It’s not what you do or the way that you spend , it’s just that you’d better be spending it wisely
Two things now seem to be taking center in the world of sports , one just happens to be the conference tournaments within the world of College Basketball , and the just happens to be the NFL and their free agency window to sign unsigned or trade cap hit players they deem , unworthy and destined for elsewhere . With the NCAA Tournament not yet upon us , but with the dance cards of certain teams now being set , it will be interesting to now see which programs will be granted the privilege of being an invite to this season’s competition . It seems remarkable that last season’s triumphant Men’s champion , the Kentucky (Wildcats) are likely to miss out on defending their title . This season the Wildcats have simply been pitiful within the SEC and equally so , on the national stage in their out of conference play .
Courtesy of USA Today
By Scott Gleeson , USA Today columnist
USA TODAY Sports dissects the top little dances that prelude the big one. Here’s a look at the five best conference tournaments:
Big East Conference
Venue/location: Madison Square Garden, New York
TV: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU
Second-round matchups (Wednesday): No. 8 Providence vs. No. 9 Cincinnati (noon, ESPN); No. 5 Syracuse vs. South Florida/Seton Hall winner (2 p.m., ESPN); No. 7 Villanova vs. No. 10 St. John’s (7 p.m., ESPN2); No. 6 Notre Dame vs. DePaul/Rutgers winner (9 p.m., ESPN2)
Quarterfinal matchups (Thursday): No. 1 Georgetown vs. Providence/Cincinnati (noon, ESPN); No. 4 Pittsburgh vs. Syracuse/USF/Seton Hall (2 p.m. ESPN); No. 2 Louisville vs. St. John’s/Villanova (7p.m., ESPN); No. 3 Marquette vs. Notre Dame/DePaul/Rutgers (9 p.m. ESPN)
BIG EAST: Conference bids farewell to tourney tradition
**Semifinals (Friday, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., ESPN) | Championship game (Saturday, 8:30 p.m., ESPN)
Main story lines: Georgetown, Louisville and Marquette finished in a three-way tie for the regular-season title at 14-4, leaving a cutthroat tournament to determine the top overall team. This is the final year of the tournament as we know it, with seven of the league’s Catholic schools — DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St.John’s and Villanova — forming part of a new 10-team conference. Syracuse and Pittsburgh are leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference (Notre Dame is likely to join the league earlier than planned), and Rutgers is going to the Big Ten. Longtime Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim’s potential retirement surely will be a subplot, despite his assertion he is not thinking about stepping down.
Key players: Otto Porter, Georgetown (16.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg); Russ Smith, Louisville (17.9 ppg); Vander Blue, Marquette (14.4 ppg); C.J. Fair, Syracuse (14. 5 ppg, 7.1 rpg); Jack Cooley, Notre Dame (13.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg)
Projected winner: Marquette
Atlantic Coast Conference
Venue/location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.
TV: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU
First-round matchups (Thursday): No. 8 Boston College vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech (noon, ESPNU); No. 5 North Carolina State vs. No. 12 Virginia Tech (2 p.m., ESPNU); No. 7 Maryland vs. No. 10 Wake Forest (7p.m., ESPNU); No. 6 Florida State vs. No. 11 Clemson (9 p.m., ESPNU)
Quarterfinal matchups (Friday): No. 1 Miami (Fla.) vs. Boston College/Georgia Tech (noon, ESPN2); No. 4 Virginia vs. N.C. State/Virginia Tech (2 p.m., ESPN2); No. 2 Duke vs. Maryland/Wake Forest (7 p.m., ESPN2); No. 3 North Carolina vs. Florida State/Clemson (9 p.m., ESPN2)
**Semifinals (Saturday, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., ESPN) | Championship game (Sunday, 1 p.m., ESPN)
Main story lines: Miami might have the No. 1 seed, but Duke is playing like the best team in the country with the return of Ryan Kelly, who scored 36 points in his first game back against the Hurricanes. Considering the last matchup was a close game, and Miami previously beat Duke by 27 points, a tournament championship rematch would be well received, as would a North Carolina vs. Duke semifinal. North Carolina State has been inconsistent, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Wolfpack find a late rhythm. Florida State’s Michael Snaer (14.5 ppg) has made four buzzer-beating game-winning shots this season.
Key players: Shane Larkin, Miami (13.7 ppg, 4.4 apg); Mason Plumlee, Duke (17.2 ppg, 10.3 rpg); James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina (14.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg); C.J. Leslie, N.C. State. (14.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg); Alex Len, Maryland (11.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg)
Projected winner: Duke
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In what might be the most disappointing season of his career , Wildcats’ head coach John Calipari , will have to carefully scrutinize where things went wrong for his team over the course of this program’s schedule . The loss of Nerlens Noel , certainly can’t have helped , and neither can the inconsistent play of the team over the course of the year. The only opportunity left for the Kentucky Wildcats will be their conference championship , and a spirited deep run, with the culmination of the tournament win , will be the only chance left for the players to show their prowess , and that they are deserving of an NCAA championship berth .
