Ten Days In The Valley and There’s Not $hit To Do Except Laugh …

Ten Days In The Valley and There’s Not $hit To Do Except Laugh …

Well the state of California is being decimated by wildfires likely to cost the state billions of dollars and with large payouts of claims , much to the detriment of the insurance companies. Don’t shed a tear for the companies involved , because at the end of the day, the consumer will always ending up paying. As to the state of the professional sports’ franchises active within the state, other than the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Dodgers , everyone else is in a state of disarray. Granted, fans of the NBA are hoping that the teams within Los Angeles will be able to provide some glamour as well as some competitiveness. Yes , I am talking about the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers . It’s like talking about two of the hottest girls you’d like to take to the prom , only to find out that both have self-esteem issues , where both lack eloquence and elegance. Anyone who believes that either of these two teams will be able to beat the best that the West has to offer much less the rest of the NBA has to be severely delusional.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Slide show.

The Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers will begin their respective regular season schedules on the 19th October when they play each other on the Opening Night of their season. With both lineups afresh with new talent beyond the rookies, it will be interesting to see if Doc Rivers of the Clippers and Luke Walton of the Lakers can get the best out of their teams while seeking that first victory to start the season.

Weekend results in the NFL , proved one thing , injuries and lack of consistency will continue to ruin the boldest of ambitions for the teams. Taking Colin Kaepernick out of the equation , but how much worse can things get for the San Francisco 49ers (0-6) ? This is a team that is badly coached , lacks motivation , but above all, the players themselves apparently don’t seem to care. Call it too much kneeling (pardon the pun) or plain and simple, head coach Kyle Shanahan is in way over his head. Team GM Jon Lynch in his first executive position within the NFL has gotten off to a preposterous start. For all of the idiots who believed his draft class for the Forty Niners was one of the best in the franchise’s recent history. I have to ask, what the hell were they looking at when they came to that particular assessment ? The rookies and sophomores on the roster are not particularly good , the defense is abhorrent and let’s just say the quarterback play is way beyond mediocre. If Brian Hoyer is your starting quarterback, simply imagine your team sinking in quicksand. I am not about to suggest the Niners will go 0-16 , but if they do, I won’t be surprised at all. However , I do feel if things get much worse over the next two weeks , then Kyle Shanahan could very well become the first coaching casualty of the season.

In week seven the San Francisco 49ers are due to meet the Dallas Cowboys , for whom this season has already turned into a nightmare . Give Jerry Jones his due , his comments notwithstanding , he is now proving himself to be a monumental asshole , albeit that he has sought to backtrack after his recent comments drew criticism from players on the Cowboys’ roster.

The Oakland Raiders are having struggles of their own and the loss of starting quarterback Derek Carr certainly hasn’t helped. This team simply takes a step backwards without Carr in the lineup. As he goes when at his best , then so does the team. Oakland was in action against the Los Angeles Chargers whose season to date hasn’t met expectations. With veteran quarterback Philip Rivers in the twilight of his career , it’s difficult to see how the team will contend over the course of the season. Sunday’s game at the O. Coliseum provided the fans the chance to see what both of these AFC West teams are made of . The Chargers came away with a narrow one-point margin of victory , while David Carr back in the lineup , played as best he could . Inevitably the Raiders are expected to challenge for the division this season , but as I alluded to earlier it will all be predicated upon the play of the young quarterback . Lofty expectations for a player whose recent contract negotiations led to him being given a hefty pay raise and contract . No doubt the Oakland Raiders will b e looking to make a second consecutive appearance in the postseason, something which they haven’t done in a number of years. Next up for Oakland will be a home game against the division leading Kansas City Chiefs , who are led by the rejuvenated Alex Smith . The former Niners’ quarterback , great during the regular season in recent years has been unable to lead this Andy Reid coached team into making a deep postseason run. Perhaps this will be the year in which they are able to achieve that feat ? Smith’s years with the Forty Niners were ridiculed , but when you take into account the disarray there was with the franchise and the lack of competitiveness , much of the blame should have been laid upon the front office led at the time by former GM Trent Baalke and the coaching staff of Jim Harbaugh , whose relationship with Baalke was seething and coming to a boil. Alex Smith’s last season in San Francisco was in 2012 with the team ending with an 11-4-1 record and their making the Superbowl . Smith was on the roster , but did not take part in the championship game .

Stanley Kroenke might well be one of the richest owners in all of North American professional sports. Forget Michael Jordan’s , $1 billion fortune or Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones . They all pale into insignificance when measured against Kroenke’s and then you bear in mind he is married to Ann Walton-Kronke whose late father Sam Walton was the founder of Walmart , the world’s largest retailer. Their combined net worth would be well in excess of $15 billion , if not more. As the owner of the Los Angeles Rams , whose relocation from St Louis , Missouri to the outskirts of greater Los Angeles , gives the city two NFL franchises , with the other being the Los Angeles Chargers . With the Chargers having their own misfortunes this season, it has been left to the Rams to pull up the slack. Who would have thought at this point of the season the Rams would be riding high, sitting on top of the NFC West ? Led by Jared Goff , a second-year starter in the league , along with Todd Gurley , this team appears to have a pretty potent offense. It remains to be seen if head coach if Sean McVay in his first year in charge can get the best out the Rams while possibly leading them into the postseason. It would certainly be the shock of the season , given the visibility of the Seattle Seahawks who have been the dominant team within the NFC West in recent seasons. The regular season meetings between these two teams should prove to be entertaining once they take place. The first of which happened in week five, with the Seahawks taking that game by the score of 16-10 . Their next scheduled meeting will be in week fifteen on the 17th December , 2017.

What can go wrong for the Los Angeles Dodgers at this stage of the MLB Postseason ? They have a 2-0 lead on the reigning World Series champions the Chicago Cubs and the Dodgers’ pitching staff has proven to be exceptional not only during the NCLS but also throughout this postseason. Yet , there is a caveat and a lesson to be learned . The Dodgers have a way of self-imploding, having a series well within their grasp , only to be caught like a deer in headlights. Against the Cubs , this is not a team you want to let off the hook , having caught them on the end of your line. Joe Maddon as a manager should not be underestimated , as he will find a way to place the Chicago Cubs back in this series.

Game three of the NLCS will revert back to Wrigley Field in Chicago , Illinois, when when the Chicago Cubs will play host to the Los Angeles Dodgers. A win for the home team will put them right back into the series . Losing and it places the Dodgers in the driver’s seat , having to take only two of the remaining four games in the series. The heroes for the Los Angles Dodgers have been Justin Turner , Kenley Jansen and Kenta Maeda . However , it has been a solid team effort which has led the Dodgers to be just two games away from making their first World Series’ appearance in over twenty-five years. Tommy La Sorda was the last manager of this ball-club to take a team to the World Series and win it outright. Current manager Dave Roberts seeking to achieve what his seven previous predecessors have been unable to do. Were he to achieve the feat , Roberts would become only the second African-American manager to have won a championship after back-to-back series’ titles won by Cito Gaston as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993 .

Alabama (6-0) still reigns supreme atop of College Football as they remain unbeaten and already guaranteed a playoff berth in the reformatted system . Elsewhere, in the once highly touted PAC 12 Conference , the once mighty powerhouses seem to have fallen on hard times. Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide were hardly tested over the weekend when Alabama faced off against Arkansas , walloping their guests 41-9 in a home stand. The PAC 12 might still be revered , but I have always felt , defense was never part of the makeup of programs within the conference and where offense always remained a constant. The USC Trojans , Washington Huskies and Washington State are the top three teams within the conference based on their overall records . All three teams will be in action this upcoming weekend as will many of the top programs within College Football.

I have no doubt the SEC will produce this season’s National Champion and it seems all but a certainty Alabama will once again be in the mix. They will face Tennessee (Volunteers) in a game to be played on Saturday 21st October . Everything seems to be pointing towards a seventh consecutive victory for the Crimson Tide at this juncture. If Alabama’s fortunes are said to be on the rise then consider the problems now facing conference rivals Florida (Gators) . Let’s just say head coach Jim McElwain , his staff and players have some real issues to discuss. McElwain has seen this team simply fall apart at the seams and it’s not likely to get any better unless the players show signs of improvement. Up next for Florida will be a match-up against Georgia (Bulldogs) in Gainesville , Florida in a game being played at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium . One more loss and the Gators will be out of the running for a lucrative Bowl Game once and for all.

It’s official , the Athletics Department of the University of Louisville had their fill with Rick Pitino , Head Coach of the Basketball Program for the university. With all of the mounting evidence and repeated infractions in spite of the denials from Pitino . He was fired with no formal comment from the coach after his dismissal . The writing was on the wall, because in spite of Louisville’s record , the off-court issues were far too much to bear for the fans and school itself. Rick Pitino’s character , lack of judgment , deceit and lies had finally caught up with him . No amount denials or excuses by his supporters or the man himself was ever going to be enough for him to escape the inevitable. There was no way he could continue in his role as the coach of the program under any circumstance whatsoever. Serious violations of NCAA rules, repeated infractions and the lack of oversight all fell on Pitino’s shoulders and that of the Athletics Department headed by AD Tom Jurich , who has since been replaced by Vince Tyra . The Sword of Damocles was wide-reaching as it led to Greg Postel being named Interim University President.

(7)
Rick Pitino , now the former Head Coach of the Louisville Men’s Basketball Team. Pitino along with AD Tom Jurich were fired from their respective positions after revealed improprieties concerning the basketball program. There is also a federal investigation of Pitino and four other NCAA Basketball Head Coaches , which could lead to further penalties of the programs involved. Rick Pitino has denied any wrongdoing on his part or by any of his associates. There is mounting evidence to suggest the head coach has been less than truthful with some of his comments.

Rick Pitino’s future now looks bleak and his chances of returning to the collegiate ranks as a Head Coach are less than zero .

The firing of Rick Pitino might be the best thing to happen within the world of College Basketball , because for far too long , coaches like Pitino have been placed on a lofty pedestal not just by the fans, but also by the idiot members of the media , who would rather write meaningless stories , rather than seek out the truth when there is wrongdoing on the part of these coaches. It might even lead to coaches not skirting the rules , taking heed and changing how they conduct themselves professionally. Jim Boeheim’s denials concerning his assistant Bernie Fine , still leaves a disgusting taste in one’s mouth. A sexual predator whose proclivities rival that of Jerry Sandusky , whose close confidante was none other than Joe Paterno , then Head Coach of Penn State . Needless to say, the ensuing cover-up initiated by certain members of the Board of Trustees of Penn State , dragged the school’s reputation further into the ground.


Picture gallery and by clicking on an individual frame you can view that image in a reformatted size along with a narrative.

From rags to riches and back to rags again, this is what we are likely to see over the remainder of the sporting year as it relates to the sporting topics raised in this article. What thoughts if any do you have on the subject ?

—-

Tophatal …..

Save It ….

Save It …

Not a great deal has been happening within the world of sports , albeit that, there are still some ongoing stories to be played out. NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned, though the San Francisco 49ers’ newly installed general manager John Lynch has stated the franchise would not be averse to resigning the player. From by own standpoint , the ongoing hypocrisy of the NFL and the fact as a business entity there leaves a great deal to be desired concerning the claim this league is all-inclusive and has a respect for one’s right to express themselves freely. This league down the years has condoned some of the most heinous actions conceivable by players, without the NFL hierarchy of the NFLPA (union) seeking to address many of those issues. Needless to say, the longer Kaepernick remains unsigned , the more the matter will become open to conjecture and speculation.

The NFL has shown itself to be a hypocritical organization, where front office executives have excused the behavior of players who are known rapists , misogynists , racists , spousal and child abusers , but the moment a player takes a stance on a social rights’ issue and are well within their right do so, owners and general managers take the stance , that Colin Kaepernick is unpatriotic. Well , I guess if Kaepernick has spent in excess of $3 million of his own money to aid the cause of homeless veterans within the greater San Francisco area , as well as setting up a charitable foundation for at risk teenagers , it really does make him unpatriotic and conceited ? This country has short-term memory , lacks the intelligence to understand what is happening under its very nose and seems to forget that athletes such as Muhammad Ali , Jack Johnson , Jesse Owens , Jackie Robinson , John Carlos and Tommie Smith also took a similar stance to Colin Kaepernick , were vilified in some circles , and praised by others. I wonder , if the San Francisco 49ers , had the team won the Superbowl when they faced the Baltimore Ravens , even after the stoppage , which clearly changed the momentum of the game , would the San Francisco quarterback still be persecuted and have become persona non-grata within the league and by numerous fans ? Just a thought , mind you !

—-

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Slide-show.

Major League Baseball begins its regular season schedule with a slew of games to be played on Opening Day, 3rd April , 2017. The Chicago Cubs , as the reigning NL Pennant winners and World Series champions will be looking to be the first team since the New York Yankees to make a successful back-to-back defense of their title. The feat was last accomplished in 1998 and 1999 . Chicago’s opening game of their regular season began with a loss to divisional rivals the St Louis Cardinals with a 4-3 defeat . These two teams will meet again on Tuesday afternoon, in a game to be played at Busch Stadium , in St Louis , Missouri,.

(2)
Jack Johnson , the first African-American to hold the Heavyweight Title and whose career in the boxing ring was questioned due to his association and fraternization with white women. Johnson was never able to find acceptance in America and fled to Europe where he gained the respect of fans and boxing promoters alike. Always a vocal opponent of racial and social injustice the boxer was vilified by fans , also by the press (print media) and by members of the US government. Not unlike the same treatment now being meted out against NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick .

Already a World Series’ MVP and among the best of the starting pitchers to be found in all of baseball , the San Francisco Giants’ ace Madison Bumgarner continues to mesmerize not just with the ball , but also with his bat . In the Giants’ opening game of the season, Bumgarner became the first pitcher MLB history to hit two-solo home runs in a game. Manager Bruce 

, his managerial staff and the team will be looking to bounce back from that initial loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks when the San Francisco Giants resume their series on Tuesday. Johnny Cueto of Giants will be on the mound to face Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks.

For the past two seasons Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers has been the highest salaried player in baseball. When Kershaw takes to the mound for the Dodgers’ game against the San Diego Padres , his 2017 salary will be greater than the entire payroll of the opponent he faces on Tuesday afternoon .

Don’t say you weren’t forewarned , but there was a great deal of idiocy, surrounding the future of Klay Thompson as the Golden State Warriors acquired Kevin Durant . For some reason there was this insistence that Thompson and Durant would not be able to co-exist on a team , already with two superstars without adding a third. Klay Thompson has proved to be an invaluable asset alongside Durant and two-time League MVP , Steph Curry . The Golden State Warriors also seem to have rebounded from their NBA Finals’ loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers and will end up with the best record in the NBA for the second consecutive season . It should also be noted, with the swoon of the Cavaliers and their recent record , LeBron James and his teammates are by no means a certainty to repeat as champions much less win the Eastern Conference title.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers still laboring and possibly a tough match-up coming their way when they face the Orlando Magic and then Eastern Conference leaders the Boston Celtics . The Golden State Warriors under the calming influence of head coach Steve Kerr has guided his team with a great deal of aplomb and not worrying about what critics might have to say . Personally, would rather listen to the insight of Warriors’ special consultant Jerry West than the asinine thoughts of analysts and fans who clearly have no damn idea as to what it takes to build a championship contender much less a winning team ! Jerry West has been able to do that with the Los Angeles Lakers in the run-up to their championships won , when he was the architect of the teams led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal . He would then rebuild the Memphis Grizzlies into a contender before being brought on board of the Golden State Warriors at the request of co-owners , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber . Looking to round out their season on a high , the Warriors are unlikely to be a seventy-game winner this season. The best the team can hope for is a sixty-eight and fourteen record (68-14) to end their season , winning the five remaining games on their schedule. The first of those games will be against the Minnesota Timberwolves , a game where I expect the Warriors to come through unscathed !

Tiger Woods surprised no one with the announcement that he would skip this season’s first Major on the PGA Tour schedule , The Masters being held at Augusta G & CC , Augusta , Georgia . Woods has made one appearance on the PGA Tour this season and he has very little to show for it overall . Even if fully fit and had he declared himself ready to play, I do not believe Tiger Woods’ game would at his very best. Woods’ confidence is at an all-time low and he is kidding himself, if he still believes he can go shoulder to shoulder with any of the top-five players in the world. From being acclaimed the number one golfer in the world Tigers Woods is now at a crossroads in his career , with only the record of Jack Nicklaus to surpass , in terms of the number of Grand Slam tournaments won. Woods’ fall from grace has been his own undoing , with his well-chronicled sex escapades , lack of honesty , infidelity issues during and after his marriage.

Augusta will be the center of the Golf World when the tournament begins this Thursday and it will be interesting to see of Jordan Spieth can further enhance his career as being the best golfer , America has produced in the past five years.

For all of the ” hype” seen during the Men’s NCAA Tournament . The final game of College Basketball’s season turned out to be a downright “dud” and a truly ugly spectacle. Gonzaga the prohibitive favorites, took on North Carolina (Tar Heels) in a contest that was filled with numerous turnovers , ugly play and not much to redeem either of the two teams. Roy Williams adds another title to his already impressive resume’ , but at the end of the day, that is just about all one could say concerning the game .

Things have become stagnant within the UFC , as the banner organization is now more reliant on aging fighters , than some of its younger stars to raise its profile further. The return of Georges St Pierre is a further indication of that with the former UFC Welterweight Champion coming out of his self-imposed retirement to challenge the current Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping for his title. The fight will offer Bisping the biggest payday of his career and the chance to beat a legend. While the UFC has undergone a change in ownership after the organization was sold for a reputed $4.5 billion to William Morris Endeavor Group , a sports’ management and entertainment company known globally. What we do know , is that UFC President Dana White will remain on board in his current role as the UFC’s lead executive. White for his part, is now changing his stance with regard to the proposed fight between Conor McGregor , currently the biggest star within the organization and his facing multi-titlist , Floyd Mayweather , who is willing to come out of retirement to face McGregor. This is the sort of circus antics needed by both sports , which appears to be seeing something of a downturn in attendance for some of their high-profiled bouts and PPV events (pay per view).

The UFC has a very interesting upcoming event with , UFC 210 taking place this Saturday at the Key Bank Center in Buffalo , New York. Main event on the card will be Daniel Cormier defending his Light Heavyweight title when he faces Anthony “ The Rumble “ Johnson . For Cormier , this might be the most formidable opponent he has faced over the course of his career. Johnson tends to end his fights in spectacular fashion and is an excellent grappler and Ju-Jitsu artist . Cormier’s strengths lay in his wrestling and his power , but don’t be dissuaded by the fact that he doesn’t know how to knock an opponent out. All signs point to what should be a very good fight , while waiting in the wings as a possible future opponent for the winner , is the division’s former champion Jon “ Bones” Jones . For Jones in spite of his issues outside the octagon , there is no denying he’s sorely missed and if things fall into place , his being in line for a title shot would be the best thing that could happen to the sport and in particular for the Light Heavyweight division .

So , here’s the question , can MLS Soccer rise to the point where it can stand on its own , where fans and observers it can be taken seriously enough to challenge the top Soccer Leagues around the globe ? Granted , fan attendance for the league’s games have seen a gradual rise over the last eight years . Yet for all of that, the Men’s National Team has never seen the success attained by the Women at the international level. Furthermore , there has been only one player produced by the country who could ever deemed to be considered world-class , since the sport became something of a household pastime . Tim Howard has to be considered the greatest player in US Soccer history in spite of the idiotic glorification of Landon Donovan

Don Garber , the CEO of MLS Soccer and his national counterpart Sunil Gulati with US Soccer are now working in conjunction to create the traction needed whereby Soccer as a sport , can stand alone and be considered the nation’s fifth national pastime behind the NFL ( Football) , NBA , MLB , the NHL and with all due respect to NASCAR , a sport where athleticism is not actually a real focus , when your machine (car) is simply going around in circles (left turns , averaging 155 mph). No team in MLS Soccer has really risen to prominence at the club level internationally and while DC United and the Los Angeles Galaxy (L A Galaxy) are considered to be best franchises in the league’s history. Were it not for the splash made with the signing of David Beckham , I seriously doubt the game much less these two teams would have been the focus of some of the top stories within the sport over the last decade. David Beckham and his business partners are still struggling to bring a MLS franchise to South Florida, currently in something of a combative mode with MLS Soccer and municipal authorities to finance a stadium for the proposed franchise.

The aura of the Beckham name has already lost its luster from a commercial standpoint with regard to its connection to MLS Soccer, while the former soccer star , believes he and his partners will prevail in the end. There seems to be ever-growing signs of impatience from Don Garber and his fellow executives within MLS Soccer.

With growing revenues now coming from commercial sponsors, the league’s television rights are substantial , but nowhere yet on par with the deals now in place with the NBA , NFL or even MLB. It should also be noted the highest paid player within the sport earns a mere pittance in comparison to his counterparts in the aforementioned sports.

The only way for the MLS to succeed , is for the level of the game to be raised where it is on par with the top leagues around the globe , with more homegrown talent and the success of the Men’s National Team at the international level. Then and only then , will the sport actually capture the hearts and minds of the American public , rather than the belief the World Cup and its quadrennial staging is the sole course to be taken .

