Posted on: November 7, 2010 3:47 pm
Now we are entering one of my favorite times of the sports year! When multiple sports schedules collide for my daily viewing pleasure and hourly updates on baseball trade rumors. It can be a bit overwhelming but i love it. I just wanted to make some predictions and analyze a few things going on in different sports. First lets start with the sports that are currently going on.
College Football - With an utterly boring NFL season going on i turned to the the NCAA for my football entertainment. Little did i expect that my Michigan State Spartans would have been a championship contender a few short weeks ago, and although that slipped away a Rose Bowl appearance is a very realistic posibility. Im not sure they will win because they really havnt played an elite program this year. But it will be their first Rose Bowl bid since the 80's so im pretty psyched. Hopefully we'll get to see an Oregon v.s TCU championship as well. I am really rooting for these non-BCS schools to get in (although isnt everybody). I dont want to go down the road about why NCAA football needs a playoff system but they do. Im just glad to see Michigan State becoming an elite football program at the same time their Basketball team is, which brings me to my next topic.
College Basketball - We are only what, a week away? I can not wait, yet another sport where my teams are doing well. It's nice to have some success after watching such a dismall MLB season(Cubs) and NFL season(Cowboys). I was a bit worried earlier in the year with the talk of Tom Izzo leaving for the Cavaliers. But luckly Lebron took his talents to south beach and Izzo kept his in East Lansing. Which was probably the smart move, i really feel that the college game can bring a coach more prestige and recognition than the NBA. But the biggest thing is that Izzo has a pretty sweet deal, everybody loves him, he has excellent job security and he has built a great program that should last for a while. I am very excitited to see this years team play because i think it could be the best one yet. They have a bevy of scorers starting with last years tournament star Durrell Summers, the dude is a freak athlete who can do some crazy dunks but is also a pretty good shooter. If he can stay consistently good (which is what he struggled with last year) he can carry this team. Kalin Lucas is back from a ruptured achilles tendon and when he is healthy he is a dynamic player maker who can score in a matter of seconds. The frontcourt is led by fowards Draymond Green and Delvon Roe, Green being the team leader and Roe being the freak athlete who needs to breakout this year. Derrick Nix looks to be the starting center although freshamn Adriene Payne may take over, he has a ton of potetial and is already looking to be a dominant defensive presense in the paint. But this team is also very deep with junior Guard Korie Lucious and Freshman guard Keith Appling looking to steal time from Kalin Lucas and see who will take over next year. This will be another great rebounding and pace controlling team but they also have a lot more firepower than ever before and 3 five star recruits which is probably the most talented roster Izzo has ever had. All of this will probably lead to a third straight final four appearance and possibly a championship.
NBA- Now i am not a huge NBA fan but have followed the Bulls my whole life because being from Chicago and living through the Michael Jordan era how can you not. But over the past few years i have slowly gotten more and more into the NBA and now have become a daily watcher. I find it a little to flashy for my taste (I love Big 10 Basketball Tom Izzo style) but it is a lot of fun to watch. And i am glad that finally the Bulls are starting to make some smart personell decisions. I hated the trades and signings of players such as Ben Wallace, Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes. They didnt make a lot of sense to me but watching them build this years roster i have been very impressed. Obviously it is centered around Derrick Rose, but they have put together some very nice pieces. They have the low post options in Carlos Boozer and the emerging Taj Gibson. The rebounder and defensive presense in Joakim Noah, the shooter in Kyle Korver. A defensive guard in Ronnie Brewer, a scoring PG in CJ Watson. These are just a few of the pieces that the Bulls have put on this roster. I am in no way saying this is a championship team but i think it is a contender. They have a bevy of players with very diferent skill sets, which is the difference between them and the Heat. The Heat have 2 players who have a similar game in Lebron Jame and Dwyane Wade, a low post scorer in Chris Bosh and a bunch of washed up veterans (excluding Mario Chalmers). Im not saying the Heat wont be the number one team come playoff time but i feel that the Bulls could make a push in the playoffs if they get the chance.
