Monday, February 28, 2011

Long Range Bombers

Tim Abromaitis and Ben Hansbrough made it a Senior night to remember for the Fighting Irish tonight. The two seniors combined to hit a ridiculous 16 3-pointers and combined for 60 points while leading 7th ranked Notre Dame to a blowout win over #19 Villanova 93-72. Notre Dame set a school record with 20 3-pointers on the night breaking their previous record of 19 set against South Dakota in 2008.

Abromaitis hit a career high 9 3-pointers and Hansbrough became just the second player from a "BCS" conference in the last 15 years to finish with 30 points 10 assists and 5 steals in a game. The other, Syracuse's Jonny Flynn, needed 6 overtimes against Connecticut to accomplish the feat. The win caps off a perfect 17-0 season at home for the Fighting Irish. Not a bad way to play your last game in front of the home crowd for these two.

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Still, despite helping lead Notre Dame to 2nd place in the Big East with a 13-4 conference record, 24-5 overall, neither player is in ESPN's Top 100 Draft Prospects List. So enjoy watching them the rest of the year, because after this, you may never see them again.

Cricket World Cup Wrapup - Day 10

The West Indies (1-1) bounced back from their opening loss against South Africa to absolutely flatten the Dutch 330-115, the 7th largest win in World Cup history. The West Indies got great production from the top of their order as their top 5 batsmen combined for 272 runs led by Chris Gayle's 80 off 110 balls. 23 year old Kieron Pollard added an absurd 60 runs off just 27 balls while conversely 7 Dutch batters failed to reach double digits. 22 year old Kemar Roach was named the man of the match for his superb bowling. Roach took 6 wickets in just 8.3 overs. Tom Cooper was the lone bright spot for the Netherlands (0-2) as he had a team best 55 runs off 72 balls including 9 fours.

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In the day's other game, Zimbabwe (1-1) blew out the struggling Canadiens 298-123. Zimbabwe's Tatenda Taibu and Craig Ervine paced the attack combining 183 runs off 180 balls while nobody from Canada (0-2) scored more than 26. Taibu ended up the man of the match with 98 runs off 99 balls with 9 four. Next up for Canada is undefeated Pakistan so the road doesn't get any easier for them. Zimbabwe meanwhile will take on New Zealand on Friday.

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Cricket Term of the Day: hoodoo

A bowler is said to 'have the hoodoo' on a batsman when they have got them out many times in their career. Basically, they own him.

Top Tens

Men's Tennis Rankings

1. Rafael Nadal (Spain) - 12390 points
2. Roger Federer (Switzerland) - 7965 points
3. Novak Djokovic (Serbia) - 7880 points
4. Robin Soderling (Sweden) - 6055 points
5. Andy Murray (Great Britain) - 5715 points
6. David Ferrer (Spain) - 4510 points
7. Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) - 4410 points
8. Andy Roddick (USA) - 3735 points
9. Fernando Verdasco (Spain) - 3095 points
10. Jurgen Melzer (Austria) - 2730 points

Women's Tennis Rankings

1. Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) - 9550 points
2. Kim Clijsters (Belgium) - 8835 points
3. Vera Zvonareva (Russia) - 7565 points
4. Samantha Stosur (Australia) - 5086 points
5. Francesca Schiavone (Italy) - 5051 points
6.  Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) - 4825 points
7. Li Na (China) - 4300 points
8. Venus Williams (USA) - 3465 points
9. Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) - 3440 points
10. Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) - 3170 points

FedEx Cup Points Leaders

1. Mark Wilson 1055 (1)
2. Jhonattan Vegas 751 (2)
3. Bubba Watson 724 (5)
4. D.A. Points 688 (3)
5. Aaron Baddeley 658 (4)

6. Jonathan Byrd 589 (6)
7. Vijay Singh 564 (7)
8. Hunter Mahan 556 (9)
9. Luke Donald 550 (-)
10. Bill Haas 519 (8)

Out: Phil Mickelson (12)

NCAA Men's Top Ten AP Rankings (ESPN/USA Today Rankings)

1. Ohio State 27-2 (1)
2. Kansas 27-2 (2)
3. Brigham Young 27-2 (3)
4. Duke 26-3 (4)
5. Pittsburgh 25-4 (5)
6. Purdue 24-5 (6)
7. Texas 24-5 (8)
8. Notre Dame 23-5 (7)
9. San Diego State 27-2 (9)
10. Wisconsin 22-6 (10)                                                                           

NCAA Women's Top Ten AP Rankings

1. Connecticut 28-1
2. Standford 26-2
3. Baylor 26-2
4. Tennessee 28-2
5. Texas A&M 24-3
6. Xavier 25-2
7. Notre Dame 24-5
8. Duke 26-3
9. UCLA 24-3
10. Miami (FL) 26-3

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Six Pack


Well, that didn't take long to be proven wrong. Yesterday I predicted that Pitt would be the #3 team in the country next week provided they knocked  off #16 Louisville on the road today. Whoops. Pitt overcame a 9 point halftime deficit to send the game into overtime, but managed just 3 points in the extra stanza and fell to the Cardinals 62-59 all but assuring they will not be improving upon their #6 ranking come next week. Pitt had 8 possessions during the overtime period and managed just 1 free throw to go along with 3 turnovers. 2 of their 3 points came with 0.5 seconds left when Louisville was called for a Technical Foul when one of their male cheerleaders ran onto the court after a made basket thinking the game was over and chucked the ball into the air. DOH! That actually gave Pitt a chance to tie the game in the final second, but they weren't able to get a final shot off. So with that, here's prediction 2.0 for next week's top 5. I'm still liking Ohio State for the top spot, and in their 82-61 win over Indiana today they did nothing to make me otherwise. #2 is obviously still Kansas. I've got BYU moving all the way up to #3 with the losses by Duke, Pitt, Texas and San Diego State and considering that BYU beat San Diego State. Duke will drop in at #4 with #8 Purdue moving up to round out the top 5. Let's see if I do any better with this one.