Which particular sports’ news story at present has you asking the question , is that it and why is this worth mentioning ?


Tophatal …… 04/03/2017

NFL news

MLB news

MLB schedule and probable pitchers

This week in baseball

NBA news

NBA results 2nd April and schedule for 3rd April

NBA standings overall

NBA standings (conference) and Playoff Projections

PGA Tour news

The Masters (2017)

NCAA Basketball (Men)

NCAA Final Four (Men’s)

UFC news

UFC schedule

MLS Soccer and US Soccer

—-


—–
Picture gallery. Click on an individual frame for a brief narrative.

The Year of Living Dangerously …

 

The Year of Living Dangerously

No more queries as to the morass of underwhelming season in the NBA where the singular high points have been the exploits of the Golden State Warriors and their dominance of the league. Steve Kerr and his team have been barely challenged within their division , conference and the league as a whole. Last season’s League MVP , Steph Curry , is all but certain to repeat as MVP and it would appear nonsensical, were Kerr not named Coach of The Year after another astonishing season .

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow.

Golden State are well on their way to beating the exploits of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls , who would go on to win the NBA title that season with Michael Jordan winning the trifecta of a championship ring , League MVP and Finals’ MVP on the way to the franchise’s historic season. Kerr was a member of the championship winning team of the Chicago Bulls from that year, which was coached by > Phil Jackson . For the legendary coach, he now finds himself overseeing a rather disappointing New York Knicks’ franchise , whose season has been a rather turbulent and indecisive one. At every turn , nothing but incompetence has been on display by the team, while apologists for Phil Jackson continue to come up with the most asinine of excuses to try to fend off the lackluster efforts of Jackson as a front office executive . Phil Jackson’s persona remains larger than life , as does his ego , which rivals that of GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump .

While Golden State continues to remain dominant inching closer to the 72-10 record-breaking mark of the Chicago Bulls , the question now being asked , which of the Warriors’ conference rivals during the upcoming NBA Playoffs might be capable of dethrone the reigning NBA champions. The only other team who has been able to mount a serious challenge to the Golden State Warriors this season have been the San Antonio Spurs . The likelihood of these two teams meeting in the Western Conference Finals seems all but certain , with only a major upset , being the only thing on the horizon likely to make this not appear to be a reality. San Antonio will be back on the court Monday night to face the Memphis Grizzlies on the road , where Tim Duncan and his Spurs’ teammates will be looking to take down the Grizzlies. Golden State will be looking to knock off another Eastern Conference opponent when they face the Washington Wizards on Tuesday evening. .

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has provided its fair share of surprises during the tournament with seeds falling left , right and center at the drop off a hat< . Now the only remaining number one seed from the four regions , just happens to be Roy Williams’ , University of Carolina Tar Heels . Williams’ team has been exceptional throughout the tournament , coming through a very tough regional phase , where they are also joined by Syracuse (Orangemen) , Oklahoma (Sooners) and Villanova (Wildcats) . All four teams have paid their dues and justifiably they have made it through to this stage of the competition. The quartet of teams will face off on 2nd April , when Villanova will face Oklahoma and North Carolina will tip off against Syracuse. These two games should provide a great deal of excitement for the fans in attendance as well as the millions of viewers nationwide who will be watching the television broadcast.

Officially and it is still seven more days until the start of the MLB season, with a full schedule of games to be played on Monday 4th April , 2016. Defending World Series champions the Kansas City Royals will be looking to make a successful defense of the AL Pennant and world championship . From my own perspective , I believe the Royals have been the best team in the AL over the past three seasons and through astute managerial acumen and GM Dayton Moore not plunging headlong into over paying for talent on the team roster , it has served the Kansas City Royals extremely well.

Kansas City has four games left on their exhibition schedule before embarking on the regular season with their opening game against the Arizona Diamondbacks , in a two-game road series , beginning on the 1st April.

Of the teams under the greatest pressure this upcoming season , I believe both the Los Angeles Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers Angels have the most to prove ! Dave Roberts might well have succeeded Don Mattingly as the Dodgers’ manager , but with a multi-million dollar payroll and a roster laden with stars , there can no longer be any excuses being used for the club’s repeated failures. For Roberts’ counterpart with the Angels , Mike Sciocsia is under as much pressure. I believe team owner Arte Moreno will seriously consider the future of the managerial staff and it will come with the due diligence expected to be seen from Billy Eppler , who succeeded Jerry Dipoto in the position as the Angels’ general manager .

Mike Trout and Albert Pujols are expected to play significant roles in the Los Angeles Angels’ season as was the case in 2015. Their pitching staff is expected to be far more productive , but I do believe it has been the lack of consistency which has been the team’s downfall in recent years ! One more slip-up on the part Mike Sciocsia and his staff this season and I believe Billy Eppler will have no alternative , but to fire the franchise’s longest-serving manager . Sciocsia will undoubtedly be looking to get the Loss Angeles Angels off to a fast start this season and their schedule begins in earnest with their opening game of the regular season schedule , which pits them against the Los Angeles Dodgers on the 1st April at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles , California,. For Mike Trout this might be the year where he more than anyone else on the Angels’ team has to take the lead and show his commanding presence . because I believe Albert Pujols while still a great player , is no longer capable of consistently putting up the prolific numbers often seen before. Granted , last season was among the best seen this former multiple NL MVP , but it begs the question can he once again reproduce that form while leading the Los Angeles Angels to their first World Series’ title since 2002 ? If that is to be the case then Angels will most certainly have to get the better of their AL counterparts and specifically the Kansas City Royals.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will enter this season with by far the largest payroll of baseball’s thirty teams. All this for a franchise which has spent in excess of $1.2 billion on salaries since the team was purchased by Guggenheim Baseball Properties LLC , who parent company Guggenheim Partners is one of the nation’s largest venture capital firms with assets of over $200 billion . Senior partners in the ownership group of the Dodgers are former NBA star Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson , Hollywood mogul Peter Guber , senior executives from Guggenheim Partners , Todd S Boehly and Mark Walter .

The Dodgers had been purchased for the extraordinary sum of almost $2.2 billion , at the time a record for the sale of a North American professional sports’ franchise. Based on the value of the teams in MLB , the NFL and the NBA . It could be suggested the owners might well have overpaid , solely based on the assessed market-value and brand name , rather than the true-value of the franchise. It should also be noted at the time of the sale , the Los Angeles Dodgers were emerging from bankruptcy proceeding brought on by the rather duplicitous business dealings of the club’s former owner Frank McCourt . Former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig’s actions during this whole process , should not go unnoticed , as it appears his influence held sway even over the whole process over the Dodgers’ emerging from the bankruptcy proceedings . Those who believe otherwise, are either naive , or simply have no real idea concerning the nuances of sports economics and the business of finance.

The Los Angeles Dodgers need to win now and not one or two years from now. It seems remarkable , that it has been over twenty-five years since this franchise won its last World Series’ title. NL Pennant appearances and the recent miseries associated with those appearances can pretty much sum up the woes of this organization over the past two decades.

This will be the penultimate season of Alex Rodriguez’s two-decade career. The New York Yankees’ current DH has made the decision to announce his formal retirement at the end of the 2017 season. If based on his current productivity , Rodriguez will fall short of the all-time career home-runs’ record at present held by another disgraced player , Barry Bonds , batting instructor for the Miami Marlins . Their careers have taken similar paths and the notoriety has not stopped there as during the latter years of their heralded careers. Their links to the steroid era became linked to one of the most infamous sordid chapters in the history of baseball. Forget the White Sox scandal and the idiocy of Pete Rose, Bonds and Rodriguez have shone a glaring spotlight on baseball which showed us , not only the depth of deceit within the game , but also the duplicity of the MLBPA (union) and the ambivalence of the league hierarchy under Bud Selig and now Selig’s successor Rob Manfred . Baseball’s hierarchy looked the other way , while taking the money , running with it and extolling the era of steroids as one baseball’s most exciting chapters while being in complete denial and that was even with the advent of in-depth investigative reporting into not only the BALCO ‘ Scandal ‘ and Biogenysis , which some fans to this day ,remain ambivalent about . with their nonsensical statements . Which again goes to show, sports’ fans in North America were never that intelligent to begin with , even when the facts are laid out right in front of their very eyes .

New York Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi will have his work cut out for him this season and I believe it will be his toughest yet, since he succeeded Joe Torre to become the franchise’s manager. He has one World Series’ title to his resume’ , but beyond that , there has been very little which one would deem to be a great deal of success. A disappointing showing in 2015 within the AL East and the team’s early dismissal in the wild-card round of the MLB postseason summed up a disastrous year for the Yankees last year. Alex Rodriguez can become only the fourth player league history to pass the seven-hundred career home-runs’ plateau and he will likely achieve the milestone by his thirtieth game of the 2015 season . Rodriguez should hit that mark during the early part of August, based on current projections for the season.

Of the three players to have hit seven-hundred career home runs, only Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth are currently in Baseball’s Hall of Fame , in Cooperstown, New York . Barry Bonds is eligible and his name will be on the list of nominees for 2017 as a repeat entrant . Alex Rodriguez will not become eligible for that accolade until 2022. Like Bonds, I do not believe he will voted into the Hall of Fame as a first time ballot nominee ! It will likely be several years before either of the players’ eligibility will be taken seriously by the voters within the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) who adjudicate the ballots after these nominations are put forward by baseball’s hierarchy . Alex Rodriguez is thirteen home runs away from reaching this historic milestone of seven-hundred home runs and it seems inconceivable his career is still being looked upon in a number of circles, as being historic . Yet, this is what the game of baseball has now become over the past two and a half-decades , because of the cheating , posturing within the game by the players , owners and league itself. Corruption , breeds contempt and along with it comes the loss of honor , integrity and fairness of competition within the game .

This will be a make or break year for the New York Yankees and we know there are several players on this roster who are way past their prime , while being paid an exorbitant salary and offering little in return . CC Sabathia , Jacoby Ellsbury , Mark Teixiera , Michael Pineda and Brian McCann are all being paid a king’s ransom , but in large part the failure of the franchise since 2009 has come about by way of the poor management structure . lack of developing talent at the Minor League Level and poor draft classes and transactions over the years . GM Brian Cashman also bears a great deal of responsibility for this , as do the senior members within the ownership structure , headed by the Steinbrenner family . Having the most profitable team in baseball as well as the most valuable has always created pitfalls for the game’s most successful franchise . When the Yankees are winning , no questions are asked, but when the team is losing, then everyone takes aim and justifiably so , because this has been an organization which often makes repeated excuses for poor management decisions made within the hierarchy .

The New York Yankees will begin their regular season schedule with a contest as part of a three-game series against the Houston Astros , who defeated the Yankees in the wildcard round of the postseason of 2015. It remains to be seen what type of season will be had by the New York Yankees , but it will be interesting to see how things unfold for the franchise over the course of their schedule.

What do you believe has been the most surprising issue you have witnessed during the course of this year in the NBA , College Basketball ? Also, what are your own expectations for the upcoming MLB season ?

Tophatal …….. 2013/03/28

NB: By clicking on a picture seen below you can view the image in a reformatted size alongside the accompanying narrative.

NBA news

NBA results

NBA schedule 28th March and for 29th March

NBA team stats over their last ten games

This month in NBA history and on this date

Approaching (NBA) milestones

NCAA Men’s Basketball news

2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

NCAA Final Four
—–

MLB news

MLB schedule three days at a glance

2015 MLB postseason

MLB team payrolls (2016)

Top-paid players (salary)

Career home-run leaders and active home run leaders

Milestones

This week in Major League Baseball history

On this date in baseball.

———–

I love the smell of Napalm in the morning …

I love the smell of Napalm in the morning !

Well, in the  aftermath a tumultuous  NFL season we now know the twelve teams   to have made the NFL postseason. The New Denver Broncos and New England Patriots are the two top-seeds within the AFC, leaving the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals as the top seeded contenders within the NFC.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow.

Results   emanating   from Sunday’s games left us in no doubt who the top teams were within the    conferences after the two hundred and fifty-six games played. As usual with the postseason approaching , speculation will be raised to the possible coaching carousel likely to take place. There is the likelihood we might well have seen the last game coached by Tom Coughlin   as the head coach of the  New York Giants   after the team’s rather embarrassing loss to divisional rivals the Philadelphia Eagles.

With Chip Kelly’s abrupt firing by the Eagles’ front office , the number of coaches terminated this season are numbered at four , with the recent dismissals of Mike Pettine with the Cleveland Browns and Jim Tomsula with the San Francisco 49ers . As abysmal a season had by each of the teams in question , they were not the franchises with the worst record in the NFL during the 2015 regular season schedule . That accolade belonged to none other than the Tennessee Titans (3-13) a mark which was also shared with the Brown. What this might suggest about both teams can be best summed by their results over the course of the season and their statistical play throughout.

With the top two teams in each conference having a bye in the wildcard round of the postseason , teams seeded three through six will begin the playoffs with the scheduled games due. Those match-ups are likely to prove very intriguing with perhaps the best of the bunch being the NFC contest , which pits the Seattle Seahawks against the Minnesota Vikings . The two opposing quarterbacks Russell Wilson of the Seahawks and Teddy Bridgewater of the Vikings, will provide the fans to see two of the more productive passers within the NFC this season.

Though we have not yet reached the midway point of the NBA season there can be no denying which team has been the best in the league at this point of the schedule. Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors have set a blistering pace leaving others in their wake . Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr , in his absence has seen his understudy Luke Walton guide the team with a great deal of coaching acumen , leading a number of analysts to believe, Walton will likely be pursued by a number of teams at the end of the season, once the customary firings begin to take place. There are likely to be at least six teams seeking the former player’s services, but I do believe he will be reluctant to leave, unless his desired destination is with a franchise where there is a more than reasonable chance of success.

Coming off another victory , Curry and his teammates will next take to the court to face the Charlotte Hornets at the Oracle Arena , Oakland, California on Monday, 4th January . This should prove be an easy win for the Warriors against an Eastern Conference opponent given the team’s record against the conference and their record at home . The Hornets for their part will be looking to keep apace within their conference as well as against a Western Conference opponent where the team has had relatively little success this season.

The Los Angles Lakers (8-27) and the Philadelphia 76ers (3-33) have combined for eleven regular season wins at this point of the season , having played roughly thirty-five games. It would be fair to suggest both teams could very well end up with what would be franchise lows in terms of regular season victories. There also appears to a remote possibility the Sixers are well on their of equaling the NBA league-low number for regular season wins, a mark held by 1973 Philadelphia 76ers .Wins have been have been very difficult to come by for this Brett Brown coached Sixers’ team . Philadelphia’s last victory came on the 30th December when they defeated the Sacramento Kings by the score of 110-105. The team’s next game will be a home contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday evening.

For Byron Scott and the Los Angeles Lakers , their season has been one of sheer ineptitude with only sparing glimpses of Kobe Bryant at his best among the players on the Lakers’ roster. It is hard to envisage where the Lakers now go from here , as GM Mitch Kupchak and team owner Jim Buss have very few alternatives with regard to the depth on the roster. Capable perhaps of only playing for their self-respect, the Los Angeles Lakers do not appear to have a short-term, much less a long-term strategy once Kobe Bryant has played his last game for the franchise. Bryant made it official , this would indeed be his last year with the Lakers , formally announcing his retirement for the end of this season. Unlikely to be a major player in the free agency market , salary dumping or otherwise, Kupchak can only seek to assess the current crop of Los Angeles Lakers’ players and go from there with regard to rebuilding the roster. With a game coming up against the Golden State Warriors , which will be on the road , it will be interesting to see how the team will fare against a conference opponent , the reigning NBA champions .

The College Basketball season is now in full swing and with the teams gearing up towards ‘March Madness’ ,and it has been an interesting season , which has meandered its way through a slew of games. Seated atop of the rankings are the Kansas Jayhawks (12-1) under head coach Bill Self and his Jayhawks’ team . Wayne Selden , Perry Ellis and Frank Mason are the leading scorers for the Jayhawks , but a great deal of praise this season has been heaped upon Ben Simmons of the LSU Tigers . Simmons is considered to be a consensus first round lottery pick and the likely number one choice of the team privileged to have the first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft . Judging by his game that is not without merit for a player whose all-round skill-set has been compared to has been compared to four-time NBA League MVP and Cleveland Cavaliers’ player LeBron James . Great praise indeed, but I believe it to be way too premature to be making such comparisons ! The LSU Tigers have an upcoming game against the Kentucky Wildcats.

Bill Self and his Kansas Jayhawks will have pride of place when they tip off against the Oklahoma Sooners in a battle of top-ten ranked teams.

We know the SEC to be the best conference in College Basketball and there can be no questioning of that very fact. The programs within the conference, speaks volumes as to the quality of play witnessed each year. Florida are now going it alone without Billy Donovan going as the head coach of the program. His successor Mike White is being asked to fill a big pair shoes after the considerable success achieved by Donovan during his reign. Florida is off to an inauspicious start to their season and their most recent game was an exhilarating victory over the Georgia Bulldogs with a fourteen-point 77-63 win . White and the Gators will be on the road to face the Tennessee Volunteers in a contest which should bring out the best in both teams.

I have to admit in recent years I have grown tired of the sport of boxing ! It remains corrupt , devoid of real leadership at the international level and most notably without any real transparency by way of leadership here in North America. The USBA which is affiliated to the IBF remains a constant joke, like many of the international counterparts which now hold sway over the sport internationally. Consider the fact there is no undisputed champion in any of weight categories and it is easy to understand why this sport is dying on its knees and close to being in need to resuscitation.

Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao may well have brought back a certain amount of excitement in what was Mayweather’s last professional bout which saw close out his career with an unbeaten 49-0 record. In reality however, this fight was five years too late and simply lacked the excitement the fans truly hoped for . Lackluster, would be too soft a word to describe the title fight , where both fighters walked away with an estimated $300 million to split between them , Mayweather taking the larger slice of the purse before taking into account another $200 million in television rights from the overseas sales and merchandising revenues grossed.

From my own perspective , I believe Floyd Mayweather will make a return to the ring to push his record to 50-0 . Mayweather has not really fought anyone of consequence in the past four years and even though his resume’ boasts and unbeaten record , along with multiple title defenses , one could suggest the record might well stand the test of time , but it truly lacks the hyperbole many believe it deserves.

Several boxers at the welterweight and light middleweight division would undoubtedly like to head into the ring and got toe-to-toe with Floyd Mayweather, but herein lies the caveat with the unbeaten fighter. He cherry-picks his opponents and simply added insult to injury , when he chose Andre Berto , to push his record to 49-0 . Berto was certainly undeserving of a title shot and the fact he was not high enough within the welterweight category clearly indicated the titleholder wanted a “patsy ” in the opposite corner for his last professional bout.

It has been ten years since the heavyweight category last had an undisputed champion with the last titleholder of the titles being British fighter Lennox Lewis. Since Lewis’ retirement from the ring there have several claimants to the differing established belts as recognized by the four main international governing bodies. Unfortunately, the entities in question have failed to give the fans what they yearned , a unified and undisputed champion. Siblings Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko for years, each held claim to one version of the title but refused to defend their versions against each , seeking to unify the division. With Vitali having retired it was left to Wladimir to reign supreme over the division , which in many ways he had done with a string of successful defenses, against less than credible opponents.

Yet in what was believed to a bout where he was considered to be a clear-cut favorite , he fell to the boxing skills of Tyson Fury of Great Britain in what some considered to be one of the biggest upsets in recent boxing history. The bout itself was far from being an instant classic but what it lacked in drama was made up for with the passion shown by the challenger as he wrestled away the title from the Ukrainian champion. However, in what one could only deem as farcical the IBF (International Boxing Federation) has seen fit to strip Tyson Fury of the belt he legitimately won in the ring. The explanation if it is to be believed, smacks of stupidity on the part of the governing body and from the former titleholder , Wladimir Klitschko , who was said to be not only upset with the decision rendered by the judges in a fight he lost in a unanimous decision, but also by the fact Fury sought not to grant him an immediate rematch within ninety days. If boxing has a flaw , then it is one of its own self-importance and indulgence , where the fighters themselves lack as much credibility as the various governing bodies which preside over the sport.

Boxing has lost a great deal of credibility around the globe, albeit , if there are claims it remains the one pugilistic and combative art form every fight fan yearns for . I am not so sure those claims are any longer legitimate and can be proven. While boxing has seen a marked decline , the rapid rise of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) now under the banner of the UFC , seems to be giving fans something they really yearn for. UFC has brought legitimacy and business acumen to a sport which has now become the fastest growing participant sport across the globe. Many of the fighters within the UFC stable of MMA stars are fast becoming recognized names as well Hollywood action stars and crossover celebrities. Suffice to say, the UFC hierarchy under Dana White has struck box-office gold , even if White is considered to be a dictatorial executive.

Ronda Rousey’s shocking and surprising loss to Holly Holm may well prove to be a welcome change for the sport and actually shape the direction and open even more opportunities for women who might see an interest in entering the genre. Rousey created a buzz needed when many felt MMA had lost some of its appeal. Now with her defeat, her drive and eagerness to reclaim her Bantamweight title could be the best thing to happen to Women’s MMA as well as the UFC in general.

