Tuesday, March 30, 2010

2010 MLB Predictions

I'm a baseball geek, what else can I say. This is how the MLB will pan out this year:

NL East
1. ) Phillies
2.) Braves
3.) Mets
4.) Marlins
5.) Nationals

NL Central
1.) Cardinals
2.) Reds *
3.) Brewers
4.) Cubs
5.) Pirates
6.) Astros

NL West
1.) Giants
2.) Rockies
3.) Dodgers
4.) Diamondbacks
5.) Padres

AL East
1.) Yankees
2.) Red Sox
3.) Rays
4.) Orioles
5.) Blue Jays

AL Central
1.) White Sox
2.) Twins *
3.) Tigers
4.) Royals
5.) Indians

AL West
1.) Angels
2.) Rangers
3.) Mariners
4.) A's

World Series: Yankees over Cardinals

NL MVP: Albert Pujols
NL Cy Young: Yovani Gallardo

AL MVP: Mark Teixeira
AL Cy Young: Josh Beckett

I think the Yankees made all of the right moves this offseason. They got younger with Granderson and Gardner. They improved their pitching by adding Vazquez and moving Hughes to the rotation. The Cardinals are going to be tough to beat. Wainwright and Carpenter are a really tough 1-2. Part of me thinks that Carpenter won't stay healthy, but I think they have enough depth to fill the gap short term. Nothing beats Pujols and Holliday in the lineup, thats what sold me. Plus Larussa and Duncan are still in the dugout, that never hurts.

I don't know if its my head or my heart picking the Reds to make the playoffs. I love the youth and the depth on this team. I love our infield and we have a lot of depth in our outfield. The starting pitching is key. Harang has to be better than 6-14. Arroyo has to be more consistent (no day games for him please!). Cueto and Bailey have to keep improving. There are a lot of ifs, but they could be really good.

What do you think?

Anyone else want to try?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Did Joakim Noah Pull a Juwanna Man

NCAA Women's Basketball: Baylor vs Kansas State JAN 03

Does Brittney Griner of Baylor Resemble Joakim Noah at all to anyone else.....

NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: Florida v OSU

Some Quick Thoughts on the West Virginia game

I am planning on writing a full post about the season that was for the Kentucky Wildcats. But for now just want to point out a few quick points on the Kentucky-West Virginia game.

Here is what I said about the game in the preview post:

- But the road to number 8 will be difficult. If they come out man to man and looking to play at an up-tempo pace I think Kentucky will thrive. But I imagine Huggins will try to slow the game down and may show some zone to try to force Kentucky to shoot from behind the arc. The shooting of Bledsoe, Dodson, and Miller will be the key in defeating West Virginia.

I thought for a second that West Virginia might try to come out and play Kentucky man. But they ran that tough 1-3-1 zone and forced Kentucky to shoot the ball. And Kentucky shot 23-67 (.343) from the field and a horrendous 4-32 (.125) from the three. West Virginia didn't do much better on the FG% shooting just 20-52 (.385) but the difference maker the Mountaineers were 10-23 (.435) from 3.

The guys that I said were the key to a Kentucky victory:
Eric Bledsoe: 3-9 FG, 0-5 3pt, 1-6 FT, for 7 points.
Darnell Dodson: 2-9 FG, 2-9 3pt, 0-0 FT, for 6 points.
Darius Miller: 0-6 FG, 0-4 3pt, 2-4 Ft, for 2 points.

Kentucky has shown this before and had nights this season where they didn't shoot well. But they were able to sneak out some wins against teams who were not as athletic. Take a team like West Virginia who can match athletes with Kentucky and shoot the way that Kentucky did, you will lose every single time.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Survive and Advance, Kentucky wins Again!

- What a defensive game plan for Kentucky last night. Cornell lives on the perimeter and Kentucky came out pressuring the guards and jumping their ball screens. Kentucky dared Cornell to put the ball on the floor but they were not athletic enough to hang with Kentucky's guards. Cornell only shot 33% from the floor and were 5-21 (24%) from the three.

