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Archive for March, 2009

Like the packets on this table, The Kentucky job is artificially sweet.

Like the packets on this table, the Kentucky job is artificially sweet.

The possibility of John Calipari leaving Memphis for greener (as in money) pastures is gaining in likelihood. There are plenty of reasons to accept the head coaching job at University of Kentucky: They win often, their fans are rabid, and he’d be the biggest star in town. It’s freakin’ Kentucky, the most celebrated school in the sport! And they want to pay him 35 million bucks to come there. You don’t turn down $35 million without a good excuse.

There are good excuses, though. All those reasons to accept have flipsides. Kentucky wins often, but not lately. Didn’t even get asked to the Big Dance this year, so it’s not like Calipari would be inheriting a champion (like Tubby Smith did). Their fans are rabid, which is great when the team is dominant, but terrifying when the other shoe drops. And the biggest stars require the most gas. Are you prepared to spend every waking moment in the spotlight? In a world where your dog-walker gets his own talk show?

In Memphis, you will always play rhythm to Elvis’ lead guitar. In Kentucky, you’ll be Basketball Elvis. Kentucky basketball is like Notre Dame football: You can’t just win, you have to win with honor and dignity, upholding traditions that are older than the modern incarnation of the game. They will pay you lots of money, but you will be earning every cent.

And $35 million dollars sounds great (because it is great), but let’s remember that we aren’t comparing it to zero. It equals out to around $4.5 million per year over the eight years contracted in the deal. Calipari’s current deal at Memphis pays him roughly $2.35 million annually. That’s a lot of money, too. Though the Kentucky offer is almost double his present haul, it comes with triple the grief. $4.5 million and a headache or $2.35 million and an Aspirin.

John Calipari is probably going to take the Kentucky job, ultimately, because he REALLY wants to be Rick Pitino. Why, I have no idea. Rick Pitino is the David Caruso of basketball coaches: He had a great job at Kentucky (NYPD Blue), left it to suck up the NBA sidelines for a short stint (movies like Kiss of Death, Jade), then returned to coach college basketball at an inferior school (CSI: Miami) in the same state (genre).

A New York City valet couldn’t have paralleled that any better.

There must be something in the hair gel that makes these coaches act so recklessly. Why not espouse the Coach K principle of building a house and turning it into a home? Duke is a national powerhouse every year. Duke! Nothing athletic should be happening at Duke. But it is, because Coach K established a program there. Coach Cal could do the same thing at Memphis, just like he could have done at Massachusetts had he stuck around. Instead, he will buy the McMansion, furnish it with the finest accessories, and wait for it to be foreclosed upon.

Then he can start all over again. Only problem is he’s running out of mid-level schools that start with “M” to ignite. And like that, the coaches at Marquette and Miami of Ohio just got nervous about long-term job security.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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UConn celebrates modestly.

UConn celebrates modestly.

Another exciting weekend of college basketball. Let’s break it down!

The kids from the Show-Me state showed me something on Saturday. That non-stop, indefatigable full-court press Missouri plays is scintillating. The most talented players can dominate the offensive end effortlessly at times. Playing defense is all elbow grease. Full court press for an entire game is an elbow grease fire. Thank God they didn’t play anyone I root for. Mizzou easily played three times as hard as Connecticut. They would have lost by 30 if they hadn’t. Connecticut is that fucking good. There are at least five top 10 picks at that school and all of them could play in the League today. UConn showed me something also: Their four regular season losses were inexcusable. I am convinced they could beat the Pistons.

The best part of winning is the hugs.

The best part of winning is the hugs.

Two of those Husky-haltings came at the hands of Pittsburgh. With the Panthers bounced from these playoffs after their finest showing in 25 years we are left to wonder why they never seemed to show up for this Tournament. They really stopped showing up after that second victory over UConn in mid-March. Looking back, beating UConn was their season. They never really established goals beyond that. Villanova was the better and hungrier team all night. Speedy Reynolds blowing by Chubby Fields may have decided the game’s final tally, but the outcome seemed preordained.