Inasmuch , as I have questioned John Calipari’s honesty , integrity and complete lack of character ! I can’t help but wonder ,what might have been , had he been availed his full squad of players at full strength within the SEC this season. Yet, while he and the Wildcats seek redemption , their conference rivals , the Florida Gators , are rolling along , and seem intent on proving that their play over the course of this season and their record of 24-6 , is not an aberration. And Gators’ head coach , Billy Donovan , the chance to possibly take this team on another historic run and a third national title in seven years , would be nothing short of miraculous . However, that premise is predicated upon the program gaining a favorable draw in the NCAA Tournament , beyond possibly winning the SEC championship tournament .
Mark Few and his number one ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs (30-2) are simply looking to justify their current national ranking, while looking to make some history of their own. The West Coast Conference program seemingly has a comfortable lead within that conference , while on a win streak of fourteen consecutive games and a solid RPI (5) . Are they capable of winning college sports’ most renowned tournament ? Well that remains to be seen , although , I believe that the ultimate prize within collegiate athletics will be won by one of the more renowned programs within College Basketball !
Tom Crean , coach of the Indiana Hoosiers , I firmly believe can and will one day be a head coach in the NBA . Though the opportunity has yet to arise , there have to be at least a few envious franchise owners and general managers around the professional ranks , certainly looking enviously at the young coach, and what he achieved at this historic program. Suffice to say , that come the off-season , when the coaching merry-go-round will begin , with perhaps one or two managerial firings , I have no doubt that Crean’s name will be atop of a number general managers’ lists . He has gotten the best out of a mercurial talent , in Victor Olidapo , while Cody Zeller , is, as good, as advertised. Granted , the team has slipped in the ranking in recent weeks, after a somewhat telling spell , where Crean’s players were exposed as being flawed on the defensive end of their game .
Crean’s resume’ speaks volumes as to his experience and character , yet I somehow get the feeling that he would now like nothing better than to lead this program to their first title in College Basketball , since the NCAA Tournament of 1987 , when they defeated Syracuse 74-73 , in what can best described as an “ epic final” . Finals’ MVP in that national championship game was Keith Smart, current head coach of the Sacramento Kings . One of the reasons behind the reverence of the Hoosiers’ program has been the abiding faith in what was essentially built by Bob Knight . As we know, the legend of this often controversial coach , is still clamored for, in this bedrock of College Basketball , which if anything, far outweighs the popularity of the NFL and resounding might I suggest all of the fable and mythical reverence that has been around Notre Dame football ?
As I alluded to earlier , Victor Olidapo and Cody Zeller have been the fulcrum that has essentially driven this Hoosiers’ team. Their most recent game , came by way of a narrow 72-71 victory over the Michigan Wolverines . Now with the Big Ten Tournament , now in full swing , it will be interesting to see how Indiana and the Wolverines fare as this particular competition gets underway , with the programs all seeking postseason aspirations beyond the recognition of being called the Big Ten tournament champions for the season.
Well , the NFL has kicked off what I like to think of as their “silly season” , wherein , the general managers around the league , seek to bolster their rosters , after the disappointment of last season . For the current Superbowl champions , the Baltimore Ravens , this off-season has proven to be an eventful postseason lull , even with the retirement of future Hall of Fame inductee Ray Lewis . GM Ozzie Newsome , and team owner , Steve Biscotti , it appears, have felt it best , not to rest on their laurels , but seek to bolster the team’s roster . In what has turned out to be something of a surprising move , wide receiver Anquan Boldin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers . And with their being ongoing rumors that the front office may well also seek to trade veteran free safety, Ed Reed to their opponents in this most recent Superbowl.
Forty Niners’ GM , Trent Baalke, either has to be seen as a wizard of or extremely fortuitous over the past five days. The franchise’s 2005 first round draft pick , in fact taken number one overall in that season’s draft , was traded to AFC West franchise the Kansas City Chiefs . A team that was in need, of an effective and an extremely efficient quarterback . None of which , was applicable to either Matt Cassel or his backup , Brady Quinn. And with new head coach , Andy Reid seeking to make the Chiefs a formidable force this upcoming season . It will be interest to see how a revamped roster will seek to acquit themselves during their 2013-14 schedule. The AFC West is likely to be a somewhat competitive race , but I do believe that once again, the division will be the Denver Broncos to lose, based upon their performances and their divisional play of last season !