- Kentucky didn't play their best offensive game of the season. They were 44% from the floor and only 61% from the line. That will have to improve in order to beat a scrappy West Virginia team. The Achilles heel of Kentucky all season (and I say that lightly since we are now 35-2) is 3-pt shooting, and the Cats were an abysmal 2-16 from behind the arc.

- Cornell was a good team but just not in the same class as Kentucky. But the road to number 8 will be difficult. West Virginia is an interesting matchup. I think they will play right into Kentucky's game. If they come out man to man and looking to play at an up-tempo pace I think Kentucky will thrive. But I imagine Huggins will try to slow the game down and may show some zone to try to force Kentucky to shoot from behind the arc. The shooting of Bledsoe, Dodson, and Miller will be the key in defeating West Virginia.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Calipari now a famous geek?

Article from Switched.com, a popular "geek" blog. A friend showed it to me ... I swear.

Check it out.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why Cornell does not Scare Me

I have read a number of articles throughout the web that discuss Cornell and how they can be a big threat to Kentucky in the tournament. There are a number of angles that journalist's have taken to talk about the Big Red pushing through the Big Dance.

I am here to tell you that it will not happen. Sure Cornell absolutely took Temple and Wisconsin to the woodshed, but you have to understand the matchup to know what happened there. First I don't want to discredit Cornell, they are a good team. But both Temple and Wisconsin play very deliberate half court games, they play a slower pace based on a half court offense which plays right into Cornell's game plan. Kentucky plays an up-tempo high powered offense which by design is to spread the ball run and attack. I think Cornell can score some points but how will their players match-up with Kentucky's athletes?

The other angle that newsies are taking is "Cornell has Mark Coury, former Kentucky starter, who is not talented enough to crack the starting lineup of this Cornell team." This is just plain ridiculous. Yes, Coury did start for Kentucky in 2007-2008, but he averaged 10 minutes per game and 2 points. Coury was not the most talented player on that team and would be nowhere near the most talented on this team. If Coury were still at Kentucky this year he more than likely would have been watching the games for the ERupption Zone. Coury started for Billy G. as a smack to the other players because Mark worked hard in practice and Gillispie didn't think the others did. I think Mark is a good kid but lets not look too much into this.

Basketball is a game of matchups and Cornell just does not match up with Kentucky. If both teams go out and play their games I think the Wildcats will roll. Just my thoughts.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Just Saying....

Did anyone happen to notice on my NCAA Tournament Predicitions that I was correct on each of my Notable first round upsets? In case you forgot here were my picks.

*Notable first round upsets:
It's hard to call a 9 over 8 an upset but mark it down Northern Iowa will beat UNLV.
#7 Georgia Tech will beat #10 Oklahoma State.
I know its the "sexy" pick right now to take UTEP over Butler, but I will take Butler.
#13 Murray State will beat #4 Vanderbilt.
I like #11 Washington over #6 Marquette.

This is the first year since 1996 that I did not get into any money bracket challenges and of course I am ranked #1 in my free yahoo group. Figures.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

When NBA was King....

I recently watched three NBA Documentaries that really made me miss when the NBA was king. If you get a chance check out the ESPN 30 for 30 Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The Knicks, Magic vs. Bird: A Courtship of Rivals on HBO, and then I caught a short documentary on Michael Jordan on ESPN Classic. I thought the Miller video was good but the Magic vs. Bird movie on HBO was fantastic.

Anyhow, after watching these videos about the NBA of the 80's and 90's it really made me miss it. I recently traveled up to Indianapolis to catch a Pacers game with my wife. My wife, who is not a sports fan, asked me why they did not play defense. It only took her a few minutes into the game to realize that they were not playing hard and not playing defense. The NBA has taken a different mentality, its all about scoring. Now I think some of these guys from the 80's and 90's played a role in the evolution of the game. But in the 30 for 30 video a comment from Patrick Ewing really raised my eyebrows. He said, you did not come into our lane and you did not ever get a layup. If you brought it into the lane once you wouldn't try it again. Where did that aggressive play go? What happened? Now players get to the rim at will. Not because they are better athletes but because defenders don't play that rough hard nosed defense like they used to.

