There Are Certain Things In Sports That Have That Certain Air Of Inevitability About It ……………..
I don’t know about you but being an avid sports fan and having grown accustomed to watching on average dependent upon busy work and weekend schedule. I try and get in watching at least four hours of sports over the week /weekend. Granted, when the girlfriend comes to visit , the minimal amount of time that I can devote to her without getting her thoroughly annoyed , the better !
During the week, whilst at work during some downtime , I had my notebook computer on, while I streamed some ESPN and their mens’ college basketball show. One of their panelists on, was their very knowledgeable analyst and columnist, Doug Gottlieb. Now Gottlieb is a former college player himself, having played under coach, Eddie Sutton, while at Oklahoma State. Gottlieb was a point-guard for the ‘Cowboys’ , having graduated in 2001. His professional career in basketball was somewhat non-descript . But he managed to eke out a career , having played in the USBL, ABA and with brief international stints in Russia , France and Israel. He won a Russian Basketball Federation Championship to go along with a number of other accolades. But the career path of a long term professional career in the NBA , somehow seemed to have eluded him. He did however manage to obtain a tryout with the Los Angeles Lakers but it came to no avail.
Doug Gottlieb’s knowledge of college basketball is as astute as they come. And his in-depth analysis of not only the game but the decision making and trends of a player or coach, provides the fans of the game with more information than they’d normally come across getting from a game-time commentator or from even the likes of Fran Fraschilla , Bobby Knight , Jay Bilas , Jay Williams , Steve Lavin, Brent Musberger or that venerable self promoting sage, himself, Dick Vitale. Each of the individuals mentioned bring with them a unique knowledge of the game from having either played or coached at various levels of the game. Such is their fervor for the sport , that I find it somewhat more entertaining than the NBA, in terms of the analysis provided . That’s not to say that either format doesn’t have its faults. I mean how often can one afford to endure Dickie V’s self aggrandizing and bombastic analysis ? Or the over analysis of Lon Kreuger ,when it comes to the game at the professional ? It’s enough to either put you to sleep or you in the end just decide to push mute button on your remote to keep your peace of mind . For msyelf , I just want to be informed with just about a bit of light hearted entertainment sprinkled in on the side. If only we could have Charles Barkley sitting on the college games at times , I think it would be somewhat better ? But Charles prefers the forum and domain offered up to him at TNT Sports, that’s for sure ! Only he can get away with his type of criticisms and witticisms without falling afoul of his victims. Such is the respect and rapport that he has with his peers ,as well his enemies as a matter of fact !
Courtesy of Rivals.com
Cats Survive Slugfest
By Matt May, CatsPause.com Senior Writer
With basketball royalty in the house Kentucky proved it is still the king of the Southeastern Conference.
The Cats (20-1, 5-1 SEC) held a double-digit lead for the final 32 minutes on their way to a 85-72 victory over league-leading Vanderbilt at Rupp Arena. The game took a regal flair when NBA superstar LeBron James took his courtside seat eight minutes into the contest before later doing the ‘Y’ in Kentucky at a second half media timeout.
The game itself was anything but splendid, as the teams were whistled for 58 combined fouls (two technicals) and shot 70 free throws in the disjointed affair. The Cats jumped to a 21-11 lead and never let the advantage dip into single digits again, pushing it to as large as 19 points in the second half.
DeMarcus Cousins set the tone from the outset, creating five ‘and-one’ plays on his way to a game-hhigh 21 points and 10 rebounds. When the Commodores (16-4, 5-1) threatened to slice the lead under 10 late UK forward Darnell Dodson bailed the Cats out with eight straight points to hold the ‘Dores at bay.
John Wall added 12 points and nine assists for UK, while Jermaine Beal led Vanderbilt with 19 points.
Well the season in college basketball has started and it has most certainly been a welcoming one. And within mens’ game we’ve seen the rankings change almost as quickly as ticker on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). Now seated atop of the rankings are John Calipari’s Kentucky ‘Wildcats’ (19-1). And they were ‘the only’ unbeaten team inside the AP Top 25 Poll. And until recently the thoughts of perfection were in part real. But it wasn’t to be and they succumbed to that all too expected loss when there’s a bullseye on your back for everyone to a shot at. But such has been the standard set by this team thus far in the season . Seemingly , while everyone is playing at one speed they are able to step it up a notch or two, leaving everyone behind while they stare back in their rear view mirror to see the distance opening between them and the rest of the field. And that distance seems to be ever increasing with each passing game.
