the program when they got hit with sanctions for stuff they had nothing to do with. I will always remember this first class of guys as the start of the new beginning for Michigan basketball. These guys deserve to go out with a bang and I hope they get it tomorrow even though a lot of the students are out on break. We need this one, let's get it done, Go Blue!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Upset Wednesday

Yesterday was full of upsets as two top 10 teams, #1 Duke and #7 Texas fell to unranked opponents, both on the road and #11 Tennessee lost at home. It does show that winning on the road in college basketball is extremely tough, so much in fact if I remember correctly from my Sports in Society class the professor said that only soccer has a bigger home field advantage than college basketball and those two were by far the top two sports in home field advantage. Those that know me know my absolute hatred for Duke due to the fact when I was growing up they beat two of my favorite teams, UNLV and then Michigan in back to back seasons. I've got this thing with hating teams that beat my favorite teams when I was younger, hence the reason I also hated Michael Jordan and the Bulls since they beat the Lakers in 91.

Florida State should have won that game earlier at Duke and it was great to see them pick up that win since they are probably in the tourney now thanks to that win. Texas lost because of a boneheaded play by P.J. Tucker who did not know the shot clock at the end of the game and did not get a shot off. That is inexcusable to not know the clock at such a critical juncture in the game. He ended up just dribbling the time away and did not even get a look and Texas A&M capitalized with a 3 pointer at the buzzer. Big time win for the Aggies and they are looking better for an at large berth. Finally Tennessee lost their home game to Kentucky, both schools which I hate and Kentucky is the lesser of two evils in my book so it was good to see. Bruce Pearl, head coach at Tennessee, once again wore a hideous orange blazer and I'm shocked to see they make them in that color.

The Lakers just blew another game to another terrible team and are looking just awful now. What was once optimism that this team could get it together and move up to a 6 seed now has turned to doubts if this team can even hold on to the 8th playoff spot in the West. This team cannot shoot, cannot defend, cannot do anything right. It doesn't get better with a game at Golden State on Friday followed by home games on Saturday and Monday against Detroit and San Antonio. It is getting extremely frustrating to watch this team as plays so well one night and then so poorly the next. I hope we can pick up this next one in Golden State or we're going to be looking at the wrong side of 5oo, something we never want to see, much less at this point of the season when teams are supposed to be coming together for the stretch run and the playoffs, I can only hope we're just about to turn that corner.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Stop tryin to bring Vince down

Just because this picture makes me so happy.

The news of the combine, other than the freakishness of Vernon Davis with his 4.38 40 yard dash and 42" vertical was the report that Vince Young supposedly got a 6 on his Wonderlic. The NFL denied that was true and it is now reported that he got a 16. Most believe that he was re-administered the test which is why he got a new score but who knows. A big problem with this is for QB's teams like to see scores in the 20's since they want to see that the QB will be able to digest an NFL playbook. But if you look at previous scores this means nothing, sure it might drop him a spot or two in the draft but I doubt it, Dan Marino scored a 16, Steve McNair and Daunte Culpepper scored 15's and Donovan McNabb scored a 12 while Ryan Leaf scored a 27 and Cade McNown scored a 28. From which list would you like to select a QB for your team?
People are trying to make too big of a deal about it and let them waste their time doing it.

As soon as the news broke my friend Earl, a u$c grad made a post about it on our fantasy basketball board. I figured he would since, like all $c people they're trying to grasp at anything to bring Vince down since their team couldn't do it. As much as it hurt me when he did it to Michigan it was unbelievable to watch and it made me ecstatic when he did it again in this years Rose Bowl. RBUAS has a good post up which got me started thinking about this topic. No matter what happens with him in the NFL, Vince Young will still go down as one of my favorite players of all-time in college football so much so that I now own two of his jerseys. FYI, I do have him as the 2nd QB IMO in this draft but I have Jay Cutler as 1st, I don't think Leinart will be all that great in the pros but that's another topic for another day. Not sure exactly where I'm going with this, it sounded as a better idea in my head then once it got to paper but since I'm not a writer this will have to do. Vince Young is awesome and stop hatin on his Wonderlic score because he will do some things when you watch him that will make you say "How the hell did he do that?" People are getting too into the numbers, which are definitely fun to look at, yes I must mention again Vernon Davis is a freak, but what I want to watch are football players. I don't care if they ran a ridiculous 40 or benched 40 reps of 225 if they can't play the game. People like Vince Young and Michael Vick will pull off plays that no one thought was possible and that matters and shows more to me than what some test that you have to finish within 12 minutes at the combine tells you.

The Mean Team?

News out of Michigan from yesterday centered around "the Mean Team" consisting of Jerome Jackson and two walk-ons Landon Smith and Tyrone Jordan. I guess they wanted to make their own version of the 7th floor crew but it doesn't even come close. Couldn't they come up with a group name that showed a little creativity? I listened to half the song until my ears started bleeding and I had to turn it off. The beat is awful, the raps are awful and the hook is just horrid. Granted I didn't expect much to begin with but if it was causing such controversy I expected it to be something but it wasn't. I've heard worse before so it's nothing to get all worked up about, they should probably just have to run the stadium steps a few times and yelled at for being so stupid. Apparently this started because the girl that is the target of this song wrote something bad about them in her xanga. It's just ridiculous and stupid, grow up these guys aren't even freshman, they're juniors/seniors and they can't deal with a bad xanga entry? What happens when someone leaves a bad comment on their facebook or myspace? For those that want to take a listen you can find it here.