I think if the NBA went back to that mentality the game could make a comeback. Right now the NBA is hanging on to their superstars like LeBron and Kobe. Highlight reels show their dunks, layups, and jumpers. But where is that aggressive defense and aggressive play? I miss it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Bracket Picks

Okay kids. I love this time of year so I have already reviewed my bracket and it is time for me to set it on stone. What do I think about this years field of 65? I think that there are a few teams at the top and Cinderella will be dead this year. When I predicted out to my elite 8 I noticed that I am going with Top seeds in most instances. And I think it will be the case.

*Notable first round upsets:
It's hard to call a 9 over 8 an upset but mark it down Northern Iowa will beat UNLV.
#7 Georgia Tech will beat #10 Oklahoma State.
I know its the "sexy" pick right now to take UTEP over Butler, but I will take Butler.
#13 Murray State will beat #4 Vanderbilt.
I like #11 Washington over #6 Marquette.

My elite 8:
Ohio State
Kansas State
West Virginia

My Final Four:
Ohio State

My National Champion:
Kentucky Wildcats over Ohio State 76-67

So I think the 1's and 2's will step out in this one. I don't think there will be many surprises this year. I am sure that I will be eliminated by the Sweet 16 as usual, but there is always fun in playing expert!


SEC Basketball Tournament - Mississippi St. v Kentucky
What an SEC final yesterday. With that win Kentucky has won their 26th SEC Championship, the rest of the teams in the SEC combined have won 25. Every color commentator in the country needs to watch the replay of that game yesterday and shut up about fouling when you are down three. Why would you give the opposing team a free shot at points and complete control of the game. That is what can happen. In my opinion, in that situation, you play good perimeter defense and force a tough three pointer. If they hit it a contested three pointer to send it into overtime then so be it. I just don't agree with giving them the points. I know there are two sides to this situation, just my opinion. But I think it is interesting that you always hear the color commentator calling for the foul and most Division I coaches do not foul in that situation.

- There is no question that DeMarcus Cousins got that shot off yesterday. What a heads up play on his part. John Wall has admitted that he thought the game was over after Cousins hit the tip in. I think their on court celebration showed that. But I think everyone watching the game in the arena and at home that once they went into overtime the game was over, Kentucky had all of the momentum.

- I do feel bad for Rick Stansbury and the Mississippi State Bulldogs. They were 4.9 seconds away from the NCAA Tournament. Now they are the #1 seed in the NIT with a potential second round matchup against North Carolina.

- I hope that everyone in the East Region listens to all of the experts that say Kentucky has a team full of freshman and freshman cannot win in March. (Also lets forget that this team only has two losses this season.) Yes this team is full of Freshman, but these aren't your normal freshman.

- Huggins is very upset about their draw in the Tournament. He felt his team was deserving of a #1 seed, and when he was snubbed for that he was upset that he was placed with one of the top #1 seeds in the tournament. I am not sure why he is upset, its Huggins, he won't see his way past the first round.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

March: The Greatest Month for Sports

March is my favorite month of the year. Why March do you ask? There are so many reasons why March is the best month and you guessed it most of them revolve around sports.

*First, a non sports issue, Spring is upon us. After a long winter the sun is coming back and we are getting back outside. Those long winter months inside the house are starting to break and summer is upon us.

*College Basketball is in full swing. This week conference tournaments are in play. You can come home from work and watch live basketball. You can continue to watch live basketball all day. There is nothing better, bubble teams fighting for their tournament lives, everyone seeking tournament dominance.

*NBA approaches the playoffs. During the NBA regular season I am a casual observer. I keep up with who is leading the divisions, but anyone in a non-NBA town knows that the best time to watch the NBA is during the playoffs. Teams actually play and some decide to play some defense too! All kidding aside, I really enjoy the NBA playoffs and they will begin mid-April.

*Baseball Spring Training has begun. I love baseball. For most of the year baseball is there to comfort you, and truthfully in August and September you take it for granted. But come every March when teams report to spring training there is a clean slate. The Reds are in first place in the National League until someone knocks them off. Baseball is coming back and the Reds will be ready.