Louisville Cheerleader Video


Think about all the great basketball players to have ever played in the Big East Conference. Allen Iverson (Georgetown), Patrick Ewing (Georgetown), Chris Mullin (St. John's), Derrick Coleman (Syracuse), Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse), Ray Allen (Connecticut), Alonzo Mourning (Georgetown), Rip Hamilton (Connecticut), Ben Gordon (Connecticut)... And believe me, this list could be a lot longer. Still, will all these great players, on Wednesday we saw Providence's Marshon Brooks do something none of them had ever done. Brooks became the first player in Big East history to score over 50 points in a game when he scored 52 against #9 Notre Dame. Brooks hit 20 of 28 shots, and shattered Eric Murdock's 20 year old Big East record of 48 points, but it still wasn't enough as Providence well to the Fighting Irish 94-93. Brooks, a 6'5" senior is in the midst of what has by far been his best season. After averaging just 14.2 points as a junior, his scoring has jumped to 25.4 points as a senior. He's also seen his rebound average increase from 4.2 a game to 7.3, and he's moved to #39 on ESPN's Chris Ford's top 100 prospect list. Unfortunately, barring a run in the Big East tournament, it's unlikely Morris will get a chance to shine on the national stage as the Friars are just 3-13 in the Big East right now, 14-15 overall.

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Ok, to say I "remember" Duke Snider is a bit of a stretch. Although when I was like 7 or 8 I got a pack of Major League Baseball Legends baseball cards and he was one of the guys I got. I'm sure between my little brother and I we still have it somewhere. In any case, the Hall of Fame Dodger passed away at the age of 84 today so I thought it only fair to write a little something for those people out there who don't really know much about him. The "Silver Fox" was an 8 time all star, a part of two World Series Champions and finished his career with 407 homeruns and a lifetime .295 average. Snider hit 40 or more homeruns in 5 consecutive seasons ('53-'57) and is still the Dodgers all time leader in homeruns (389), runs batted in (1271) and extra base hits (814). When the Dodgers won the World Series in 1955, Snider hit .320 with 4 homeruns and a team best 7 runs batted in as Brooklyn beat the Yankees in 7 games. He is the only player in Major League history to hit at least 4 homeruns in two different World Series, also doing it in 1952.

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For the second time this year, Novak Djokovic has defeated Roger Federer. The 3rd rank Serbian, who already had knocked Federer out of the Australian Open last month, beat him again yesterday 6-3 6-3 to win the Dubai Championships Title. Djokovic has now won 12 matches in a row in 2011 and with his recent wins over Federer has closed the all-time series gap between them to 13-8.

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The New York Knicks are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference. Just one game after showing the chinks in their armor in a loss to lowly Cleveland, New York showed up in Miami and overcame an early 15 point deficit to beat the Heat on the home floor 91-86. And what was really impressive was that they didn't just win with their offense, they did it with their defense. Leading by 1 point in the waning seconds of the 4th quarter Amare Stoudemire flew across the lane to blow a LeBron James layup and secure victory for the boys from the Bronx. New York used a 16-0 run over the final 4:24 of the second quarter hitting 4 3-pointers during that span and were able to go into the break up 1. The second half Miami kept looking to pull away, but New York kept working their way back. In the end it was the Chauncey Billups show. Down 84-80 with under 2 minutes to go, Billups first hit a runner in the lane to cut the lead to two points. Then after a miss by Dwyane Wade, he drained a DEEP three in Wade's face to put the Knicks up 1. Miami's next possession, Chris Bosh threw a bad pass right to Billups who drove down the floor and set up Shawne Williams who was fouled and hit both free throws to put the Knicks up 3 setting up the eventual defensive heroics. Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 29 and Stoudemire and Billups each added 16 to lead New York who also got big productive minutes from Bill Walker and Anthony Carter off the bench. LeBron James led the Heat with 27 points, but Miami missed 16 3-pointers and had 18 turnovers as they lost yet another close game to an Eastern Conference Rival.

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37 points. 23 rebounds. 46 double-doubles in a row. His fourth 30 point-20 rebound game of the year. The guy's a beast. And this time, Kevin Love's efforts led to a win as Minnesota held off Golden State 126-123 for Minnesota's 14th win of the season. Golden State had 4 players score at least 20 points - Stephen Curry (33), Dorell Wright (26), Monta Ellis (20), David Lee (20) - but it wasn't enough as Minnesota outrebounded the Warriors 61-40. Minnesota takes on the Lakers on Tuesday, the last time they met Love was held scoreless with 7 rebounds in 34 minutes which was ironically the last time he didn't have a double double. But he also has a 23 point 24 rebound game against them this year. Will he be able to get a 47th double-double in a row against them? Stay tuned!

Birmingham Wins the Carling Cup

For the first time since 1963, Birmingham City are the winners of England's Carling Cup using and 89th minute strike from Obafemi Martins to beat Arsenal 2-1. Birmingham sits just two points above relegation in the Premier League so this win is HUGE for them in a season when they've won just 6 of 26 league matches. 6'8" striker Nikola Zigic opened the scoring in the 28th minute, but Arsenal's Robin Van Persie equalized a little over ten minutes later. While Arsenal dominated the game from a possession standpoint, they couldn't capitalize, and Martins made them pay when goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and Laurent Koscielny had a horrendous miscommunication allowing an easy uncontested winner from the Nigerian import.

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The dramatic late in the game scoring has been nothing new to Birmingham in this tournament as they got a 90th minute goal from Kevin Phillips to tie the score against Brentford, and a 94th minute strike from Craig Gardner to give Birmingham the 4-3 aggregate win in the semis over West Ham.  Birmingham got goals from 12 different players in their 7 game run to the championship. Zigic had 3 to lead the team.

Here's a look at Birmingham's improbable run to the title:

August 26 - Round 2 - W 3-2 vs Rochdale (Lg 1)
September 21 - Round 3 - W 3-1 vs Milton Keynes Dons (Lg 1)
October 26 - Round 4 - T 1-1 (W 4-3 pens) vs Brentford (Lg 1)
December 1 - Quarters - W 2-1 vs Aston Villa
January 11 - Semis Leg 1 - L 2-1 @ West Ham
January 26 - Semis Leg 2 - W 3-1 vs West Ham
February 27 - Finals - W 2-1 at Arsenal

Cricket World Cup Wrapup - Day 9

Easily the most exciting game of the World Cup thus far. India jumped out and scored 338 runs, but England battled all the way back getting 13 runs in the 50th over from bowlers Ajmal Shahzad and Graeme Swann, the 9th and 10th men in the English batting order causing the game to end in a 338-338 draw. England's 338 runs were the highest ever for a team batting second in a World Cup match. English captain Andrew Strauss was named the man of the match after producing 158 runs off 145 balls, the 10th highest total in World Cup history, and the highest ever for an Englishman, breaking the previous record of 138 set by Dennis Amiss, also against India back in 1975. England also got big contributions from Tim Bresnan who took 5 wickets in 10 overs while surrendering just 48 runs. 37 year old Sachin Tendulkar, the all time leading scorer in World Cup history, led India with 120 runs off 115 balls with 10 fours and 5 sixes.

