I've been a busy boy lately and haven't posted in a bit, so while the general purpose of this post is to talk about the NCAA Tournament coming to a close, it feels a little late to be talking about the game. That being said, I'll briefly touch on a few topics and keep the championship game talk short, since at this point it's already in the rear view mirror.


The championship game of this year's NCAA Tournament was a dramatic contest between two very deserving teams. I think that it might have been the best championship game I've ever seen, with theatrics near the end and plenty of swings in momentum in the last three minutes. The close of the game was pretty much as chaotic as it could get and as much as I'd like to give Kansas all the credit for a truly never-say-die performance, what a collapse it was for the Memphis Tigers. If you're up 9 points with two minutes left, you should win the basketball game, plain and simple. Coaching and strategy should be able to last any team through two minutes of play when guarding a three possession advantage over the other squad.

I'd like to keep the focus off of the kids who played so well all tournament for the Tigers, like Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose, and simply give this loss to Coach Calipari, but the truth is that the players and coaching staff combined to put two hands around the Tigers' throat and let them choke away a national title. Coach Cal should have managed the clock better, substituted better and lit a bit more of a fire under his kids. Likewise, the players themselves needed to hit those all important free throws and keep their composure a bit better, the latter being something that Kansas and their experienced players showed in spades down the stretch.

I don't want to toot my own horn, but I will of course. I said that Kansas would win it all and that Memphis would see their poor free-throw shooting cost them in the tournament. It may have taken until the last minutes of the tournament's last game, but I turned out correct on the Tigers' charity stripe woes. Rose and CDR played a brilliant tournament and Joey Dorsey could've perhaps swung things in a different direction in the overtime period, but the fact is that Dorsey committed a stupid foul to make an early exit and Rose and Douglas-Roberts missed the free throws that champions make in the closing minutes of the biggest game of the year. The Jayhawks' Mario Chalmers should have never had the opportunity to hit that amazing three pointer at the end of regulation; one because Coach Cal should have had his team foul before a three could be attempted and two because the Tigers' stars should have sealed that game from the line.

All congratulations to the Jayhawks on stealing that game away at the end of regulation and an amazing tournament run. They are a deserving champion and won yours truly a little bit of scratch in the process. Rock Chalk indeed.


How exciting is this last week of the NBA season going to be? The west is so tight you couldn't get a piece of notebook paper between the top and bottom three of the playoff picture and you probably couldn't get a file folder between any of the teams from 1 through 9. Not only are the last couple of games going to determine whether or not a team makes the post-season, but the entire seeding of the playoffs hinges on a combination of wins, losses and tie-breakers that makes my head swim. While the east is basically a two-horse race between the Celtics and Pistons (unless that superman King James can turn his game up to other-worldly levels), the west is as tight as it ever has been and possibly ever will be. The Spurs, Hornets and Lakers are vying for the top seed, with the Rockets in striking distance as well. The Nuggets, Mavs and Warriors are clamoring for the final two playoff spots and a shot at one of the "top-tier" teams in the first round.

The seeding will come down to the last game of the season most likely, and while home court is truly important in any playoff run, it is amazing that who the top and bottom teams of the conference will play doesn't seem to matter for the first time in years. The parity in the west makes all of the match-ups even money if you ask me. I can't say that any of those teams is a clear favorite over any other in a seven game series. Seven game series of course, are supposed to be the easiest way to determine who is the superior team, but I have a feeling that if any of the top nine teams in the west played 15 against each other, it would still come out 8 and 7 nearly every time. I can't wait for the playoffs this year, and while the east may be a snooze fest until the conference finals, every game of the western playoffs should be a powder keg ready to blow.


What in the world has happened to the Detroit Tigers? I'm not bringing this up just as a fan, which I will be until my end, but as an observer of the game in general. They boast the league's premier line-up from one to nine in the order, a pitching staff that is young and sharp and a motivated and clear-headed manager in the dug-out. So what gives? How do they end up with the league's worst record and continue to struggle at the plate? The easy answer is to look at their bull-pen, where middle relief has been sub-par, and by sub-par I mean two levels above a bag of shit. How many more games are the Tigers going to blow between the 6th and 9th innings before they start to expand their payroll even further and shop for some bullpen talent? Todd Jones is a more than serviceable closer and Joel Zumaya when healthy will only add to the Tigers' closing potency, but something must be done between those huge starting arms and the competency of Zumaya and Jones.

I don't blame the Tigers' bats because hitting always comes in the majors. If you have the bats, they will eventually begin to swing true. The season is only 10 games old, with 150 more to go, so not every bat in the line-up is going to slump, even if some do not live up to their potential. Gary Sheffield for example, is having more and more trouble staying in the line-up the past couple of years, but there is simply too much talent on the Tigers offense for them to fail to score runs as they currently are. That bullpen simply must improve, or the Tigers, while they won't be the worst team in the league come the all-star break, could still be its biggest disappointment. The expectations for this team were in the stratosphere not just for the Detroit faithful, but for baseball experts nationwide. Something has to happen in the Motor City, or I'll have to revert to old coping methods that got me through their terrible run in the 1990s. Please don't make me return to those dark, dark days Tigers. Please?

No comments:

Post a Comment