NHL- By now if you have read everything ive written you can guess im a Chicago sports fan, so i bet you can guess what my hockey team is. Yep you guessed it the Blackhawks. And no i am not a bandwagon fan i have been a fan for a very long time. My excitment for them has grown over the past few years but i have always like them. Now i have been somewhat dissapointed in them thus far this year. They have shown thier talent but it has been eratic, and i dont like Corey Crawford they need to start Marty Turco as much as possible at goalie. They have shown they have the offensive firepower to compete every night its the goaltending that has been the problem. Kane and Towes are starting to heat up and Sharp has been dominant. Marian Hossa had been on fire before getting injured. This is a good team but they need to be more consistent if they want to repeat.
MLB- Im just about done i just wanted to mention that this is probably my favorite part of baseball when teams start building for next year. I love hearing people debate what players their team is going to sign or trade for. Obviously the Yankees are going to get Cliff Lee since any good player has to play for them because its the Yankees divine right to all talented players right? I hate the Yankees attitude that they are entitled to the leagues best players just because they can buy anybody out. But it really is an exciting time for baseball as we see our teams start to take shape for the next year. I hope the Cubs do NOT sign Adam Dunn. I lived and still live in Cincinnati and i saw Adam Dunn play here for a while and i do not want him to be striking out 200 times in a Cubs uniform. They need to get a stop gap player and attempt to get Adrain Gonzalez anyway they can. I would recommend Adam LaRoche on one of his perenial one year deals. Then if they can attempt to aquire Adrian at the deadline and swing a deal to get rid of LaRoche. It is definitly better than 4 years of Adam Dunn. Now i am very noticebly excluding the NFL from this discussion because i do not want to discuss the Cowboys i am embarrased.
Posted on: October 11, 2010 5:48 pm
While Michigan State has become a basketball powerhouse since Tom Izzo took over in 1995. MSU football can be described as eratic at best, it seems that Mark Dantonio may be building a foundation for long term success. This 2010 team is one that is filled with potential pro prospects, but also expierence enough to come together and win close games. It seemed in the early years of Dantonio's career at MSU they would lose a lot of close games and get blown out by the tougher foes. Now that the talent he has recruited has finally matured we should be able to see some sustained success. I would not be afraid to pick MSU to go undefeated this season and even win a share of the Big 10 trophey. This is a team that should play in a january bowl game and finally win one. Lets take a deeper look into this Michigan State team and their remaining schedule. On the offensive side of the ball they have one of the top rushing attacks in all of college football led by a trio of youngsters. Edwin Baker(Sophmore) is the leading rusher who provides excellent burst and tends to make big plays. Le'veon Bell(Freshman) is the guy who can pound the ball but he also has excellent speed and has gotten some big runs as well, and Larry Caper(Sophmore) is slowly getting back into the game after some early season injuries but showed flashes of talent his freshman year. The Passing attack is led by Junior QB Kirk Cousins, he has shown great poise and decision making. He hasnt turned the ball over much (4 INT) and has proved he can lead game winning drives. Michigan State has a nice group of recievers led by senior Mark Dell and junior BJ Cunningham both are solid 6-2 receivers, Keshawn Martin provides the speed threat and is a master return man and former QB Keith Nichol rounds out the wideouts. MSU also has a stellar pair of tight ends in Charlie Gantt and Brian Linthicum both whom i have heard to be considered pro prospects. The O-line has proved to be an excellent run blocking team but still needs to improve its pass blocking. The Defense is led by their stellar group of linebackers specificaly All-American senior Greg Jones who is a possible first round draft pick. He is paired with stand out linebacker Eric Gordon and Jon Misch and Chris Norman. The D-Line has also been good led by DT Jerel Worthy. The main concern coming into the season for the Spartans defense was their pass defense. But those concerns while still there have been lessened as they have all ready passed their season total in interceptions last year (6) by 3. Chris L. Rucker has been outstanding this season and continues to lock up opposing recievers. As for the special teams as i previously stated Keshawn Martin has look Devin Hester esque providing big plays when needed. Aaron Bates has continued to be an excellent punter and yet again the Spartans have found another great kicker to replace Brett Swenson in Dan Conroy. This is an all around good team but if i had to pick a weakness it would still be their pass defense. But this team has been tested by some good offenses all ready this season and it has held. The Spartans have already beat 2 ranked opponents in Wisconson and Michigan and only one remains on the schedule (Iowa). Looking at the rest of the season as long as they dont lapse they could win their next to games (Illinois, at Northwestern). The biggest challenge will come after that when they play at Iowa then they have another 2 "easier" games (Minnesota, Purdue). Then they conclude the season at Penn State. I feel that this is a team that can win the easy games and win the tough ones but im still nervous (ive been traumatized by the Dallas Cowboys). I personally think they will go 12-0 i really feel they can beat both Iowa and Penn State. I would love to see them go to the Rose Bowl this year and win it. But even with my uncharacteristic optomism im feeling i still have that gut feeling they will let me down. But i am definatly excited to see the football program catching up to the basketball program finally. It seems like its going to be a good time to be an MSU fan.