It's all fun and games until someone starts saluting Hitler.

It's all fun and games until someone starts saluting Hitler.

We’ve discussed pressure defense and the Big East, and when you put those two things together you get Louisville. The Cardinals are another team that like to crowd you defensively for a hundred feet. The reason Missouri can attack defensively is because they expend very little effort offensively thanks to ball movement. Louisville can employ that defensive strategy because they score points so effortlessly. Enter the Michigan State Spartans. MSU made Pitino’s bunch work so hard for their own baskets that they lacked the energy to infuse that full-court D with any real press. Make no mistake, an energetic full-court press can riddle even the finest offense. But a tired, lazy press is like giving the opposing team a power play every time down the court. The Spartans just worked hard and waited for Louisville to expire. Good game plan. Everyone who needed to step up did. That usually spells victory.

North Carolina waves goodbye, unaware they must play again on Saturday.

North Carolina waves goodbye, unaware they must play again on Saturday.

Then the fourth game happened. Oklahoma could not have looked more outmatched. Everything critics said about the Sooners after the Michigan game (all the stuff that was retracted after the Syracuse game) was apparent in this game. North Carolina is very good, but this match was five against one. Games like this necessitate no profound insight into the sport: The Tar Heels double-teamed Blake and made their shots. Oklahoma isn’t that good. And now they (and the Griffins) are gone. The next time we see Blake Griffin on a basketball court will be professionally. I will go out on a limb and say if he doesn’t average a 20/10 as a rookie I will officially stop blogging and move to a cabin in the woods. I was thinking about doing it anyway.

The Final Four is set, and I think it’s a good one. Connecticut vs. Michigan State and Villanova vs. North Carolina. The best from the South, East, and Midwest are represented. ACC, Big East, and Big Ten. I’m picking UConn and NC, rooting for MSU and ‘Nova. I like to make things difficult for myself. If you saw my bracket, you already know that.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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Tonight, Denver’s Nene will finish up a two-game suspension for the following:

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Oh look, it’s our old friend Lou Amundson. From the Zack Randolph incident? You remember. We’ve got the same crime, the same punishment…and the same victim. I know a case of battered woman syndrome when I see it and Louis Amundson, you’ve got one.

After the game, Amundson called Nene “a dirty player.” I wonder what he meant by that. Is Nene a dirty player like Bruce Bowen? Or is he a dirty player like Kevin Federline? Either way, when is Lou going to learn his lesson and stop chasing these bad boys?

My favorite part is the end, when Amundson misses both of the free throws. Why did he miss those freebies? Because he likes the abuse, and a true masochist receives no pleasure from consolation. Also, he’s a 46% free throw shooter. But mostly because he likes the abuse.

It’s a good thing Phoenix is going to miss the playoffs. Lou Amundson needs the whole summer to work out some issues, maybe meet himself a nice boy. Where’s John Amaechi when you need him?

Proof that homosexuality comes in all colors, shapes, and sizes.

Proof that homosexuality comes in all colors, shapes, and sizes.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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"Chauncey, can we just do the chest bump instead?" "Quiet, Ben, I'm almost there."

"Chauncey, it's called a CHEST bump. Stop rubbing that against me."

As the Detroit Pistons slide sorrowfully out of the playoff picture (don’t think this isn’t happening – they’ve fallen to the 8 spot after losing 7 of their last 10 games, and the Larry Brown-coached Bobcats are looming large in the rearview mirror), what can we Pistons fans do? Embrace the present? Look to the future? Never that! Let’s hold on to the past! The below is part of the NBA’s very cool advertising push for the Playoffs:

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Mmm, nostalgia. So cool on my lips, so sweet on my tongue, but such empty fucking calories.

Also, Chauncey! Hold on to the ball, for Chrissakes! Thank god we traded that guy.

