I Spy With My Little Eye ….

I Spy With My Little Eye   …..

So last night within the world of sports  the big  news’  story  was  that of the  NBA Draft   and  the  Lottery  Pick , with  the   New  Orleans Pelicans obtaining  the  top  pick  in the  2019  NBA  Draft  Class  , with the franchise  taking    Duke   player  Zion  Williamson  as  the  number  one  overall  pick.  Williamson   is  seen  as  the  best  player among  the draftees  and  his  case was  made  all  the  more  emphatic,   with  the  statistics  seen during  the NCAA Tournament  , even though   the program’s  appearance  was short-lived.  With  the  drafting rights   of  Williams  ,  there  is the belief that the front office  of the  Pelicans  might now  be  in a strong  position to  convince  their   All  Star  forward   Anthony  Davis  to  re-sign  with  the  franchise rather   than  pursue free  agency .

Zion Willliamson , second from the right is seen here as the announcement is made that the New Orleans Pelicans will have the number one overall draft pick for the upcoming NBA Draft .

All signs do seem to be pointing to the fact that Anthony Davis’ seven-year career with the New Orleans Pelicans will come to an abrupt end as the player wishes to seek new challenges elsewhere. There would be a litany of teams certainly interested in a player of Davis’ prowess, with his all-round undoubted skill-set . Davis is not due to become a free agent until 2021 and with his apparent unwillingness to remain with the Pelicans, it would be in their best interest to trade the center to another franchise , who could perhaps offer something of merit in return.

Anthony Davis and LeBron James just happen to share the same agent and sports’ management company with Rich Paul as the CEO of Klutch Sports . It is widely known that during the season , James sought out Davis as a potential teammate , with him joining the Los Angeles Lakers . With Magic Johnson still having some influence within the organization , albeit , that he’s no longer Head of Basketball Operations. It remains to be seen if Johnson can still persuade the Pelicans’ forward to join the Lakers’ franchise , with them having to give up a considerable amount of talent in order to acquire the All Star in a trade.

The NBA Playoffs are now in full swing and the respective conferences are now set with their Conference Finals now underway. Within the East , the top two seeded teams will meet with the Milwaukee Bucks playing host to the Toronto Raptors in the best of seven-game series. In the West , reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors will meet the surprisingly resilient Portland Trailblazers , who will be led by their talented point guard Damian Lillard . His performances throughout this postseason have been scintillating to say the very least.The game-one opener saw the Warriors overcome the Blazers to take a 1-0 lead, winning the contest, 116-94 . Game two of the series will take place once again at the Oracle Arena , in Oakland , California on Thursday night, 16th May , 2019 . The Eastern Conference Finals Series’ opener will be on Wednesday evening as previously stated and it will be interesting to see how these two teams will fare .

Away from the NBA Playoffs, other than the Draft Lottery Pick having taken place, the surprising news which made the headlines , was the hire of Michigan Head Coach John Beilein as the latest hire of the Cleveland Cavaliers , to succeed Tyronn Lue as the franchise’s latest Head Coach. It is being revealed , Beilein will be signed to a five-year deal , with Cavaliers’ GM Kobe Altman set to make the formal announcement . This also seems to have the blessing of team owner , Dan Gilbert . Beilein’s ascension to the position would make him also one of the oldest Head Coaches in the NBA , while also being a rookie in the position. Suffice to say , as the Cavaliers seek to rebuild , the learning curve for the coach will be a considerably tough one .

Call it cynicism or just plain awkwardness , but when an athlete believes himself to be something special , while having not having proven themselves in the field of battle , you just have to wonder what is going on in their mind ? Josh Rosen the recently acquired Miami Dolphins’ quarterback is aggrieved that his former team’s GM Steve Keim , failed to offer him the opportunity to prove his worth with the Arizona Cardinals . Rosen claims, he wasn’t consulted by Keim , as the general manager chose to take Kyler Murray as the number one overall pick in the recent NFL Draft (2019) . Last I looked , it wasn’t Steve Keim’s position to consult a player over personnel decisions for a team , much less the fact , Rosen’s play for the Cardinals was far from overwhelming .

Josh Rosen should consider himself lucky , that he was given the chance to move on to the Miami Dolphins , where he will succeed another failed quarterback , Ryan Tannehill , whose tenure with the franchise , proved to be a very unsatisfactory one. From my own perspective the Miami Dolphins will need all the help they can get this upcoming season , as too will the Arizona Cardinals , as each failed miserably last season within their respective divisions and conferences .