In recent months several champions have seen their reigns come to an end within the UFC and added new honorees within the sport. It could well be seen as a good thing for MMA and its viability long-term if the excitement created can be maintained . Certainly , Dana White is taking a new approach of growing the UFC brand globally as well as expanding across North America , with the executive’s biggest wish being to see the sport be granted the license to promote and stage events in New York State.

For some strange reason the State Legislature of New York State sees no need to grant a license and continues to show their disapproval of a sport they deem barbaric. Last I looked, with the issues stemming from the NFL and how that particular league hierarchy has dealt with the issues of chronic head trauma , I would have to say the New York State Athletic Commission has been oblivious to the idiocy of Paul Tagliabue and his successor Roger Goodell , who have somehow chosen to remain in the dark ages as to the deniability of the damages caused from years of brutal head to head helmet contract driven by the physicality of football within the NFL. The league itself , still seeks to challenge the multi-billion dollar settlement obtained by retired by players in a Federal Appeals Court ruling , while also seeking reinstate their four—game suspension of Tom Brady for his alleged involvement in Deflate-Gate. Begs the question, at what point will both the New York State Athletic Commission and the NFL hierarchy actually wake up and smell the coffee , much less the napalm ?

Sports in general as always is in need of a good shakeup , be it at the competitive level or among its hierarchical leadership structure. One thing for sure, without real change , things tend to stagnate and show signs of recession rather than real growth or excitement.

Tophatal ………. NB : By clicking on the individual images seen below you can view them in a reformatted size along with a narrative.

NFL  news 

  NFL  standings (divisional)

NFL   standings  (conference)

NFL  playoff picture

Week  seventeen results

Wildcard round   (playoffs)

NBA news

NBA standings (divisional)

NBA results 3rd January

NBA schedule 4th January

NBA player stats

NBA team stats

NCAA Basketball

NCAA Men’s Basketball news

NCAA Men’s Basketball schedule

NCAA Men’s Basketball standings

NCAA Men’s Basketball rankings

—–

Boxing news
—–

UFC

UFC news

UFC events’ schedule (upcoming)

======

 

It’s that time of year to reflect , review and then ponder as to what happens next …

It’s that time of year to reflect, review and then ponder as to what happens next …

There can be no denying this year within the world of sports we all witnessed the highs and lows of the sporting season. Basketball crowned a new champion in the NBA with Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs winning the title, the franchise’s fifth in their admired and revered history. The fact the Spurs defeated the Miami Heat with so much ease , came as a major surprise to many who favored the LeBron James’ led lineup that boasted Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen among their ranks. Complacency and a lack of support for James, were the contributing factors leading to Miami’s demise. With James departing during this off-season, a bewildered Pat Riley , the organization and the coaching staff of Erik Spoelstra will now have to start from scratch rebuilding the roster which hopefully, will have some semblance of competitiveness this season.

==================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


=================================

Slideshow

Off to what might deem a favorable start to their schedule , the Miami Heat are no longer a team to be favored or feared, though I believe they are good enough to gain a playoff berth this season, given the mediocrity of the play encountered in the Western Conference , in a season where in its infancy, the basketball in the conference has been truly astounding and banal. The results bear z this out , without delving further about the reasons why beyond stating , two obvious factors, bad coaching and no depth of talent by way of the rookie players .

While of late, singular achievements have been given a great deal of praise, with Kobe Bryant having surpassed Michael Jordan on the all-time career points list (third) and LeBron James moving ahead of Charles Barkley for twenty third in the rankings. While I believe this all to be commendable achievements, it begs the question, why are fans now beginning to make comparisons with today’s players and those of the past ? The game has changed drastically during the respective eras, along with a number of rule changes initiated by outgoing NBA Commissioner David Stern. This is all overlooked as fans and analysts alike try create a debate that will be filled with conjecture and a great deal of nonsense behind the supposed logic by a number of the debaters on the matter.

On the court the Golden State Warriors led by their dynamic duo of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are seen as capable of leading the team on a dominant run in the NBA and to a deep NBA Playoff foray, albeit, they have encountered some stiff opposition resulting in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies (20-4) the Warriors still maintain a healthy lead within the Pacific Division of the
Western Conference . No major fallout from this loss, as the loss ,as the team has been able to show its resilience over the course of the season .

In the collegiate ranks of basketball, the NCAA Tournament . Kevin Ollie and the U Conn Huskies won another title which heightened the prestige of the program and the fourth title in the school’s history. The Huskies’ victim in that tournament victory, the John Calipari coached Kentucky Wildcats are once again atop of the college rankings with an unbeaten season and the deemed the best team in the country. They are likely to be a team to be reckoned with as Calipari seeks a second title win to add to his burgeoning resume’. Kentucky has cut a swath through their opponents , but I feel we are reading far too much into the accomplishments at this stage of the season ! The run up to this season’s NCAA Tournament and the event itself will place an d even greater emphasis on how good the Kentucky Wildcats are likely to be. Hard to suggest where a likely challenge is likely to come from in stopping the Wildcats’ dominance.

With its inaugural format within College Football now in motion , last season’s defending national champions the Florida State Seminoles will be looking to make a successful defense of their title. Jameis Winston the program’s 2013 Heisman Trophy winner in spite of his off the field problems has been able to lead the team to their unbeaten run this season. The Seminoles ended the regular season ranked in the top four availing the chance to be part of the playoff schedule which has been essentially adjudged a four-team semi-finals’ playoff format with contests’ winner playing in the national title game.

The four programs who are the recipients of this inaugural system are Alabama , Oregon , Ohio State (Buckeyes) and Florida State making up the quartet. While there will be continued debate as to the veracity of this format , many feel a four-team playoff is by no means the best way to decide a national champion . Yet for all of the criticism leveled and the fact an empaneled body were arbiters on this whole scheme, not everyone can state this was of satisfaction to the doubters as well as some protagonists of the new format. Money remains the driving force behind this all, without anyone trying to suggest this system has been the best possible solution after years of idiocy with the BCS format and a system so void of legality , that it was simply ridiculous for anyone to try and justify its legitimacy. Come full circle, in reality the progress made is simply miniscule , even if the new format is tinkered with at various points in the future, as is likely the case.

This year’s Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota can go out on a high if he is able to lead Oregon past Florida State in their highly anticipated game on the 1st January, 2015. Mariota is highly regarded within the college ranks and seen as one of the most dynamic players in the game as well as perhaps the best quarterback in college football. A victory in that that game, to be followed with a championship victory , will lead to certain financial gain, a high draft pick the upcoming NFL Draft of 2015.

In light of the recent disaster of Johnny Manziel’s first professional start in the NFL this season was such a catastrophe it is hard to see any positives which could come out of the debacle, where the Cleveland Browns were shutout by the Cincinnati Bengals in their divisional clash 30-0 . The fact this was a home game for the Browns was all the more embarrassing for the fans. Manziel in the aftermath of his disaster has suggested he can play better , but that must now come into question after the idiotic decision made by Mike Pettine to sit Brian Hoyer merely to gauge what the team’s 2014 draftee was capable of doing. We’ve now seen what Manziel is not capable of doing and that is to lead a team with any great authority, much less play competently at the NFL level.

As the NFL season has unfolded we have witnessed the disasters of teams thought to be contenders , merely to have their hopes blown asunder, because of sheer complacency or simply bad play and extremely bad coaching. Jim Harbaugh’s tenure with the San Francisco 49ers (7-8) is likely to come to an abrupt end after a disastrous season for a franchise which has he taken repeatedly taken to the postseason in four of the five years of his tenure .

As the NFL season has unfolded we have witnessed the disasters of teams thought to be contenders, merely to have their hopes blown asunder, because of sheer complacency or simply bad play and extremely bad coaching. Jim Harbaugh’s tenure with the San Francisco 49ers (7-8) is likely to come to an abrupt end after a disastrous season for a franchise which has he taken repeatedly taken to the postseason in four of the five years of his tenure . San Francisco’s home loss in week sixteen to the San Diego Chargers put an immediate end to their postseason hopes. The fallout from it all , has been the growing speculation Harbaugh will fired or he resigns and accepts the vacant coaching position at Michigan (Wolverines). An 8-8 is the best the San Francisco 49ers can now hope for , something no might have envisage at the start of this season’s NFL schedule.

It is extremely difficult to now try and justify any reason why Rex Ryan should be retained as the New York Jets’ head coach for next season. In spite of their narrow one-point loss o to the New England Patriots(12-3) the defeat dropped the Jets’ record , with a with a penultimate game left on their schedule, they now find themselves bearing a mark of 3-12 . The franchise’s front office will have several decisions to make beyond Ryan’s immediate future, there is also the questionable performances of Geno Smith and Michael Vick over the course of this season. It remains to be seen wheter not both players are likely to be retained for the upcoming season, but clearly , GM John Idzik and the front office staff have to ponder the drafting of a quarterback or acquiring a reliable free agent to fulfill their needs .

The NFL enters its final week of games, with a number of divisions having been decided . Yet,for all of their accomplishments, there still remains the preposterous diatribe served up within the NFC South all season long . With the Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) now holding a slender one-game lead over the New Orleans Saints (6-9 and Atlanta Falcons (6-9) , a great deal still remains on the line as they each head into the final week knowing that a defeat could end their hopes of winning the division and gaining a playoff berth . Atlanta made sure, they still remain in the hunt, with their total annihilation of the Saints in Sunday’s game, beating a demoralized New Orleans’ team 30-14 . Carolina for their part, kept up their side of the ongoing equation by making sure the Cleveland Browns’ woes continued as the team suffered their second successive defeat . Thankfully, for the Browns’ fans, Johnny Manziel was kept on the sidelines for the entire game,as his services were not needed , not even for mop-up duty .

While I thoroughly enjoyed the exploits of the Kansas City Royals during this MLB Postseason . The AL Central franchise became the rallying cry for the underdogs within the game of baseball, as they wore down team after team on their way to the World Series . Alas, for the Royals it wasn’t to be, as the San Francisco Giants and Madison Bumgarner had more in store for the underdogs than they could ever have imagined . The series’ statistics may well stated the Giants won their third World Series’ title in five years . with some ease (4-3) and in part they actually achieved that. Yet to my mind, the Royals were never in with a chance of winning game seven , simply because of their lack of postseason and veteran experience being part of their lineup !

During this off-season with the Winter Meetings in full swing , teams made their play a> to acquire the free agents sought, while also jettisoning players they believed superfluous to their needs. The Miami Marlins made the headlines for the right and wrong reasons, dependent upon your point of view , but their signing Giancarlo Stanton to his now ridiculous $325 million contract smacks of sheer lunacy and a great deal of narcissism and conceit on the part of the organization . Two years ago this very same ball-club had a burgeoning roster of high-paid stars who simply flamed out under the misguided managerial acumen of Ozzie Guillen . A last place finish in the NL East games out behind the the divisional winner and a further out of card berth sealed Guillen’s fate for the year, leading to his dismissal after a disastrous season where the team was uncompetitive and > in complete disarray on and off the field . In the aftermath of the disaster, GM Michael Hill summarily initiated the fire sale which led to the trading away of those highly paid players from 2012.

A great deal will be expected of Mike Redmond and his managerial staff this upcoming season, because of the high and renewed expectations of this team led by Giancarlo Stanton and their NL Rookie of the Year pitcher Jose Fernandez , who was also signed to a very lucrative deal by the Marlins.

For the greater part of my youth and into my teenage years, I was an avid and voracious boxing fan and aficionado . My two biggest idols from the sport are still remain Muhammad Ali , ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler with former light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins not far behind . All three fighters were great champions during their prime with each rewriting the history books with records likely to be surpassed. I now champion the world of MMA and as an actual martial arts’ practitioner (karate & tae-kwon-do) this sport I believe has far exceeded what has boxing has failed to do in the last decade and that is to draw fans in, rather than systematically pushing them away . The death of another peer of Ali’s , at the age of seventy-five Ernie Terrell died but his career was memorable for the bout in which a charismatic , flamboyant Ali taunted Terrell in a lopsided contest where Muhammad Ali showed his dominance and gave light to what he would go on to achieve in the future . .

Muhammad Ali faces Ernie Terrell for the WBA Heavyweight title at the Houston Astrodome on the 6th February , 1967.

In light of the recent news, that Ali has been admitted into hospital with what is alleged to be a slight bout of pneumonia and with the former champion’s health having deteriorated over the past two-and a half decades. It may well seem sordid, in surmising he could now be at death’s door , wherein, if Parkinson’s disease doesn’t take him from within our midst, this latest health setback, likely will. Ali remains to this day not only the biggest icon in the sport of boxing, but his name and face are the most universally recognized in the world of sports. Outside of Michael Jordan in the NBA and Pele’ in the world of soccer, I sincerely doubt that there has been a more revered icon in the world of professional sports on a global scale.

Boxing has now become a sport, lacking in a charisma , where the top fighters in the various weight categories, simply avoid each other while formulating their prowess and claims of being the ‘true champions’ of their weight divisions . Personally, for all of the hype surrounding a potentially lucrative fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, I will continue to maintain, it is a fight a number fans have become completely disinterested in ! Is there anyone willing at this juncture, to pay in excess of $55.00 for the “privilege” of seeing these two fighters, who have spent the past three years padding their stats with meaningless bouts , while earning exorbitant fight purses ? This has become the ” new norm” within the sport, along with the petulance of the fighters, promoters , connivance and continued corrupt practices of the various international governing bodies which preside over the boxing. Yet we wonder why the sport no longer truly resonates with fans and how it now lacks a broad-based appeal ?

Meanwhile, a viewed as a pugilistic upstart, continues to dominate the landscape and has become a multi billion-dollar industry under the main promotional flagship of UFC . MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) has now become the fastest growing sport in the world , with an increased audience participation , rising viewership and gate attendances for many of their biggest events staged around the globe. Idiots such as promoter Bob Arum and ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard continue to question the legitimacy of the sport , but have failed to recognize , while boxing has become pallid and stagnant, the growth of Mixed Martial Arts has been explosive. . In little over a decade, this combative style of fighting has caught the imagination of fans around the world and now has a growing legion of female fans, while holding on to its main demographic of males aged between eighteen to thirty-five . If you think fans of the the sport , is strictly confined to adults alone , then you would be wrong, as martial arts’ dojos are now beginning to incorporate MMA within their criteria , while still teaching their main forms of combat , such as karate, judo , taekwondo , Ju-jitsu , Krav-magav and other lethal forms of fighting.

Dana White rules the roost of the UFC, but he has now become more a totalitarian dictator, rather than a lead executive and arbiter of the sport. His apparent idiocy, in chastising many of the biggest names in the sport, who helped place it on the global map, shows not only White’s bombastic attitude, but also his naivete’ and complete stupidity. Can you imagine David Stern questioning the abilities of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson , Kobe Bryant or even LeBron James at the height of their careers ? Well, White has managed to do that with the MMA fighters, while becoming the antithesis of what is expected of a governing sports’ executive.

It may well be a great deal of schtick and panache’ on the part of Dana White, but before too long his idiocy will being to grate on the nerves of not only the fans but also the fighters themselves. The two biggest names in the sport at present are Cain Velazquez and Jon Jones , but with neither fighter having recently defended their respective titles, a small void has been created , yet to be filled by any other fighter, with the character or genuine appeal to strike a note with the masses. Ganted, the likes of Jose Aldo , Anthony Pettis and of late the sport’s only genuine female ‘star’ Ronda Rousey have a growing fan-base , but that might not be enough, unless there is a major title bout involving Jones, Velasquez or former champions Anderson Silva or Georges St Pierre. Rousey and St Pierre may well carved out side careers having appeared in a couple of Hollywood action movies, but their ” bread and butter ” remains the UFC for now .

Having been justifiably critical of the UFC and the lack transparency shown by the hierarchy concerning the drug testing of its fighters with repeatedly violations , most notably by Chael Sonnen , it will be interesting to see if Dana White is willing to welcome back the former UFC welterweight champion Georges St Pierre. Johny Hendricks’ first championship defense of the title , he won in an vacant title bout title as the successor to St Pierre, ended with his loss to Robbie Lawler. . All of the hype and actually nothing to back it up, simply indicated, Hendricks , was not all he was cracked to be .

With no major event on the schedule until January 3rd , 2015 , when Jon Jones defends his Light Heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier in a bout that will see the finality to what has already become contentious period between the two fighters , name calling asides , it’s time for both Jones and Cormier to sort their ” beef out”, rather than act like petulant children . I know the fight scene has to create an angle , with a ” hero” and a ” villain” , but when you are being asked to choose between two self-absorbed individuals, there isn’t much to actually throw your support behind. Your thoughts on that ?

===================================

===================================

Picture gallery.

This was my simple breakdown of some of the interesting events I witnessed during the sports’ year and granted, I failed to touch on the PGA , NASCAR the NHL and even the WSOP (World Series of Poker) . So by all means chime in with your thoughts on the event or events of this sporting year which piqued your interest.

o_O

Picture and slideshow gallery .

==========================================

(1) Dec 16, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra gestures against the Brooklyn Nets during the fourth quarter at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York . The Heat defeated the Nets 95-91 . Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports …

(2) Dec 16 , 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) reacts to losing the ball against the Brooklyn Nets during the first quarter at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports …

(3) Dec 16, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Johnson (7) holds his head as Miami Heat guard Norris Cole (30) and Miami Heat forward Luol Deng (9) high-five late in the fourth quarter at the Barclays Center. The Heat defeated the Nets 95-91. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ..

(4) Nov 11 , 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr (right) pats guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena . The Spurs defeated the Warriors 113-100 . Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports …

(5) Kentucky players from left, Devin Booker , Tyler Ulis , Trey Lyles, and Willie Cauley-Stein celebrate their 83-42 win over UCLA during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game , Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in Chicago. AP Photo Nam Y. Huh …

(6) Left , Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State . Both college quarterbacks are one of the primary reasons why their respective programs will be part of the inaugural college playoff format which will decide this season’s national champion at the FBS Level of College Football . Both players will likely declare their eligibility status at the end of the playoff season , seeking to enter the 2015 NFL Draft . Mariota and Winston are considered consensus first round draft picks . Yet , there is a common belief teams in need of a passer might well be weary in light of the recent issues of Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Johnny Manziel . AP Photo / David Parsons …

(7) Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers runs off the field after the 49ers lose 38-35 in overtime to the San Diego Chargers at Levi’s Stadium on December 20th, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images / Ezra Shaw …

(8) Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers shakes hands with free safety Eric Weddle(32) of the San Diego Chargers after the Chargers defeat the 49ers 38-35 in overtime at Levi’s Stadium on December 20, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images/ Ezra Shaw ….

(9) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks to his team in the huddle during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …

(10) New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan , left, and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, right, shake hands after an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Patriots won the game 17-16 . AP Photo/Julio Cortez

(11) Quarterback Geno Smith (7) of the New York Jets is tackled by defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (75) of the New England Patriots in the first quarter during a game at MetLife Stadium on December 21, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. AP Photo/ Julio Cortez …

(12) Miami Marlins’ manager Mike Redmond left and Giancarlo Stanton are seen here in the dugout at Marlins Ballpark in Miami , Florida during a home game on 2nd September , 2014 played against the New York Mets . Miami would go on lose the contest 8-6 . …

(13) In what is believed to be the last known public appearance by former world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali is seen here attending the funeral of boxer Joe Frazier in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , in November of 2014. Ali was recently admitted to a local hospital where he is said to be suffering from a mild respiratory problem and a bout of pneumonia . Ernie Terrell whom Ali beat during his illustrious career recently died at the age of seventy-five. AP Photo / Steve Woods … …

(14) Ernie Terrell gets advice from his advisor Joe Louis between rounds of the vacant 1965 WBA World Heavyweight Title fight versus Eddie Machen at the International Amphitheatre , Chicago, Illinois on the 5th March , 1965 ,. UPI Syndicate ….

(15) Anderson Silva (left) is seen here with UFC President Dana White prior to Silva’s defense of his world welterweight title against Chris Weidman . The challenger would score a surprising knockout of the champion and then follow up that victory with a successful defense against Silva in their rematch which ended with a TKO after the former champion suffered a broken leg in their bout at UFC168 . Courtesy of MMA Magazine . @ all rights reserved …

(16) From left to right , Georges St Pierre , Anderson Silva and Jon ‘Bones’ Jones . St Pierre relinquished his welterweight title, taking a prolonged leave of absence from the sport . The former champion has been critical of Dana White for his lack of consistency and a stringent drug testing policy. White in retaliation, was less than salutary to one of the sport’s biggest attractions and most successful fighters in MMA history . MMA Junkie … …

=========================================

🙂

Tophatal ……..