Posted by LA Dubbs

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Pitt and Nova ditch the ball and wrestle.

Pitt and Nova ditch the ball and wrestle.

Having been in more than a few Big Ten-centric office Tournament pools over the years, there were always a few happily-ignorant contestants who would pick all Big Ten teams for the Final Four. Those of us with even a semblance of a clue would chuckle at their hapless entry before quietly noting the improvement in our own odds. This year, if you live in Big East country, that formerly fruitless strategy might win you a jackpot.

Villanova and Pitt have already assured their conference the East bracket. Nova got there by doing what few knew they were capable of. They’ve been aggressive defensively, trapped, intimidated, and played with the swagger of a team tired of being slept on. They’ve played exactly like we thought Pitt would. Meanwhile, Pitt has played exactly the way North Carolina played all ACC season: Uninspired, sloth-like, and for only the last five minutes of games. Don’t worry, they make up for it with occasional spurts of in-fighting.

They looked perfectly content losing to Xavier in the Sweet 16 until Levance Fields got pouty and decided to stop letting anyone else play with his basketball:

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I will have to brush up on my Chinese calendar; I didn’t realize it was the Year of the Stocky Point Guard. Levance Fields, you’re the stockiest of them all.

Have you seen these Pitt dudes? They look like the kind of guys who would get kicked out of a Sweet 16, but not the basketball kind. To Xavier! The third biggest basketball school in Central Ohio.

Pitt will wake up in time for Nova, but waking up might not be good enough. Villanova owned the Panthers in the regular season and have only gotten better. Expect a physical game. The kind grandpa talks about when referencing “back in his day.” Especially if grandpa went to prison.

The Big East wins no matter the outcome (unless it truly is like prison). It’s their year. A Final Four monopoly is a very realistic possibility. For UConn and Louisville it is expected. Admittedly, Syracuse has a tough road down south, but I like their chances. Oklahoma is two-dimensional (both dimensions are Blake Griffin) and I already told you how I feel about North Carolina.

And all this probably means that some clueless (about college basketball at least) administrative assistant in Stamford, Connecticut or Scranton, Pennsylvania will win the NCAA Tournament Challenge. Yes, I realize those are Dunder-Mifflin locations. They’re also Big East cities. ‘The Office’ was on tonight. I have multiple interests. I don’t have to explain myself to you.

If your bracket’s busted and you know it, clap your hands (clap, clap)!

Posted by BA Brokeass

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For the next ten years it’s Lebron’s world, we just live here. I’m going to start looking for a new hobby.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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As a follow-up to yesterday’s Rhymefest-Charles Hamilton post I come to you with a couple videos of Chuck Ham doing his battle thang. He isn’t just stepping to Rhymefest, Supersonic is calling out all the best. And losing. On the one hand you could argue he is a glutton for punishment. On the other, the kid’s got a lot of guts. Here is some video of him taking a verbal licking from Serius Jones at SOB’s in New York. Ham gets a few good ones in too.

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Here is another video of Hamilton, this time battling a Penn State student after a show. This is the sort of thing that impresses me about Hamilton: He challenges all champions and accepts all challengers.

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Clearly Hamilton takes it easy on this goofy collegian. Internet hiphop-heads want to make it sound like this kid schooled Ham, but we know better. Right now Charles Hamilton is playing rap’s heel role. We are supposed to hate him. Love or hate, Charles just wants to get rich. Being the bad boy ain’t so bad, boy.

When it’s all said and done I hope battle rapping will be the true victor in the beef between Rhymefest and Charles Hamilton. Who watches these videos without wanting to unleash a freestyle tongue-lashing on a co-worker? Who isn’t organizing a lunchtime parking lot cipher right now?

I got myself worked up. I need to go spit hot fire at my Mexican neighbor. He doesn’t speak English so he won’t know what I’m saying, but I think he will enjoy the rhythmic rhyming.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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