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Cricket term of the day: Donkey Drop

A donkey drop is a ball with a very high trajectory prior to bouncing.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

Pretty sure I've used this title before, but what're you gonna do? The Duke Blue Devils latest stint as the #1 Men's College Basketball team will be a short one. Playing at Virginia Tech, Duke lost for just the third time all year 64-60. The Hokies overcame 11 missed free throws and a 39.1% shooting to pull off the upset getting double digit points from all 5 starters. Senior Jeff Allen led the way with 18 points and 15 rebounds for the 19-8 Hokies. Duke got 22 from Kyle Singler, but he hit just 6 of 19 shots and only 1 of 7 3-pointers as Duke struggled shooting the ball as well (39.7%).

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So with Duke falling, who likely moves up? #4 San Diego State and #5 Texas both lost today, so they're out. #2 Kansas won both their games this week over Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, and #3 Ohio State beat Illinois earlier this week and play host to 12-16 Indiana tomorrow, so it's between the two of them. Kansas had the edge in the polls last week, but Ohio State actually had more first place votes, so you never know. Don't be surprised if the Buckeyes win impressively to see them jump past the #2 Jayhawks. And then if #6 Pitt wins at #16 Louisville tomorrow I think you can expect them at #3. I like #7 BYU at #4 after beating San Diego State for the second time this year today with Duke dropping down to #5. We'll see if I'm close or not. Final prediction:

#1 Ohio State
#2 Kansas
#3 Pitt
#4 BYU
#5 Duke

Like a Bosh

In honor of Chris Bosh's just absolutely atrocious performance against Chicago on Thursday night, I have no choice put to post a link to the infamous "Like a Bosh" video from The Basketball Joneses.

Bosh was certainly not on his game in Miami's loss to the Bulls hitting just 1 out of 18 shots from the floor, tying for the 3rd worst shooting percentage in NBA history for players taking 18 shots or more. Mike Newlin, career 46.6% shooter over 11 seasons, holds the record as he once hit  just 1 of 22 shots for the Houston Rockets on January 31, 1973. If there's any consolation for Bosh, it's that he at least made a basket. Tim Hardaway had a game in 1991 for the Warriors where he took 17 shots and made ZERO. Then again, the Warriors still managed to win that game. Miami is now a combined 0-5 against Chicago and Boston.

Cricket World Cup Wrapup - Days 7 and 8

The Aussies knocked off previously unbeaten New Zealand 207-206 by 7 wickets with 96 balls remaining yesterday. Shane Watson (62 runs off 61 balls) and Brad Haddin (55 runs off 50 balls) did the bulk of the damage on offense from the top two spots and man of the match Mitchell Johnson took 4 wickets in 9.1 overs to lead the defense for the defending World Cup champions. New Zealand was led by Nathan McCullum who had 52 runs out of the 8 spot.

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Bangladesh got their first run of the World Cup yesterday defeating Ireland 205-178 in Group B action. The hosts were once again led by their vice captain Tamim Iqbal who led all batsman in this one with 44 runs off 43 balls including seven fours and 21 year old bowler Shafiul Islam took 4 wickets in 8 overs conceding just 21 runs. Ireland, playing their first game of the tournament, got strong bowling from 18 year old George Dockrell who gave up 23 runs in 10 overs while taking a pair of wickets. Kevin and Niall O'Brien combined for 75 runs to lead the Irish attack. Iqbal was the named the man of the match.

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Sri Lanka and Pakistan each put up over 300 runs in their first matches of the World Cup on their way to blow out wins over Canada and Kenya respectively. This game would be a lot more competitive with Pakistan taking the win 277-266 and moving atop Group A alongside Australia. Pakistan got significant contributions from the middle of its order as Younis Khan (72 runs off 76 balls) and Misbah-ul-Haq (83 runs off 91 balls) combined for over half their offense. Pakistan's defense stifled Sri Lanka's vice captain Mahela Jayawardene who had 100 runs in their opening match, limiting him to just 2 runs off 10 balls. Chamara Silva led Sri Lanka's offense with 57 runs off 78 balls. Pakistan's captain Shahid Afridi was named the man of the match after taking 4 wickets in 10 overs.

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Cricket term of the day: Drinks

Sort of like intermission, drinks are a short break in play, generally taken in the middle of a session when refreshments are brought out to the players and umpires by the 12th men of each side. Drinks breaks do not always take place, but they are not abnormal, particularly in hot countries.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cricket World Cup Wrapup - Day 6

South Africa and the West Indies met today in Group B action today with the South Africans coming a way with a 223-222 win by 7 wickets with 43 balls remaining. Every team but Ireland has now logged at least one match in the tournament with Ireland taking on Bangladesh tomorrow morning. The South Africans got solid bowling from Imran Tahir who took 4 wickets and surrendered just 41 runs in 10 overs, and also Dale Steyn who took 3 more wickets and gave up just 24  runs in 7.3 overs. Offensively, they were led by man of the match, wicketkeeper AB de Villiers who had a century with 107 runs off 105 balls and a pair of sixes. The West Indies got 73 runs off 82 balls by Darren Bravo, but they had 6 of their 11 batsmen produce 6 runs or fewer.

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The West Indies won the first two Cricket World Cups in 1975 and 1979 and then made the finals again in 1983, but haven't made an appearance in the finals again since then.

Cricket term of the day: Brace

A Brace is when two wickets are taken off two consecutive deliveries. Similar to how a brace in soccer is when you score a pair of goals.

Soccer Power Rankings

New set of ESPN's Soccer Power Rankings came out today. Here's the new Top Ten:

#1 Barcelona - 21-1-2 - Spain (1)
#2 Real Madrid - 19-2-3 - Spain (2)
#3 Arsenal - 17-5-5 - England (2)
#4 Manchester United - 16-1-9 - England (1)
#5 FC Porto - 18-0-2 - Portugal (1)
#6 Borussia Dortmund - 17-2-4 - Germany (1)
#7 Inter Milan - 15-6-5 - Italy (3)
#8 Napoli - 16-6-4 - Italy (2)
#9 Bayern Munich - 12-5-6 - Germany (3)
#10 AC Milan - 16-3-7 - Italy (1)

Barcelona is back in the top spot this week following their 2-1 win over Athetic Bilbao on Sunday. Real Madrid meanwhile played French club Lyon to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Champions League match so they slide back into second. Arsenal and Manchester United also flip flopped spots this week as Manchester United drew 0-0 with Marseilles and barely got by 5th-tier club Crawley Town 1-0 in FA Cup action while Arsenal drew with Leyton Orient in the first leg of their FA Cup match but beat Stoke City 1-0 to get within a point of the Premiership Lead.