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

=========

NBA

NBA news and archived stories

NBA archived stories 2013

This month in NBA history

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA results 20th December

NBA schedule 21st December

🙂

NCAA Men’s Basketball

NCAA Men’s Basketball news

NCAA Men’s Basketball results 20th December

NCAA Men’s Basketball schedule 21st December

🙂

NFL and news

NFL week sixteen injuries

NFL standings (division)

NFL standings (conference)

NFL week sixteen schedule

NFL week seventeen

NFL Playoff Picture

This month in NFL history

🙂

MLB news

MLB transactions

o_O

Boxing news and MMA

Boxing schedule (recent bouts)

Current boxing rankings (also denotes champions and weight categories)

UFC Schedule

UFC champions and current rankings

If it is greatness you’re looking for you won’t find it here, as something rotten smells in Denmark and within the NCAA

If it is greatness you’re looking for you won’t find it here, as something rotten smells in Denmark and within the NCAA

I have long-held the contention that the NCAA and just about everything it represents has been a charade and a farce! Furthermore , the apathy of the fans of collegiate sports might be just as asinine as the institution itself , without going into greater detail than suggesting that this charade now underway about a legitimate way of deciding a national champion at the FBS Level for football can be done with the empaneling of publicly respected individuals. It would not be so bad were it not for the fact the panel members sought are in some respects no more versed in collegiate athletics than perhaps a truck driver would be knowledgeable enough in providing you with his thoughts on molecular biology or Sarah Palin’s thoughts on the US economy and the country’s foreign policy.

================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


=================================================

Slideshow .

NCAA President Mark Emmert was summoned to appear at a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC , where he was quizzed by members of the Senate Commerce Committee on the inner workings of the NCAA and the institution’s continued aversion to paying student athletes while in school.. One has to bear in mind, currently, Collegiate Athletics’ governing body is the main defendant in a class action lawsuit now underway in the US Federal Court , where a resulting loss could see the NCAA pay out tens of millions of dollars in damages for the use of the athletes’ likeness to market and sell college merchandize without their permission. This suit was brought by former UCLA and NBA player Ed O’Bannon , for what he says are purely for moral reasons and the fact collegiate athletics remains a complete sham without their being any clear transparency being shown by the NCAA and the major college conference and educational institutions in the way these monies are disbursed within collegiate athletics. I have read some of the most asinine claims and statements by conference commissioners and by fans, suggesting that the system itself is not broken , but the issues that continue to affect college sports, stems from the violations of the athletes themselves. Such a suggestion , is no more valid than making a claim, the NCAA can actually deal with their ongoing issues without any outside oversight. The NCAA failed the victims of the Penn State ‘ scandal ‘ miserably,without the university and the state’s governor Tom Corbett seeking to enact a cover-up, without the supporters of Joe Paterno trying to apportion blame elsewhere for Jerry Sandusky’s heinous actions and the lack foresight shown by the now deceased head football coach. The scandal, still permeates through the school’s campus and it can never be forgotten no matter how many changes are put into place by the Board of Trustees of Penn State.

Mark Emmert remains an enigma and a conundrum all rolled into one, having succeeded the late Myles Brand as the NCAA’s highest ranking official. During his tenure, Emmert has shown that his interpersonal and communicative skills leave a lot to be desired without having to delve into his past administrative history , which seems to be littered with a great deal of controversy and claims of incompetence , graft and corruption. Perhaps, those were the qualifications sought by the executive search firm hired by the NCAA as they sought a successor to Myles Brand ? There can be no other reason for the hire than Emmert’s past actions and therein lies one of the numerous reasons why this institutional body cannot be taken seriously.

Emmert’s appearance in front of the members of the Senate Commerce Committee proved to be embarrassing and equally distasteful with the fawning of the members fawned over not only the NCAA President but also several current and former college athletes who gave testimony to the convened members of the congressional panel. Senator Claire McCaskill in her questioning of Mark Emmert concerning the issue of on campus sexual assaults which has been on the increase over the past decade, of which over seventy-percent (70%) of all sexual campus crimes go unreported , a staggering figure when judged against the national average. Emmert would suggest the NCAA does take the sexual assaults seriously, especially where the majority of the victims are women. Victims of such crimes are always reluctant to come forward and report that they are victims of rapes or an assault because they are not likely to be believed or subjected to further degradation by either law enforcement or the educational institution itself.

The NCAA, an institution primarily presided over by men among its most senior ranks, simply has no idea how to deal with sexual crimes, much less Mark Emmert being able to provide the Senate Commerce Committee with a satisfactory explanation about how the institution now plans to discuss future incidents of campus sex crimes. It should be noted, current Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston still remains a person of interest in a sexual assault claim made by a female victim. The player’s legal representatives first suggested that the claims were false, only to then claim that the sex between the two , was consensual. Tallahassee Police Department came under severe criticism by State Attorney General Pam Bondi for the lackluster and lack of professionalism in the conducting of the original and later investigation for the Florida State player, who has since fallen afoul of the law for his theft of groceries from a well-known grocery store chain within the state of Florida. Winston’s public apology rings hollow, very much like the university’s failure in reprimanding the athlete for his actions.

Winston while remaining in school , can now look forward to a year in which he will look to heighten his value to Florida State, as well as looking to enhance his value as a future first round draft pick in the NFL Draft . Short term memory remains the norm within the NFL, no matter when there is said to be a lack of character among the prospective players looking to make their mark in the NFL. A cautionary tale can be provided with the fall from grace of New England Patriots’ tight-end Aaron Hernandez and his continued legal issues without delving into what were already clearly troubling signs during his collegiate career at the University of Florida . The excuses made by his former head coach, Urban Meyer and by the Patriots’ organization was simply another sign, where the NFL and another collegiate educational establishment simply did not care about a troubled individual with a litany of psychological problems.

The convening of a Congressional Committee and its empaneling can be about as insightful as watching paint dry or watching flies congregate around an elephant’s ass, as it begins to defecate. Which begs the question, why are these committee members there to begin with and how productive are they once in Congress? Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) , a fellow member of the Senate Commerce Committee, spent more time regaling the press , convened members and Mark Emmert about his collegiate career at Stanford as a wide receiver on the school’s football team, than asking any meaningful questions of Mark Emmert about the direction of the institution he presides over and the increase of sexual assaults on college campuses across the country. If that were not enough, Booker would go on to suggest that his college years were difficult, because he and teammates spent far too much time reading play books than studying. .Am I missing something here, but getting a free ride as a student athlete is nowhere as arduous as the congressman was trying suggest ?

Academic fraud on a college campus where a respected coach presides over a college program believed to be among the best in the nation ? Legends were built under Dean Smith , as he cemented a legacy and where fans got to see a young Michael Jordan excel at the collegiate level , garnering a national championship at North Carolina (Tar Heels)before embarking on his now legendary NBA career. Roy Williams, who took over from Smith’s successor Matt Doherty in 2003, was already a well-respected coach before coming to coach the Tar Heels’ program. Williams is now at the center of a scandal that is likely to blow the roof off the program in Chapel Hill as well as the Dean Smith Center where this storied program play their home games. Far be it for me to suggest, but Williams, his assistants and the school’s AD Bubba Cunningham will have a great deal of explaining to do if the allegations are proven to be true. Allegations leveled are of the head coach turning a blind eye to current and former players failing to meet academic requirements and their being widespread cheating, encouraged by members of the coaching staff, is unlikely to sit well with everyone , especially among the diehard Tar Heels’ fans.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & AP (Associated Press)


Dean Smith’s former players backing Roy Williams in wake of North Carolina’s academic scandal

By Pat Forde , Yahoo Sports

Dean Smith is alive but absent, his remarkable mind ravaged by the effects of dementia. While that has caused deep mourning among those who know and love the legendary former North Carolina basketball coach, there is one small sliver of relief regarding his current condition.

He is unaware of the ongoing integrity crisis that has engulfed the program he built into a national model.

“I’m tired of it,” said former Smith-era player Richard Vinroot. “I want it fixed. I want it to end.”

The NCAA recently announced it has re-opened its investigation of an academic scandal at Carolina. That figures to follow the tracks of the school’s ongoing (and latest) investigation of itself. Those investigations follow the drip-drip-drip of allegations of classroom shortcuts – and other embarrassing headlines – at a school that once proudly considered itself the ultimate intersection of competitive excellence and off-court class.

“It pains me greatly,” Vinroot said. “I have such high regard for Coach Smith. I revere him.”

Vinroot is a former mayor of Charlotte and one-time Republican nominee for governor of North Carolina. Smith, a staunch and outspoken Democrat, cited player loyalty over party loyalty when supporting Vinroot’s gubernatorial bid in 2000.

That was Dean Smith, to those who played under him: a mentor and ally for life, extending well past the player/coach relationship. David Chadwick, senior pastor of Forest Hill Church in Charlotte and another former Tar Heel under Smith, wrote a book, “The 12 Leadership Principles of Dean Smith.” The first principle he cited: “The Reciprocal Law of Loyalty.”

“He had an unyielding loyalty to us,” Chadwick said. “That’s why we had that fierce commitment to him, because he had that commitment to us.”

Smith cultivated something of a Camelot aura in Chapel Hill – it was Duke before Duke, and before Duke had the taint of Corey Maggette and Lance Thomas to deal with. The UNC players and coaches were all part of something special, and forever bonded in the making of it. Which is why this disorienting journey from Camelot to crucible has the Carolina old guard dismayed.

=======================================
Click on link to read in full.
========================================

Farcical and downright stupidity can now be the only reason why many the Tar Heels’ former players are jumping to the defense of Roy Williams and the allegations being made. A scandal of this size came into being or compromised the integrity of the program under Dean Smith, but in many respects one should be at all surprised at the claims or allegations now being leveled at Roy Williams. He is simply one of many coaches within collegiate sports, who have conflicted with violating NCAA rules. Accountability and oversight was never the highest priority within collegiate sports and it will continue to be that way even with the NCAA flexing their muscles , but therein lies idiocy of that premise, as Emmert seeks to punish some programs with impunity while excusing others. Let us not forget also, the continued incompetency shown by the investigative arm of the NCAA, where the Infractions’ Committee, who having misplaced evidence in their investigation of the University of Miami program chose to make up and then proceed to lie in how they obtained the very same evidence.

University of Miami President Donna Shalala has requested an appeal of the decision of the NCAA’s probation and other sanctions placed on the Canes’ program , for which she has yet to receive a response from Mark Emmert or from a high-ranking subordinate within the NCAA. Collegiate Athletics’ governing body should have their antitrust and tax exempt status removed by the Congress, but with the lobbying power of the institution and the money spent to curry favor with the members of the House and Senate , the ongoing hypocrisy is likely to continue, while congress members play at the role of being tough legislators. In reality, they are nothing more than money hungry members, simply looking to prolong their stays within both Federal legislative chambers

Judge Claudia Wilken will preside over the case where Ed O’Bannon is the lead plaintiff in a multi-jurisdictional proceeding . While the NCAA will fight the case as a defendant with the legal power at their disposal, I cannot help wonder, if Mark Emmert’s own efforts forestall the obvious, is simply another way of appeasing conference commissioners such as John Swofford, Larry Scott , Mike Slive and many of their peers. They are seeking to ward off this case, while trying to keep the monies pouring into their treasure chests . Billions of dollars are at stake and the chances are even with a loss , the litigation process would be prolonged with an appeal being lodged in the Federal Appellate Court . A loss for the plaintiffs and this all can be put to rest , with the stain and stench of the NCAA still within our midst.

======================================


======================================

Picture gallery.

Are you of the opinion the NCAA represents the best interests of the college athlete? Alternatively, do you feel the institution to be outmoded, with far too much beyond its scope concerning collegiate athletics? Leave comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

🙂

Picture and slideshow details .

=================================================

(1) Jameis Winston of Florida State is seen here with team head coach Jimbo Fisher as the pair celebrate becoming BCS National champions in 2013 . The Seminoles had a tremendous season outplaying their opponents and performing to the highest of standards ending the year ranked number one in the polls . AP Photo/ Matt Mason ..

(2) NCAA President Mark Emmert is seen here addressing members of the Senate Commerce Committee up on Capitol Hill , in Washington , DC . Emmert faced some tough questions from certain members of the committee , but in large part there was a great deal of posturing by the NCAA President and his inquisitors . Getty Images / Mark Hurst …

(3) Sen. Claire McCaskill , D-Mo., asks a question of former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama’s choice for defense secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination. McCaskill relished the opportunity to quiz Hagel on the issue of Israel’s right to defend itself and brought similar determination in her quizzing of Mark Emmert as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee. AP Photo/Susan Walsh

(4) Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee members (L-R) Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) , Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) listen to testimony during a hearing about the future of unmanned aviation in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony about the Federal Aviation Administration’s policy on unmanned aviation systems and about the privacy and freedom issues surrounding their use. Getty Images North America / Chip Smodevilla

(5) Roy Williams head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels is now under siege with claims current and former players receiving monetary and unspecified gifts , as well as their being academic fraud within the basketball program , with certain members of Williams’ coaching being fully aware of the violations being perpetrated. Former Tar Heels’ player Rashad McCants has made a number of clams concerning the allegations without suggesting that he was in fact part of activities taking place . UPI / Chris Hendricks …
=================================================

🙂

tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

For more continent within this site, click on the link provided .

——————–

NCAA

Latest news from within the NCAA

A recap of sorts

Well, the NCAA Tournament has to come a close , with the vestiges to that competition reaching a finality . Two storied programs were there the combatants in the Finals , were John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats facing the University of Connecticut (Huskies) coached by second-year coach, Kevin Ollie , a former mainstay within the NBA . With U Conn prevailing in a six-point triumph , Ollie joins a select group of coaches to have won a national title within their first three years of coaching a program . For Shabazz Napier and the leadership shown in leading his teammates to this triumph, is likely to open doors , not previously thought about in great depth , with several general managers around the NBA , likely to be showing an interest in a player , who should he declare for the upcoming NBA Draft , is likely to be taken quite high in the first round .

===================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===================================================

Slideshow .

I am sure that the administration within Storrs, Connecticut, are truly overwhelmed at this triumph and the Huskies’ second title in the past four years , with the program’s last triumph in the Men’s NCAA Tournament coming in 2011 , when Jim Calhoun and that team triumphed over Brad Stevens and Butler . As we know, the Huskies women’s program , coached by Geno Auriemma , has been triumphant several times , with six national titles during his reign, as the coach of the now famed women’s program. Auriemma is back again as a finalist in this year’s tournament where the opponent will be a heated rival , with Notre Dame (Fighting Irish) staring across at their adjoining number one tournament seeds. That game , will be played tonight at the Bridgestone Arena , in Nashville, Tennessee,.

A week into the MLB season and there is not really a great deal to report , beyond the fact , there appears to be more money now seated ? on the disabled list , than would actually make up the payroll of the league’s lowest paid team , in this case , that privilege belongs to the Houston Astros with an estimated payroll of $44.5 million . Yet, somehow , it was the intent of Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow to field a competitive team this year , while trying to avoid a fourth consecutive season of one hundred losses or more ? I guess , Astros’ manager Bo Porter and his managerial staff were fed another boatload of “ bull” , by the executives entering the season , about the ball-club’s ambitions for the year.

With a record of 3-4 , the Astros are competing in what is likely to be a competitive AL West division this season , where the main competitors for the divisional title are likely to be the defending champions the Oakland Athletics , who in turn , are likely to be challenged by the Texas Rangers , Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners . For Robinson Cano and his hefty $240 million contract , signed in the off-season, having left the New York Yankees , for what he believes to be greener pastures. This season , is likely to prove to be a tough one for the former Yankees’ infielder, as he seeks to prove that contract. Coming off a 6-3 loss to the Oakland A’s , Seattle will in their next game face the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington , where James Paxton will take to the mound for the Mariners to face off against Hector Santiago , in what should prove to be a very competitive pitching match-up , between the two starting pitchers .

As beleaguered as the issues are for the Houston Astros are now , I am not so sure, that the team will simply be good enough to avoid another one hundred loss season for a fourth consecutive time. Bo Porter’s staff simply does not have the acumen , and there is not a player on the staff ready, to assume any type of role of leadership or be presumed to be, looked upon as a leader. Tuesday’s scheduled meeting against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Center ,in Toronto, Ontario, where Brett Oberholtzer will pit wits with his opponent for the Blue Jays’ Mark Buerhle .

It is beginning to look as if Mark Teixeira’s career will become known for being injury prone , rather than for anything achieved on the field of play , since he was acquired by the New York Yankees to bolster the team’s roster and add to what was believed to be an already explosive lineup by way of the team’s offense. In his first season with the team in 2009, Teixeira proved to be as productive and well worth the contract , as it appeared to be at the time. The player we are told, will resume light exercise with a view to returning to the team and perhaps playing in his first regular season game by mid-April, but in all likelihood , I believe that Joe Girardi and the staff will not have their first baseman return too soon , until they believe that he is fully fit .

The Yankees’ 4-2 victory, over the Baltimore Orioles , places them atop of the AL East with a one game lead over the second placed Tampa Bay Rays (4-4) . How the season, now plays out for the New York Yankees will undoubtedly be predicated upon the play of mainstays, such as Teixeira , Derek Jeter , Ichiro Suzuki , Brian McCann , Kelly Johnson, CC Sabathia , Hiroki Kuroda , Carlos Beltran , Alfonso Soriano , Masahiro Tanaka and Jacoby Ellsbury . The team will once again , play host to the Orioles today, when they meet at Yankees Stadium , in New York City, New York on Tuesday afternoon , where the opposing pitchers will be Wei Yin Chen and Ivan Nova .

On this date in MLB history , one of the great achievements within the game of baseball was attained , when Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hit , what was his seven-hundred and fifteenth home run (715) to move ahead of Babe Ruth in the all-time career home runs’ list. Granted, that record has since been surpassed by Barry Bonds , whose legitimacy about that mark , still comes into question, but not by the MLB hierarchy or that of the Elias Stats’ Bureau . While, there has never been a positive drug test on record to somehow negate Bonds’ achievement of the career home runs’ record or that of the single season mark for home runs. The persistent questions still lingers, about Bonds’ claims, that he never intentionally or knowingly, took what he believed to be a banned substance. In the court of “public opinion” , the now retired player’s claims, are not believed and the legal system has deemed Barry Bonds to be untruthful and indeed deceitful, with his denials and the statement offered at his perjury trial .

For Hank Aaron and the opposing pitcher on the day , when the record was broken , Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the event have been posthumously recorded . However, in the run-up and the aftermath, of Aaron , having broken the record, baseball historians have tended to gloss over the fact, the Hall of Fame inductee came under death threats , racial threats , along with the lives of the immediate members of his family being threatened by bigoted racists . Poignant, when you consider the claims being made at the time that , the nation had indeed progressed , that the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jr , the integration of baseball and it being woven into the fabric of society , had indeed made the world a better place. Four decades later, those claims do not hold true , even with the nation’s first African-American President Barack Obama midway through his second Presidential term and the deaths of James Byrd Jr and Alfred Wright are seen as mere footnotes and the apathy of idiots are still within our midst , about the claims of racial bigotry has in fact ended .

We are now less than a week away from the culmination of the NBA regular season and several of the divisional races have been all but decided. In the Eastern Conference, only the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat , are the two teams apiece, to have garnered more than fifty wins. Counterparts within the West, where the San Antonio Spurs , Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers , are three of five teams to have accumulated more than fifty wins each . Somehow, one gets the feeling that in the East, theirs is a conference, where competitive basketball, which is claimed to being played, is simply an acronym for complete mediocrity .

For the New York Knicks , the past seventy two hours has seen the team play themselves into contention for a playoff berth, to once again showing the trait, that has been on display , all season long and that simple inconsistency . Their fans and the print media within the local market , may well decry the fact, the team, is now likely to miss the postseason , altogether. Yet, what else can you say, when there really has been absolutely no one willing to step up to the plate? As to this utter idiocy, that Carmelo Anthony ought to be given a worthy mention as a legitimate MVP candidate , has to be viewed with the utter contempt that the claims deserve. Anthony, has been playing on a team , that at no point during the regular season, have they led their division , nor have they strung together double-digit wins in terms of a consecutive wins’ stretch.

.

An eleven point loss to the Miami Heat , may well have placed the “nail in the coffin” of Mike Woodson’s players and any last vestiges of hope, that they might well have had, in gaining a playoff berth. The team’s only hopes, now rest with the Atlanta Hawks simply imploding, with six games remaining on the Hawks’ schedule.

The seismic shock waves from the Superbowl and the lopsided loss suffered by the Denver Broncos , must be seen as something of a precursor, about what we have witnessed by way of the waiving of players and the contracts lengths now being offered new contracts by their new teams . It’s pretty much safe to say, with a number of franchises, seeking to make themselves “cap-friendly” , the luring of marquee free agents , while preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft , has been the one thing , that the front office executives have been using a great deal of due diligence in some of that preparation.

Veteran quarterback , Michael Vick has now found himself a new home , having signed with the New York Jets , where he is likely to be the backup to incumbent starter, Geno Smith , whose propensity throw interceptions during a game , are as frequent, as the guests at a wedding, throwing rice to celebrate the nuptials of a just-married couple. I am not suggesting that Smith is a terrible quarterback, but he has shown no inclination to improve his game and the coaching staff of the Jets, have done little to aid the player during his rookie season. The team’s problems during the season and the fact, they were simply of no relevance within the AFC East , simply summed up the Jets’ year and the fact , they performed so poorly.

It will be interesting to see how the New York Jets do during the off-season in the build-up to the NFL Draft, as GM John Idzik , seeks to rebuild and revamp the roster, while also seeing the type of influence, that Michael Vick will provide for Geno Smith.