When it rains , it certainly does pour and for the New York Jets , this franchise is now beset by a deluge, as the Jets fire their GM Mike Maccagnan , with his being replaced by Adam Gase , current Head Coach , who for the moment will be fulfilling both roles within the Jets’ organization. It is abundantly clear that after last season, the Jets were in need of some radical changes within the front office , coaching staff and among the player personnel. Well the NFL Draft took care of their needs , as did some timely trades. Yet the belief remains , Maccagnan’s tenure and the failure in 2018 , played a big part in his ouster. Far be it for me to suggest, but the Jets are still a long way from where they need to be and they will be in a for a long haul if they’re to make it back to the NFL postseason , given the fact that their last appearance
during the 2010 season , when they reached the the conference championship where they faced the Pittsburgh Steelers .

From here-on in, it will be interesting to see how Adam Gase seeks to improve the fortunes of the New York Jets.

The next couple of games within the world of baseball could prove to be very interesting to say the least. I’d like to think at this point of the season should be very interesting in the lead-up to the 2019 All Star Game . With the divisional standings being what they are , the teams are now gearing up to really play with some zeal. . Wednesday and there are several games of real interest to the fans who will be in attendance .

While I believe that the New York Yankees are capable of winning the AL East this season , there are still some doubts as to the veracity of this team and manager Aaron Boone . Since ,2009 when their last World Series’ victory came about , it would be prudent to suggest that team ownership are somewhat exacerbated , having not added to their tally of world championships. The New York Yankees will be in action today when they are due to face the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, New York. This will be part of their regular season meetings during 2019 , with their meetings over the last decade being very eventful.

New York Yankees’ veteran pitcher CC Sabathia , having been the most recent starting pitcher to have hit the plateau of 3,000 strikeouts . Sabathia’s next projected start could take place on the 17th May , when they are due to meet divisional leaders the Tampa Bay Rays . His record against the Rays is a commendable one , since his debut in the Majors came in 2001. If CC Sabathia is to become a Hall of Fame bound player , it will be interesting to see how his statistics will match up against a number of his peers and contemporaries .

It’s hard to fathom how embarrassing the state of baseball continues to be within the State of Florida . Attendance at the Miami Marlins’ Ballpark as well as Tropicana Field , home to the Tampa Bay Rays continues to be truly appalling , by anyone’s standards . Both of these teams will be in action throughout this week and their weekend series will see the Rays face the New York Yankees, whereas , the Miami Marlins will be matched against the New York Mets at home . The Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays will continue their in-state series as of Wednesday, with a game being played at the Marlins Ballpark in Miami, Florida . Between now and the All Star Break , I believe that Derek Jeter as the Head of Baseball Operations for the Miami Marlins in conjunction with Michael Hill will have some serious decisions to make concerning the long-term and short-term direction of this franchise. This season certainly hasn’t helped with the Marlins currently sitting at the bottom of the NL East , with one of the worst records in all of baseball. The future does seem bleak for this baseball franchise, given the real absence of competitiveness.

Another loss was suffered by the Miami Marlins , further making their season all the more plausible, as their being on the way to another losing season. At no point during their game against the Tampa Bay Rays was there any sense of urgency by the players , seeking to make this match-up competitive even from the fans’ viewpoint. Instead , the team wasted a chance to show any form of resilience. The Marlins will be back in session for their next game when they face off off against the New York Mets in a divisional game this Friday , as part of their regular season meetings , with this being a home-based series. The opposing pitchers in this contest will be Jacob DeGrom of the Mets against Trevor Richards of the Marlins.

Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers is certainly proving himself to be a player of value and all the more so, given the salary being paid to the player . He has a become a staple for the Dodgers’ fans this season, as the team blusters into their schedule , slaying many of their opponents with ease in many cases. The Dodgers will be in action over the next few days and it will be interesting to see how they will fare through the month of May as exhibited last season by this Dave Roberts’ managed roster. Roberts and his players will prepare for a weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds on the road , in the three games to be played at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati , Ohio . The first game of this series will take place on Friday evening with the opposing pitchers being Rich Hill of the Dodgers and Anthony DeSclefani of the Reds.

If the Los Angeles Dodgers are to make it back to another postseason appearance, then their play will have to rise to even greater heights than previously seen over the last eight years.

With it still being early in the season , but there are grumblings that several teams might be seeking the upgrade to their rosters , with the MLB Postseason being their clear main motive and the chance of winning the World Series . One player considered to be atop of every contenders’ list, might well be starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel . The pitcher who’s yet to make to make his debut for the Houston Astros this season. His wish is to sign with a big-market team , of which is the New York Yankees, might be the one ball-club with an inside track to land the starter , Also said to be in the mix among starting pitchers who might well be with a new team at the trade deadline , Craig Kimbrel . This season will be an interesting one during the upcoming months as witnessed during 2018.