Bayern Munich is back in the rankings this week after a 3-1 at 5th place Mainz in Bundesliga action and a 1-0 win at Inter Milan in Champions League play getting a goal in the 90th minute from Mario Gomez. Tottenham Hotspur drops back out following a 3-1 loss at Blackpool on Tuesday.

ESPN Power Rankings

Here's the schedule for these teams for next week, a couple big showdowns as Borussia Dortmund takes on Bayern Munich and Napoli faces off against AC Milan:

Saturday 2/26

Manchester United at Wigan Athletic, League Match, 10:00 AM EST
Borussia Dortmund at Bayern Munich, League Match, 12:30 PM EST
Barcelona at Mallorca, League Match, 2:00 PM EST
FC Porto at Olhanense, 3:15 PM EST
Real Madrid at Deportivo la Cornua, League Match, 4:00 PM EST

Sunday 2/27

Birmingham at Arsenal, League Match, Carling Cup, 11:00 AM EST
Inter Milan at Sampdoria, League Match, 2:45 PM EST

Monday 2/28

Napoli at AC Milan, League Match, 2:45 PM EST

Tuesday 3/1

Manchester United at Chelsea, League Match, 2:45 PM EST

Wednesday 3/2

Schalke 04 at Bayern Munich, German Cup, 2:30 PM ESTLeyton Orient at Arsenal, FA Cup, 2:45 PM EST
Barcelona at Valencia, League Match, 4:00 PM EST

Thursday 3/3

Malaga at Real Madrid, League Match, 4:00 PM EST

Wainwright? WainWRONG!

The St. Louis Cardinals were dealt a huge blow today when it was announced that pitcher Adam Wainwright, their 20 game winner from last season, will miss all of 2011 with Tommy John surgery on his elbow. Over the past two season, Wainwright had 39 wins finishing second in the Cy Young voting last year and 3rd the year before. His ERAs the past two years were 2.63 in 2009 and 2.42 in 2010 and only 3 pitchers struck out more hitters than Wainwright's 425 during that span. You may have heard of them: Tim Lincecum, Felix Hernandez and Roy Halladay. Short of losing Albert Pujols, this is the worst thing that could happen to St. Louis prior to the season starting.

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So how does St. Louis respond? They still have an ace in Chris Carpenter, but he's 35 this year. Can he repeat his 35 start 235 inning performance from 2010? Don't forget, this is a guy who pitched in just 5 games total between 2007 and 2008. The other rotation spots are slotted for Kyle Lohse (4-8 6.55 ERA last year in 18 starts), Jake Westbrook (4-4 3.48 after coming over from Cleveland in a trade), and 24 year old Jaime Garcia who went 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA in his first full season (just 1-2 with a 5.94 ERA in September). So it's not exactly daunting behind Carpenter. And there's still the question of who fills Wainwright's spot.

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The early candidates? Kyle McClellan, P.J. Walters, Lance Lynn, Adam Ottavino,Ian Snell, Brian Tallet and Brandon Dickson. Not exactly your A-list guys. McClellan (2.27 ERA, 19 holds) and Tallet (6.40 ERA in Toronto last year) were slated to be bullpen guys but that could change. Snell was 0-5 with a 6.41 ERA in Seattle last year in just 12 appearances. And the other four are coming out of AAA Memphis: Lynn (13-10 4.77), Ottavino (5-3 3.97), Dickson (11-8 3.23), Walters (8-5, 3.81). So we'll see. There is still the option that they could try and go and sign a Kevin Millwood or a Pedro Martinez type guy. Either way, if you're a Cardinals fan, you've got to just have a sick feeling in your stomach right now. Keep an eye on this situation over the coming weeks.

NBA Trade Deadline Summary

In case you missed it there was a whole bunch of action at the deadline today. Here's a quick recap of all of the trades that happened during the last couple days:

Oklahoma City trades G Morris Peterson and F D.J. White to Charlotte for Nazr Mohammed. The Thunder add size and toughness, the Bobcats get White, a former 1st Rounder out of Indiana who has played just 42 games in 3 seasons.

Oklahoma City trades F Jeff Green and C Nenad Krstic to Boston for C Kendrick Perkins and G Nate Robinson. One of the more surprising moves of the day. Boston trades their starting center from their last two runs to the finals and their backup point guard for Jeff Green, who they actually drafted a few years ago and traded for Ray Allen. I had been of the opinion that Boston's size was their advantage over teams like Miami and L.A. Boston apparently thinks they can win without their young big man. We'll see what happens. Oklahoma City gets a huge upgrade at center with this deal.

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Boston trades G-F Marquis Daniels and cash considerations to Sacramento for a 2nd Round pick in 2017. This doesn't do much more than free up a roster spot for Boston.

Charlotte trades F Gerald Wallace to Portland for F Dante Cunningham, C Joel Przybilla, C Sean Marks, the Hornets 2011 1st Round pick, and Portland's 2013 1st Round pick. Portland currently owns the 7 seed in the Western Conference and the return of Brandon Roy this move is about adding depth to make a run in the playoffs. Charlotte adds a couple first round picks to help rebuild.

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Houston trades G Aaron Brooks to Phoenix for G Goran Dragic and a future 1st Round Pick. The emergence of Kyle Lowry relegated Brooks to the bench in Houston and made him available. Phoenix gets last season's Most Improved Player as they add talent in an effort to make a run for a playoff spot. Phoenix is currently two games out of the 8th seed.

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Houston trades F Shane Battier and G Ishmael Smith to Memphis for C Hasheem Thabeet, F DeMarre Carroll and a future 1st Round pick. Battier returns to Memphis where he started his career and in return the Rockets get the 2nd overall pick from the 2009 draft.

Boston trades C Semih Erden and F Luke Harangody to Cleveland for a 2013 2nd Round pick. Boston frees up 2 more roster spots for the stretch run. The Cavs get a pair of rookies.

Cleveland trades F Jamario Moon and G Mo Williams to the L.A. Clippers for G Baron Davis and a 2011 1st Round pick. The Clippers now officially become Blake Griffin's team. The Cavs get a former all star at point guard and another draft pick.

Atlanta trades G Mike Bibby, G Jordan Crawford, G Maurice Evans and a 2011 1st Round pick to Washington for G Kirk Hinrich and F Hilton Armstrong. Hinrich is an upgrade over Bibby at both ends at of the court. Washington gets a veteran to play along with John Wall and adds another draft pick as the Wizards rebuild.