The waiving of running back Chris Johnson , is likely to come back and haunt the Tennessee Titans , at some point , during their future . Yet, I am not entirely surprised by the move , considering the ongoing stupidity that we have witnessed from team owner , Bud Adams , down the years. Cap issues or not , the explanation now being offered by the front office , makes about as much sense , as Sarah Palin offering up her assessment as to the country’s foreign policy or what her alternatives might be to Barack Obama’s healthcare initiative and the program that has now taken effect. Johnson , at the time of his release, was one of the franchise’s most productive offensive players, and all, but a mere handful of running backs in the NFL, have more rushing yards in the league, over the past five seasons .

With a slew of teams, now said to be interested, in Chris Johnson , many of them in need of a productive running back, to aid a franchise with a woefully inept rushing offense . Rex Ryan is said to be keenly interested in acquiring the free agent running back , but the asking price , might well be too high for the New York Jets to meet at this juncture .

Johnson and his agent, Joel Segal are likely to look for an offer, that best meets the need of the player, while giving him the chance to play for a legitimate Superbowl contender. As to where that offer is now likely to come from, will be open to a great deal of conjecture and speculation over the next few days. With the NFL Draft, just over a month away , one seriously doubts that Segal would still like to have his client unsigned, with their being some depth to the ” draft class” of running backs said to be part of this group of rushers , as well as the other unsigned free agent running backs , who might come at a less steeper price, than his own client, Chris Johnson.

“Bang the drums more loudly” , as the consensus seems to be, that the South Carolina Gamecocks’, Jadeveon Clowney , is still being viewed as the number one pick for the NFL Draft. Now, whether or not, the Houston Texans and their front office led by GM Rick Smith decide to go this route, in making Clowney that number one overall pick , will be clearly dependent upon the assessment of the player made by head coach Bill O’Brien and his staff . The Texans’ needs, as a team overall, are great and the simple thought, that the defensive player is an answer to all of their needs , is merely ludicrous and not warranting an answer, that is simple. Defensively , the secondary was a mess, throughout last season , and that fourteen-game losing streak was a clear indicator as to several of the reasons why, beyond the poor play of the often injured Matt Schaub and an offense, that has been nowhere near as explosive, as in seasons past . Yet, for all the talk of Clowney’s impact as a defensive player , one cannot help but ask, is Bill O’Brien actually willing to pass up on an array of quarterbacks in this upcoming class , that many feel might be as good and is being compared to in some circles , as good as the 2012 NFL quarterback class , that saw Andrew Luck , be taken as the number one overall pick , a grouping that I might add, that also included Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles , Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins .

Quarterbacks, may well come and go , but can a team that certainly in need of one afford to pass on the likes of Blake Bortles , Johnny Manziel , Teddy Bridgewater , Zach Mettenberger , Bryce Petty , Tajh Boyd , A J McCarron and Tom Savage ?

====================================================

====================================================

Picture gallery .

One way or another , Jadeveon Clowney’s fate, might not rest in the Houston Texans’ hands, but actually the perception that he created, that has been perpetuated and bought into by the press , pundits and fans, alike . I believe, he is likely to be drafted in the first round, as one of the top ten picks, taken on the day. Anything short of that , will clearly be viewed as something of a major disappointment for a player , looking to be handsomely rewarded for his collegiate exploits .

🙂

Picture and slideshow details below .

=================================================================

(1) Kevin Ollie , head coach of the U Conn Huksies’ Men’s Basketball team is seen here cutting down the nets after his player’s triumph over Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament . Ollie in his second year as the head coach, simply had his players playing at a high level throughout the tournament , with them upping the tempo in the championship game , itself against the Wildcats . AP Photo Keith Mannix …..

(2) Shabazz Napier (13) walks the length of the court being cheered on by Huskies’ fans after the team’s 60-54 victory over John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats in the finals of the NCAA Tournament . It is widely believed that Napier is likely to declare his eligibility and enter the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft . AP Photo / Keith Mannix ….

(3) Mark Teixiera of the New York Yankees , for whom much of the 2013 season was a loss, is once again back on the team’s DL , uncertain of when his season is likely to begin in 2014. As one of the highest paid players on the roster , as well as having one of the most lucrative contracts among all of the ball-club’s players , Teixeira is afforded a luxury not often shared by a player of his stature . Getty Images / Tim Walsh ….

(4) Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his historic 715th home run which would surpass the all-time career home runs’ record (714) at the time held by Babe Ruth . Aaron hit that record-breaking home run on the 8th April , 1974 at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, in a game between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers . The pitcher on the day, who gave up the home run was the Dodgers’ Al Downing . AP / REUTERS Inc/ Pathe ….

(5) Veteran quarterback Michael Vick who was acquired by the New York Jets and signed to a one-year deal by the franchise to be the backup to incumbent starter , Geno Smith , a first-round quarterback draft pick in 2013 NFL Draft by the Jets . In his rookie season , Smith’s continued struggles were ever-present throughout the season , with their being little real evidence that his game was progressing, in spite working diligently with quarterbacks’ coach , David Lee . It remains to be seen what type guidance and influence Vick will provide for Geno Smith , as he enters his sophomore season in 2014 . If Smith shows signs of regression , then in all likelihood the veteran will be called upon the replace his young charge . AP Photo / Rod Fletcher ….

(6) Free agent running back Chris Johnson who was waived by the Tennessee Titans for cap reasons . The player who was among the franchise’s leading rushers in their history , is now said to be one of the most desired free agents now on the market . It remain to be seen where Johnson’s final destination , is likely to be. AP Photo / Phil Prentice ……

(7) Robert ‘Bob’ McNair , (left) owner of the Houston Texans , is seen here with the team’s general manager Rick Smith. The general manager , scouting department of the franchise and head coach will have a tough decision to make, whether or not, to take Jadeveon Clowney, as the number on overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft or as is being forecast by many , the organization is likely to go with a quarterback , with instate hero Johnny Manziel said to be atop of Smith’s wish-list, along with Blake Bortles , Teddy Bridgewater and the fast rising stock of Tom Savage. The Texans have never made a quarterback their top pick , over the course of the franchise’s history. Getty Images / Austin Morris ….

(8) Jadeveon Clowney of the South Carolina Gamecocks and Texas A &M’s Johnny Manziel , right . Both players , high achievers , have the wish to be taken as the number one overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. With the Houston Texans’ afforded the first pick , it remains to be seen whether or not the AFC South based franchise takes either player as that privileged first choice .

=============================================================

🙂

tophatal …………………

Follow Tophatal’s Blog on Faecbook.com

🙂

NCAA Men’s Basketball and the Women’s NCAA Basketball

—–

MLB news and MLB disabled list

MLB schedule

MLB results 7th April

MLB probable pitchers

MLB standings

MLB league standings overall

MLB transactions

This month in MLB history

This day in MLB history

🙂

NBA news

NBA standings by division and by conference

NBA schedule

NBA results 7th April

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

——-

NFL news

NFL team transactions

NFL

NFL transactions

This date in NFL history

NFL Draft

2014 NFL Draft Order

—————————————————————

Simply soaking up the sun while making an imprint in the sand .

 

It’s that time of the year again , and things are said be right with the world ….

It’s that time of the year again , and things are said be right with the world ….

It’s that time of the year again, where sports reaches a fever pitch , as several things are about to transpire. The NCAA Tournament for Men’s and Women’s Basketball , will begin to determine a Collegiate Champion. With billionaire businessman Warren Buffett offering a $1 billion prize to anyone predicting the champion , as well as the correct breakdown of the sixty-four team bracket field, it adds a great deal more of an incentive for some of the most ardent fans of the game.

=========================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

============================================================

Slideshow .

With Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators being ranked number one in the nation in the polls , the team has also garnered a number one seeding in the NCAA Tournament , whereby they will be in the Southern Region . The team will not kick off their tournament schedule, until, the 20th March , when they will face the winner of the game between Albany and Mount St Mary’s , a contest due to be played on Tuesday , 18th March . The tournament itself , might just be one of the most open in recent years , with a number of programs thought to be in with a serious chance of being this season’s national champion. I have long been an admirer of Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke (Blue Devils) , but their path to the Sweet Sixteen as a number three seed in the Midwest Region , will not be an easy one to traverse. Yet, if the team can exhibit much of the form they have shown throughout the season up to this point, then there is no reason to believe why the Blue Devils cannot mount a serious challenge as Krzyzewski seeks to win his fifth national title.

I may well be wrong in my assumption, but I believe Billy Donovan to be the most under-appreciated coaches in all of college sports, when it comes to a coach who has won multiple national titles in their specific arena . Back to back titles in 2006 and 2007 , cemented Donovan’s legacy with the Gators’ program and placed in my mind , in the upper echelons of Men’s Collegiate Basketball coaches ! ! Donovan’s players, were simply good enough this season , to “sweep through ” the SEC (Southeastern Conference) , going an astonishing 18-0 in conference play and rounding out their record , with a 32-2 finish overall .

Duke will begin their sojourn in the NCAA Tournament, with a first round game against Mercer , on Friday, 21st March , where there will be a slew of games scheduled to be played on the day. For players, such as Jabari Parker , Rodney Hood , Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon , this will provide them the opportunity to display their skills beyond a national audience , as there will be a slew of NBA coaches and front office executives observing not only these players but also the entire talent that will be on display throughout this tournament , with the likelihood , with one of those athletes thought to be good enough not only to be the number one draft pick in the upcoming NBA Draft , but someone around whom, a franchise can be built around . Last season’s top pick , Anthony Bennett of the Cleveland Cavaliers , seems to be struggling to come into his own , having not been able to show the collegiate form which the front office believed could resurrect their fortunes .

From my own standpoint, the NBA in terms of its NBA Draft, might just be the “biggest hit or miss” in terms of assessing talent, next to the idiocy presided over and deemed as the MLB Draft ! A number one pick made there , is unlikely to see any Big League playing time through the first two years of their professional playing career, unless their skills are already highly polished , but yet such players are afforded record signing bonuses , before having stepped onto a baseball field or donning that team’s uniform . Yet it would be remiss to suggest that MLB is the only such area , where this is something that has become a practice , because we have witnessed this also within the NBA and the NFL , in spite of their now being rookie contracts , offered to first round players on a sliding scale , as determined by one’s position of being picked in that first round.

The NBA season itself, has become all the more heightened, as teams now face the final stretch of the regular season, with their not being more than seventeen games left on the schedule, for playoff aspirants to play themselves into contention . Meanwhile , the New York Knicks have made perhaps their biggest acquisition in the past five years, when they made it public, that Phil Jackson would be returning to the franchise where he made a name for himself has a player , winning an NBA title as a member of the 1973 championship winning team . Jackson returns in the capacity of Head of Basketball Operations , overseeing the Player Personnel decisions for the franchise, in which GM Steve Mills will be directly answerable to Jackson, in the franchise’s hierarchical structure . The move itself has to be seen as the last act of a truly desperate franchise that over the past five seasons , has lost its way , edge of competitiveness and simply became a “laughing stock” around the NBA .

The hire of Phil Jackson might not now be enough to deter the departure of the New York Knicks’ best player, Carmelo Anthony , who since being acquired by the franchise as a free agent from the Denver Nuggets , has been perhaps the sole reason to watch the team during that time-span . A prevailing thought in some circles , was that a bold move had to be made by the franchise , as they sought to gain some semblance of respectability. A prevailing thought in some circles , was that a bold move had to be made by the franchise , as they sought to gain some semblance of respectability. What now happens, concerning Anthony’s future with the New York Knicks , will be predicated upon by the overtures made by Phil Jackson and his intent as he seeks to improve the team.

Coming off a 115-94 over the Milwaukee Bucks the team will then play host to the Eastern Conference’s best team in the Indiana Pacers . How the New York Knicks now acquit themselves between now and the end of the season , will allow Jackson a chance to gauge the players on the roster , and which he believes are superfluous to the Knicks’ needs.

In having lost twenty-one consecutive games , I don’t believe that you can be any more critical of a team than need be! The Philadelphia 76ers have been able to do that, without having broken sweat, in terms of the team’s continued .. ineptitude . Team owner, Joshua Harris and GM Stan Hinkie have presided over this mess without having offered the fans an explanation for the Sixers’ malaise. . A 90-99 loss to the Indiana Pacers at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana , Indianapolis , pushed the Sixers’ streak to its current mark, one which is likely to be increased, when the team hosts the Chicago Bulls , at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania , on Wednesday evening.

The Sixers’ Brett Brown , in his rookie season as a head coach , has been placed in an impossible position, where he and his coaching staff are being asked to coach and mold a team, that will continue to struggle over the remainder of the season. . Jason Richardson and Thaddeus Young are the most experienced players on the roster , with twelve and six years’ experience apiece, with the bulk of the players on the team , with no more than four years of NBA tenure. Leadership experience if any , is sorely missed and simply a bye product of an organization where there seems to have been no actual goals or priorities set , other than perhaps the level of mediocrity that might well have been possibly sought.

In the aftermath of what appears to be a seismic meltdown within the NFL , with several players being jettisoned by their respective teams as cap salary casualties . The question now becomes , how will those franchises now seek to make up for those losses, be it by way of the NFL Draft or themselves acquiring a free agent of their own choosing ? Merely speculating, as to how much better a team is likely to become , can only been seen as that and nothing else.

One of the more interesting stories to have come out of this off-season , seen as a precursor and lead-up to the NFL Draft , are teams seeking to position themselves in terms of the salary cap, simply making what on the face of it are decisions that make so obvious sense . To my astonishment , I found out that with the Chicago Bears having rid themselves of Julius Peppers one of the NFL’s leading defensive lineman . In the ensuing moves , they sought to make the team’s quarterback Jay Cutler the highest paid player in the NFL , in terms of the value of his contract , the contract’s length , also by way of a base and average salary , never mind the fact that he also becomes the highest paid player on the Bears’ roster . I can only surmise that Bears’ GM Phil Emery , under the advisement of team Chairman George McCaskey , who happens to be the son-in-law of the franchise’s late founder George Halas , believes Cutler, capable of leading the team to Superbowl. A six-year $126.7 million deal is preposterous for a player whose, playoff record and performances can be best described as mediocre.

How Cutler’s contract might be viewed around the NFL and amongst fans in general , can be best summed up with one of a number of two scenarios. The player is worth it, or Phil Emery and George McCaskey have lost complete touch with their senses or that they felt, that in placing their faith in player by offering him such a long-term contract , it best serves the long-term goals of the Bears as a franchise.

The Bears’ loss of Peppers, will be the Green Bay Packers’ gain , as the player’s arrival , immediately makes the Packers’ secondary a little more formidable and can only add to the likely productivity of that team , defensively. This all could come back to haunt the Bears , who meet their divisional rivals within the NFC North , twice over the course their divisional schedule and in what is said to be one of the most celebrated rivalries in NFL history. With the loss of Jared Allen , as the Minnesota Vikings sought to allow the defensive player to hit the free agency market , it now looks as if the franchise will to get into a rebuilding mode and transition . Beyond Allen’s departure, came the firing also of beleaguered head coach Leslie Frazier , who has subsequently been replaced by Mike Zimmer . The incumbent is likely to bring in, his own group of coaching assistants , as well as seeking to gauge the playing roster as it now stands. Vikings’ quarterback Christian Ponder’s tenure has not exactly been an encouraging one , with the player simply not being effective , often struggling to play consistently at a high level , while seeking to lead the team to victory .

Jared Allen is likely to sign with a team in due course , but the issue , will be about his contractual worth , given his time in the NFL , though still productive and seen as of one of the league’s top pass-rushers and defensive ends . There are said to be at least six teams interested in Allen’s services , but as of yet, no concrete offers have been made , but in all likelihood this has more to do with the player and his agent , Ken Harris weighing up offers and the one they perhaps feel , best serves Jared Allen and his long-term future .

Minnesota Vikings’ owner , Zygi Wilf may well be secure in the knowledge that the franchise will have a new state of the art venue for the Vikings to play in, as of the 2016 NFL regular season , with the stadium being built with a mixture of private and public financing . However, the window of opportunity for the franchise to win a Superbowl with current running back Adrian Peterson in tow , does appear to disappearing rather quickly. Peterson was the subject of a great deal of speculation , when it was said, that there was a great deal of uncertainty within the front office as to whether or not the player would be cut by the franchise, or retained. Now in the fourth year of a seven-year $96 million contract that was signed in 2012, Adrian Peterson is not due to become a free agent until 2018 , at which time his tenure in the NFL, he will be entering his twelfth year in the league. At which time, it is expected that the player may well have surpassed the league’s all-time career rushing yards’ mark of 8,355 held by Hall of Fame rusher Emmitt Smith . Only Stephen Jackson with 10678 yards leads Peterson amongst active running backs, in terms of career rushing yards.

The Minnesota Vikings’ last postseason appearance came in 2012 , as a wildcard entrant , where they fell short of their goals in succumbing to a lopsided 24-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers . It will be interesting to see what Mike Zimmer and Vikings’ GM Rick Spielman will seek to do in the build-up to the NFL Draft and with regard to the team’s needs also, by way of free agent acquisitions .

There has to a rhyme and a reason behind baseball’s madness and the MLB season , .which unofficially opens on the 22nd March , 2014, with two NL games , as part of a two-game series in Australia, when the Arizona Diamondbacks designated as the home team will entertain last season’s NL West divisional winner and losing NLCS combatant, the Los Angeles Dodgers . While, I have no bone of contention with regard to the league hierarchy seeking to have the game exposed to a greater global audience ! It does seem somewhat remiss, when you consider baseball’s growth domestically is on the decline, within the inner cities , particular amongst the major inner city suburbs. An even greater telling sign , has been the lack of participation in the game of young African-American youths and in some respects, among young male Caucasians. There remains a great deal of interest in the game at the Little League Level , with the Little League World Series drawing high ratings for the showcase domestically, as well as in the foreign markets where the event is televised .

Baseball has painted its image on a myth , that has not really changed , other than that of, how historians have seen to denote the game . In recent weeks we have seen the idiocy behind the claims of ESPN reporter Buster Olney seeking to suggest that because of a statement made by the granddaughter of Hall of Fame great Babe Ruth , that it was his intent to see the game of baseball fully integrated during his time as a player . Olney attributes this all because of Ruth’s apparent friendship with entertainer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson , who was an entertainer at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club. Now unless I am mistaken the era was still filled with a great deal of racism and it was something of a rarity to have an African-American in an all-white establishment , let alone Ruth’s on-field antics at a time when baseball had yet to be fully integrated, but yet we have a clown , such as Olney, trying to suggest that a renowned racial bigot, was in fact someone , who also had a close relationship with a Negro and that in-fact made him more decent and humane . Perhaps, if Buster Olney spent less time trying to wax on lyrically and actually deal in the facts , the game itself , would be better represented , in terms of its history, rather than it being filled with a number of falsehoods.

With the Boston Red Sox having won its eighth World Series title and third , in the past seven seasons . It has to be said, that there now seems to new-found level of confidence within the organization . Granted, the team saw a number of changes to their championship winning roster , with the departure of Jacoby Ellsbury , having joined the New York Yankees having not been able to obtain a renewed contract with his former team , Ellsbury becomes one of a select group of players that will have played for both of the game’s most fabled ball-clubs in the Red Sox and the Yankees .

For the New York Yankees this will be a season, in which we will be able to see whether or not, this team can rebound from much of the adversity that they faced last year . Off the field issues asides , with the Alex Rodriguez saga now put to rest , the team’s inability to stay healthy , along with a lack of productivity, in terms of their pitching and hitting , added to the complexity and woes of the ball-club , beyond Joe Girardi’s inability to get the Yankees’ players to play with any consistency for much of 2013.

New York will begin its regular season schedule on the 1st April against a the Houston Astros , with a three-game set at Minute Maid Park , in Houston Texas , against a ball-club that will be undoubtedly be looking to avert losing one hundred games for a third consecutive season , having achieved that feat in 2012 and 2013 , respectively. The New York Yankees’ fans will have the privilege of seeing the newly revamped team , in their first home series, when they face the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankees’ Stadium , beginning the 4th April March , in a three-game weekend series .

As the season unfolds, it will be interesting to see what transpires in comparison to the first month last season’s schedule and events that unfolded , leading to, in many respects, what was one of the most eventful years in recent baseball history.

=======================================================

By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in a larger formatted size.

========================================================

Picture gallery .

In light of the points raised within this article, what are your hopes with regard to the coming weeks, within the world sports ? Simply, leave a comment, as you see fit .

Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

——————————————————————————

(1) Billionaire , Warren Buffett , Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway , who has offered a $1 billion prize money to anyone successfully picking out the “prefect bracket” in this season’s Men’s NCAA Tournament , as well as , picking the outright winner as in the determining of a national champion . Pictured here with Buffett is Chris ‘Handles’ Franklin , a member of the Harlem Globetrotters . AP Photo/ NY Daily News / Nati Harnik …..

(2) Scottie Wilbekin of the Florida Gators’ Basketball team celebrates with teammates after the team’s 61-60 victory over the Kentucky (Wildcats) . Billy Donovan’s Gators are the number one ranked team in the nation , also seeded #1 in their regional grouping for the NCAA Tournament , where the program is highly favored to become this season’s national champion . AP Photo Everett Miles …………….

(3) Head coach Billy Donovan talks to Scottie Wilbekin (5) of the Florida Gators in the second half against the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at The Frank Erwin Center on March 24 , 2013 in Austin, Texas. Getty Images North America / Stephen Dunn …..