What are the big stories which you believe will be front and center during the upcoming weeks and months within the world of sports ?

Tophatal ……….

NBA news ……..

2019 NBA Playoffs

NBA salary cap (2019)

NBA free agents (2019)

Salary cap players (2019)

NFL news …

2019 NFL schedule (regular season)

MLB news …

MLB schedule three days at a glance (15th May to 17th May)

MLB standings (division)

MLB Important Dates …

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Bracketology Is It NowA College Course And Elective ? Other Such Idiosyncrasies Of The Sporting Weekend …………..

Bracketology Is It Now A College Course And Elective ? Other Such Idiosyncrasies Of The Sporting Weekend …………..

Well the stage has been set for the commencement of College Basketballs men’s national championship. And I believe it is the one time of the year when we can all be in agreement as to how things have worked out . Or can we ? We have the ’31 teams’ that have made their way in by winning their respective conference championships and ’34 at large’ invitees to the ‘big dance’ . Never let it be said that the system is perfect but it’s a hell of a lot better than the asinine system that’s prescribed to figure out who the national champion is determined to be within the BCS FBS Division One college football. So many bowls and not one of them really based on merit , other than the popularity and the fact that a bunch of number crunchers make it appear to be all equitable. The fact that there’s a great deal of connivance with the networks also plays a part in it all. But at the end of the day we’re led to believe that this the best that the major conferences who preside over the BCS has to offer.

With a play in game to be decided as to who the 64th and final team will be , to played on the Thursday. The tournament kicks off good and proper as of then. The four number one seeds for the various regions Midwest , South , East and West , are Kansas , Duke , Kentucky and Syracuse . Though some aren’t entirely with the fact that Duke is a number one seed and question that fact. But it is, what it is. And for the four coaches in question this is when their programs will come under intense scrutiny and the spotlight of the fans nationwide. For Bill Self of Kansas, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke , Jon Calipari of Kentucky and Jim Boeheim of Syracuse , this will be the pressure which they and their teams will be judged by as to how they’ll fare. Each of the four are highly respected coaches within college basketball and have groomed players at the college level that’ve gone on to become stars within the NBA . But for now it’s not about what the players aspire to at the next level but creating a legacy here at the college level which will leave and indelible mark for them and their programs.

Now far be it for me to suggest that I fully comprehend the idiosyncrasies of ‘bracketology’. But to my mind the teams that are in , are there on their own merits. If they can’t play, then they will be found out. It’s as plain and simple as that ! There are no do-overs and you can’t cry over spilled milk, should you fall at the first hurdle. You came to play and by damn it , you had better play. Or you’ll end up completely embarrassing yourself .

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 13: Head coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks instructs Xavier Henry #1 during the 2010 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship agaisnt the Kansas State Wildcats on March 13, 2010 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Mo, Head coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks instructs Xavier Henry (1) during the 2010 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship agaisnt the Kansas State Wildcats on March 13, 2010 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Jamie Squires ..............

The four regional competitions will be a one and done knockout competition . And there are those who view Kansas’ region as being the most difficult of them all. And there’s every reason to believe that will be the case because of the number of top tiered teams assigned to the region. And Kansas will kick off its march on Thursday (9:30 pm EST) against Lehigh (22-10) . And in that Midwest Regional there are the stalwarts such as Michigan State (24-8) , Maryland (23-8), Tennessee (25-8) , Ohio State (27-7) and Georgetown (23-10) . If you don’t consider any of those teams capable of upsetting the applecart , then please feel free to lay all of your money on Kansas.

In the West , Jim Boeheim’s Orangemen have the privilege of taking on Vermont (25-9) . The sixteenth seed within the region and perhaps hoping to create the tournament’s first major upset by taking down Syracuse. It could well happen but I think that the Orangemen should overpower their opponent and come away with an easy victory. As to the other teams within the region that are of importance by way of their basketball tradition and pedigree. We will see the two time national champions, Florida (21-12) , Kansas State (26-7) , Pittsburgh (24-8) , Minnesota (21-13) , Vanderbilt (24-8) , Gonzaga (26-6) and Butler (28-4) . But if there’s a team to be feared within the region . Then ‘my pick’ would be Tubby Smith’s Golden Gophers of Minnesota. Tubby can flat out coach, his team is playing with a great deal of confidence at present and they seem to be on a mission. The scary thought is, that they’ve not really got to raise the level of their game all that much to be on an equal footing with some of the teams though to be the favorites within the region.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim ponders a question during a news conference about the NCAA college basketball tournament in Syracuse, N.Y., Sunday, March 14, 2010. Syracuse faces Vermont on Friday
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim ponders a question during a news conference about the NCAA college basketball tournament in Syracuse, N.Y., Sunday, March 14, 2010. Syracuse faces Vermont on Friday. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Kevin Rivoli .............