As an avid New England Patriots’ fan, at this time of the season I long to see what mysteries will tend to unfold , as that mindful genius and often considered to be a megalomania-cal head coach , Bill Belichick , considers what his options might be , as it relates to the team’s roster , cap space , and whom he feels to be superfluous to the Patriots’ needs ! In what I believe to be gut-wrenching and inexplicable decision , it would appear that the front office and Belichick have decided to allow their wide receiver and in my estimation , the team’s best player , not named Tom Brady , in the departure of Wes Welker ! If the current ” twitter chatter “ is to be believed, then Welker will be off to join conference rivals the Denver Broncos , further adding to the offensive artillery of Broncos’ quarterback , Peyton Manning. Far be it for me to suggest , but the Patriots’ acquisition of Danny Amendola , by comparison , is simply allowing a Ferrari , off your lot and replacing it with a less impressive vehicle , by way of a Corvette ? Just my opinion , mind you , merely my own observation and opinion !
As to how Wes Welker’s departure might sit with Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, might be something of an indicator, as to the player’s overall reaction and any public statement that he may well choose to make to the press . Somehow, I feel that when the quarterback in question, sought to restructure his contract , in aiding the franchise with an additional $9 million
in cap space . My first instinct would have been to believe, that the Patriots would have re-signed Wes Welker to a two or three-year contract extension ! Alas, it was not to be , and yet somehow , I can’t but wonder , if this decision, won’t ultimately come back to “ bite the franchise “ in the proverbial ass !
If this is meant to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ year, this upcoming season . Then their off-season moves , and alleged ambitions , are quite impressive . Yet , beyond that , all of the talk in the world simply cannot hide the fact that , as this team goes , will be solely based upon the play of their four-year starting quarterback , Josh Freeman . Anyone , who simply believes to the contrary , clearly has not seen this team play, and how mindlessly inconsistent they can be , while exacerbating the patience of even their most devoted and loyal of fans . Two in particular , come to mind , Hillsborough County residents , and patrons of this site , SportsChump and “ Aero” , long-time devoted fans of the Buccaneers.
Buccaneers’ head coach Greg Schiano , may well be saying the sort things that he believes that the fans want to hear. Yet , I somehow , can’t help but wonder , if he believes the statements he continues to make , are based in fact, and anywhere close to being truthful . OK , as impressive as it was , the signing of Dashon Goldson , may well go a long way in bolstering the team’s defense , but their failure so far to obtain a productive free agent quarterback , veteran or otherwise , clearly hasn’t addressed the fact of one of the franchise’s biggest needs. Freeman , has become a relentless turnover machine and there seems to be no signs of abatement in that specific category of his play.
While all of the considerable talk appears to be about the Buccaneers’ wish also to obtain corner-back Darrelle Revis , a player who will not become a free agent until 2017 , but somehow given the fact that he spent much of last season on the Jets’ injured-reserve list . It might be considered too much of a gamble, for a player coming off a severe knee injury , and who no one really knows, whether or not, he can return to his best form , which came in 2007 , the year in which he was drafted by the New York Jets, as the fourteenth overall pick . In pursuant , to the Jets’ own decision , it may well be that the asking price of the franchise, may well be too high , as the Pro Bowl corner , is still viewed as one of the preeminent players at the position , as well as being one of the best defensive players in the entire NFL. Clearly , what will now take place between the Buccaneers and Jets , will all be about brinksmanship , and the sort of offer desired , and whether or not an amicable agreement can be reached .
Start afresh, and then hope that the chips will fall your way? Well, that now seems to be the mantra of the Miami Dolphins . Much like their baseball counterparts , the Miami Marlins , here is another professional sport’s franchise within the locale, that has simply done a damn disservice to their fans . Marlins’ owner , Jeffery Loria , has now taken to the print and television media , blaming that segment as well as the fans, for the ball-club’s misfortunes of last season . F#ck you , Loria , and the horse you rode in on ! You hired a self-absorbed and opinionated asshole, as a manager , who was simply unable to communicate or motivate the players under his guidance . Ozzie Guillen was never that influential in the Chicago White Sox’s winning of a World Series in 2005 , as much of the team’s success that season and into the postseason , came by way of the determination of the players , rather than the input of Guillen and his coaching staff at the time !
In the case of the Miami Dolphins, the team’s billionaire owner , Stephen “Steve “ Ross , is now seeking the city of Miami’s sole input and financing for the refurbishment of Sun Life Stadium, a venue that is entirely owned by the billionaire entrepreneur. And less we forget , the city still remains under investigation by the US Justice Department , for what is believed to be their misdeeds , in the financing of the Marlins Ballpark , which has now become something of a white elephant , which was sparsely attended for many of the team’s home games , during the venue’s inaugural season of 2012.