(4) Duke’s Jabari Parker is seen here speaking with head coach Mike Krzyzewski during a one-on-one film session . The program is seeking to make a successful and deep run in the NCAA Tournament as Krzyzewksi seeks to win his fifth NCAA title as a head coach . Andrew Sherman / UPI ….

(5) New York Knicks’ team owner , James Dolan & Chairman of Madison Square Garden Entertainment Company Inc (MSE) , parent company of the NBA franchise, is seen here with Phil Jackson , who recently accepted the offer to become the Head of Basketball Operations and a SVP within the front office of the Knicks. Jackson will be in charge of all personnel decisions involving the team and the move is seen as a way of encouraging Carmelo Anthony to remain with the franchise , rather than opting out of his existing contract to test the “free agency market” . AP Photo / Anton Cutler ….

(6) Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears is seen here on the sidelines of Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The quarterback has signed a six-year $126.7 million contract that now makes him the highest paid quarterback and player in the NFL in terms of contract value and annual salary . All of this in spite of a somewhat anemic postseason career in the NFL since his entry into NFL , having been drafted by the Denver Broncos during the 2006 NFL Draft . AP Photo / Jason Marshall …….

(7) Jared Allen a Pro Bowl player with the Minnesota Vikings, having now being discarded by the franchise and having been their all-time sacks’ leader is now looking for a new team as a defensive end . Allen is looking for a long-term contract that is likely to reward him handsomely . Chris Ward / Getty Images ….

(8) World Series’ MVP , David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox will be hoping that he and his teammates can make a successful defense of their World Series’ title won last season , when the Red Sox defeated the St Louis Cardinals with some ease. Ortiz’s career with the franchise and overall , quite possibly makes him a future Hall of Fame candidate . AP Photo / Alexander Hughes ….

=================================================================================

🙂

tophatal ………….. 2014/03/19 02:15 PM

Follow tophatal on Facebook : Tophatal’s Blog

——

NCAA Men’s Basketball and news

NCAA Tournament (Basketball) Men’s Bracket

NCAA Tournament schedule 18th March 2014

—–

NBA news and archived news

NBA standings (division) and standings by conference

NBA schedule 18th March

NBA results 17th March and top performers

————-

NFL news from around the league

2014 NFL Draft and mock draft

NFL transactions (March 2014)

NFL free agents

NFL players with the highest cap hit

Highest paid NFL players contract value

Highest paid NFL players base salary

Highest paid players average salary

—–

MLB news and press releases for the teams

MLB schedule 19th March , 2014

MLB probable starting pitchers 19th March

MLB results 18th March , 2014

MLB preseason standings

This month in MLB history

This day in MLB history

Milestones this MLB season (Offense) : Hits , runs scored , home runs , RBI’s , Total bases

Pitching : Wins , Innings pitched , Strikeouts , Saves , Games started , Games played , Batters face

————————————————————

Yaris  Sanchez/

The voluptuous Yaris Sanchez

A year in review , part two

A year in review , part two

Less is not necessarily more and that is something , the fans found out as the Alabama Crimson Tide’s season came to an abrupt halt with the team’s inexplicable loss to Auburn (Tigers) , when Nick Saban and this team were seen as prohibitive favorites to repeat as a national champions in College Football . Yet, more than anything else , it was the arrogance of the head coach and his coaching staff that led to Alabama’s own undoing in that highly competitive and touted contest . Far be it for me to suggest , but when you show that type of arrogance during such an important game , your fate can only be dealt with and brought to such a fateful way as many witnessed on that day . Nothing more, nothing less , will suffice at this juncture , the Tide now playing in many respects , a totally meaningless Bowl Game . Anyone who believes that the culmination of Alabama’s season can still be looked upon as a resounding success , has to be viewed as someone who is actually delusional and without an ounce of intelligence.

——————————————-

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

——————————————

Slideshow .

Auburn’s victory in the Iron Bowl , now has the team and program playing for their second national title in the past four seasons , where they will face Jimbo Fisher and the number one ranked team in the nation , the Florida State Seminoles in the BCS national title game . . Fisher’s opposing number, Gus Malzahn and his coaching staff will be fully aware that going into this contest as a slight underdog should not be seen, as an actual detriment for the Tigers . If anything , it will be the Seminoles, who as favorites , will have far more to prove , given the way that they have simply steamrolled over the vast majority of their opponents over the course of the their season .

For Florida State’s Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston, after his spectacular season on the field . It will be interesting to see whether or not the player can live up the hype and pressure placed upon his young shoulders over the course of the year . This much is certain , next season with his eligibility a foregone conclusion, the quarterback will simply be playing to exhibit his skills and showing his maturity level for any potential suitor seeking a player of his caliber and skill-set.

College Football , but in particular the BCS, now needs to go out on a roll , as a precursor to the new format , that will be put in place for the 2014 season . From my own perspective, no matter whether or not, it is a committee made up of experts, deciding on a formula of sorts, for a playoff system , as long as large sums of monies are exchanging hands , simply to facilitate a pretext to determine a national champion , with purists juxtaposing a premise, that this newly revised format will be the best way to determine a national champion. It is merely a pretext to deny the obvious, money, more than the spirit of competition, will always be a deciding factor .

For those players, who will undoubtedly seek to declare their eligibility for the 2014 NFL Draft , with the hope of undoubted financial and professional rewards. The rich pickings, that they may well envisage, are not necessarily as great, as they believe it to be. Being drafted in the first round and amongst the top-ten or fifteen draft picks , at times can bring about the highest financial rewards. Yet, that, in of-itself is no actual guarantee of success and for many , toiling for a team that has drafted you in the mid to lower first or third round , can prove to be far more rewarding than being drafted as the first or second pick or third pick overall , for a franchise at least two or three years away from being viewed as a legitimate contender within the NFL . Let the speculation begin, as to which player will be taken as the number one pick , as that privilege and the status it holds can so quickly be forgotten, if the individual in question is unable to show his ability within their first two seasons in the NFL . With the sums of money now vested in player of that status , it easy to understand why teams are sometimes unwilling to make that type of outlay , often associated with a player taken that high in the NFL Draft.

The Louisville Cardinals , coached by Rick Pitino came away with last season’s NCAA Men’s Basketball title and along with it, the esteemed coach added to his already list of illustrious achievements . With that also came the departure of several players from that championship winning roster , who having declared their eligibility , made their way to the NBA Draft , where they were picked up by the franchises in question , searching for fresh college talent . For Louisville , Peyton Siva and Gorgui Deng were the players taken in this Draft, now looking to make their amongst the professional ranks .

As the NCAA season has progressed the standings have remained the same , with the Arizona Wildcats and Syracuse (Orangemen) seated atop of the polls respectively, ranked numbers one and two. . From Kevin Durant in 2007, as the AP Player of the Year and Naismith Award Winner to last season’s claimant Trey Burke , everything has evolved around seeking out the next major star , taking his talent to the professional ranks of the NBA. Perhaps, if league itself, were not in such a dire situation , where the play within the Eastern Conference in particular , has bordered on being completely inept , even with the recent struggles of the reigning NBA champions the Miami Heat struggling as of late.

David Stern points to the fact that the brand and product has become a global phenomenon far outpacing the popularity of Major League Baseball and the NFL , combined. Thankfully, however, the commissioner and the fellow members of the league hierarchy , have yet, sought to expand beyond the North American continent by way of adding an international franchise. If only Stern could expound upon that premise and advise his NFL counterpart , Roger Goodell , that it would be futile and simple idiocy to believe that the NFL can be a resounding success in Europe, by way of adding in a franchise and then having to compete against the soccer leagues in the UK , as well those of Western Europe. It was enough that Goodell and his predecessor , Paul Tagliabue, simply learned nothing by the tens of millions in losses accumulated with the experiment of NFL Europe . One hundred and sixty million dollars ($160 million) later and it would appear that the NFL hierarchy , very much like the administration of Barack Obama , simply believes that by burning through vast piles of money, is another way of trying to solve an issue, without having first done a complete and thorough investigation of that issue and then seeking how to solve that problem.

The NBA for its part burns through money, by offering exorbitant contracts to players who in some instances are simply not worth the value of the deal signed . And purportedly, general managers and NBA team owners are said to be astute businessmen? I guess, that, James Dolan and Mikhail Prokhorov can make the case , that stupid is as stupid does ? Consider the fact that the respective franchises, owned by both individuals , the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are currently struggling, languishing near the bottom of the Eastern Conference and at the bottom of the Atlantic Division . Meanwhile, the bloated payrolls of both teams , the Knicks and Nets , are simply another reason why the NBA has completely lost touch with reality. The NBA marches to the beat of its very own drum and drum beat without noticing the ever-present danger and self-inflicted wounds to its own image.

There have been plaudits, behind three players this season within the Collegiate Level of the NCAA , that are thought to be stars of the future within the NBA. Andrew Wiggins of the Kansas Jayhawks , Jabari Parker of Duke (Blue Devils) and Antoine Mason of Niagara , who play within the Metro American Atlantic Conference (MAAC) . A conference not necessarily renowned for what one would be deemed great college basketball. Yet, as the game has evolved, so too have the programs who now find themselves with players who were overlooked by the more illustrious schools within the NCAA basketball hierarchy. Whether or not Mason’s game can easily acclimatized to the rigors of the NBA is solely dependent upon his productivity over the course of this season , and the success of Niagara , how their stature is raised and the publicity garnered by their young star.

For Andrew Wiggins , having Bill Self as his coach , will avail the young freshman one of the best tutors in College Basketball , in aiding him hone his game . While there seems to be the consensus that he is likely to be the number one overall pick for the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft . It is my belief, that the player, will undoubtedly be drafted in the first round and likely be a top-five pick. However, there still remain questions, concerning his all-round game and willingness to come to the aid of teammates when adversity stares the team directly in the face. Coming off a recent victory over Toledo , the Jayhawks’ next opponent will be San Diego State of the Mountain West Conference on Sunday, 5th January , 2014. It will be interesting to see whether or not the team can push their record to 10-3 and rise up the rankings.

While, I believe Jabari Parker to be a better player than Andrew Wiggins! Being the best, does not always equate to being great in the NBA , and what is said to be desired by a general manager looking to improve a team’s roster. Parker, under the tutelage of Blue Devils’ coach , the renowned Mike Krzyzewski , will garner a great deal of attention , simply because of the stature of the Duke program and its history under Krzyzewski. Duke as a resident within the ACC and perhaps the most “celebrated program ” within the conference , will this season be undoubtedly tested as they seek to improve on last season’s showing within the ACC as well as the NCAA Tournament . A lopsided thirty-eight point victory over Elon , may well not signify a great deal about Duke , because as usual , it tends to be their conference schedule and games against the more noted programs , that dictates how much of a credible contender that the team is likely to be over the course of the season .

Parker throughout much of this season has proven his worth for Duke in a number of games , showing a great deal of maturity and leadership for someone so young. Clearly, while many are in agreement with the NBA’s ruling, concerning the eligibility of players declaring for the NBA Draft. While, there are supporters of the current edict, a number of detractors have also begun to voice their concerns of the league’s denial of a players’ right to earn a living. However, with so many declarer’s each season making the jump to the professional ranks, all but a handful, are actually looked upon as entering the NBA and capable of playing at a high level .

The NBA and the NCAA will at some point, have to revisit the issue of player eligibility and seek to find a solution that is equitable for all of the parties concerned. David Stern’s biggest concern on this issue has to be the quality of the players making the jump. Within Collegiate Athletics, NCAA President Mark Emmert has to be seen as credible , when consulting with coaches and administrators , in gauging their views on the matter. The coaches, ultimately know, whether or not players that they have recruited for a program are likely to make one or four-year commitment to that school and its athletic endeavors.

Duke for their part will begin 2014 foray, with a game , on Saturday afternoon, when they travel to South Bend, Indiana, to take on Notre Dame . The contest should prove to be a very interesting contrast of styles and coaching , with the Fighting Irish’s coaching staff being led by Mike Brey and his coaching assistants.

Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals , would like nothing better than to make a successful defense of their title . That premise , easier said than done, but with only Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators , having achieved that feat in the past decade , It is extremely difficult to see Pitino and his coaching staff being able to guide the team on not only an arduous season , but then into a series of games , where everything is said to be on the line. The Cardinals’ lopsided victory over the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando , Florida, now sets them up, for what may well prove to a tough contest against Rutgers , in Piscataway , New Jersey this weekend. Both programs, will certainly be looking to give it their all, while entertaining the fans in attendance the Louis Brown Athletics Center , in Piscataway ,. From there, as the season meanders for Rick Pitino and the program, we can but merely speculate on what is likely to happen .

=============================================

============================================

Picture gallery .

What if anything to your mind, were the biggest surprises of this past season within both College Basketball and that of the Football season also ? And in the BCS championship game , do you believe that Florida State will be able to subdue a very tough adversary , in the Auburn Tigers ? Leave a comment , as you see fit on this and anything you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter.

🙂

Picture and slideshow details below .

======================================================

(1) Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide is surrounded after their 28- 34 loss to the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Auburn, Alabama. Getty Images North America / Kevin C Cox …

(2) Head coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers and head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide shake hands prior to their game at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Auburn, Alabama. . Getty Images / Kevin C Cox ….

(3) Florida State head football coach Jimbo Fisher is seen here with the team’s quarterback and 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston . Unbeaten all season , the lone quest remaining on their schedule is an upcoming national championship title game against Auburn on the 6th January , 2014 in AP Photo / Curtis James ….

(4) Dwayne Allen of the Indianapolis Colts , who was taken in the third round by the team in the 2012 NFL Draft and has proven to be effective for the Colts this season , as they have garnered their second consecutive playoff berth since the arrival of quarterback , Andrew Luck , who was the pick taken overall in that year’s NFL Draft. AP Photo/ Mark Woods …

(5) Rick Pitino the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals gives instructions to his team during the against the Missouri State Bears at KFC YUM! Center on December 17, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky. Getty Images / Andy Lyons …

(6) Some time adversaries , but for the most part the best of friends , coaches , Bill Self of Kansas (Jayhawks ) shaking hands with Mike Krzyzewski , right, coach of the Duke Blue Devils . Both of these well-respected programs are currently ranked in the top twenty-five in the nation of the NCAA Rankings . Courtesy of ESPN ….

Three highly touted recruits and like to be lottery first round draft picks in 2014 , in the NBA Draft . From left to right Jabari Parker , Andrew Wiggins and James Young of the Kentucky ( Wildcats) . AP Photo / George Parsons …..

——————————————————

🙂

tophatal ….

😉

Related article : A year in review , I think not

😉

NCAA Football and the postseason

😉

NCAA Men’s Basketball and the NCAA Men’s Basketball schedule

NCAA Men’s Basketball rankings

🙂

NBA news and archived stories

NBA results 31st December 2013 and schedule 1st January 2014

NBA standings by division

NBA standings by conference

———————

A couple of well-developed assets , I believe !

No question , she wants to ‘party’ .

Shoot for the Moon and the Stars …..

It’s now time to shoot for the Moon and the Stars ….

With the NCAA Tournament having now taken shape, the brackets have been busted wide open. The “Sweet Sixteen “ is now upon us and to say that a number of fans around the country are now either up in arms in angst , would be something of an understatement . Meanwhile, there will also be a large litany of fans simply elated that their brackets have remained intact.

===============================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


===============================

Slideshow.

Making it to the Sweet Sixteen are the little minnows of Florida Gulf Coast College , who along with their coach , Andy Enfield , have provided the biggest story in the NCAA Tournament by far . Now comes the hard part for the team , can they carry their “Cinderella Story” deeper into this postseason of surprises , crescendo and overwhelming hysteria ? For the team’s unlikely stars , Bernard Thompson , Chase Fieler and Brett Comer , to be able to display their skills in front of a national audience of millions , has to first of all ,come as a big surprise , never mind their rather shocking result, in defeating San Diego State University , in one the biggest upsets of this tournament , 81-71 .

Next up for Florida Gulf Coast , will be a prime-time match-up against Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators on Thursday evening , in what is sure to be a highly anticipated game , where the outcome grants the victors an appearance in the Elite Eight. No in state rivalry here , merely a contest, between two schools , looking to make some history of their own . None more so , than perhaps for the Gators’ head coach Billy Donovan , as he seeks to win his third national title , in seven years.

It’s not necessarily what you do , it’s the way and how you do it . The Miami Heat’s twenty-four game unbeaten streak carries on unabated , and for now , theirs is the story that the NBA is simply encapsulated by , none of this bull#hit as to woes of the ” overrated” New York Knicks or the under-achieving Brooklyn Nets .

It’s not necessarily what you do , it’s the way and how you do it . The Miami Heat’s twenty-four game unbeaten streak carries on unabated , and for now , theirs is the story that the NBA is simply encapsulated by , none of this bull#hit as to woes of the ” overrated” New York Knicks or the under-achieving Brooklyn Nets . Miami , in their most recent game , simply overwhelmed the hapless Charlotte Bobcats in a lopsided Eastern Conference match-up 109-77 . I am not so sure which Michael Jordan , is now relishing more , his possible upcoming nuptials or watching the franchise he now owns ,simply add more burden and further embarrassment to the his acumen as an a front office executive and team owner . The longer the Bobcats continue show their stunning mediocrity to the fans of the NBA , the less likely it is that the franchise can survive in its present form. A dwindling attendance at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte , North Carolina , along with declining revenues , and you simply have to question the mindset of Jordan and his fellow executives .

As to Miami’s own fortunes , well , let’s just say , a fortune cookie manufacturer could make several million dollars , simply placing in print “ Miami Heat wins another game “ , and then placing those messages inside several million fortune cookies. It is far too early to start to make comparisons between the Heat’s present run and NBA record run of the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers , a team that was simply resplendent with many of the game’s biggest stars. With Heat streak, now standing at twenty-six games and counting , the question now becomes , who amongst the teams remaining on their schedule , will be able to derail their ambitions , as they seek to surpass the Lakers’ thirty-three game unbeaten streak ? And tonight, the team being asked to take down the might of South Beach , will be none other than the Orlando Magic , a franchise seeking to rebound after the abrupt departure of Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers during this past off-season.

For Magic head coach , Jacque Vaughn , in his rookie season , he has been encumbered with a team that is still finding its way , while still seeking not to place itself amongst the league’s least competitive franchises .And boy , how this team has suffered and played , as you simply never know what level of ineptitude to expect from a group , that is said to be lacking in leadership , both on and off the court !

I’ll say this for the NFL , but this off-season has proven to be one opportunities , incompetence and the ongoing and brazen stupidity that one has now come to expect from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodel ! While, much has been made, with regard to the numerous off-season acquisitions that have been made, it is clear that there that there has been more money misspent on marginal talent , simply because idiots would prescribe to the fact that this is what the market can bear. Should anyone have expected any different , when you consider the idiotic banter that takes place between erstwhile fans and the geeks out there , making claims as to cap space and what teams have available to spend ? The general managers within the NFL are far from, being the brightest , much less, the most insightful or business minded of individuals ! On the evolutionary scale , if Darwin were alive today , I would dare say , that he would be perplexed as to how to best describe these particular individuals !

Reigning Superbowl champions the Baltimore Ravens , in the aftermath of their triumph over the San Francisco 49ers , have simply sought to revamp the roster . The retirement of Ray Lewis notwithstanding , the departures of Anquan Boldin , Ed Reed and Paul Kruger , has me now questioning the wisdom of GM Ozzie Newsome , in rewarding Joe Flacco with such an exorbitant contract , while the core of the Ravens’ lineup was torn asunder . As good as Flacco , just happened to be , for the Ravens during the postseason , his body work prior to 2012 , was simply, not overwhelming or dare one say, that impressive .

With the NFL Draft , now a little more than a month away , it will be extremely interesting to see how John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome set about rebuilding the roster after the loss of such extraordinary players during the Ravens’ off-season . Newsome might well be one of the most astute front office executives in the NFL today , and his record in terms of the franchise’s personnel decisions with the Baltimore Ravens over the past decade , has simply been indicative of that.

Well, now that we have had the idiocy of the World Baseball Classic behind us ! OK, for once, the winner , the victor , on this occasion , was not from the Asian Pacific Basin , as it had been twice before , with Japan winning the inaugural event in 2008 and then making a successful defense in 2012 . This year’s event, failed to live up to, any of the perceived hype that MLB or IBAF may well have hoped for . And for the purists out there , who are of the belief that a tournament hastily put together , prior to the start of the MLB Spring Training Schedule is simply a worthwhile event . I would pose this question to you all, would you leave your home to make your way to work without being fully clothed ? Herein, lies the misnomer and idiocy placed upon this quadrennial event by Bud Selig’s hierarchy . He simply believes that the WBC can now make up for Ibex’s World Cup as well as the loss of the event from the IOC (International Olympic Committee) Summer Games .

This year, the Dominican Republic was triumphant in defeating Puerto Rico in the championship game 3-0 . As to how Team USA fared , well let’s just say , the “Emperor”, had no new clothes and his manhood was exposed , put on show , which in essence , was nothing more than a spec on this entire event . As to why, they even bothered to turn up with a “half assed “ roster , that could be best described puerile is simply beyond me ! But this is so atypical of an institutional body , that has ideas, so high above its competitive standing that you simply have to look at it all , as one big goddamn joke !

