Tag Archives: sports

Big Blue Nation Should Be Ashamed Of Itself

Kentucky basketball has been the pride of the bluegrass for over a century, and with good reason. UK has won 8 National Titles, second only to UCLA’s 11. Due to the unparalleled success of the basketball program, and the lack of a professional franchise in the state, Kentucky basketball fans are ravenous. There is nothing wrong with passion-until you take it too far! After falling to North Carolina in the NCAA tournament, in the Elite Eight, the passion of Big Blue Nation indeed, went too far.

The contest between North Carolina and Kentucky was truly a “classic,” coming down to the final seconds. After the buzzer sounded and tears were shed, some Kentucky fans went absolutely nuts. A vocal group in the Big Blue fan base directed their ire towards John Higgins,  the lead official during the game, who also officiated during the Final Four.  If you watched the game, the officiating was questionable at best. However, poor officiating occurred for both sides, and to be quite blunt, happens every game on every level. You can certainly criticize Higgins and his crew for missed calls, but to equate it to the bias that occurred between the US and Soviet Union in the 1978 Olympics is ridiculous. Even worse, a small group of fans took to social media and other platforms to threaten and disparage Higgins personally. Dozens of negative comments were left on Higgins’ business website, questioning his integrity as a person and suggesting his business should be boycotted.  Again, its fine to be critical of Higgins as an official, but trying to affect his lively hood crosses a line.

If you as the reader do not feel a line has been crossed, let us offer other instances. While some took shots at Higgins professionally, others up the level of hysteria by threatening his life. Days after the Kentucky loss, Higgins met with FBI officials after receiving several death threats left on his voicemail. There are not enough words in the English language to describe the level of stupidity displayed by these clearly unstable people. If law enforcement can determine individuals who made these threats, please prosecute them to the fullest extent possible. Memo to the Big Blue Nation, there is more to life then basketball, maybe, just maybe, some of you need to get one!

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Zags Will Win National Title Tonight

The 2017 National Championship game tips off in just about six hours. The game boast two #1 seeds, the blue blood (North Carolina) and the perennial underdog (Gonzaga). For the past 17 years, Gonzaga has looked to crash the NCAA Tournament party. Tonight, they will have the chance to trade Cinderella’s slipper for the championship crown. Through, Mark Few’s Bulldogs look like the underdog yet again, they are not! The Zags can match Carolina’s size, can score inside and out, and can rebound at a similar pace as the Tar Heels. Let’s be honest, the Tar Heel defense wasn’t as solid as it had been throughout the season Saturday night. If the Ducks had made a few more buckets down the stretch we would be talking about a different National Title Game this evening.

While, Gonzaga does not have the experience that the Roy Williams led Tar Heels do, Gonzaga should be relaxed and ready to play. North Carolina will have the pressure to finish their business after suffering a heartbreak loss, to Villanova, last March. If Gonzaga didn’t match up well with the Tar Heels we would give our nod to Chapel Hill, but Gonzaga has the match up they want and are poised to be on the podium as, ” One Shining Moment is planning tonight.

Final Four Preview

Well, since we o for 4 in our Final Four picks, we aren’t sure if you should be listening to our breakdown of this weekend’s games. Nevertheless, we will give it a shot! Looking at the matchups we are going to find out quickly if experience matters. Three of the four coaches, Roy Williams being the only exception, are making their first appearance in the Final Four, Coach Williams will be making trip number five overall, and his 3rd with North Carolina. Without a doubt, we will learn rather being there before really makes a difference. The thing that matters most, however, are the matchups. Let”s take a deeper look!

 

Gonzaga V South Carolina

There is absolutely, no question, that South Carolina has an exceptional defensive squad. The Gamecocks won all throughout this season because  of an in your face defense and solid rebounding. It is certainly how they took down Duke in round two, and then came back against  Florida in the second half to punch their ticket to Phoenix. The Gamecock offense has come around, led by Cendarius Thornwell. Unfortunately, South Carolina will be coming up against a Gonzaga team that has multiple offensive weapons, size, and the same defensive mindedness as their opponents. With Neigl Williams-Goss, and Johnathan Williams, as well as a solid supporting cast, Gonzaga should get by the Gamecocks, albeit in a nail biter.