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Golden State trades F Brandan Wright and C Dan Gadzuric to New Jersey for F Troy Murphy and a 2012 2nd Round pick. I've read that this deal was all about freeing up cap space for next season.

Sacramento trades F Carl Landry to New Orleans for G Marcus Thornton and cash considerations. New Orleans gets some depth in the front court, an upgrade over Jason Smith and DJ Mbenga, and Sacramento gets the exciting Thornton to play in the backcourt with Tyreke Evans.

Utah trades G Deron Williams to New Jersey for F Derrick Favors, G Devin Harris, a 2011 1st Round pick, a 2012 1st Round pick and cash considerations. Utah actually did pretty well here despite losing their franchise player. While they've lost 5 in a row and currently sit on the outside looking in for that last playoff spot, they should be able to retool pretty quick with 2 first rounders and Favors.

New York, Denver and Minnesota are involved in a 3-way trade. New York gets F Carmelo Anthony, G Chauncey Billups, F Renaldo Balkman, G Anthony Carter and C Sheldon Williams. Denver gets F Wilson Chandler, G Raymond Felton, F Danilo Gallinari, C Kosta Koufos, C Timofey Mozgov, $3M, a 2014 1st Round pick, and 2nd Round picks in 2012 and 2013. Minnesota gets C Eddy Curry, F Anthony Randolph, and $3M.Will Melo and Stoudemire be an effective tandem? Time will tell. Don't sleep on Denver either.

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Chicago trades F James Johnson to Toronto for a 2011 1st Round pick. And yawn.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Around the NBA


Bit of a surprise here as Toronto stunned the Bulls 118-113 despite the return of Joakim Noah to the Bulls lineup. Noah had 7 points and 16 rebounds and Derrick Rose had 32 points and 10 assists, but Chicago could not get stops on the other side of the ball. Toronto, despite not making a 3-pointer all game, shot 58.1% from the floor and hit 32 of 34 free throws to steal the win. Jose Calderon had 17 assists and DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani each had 24 points as Toronto won for just the 16th time this season. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this loss could possibly be attributed to the fact that the Heat travel to Chicago tomorrow for a battle between division leaders and the Bulls may have been looking past the lowly Raptors.

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Utilizing an 8 man rotation, the Knicks started the Chauncey StoudeMelo era with a 114-108 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at the Garden. The Knicks "Big Three" combined to score 67 points and Toney Douglas led the supporting cast with 23 points on 10 of 12 shooting as New York passed their first test post-trade. While Milwaukee certainly isn't Miami, a win is a win. John Salmons led the way for the Bucks with 27 points and 7 assists. New York is now 29-26 following their win and are currently in 6th place in the Eastern Conference, 4 games behind the Hawks.

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Following Jerry Sloan's retirement, Utah has lost 4 games in a row and their best player has been traded. Maybe Jerry Sloan was onto something jumping ship when he did. Al Jefferson scored 30 points, but Dallas shot 57.9% and put 7 players in double figures as they routed the Jazz 118-99. Peja Stokakovic continues to return to form as he scored in double figures for the 4th straight game. During that stretch he's averaging 15.5 points and has hit 12 of 22 3-pointers. Dallas has quietly won 4 in a row and 14 of 15, their only loss during that stretch coming when Aaron Afflalo hit a shot at the buzzer to lead Denver to a 121-120 win back on February 10th.

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Oh wait. It's the same thing he does every night. 15 points. 11 rebounds. 44 double doubles in a row. And like clockwork the Timberwolves lost, 104-95 to Memphis. With the win, Memphis jumps ahead of Utah and into 8th place in the Western Conference.


It doesn't matter how many injuries the Trail Blazers have, when the Lakers come to town, they bring their A game. In fact since February 23, 2005, the Lakers have managed to win in Portland during the regular season just one time and tonight they once again found themselves in trouble. Trailing 87-79 with 4:22 to play, the Lakers closed out regulation on an 8-0 sparked by 4 points from Ron Artest and a pair of shots from Kobe Bryant in the final minute to send the game into overtime. Portland led 97-95 with just a minute and a half to play, but again the Lakers went on a run, scoring the game's next 9 points, 6 by Bryant to take a 7 point lead with just 16 seconds to go. Portland added a pair of baskets late, but it wasn't enough as L.A. won their second in a row after the all star break 106-101. Bryant finished with 37 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists, Pau Gasol had 18 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists, and Ron Artest came up with 24 points to lead the way for the Lakers. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 29 points and 14 rebounds, but missed two crucial free throws in overtime that allowed the Lakers to put the game out of reach.

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Chuck Hayes - 17 rebounds (13 offensive)
Dwight Howard - 31 points, 17 rebounds
John Wall - 21 points, 5 rebounds, 12 assists
Kevin Durant - 30 points, 9 rebounds
Blake Griffin - 21 points, 13 rebounds

Cricket World Cup Wrapup - Day 5

Pakistan started of the 2011 World Cup in strong form blowing out struggling Kenya 317-112. Pakistan started out slow getting just 10 runs on 38 balls from their top two batsmen, but the middle of their order came up huge producing 4 50s and they cruised from there. Umar Akmal led the way with 71 runs off 52 balls and was named the man of the match. Kenya had better luck offensively than they did in their opener against New Zealand, but still fell well short of the competition. Collins Obuya produced 47 runs off 58 balls, but he's the only player to score more than 20 in Kenya's first two matches.

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Every team in Group A has now played at least one match. Here's how the standings stack up through Day 5:

New Zealand 1-0-0 - 2 Pts
Sri Lanka 1-0-0 - 2 Pts
Pakistan 1-0-0 - 2 Pts
Australia 1-0-0 - 2 Pts
Zimbabwe 0-1-0 - 0 Pts
Canada 0-1-0 - 0 Pts
Kenya 0-2-0 - 0 Pts

Pakistan is in action again on Saturday taking on co-host Sri Lanka, while Kenya is off until Tuesday when they too play Sri Lanka.

So Long Deron

It's like the Tennessee Titans all over again! First it was Jerry Sloan, now it's Deron Williams. The all star point guard becomes the latest superstar to get moved before the NBA trade deadline getting shipped off to New Jersey for Devin Harris, rookie Derrick Favors and a pair of first round draft picks. I honestly did not see this one coming. After Jerry Sloan stepped down, apparently due in no small part to his relationship with Williams, I really thought that Utah was going to be HIS team moving forward. Apparently not.