Now down to business , and yes the 31st March kicks off the regular season schedule within baseball this season. However, for the for the vast majority of teams their Opening Day will not come about Monday , 1st April , with a slew of games being lined up for that Opening Day schedule . Reigning World Series champions , the San Francisco Giants will begin the defense of their title , playing their NL West rivals , the Los Angeles Dodgers , who will have on parade their $214 million payroll roster . As to what this ultimately says about the state of the game from a financial aspect , when it is clear that a ball-club with a $60 million payroll, barely has a pot to piss in , much less a window to throw it out of . I will leave it all, for you all to be the judge of that ! Suffice to say, the commissioner and the rest of the itinerant assholes who continue to espouse the financial well-being of this game, when it is clearly a mess , you can all go fuck the horse you rode in on !

As to the aspirations for teams who are seen as the presumptive favorites . Well, it goes without saying that anyone who spends $2.156 billion to purchase a ball-club , surely isn’t doing that for a group of gloating admirers . Magic Johnson , Mark Walter , and the litany of multi-millionaires and billionaires who joined the syndicated partnership of Guggenheim Baseball Properties Inc , to make that bold purchase , are clearly seeking an even greater reward. A rumored $ 7 billion television contract, also has greased the wheels , but I somehow get the feeling that MLB CFO Jonathan Mariner and Bud Selig will find a way of being a thorn in the side and pain in the ass of the Dodgers , as to how that sum will be disbursed amongst the Los Angeles Dodgers and the other (small-market) teams within the league ! All of that hard work initiated by the ball club and now they have to share their spoils with teams who in many cases, choose not to be competitive . I’m calling you out , the Kansas City Royals , Pittsburgh Pirates , Houston Astros , Miami Marlins and Colorado Rockies ! Anyone who witnessed the play of the aforementioned teams in 2012 , and their final divisional standings , will know how mediocre they just happened to be !

On the day that Tiger Woods finds himself back atop of the World Golf rankings having won the Arnold Palmer /Bay Hill Invitational , a PGA Tournament founded by PGA Tour great , Arnold Palmer . Having led the tournament , for the better part of the three continuous days, with Sunday being rained out because of inclement weather. . It was left to Woods to remind us why he has been the most dominant golfer over the past decade , in spite of the recent idiocy of the player’s detractors and commentators within this forum, stating that the player was on the decline. Pardon me for saying this , but the likes of Bubba Watson , Webb Simpson , Keegan Bradley , Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink are not the type of guys on the PGA Tour who are going to hold the public’s attention for more than a minute much less , thirty seconds ! Furthermore, the players in question, are far too robotic and without any real humor or character ! And if Woods is said to be on the decline , then I would like to know how one actually determines that specific detail ?

Tiger Woods’ only serious threat on the final day of the tournament was the player himself and a rather capricious Ricky Fowler , whose last round of 73 (1 over par for the final round , 8 under par for the tournament , 5 shots behind the winner ) literally blew up in his face , with his erratic and inconsistent play . Can we simply say overrated, once and for all ! The whole world knows that the PGA Tour and world golf in particular, cannot survive in its present guise , without a dominant Tiger Woods on the golfing landscape. Only an idiot would ever consider and think to the contrary ! It has been Woods, who has been the sole driving force that has seen the PGA Tour prize rise from just over $35 million in 1996 to $375 million in total prize money for the 2013 PGA Tour schedule . It seems that, hitting a tiny white ball around an eighteen hole course does have its rewards after-all . The question now remains, as the schedule now progresses , can Tiger Woods now win at least one of the four Major Grand Slam Tournaments on the PGA Tour , and inch closer towards Jack Nicklaus’ PGA Tour record total of eighteen Grand Slam title wins. With his victory at the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational , Woods won for the seventy seventh time and is now five wins behind the all-time win total of 82 held by the late Sam Snead .

Any sport , whose most prestigious event just happens to be its opening day event of an almost year-long calendar , will have to grab my attention for about as long as I would desire to see full frontal photos of Rosie O’Donnell butt naked . And that is just not happening , just as in the same way , this heated idiocy that now seems to be fomented by NASCAR , as that sport seeks to enthrall a now apparent dwindling broadcast television audience . Anyone who witnessed the childlike fracas between three-time Sprint Cup championship winner Tony Stewart and Joey Logano , will know that both combatants , posses the physicality of an effeminate male ballet dancer . In the Sprint Cup season opener the Daytona 500 , we were all meant to be excited by Dania Patrick and the fact that she was the pole sitter for the sport’s most prestigious race. The only pole that Danica Patrick should be around , if it is her intent to attract my attention , then it had better be a stripper pole . Anything other than that , simply won’t cut it for me , much less garner my attention ! .

As to the season, and what it entails for the most ardent of fans of this multibillion dollar spectacle. I can only surmise that NASCAR will try to create as much drama as is humanly possible , while seeking to pique the viewers’ interest. Beyond that , I don’t believe that much else needs to be said !

======================================

=======================================

Picture gallery for your perusal.

Of the weekend’s sporting schedule , what if anything , raised your interest as to the events that took place ? Simply chime in with a comment , as you see fit ,and as always, thanks for the continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

😉

Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
==========================================

(1) Florida Gulf Coast’s Dajuan Graf, from left,Eddie Murray and Brett Comer celebrate after winning a third-round game against San Diego State in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Philadelphia. Florida Gulf Coast won 81-71. AP Photo/Michael Perez …

(2)Mar 22, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Florida Gulf Coast Eagles guard Sherwood Brown (25) and guard Brett Comer (0) celebrate a 78-68 win over the Georgetown Hoyas in the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament at the Wells Fargo Center . Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports…

(3) Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) drives around Charlotte Bobcats’ Jeff Adrien (4) looking for a shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Sunday March 24, 2013. AP Photo/J Pat Carter …

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant, left, shoots over the Orlando Magic’s Tobias Harris (12) and Jameer Nelson (14) during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, March 22, 2013, in Orlando, Fla. The Thunder won 97-89 . AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr …..

(5) FILE – In this Dec. 16, 2012, file photo, Denver Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil watches the action from the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore. Dumervil has spurred the Broncos for Baltimore, agreeing to a five-year deal, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome announced Sunday, March 24, 2013. AP Photo/Gail Burton …

(6) SAN FRANCISCO, CA – MARCH 19: Robinson Cano(24) and Jose Reyes and to Reyes’ left , Hanley Ramirez of the Dominican Republic celebrate after defeating Puerto Rico to win the Championship Round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic by a score of 3-0 at AT&T Park on March 19, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ….

(7) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Carl Crawford is high-fived in the dugout after being driven in with a two-run home run from Andre Ethier against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game , Sunday, March 24, 2013 in ,Phoenix. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …

(8) Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office executives and co-owners , from left to right , Hollywood media mogul, Peter Guber, team President Stan Kasten , Chairman , Mark L Walter and senior partner Magic Johnson . Walter , CEO of the venture capital firm Guggenheim Partners (assets $125 billion) , through their associate company Guggenheim Baseball Properties paid a record $2.156 billion to purchase the beleaguered Los Angeles Dodgers’ franchise which had been placed into bankruptcy proceedings by now disgraced former owner Frank McCourt . Suggestions of collusion were made , by several franchise owners , because it was widely believed and held notion , that the MLB commissioner favored the bid by the Johnson and Walter led consortium, much to the disdain of those who felt that Bud Selig failed to show any impartiality throughout the entire process having kept in close contact with the bankruptcy judge and consultants who handled the litigant proceedings . AP/ Photo / Marcus Hughes …..

(9) ….Tiger Woods, left, and Arnold Palmer share a laugh during the trophy presentation after Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament in Orlando, Fla., Monday, March 25, 2013. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack …

(10) Rickie Fowler lines up a shot on the sixth green during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament, Monday, March 25, 2013, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack …..

(11) Joey Logano has to be led away by his pit crew after an altercation with fellow Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart at the Auto Club 400 at Fontana Motor Speedway , in Fontana , California , this past Sunday . The race was won by Kyle Busch for his first victory of the Sprint Cup season . AP/ Photo/Keith Larson ……

(12) Danica Patrick walks to her car to qualify for the NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race in Fontana, Calif., Friday, March 22, 2013. AP Photo/Reed Saxon …

(13) Patrick certainly making sure that beyond her abilities on the track, her best assets, are indeed her looks . Bertelsmann Print AEG , GmBH …

————————————————————————————–

😉

By Tophatal

=====================

NCAA Basketball

NCAA Tournament results 24th March 2013

NCAA Tournament schedule 25th March 2013

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament brackets

=================

NBA news

NBA results 24th March 2013 and scheduled games 25th March

NBA standings (division) and by conference

NBA statistics

– – – – – – –

NFL news

NFL transactions

2013 NFL Draft and NFL Combine news

NFL Draft by grades

——————————–

MLB news

MLB schedule 25th March 2013

MLB results 24th March 2013

==============================================

Hot chic pics of the day are below , Ines Cudna and Ewa Sonnet .

Ines Cudna . A hot piece of @ss by any stretch of the imagination , wouldn’t you say ?

😉

Ewa Sonnet

Failure is not an option

Failure is not an option

It is now nut crunching time as it relates to the NCAA Tournament and the brackets , and how the whole issue will be resolved . It is clear, that the adjudicating body that will come to their conclusions will never fully satisfy the analysts , fans or the media , no matter what decision is made . As a fan of College Basketball , this is simply the one tournament that I thoroughly enjoy watching from start to finish.

=================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=================================================

Slideshow.

Teams are jockeying , for the privilege, of playing in what I believe to be the best collegiate sports’ competition, on the collegiate sporting landscape ! Football may well be the most popular sport by far , but with their continued flawed system to determine a national champion , we will never get to a point where we are truly satisfied with a format. Even now, with a rather flawed, but some might say, a much a fairer system to be instituted in the 2014-15 calendar. Which will be solely driven , and formatted for the mere means of gaining tens of millions more sponsorship dollars pouring into the coffers of the BCS and their associate partners It now begs the question , what other asinine concept will be thought up the odious and rather archaic members of that institution ?

Personally, after that catastrophe of a national title game , where Notre Dame simply got their ass handed to them , I am beginning to wonder what the hell , are the polls meant to be about ! Hell, that team , in no way , deserved to be ranked at number one in the nation , at any point of the season , in spite of their unbeaten regular season schedule (12-0) . The fact that the Alabama Crimson Tide , rolled over their ass , like a tractor-trailer crushing road-kill, does create this widespread belief, that the “ Fighting Irish” were simply overrated and a complete embarrassment of that ranking prior to the BCS championship game.

With the recent “signing day “ and this belief , that one can assuage these recruiting classes to validate a claim , as which program was the “ best of the best “ in terms of their recruiting goals. Well, in many ways , it is like trying to suggest , are we ever satisfied with whatever we progress by the decisions made by the Congress and an administration . At the end of the day , it all comes down to the perceived talent , but more so the acumen shown by a head coach and his coaching staff. And at the top of the heap at present , is the name of Nick Saban , whose record simply speaks for itself , that now , nothing else, really needs to be said !

OK, so here we are and a competition initiated after MLB , and IBAF (International Baseball Federation) , and their complete lack of accountability and leadership being shown by both hierarchies , as it relates to the game’s ongoing morass in dealing with their approach on the use of PED’s . For years , the MLB hierarchy led by Bud Selig , simply stood by , and watched in amazement as hallowed records were simply “being ripped “ from the record books with sheer ease. The fact that disgraced ball player, Barry Bonds’ feat of 73 home runs still sits in the books , along with the career home run record , another record held by Bonds . I am beginning to wonder what the venerable Hank Aaron , must now be thing as he watches the game he graced so effortlessly, now become ” a complete sham”, while the salaries of the top players are now reaching ridiculous levels !

While the MLB Spring Training Schedule is in full swing , the World Baseball Classic is being simultaneously. Yet, lo and behold , Team USA , managed by Joe Torre , have seen their foray in this competition come to an abrupt end , with the team’s defeat at the hands of Puerto Rico in the quarter-finals of the WBC. Personally , this is the one competition that since its inception , it has been a downright failure , primarily because the fact Team USA , ranked #2 internationally by IBAF, has seemingly been a train wreck , in international play. Doubt my word , ask yourself this , when was the last time the national side won anything of note at the international level, featuring many of their best stars from the Major League Level ?

It certainly, has not happened in the Olympics, over baseball’s last staging , which before the sport being jettisoned by the IOC. Team competition for both baseball and softball at the Olympic level , last took place in 2008 , and at the behest of the IOC Executive Committee , led its President , Jacques Rogge , led to the dismissal of both sports from the Summer Olympics. Now you have Bud Selig and his IBAF counterpart, Ricardo Fraccari behaving like a bunch of clowns , as they seek the reinstatement of their sport as well as softball, back as part of the Summer Schedule of the Olympics. Meanwhile, self-styled World Baseball Classic , remains a mindless bore and eyesore , barely watched on television , with meager ratings coming by way of ESPN’s and ABC’s televised coverage. About the only ones being served by this utter nonsense are the corporate advertisers looking to make a quick dollar by way of selling their wares .

With the failure of Team USA making a successful run in the WBC , it begs the question , the boast of being world champions ? Albeit, at the club level , where does it place the country at the international level, even with the team’s ranking currently being ranked at number two . After this competition , it is becoming increasingly clear that ranking will slip , along with hyperbole over the country’s boast of being the best in the world .

We know of the aspirations of a number of teams this season with a great on their minds , as it relates to the World Series . Reigning champions , the San Francisco Giants , will be looking to make a successfully defense of the title they won with ease in 2012 , defeating the Detroit Tigers . World Series MVP , Pablo Sandoval , will undoubtedly be looking cement what was a tremendous postseason for the player and his teammates .

Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy , his coaching staff and GM Brian Sabean , will be looking to have this team prepared for the long haul of an arduous 2013 schedule . And for Tim Lincecum, a former Cy Young Award winner in 2008 and 2009 . Last season was something of a misnomer for Lincecum , but he able to deliver for the team when they needed him most during the postseason.

Sabean and Giants’ managing partner , Larry Baer , have to be aware that the franchise will the ones with a target on their backs. Having won two World Series in three years , baseball has not had a repeat series’ winner , since the New York Yankees , won three in a row (1998, 1999 & 2000). And for the game’s most renowned franchise , there are now facing a time of uncertainty, with an aging roster at its core , and a great deal of uncertainty concerning the long-term futures of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez . And as one career winds down , with Jeter now in the twilight of his famed career , one has to ask who will now assume control and lead this team by example ? Certainly not Rodriguez , given his penchant for excuses , and seeking to apportion blame elsewhere for his own repeated mistakes. Less we forget also , Alex Rodriguez remains a flawed character , who has no desirable trait, and he might just be , the most despised player in the game today. It is my firm belief that the Yankees’ front office have erred in not rescinding Rodriguez’s contract in light of the latest expose’ in which this is the second time that the player’s name has been associated with a steroids’ investigation , after his admission of guilt to the use of PED’s in 2010, in which the third baseman confirmed that he experimented with steroid use from 2001 to 2004 , while playing for the Texas Rangers .

Rodriguez’s career in Major League Baseball, has been littered, with highs and lows , of which, many would consider career lows to be considerably more than the highs. I believe that perception to be true , primarily because of the player’s admission of guilt , and his use of steroids and the very fact that the suspicion still remains that he has never been fully truthful as to whether or not there was his continued use ! And that is in light of ongoing allegations concerning the third baseman and recent stories within the print and television media . What makes all the more disturbing also , remains the fact that Alex Rodriguez is the highest paid player in the game and whose career earnings will surpass a half billion dollars ($500,000,000) at the culmination of that career.

It should be of some note, that Rodriguez remains the only player in baseball history to have signed two separate contracts, where the team commitment on each occasion has been for $250 million. By return, for that investment , the player has rewarded baseball the teams and fans , with three MVP Awards , thirteen All Star Appearances , two Gold Gloves Awards , one World Series championship , active home runs leader (647) , as well as active RBI’s leader (1950) , and is now 99 hits away from reaching (37th all-time) the 3,000 hits’ plateau . Yet for all of those accolades , many fans believe the third baseman to self-absorbed , conceited , and not to be a great teammate , either with the New York Yankees or Texas Rangers. His relationship with Derek Jeter, is said to be fractured and one, which is day to day ,by most accounts , but yet, somehow the Yankees’ economic future will be based upon a player who remains a pariah within the game. Sidelined hip surgery and likely to miss the team’s entire regular season schedule. It can be said, that the Yankees will either sink or swim with the play of the players considered by Joe Girardi, that will give the franchise the best opportunity to win. And given the state of the team’s current pitching roster, I believe it will be a considerable task for the New York Yankees to overcome and win the AL East , much less gain a playoff berth this season.

The hyperbole was there , but now we’re beginning to see the character or lack of it thereof , as the New York Knicks (38-25) are falling from a lofty peak , falling from the sky, faster than a meteorite . And for all of the prognosticators , simply salivating over this team , primarily because of the assembly of All Stars , is simply and utterly asinine , when there is no body of work to go by ! That’s akin to placing an ugly chick in a two piece bathing suit and then to suggest, that she is in, with a favorite’s chance to win the Miss Universe contest. Not that anyone, would want to see this team strutting “ their stuff” on a catwalk, as it has been bad enough to witness their play over their last ten games , where they are 5-5 and losers of three straight . And need one suggest, that they are slipping down the Eastern Conference rankings , at a rather disturbing time in their schedule ?

Now the Knicks are having to serve the indignity of being without Carmelo Anthony , Tyson Chandler , and the vastly overrated and ailing Amar`e Stoudemire . Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson , now has to rally this team , simply take them to task over their lack of commitment to apply themselves far more aggressively as a defensive unit . Something of which , does not appear to be a part of the team’s psyche .

I get the feeling that this is not what team owner , James Dolan and GM Glen Grunwald , envisaged from the New York Knicks this season ! They are likely to fall short of their goal, and that is to make a deep and spirited run in the postseason. They will undoubtedly qualify for the playoffs , quite possibly as the third, fourth or fifth ranked team within the conference , based on current standings and the play of several conference contenders over their last ten games.

A competitive NBA, needs a resurgent Knicks’ franchise to be an ever- present force within the game. Anyone who suggests otherwise, clearly has no understanding of the franchise’s economic impact to the NBA as a whole . And while we have seen the rise of the Los Angeles Clippers , Golden State Warriors and in recent years the Memphis Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers. There is no denying , that with the Los Angeles Lakers (35-32) , Miami Heat , the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks , the NBA postseason , simply becomes nothing more than a crap-shoot . More often than not, many of the playoff series are understated , with somewhat lackluster play on both sides of the ball.

While the New York Knicks have their on-field issues , their conference rivals , the Miami Heat continue their win streak , which now stands at twenty one consecutive wins . Do you get the feeling that the Heat are simply strolling through the regular season without being overly complacent ? And while we are at it , is LeBron James on his way to winning his fourth MVP title , joining a select group of players with at least two or more league MVP crowns as their laurels ? James and the Heat currently have the third longest win streak (33) in NBA history , a record currently held by the ‘71-‘72 Los Angeles Lakers (69-13) .

Not one to kick an animal while it is down , but it appears that the Los Angeles Lakers’ season is now on the line . Currently sitting in the eighth spot of the Western Conference , and no discerning reason to believe , that they are still capable of holding unto that position. Kobe Bryant’s claims that the team is still capable of making the postseason, is beginning to look somewhat tenuous . The Lakers’ schedule doesn’t offer the players any great aid over the remainder of their regular season. When adjudged against that of the seventh placed Houston Rockets (36-30) and the ninth placed , Dallas Mavericks (31-34). And as we know, the Western Conference has always considered to be a dogfight , for all of the aspirants seeking to make the postseason.

Now while many have been critical of Kobe Bryant , and the fact he recently lashed out at his teammates for their lack of commitment . The player was sidelined briefly, but he gamely made it back onto the court to aid his teammates in a thoroughly competitive victory over the Indiana Pacers . Much of that criticism has been valid , yet it remains a matter of conjecture and speculation how this team can survive in its present guise . Dwight Howard remains an enigma , meanwhile, Steve Nash , as gamely a veteran , as the fans know him to be . It is clear that the Lakers , are a considerable distance from where they need to be. In spite of it all, head coach , Mike D’Antoni tries to stress that the team , are now getting into their stride. As an observer from afar , I have never been enamored with D’Antoni as a head coach , and I still feel that GM Mitch Kupchak and Senior VP Jim Buss have erred , first, in the hiring of Mike Brown , and then the hiring of his successor , Mike D’Antoni ! With a mere fifteen games left in the regular season schedule for the league’s thirty teams , it will be very interesting to see how not only the Los Angeles Lakers will fare , but also many of the championship contenders seeking to make a name for themselves this postseason.

==============================================

By clicking on a frame you can view that picture in its formatted size. .
=======================================================

Picture gallery.

What if anything, are you most looking forward to , when the NCAA Tournament is off and running ? In addition, which teams do you believe will be making a strong presence in the tourney and why ? Do you also believe that the World Baseball Classic has been a worthwhile competition or simply a bust ? Finally , the New York Yankees , will this be the season where we see the team back in the World Series , or will they fall by the wayside ? Chime on in with your thoughts .