*The Sweet Sixteen (KHSAA actually holds the rights to this term) at Rupp Arena. I spend a lot of time in Indiana. They love their basketball in Indiana, and the old guys will talk about the "good old days" when Indiana had no class basketball. I always promptly tell them its still that way in Kentucky and we have the greatest show in Basketball. There is absolutely nothing like the Sweet Sixteen in Kentucky. Where else do you have 15,000 fans on a Wednesday morning packed into an arena to watch High School basketball.

*NFL Draft conversation. You do not have NFL football in March but you do have NFL Free Agency and the NFL Draft preparation. I always enjoy watching NFL free agency and watching players move from team to team with each franchise hoping to add that final piece to the puzzle (**cough, Antonio Bryant)

*Add to all of that you have NHL Hockey, PGA Golf, and NASCAR in their respective seasons. For all of these reasons March is the best month of the year.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Antonio Bryant to Sign with the Bengals

There are rumors surfacing that the Bengals have signed Antonio Bryant. I have yet to confirm this but at this point it seems like Bryant is a Bengal. Wait and see at this point for an announcement but it would shock me. Bryant has had a history of "run-ins" with head coaches. He was traded from Dallas after a run in with Coach Parcells, he was released from San Francisco after arguments with Mike Nolan. He was suspended in 2007 for violation of the NFL drug policy.
UPDATE: Chad just announced on Twitter, marke it down then! It happened.

Breaking News: Cleveland Sucks

As if you didn't already know it, Derek Anderson expressed his sentiments about the mistake by the lake when he was released by the Browns on Tuesday. When Jeff Schudel of the News-Herald emailed Anderson for his thoughts Anderson provided this gem of a quote:

"The fans are ruthless and don't deserve a winner. I will never forget getting cheered when I was injured. I know at times I wasn't great. I hope and pray I'm playing when my team comes to town and roll them."

Anderson is referring to the incident when he was injured in 2008 and while on the field in pain the fans were cheering. Most I would say they were cheering for the fact that they were going to get to see Brady Quinn. (So not only are the Cleveland fans ruthless but also dumb.) I say more power to you Derek. I hope that you do sign with another team and you can pump your clipboard in the air when you stroll into Cleveland and "roll them."

FBN: Indianapolis vs. Cleveland Nov 30

NCAA Basketball 2010 Preseason Rankings

With Conference tournament play in full effect I thought it may be interesting to take a look back at the 2010 NCAA Preseason Men's rankings and compare to where those teams finished the regular season rankings.

AP Top 25 Preseason (Where they finished on the final poll)
1. Kansas (1)
2. Michigan State (11)
3. Texas (unranked)
4. Kentucky (2)
5. Villanova (10)
6. North Carolina (unranked)
7. Purdue (6)
8. West Virginia (7)
9. Duke (4)
10. Tennessee (15)
11. Butler (12)
12. UConn (unranked)
13. California (unranked)
14. Washington (unranked)
15. Michigan (unranked)
16. Ohio State (5)
17. Oklahoma (unranked)
18. Mississippi State (unranked)
19. Louisville (unranked)
20. Georgetown (22)
21. Dayton (unranked)
22. Georgia Tech (unranked)
23. Illinois (unranked)
24. Clemson (unranked)
25. Minnesota (unranked)

What does this tell me?
It's easy to pick the teams who will be around the top. Only two of their preseason top 10 were unranked (Texas and UNC) and those teams took monumental nose dives.

Outside of the Top 10 is a crap shoot 12 of their 15 picks to round out their top 25 finished unranked. That's just not good!

Who were the teams they left out? The biggest was Syracuse. The Orangemen were unranked in the preseason and ended the year at #3 and would have been #1 if it weren't for Kyle Kuric. New Mexico and Kansas State finished the regular season in the top 10 were nowhere to be found.

Who were the teams they missed bad? WE will take out UNC, UConn, and Texas nobody saw that coming. Washington ranked #14 finished the season 11-7 in their conference in a REALLY bad PAC-10. Cal won the regular season PAC-10 but has 0 quality wins. Michigan at #15 was only 14-16 and 7-11 in the Big 10.