I think it's an interesting move for the Jazz. They lose their franchise player, but they replace him with Devin Harris who's averaged 15 points and 7.6 assists as the Nets starting point guard this year. It's a drop off, but it's not like Devin Harris is Bryce Drew or Matt Maloney; he is a respectable point guard. They also get Derrick Favors, the 3rd overall pick in the 2010 draft. At 6'10" and only 19 years old he's a nice piece to have. And they also get two draft picks and $3M. So despite losing Williams and his 21.3 points and 9.7 assists, they don't do too bad here. And if Williams wasn't planning on resigning with the Jazz, then it makes terrific sense to move him vice getting nothing for him. The real question is can the Jazz still be a playoff team in the West with Harris for Williams? They're not playing great right now, 0-3 since Sloan stepped down, and own just a half game lead over Memphis right now for the 8th and final playoff spot. We'll see...

Now is Deron Williams going to make the Nets a competitor? Not this year. The Nets are 17-40. They're not going anywhere right now, I don't care who they trade for. What this move does for New Jersey though is give them a franchise player to build around and hopefully be able to draw in some free agent talent next season. It will be interesting to see what New Jersey can do moving forward.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cricket World Cup Wrapup - Day 4

The 2011 World Cup had it's first really competitive match today as England rallied to beat the Netherlands in the 49th over 296-292 with 8 balls remaining. The Netherlands got a monster performance from Ryan ten Doeschate who turned in a century with 119 runs off 110 balls including 9 fours and 3 sixes. He also bowled 10 overs conceding just 47 runs and picking up a pair of wickets. England would battle back though with each of their top six batsman scoring at least 30 runs led by captain Andrew Strauss's 88 runs on 83 balls. In the end it was Ravi Bopara who decided the match though picking up 16 runs on his final 4 swings in the 49th over to seal the victory. With the win England moves into a tie with India atop Group B with 2 points. The two teams will face off against one another on Sunday. Ten Doeschate took the man of the match honors despite playing for the losing side.

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Cricket Term of the Day: Mullygrubber

A mullygrubber is a ball that doesn't bounce after pitching. The term was coined by the legendary (in cricket circles at least) Richie Benaud.

Around the NBA - Life After the All Star Break


Dwyane Wade's ankle didn't appear to be a factor as the Heat steamrolled Sacramento 117-97 in their first game back from the All Star Break. Wade had 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists as the Heat jumped out to a 35-16 lead at the end of one and never looked back. LeBron James picked up right where he left off in the all star game scoring 31 points and adding 8 rebounds in just 30 minutes and Chris Bosh added 22 points as the Heat just had Sacramento completely overmatched. DeMarcus Cousins, coming off his strong performance in the rookie challenge, was not able to carry that momentum over into tonight as he struggled with his shot all game hitting on just 3 of 14 field goals and finishing with 8 points. Samuel Dalembert led the Kings with 18 points and 13 rebounds off the bench. Miami has now won 3 in row heading into their big showdown in Chicago on Thursday.

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New half of the season, same result. 20 points and 17 rebounds for Kevin Love and another Timberwolves loss. Love now has 43 straight double doubles, but the Wolves fell to 13-44, the worst record in the Western Conference. Michael Beasley added 21 points and rookie Wesley Johnson had 14 points and 8 rebounds but the in wasn't enough for Minnesota. Brandon Jennings led the way for the Bucks with 27 points and 7 assists and Milwaukee got big contributions from their bench - 14 rebounds for Jon Brockman and 20 points for Corey Maggette - as they won for just the 3rd time in 11 games.

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The Denver Nuggets dressed only nine for their game against the Grizzlies tonight and it sure didn't seem to phase them one bit. J.R. Smith had 26 points and Ty Lawson and Aaron Afflalo each added 21 as the Nuggets put up 120 points in their first game after losing Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony. Lawson added 6 steals and the Nuggets hit 12 3-points en route to a 120-107 win over the Grizzlies. Memphis who was without Rudy Gay tonight got 26 from ex-Celtic Tony Allen and 21 off the bench from O.J. Mayo in a losing effort. Memphis is now just 12-19 on the road this season as opposed to 19-8 at home.

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The Lakers looked to be in all kinds of trouble before the All Star break. Coming off of three straight losses, most notably to the lowly Cavaliers, nothing seemed to be going right. All of that changed tonight though. Starting off the second half against the 34-21 Hawks, the Lakers looked nothing like the team that we saw last week. L.A. just out to a 54-33 halftime lead and blew the Hawks out of the building. Kobe wasn't the prolific scorer we saw in the all star game on Sunday night finishing with 20 minutes on 11 shots in 26 minutes, but I almost feel they're a better team when he's not taking 29-30 shots a game. Tonight it was a team effort and balanced attack on the offensive end that got the job done winning by a final score of 104-80. Every Laker scored who dressed scored at least 2 points, and the Lakers dominated on the glass outrebounding the Hawks 54-32 led by Andrew Bynum's 15. The Hawks meanwhile, despite only turning the ball over 6 times just could not get things going on offense hitting just 1 of 15 3-pointers and shooting 36.6% for the game from the field. The Lakers are back on the road tomorrow as they head north to take on the Trail Blazers.

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Kevin Durant - 21 points 8 rebounds
Blake Griffin - 28 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists
John Wall - 15 points, 8 rebounds, 10 assists
Rajon Rondo - 19 points, 15 assists

Start Spreading the News...

I'm leaving today
It's time to be a part of it
New York, New York.

So sings Carmelo Anthony after a trade agreement was reached between the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks (and the Minnesota Timberwolves) yesterday sending the former Syracuse star back to New York to play alongside Amare Stoudemire and the Knicks. Well, what's left of the Knicks. To land Anthony the Knicks essentially completely overhauled their roster. Gone are Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry along with 3 draft picks and $6M. In return, in addition to the star they coveted, New York gets point guard Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman and Corey Brewer. Good move or no?

The Knicks now have their own 'Big Three' in Stoudemire, Billups and Anthony, but does it really make them better? New York gave up 3 of their top 4 scorers in the deal in Chandler, Felton and Gallinari as well as the 7'1" Mozgov who had worked his way into a starting role, and the 21 year old Randolph who, while not living up to expectations, has a very high ceiling. In return they get Melo and Billups, who in the short term are both upgrades and Corey Brewer who's a nice supporting cast member. But then you have Shelden Williams who last scored a point on the 28th of January, 35 year old Anthony Carter who has played in just 14 games this season and is averaging just 1.9 points a game, and Renaldo Balkman who hasn't played in a game since January 15th.