Our Pick Gonzaga

 

North Carolina V Oregon

While the Ducks run has been quite a story, particularly with their starting center out for the season, there is no substitute for experience. The Tar Heel offense has gotten plenty of good looks throughout their journey, granted, they haven’t made as many as they would like, we believe Carolina will score the ball and exploit the Ducks lack of size.  We expect the UNC to advance to  a second  straight title game. Add to that the desire to exact redemption after a heart breaking defeat in last year’s title game, and you have a recipe to advance to Monday night’s championship

Our Pick:

North Carolina

Grayson Alen: A Symptom Of A Larger Issue

Grayson Allen has been far more known foe his antics off the court than his play on it this season. Allen has had several incidents of,”dirty play throughout the 2017 season. Allen was indefinitely suspended by Coach K earlier this season, after tripping an opponent during a non-conference game. After the suspendible offense, Allen went off on coaches and teammates who attempted to calm after the tripping incident occurred. Sadly, this is not the first season Allen has had aggression issues. Last season Allen was given a flagrant foul for separate tripping incidents during the 2015-2016. While Grayson Allen’s actions are troubling enough, he is just a symptom of a larger issue in sports today- entitlement.

Sports is the ultimate microcosm of society, there are haves and have nots. Athletes who posses superior talent are allowed to get away with behavior that their less talented peers would face consequences for. This type of favoritism truly begins at the youth level, where coaches and parents alike seem more concerned with winning than teaching life lessons. Yes, winning is very important! after all, why do we play if not to win? There is nothing wrong with having a competitive fire. In fact, competition should be encouraged! However, it is also a coach’s job to impart life lessons and correct detrimental behavior, no matter how talented the player. Somewhere around 1 percent of all athletes will compete at the highest level of sports. Thus, it is vital that coaches do not treat gifted athletes different from their teammates. We have witnessed  multiple senerios in which athletes have verbally and or physically assaulted coaches and teammates, yet, they were never punished for such behavior. It is highly likely that, at some point, such inappropriate will not be tolerated in the work place or otherwise. When someone has never encountered consequences for bad behavior rather at home or on the playing field, they will have difficulty dealing with the consequences of their actions, when the time comes to do so.

Playing sports is a privilege, not a right! the only way to change behavior is to punish behavior that should to be corrected, thus, some time on the bench is not necessarily a bad thing. True, sports at the highest levels are businesses, and coaches are, all to often, judged by their performance on the playing field. However, it is also  important to understand that there is life after sports. Star athlete or not, actions have consequences. It is time that coaches, parents, and other influencers focus not just on the athlete, but the whole person as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

College Football Coaching Changes: The Good and the Curious

As the college football regular season has come to a close, the game of musical chairs among coaches has begun.Some of these coaching changes are good for programs, others seem very curious. The hiring of Ed Oregeron by LSU  was a great move. Coach O, as he is known in Baton Rouge, understands the culture of the school and the region. He also seemed to have the support of the locker room, which can be a difficult task when dealing with 18-23 year olds. The challenge for the Tigers will be finding an offense that can make plays and develop quality quarterback play.

On the other hand, the hiring of Tom Herman at Texas doesn’t make a ton of sense. While there is no denying Herman can coach, it seems Texas is trading in one mid major coach for another. Herman has had two quality season at Houston, turning the program  into a second tier power. While the Cougars opening win against Oklahoma was impressive, Houston was blown out by SMU and UCF, both of which aren’t exactly the cream of the crop. When the Longhorns hired Charlie Strong, he had just come off successful seasons with Louisville, much the way Herman had with UH. Thus, it seems curious that Texas, which has more resources than any other country, would hire a coach with the identical resume of the guy who they just fired.

Strong wasn’t out of a job for long as Central Florida scooped him up. Strong is a fantastic hire for UCF. given his ties to Florida and his ability to recruit quality players from the  stare. Strong will have UCF as a bowl contender for a long time to come. Another great hire in the Sunshine State is the hiring of Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic. Kiffin, 41, has won a national title at Alabama, as the offensive coordinator. Kiffin also had a solid run at USC, and has been a NFL head coach with the Oakland Raiders. While Kiffin will probably use the FAU job as a stepping stone, there is no question that FAU will win under Kiffin.

Purdue’s hiring of Jeff Brohm is great for the Bolier Makers. Purdue has been a perpetual bottom feeder in the Big Ten, but should become significantly better under Brohm. Brhom  led Western Kentucky to back to back Conference USA Championships, and should bring the same pedigree to Purdue. If Brohm can get Purdue to bowl game, The fans will build a statue in West Lafayette

 

College Athletes Deserve To Cash In

For the past decade or so, there has been a debate rather college athletes should be paid in addition to their scholarships. We do not believe athletes should be paid by the schools they attend. Allowing athletes to be paid to attend certain  schools ruin the amateurism concept and would create a completely unfair playing field, as schools with more resources would simply open their wallets and ensure they always get top recruits. Granted, the top schools in major college sports often get the most highly rated athletes based on reputation, facilities, and other benefits.