So does the Preseason Top 25 really matter? I say no. And for that matter the Top 25 poll really doesn't mean anything. Especially in tournament time, as long as you make it there it is an equal playing field.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

2010 SEC Awards

Just announced on their website this season SEC season awards. Check them out.

First Team All-SEC
*Trey Thompkins, Georgia – F, 6-10, 247, So., Lithonia, Ga.
*DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky – F 6-11, 270, Fr., Mobile, Ala.
Patrick Patterson, Kentucky – F 6-9, 235, Jr., Huntington, W.Va.
*John Wall, Kentucky – G 6-4, 195, Fr., Raleigh, N.C.
Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State – F, 6-9, 230, Sr., Brownsville, Tenn.
*Devan Downey, South Carolina – G, 5-9, 170, Sr., Chester, S.C.
Wayne Chism, Tennessee – C, 6-9, 246, Sr., Jackson, Tenn.
*Jermaine Beal, Vanderbilt – G, 6-3, Sr., 205, DeSoto, Texas

Second Team All-SEC
Mikhail Torrance, Alabama – G, 6-5, 210, Sr., Eight Mile, Ala.
Courtney Fortson, Arkansas – G, 5-11, 180, So., Montgomery, Ala.
Erving Walker, Florida – G, 5-10, 171, So., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Tasmin Mitchell, LSU – F, 6-7, 238, Sr., Denham Springs, La.
Chris Warren, Ole Miss – G, 5-10, 168, Jr., Orlando, Fla.
Dee Bost, Mississippi State – G, 6-2, 170, So., Concord, N.C.
A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt – C, 6-11, Jr., 255, Sydney, Australia
Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt – F, 6-7, So., 210, Norrkoping, Sweden

SEC All-Freshman Team
Tony Mitchell, Alabama – F, 6-6, 185, Fr., Swainsboro, Ga.
*Marshawn Powell, Arkansas – F, 6-7, 220, Fr., Newport News, Va.
Kenny Boynton, Florida – G, 6-2, 183, Fr., Pompano Beach, Fla.
*Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky – G, 6-1, 190, Fr., Birmingham, Ala.
*DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky – F 6-11, 270, Fr., Mobile, Ala.
*John Wall, Kentucky – G 6-4, 195, Fr., Raleigh, N.C.

Reginald Buckner, Ole Miss – F, 6-8, 233, Fr., Memphis, Tenn.
*John Jenkins, Vanderbilt – G, 6-4, 215, Hendersonville, Tenn.

SEC All-Defensive Team
Patrick Patterson, Kentucky – F 6-9, 235, Jr., Huntington, W.Va.
*Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State – F, 6-9, 230, Sr., Brownsville, Tenn.
Devan Downey, South Carolina – G, 5-9, 170, Sr., Chester, S.C.
Sam Muldrow, South Carolina – F, 6-9, 220, Jr., Florence, S.C.
Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt – F, 6-7, So., 210, Norrkoping, Sweden

SEC Coach of the Year: Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt
SEC Player of the Year: John Wall, Kentucky
SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Ray Shipman, Florida
SEC Freshman of the Year: DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky
SEC Sixth-Man of the Year: John Jenkins, Vanderbilt
SEC Defensive Player of the Year: Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State*

*-Unanimous selection
^-Ties are not broken

Free Agents in Town

Antonio Bryant and Terrell Owens will be in Cincinnati today on a visit to meet with Bengals staff. Both WR's are current free agents and the Bengals appear to be serious about filling their void at receiver. I would be happy with either signing. I think TO would only be able to give you a couple of years, Bryant could give you more but not sure how much. Either way it appears that the Bengals will make a move in free agency, which is a great sign in my opinion.