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So is this a finals contender? I have to say no. I like Anthony, Billups, Landry Fields and Stoudemire in the same starting lineup. Throw in a Ronny Turiaf and it's serviceable starting five. But then where do you go? You've got a bunch of young wing-type players in Toney Douglas, Bill Walker and Shawne Williams to go along with the newly acquired Brewer and soon-to-return from injury Kelenna Azubuike. But as far as big men goes, they're extremely limited. It's Turiaf, Stoudemire, Shelden Williams, and that's it. Who guards Dwight Howard? Who guards the Celtics big men? Joakim Noah? Al Horford? These guys will make the playoffs, but I don't think they have the size to make a serious run. It will be interesting to see if they try and make a move to get another big man before the trade deadline comes up this week. Either way, Mike D'Antoni is a good coach, and he was able to take Phoenix to the Western Conference finals with Steven Hunter and Jake Voskuhl as the only true centers, so anything is possible.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cricket World Cup Wrapup - Day 3

Defending Champion Australia started the 2011 World Cup off on the right foot knocking off Zimbabwe 262-171 in Group A play. The Aussies, who have won the last 3 World Cups and been been to the finals in the last 4, got half centuries from Shane Watson (79 runs on 92 balls) and vice-captain Michael Clarke (58 runs on 55 balls), but held Zimbabwe to just 3.69 runs per over before they went all out at 46.2. Zimbabwe actually got their best production out of the bottom of their order bowler Graeme Cremer put up a team-bets 37 runs on 51 balls including four fours. Watson was named the man of the match as in addition to hit 79 runs he also bowled 3 overs conceding only 7 runs.

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Australia now founds themselves tied atop Group A with fellow ICC members New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Australia will take on New Zealand on Friday in the 8th match of the tournament.

Cricket Term of the Day: Wicket-keeper

The wicket-keeper is the player on the fielding side who stands immediately behind the batting end wicket. It's a specialist position of oftentimes the wicket-keepers aren't adept at batting. From what I can gather, it's basically the cricket equivalent of a catcher.

West Coast Pop

Much to the surprise of a lot of people, the Western Conference defeated the favored Eastern Conference in the 60th NBA All Star Game last night 148-143. What started out slow, somewhat sloppy, and almost lopsided for most of the game turned into a pretty exciting finish. In the early part of the game it was all Kobe Bryant. Energized by the home crowd and the fact that he was one all-star MVP award from tying Bob Petit's record, Bryant did a little bit of everything. He hit from inside, from outside, had some exciting dunks, played decent defense (for an all-star game), and was all over the offensive glass. Through three quarters, the West had what seemed to be a comfortable 117-100 lead. The two sides traded baskets for a while and with about six minutes left in the game, the East finally turned it on. Trailing 134-118, the East went on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 7 points. Chris Paul hit a 3 for the West, but the East was unfazed following it up with an 8-0 run to make it a 2 point game with a little over 2 minutes to play. But the NBA's leading scorer Kevin Durant hit a jumper to push the lead back to 4 and after Pau Gasol blocked a shot by Derrick Rose, Kobe found the "Durantula" for 3-pointer pushing the lead back up to 7. But the East would respond again refusing to go down without a fight and Amare Stoudemire, who had just 24 3-pointers in his NBA drilled a three from the top of the arc to cut the deficit back to 4 once again. Then following a Kobe Bryant turnover, Lebron James converted a layup and all of a sudden with just over a minute to play it was 142-140. But Pau Gasol tipped in a Kobe Bryant miss and Chris Bosh missed a wide open 3 pointer and the East was forced to put the West on the free throw line. Chris Paul hit a pair to make it a 6 point game and Kevin Durant followed a Ray Allen 3 with 2 more to ice it. Final score 148-143.

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Kobe was deservedly the MVP finishing with 37 points, tied for the 4th highest total in all star game history, and had 14 rebounds- 10 of them on the offensive end, to go along with 3 assists and 3 steals. Kevin Durant didn't necessarily produce the same highlight reel that Bryant did, but he was the man for the West down the stretch scoring 7 points in the final 2 minutes giving him 34 for the game. Blake Griffin only played 15 minutes for the West but had 8 points 5 rebounds and 5 assists. For the East, LeBron James was the story. James become just the second player in NBA history to record a triple double in an all star game finishing with 29 points 12 rebounds and 10 assists and was a pivotal part of the East's failed comeback as he scored 14 in the final quarter of play. Amare Stoudemire added 29 points in 28 minutes, but he was the only other Eastern Conference player to score over 20.

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Overall, it wasn't a great game. There were a lot of turnovers (21 for the East, 15 for the West), and the two sides combined to hit just 16 of 60 3-point attempts. While the rookie game on Friday night had a number of signature plays, there wasn't really anything in this game that you'd want to talk about at work the next day. LeBron had some impressive drives, and Kobe had some surprising dunks (mostly because before the game he planned to just shoot jumpers), but there wasn't anything to rival John Wall's bounce pass alley-oop to Blake Griffin on Friday night. Honestly, the biggest play of the game was Dwyane Wade rolling his ankle over Deron Williams' foot and being forced to leave the game and not return. Still, the last 6 minutes were exciting and we saw LeBron James and Kobe Bryant at their best with Kevin Durant quietly waiting in the wings. And ultimately, it capped off another impressive all star weekend by the NBA.

The Box Score

Top Tens

Men's Tennis Rankings

1. Rafael Nadal (Spain) - 12390 points
2. Roger Federer (Switzerland) - 7965 points
3. Novak Djokovic (Serbia) - 7880 points
4. Robin Soderling (Sweden) - 6055 points
5. Andy Murray (Great Britain) - 5760 points
6. David Ferrer (Spain) - 4510 points
7. Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) - 4270 points
8. Andy Roddick (USA) - 3735 points
9. Fernando Verdasco (Spain) - 3140 points
10. Jurgen Melzer (Austria) - 2865 points

Women's Tennis Rankings

1. Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) - 9430 points
2. Kim Clijsters (Belgium) - 8835 points
3. Vera Zvonareva (Russia) - 7155 points
4. Samantha Stosur (Australia) - 5086 points
5. Francesca Schiavone (Italy) - 5051 points
6.  Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) - 4655 points
7. Li Na (China) - 4300 points
8. Venus Williams (USA) - 3745 points
9. Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) - 3440 points
10. Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) - 3170 points

FedEx Cup Points Leaders

1. Mark Wilson 1009 (1)
2. Jhonattan Vegas 727 (3)
3. D.A. Points 688 (2)
4. Aaron Baddeley 658 (-)
5. Bubba Watson 584 (4)
6. Jonathan Byrd 566 (5)
7. Vijay Singh 564 (-)
8. Bill Haas 497 (7)
9. Hunter Mahan 488 (6)
10. Phil Mickelson 443 (8)