While, institutions themselves should not be paying their athletes, the athletes themselves have every right to capitalize on their talents. In our opinion, athletes who receive endorsement deals or other off the field payments would not be receiving extra benefits, in violation of NCAA rules. Any other student,who may be on academic scholarship, can be paid to endorse products and or work for a business based on their merits. Why are athletes treated differently? The NCAA often mentions their desire  ensure that student-athletes are treated on par with their peers. Yet, restrictions are placed upon the athletes that other students do not have to contend with. Also, keep in mind, most athletes, even at the Division I level, will not play professionally. Why should a student not be able to cash on their celebrity while possible?  Quite frankly, it is the American way to use our talents to benefits ourselves, collegiate athletics should not be different!

MLB Will be Big Winner As World Series Begins

Just a few moments from now the first pitch of the 2016 World Series  will be thrown. The Indians and Cubs  are about as evenly matched as two teams vying for a championship can be. The Indians won the AL Central by 8 games, while the Cubs dominated the NL Central, winning by 10 games. The lovable losers in Chicago racked up the best record in the majors with 108 wins, against just 58 losses. Both managers, Joe Madden (Cubs) and Terry Francona (Indians) keep things  loose, and you can see their passion for their players and the game of baseball.Both teams have dynamic, shut-down bullpens, led by two of the best closers in the game, Andrew Miller(Indians) and Aroldis Chapman (Cubs). Perhaps, the greatest similarity with both clubs is the fact that they have two of the most loyal, long-suffering fan bases in all of sports. The Cubbies have not been to the mountain top in 108 years, and have had many well documented close calls in their century plus of obscurity. Not to be outdone, the Tribe has not hoisted the World Series Trophy since 1948.

With so many similarities between the two, it is very difficult to pick a winner, although, I’ll do that shortly. The clear winner in this World Series is Major League Baseball!  Once  known as, “America’s past time”, baseball has lost a bit of its luster when it comes to TV viewership. Just two weeks ago, a regular season NFL game saw 3 million more views than did a deciding game 5 between the Nationals and Dodgers. This World Series should have no problem drawing eyeballs simply because of the profiles of both teams. Viewers are drawn to drama, and it doesn’t get more dramatic than two teams that haven’t won a championship in 176 years. I believe Chicago will celebrate when the final out is made, but the bigger winner will be baseball itself

 

Will Tiger Woods Ever Win Again?

Some kids are born with a baseball glove, for others their favorite toy is a football, Tiger Woods had a golf club in his hand from the minute he arrived in the world. At age 2, Tiger appeared with his father, Earl, on the Mike Sullivan show to show off his driving skills. Since then, Woods has become one of the most widely known people in the world, let alone in sports. My fandom with TW began in 1996 when he came back from a 4 down deficit to win his 3rd straight U.S. Amateur Championship. However, watching Woods domination of Augusta National at the 1997 Masters led me to realize I was watching the beginning of a legendary career

Nearly two decades, and 14 major championships later, there is no doubt that Tiger Woods is one of the greatest athletes ever. However, lately, he has become known more for what is going on off the course rather than on it. Woods’ personal issues are more than well documented, and a variety of injuries have kept Tiger away from the tee box. Woods has not won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open, where he outlasted Rocco Mediate in a playoff, with a fracture in his leg. The former world number one has not won a tournament of any kind since the 2011 Players Championship. Woods has not even played the weekend in a major since finishing tied for 17th at the last year’s Masters. Woods would go on to miss the cut in each of the three other majors in 2015.

After taking the entire 2016 season off to rehab from injury, Woods was expected at the 2017 season opener,The Safeway Open, last week. However, the hopes of Tiger fans were dashed when Woods pulled out citing his game not being ready for PGA Tour golf. A source close to Woods however, said he was “flushing everything”, during practice sessions. This Tiger fan is left to wonder if perhaps the once most confident athlete I have ever seen no longer believe he can win.

So we arrive back to the original question of this post, will Tiger Woods win again? As much as I hope I’m wrong, my answer is no! Woods turns 41 in December, couple his age and the rash of recent injuries, I see more breakdown headed his way. If Woods body doesn’t betray him, there are so many good players capable of beating the once unbeatable machine. Thus, it will be a monumental task for Tiger to raise another trophy.