All rumors and early indicators point toward Brandon Marshall heading out to Seattle. The Bengals are interested in Marshall but he may come with too much of a price tag.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bengals Offseason Thoughts

With free agency starting today, its time to discuss the plans of the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason. Here are a few news and notes:

* Very few, if any, college WR's flashed 1st rd talent this week at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis leaving little hope that one can come in and make an immediate impact as a start. This has led many teams, including the Bengals, looking for help in free agency. With the recent release of Laverneous Coles, the Bengals should be looking harder than anyone else. Terrell Owens and Kevin Walter have both been rumored to be setting up visits. Josh Reed and Chris Chambers are also available. Personally, I would steer clear from Kevin Walter simply based off of his previous stint as a Bengal four years ago. I may be in the minority but I wouldn't mind giving TO a one year shot, especially since he may gel with OchoCinco. My 1st choice: a 3rd rd draft pick in a trade for Anquan Boldin. Dont get too excited because that is a long long long shot to happen.

* The Bengals need a TE, way more than I originally thought. Searcing the roster, Chase Coffman and Darius Hill are the only two TEs currently on the team. OUCH! Greg Olsen and Chris Baker are possibilities. The need for a 1st Rd TE in the NFL Draft seems to be a No. 1 priority.

* The Bengals have interest in Houston Texans OG Chester Pitts. Pitts would be a huge pickup to shore up the Cincinnati offensive line and really add depth to the guard position. With free agent Bobbie Williams up in the air, this deal becomes even bigger.

What do you guys think? What else have you been hearing?

Just a reminder, check back for in the next month for the 2nd annual www.nkysportsworld.com NFL MOCK DRAFT.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thanks for stopping by Laverneous

Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp

The Bengals just announced that they have released veteran WR Laverneous Coles. When we signed Coles we were all hoping he would fill that viod that TJ Houshmanzadeh left. Safe to say he did not fill that role. I also heard from an inside tip that he dropped his release papers once they hit his hands....no real shock there.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Great Teams Bring it in March

Here's a breakdown of Xavier, Kentucky, and Cincinnati's records in March over the past 10 years. As a side note, Mick Cronin is 0-11 in March during his four years at Cincinnati.

2009-10: 1-0
2008-09: 4-3
2007-08: 6-3
2006-07: 3-2
2005-06: 4-2
2004-05: 3-1
2003-04: 9-1
2002-03: 5-2
2001-02: 5-1
2000-01: 0-3

Total: 40-18 (69%)

2009-10: 1-0
2008-09: 3-4
2007-08: 2-3
2006-07: 2-3
2005-06: 4-3
2004-05: 6-3
2003-04: 6-1
2002-03: 9-1
2001-02: 3-2
2000-01: 5-2

Total: 41-22 (65%)

2009-10: 0-1
2008-09: 0-4
2007-08: 0-5
2006-07: 0-1
2005-06: 3-2
2004-05: 3-2
2003-04: 5-2
2002-03: 1-4
2001-02: 5-1
2000-01: 6-2

Total: 23-24 (49%)

NKY 9th Region Tournament

Okay Nikki, you happy! I have been a bad blogger the last few weeks. But alas I join you once again to share my thoughts on all things that are NKY Sports.

First things first, the 9th region tournament starts tonight. (For those of you who have been with us from day one, three years ago, we started as a prep sports site) There were some winners and losers in the seeding here is how it shook out.

Top Bracket
Ryle vs. Newport
St. Henry vs. Covington Catholic

Bottom Bracket
Dixie Heights vs. Holmes
Newport Central Catholic vs. Boone County

At first glance the bottom bracket is LOADED! If I were to rank the teams that made it to the 9th region I would rank them as follows.

1. Holmes
2. Newport Central Catholic
3. Boone County
4. Newport
5. Ryle
6. St. Henry
7. Covington Catholic
8. Dixie Heights

NCC really got the tough road if they are going to make it to the region final they will have to go through two of the best teams to get there. Now I know the argument if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. But there is nothing wrong with hanging out for a while waiting for someone to beat them before they get to you! That is what Ryle and Newport are hoping for, I think one of those teams will make it from the top.

I will be considerably disappointed if Holmes does not make it out of the region. If they lose it will be an upset. But when looking at some of the top teams in the state I don't think many 9th region teams can hang with them. Holmes definitely can and has the talent to bring home another state championship.