Posted on: March 23, 2010 5:20 pm
While MSU is still in the tournament i thought we could take a peak at next years team. The Spartans should continue their dominance in the Big-10 with the 6th best recruiting class in the country along with a stellar group of remaining players. Lets take a look by position.
PG- My guess is that one way or another Kalin Lucas will not play for us next year although it remains a possibility. The options without him are Korie Lucious, a small but very athletic gaurd who has shown he can hit clutch shots. He is the most expierenced option as he will be entering his junior year. The other major option will be incoming 4 star recruit Keith Appling, rated in the top 40 recruits in the country he has plenty of talent. He is bigger than the Kalin was and is more of a perimeter scorer. Either one of these guys could start at the point but i would go with Lucious because of his expierence.
SG- Durrell Summers seems to have this job secured, he's a good shooter who has shot great from the 3-point line in the tournament this year. He is very athletic and can make ridiculous plays, but he is prone to cold stretches and can be inconsistent. Chris Allen is a solid backup and another good 3-point shooter, both him and Summers will be seniors.
SF- Delvon Roe will have to replace Raymar Morgan, and they are very similar players. Delvon may be the most athletic player on the team with the ability to make eye popping dunks and blocks. His big problem is injuries, specificaly his knees. Once again he will have to undergoe off-season surgery. An imcoming freshman Russell Byrd should provide some backup for Delvon. Byrd is not an athletic player but an excellent catch and shoot player who may be able to provide some 3-point help.
PF- Draymond Green will likely start here next season, while he may be somewhat undersized he is a leader on the floor. He can dominate the boards and make excellent passes and will rack up assists. Draymond may be the most valuable player to this team and he is only entering his junior year. Freshman Alex Gauna should provide some back up with the reserves centers also getting some playing time here also.
C- 5-Star recruit Freshman Adreian Payne will likely start here, ranked in the top 20 nationaly he looks to be a great talent. While his scoring may not be great next season he will help continue the Sparty tradition of dominate rebounding teams, he is also an excellent shot blocker and defensive player. He can take cames over at times, but also disappear. Derrick Nix has a shot at starting also, former Michigan Mr. Basketball had a decent Freshman year albeit with limited playing time, he is another big body who can dominate the boards. Garrick Sherman will most likley be the 3rd string center.
This Spartan team has some expierence along with some highly touted freshman who should could easily make a deep tournament run.
Posted on: March 19, 2010 5:38 pm
While last years NCAA was very exciting to me because my Michigan State Spartans made it to the championship. All in all it was a very boring tournament, there were hardly any upsets. But in 2010 the tournament has been full of upsets (there have been more upsets in the first round than the entire 09' tournament) it seems that no team is safe. While my bracket may not be doing that well, i am very happy to see the upsets and it makes the tournament much more exciting to watch. So far my favorite moment would still have to be Murray State's upset of Vanderbilt, it was one of those perfect tournament moments. The Notre Dame v.s Old Dominion game was pretty good, and of cournse Ohio University's win over Georgetown was awesome although it wasnt very close. Looking ahead for the second round based on the games ive seen so far, i really think Ohio has a shot to make it to the Sweet 16 with a win over Tennessee. Here is my list of games to watch in the second round.
Michigan State v.s Maryland (If they both win their games)
Tennesse v.s Ohio
Gonzaga v.s Syracuse (If they both win their games)
Xavier v.s Pittsburgh
Cornell v.s Wisconson
Missouri v.s West Virginia