Out: Steve Marino (11), Gary Woodland (14)

NCAA Men's Top Ten AP Rankings (ESPN/USA Today Rankings)

1. Duke 25-2 (1)
2. Ohio State 25-2 (3)
3. Kansas 25-2 (2)
4. Pittsburgh 24-3 (6)
5. Texas 23-4 (5)
6. San Diego State 27-1 (4)
7. Brigham Young 25-2 (7)
8. Purdue 22-5 (8)
9. Notre Dame 21-5 (9)
10. Arizona 23-4 (10)                                                                             

NCAA Women's Top Ten AP Rankings

1. Connecticut 26-1
2. Standford 24-2
3. Baylor 24-2
4. Tennessee 25-2
5. Texas A&M 22-3
6. Xavier 23-2
7. DePaul 25-3
8. Notre Dame 22-5
9. Duke 24-3
10. Michigan St. 24-3

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Six Pack


There's a new modern-era rebounding leader for Division I Men's Hoops. Morehead State Senior Kenneth Faried had 12 rebounds against Indiana State on Saturday surpassing Tim Duncan's 4 year total  at Wake Forest of 1570. The 6'8" Faried currently leads the nation in rebounding by nearly a rebound a game and now needs just 24 more rebounds to become the first Divison I men's player to hit the 1600 rebound plateau. He has two more regular season games plus whatever postseason opportunities Morehead State gets to get them and considering that he averages over 14 boards a game this year, he shouldn't have too much trouble doing it. Faried has gone over the 20 rebound mark 5 times this season and has never had fewer than 7. Morehead State is currently tied with Murray State atop the Ohio Valley Conference with a 12-4 record.

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Faried is currently ranked #16 on ESPN's Chad Ford's Top 100 prospect list and projected to go in the mid to late first round of the 2011 NBA Draft.

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Men's NCAA Division I Modern Era (1973-) Leading Rebounders

Kenneth Faried - Morehead State - 1576 rebounds - Drafted: ?
Tim Duncan - Wake Forest - 1570 rebounds - Drafted: 1st overall, 1997
Derrick Coleman - Syracuse - 1537 rebounds - Drafted: 1st overall, 1990
Malik Rose - Drexel - 1514 rebounds - Drafted: 44th overall, 1996
Ralph Sampson - Virginia - 1511 rebounds - Drafted - 1st overall, 1983


First it was #1 Kansas getting beaten by in-state rival Kansas State on Monday 84-68. Then yesterday #4 Pitt took a one point lead with 12 seconds left only to watch St. John's come back down and hit a shot on the other end with 1.2 seconds left stealing one from the Panthers 60-59. Shortly after that, we saw #2 Texas miss a 3-pointer against Nebraska at the buzzer to lose 70-67. And now today, #3 Ohio State got beaten handily by #11 Purdue 76-63. So all four of the nation's top four teams lost this week. What does that mean for the polls? Most likely scenario, assuming #5 Duke beats Georgia Tech at home tonight, the Blue Devils will likely be your new number one on Monday morning.

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This was a rough week for the top ranked women's team as well. #1 Baylor will not be #1 any more come Monday. Prior to yesterday's game against unranked Texas Tech, Baylor had won 21 games in a row and only lost once all season, by one point to then #1 Connecticut. 3 weeks ago, they beat this same Texas Tech team 64-51. None of that seemed to matter yesterday though. Even a Britney Griner dunk couldn't tip the scales in favor of Baylor. Texas Tech closed out the first half with a 6-0 run to put them up 7 and pulled away in the second half to knock off the Lady Bears 56-45. The loss coupled with Connecticut's 21 point throttling of #8 Notre Dame yesterday all but assures that the 26-1 Lady Huskies will be the number one team in the country once again.

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If you missed the festivities last night, you really need to watch this:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3 

All in all, it was pretty impressive. JaVale McGee dunked on two different rims at the same time, and then following that up by dunking 3 balls at the same time, Demar DeRozan busted out the East Bay Funk Remix and Show Stopper, Serge Ibaka dunked from behind the free throw line, and Blake Griffin jumped over a car. I was thoroughly entertained. The rest of the night was a little less exciting. The "shooting stars contest" doesn't really do it for me. Al Horford, Steve Smith, and Coco Miller won that contest for Atlanta when team Texas failed to hit the halfcourt shot in the final. And  the "skills competition" still need some work. It just doesn't seem like you get the best out of the competitors. Stephen Curry ended up the winner, and deservedly so, but Chris Paul missed a layup and Derrick Rose lollygagged his way through causing him to miss the finals. I dunno, I think they need better incentives or something. The three point contest was good though. Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and James Jones all made the finals. Allen hit 10 shots in a row in the first round, by Jones hit 4 of 5 money balls in the finals to pull off the upset over the Celtics teammates. And then there was the dunk contest. All in all it was a solid night number two, and tonight we cap it off with the all star game.


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I really haven't talked a lot about hockey in this blog aside from the Winter Classic and the All Star Game. So now that we're down to the last 20 or so games of the regular season let's at least take a look at the standings and see how everything is shaping up.

Eastern Conference

1. Philadelphia 39-15-5 83 Pts
2. Tampa Bay 34-18-7 75 Pts
3. Boston 33-19-7 73 Pts
4. Pittsburgh 36-19-5 77 Pts
5. Washington 31-19-10 72 Pts
6. Montreal 31-21-7 66 Pts
7. NY Rangers 31-26-4 66 Pts
8. Carolina 28-24-8 64 Pts

Western Conference

1. Vancouver 38-13-9 85 Pts
2. Detroit 37-16-6 80 Pts
3. Phoenix 32-19-9 73 Pts
4. San Jose 33-21-6 72 Pts
5. Nashville 31-20-8 70 Pts
6. Los Angeles 32-23-4 68 Pts
7. Dallas 31-22-6 68 Pts
8. Minnesota 31-22-6 68 Pts

The West is still wide open as in addition to L.A., Dallas, and Minnesota, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Calgary Flames also have 68 points and the defending champion Blackhawks are right behind them with 66. Then there's Columbus at 64 and St. Louis at 63. Expect things to get pretty exciting down the stretch.


And the winner of the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 is... 20 year old rookie driver Trevor Bayne... With the win, Bayne breaks Jeff Gordon's mark as being the youngest drive to win the race. Gordon was 25 when he won it back in 1997.

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