While no one can deny that John Calipari isn’t a good college basketball coach. His methods have come in for a great deal of criticism , as it relates to recruiting. Seemingly , over the course of his career, issues have been raised and it’s clear that Calipari has to bear the brunt of the blame for what went on at Memphis and its basketball program. And also at Calipari’s previous stop at UMass. That being said, how a coach, who over the course of his has brought two esteemed programs to brink of its knees and as close to extinction as is humanly possible and still remain a within collegiate athletics is a worrisome thing to a great many individuals. That notwithstanding, his denial of any wrongdoing gives the impression that as long as he’s proving to be successful, the faculty members , athletic director and the fans are prepared to look the other way. What’s even more exacerbating, is that the NCAA would rather punish the school or any athlete caught up in a scandal , rather than punish the coach who’s behind much of the wrongdoing that has led to the actions being taken. It alludes to the fact, that a person such as Calipari, having acted in such a manner can up and leave and avail him of another position elsewhere without there being a penalty to pay on his part. Meanwhile, a school’s character and athletics’ program can be left in tatters under the brunt of numerous sanctions that can last for up to several years in some cases.
The Wildcats as to their season thus far have played an exceptional brand of basketball, that some people wondering whether not they can remain unbeaten this season. That task in ofitself is not an easy one and it is something that hasn’t been since Bobby Knight’s Indiana team achieved the feat in 1976 , on their to winning the national championship. Since then , we’ve had to wait but seemingly speculate each year when see a team start to play ‘a dominant brand of basketball’ , while leaving everyone else in their wake. And that’s how dominant Knight’s team were , that year. As to whether or not Calipari’s team can replicate that success , remains to be seen. But it bodes well for the team at this juncture. And one the many reasons behind the team’s play has been the exceptional form and presence shown by the team’s freshman guard, John Wall. For whom, many believe is the best college basketball player in the country , bar none. And that opinion is now becoming to a consensual one , based on Wall’s exceptional play and leadership of this team.
The Wildcats’ loss to South Carolina 68-62 ought to be sign that they cannot become too complacent. And if anything, it should resolve them to become more resilient. As contentious as the college basketball season has become , once the NCAA Basketball Tournament comes around, you can expect it to become great deal more contentious. Especially with so much being on the line. There’s an expected ‘air of certainty’ , as it relates to ‘big teams’ around the collegiate basketball landscape, once the national championship commences. Everything else takes a back seat during that period of March where absolutely everything becomes a frenzy. Sixty four teams are guaranteed a place but there’s always that plus one , to be added into the mix. And that’s why of all the collegiate national championships, it is the ‘NCAA national championship’ tournament that is by far the most beloved. No controversies as you play yourself into contention . No need for computers or the assist of the coaches. You play well enough and you’ve got the right pedigree and you’re in. No if’s or and’s about it, it’s about as good as it gets !
Now it’s far too early to suggest that the Kentucky Wildcats can seemingly have a cake-walk all the way to the national championship. If it were that simple then there’d be a multitude of teams that would be in with a chance to win it all. But in reality this season , there’ll be no more seven or eight teams at best that are in with a chance of winning it all. And the slew of usual suspects would like nothing better than to be a part of the mix. So take it for what it’s worth , teams such as Syracuse, Michigan State, Kansas , Georgetown , Texas, Kansas State , Villanova and Duke , have as good a chance as any, to win it all , if they strike lightning in a bottle. Hitting a rich vein of form and maintaining that consistency throughout the tournament is the key to winning. And that’s why coaches such as Jim Boeheim , Roy Williams, Jim Calhoun and Mike Krzyzewski know what it takes to win. This is not a knock on John Calipari. But given what we essentially know about him and his demeanor. While he’s achieved a certain amount success, am I to believe that the very same issues raised about his methods at Memphis and Umass aren’t likely to crop up again ? One only has to look at the actions of Kelvin Sampson at Indiana to realize what I’m saying is true. A leopard can never change its spots, neither can John Calipari as an individual ! He’ never been known to, nor is ever likely to. And that’s even with the ‘NCAA’ squarely having him within the cross-hairs of their scopes. But then again, when has anyone ever known the NCAA stand up and do what’s right for the student athlete , much less what’s right for collegiate sports ?
AP Top 25 Men’s Basketball rankings Click on the link provided to view in its entirety.
Rank Team Record Votes Previous
1 Kentucky (65) 19-1 1625 2
2 Kansas 19-1 1519 3
3 Villanova 19-1 1503 4
4 Syracuse 20-1 1455 5
5 Michigan State 18-3 1324 6
6 Texas 18-2 1307 1
7 Georgetown 15-4 1124 12
8 Duke 17-3 1120 7
9 West Virginia 16-3 1113 11
10 Purdue 17-3 977 13
11 Kansas State 17-3 960 10
12 Brighham Young 20-2 894 14
Above are the national rankings as they currently stand and if anything our national champion is liable to come from one these twelve teams. On the other hand there’s a remote possibility of team outside the top 12 at the end of the day coming in and pulling off that big surprise. That’s what makes the tournament such fun !
Geto Boys ‘My Mind Is Playing Tricks On Me’
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