Picture and slideshow gallery details .
=======================================================

(1) Miami’s Durand Scott (1) reacts after making a basket as he runs past North Carolina State’s C.J. Leslie (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Saturday, March 16, 2013. Miami has moved on to the Finals of the ACC Tournament to be be played today , Sunday 17th March, 2013 , where they will play North Carolina . AP Photo/Gerry Broome ….

(2) Miami head coach Jim Larranaga directs his team against North Carolina State during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Saturday, March 16, 2013. AP Photo/Gerry Broome …

(3) Puerto Rico catcher Yadier Molina ,left, pitching coach Rick Bones,center, and pitcher Nelson Figueroa celebrate after defeating the USA 4-3 in the World Baseball Classic second round Pool 2 elimination game between Puerto Rico and the United States at Marlins Park in Miami on Friday, March 15, 2013. AP Photo/The Miami Herald, David Santiago ….

(4) New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, left, and former Yankees first baseman and current Miami Marlins hitting instructor Tino Martinez before a spring training baseball game in Tampa, Fla., Friday, March 15, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….

(5) FILE – In this Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reacts after striking out during the second inning of Game 2 of baseball’s American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers in New York. When the Yankees re-signed Rodriguez in December 2007, they expected him to set home run records . Now some in the team’s management hope he never plays again, so much of the $114 million he’s still due can be covered by insurance. Not only is he injured, he’s at the center of performance-enhancing drug use allegations. P Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(6) David Sierra , sits in his family owned realty company in Coral Gables, Fla., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2013, displaying a photo of a flier that the management company passed out to tenants in an office complex where they rented space to Biogenesis and Anthony Bosch . New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez has denied a newspaper report on Tuesday that accused the baseball star of buying human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances from a clinic in the Miami area. The Miami New Times, an alternative weekly, reported that it obtained records detailing purchases by Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez , Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz and Yasmani Grandal from a clinic called Biogenesis, run by Bosch. AP Photo/J Pat Carter ….

(7) San Francisco Giants, managing partner Larry Baer , right to left, Pablo Sandoval, Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy holds the Commissioner’s Trophy after Game 4 of baseball’s World Series against the Detroit Tigers Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Detroit. The Giants won 4-3 to win the series . AP Photo/Matt Slocum, Pool ….

(8) New York Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Thursday, March 14, 2013. The Trail Blazers beat the Knicks 105-90 . AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens …

(9) Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade lies on the court during the first half against the Milwaukee Bucks in an NBA basketball game Friday, March 15, 2013, in Milwaukee. AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps ….

(10) A healthy relationship ? Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, left, draws a play for center Dwight Howard as they sit on the bench in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, Friday, March 15, 2013. Bryant and Howard the team’s two leading scorers are said to have a somewhat tepid relationship , but somehow things are said to be tenuous between the pairing. AP Photo/Michael Conroy …

========================================================

—————————————–

By tophatal

===========================================================

NCAA Basketball news

NCAA Basketball scoreboard & results

😉

NCAA Football and College Football news

😉

MLB news

MLB scoreboard and results

😉

World Baseball Classic news

WBC Classic scoreboard
😉

NBA news and archived news

NBA schedule important dates

NBA results 16th March 2013 and schedule 17th March 2013

NBA teams’ schedule

NBA Standings (division)

NBA Standings (conference)

NBA statistics

NBA League lineups (teams)

NBA Playoff picture

New York Knicks profile & team news

New York Knicks team stats & team roster

New York Knicks schedule

Los Angeles Lakers profile and team news

Los Angeles Lakers’ team stats and team roster

Los Angeles Lakers schedule

———————————————————————————–

If at all interested do take time participate in the above mentioned poll .

It’s not what you do or the way that you spend , it’s just that you’d better be spending it wisely

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 .

=========================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=======================================

Slideshow.

Courtesy of USA Today

Top 5: Sizing up the best conference basketball tournaments

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

Dates: Tuesday-Saturday

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

Dates: Thursday-Sunday

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

***

=======================================
Click on link to read in full.

======================================

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 .

===================================================

By clicking on and individual frame you can view that picture in a newly
formatted size
.
=================================================

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 .

====================================================

(1) Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos (4) shoots against Portland in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Spokane, Wash. AP Photo/Jed Conklin …

(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 ….

===================================================

😉

By Tophatal

NFL pieces within this site and College Basketball

==================================

NFL news and stories from around the league

NFL archived stories

NFL team transactions

2013 NFL Draft and details from the NFL Combine

2013 NFL Draft : Top prospects by grade

Top prospects by position

😉

NCAA Men’s Basketball

NCAA Men’s Basketball news

NCAA Men’s Basketball Conference Tournament results 13th March 2013 and scheduled games 14th March and beyond

NCAA Men’s Basketball statistics 2012-13

NCAA Tournament 2013

===============================

Tears for Fear ….. “Everyone wants to rule the world “

😉

“Shout “

Some year, but it was 2012, just like any other year

Some year, but it was 2012, just like any other year

Tophatal

The first week of 2013 will come to an end from a sporting standpoint , we can either seek to relook at 2012 as a successful year in sports or we can simply say “ well it was good but the drama and infamous moments far outstripped the great moments “ .

========================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

========================================

Slideshow .

Biggest story, by far, had been the outrage and scandal that engulfed the famed football program of Penn State. And the very fact that the state’s self-absorbed governor ,Tom Corbett now seeks to address a matter that he and his fellow trustee members of school had decided that they would not seek to veto any punishment mandated by the NCAA , in light of the findings of the school’s request of an in-depth investigation carried out former FBI Director , Louis Freeh , in what has been detailed in “The Freeh Report” . With Corbett now seeking to overturn the $60 million monetary penalty that the NCAA rendered as a verdict , the governor’s actions smacks of self-indulgence and the very fact that there seems to be a lack of common sense on his part. Well , I suppose it always came down to greed and not much else as it related to many of those within the hierarchy of the once proud educational establishment . Anyone who backs Corbett’s stance should be ashamed , given Penn State’s now infamous decision to cover up the actions of the disgraced and incarcerated Jerry Sandusky. Suffice to say, Tom Corbett should bury his head in shame, rather than his asinine comments stating that the NCAA , far out-reached their authority. My question for Tom Corbett , as a trustee member , why did you not seek to hold former , university President, Graham Spanier and Tim Curley accountable for their actions ?

I’m sorry, but with Lance Armstrong now stating that he is now prepared to admit his guilt , with the fact that he has lied about his actions in stating , that he had not taken performance enhancing drugs (PED’s). At what point, should the public seek to say simply say to the disgraced athlete , why did you simply not admit from the very beginning you have been lying , instead of hiding behind a pack of lies and a great deal of deceit ? Clearly, with Armstrong all along , it has been the ” financial gain ” , and the reputed $ 100 million fortune , he sought to protect . And for the anally retentive assholes, who jumped in, with their idiotic support of the disgraced cyclist, and the claim that neither USADA (US Anti-doping Agency) or WADA had no jurisdiction or standing in punishing the athlete. Perhaps, those very same idiots should actually review what this non-governmental agency, is asked to do , by way of their work? The USADA at the behest of the USOC (US Olympic Committee) , has a mandate to carry out investigations of what they believe to be suspicious acts of illicit drug use . And though that agency does not have subpoena powers , when they seek to act in conjunction with the US Justice Department , it does carry credence to the work they carry out. It is amazing to actually how damn uneducated a great number of the public seem to be , when they choose to not actually seek out the information for themselves and simply feed off the bile and diatribe that is continually served up within their midst !

Having been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles as well as Olympic gold , Armstrong’s legacy and reputation is now in complete tatters along with that once pristine reputation . But then again, Lance Armstrong’s actions all along in this whole saga all along spoke to his lack of character to begin with ! He was so steadfast as to his innocence that even when his former teammate , Tyler Hamilton , revealed his claims under a signed affidavit and then subpoena, that both he and Armstrong had been facilitated with the use of EPO (erythropoietin) , and stanazolol amongst a slew and battery of illicit and prohibitive substances banned by the IOC as well as by the ICU (International Cycling Union) , the international governing body for the sport of cycling . It has also been the ICU’s own lackluster efforts , that should also come into question throughout this whole episode, that has engulfed not only Lance Armstrong but several world-class riders over the past decade.

In the world of baseball , the San Francisco Giants marched through the postseason with the utmost ease , serving notice to the rest of the baseball world , that they will not be an easy pushover in 2013. As the reigning World Series champions, and twice winners of the title in the past five years , it begs the question , who is capable of stepping up to the plate and stopping the dominance of the Giants within the NL , much less the rest of baseball ? Will it be, the free-wheeling and big spending Los Angeles Dodgers or the newly revamped Los Angeles Angels ?

World Series MVP , Pablo Sandoval , essentially, cemented his legacy with the San Francisco Giants, and now he seeks to be the dominant force on what is now a very good Giants’ team. The front office of this organization has been well led, and prudent in their spending . GM Brian Sabean and lead managing partner, Larry Baer , will be intent on seeing growth with this team , while manager, Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff , will carry on from where they left off from last season.

The Miami Heat , reigning champions of the NBA . Head coach , Erik Spoelstra and team President , Pat Riley have sought to revamp the team’s roster from last season . The additions of Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen , has been fortuitous , adding a mix of veteran experience as well an offensive presence , that should bode well for the team over the course of this season.

Now while the reigning champions seek to find their best lineup , and contend with their conference rivals , one of the major storylines of the season, has been the rise of the New York Knicks. And for the Knicks this season , their All Star forward Carmelo Anthony has simply been playing the best basketball of his career , in leading the team to the second best record in the Eastern Conference , while leading the starting roster to their present position , as the leaders of the Atlantic Division with a mark of 23-10.

With the recent reintroduction of Amar`e Stoudemire back to the roster, it remains to be seen how the forward will be able to acclimatize himself back into playing shape.

I firmly believe, that the Knicks will be in contention for a top five seed within the Eastern Conference at <a season’s end , but for now it is all about seeing how Mike Woodson’s players fare , as they seek rewrite a new chapter in the franchise’s history .

The Heat’s opponents in last season’s finals , the Oklahoma City Thunder are riding high while leading their division (Northwest) and are second in Western Conference. Though the Los Angeles Clippers (27-8) lead the Pacific Division of the Western Conference and like the league as a whole , it would take a fool to suggest that the Clippers are by far the best team in the NBA at present . As good as they have been , there is no real body of work other than this season to go by, whereas the Thunder over the last two seasons have have shown us their merits.

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook , Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison seem to moving along nicely ,as they seek to make a quick return to the NBA Finals.

From last season to this season and the expectations that beckon , the fans are being subjected to some great basketball . However, that may well be taking on a whole new meaning when you consider play of the Charlotte Bobcats (8-24), Cleveland Cavaliers (8-27) and the woefully inept Washington Wizards(4-27). Are there some bad teams in the NBA , or simply bad coaches ?

A brief, and momentary mention for the NHL , yes we know that the Los Angeles Kings are the reigning Stanley Cup champions , here’s a thought, the league hierarchy have reached a tentative agreement with the NHLPA (Players’ Union) to return for a shortened season, after their almost four-month league mandated lockout. I’m sorry, but do you, still consider hockey one of the four main professional team sports? For an industry with revenues of $2.5 billion annually , the NHL hierarchy and the players’ union have completely lost their senses , while obfuscation their responsibilities as the custodians of the sport. As to the idiots, who would suggest that the popularity of the NHL remains as high as ever. Well, that might be true, if you were comparing the sport’s popularity to that of the approval ratings of the US House of Representatives , Senate and the present Presidential US administration. The NHL would be hard-pressed to be even considered as remotely popular, as College Football , College Basketball , much less their peers at the professional level within the , NBA , NFL and Major League Baseball (MLB).

Last season in the NFL, the fans of the league were swept away in the euphoria of witnessing the New York Giants win their second Superbowl in the past five years . The Giants’ scintillating victory over the New England Patriots added a further chapter in Eli Manning’s ongoing career, albeit that the teamfailed to make the postseason in 2012. Now through in the fact that at the culmination of the regular season , seven teams saw fit to fire their head coaches , with the biggest casualties of them all , being Lovie Smith , formerly of the Bears and Andy Reid , with the Eagles .

Andy Reid , having met with the Kansas City Chiefs’ hierarchy , formally accepting the vacant head coach’s position with the franchise. As to how Reid will seek to turn around the fortunes of a team that went 2-14 in 2012. Unfortunately, the problems for Romeo Crennel , Reid’s successor , it all stemmed from the extremely poor quarterback play from Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn . The pairing might just be two of the worst quarterbacks in the league over the course of the season , gives credence as to one of the many reasons why the Chiefs failed so miserably. Kansas City may well seek to address that issue during the off-season, either by obtaining a free agent quarterback or by way of the upcoming NFL Draft (2013).

With two of the wildcard round games having given us results , in which we see Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans , march on to the divisional round of the postseason. Sunday, offers the remaining two scheduled match-ups , with the Baltimore Ravens playing host to Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts . Luck, the first quarterback taken in the 2012 NFL Draft , has led the Colts to double-digit wins, in his rookie season , while essentially making believers out of the vast array of NFL fans around the league.

The other game the fans are eager to see , will pit two rookie quarterbacks , who themselves have set the league alight . When the Washington Redskins host the Seattle Seahawks at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland , the opposing quarterbacks will be Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson . And the Seahawks quarterback has been the hottest quarterback in the NFL during the month of December as the team has been on ” tear “ within the league. And with two highly explosive offenses , the Seahawks and Redskins should provide the fans with an exhilarating game.

The College Football season has given us great deal to appreciate, and yes we still yearn for postseason playoff format that isn’t a charade , in spite of what the BCS and major conference commissioners continually insinuate . College Football has now become about those who have and those who do not ! When you have programs bringing in excess of $100 million annually in revenues , while programs not considered members of the major conferences are left “ fighting for the scraps “ left at the table . It begs the question , in whose best interests does the BCS operate ? It is pretty safe to say , it not in the interests of the schools outside of the major conferences.

The BCS national championship game pits number one ranked Notre Dame (12-0) against Nick Saban’s number two ranked Alabama (Crimson Tide) , which will be played on Monday <a href night , at the Sun Life Stadium , in Miami , Florida. Brian Kelly , head coach of Notre Dame, subject of so much speculation with the belief that he will be offered one of the several NFL vacancies that at present remain open. I certainly don’t believe that Kelly will leave the program after merely a year in charge and with the growth of the players under his tutelage . And for freshman quarterback Everett Golson and defensive stalwart , Manti Te’o , this season must have been unimaginable , when one considers the issues with the Fighting Irish , have faced in recent years. A rise back to prominence and all is well , once again at one the most esteemed programs in college football.

If there is one thing that I do know and that it is , you simply do not put much store in the Men’s Basketball rankings too early in the season ! And I certainly don’t put any store with regard to the prognostications of individuals such as Digger Phelps and Dick Vitale . Moreover, if their calls prove to be wrong , it is very rare that you will hear either admit to that fact. At present , the Duke , 14-0 (Blue Devils sit atop of the rankings as they are undefeated . Mike Krzyzewski , perhaps the most respected and revered coaches in the game today , has this program playing with a great deal of passion . Leading the way for the team are Mason Plumlee , Seth Curry , Ryan Kelly and Rasheed Sulaimon . The players are answering the call of Coach “K” as he seeks his fifth national title as a head coach . And the defending champions , the Kentucky (Wildcats) appear to be having something of an indifferent season , it should be noted , John Calipari, as a head coach , has a way of getting his players ready for the NCAA Tournament , at a time when it matters most.

Calipari, for his part, continues to be an individual, that many continue question , as to his integrity and character. From my own personal standpoint , while the Wildcats’ basketball coach can continue to skirt the rules of the game, with the NCAA simply overlooking what on the face of it are violations , then in no way can we consider to take NCAA President , Mark Emmert at his word, when he states that he would like to create an environment within collegiate sports , where there is transparency at all levels within the various programs of collegiate athletics and within the universities themselves. So far, Emmert , the NCAA and college sports are batting way below the Mendoza Line , and then some ! Now many might conclude that the actions of the NCAA in penalizing the Penn State were appropriate , when you take into account the heinousness of Jerry Sandusky’s “ acts of depravity”. However , when also called upon to act with integrity , the NCAA has proven to a rather archaic and an all too pedantic authoritative force .

============================================

===========================================

Picture gallery

😉

Picture and slideshow gallery details
==========================================

(1) Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett speaks at a news conference following a night of rioting in response to the firing of head football coach Joe Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal on November 10, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Corbett is the former state attorney general who launched the investigation in 2009 that eventually brought criminal charges against three former Penn State officials this week. As governor, Corbett is an ex-officio member of Penn State?s board of trustees . Paterno was fired amid allegations that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse. Corbett has sought to challenge the NCAA’s authority in rendering a $60 million fine against Penn State , in what the governor sees as NCAA President Mark Emmert and the NCAA overstepping their authority . It should be noted that Corbett sat on the board of trustees , who themselves , sought not to originally challenge Emmert’s decision . There now seems to few supporters for Mark Corbett’s actions in light of the heinousness of Jerry Sandusky’s depraved crimes . Getty Images North America / Mario Tama …

(2) Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is now consulting with his legal counsel with the intent of issuing a public statement admitting his use of performance enhancing drugs . The cyclist also faces a legal fight in the UK for $2.5 million for a payment made to the cyclist by a UK media conglomerate and the original suit, in which Armstrong was victorious in a defamation lawsuit . AP Photo / Victor Allen …. .

(3) FILE – In this Oct. 28, 2012 file photo, San Francisco Giants celebrate after the Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers, 4-3 , in Game 4 of baseball’s World Series in Detroit. The Giants won the World Series 4-0 . AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …. (4) 2012 World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval is seen here with his World Series trophy after the Giants 4-0 sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the World Series for the organization’s second triumph in the past five years . Getty Images North America / Jason Riordan …

(5) Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III sits on the bench after a knee injury during an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Landover, Md., Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. The Seahawks defeated the Redskins 24-14 . In Griffin’s first postseason appearance he was somewhat pedantic , with less than stellar figures in the Redskins’ defeat. AP Photo/Evan Vucci …

(6) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson greets Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III after an NFL wild card playoff football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. The Seahawks defeated the Redskins 24-14 . AP Photo/Evan Vucci …

(7) Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly pose with The Coaches’ Trophy during a news conference for the BCS National Championship college football game Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 . AP Photo/ Giles Moor ….

(8) Alabama’s Eddie Lacy interviews Christion Jones during Media Day for the BCS National Championship college football game Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Miami. Alabama faces Notre Dame in Monday’s championship game. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …..

(9) Duke’s Quinn Cook ,right, challenges Wake Forest’s Codi Miller-McIntyre for the loose ball in a game played between Duke and Wake Forest at Cameron Indoor Arena , Durham , North Carolina ,. The Blue Devils would defeat the Demon Deacons 80-62 . @ copyrighted material all rights reserved Washington Post/ Ted Richardson Associated Press …

(10) Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski directs his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wake Forest in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. Duke won 80-62 . AP Photo/Ted Richardson …

(11) Duke’s Seth Curry drives to the basket ahead of Wake Forest’s C.J. Harris , bottom right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. Curry scored 22 points , and Duke won 80-62. AP Photo/Ted Richardson ..

(12) Kentucky head coach John Calipari looks to his bench during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Eastern Michigan at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. Kentucky won 90-38 . AP Photo/James Crisp …

(13) Eastern Michigan’s Da’Shonte Riley (1) fouls Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. Kentucky won 90-38. AP Photo/James Crisp …

…..

====================================================

Last year proved to be an exciting season of sports and although I have not covered areas of boxing or MMA , at a later date I will carry an introspective look at both sports and the events that unfolded over the calendar year. Simply chime in with your thoughts as what you believe were some of the sporting highlights of 2011.

========================================

MLB news

🙂

NFL news

NFL postseason schedule

NFL stats players (postseason)

NFL stats teams (postseason)

🙂

NBA news

NBA schedule
=================

NCAA Football

NCAA Football & BCS schedule (postseason)

NCAA Football news

😉

NCAA Basketball men’s results

NCAA men’s basketball news

========================================

The always , sensual , Penelope Cruz , above , and below Scarlett Johansson .

Scarlett Johansson

One Step At A Time

One Step At A Time

31 March, 2012 2:29:10 AM

By tophatal

I suppose they mean well but the longer they remain in center of the fracas simply undermining whatever NCAA and its president Mark Emmert tries to do _____ the sports agent will stand in the way of any progress sought. It’s bad enough that you have praised being lavished upon John Calipari whose Kentucky Wildcats’ team are making another appearance in the Final Four , seeking to win another NCAA title to add to their illustrious tally . The famed coach throughout the course of his coaching career has courted controversy wherever he has been as a collegiate basketball coach . And with five freshmen on that roster of which three have declared their eligibility for the upcoming NBA Draft . Doron Lamb , Michael Kidd-Gilcrhrist and Anthony Davis are likely to be lottery picks in thst proposed draft. And I would dare say that Rod Higgins and Charlotte Bobcats’ owner Michael Jordan will no doubt be gauging this Draft with a great deal of scrutiny .

============================================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.