In the East, it’s all about Kentucky and John Calipari’s team. Will this be the team that earns the coach his first national title ? Or will he come up short once again ? If they play up to their full potential , then I fully expect them to make the ‘Final Four’ . And then from thereon in , it’s let the chips fall where they may. However, they will have to go through the likes of Texas (24-9) , Wofford (26-8) , Marquette (22-11) , Temple (29-5) and W Virgina (27-6). No mean feat but they (Wildcats) are capable of doing it and making their way through. But if there’s a team that could derail their ambitions , then it could well be Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers. Playing on emotion alone and with Huggins’ guile , anything is possible.

University of Kentucky basketball coach coach John Calipari watches the NCAA tournament selection show with the team at his home Sunday, March 14, 2010 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky was named the top seed in the East region of the NCAA tournament and will face E. Tennessee State Thursday in New Orleans
University of Kentucky basketball coach coach John Calipari watches the NCAA tournament selection show with the team at his home Sunday, March 14, 2010 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky was named the top seed in the East region of the NCAA tournament and will face E. Tennessee State Thursday in New Orleans. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Brian Bohannon ...............

In the South, Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils led by Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler will be looking to land the legendary coach his fourth national championship. What hasn’t there been already said about the program that Mike Krzyzewski has established and put on the map ? Alongside John Wooden , Adolph Rupp , Dean Smith and Bob Knight . He may well be one of the most revered and respected coaches in men’s college basketball history. That asides, this isn’t merely about Duke but essentially whether or not they can overcome the obstacles placed in front of them ? They’ve had far easier paths in the past and have come up short. And then they’ve also pulled through and won it all when they weren’t exactly favored to. Of the quartet of number one seeds, their task in some circles is being viewed as the easiest region to come through unscathed. I’d like to think that’s the case ! But then again , who knows ?

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 14: Brian Zoubek #55 of the Duke Blue Devils guards D'Andre Bell #13 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the championship game of the 2010 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 14, 2010 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Greensboro , NC- March 14th 2010. Brian Zoubek (55) of the Duke Blue Devils guards D'Andre Bell (13) of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the championship game of the 2010 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 14, 2010 in Greensboro, North Carolina. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Jeff Zelevansky ............

Within the region, Duke kicks off its tournament schedule against the play in winner of the game between Arkansas-Pine Bluff (17-15) and Winthrop (19-13). Lambs to the slaughter against Duke ? Well , that’s what awaits the winner . The rest of the region in terms of competitive presence as I view it , is rounded out by the likes of Louisville (20-12) , Notre Dame (23-11) , Villanova (24-7) , Purdue (27-5) and Utah State (27-7) .

Now while I’m a wholehearted Dukie’s fan through and through. I know not to expect too much from them , from time to time. As good as they can be , there’s always the chance that they can end up disappointing you. It’s like you’re out on a blind date with a really hot chic’ and you know if you play your cards right you’re going to get somethin’. But at the last, moment she disappoints and tells you that she’s got to go home because she has an appointment. Either that , for some reason the date went horribly wrong because somehow you might’ve done something wrong ? Or in effect she just wasn’t all that into you. Well that’s the feeling I get when I wholeheartedly throw my support at times behind Duke. I feel jilted ! This time around I’m hoping to feel some euphoria with the Blue Devils. If they play up to their capabilities , hang tough on defense and they could very well land that unprecedented four national title for Mike Krzyzewski. But those are just my thoughts on the scenario I envisage. It could very well be that they simply don’t pan out the way I may well have thought.

March Madness as it has come to be defined may well be the best sporting event on the North American continent by far ! There are those who feel that the one off event of the Superbowl far exceeds it in terms of excitement and suspense. And that may well be the case . But where else can you spend the better part of the month planning , discussing , debating, wagering , even arguing the merits of your brackets and whether or not your teams will prevail ? In the Superbowl, it’s about the two teams , the event itself and who in the end, ends up winning. To me the college basketball has it beat hands down and by a wide enough margin !

I’m no bracketologist and I’ve never claimed to be one. I leave that for all the guys in the know and let them prescribe to the logic it supposedly all entails. For me the games aren’t played on paper but on the field of competition. And that’s what I’m looking forward to , through the remainder of the month and through to Final Four and the championship game , itself , in early April. How about yourselves ?

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………..


Curtis Mayfield ………”Move On Up”. Was there a better song that epitomized the seventies for the period ?