Perhaps, it is me , but Ross’ apparent wealth , and the very fact that he is and remains amongst Forbes’ 400 richest Americans , should not prove to be a hindrance in his being able to obtain private financing for a stadium that he owns . Furthermore, the NFL has its “ 3G financing program “ to aid their franchises with such issues . Something, I believe that Ross , his GM , Jeff Ireland , the CFO Mark Brockelman are fully aware of , but instead, would rather use a great deal of connivance and deceit , in order to get an already beleaguered city municipality , burdened with mountains of debt , looking to further plunge itself deeper into indebtedness. I was once told, by a patron, that the state of Florida has advanced from years of corruption and incompetence . Somehow, I believe that to be a myth, because the state continues to be mired with incompetence at all levels of government within the state . Simply, look no further than the rising evidence and allegations now leveled at the state’s Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll (R-Fla) ? And yet, her initial actions, in touting a business where she held an executive position , while in office, was in strict contravention of the state’s laws. Moreover , the state’s asinine governor , Rick Scott (R-Fla) , initially jumps to her defense , clearly showing , that his dumb ass , has no idea as to the rule of law , much less the goddamn laws of the legislature within his own frigging state .
The Dolphins have been bold , while seeking cap space , they have rid themselves of running back , Reggie Bush , who it appears , now becomes the featured “back” with the Detroit Lions . Good luck, on that one boys …..?
After something of a disastrous season in 2012 , this Dolphins’ team will undoubtedly have to raise the level of its play all-round , or simply suffer the ignominy of a repeat, of last year . Quarterback , Ryan Tannehill , their first round pick from the 2012 NFL Draft , had something of an inconsistent year , but obviously his exploits paled into insignificance when adjudged against that of Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck , Russell Westbrook , sophomores , Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick . That being said , head coach , Joe Philbin and Jeff Ireland , have shown and will continue to show a great deal of faith in the young player , as he seeks to progress and gain legitimacy as a young quarterback in the NFL . So this season for Miami Dolphins will be imperative, as they seek some respect within the AFC East.
While I don’t begrudge the NFL at this time of the year , as it becomes, same old story repeatedly , season in and season out ! The story remains the same , it’s just the cast of characters that tend to change in terms of the change of events , and how we are asked to view them by print and television media, alike .
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Picture gallery .
With the NCAA Tournament brackets not yet set , as the conference tournaments are still ongoing, do you believe that , there may well be one or two prominent programs that will remain on the outside looking in , having not been invited to the “ Big Dance” ? And in terms of the beginning of the NFL off-season , and the recent turn of events , what major moves do you believe will be the most significant or in your estimation the biggest gamble of them all ? By all means , do take time to proffer up a comment on this and anything else , you believe pertinent to the subject matter .
Picture gallery and slideshow details .
(2) Gonzaga’s Elias Harris (20) goes up for the dunk against Portland in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Spokane, Wash. AP Photo/Jed Conklin …
(3) Kentucky’s Ryan Harrow (12) shoots as Florida’s Michael Frazier II defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, March 9, 2013. AP Photo/James Crisp ….
(4) Coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats directs play against the Florida Gators February 12, 2013 at Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators won 69 – 52 . Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images North America …. .
(6) FILE – In this Nov. 18, 2012 file photo, Baltimore Ravens free safety Ed Reed (20) runs after recovering a fumble by Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh. The Houston Texans will meet with free agent Reed on Thursday, March 14, 2013. The team said on its Twitter site that general manager Rick Smith is flying to pick up Reed in a private jet owned by team owner , Bob McNair . AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar …
(7) This Jan. 20, 2013, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks to wide receiver Wes Welker (83) before the NFL football AFC Championship football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Foxborough, Mass. The Denver Broncos have found a new target for Peyton Manning, agreeing to a two-year deal with Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ….
(8) FILE – In this Jan. 29, 2013 file photo, San Francisco 49ers safety Dashon Goldson (38) smiles during media day for the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game in New Orleans. A person with knowledge of the contract says free agent Goldson has agreed to a $41.25 million, five-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, because the team had yet to formally announce Goldson’s deal. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …..
(9) FILE – In this Jan. 1, 2012 file photo, Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham (55) pressures Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) during the first half of an NFL football game in Atlanta. The Falcons have released running back Michael Turner , Abraham and corner-back Dunta Robinson . The moves were announced Friday, March 1, 2013, by a team that came up just short of the Super Bowl. With an almost $8 million salary received by the Buccaneers’ quarterback in 2012 , it has to be said that he offered the team a meager return on that investment . AP Photo/David Goldman ….
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